SCC Community School District releases details on its Return to Learn plan

By: 
Tyler Anderson
The Graphic-Advocate Editor

For quite some time, parents and staff have wondered how the South Central Calhoun Community School District will go about Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds’ urging for school districts to return to their buildings come the tail end of August for the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

Following the SCC Board of Directors’ decision to approve the Return to Learn plan on July 20 at the SCC High School media center in Lake City, the district moved quickly and announced the plan to the public on July 29.

Due to the fluid nature of the ongoing COVID-19 situation, the district could make changes. However, South Central Calhoun seeks to maintain the fundamental elements of its Return to Learn plan. Plans for the district’s three buildings – SCC Elementary School and SCC Middle School in Rockwell City, and SCC High School in Lake City – will be released in early August.

SCC CSD and Superintendent Brad Anderson summarized the 42-page plan via question and answer format.

 

Q: How will instruction be delivered?

A: “Gov. Reynolds signed a proclamation declaring Iowa Schools to serve students in a face-to-face teaching/learning capacity this fall. In addition, the proclamation helped pave the way for schools to offer a parent choice of how their child/ren are to receive their education. As a result, South Central Calhoun CSD will be offering two choices to begin the 2020-2021 school year.

First, the District will offer a Face-to-Face Learning format that will consist of sending your child or children to school as normal.                                                                      

Second, the District will offer a grade level/content level essential skills online teaching learning environment, provided by SCC staff.                                                               

Parents or guardians are asked to notify their child or children's building secretary no later than Monday, August 10, only if they wish to be served online for the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year. This early notification will allow lead time for the teachers to prepare and plan lessons appropriately.”

 

Q: Will busing or transportation be available?

A: “Transportation to and from school will still be available as normal. All drivers will be required to wear a cloth mask or a face shield. Students who ride the school bus are strongly encouraged to wear a cloth facemask. Temperature checks will not be utilized prior to boarding the bus, but we kindly ask parents to monitor your child's temperature prior to sending them to school.

In addition, due to a limited amount of buses and drivers, the district will not be able to fully comply with the recommendation of one child to a seat. For this reason, we are asking for any parent or guardian who does not feel safe and can and is willing to transport your child or children to school to please consider doing so. This will eliminate extra congestion on the buses and help us in getting closer to our social distancing goals.                                                                                                                   

Mitigation strategies that will be used on the buses will include but not limited to social distancing (when possible), hand hygiene with sanitizer available on and prior to board buses, face masks will be highly recommended for students and face masks and/ face shield are mandated for all drivers, driving with windows down when weather allows, signage available for all buses and assigned seating."

 

Q: What will breakfast/lunch look like?

A: “Making sure all students are fed throughout the school year remains a top priority for SCC CSD. How they will be served and what this will look and feel like will be very different from years past.

The district may utilize the following approaches to best serve students amidst the COVID pandemic, including hand washing prior to eating, organize students into small, like cohorts during lunch times, multiple spaced lunch shifts where students can be socially distanced, eating outside or in other places throughout the buildings when possible, “grab and go” options are available for students and potential open campus options for ninth grade through 12th grade.

In the event of a complete school shut down SCC will continue to provide services for our students and will make meals available on a pickup and/or delivery basis as determined.”

 

Q: What PPE (personal protective equipment) is required for face-to-face learning and/or to enter each building?

A: “STAFF: All SCC staff will be required to wear a face shield and/or face mask when teaching students and in common areas. The district will provide a mask and a clear face shield for each employee. The employee will have a choice which item they choose to wear. In addition, latex free disposable gloves will be available for staff upon request.                                                                                                                                                                                                   

STUDENTS: PPE for prekindergarten through 12th grade students, includes but not limited to masks, gloves and/or face shields, will be optional. Parents will have the choice whether to require and provide their child or children with PPE.

GUESTS, VOLUNTEERS, VENDORS: All guests, volunteers and vendors serving the school will report to the office prior to entering each individual building. A COVID questionnaire and temperature scanning will take place prior to being admitted to the building. Guests, volunteers and vendors will be limited throughout the school day.”

 

Q: Is the district conducting daily temperature checks on students and/or staff?

A: “SCC will not be conducting daily temperature checks with students and/or staff, but will have thermometers available in the building and nurse's offices, if any of these populations are suspect of a fever. We kindly ask parents or guardians to closely monitor your child's temperature before sending them to school. All guests, visitors, volunteers and vendors will be required to a temperature scan prior to entering the buildings.”

 

Q: What mitigation strategies will the district have in place for face-to-face teaching/learning?

