School Board sets new parameters for classes

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The Craig County Administration and School Board must make many tough decisions for the upcoming academic school year. Many changes will be taking place for students and teachers to be able to safely practice social distancing.Pam Dudding Contributing writer

One year ago, no one would have ever guessed that school would be different, especially this different.
The Craig County School Board, administration and staff have considered the guidelines of the CDC to choose the options they are going to implement for the upcoming academic school year.
Every facet of the school had to be observed and adjusted to the new mandates.

To maximize safety and abide by the COVID-19 mandates, CCPS has set multi-track scheduling for the teachers and students.

Transportation

The mandates on social distancing guidelines for school bus transportation limits the number of students that can be safely transported to and from school.

  • Students will be seated one student per seat, but family units may sit together
  • Windows will be open as weather permits
  • Face coverings are required for all students, unless they have a medical condition
  • Face coverings are required for drivers
    Morning Routine
  • Buses will drop students off behind the school at the high school auditorium
  • Car riders will drop off in front of the high school
  • Students will go directly to class – elementary (homeroom), middle school (first-period) and high school (first-block).
    McCleary Procedures
  • Students will wash their hands and use hand sanitizer when entering the room
  • Students will be assigned a desk
  • Students will remain in the classroom
  • Special teachers will rotate into each classroom following the grade level schedule
  • Recess will be scheduled to minimize the number of students outside at a time
  • Students will eat breakfast and lunch in their homeroom
  • Students in grades K-3 will use the classroom restroom
  • Students in grades 4-5 will use the hallway restrooms
  • Students must wash hands upon exiting the restroom
  • Students must wash hands before and after recess

Craig County Middle School Procedures

  • Students will wash their hands or use hand sanitizer when entering the room
  • Students will be assigned a desk
  • Students will remain in their first-period classroom and teachers will rotate for instruction
  • Students will use the middle school restroom and must wash hands upon leaving the restroom
  • PE will be conducted outside with activities that promote social distancing. PE will also consist of classroom assignments and learning modules when outside activities are not feasible.
    Craig County High School Procedures
  • Students will wash their hands or use hand sanitizer when entering the room
  • Students will be assigned a desk
  • Students will move from class to class following the hallway traffic signs, due to the nature of high school
  • Students will eat lunch in their third-block classroom.
  • Desks will be cleaned between classes
  • Students will use the restrooms outside the auditorium and must wash hands upon leaving
  • PE will be conducted outside with activities that promote social distancing. PE will also consist of classroom assignments and learning modules when outside activities are not feasible.
    Board member Gina Smith inquired about students being able to use the gym as it is large. Foster shared that pending the number of students who will be attending will determine its use for PE. “We have to do ten-feet social distancing for PE, not six feet, according to the guidelines.”
    Health Procedures
  • Mitigation strategies – students will be encouraged to maintain six feet social distancing during the school day
  • Face coverings – staff is required to wear a face-covering when six feet social distancing cannot be maintained
  • Face coverings are strongly encouraged, but not required for students in the school building
  • Face coverings are required for students while being transported by CCPS when six feet social distancing cannot be maintained
  • Additional staff protection
  • Permanent plexiglass barriers will be installed at the School Board Office, school offices and cafeteria for additional staff protection. Warwick noted she recently received a quote
  • Portable plexiglass barriers will be purchased to protect staff when working more closely with students. (ex: psychologist when testing students and the speech-language pathologist who needs to be able to see the students’ mouth)
    Daily Health Screenings                
  • Staff and students will self-assess for symptoms of COVID-19 before school every day. A screening form will be sent home that asks the following: if you answer yes to any of the questions, stay home, call the main office, and do not enter the building.
  • A new fever (100.4°F or higher) or a sense of having a fever
  • A new cough that cannot be attributed to another health condition
  • New shortness of breath that cannot be attributed to another health condition
  • New chills that cannot be attributed to another health condition
  • A new sore throat that cannot be attributed to another health condition
  • New muscle aches (myalgia) that cannot be attributed to another health condition or specific activity (such as physical exercise)
    Staff, Student and Parent Training
  • Training presentations and modules will be prepared to train staff on maintaining a healthy and safe environment
  • Students will be trained using age-appropriate materials on proper hygiene practices
  • Parents will be provided with information on proper hygiene practices and on the procedures for daily self-health screenings
    The School Nurse
  • Students will have access to the nurse during the school day
  • Scheduled medications will be brought to the student and proper procedures will be followed to maintain student confidentiality
  • Teachers will call the nurse if a student is feeling ill and the nurse will come and get the student
  • The nurse will be provided with medical-grade equipment
  • Additional isolation rooms will be provided for students showing signs or symptoms of COVID-19
  • Warwick noted that a plexiglass barrier is also being installed around the nurse’s desk area
  • CCPS will work in conjunction with the local health department and epidemiologist for guidance
  • We will follow isolation and mitigation guidelines as outlined by the CDC and VDH
    Warwick asked the question, “What if we have a positive case in the school?” She said that she has spoken with the health department, but there are so many scenarios that are possible, regarding positive cases in students or staff. “This is the same process we would follow if we were to experience other contagious diseases. It’s just all going to depend on the circumstances.”
    Recess (PK-5)
  • CDC guidelines do not prohibit the use of playground equipment by students, provided group sizes are limited and equipment is cleaned regularly
  • Students will practice hand hygiene before and after going to the playground
  • Balls and other toys will not be used at this time
  • Recess will be scheduled to limit the number of students on the playground at a given time
  • Craig County Middle School
  • Sixth through eighth-grade teachers will be responsible for assessing students to determine their academic needs as well as any emotional and mental health support needed.
  • Students will access their curriculum in a hybrid-model with some content and learning done in person and some done virtually
  • Students who have opted for 100 percent virtual will access all curriculum through the Craig County Learning Management System
  • Middle school students will remain in their first-period class and teachers will transition from classroom to classroom
  • Sixth and seventh-grade students will participate in electives on a rotational schedule and the teacher will move from classroom to classroom.
    Craig County High School
  • High school teachers will be responsible for assessing students to determine their academic needs as well as any emotional and mental health support needed
  • Students will access their curriculum in a hybrid-model with some content and learning done in person and some done virtually
  • Students who have opted for 100 percent virtual, will access all curriculum through the Craig County Learning Management System
  • CCHS students are enrolled in credit-bearing classes and must meet all of the learning goals to earn credit towards a diploma
    Driver’s Education: Classroom Instruction
  • The Driver’s Education course (classroom portion) will be offered the second semester only due to in-person seat time requirements. At this time, driver’s education is not a virtual offering through CCPS.
  • Behind the Wheel – Although State Superintendent Dr. Lane has offered the resumption of Behind-the-Wheel Instruction, he has left the final decision to local districts. “We feel, as do most other localities, that in-car instruction is a high-risk activity that is not feasible under social distancing protocol,” he said. CCPS will not offer Behind-the-Wheel Instruction until social distancing protocol is no longer required.
    Athletics
  • Definitive guidelines are not yet set from the VHSL concerning fall sports. At this time, due to social distancing and personal hygiene guidelines issued by VDOE and VDH, no athletic competitions or events will be held.
  • Pre-season conditioning allowed with daily self-screening required. The focus will be on cardio training and will be outside only with ten feet social distancing for athletes and coaches. No shared equipment will be allowed (balls, helmets, gloves, weights, etc.)

