USD 410 administrators, Marion County Health Department Administrator Diedre Serene and a few other officials sat down on Friday afternoon to go over frequently asked questions and comments they had been getting in an effort to get more information out to the public.
They emphasized that plans could still change due to the changing nature of the virus and pandemic that the entire country is in, but most of the plan and updates can be found on the USD 410 website. Here is the first half. Next week we will have the second half of the questions and answers.
Superintendent Max Heinrichs said the biggest concern that seems to come up is masks and if students will be wearing them all day.
Both principals stated that there will be chances fro mask breaks throughout the day for both the whole group and individual students.
“Our goal is to give them lots of breaks. We hope to keep some space at recess so they can take them off. Now if a bunch want to be on the spider web, then they will have to wear masks,” said Hillsboro Elementary School Principal Even Yoder. “Mrs. Haslett is planning for PE to be outside as much as possible and spaced out as much as possible so they can be mask-free.”
Masks will be able to be removed while doing aerobic activity in the gym and when kids can remain six feet apart. Gaiters are recommended for PE so they can be pulled up easily when resting.
HMHS Principal Clint Corby also said that they are planning whole group breaks to go outside and take a break.
Both principals discussed having teachers and aides watching for the individuals who need their own break, even if it is just stepping outside for a minute to pull their mask down and take a few deep breaths of air.
“There are going to be some students who need more breaks,” said Heinrichs.
Many have asked about when a student refuses to wear a mask.
“Students will need to do remote learning if they are unwilling to wear a mask. Masks are required,” said Corby.
Heinrichs, Corby and Yoder have worked with Serene to ensure that all classroom settings are able to provide spaces for proper social distancing.
“Some examples are Mr. Woelk has a large class so we are moving him to the auditorium. We have moved Mr. Knoll’s classroom completely. With all classrooms except for those two exceptions, there is room for every student to be socially distanced. Now we may have some classes that go out to the courtyard or to the gym, but all will be on campus,” said Corby.
The important thing to know is that just like in the classroom, each student learns differently remotely as well. Everything is individualized to the student.
“There is a misconception about screen time. You won’t be on the computer for 7 hours. You may check in 7 times to get your instructions, or go onto google meet, or feeling out the learning logs, but you won’t be on their for a solid 7-8 hours,” said Corby.
The schools will provide supplies for working offline as well as the computer for online learning.
“Some classes don’t translate equally remotely, but anything we can to make it work, we will,” said Corby.
And some students may start out in person, but they may switch over to online if quarantined or isolated. Quarantine guidelines will be in consultation between the school, state and local recommendations as each case comes to light.
If a student does end up testing positive for COVID-19, a class may end up getting quarantined at home or they could be quarantined at school. It will depend on the situation. Parents will be notified with contact tracing if their child has been exposed, but the identity of the student with the positive will not be disclosed.
Students will not be able to attend school if they have an excessive cough or fever.
“It’s not if you have just a cough or a runny nose, it’s is this abnormal for this student? If something new and abnormal for that student, we are concerned,” said Corby.
“If we do our screening well and parents do what they need to keeping a sick kid at home, we should catch things,” said Heinrichs.
“Now there are 16 percent of kids are asymptomatic so we won’t catch everyone but we at least we are trying,” said Serene.
Please check back next week for more information. You can also find most answers to your questions online at usd410.org.