A: "CLEANING, DISINFECTING AND SANITIZING: The district has invested many hours and funds in preparing for students to return to our buildings. A strict cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing regime has been established in each building that includes but is not limited to:

- Disinfecting, sanitizing and cleaning tables, chairs, handles, railings, marker boards and other identified highly touched spaces/items.                                                           

- Utilizing electrostatic misters to disinfect and kill germs and viruses on contact (https://pittsburghsprayequip.com/products/victory-professional-cordless-...?).

- Providing each classroom with safe and readily available disinfectant/cleaning spray bottles to utilize throughout the day.

- Shutting down water fountains and encouraging students to bring their own water bottles.                                                                                                                   

SOCIAL DISTANCING: Minimize classroom changes (rotations); work with smaller groups; stagger lunches, recess and dismissals; considerations for one-way traffic in hallways; educate students on the importance of remaining six feet apart when at all possible; limit outside sources from entering the building and creating new exposure potentials.

HYGIENE: Teach and reinforce hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and increase monitoring to ensure adherence among students and staff. If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol can be used (for staff and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer).

Encourage staff and students to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash and hands washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol can be used (for staff and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer).                                                           

Teach and reinforce use of cloth face coverings. Face coverings may be challenging for students (especially younger students) to wear in all-day settings, such as school. Face coverings will be worn by staff and highly encourage for students (particularly older students) as feasible, and are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult.

SIGNAGE/EDUCATION: Signs will be in highly visible locations (e.g., school entrances, restrooms) that promote everyday protective measures and describe how to stop the spread of germs (such as by properly washing hands and properly wearing a cloth face covering).

PA systems will be used to make regular announcements on reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Messages (for example, videos) about behaviors that prevent the spread of COVID-19 when communicating with staff and families (such as on school websites, in emails and on school social media accounts).                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

ACTIVITIES: The IAHSAA and IGHSAU have given the green light for fall sports to take place as normal.  For all activities the District will require the following: Social distancing a minimum of six feet apart, face masks/face coverings are encouraged to be worn when social distancing guidelines cannot be met, hand washing practices and personal hygiene will be a high focus area (which includes spitting food or seeds), athletes and spectators are encouraged NOT to share items, utilize small groups or gatherings when possible.

For indoor activities, all spectators will be required to temperature check and to disclose symptoms (if any) prior to entering the facility.”

 

Q: How will communication be handled?

A: “ PROCESSES AND PROTOCOLS: The superintendent of schools, in coordination with the building principals, will be responsible for the collection and dissemination of information. Communication will be regular and ongoing using a variety of mediums, which include but are not limited to email, district messenger (School Alerts sponsored by the State of Iowa), The Graphic-Advocate, advertising, a dedicated COVID-19 page on the district website, through LMS platforms, individual phone calls and texts or regular mailings and newsletters.”

 

Q: What happens when a case of COVID-19 is suspected and/or verified to be in the school district?

A: “When a student or staff member exhibits any of the following symptoms – such as difficulty breathing, shortness of breath from continued coughing, refusing liquids with decreased urine, frequent inability to be consoled, fever or behavior that is not normal for an adult or child – he or she will be asked to report immediately to their respective school nurses' office where additional monitoring and diagnostic data gathering will occur.

The school nurse will continue to monitor the individual and will make a determination whether a phone call will be made to parents or guardians where sending a student or adult home warrants or if the student will be sent back to class.

CONFIRMED CASE OF COVID-19: When a confirmed case of COVID has been identified within the SCC school system, Calhoun County Public Health will be immediately engaged in conversation. Current guidance suggests that a student/adult with positive case of COVID must be sent home and must “isolate” for 10 days.

A student or adult identified as being a trace contact, meaning they have been in contact with the positive case in six feet or less for 15 minutes or more, must also be sent home and quarantined for 14 days. The aforementioned guidance is what SCC will follow as each situation may be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

In the event a student and/or a cohort of students is required to go home due to COVID-19, online learning will be available.”

 

Q: What are the plans for each building, compared to that of the district itself?

A: “Building specific details are still being worked out on how to meet the district guidelines. Building day-to-day plans will be shared with you and your students as soon as they are fully developed.”

 

Q: Who can I contact with questions about SCC’s Return to Learn plan or about general COVID-19 questions?                                                                                  

A: “For Return to Learn questions, please call Brad Anderson, SCC Superintendent, at (712) 297-7341. For general COVID-19 related inquires, you may contact Calhoun County Public Health at (712) 297-8323, or visit the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention at www.cdc.gov.”  

 

Q: Where can I view the full Return to Learn plan from SCC?

A: “To view the South Central Calhoun District plan in its entirety, please visit https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-gE4-GNOZZPS_FPh7Yxl3Wg4Btvq3eTCTbeo....

 

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