GREENVILLE — As Greenville City Schools came up with a finalized plan for the upcoming school year, they had one thing in mind — keeping all their students and staff safe to the best of their ability.
At the same time, GCS Superintendent Doug Fries understands they are venturing into new territory.
“No question,” Fries said. “This is July 15. A lot could change by September. We are monitoring all the time what goes on in the county, state and nationally. We want to put emphasis on safety protocols to keep our staff and students safe”
The big question everyone has is, will school be in sessions five days a week and is remote learning a possibility.
The answer to both questions is “Yes.”
The guidelines for remote learning are as follows:
Remote learning will be an option for parents who do not wish to send their child to school.
Parents may choose to send their child to school or agree to remote learning from home for one semester at a time. Students will not be permitted to come in and out of remote learning.
“We want to be open five days a week,” Fries said. “But, we understand there are those who remote learning will work better for.”
There is a survey for parents to fill out on the Greenville City Schools website (www.greenville.k12.oh.us/) and the early returns (almost 500 surveys completed) indicate 83 percent are in favor of their children learning in the classroom.
“That (the survey results) is something we are very interested in and are monitoring,” Fries said.
GSC is also implementing a Learning Management System called “Canvas” for remote learning.
“The reason for this is, last spring we were using several different remote plans for different age groups,” Fries said. “That was difficult for parents with students in different age groups.”
Fries said students who attend school and the teachers will also be trying to implement the plan in the classroom.
“That way, if we get shutdown for a week or something like that, they can learn from home,” Fries said.
The highlights of the Restart and Reset plan, which can also be found on the Greenville City Schools website, include:
Will implement recommended safety policies to the highest degree possible.
Will work closely with local health department to promote safety in the school buildings.
Will be transparent with all staffholders (staff, students, parents, visitors), that some level of risk will always be present to children, district employees, parents and visitors who occupy the school district facilities.
Recognize the need for consistency with surrounding school districts in areas of operations while recognizing the individual difference in classroom sizes, school facilities and building operations may lead to inconsistencies.
Daily Self Monitoring
Families and students should monitor their own temperatures and their health on a daily basis before coming to school — any student that has a temperature over 100 degrees or symptoms of Covid-19 should stay home.
“Self monitoring by the parents and students is very important,” Fries said.
Returning to School After Illness
If a student is diagnosed as having Covid-19, they must meet the following criteria to return to school: 3 days with no fever, other symptoms improved, and 10 days since symptoms first appeared.
“This is the year to be cautious,” Fries said. “If you have any questions about how you are feeling or have symptoms, stay home.”
Daily At School
Ongoing administrators, nurses and staff will be situationally aware, monitoring for anyone with symptoms that require being looked at and possibly isolate the person.
Wash and sanitize hands to prevent the spread.
Thoroughly clean and sanitize school environment to limit spread on shared surfaces.
Practice Social Distancing and Implement Face Coverings
Social distancing will be promoted as well as possible by Greenville City Schools.
Face coverings are highly recommended for all students.
All staff must wear a facial covering, unless they are in the office or classroom by themselves.
Food Service Protocol
The district will offer food service much like they have in the past with a few exceptions.
There will be no self service, such as a salad bar, sandwich bar, etc.
Condiments will be available in individual packets.
Facial coverings will be worn by all cafeteria staff at all times.
They ask parents keep money on their students account as much as possible, to keep lunch time hands free as possible.
Classroom desks and all other furniture and furnishings within each classroom will be arranged in such a way to maximize the amount of safety considerations and social distancing.
Cleaning and sanitizing of desks and high-touch areas will be routinely carried out on a daily basis.
Hand sanitizer will be available in classrooms.
In an order to get the staff fully trained and to provide additional safety training, the first day of school for students will be moved back to Sept. 2, 2020.
The Latchkey Program at the K-8 facility has been suspended for the 2020-2021 school year.
Greenville City Schools will allow two students per seat on the bus — three if from the same household or group stop, if absolutely needed.
Drivers will be requited to wear facial coverings, unless they have a qualifying reason not to. Students are highly recommended to wear a facial covering on the bus.
The district will sit siblings together.
Seating charts may be required to assist with contract tracing, if that is needed.
The district will load the bus back to front. At school, students will be let off from front to back. Going home, load first off from front to back.
“One thing we want to emphasize is wearing the masks on bus and in the hallway when they are changing classes,” Fries said. “Those are two places where they are closest together with other students.”
Greenville City Schools will make every effort to maintain consistency with other safety procedures throughout the day.
Access to certain pieces of playground equipment and activities that are high touch may be restricted.
Maintaining social distancing will be encouraged at all times.
Students must sanitize their hands after recess. The district will provide sanitizer.
Utilizing walking track and grass space is encouraged.
“The close of last year and the restart this year has been frustrating and challenging for all of us,” Fries said. “I do not think any of us ever thought we would be in this position. However, tough times are opportunities for people and communities to come together for each other and demonstrate their toughness and persistence.”
“To the best of our ability, wash our hands often, keep our social distance and follow mask requirements and high recommendations,” he added.
And, while no plan is perfect, Greenville City Schools wishes to assure parents and guardians it has done everything in its power to put the safety protocols in place to keep their students and staff as safe as possible.