GALLIPOLIS — Students and staff with the Gallipolis City School District (GCSD) will be reporting for the new school year next month, with both in-person and online options being offered.
The district’s reopening plan was approved this week by the GCSD Board of Education. The plan addresses mask wearing and requirements, transportation, social distancing and sanitizing in/of classrooms, scenarios of COVID-19 positive staff and students, breakfast and lunch services and more.
A statement from Supt. Craig Wright this week, read, “First and foremost, the GCSD is taking all necessary steps to protect the health and safety of our staff and students during this COVID-19 period. We are also discouraging activity that may contribute to the spread of the coronavirus. The governor has asked that districts provide educational opportunities through alternative means. The GCSD is committed to making a good faith effort to meet the educational and special needs of our students. More importantly, we are committed to ensuring the health, safety and well-being of our students. In order to successfully accomplish these goals, it is important for school personnel and parents to work together collaboratively during this time to find ways to continue to serve and educate all students.”
A news release concerning the plan on the district’s website, stated, “As of Aug. 25, we will be returning to school (five days a week) with protocols in place to ensure the safety of our students and staff. We will also be offering an online option for families that don’t feel comfortable sending their children back to school. However, if parents choose the virtual option, which is completely online, students will be required to commit to online learning for at least a full semester. In light of current circumstances and low incident rates in Gallia County, we feel that these options are in the best interest of our community and support the recommendations set forth by the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Education for reopening of schools.
“The Gallipolis City School District Board of Education, administration and Gallia County Health Department have been working together in developing guidelines to ensure the safety of our students and staff for our return to school. The following guidelines have been put in place to deter the contraction and spread of COVID-19 in the school setting…”
Some, but not all, of those guidelines include:
Expectations for administrators, teachers and support staff
– All school staff members must wear a face covering made of cloth/fabric that covers the employee’s nose, mouth and chin unless an exception recognized by the Ohio Department of Health applies. A face shield made of flexible plastic that wraps around the wearer’s face and extends below his or her chin may be an acceptable face covering under certain circumstances.
– All staff will follow the guidelines for maintaining a safe distance from others with masks while on school property and during work hours.
– Staff are expected to self-monitor and report any symptoms to their administrative supervisor.
– Staff that suspect a child may have symptoms of illness should send the child to the school nurse for assessment.
– Classrooms will be furnished with sanitizing stations for students and staff and staff will encourage students to sanitize and wash their hands frequently.
-Classrooms will be organized to ensure students and staff can maintain a safe distance while learning. (This section also speaks about the use of dividers on tables, single-seat desks spaced appropriately depending on the grade of the students; sanitizing common areas; and one-way traffic in hallways, where applicable.)
– All students in grades 3-12 must wear a face covering while on a school district bus; in the hallways and common areas of school buildings; in classrooms when physical distancing of six feet is not possible.
– Students with pre-existing health issues or who may be considered high risk in grades PK-2 are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering and may request preferential seating in the classroom. (This section also states requests for exceptions under this section for students with documented health and/or developmental conditions will be considered.)
– Each student will receive two cloth masks at the beginning of the school year.
– Students can only wear solid color or GCSD logoed face coverings. Face coverings and masks cannot be altered and must be appropriate.
– Any student may sign up for remote learning on a semester or yearlong basis.
– Online seats are limited, so students must sign up as soon as possible.
– Students riding a bus will be required to wear a face covering. Non-compliance will result in denial of transportation services.
– Student ridership will be limited to two students per seat.
– Students from the same family will sit together.
– Students showing signs of illness shall not be transported on the bus.
– Bus drivers will wear a mask or shield while driving.
– Bus drivers will follow cleaning protocols, i.e., disinfecting all seats, handles and other surfaces at the end of each trip.
– K-5 will have breakfast served in classrooms. Lunches may be served in the classrooms or in the cafeterias and gymnasiums while maintaining safe distancing.
– 6-12 will use the cafeterias and gyms for lunch and maintain safe distancing while eating. Breakfast for 6-12 will be grab-and-go.
Students/staff diagnosed with COVID-19
– A 14-day quarantine will be required for any student or staff member that tests positive for COVID-19.
-Staff or students determined to have “exposure” as regulated by the health department will follow the 14-day quarantine requirement.
– Each school will have a quarantine area for students who are suspected of having symptoms related to COVID-19. That student will be quarantined until the parent/guardian can pick up the child.
– Staff and students are discouraged from traveling during the school year. If you travel to an area that is experiencing severe exposure and spread of COVID-19, a self-imposed quarantine should be done.
– Large group recess will not be permitted. Staff may take small groups of students on walks or outside for class with prior administrative approval.
-Until further notice, field trips will not be permitted.
To reiterate, listed above were only some of the many guidelines approved by the GCSD Board of Education. The entire reopening plan can be viewed on the district’s website at https://www.gallipoliscityschools.k12.oh.us/
Comments from Supt. Wright, concerning the plan, can also be viewed on the district’s Facebook page.
Beth Sergent contributed to this article. Information supplied by the GCSD.
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