Schools make plans for fall restart

The Record-Herald

All local school districts recently provided a single, unified update on students returning to the classroom this fall — with the promise that district-specific updates would be forthcoming.

According to a press release from Miami Trace Local Schools that encompasses Washington Court House City Schools and the Fayette Christian School, following Governor DeWine’s return to school order, local school districts are still working to finalize their plans.

“However, these general guidelines will be instituted at Miami Trace, Washington C.H., and Fayette Christian Schools,” the press release said. “Administrative teams from each district have worked with Leigh Cannon, Deputy Health Commissioner of Fayette County Public Health, to ensure the safety of all staff and students moving forward.”

As part of these guidelines, classrooms will be reconfigured so that, “Space is maximized for social distancing.” All students will be in assigned seats, and classes will utilize outdoor settings as much as possible with transitions decreased and traffic flows modified for the student bodies.

“Additional clinic areas will be created in an effort to separate anyone with possible symptoms from students with daily medical needs,” the press release said. “Any student who has a temperature taken throughout the school day, and that temperature is 100 or higher will be sent home. All employees will be required to wear masks. When social distance is being honored, masks may be down for instructing and clarity in communicating with students.”

Specific details on student masks on campus and on buses will be released by each district following review of the Governor’s “Restart and Reset Planning Guide for Schools.”

If a staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19, they will be immediately isolated and will follow the protocols set by the Ohio Department of Health. Contact tracing and investigation processes will be conducted by the Fayette County Health Department and may result in further quarantine requirements.

“In the interest of student and staff safety, visitors are highly discouraged,” the press release said. “Visitors on school grounds are required to wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines. Parents/Guardians picking up a student may call the office upon arrival and receive assistance. Visitors will only be permitted into school buildings for authorized events and predetermined meetings arranged with school personnel. Again, individual district plans will be forthcoming. Task force teams are working diligently to provide these for students, parents, and communities. Please continue to check all communication outlets of the districts.”

Last Thursday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said most teachers will be required to wear masks or face shields at Ohio schools that resume in-person classes this fall, and face coverings are strongly recommended for students in third grade and above. This was part of some long-awaited guidance for districts considering whether and how to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

State officials are urging schools to, “use social distancing, vigilantly assess symptoms, provide hand sanitizer, and thoroughly clean school spaces,” but the guidance leaves many details up to the districts.

With widespread agreement that it’s important to get children back into school buildings when safely possible, the guidance is aimed at balancing safety, local control of schools and the state’s obligation to educate children, DeWine said Thursday.

The information in this article was provided by Fayette County school districts. Stay with the Record-Herald as district specific information is released soon.

The Record-Herald