GREEN RIVER — During Tuesday night’s Sweetwater County School District No. 2 Board of Trustees meeting, Jamie Christensen, Superintendent, updated the board on the current reopening plan for the 2020-2021 school year.
As of June 1, SCSD No. 2 was granted permission by Sweetwater County Public Health to bring in groups of students as long as they maintain six feet of distance from one another at all times, and face coverings are used when spacing cannot be maintained.
This has allowed the schools to bring students into the weight rooms for summer workout programs, Christensen said.
As for the upcoming school year, a committee has been formed to come up with the reopening plan. The plan must include plans for a few different scenarios, as the COVID-19 Coronavirus is ever changing.
The committee includes new Superintendent, Craig Barringer; Tony Beardsley, Activities Director; Doug Hamel, Maintenance Supervisor; Alan Demaret, Special Services Director; Chris Dean, Business Manager; Korrine Duncan, Assistant Business Manager; Ashley Castillon, Board Member; Greg Figenser, Curriculum Director; Michelle Cordova, School Nurse; Dalene Smith, Data Management; Jason Fuss, Human Resources Director; Leah Kenison, Nutritional Services Supervisor; Rachel Todd, Transportation Supervisor; Kent Hemphill, SRO; JR Williams, IT; and Lisa Robison, Counselor/GREA.
The committee includes staff who play different roles within the school district, as every aspect of the district’s operations must be figured out.
Christensen said a lot is still unknown about what the upcoming school year will look like.
“I think there’s still a lot of unknown,” he said.
However, the one thing that is for certain is school will start on August 19, according to Christensen.
“We just don’t know what it looks like,” he added.
Scenarios to Plan For
There are four scenarios the school must be prepared for so that they are ready to educate students whether they are back in the buildings full time, online, or a mixture of both.
Scenario 1: School begins on time and remains open
In this scenario, there is a good possibility that protocols and precautions are in place. Business as usual will not happen for some time. Considerations will need to be made in attempts to maintain distancing, and using personal protective equipment.
Scenario 2: School begins on time and closes due to a second wave
In this scenario, the district must consider a quick/smooth transition to a distance format with the ability to transition back to school being open following a temporary closure. SCSD No. 2 must consider how this impacts grading as this scenario will likely again impact the ability to deliver performance-based classrooms such as CTE and Fine Arts, and specials at the elementary level. Preparations for this type of scenario needs to happen with all students and parents prior to it happening. The start of every school year must begin with a conscious effort at teaching students about online platforms and sharing what will happen in the event of a closure.
Scenario 3: School opening delayed
In the event that the opening of school as we know it is delayed, the district must once again consider how they are able to help students and families get up and running, prepared for distance education. The district’s Adapted Learning Plan which was put in place in the spring of 2020 should be revisited prior to the scheduled start of school. Additions and adjustments would need to be considered in the plan.
Scenario 4: School opening with mandated class size restrictions:
In this scenario, mandated class size restrictions will also include lunchroom guidelines, physical education guidelines, etc.
The district has and will implement a few restrictions and guidelines into its general operations to ensure the safety of staff, students, and visitors to the schools. These guidelines are in place throughout the summer and into the next school year.
Each building has limited entry currently, and the district will continue to utilize this. Staff and students will be required to enter the buildings through designated doors. Signage will also be posted at each entrance, listing symptoms and contact information.
Hand sanitizer stations will be available at each entrance to a building or facility. If anyone has been showing symptoms, they will not be allowed to enter or participate and in the activity or class and will be referred to the number for public health.
Christensen said it will be important to provide flexibility for student and staff, as they may need to be out of school if showing symptoms. Additionally, some parents may not be comfortable sending their children back to school and he said this needs to be considered.
Attendance for each activity and class will be required daily, by session, and filed for reference in the case of the need of contact tracing.
Proper handwashing will be encouraged on arrival at school, after playing or recess, before and after eating, and after using the restroom.
The district plans to give staff information and updates on COVID-19 via videos so they are well informed and prepared to teach in and out of the classroom ensuring the safety of students.
With the constant changes in COVID-19 recommendations and guidelines, the reopening committee will continue to meet every Monday to formulate the plan. They will then submit it to the Wyoming Department of Health and get it approved by Sweetwater County Public Health.
Christensen said he believes from there they will get the plan approved by the school board.
Tuesday’s meeting was Christensen’s last, as he is retiring. Craig Barringer will be replacing him starting July 1, and will be taking over the lead on this reopening plan.
The current draft of the reopening plan can be viewed below.