LOGANSPORT, Ind. (WLFI) - For the first time Monday night, the Logansport Community School Corporation Board got to hear what Superintendent Michele Starkey and her team have been working on to reopen schools in August.
The school board room at the LCSC Administration Building was at full capacity, all wearing masks, as people heard the plan for the first time too. A task force made up of teachers, staff and parents worked together to come up with this first plan.
Supt. Starkey said they have been working closely with the other schools in Cass County as well as the local health department on moving forward on the same page. Cass County was once a hotspot of COVID-19, but has since decreased significantly in its number of daily cases.
Last winter, LCSC was hit hard by the flu. Fairview Elementary closed for a week in January because of a flu outbreak. Starkey said that test helped them sharpen their tools to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
"It did help us look at some different procedures and protocols," she said. "It strengthened our relationship at that point in time with the health department, which has really helped us move forward."
The first draft of the reopening plan calls for as much social distancing between students and staff as possible. Classrooms seating will be changed to have all desks facing forward, and students will have to report directly to their first class upon entering the school.
LCSC is requiring students wear face coverings when social distancing is not allowed, this includes during passing periods and on the school bus. However, they will be optional in the classroom.
Schools will work to create traffic flow so students are moving between classes. Elementary classes will have bathroom break schedules, to limit interaction between students. The secondary school's bathrooms will be monitored during passing periods so no more than three students are in at a time.
Starkey said she has gotten the most questions about a remote learning option. She said that parents will be able to choose if they want their child to do virtual learning. Students will have a devices given out by the school so they can do their work from home. She said they don't have all the logistics worked out yet for how remote learning will work, however she said it is important that they provide that option for families who want it.
"The most important thing is for parents to understand that we are clearly working together to do our best and to provide options and opportunities for all of our kids," she said.
The plan outlined how lunches will work. Students have to use hand sanitizer before getting their meal handed to them by food staff individually. They will eat off of disposable trays and with disposable utensils. Tables will be used at half capacity, and in some cases, other large rooms will be used to accommodate students when the cafeteria reaches capacity. Kindergartners will eat in their classrooms and have their meals brought to them.
Food staff and bus drivers will all be provided PPE. They will also all be sanitizing surfaces after each use.
The current plan states that they will not be doing temperature checks for students and staff everyday. The health department told the school that is not a very accurate way of testing for the virus, especially during the warmer summer months. Students and staff are expected to screen themselves for any abnormalities in health.
Any student or staff member who does test positive for the disease will move to remote learning and all absences will be excused.
The school board did not take action on the plan on Monday. They will vote on this first draft on July 27th. Starkey said they are still looking for feedback on the plan to make any appropriate adjustments. She is hosting a Facebook live Q&A session on Tuesday at noon. Online registration opens up on July 21st.