The first day of school is rapidly approaching and Sallisaw Public Schools has announced its plans to keep teachers and students safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sallisaw students will return to campus Thursday, Aug. 13.
District workers spent the summer getting the buildings ready by cleaning and sanitizing, and specialized COVID-19 testing and sanitization equipment will be in place before Aug. 13 to detect coronavirus symptoms, thus protecting everyone there from any outbreaks.
Sallisaw buses will be sanitized before use and bus windows will be down to provide as much airflow as possible throughout the vehicle. If it’s raining or cold, the windows may be closed. Bus drivers and all students must wear masks while on the bus.
The bus will pull around to the school’s back entrance to let students enter the building. A walk-by automatic thermal scanning system will detect raised temperatures in students and will in turn alert school officials. Students with raised temperatures will be evaluated and they may be placed in isolation until a parent can pick them up.
The automatic thermal scanning systems cost between $3,000 and $4,500 and each school building requires one machine. The district is in discussions with the Cherokee Nation for a $10,000 grant that will help purchase the machines.
Students will have two options on how they want to learn this school year. Option 1 offers a traditional school setting with face-to-face learning, while Option 2 is for holding virtual classes. The following guidelines will be followed:
*The traditional school calendar will be followed
*School staff will increase cleaning and sanitizing of school building and buses
*Students and staff will observe increased hand-washing procedures and have access to sanitizers
*The school district will provide masks
*Masks will be required for students on buses
*Masks will be required for students in third grade or higher, as well as teachers and staff until further notice
*Visitor access to buildings will be limited
*Students, teachers and staff must stay home if exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms
*Students can maintain activity eligibility if attendance and grade requirements are met
*If school is closed for COVID-19 reasons, instruction will be provided online through Google Classroom
*Full meal service will be provided as usual.
*Students complete assignments through an online platform
*Students have access to school resources in order to participate in distance learning
*Students can maintain eligibility by attending virtually and completing classroom requirements
*Meal service will be offered but food must be picked up by family members.
If a school is closed because of COVID-19, Sallisaw has set up the following re-entry plan:
*If the entire school has to be closed, there will possibly be a plan to re-enter with fewer students attending on different days. (The exact details of this plan have not been worked out at this time)
*Students will be placed on an A-B schedule, where they will alternate between face-to-face and virtual classes, keeping the number of students at one time to half
*This will be based on the COVID-19 situation in the district at the time of re-entry.
Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer
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