CLARKSVILLE—The school district’s administrative team and a group of stakeholders got together as a focus group to decide on the re-entry process for the students and staff of the Clopton R-III school system.
“We’ve worked closely with the Pike County Health Department and other schools,” said R-III Superintendent Mark Harvey. They would be approving a final plan on July 30, which would be right on the heels of the first day of school—Tuesday, Aug. 25.
The general overview would be similar to what the other Pike County schools are putting into action.
Clopton is set to go with its traditional four-day school week, Harvey said. “They will be regular hours for all of our students,” he added.
“We have some families, based on a survey we sent out, who might not be comfortable with having their student attending class, and they might be opting for a more virtual format. And some have opted for home-schooling their children.” They have an abundance of caution because of the current health situation centered on the coronavirus pandemic, he added.
“I don’t think there’s a whole lot different than what they’re doing in Bowling Green,” he said.
As part of the new procedures, faculty and staff would be receiving updated sanitation training. The training would be incorporated into the pre-opening meetings teachers have before classes start.
Bowling Green has meetings right before school starts, and provides virtual training that teachers can view before they come to the meetings.
Parents and staff are being asked to self evaluate for symptoms of the COVID-19 virus using a form that had been mailed to them. It is also available online, so they can make multiple copies. Bowling Green schools indicated that they would not be collecting the forms every day, but everyone should continue to fill them out every day and let the school know if something changes.
Students won’t be penalized for their attendance if their absence is related to COVID-19. The state decided to relax its attendance measurement tools to determine funding.
Everyone entering school buildings would also have their temperatures taken daily. Those with a temperature of 100.4 or higher would be isolated and then sent home.
If students or staff cannot maintain a good social distance— 3 or more feet apart—masks would be required. Frederickson said they have plenty on hand and have ordered more as backups.
Inside the school they are going to attempt to social distance as much as possible. Desks would be pushed apart and masks would be worn by faculty, staff and students. One difference is the use of Chromebooks by students for virtual online classes. The Bowling Green R-1 Schools were able to purchase a Chromebook for each student using CARES Act money. Harvey said Clopton is in the process of buying more of the devices, but he does not believe they would have enough by the time the school year starts.
“We will continue to look at the process as the year progresses,” he added.
One of the difficulties for Clopton and not the other districts, he noted, is the area’s internet conductivity in the more rural areas is almost non-existent, which means few of the homes have internet access, and the ones that do have access do not have sufficient bandwidth for some of the lessons being provided online.
“We’re going to have to get more creative if there comes a need for more virtual needs in those areas,” he said.
“We are going to do things to mitigate the risks as much as we can,” Harvey said. As part of that, like the other schools, they are working with faculty and staff on cleaning and disinfecting procedures. Extra hand sanitizing stations are also being placed in the school buildings.
“We will also stress washing hands throughout the day,” he said.
Like the other school systems, Clopton is working with its faculty to find out what concerns they have about returning to teach classes in August. They want to learn the best way to protect the students.