 General Information

  • Lockers will not be utilized in middle and high school
  • Bookbags will be allowed in the classroom
  • Students will sit in marked desks to maintain six-foot social distancing
  • Staff will wear face coverings if social distancing cannot be maintained
  • Face coverings are not required for students but are strongly encouraged
  • Water fountains will be closed, and students will be encouraged to bring a water bottle
  • Hallways will be marked with traffic flow signs as well as the cafeteria with six-foot distancing
  • Students need to stay on the right side of the hallways
  • Students can receive a ‘grab and go’ meal but DOE wants them to go through the line to choose their meal, which they will eat in their classroom.
  • Visitors will not be allowed in the buildings
  • Parents will need to notify the office when they are picking up or dropping off students after 8:30 a.m. and before 3:30 p.m. We are also working on a solution where parents can use an app to check their students out instead of coming in physically.
  • Paper disposable passes will be utilized when students leave the classroom
  • Student materials will be for individual use only; there will be no shared items. (Pens, pencils, crayons, chrome devices, etc.)
  • For Students with Disabilities, case managers will contact parents regarding students’ specific needs
    Cell Phone Policy
    Samuel Foster shared, “It was a huge undertaking to put this document together as we did it from scratch and we met the DOE guidelines to fit everything in that we were required to do. I want to thank everybody including Ms. Warwick and the principals and Elana and the Board for providing the feedback for us and reading all that we submit to you.
    There will be a “No cell phone policy” excluding one programming class that uses apps for the class. “This was what the document was about,” Foster added, “To provide alternatives for suspensions in teaching the children correct responses and how to deal with them.”
    Chairman Crenshaw asked about the Virtual students’ available assistance. Warwick assured her that times would be made for those parents who need assistance. She also noted that they would have to come in to get the Chromebooks as well.
    Foster added, “Our new IT person is using his expertise in this and we are using a program called Clever where we can produce a little badge for every student so they can use it to log in with their QR code and will have exactly what they need to go to, which will simplify things.”
    Any questions are welcomed by the staff and administration during this unusual season of adjusting to new mandates by Governor Northam.