Floors are waxed and laptops scrubbed clean. Park Hill School District announced on Monday it is planning to have in-person summer school for elementary and middle school students.
Face-to-face summer school for students K-8 holds so much promise. Students are rested and eager to see their friends and teachers. After all, it has been 14 weeks since students abruptly pivoted to virtual learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But parents want to keep their children safe. On the bus. In the classroom. In the cafeteria.
“When we asked you what you wanted us to consider as we plan to reopen our schools, almost 4,000 people responded, and most of those responses talked about the importance of safety,” wrote school officials in an email sent to parents Monday. “So we’ve been hard at work, collaborating with local public health officials on the safety precautions we will use as we reopen our doors.”
Now, more than ever before, it is critical for parents to do their part as well.
For starters, the district is partnering with parents to make sure students are healthy when they come to school during the month of July. The district encourages parents to screen their child for illness each day and keep their child home from school if sick.
School officials acknowledge that full social distancing in schools is unobtainable. Still, the district says it is taking significant health and safety precautions in accordance with public health officials’ guidance.
Furniture has been repositioned further apart, widening the distance between students inside the classroom. Additionally, students will stay in one classroom, while teachers float from room to room.
The dreaded mask. Students and teachers are encouraged to wear a mask during the seven-hour school day, school officials said.
Park Hill will provide students two reusable masks to be worn during school hours.
“Although we cannot require anyone to wear a mask, we might restrict participation of students who are not wearing masks when we need to keep students who are medically fragile safe. Staff members around these students will wear masks,” the district says.
Nurses will be stationed inside each summer school site. If a student displays COVID-19 symptoms, the child will be evaluated by the school nurse.
If the student is diagnosed with COVID-19, the child must stay home at least 10 days after symptoms first appeared or the student receives two negative COVID-19 tests.
Although summer school starts July 1, it’s not too late to enroll on the district’s website. Students who participate in the program will receive free breakfast and lunch.