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Sterling Public Schools Reopening Plan
Sterling Public Schools Reopening Plan
Jim Goracke
Monday, August 03, 2020

After discussion with the Board of Education we have tentatively agreed on the main components of the reopening plan. There will be many details to work through before a final plan is approved at the August 10th board meeting but the main components are listed below. The plan is designed to protect students and staff from transmission, and protect our buildings from widespread quarantines. There is no way to ensure 100% protection from the transmission of illness but we feel these measures provide adequate protection to students and staff while still allowing school to open as normally as possible for the physical, mental, and academic well being of our students. The plan will be reviewed each quarter to determine if all of the components are still necessary. If cases in the state and county are going down we can consider relaxing some of the measures.

Our school opening date will be August 24th.

All students pre-k-12 will wear face coverings

  • Masks can come off for outside activities or instruction, PE activities when there can be sufficient space between students, and while eating lunch. Teachers will be encouraged to get outside for mask breaks as often as possible.

  • There will be some instruction and therapy where teachers and students must have masks off. Students and staff without masks will need to wear a face shield and be behind a clear divider while they are not wearing masks

  • Students that have received a mask exemption from a medical doctor will need to wear a face shield or other alternate covering, be positioned 6’ from other students, and possibly have a clear divider on their desk. Secondary students would require an alternate passing period protocol. 

  • We'll have a careful description of what passes as a "face covering" but the school nurse will have final say as to whether or not something is acceptable. Generally the gator type, disposable and cloth masks, or similar types are OK.

Temp checks of all staff and students before entering the building

  • We're working out the exact protocols, but bus students will be checked before they get on the bus, and staff will check all other students before they come in the doors. Positives (100.4 or higher) will be checked a few times to make sure they are not just hot from walking/biking to school (this has happened during summer workouts several times).We are still working on what we do with a student that appears to really have a fever. We don't want to make students feel awkward or singled out, so we need a plan to respectfully and discreetly get them back home while avoiding exposure to other students and staff.

Washing or sanitizing hands every hour

  • It doesn't necessarily have to be exactly one hour, but we need to develop a standard plan and procedure for regularly getting this done so that everyone knows what is expected.

Distance as much as possible,

  • This is especially important in classrooms where everyone is in the same place for a long period of time. Take out as much "non-essential" stuff as possible to make it easier to spread kids out. Rethink carpet time, calendar time, story time, reading circles etc. to keep kids as far apart as possible. 

  • As much separation at lunch as possible. This may require some creative scheduling or creative use of space. We have ordered 30 6’x18’ tables to help spread kids out.

  • Staggered dismissal may be necessary to reduce congestion at the end of the day. Kids generally trickle in in the morning. The afternoon is a stampede!

Distance learning

  • Home instruction will be available to students that are quarantined or sick and to families that choose to keep their children home because of covid-19. Families that choose to keep their children home will have to agree to keep their children in the online program for one quarter. Each quarter the agreement can be renewed. 

  • Distance learning will be done online in real time by the regular classroom teachers. For most classes students that participate online will have to be logged in, on time, for the full class period. While the regular class is on breaks (passing period, lunch, recess, etc) online students would have a break also. Some classes may require a different format, but generally online students would participate in real time with their classmates.

  • Students that are learning online due to quarantine may participate in school activities when cleared by their doctors. Students that are choosing to learn online for the quarter would not be eligible for sports or competitive activities during that quarter.

  • Parents of students participating online must fill out and sign a weekly log sheet provided by the Kansas State Department of Education that verifies their student was engaged with schoolwork for at least 6 hours each day. 

  • If the county or state is locked down again we would bring in groups of students that would meet the maximum gathering restrictions and continue with live, real-time instruction as much as possible.