The upcoming school year has parents and students asking questions on what to expect, and the Batesville School District has set forth a fact sheet to help answer those questions.
According to Batesville Superintendent Dr. Michael Hester, school will resume session on August 13, and has set up a “Ready for Learning” fact sheet on the district’s website.
In this fact sheet, Hester addresses questions ranging from face mask coverage, the different types of learning offered, disinfecting practices, cafeteria safety, what to do if a student comes to school sick and more.
For starters, face masks will not be required for students, but are recommended. The report stated that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) are strongly recommending all individuals 10-years old and over wear a face covering.
“We are strongly recommending that adults and all students fifth grade and above wear face coverings when social distancing cannot be achieved, particularly on school buses,” Hester stated in the fact sheet. “The ADH has not issued a directive to require face coverings; however, this does not downplay the importance of this additional safety measure.”
The fact sheet continued by stating that students 4th grade and below and those with health issues and special needs will not be asked to wear face coverings. However, these students will be highly encouraged to wear face coverings especially in areas with a high concentration of students where social distancing can not be maintained.
“In the event we have an increase in the number of positive cases, face coverings could be required,” Hester stated. “Cloth face coverings are recommended and parents are to provide face coverings for their children.”
The district will offer on site, blended and synchronous online teaching and learning methods for the entire district, according to the fact sheet.
On-Site Learning occurs at school, and is also referred to as face-to-face learning.
Blended learning is face-to-face instruction at the school, but teachers will use a digital format with Google suite allowing for “rapid transition to virtual learning if needed. Students attend school on-site or face- to-face learning and use remote learning through a combination of asynchronous and synchronous online teaching and learning methods.
Synchronous Online Learning is learning in which participants interact at the same time and in the same place with programs like Google Hangouts, Zoom, live Google documents and interactive discussions.
In order to ensure the staff and student’s safety even more, BSD has invested in state of the art “Static Charged Foggers” for disinfecting classrooms, kitchens, restrooms, busses and common areas.
“This is the same type of technology used in commercial airlines,” Hester stated in the fact sheet. “We have professional cleaning companies coming in to train our custodial and kitchen staff on how to disinfect, sanitize and operate the new Foggers. We will have independent contractors audit our high touch locations in each building to identify the ADH approved strategies and supplies needed to disinfect and clean.”
Another question that parents have wanted answered is where will my child eat lunch?
Based on current guidance, the ADH is recommending schools limit the number of students in the cafeteria. Proper sanitation of all areas will be completed after each meal. Students will not self-serve or share food. Parents are encouraged to send a water bottle with their student, and each water bottle should be clearly labeled with the student’s name.
Parents will no longer be allowed to eat lunch with their children in the school cafeteria or walk them to their classroom.
If a student is ill, then they should not come to school.” Hester continues. “If a student becomes ill at school, the school nurse will screen students. If a student has a temperature over 100.4, the student will be sent home and will need to be fever free for 48 hours without medication before returning to school. When the child returns to school, he/she will check in with the school nurse.”
BSD will be ordering touchless infrared thermometers and thermal cameras to help with the screening of students and the public at school and school events as needed.
For the “Ready for Learning” fact sheet in its entirety, it can be found at batesvilleschools.com.