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School Reopening Update: Questions Answered

  • February 17,2021 

On Friday, January 29, 2021, at 6:00 pm, student representatives from different ABC School District high schools attended a meeting to be informed about plans for reopening school and be part of school reopening. In the last session about reopening on November 4, 2020, plans for a hybrid model were introduced. It was discussed that reopening was not a future that would happen anytime soon, however now, with the vaccines, what is the ABC School District's plan?

The meeting helped to gain answers to questions students and parents are wondering. Manahil Ahmed, Commissioner of Academics and the student representative from Gahr High School, who attended the meeting, explained, "The question and answer session at the end was helpful because some questions that were weighing on my mind were answered, and I'm sure that many others had the same or similar questions. Since we will have to readjust when we return to school, it helps to have some information to ease our concerns. With this understanding, we can prepare ourselves so that our expectations are not too optimistic or pessimistic and that our needs are met. We can focus on making the most of our time at school, rather than being preoccupied with our safety at all times."

Do students and teachers have to be vaccinated to come to school? Will negative tests be required for students to go to school? What happens if someone is infected with COVID-19? Under careful consideration, the plan addresses that students and employees with COVID-19 symptoms will not return to work or school until, "At least 24 hours have passed since a fever of 100.4 or higher has resolved without the use of fever-reducing medications. The COVID-19 symptoms have improved, and at least ten days have passed since COVID-19 symptoms first appeared." 

Also, it has been stated that neither negative COVID-19 tests nor vaccines are required for an employee or student to return to work or school. Tests will only be needed once a person is beginning to feel Covid-19 symptoms. Once a positive test is identified, the staff and school site will know within twenty-four hours (of the district knowing) and receive response testing for those who are known to have been in contact with the infected student or teacher.  

For most students, the main worry pertains to their attendance record and how being out of school for quite some time with COVID-19 can affect their record; the ABC School District has noted that all absences illness-related will be excused. but they must be reported immediately. 

Once students arrive at school, temperature checks will be given as they enter school. A mandatory face covering must be worn on and around campus. Refillable water bottle stations have been placed around the school, and social distancing signs and portable hand-washing stations to remind students of the guidelines and restrictions. There have also been designated routes for entry and exit of the campus to limit physical contact as much as possible. For students who ride the bus, taking the bus will still be an option, but more precautions will be enforced. A few precautions include, seats will be assigned on the bus, students must have a signed form from their parent or guardian that they are symptom-free before boarding, frequently touched surfaces are disinfected after each complete run, to name a few. 

When students and teachers return to school next year, what will the hybrid model look like if students choose to return with a hybrid? The average week consists of live instruction for four days a week and asynchronous once a week, which will continue through June. However, students may come on campus two days a week with the hybrid schedule and have three days of asynchronous learning, but nothing has been confirmed yet. Students will be separated into cohorts to determine which days they will come back; this will accommodate students with special needs to ensure their paraeducator is also included in the maximum number (16) of people per cohort.

From the hybrid model to online learning, the district is making efforts to ensure that students go back the safest way possible. 

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