CURWENSVILLE — Curwensville Area School Board adopted a health and safety plan that will allow students to be educated during the 2020-21 school year.
All schools in the commonwealth must have a board-approved arrangement that will serve as the guidelines for student’s and staff’s return to school. The state Department of Education has required each district’s plan to be tailored to its specific needs and created in consultation with local health agencies. Plans are required to have enough flexibility to adapt to changing conditions within Clearfield County and the state.
Curwensville’s plan notes, “Decision makers should be mindful, as long as there are cases of COVID-19 in the community, there are no strategies that can completely eliminate transmission risks within the school population. The goal is to keep transmission rates as low as possible to continue school activities.”
Superintendent Ron Matchock told directors Thursday, state government will determine which phase of emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic Clearfield County will be in at the time that school starts and those phases can change at any given time. Each of the phases contained in the plan — red, yellow and green — have unique information for students and staff in regards to daily schedules. “Beyond the state designation of the phases, the school district will be able to move between phases if the district or (Clearfield) county experiences an increase in positive cases,” he explained.
Under the green phase of the plan, all students and staff will attend school each day. There will be no visitors to the school building, including family members. Meetings between district personnel and parents, such as those for status conferences, discipline or individualized education plans will be held by telephone or virtually.
Buildings and buses will be cleaned and disinfected daily. Areas that receive high traffic or have frequently touched areas will be disinfected throughout the school day. Hand sanitizer stations will be available in each room.
On arrival at the school building, students and staff will have their temperatures taken each day. Students will not wait on the buses when they arrive at the buildings but will go directly to their classrooms. There will be a quarantine area in the nurse’s suite for students and staff that exhibit symptoms and the school nurse will be responsible to inform the state Department of Health in the event there is exposure to COVID-19 and will follow all Department of Health and Center for Disease Control recommendations for an exposure situation.
Students will have one opportunity to get breakfast each morning from a grab-and-go cart on their way to their classrooms. Lunches will be eaten in the cafeteria and gymnasium to allow students space for social distancing.
There will be social distancing in the building’s hallways with dividers installed for special situations. Students and staff will be required to wear masks in common areas including hallways and in location where social distancing cannot be achieved. Students may remove their masks in the classroom once they have been seated and are socially distant.
High school students will use a multiple bell schedule to reduce the amount of students in the hallways at any one time. Students will not use lockers.
Students riding district transportation will be required to wear a mask or face shield at all times. Parent transportation and student driving is encouraged to keep the numbers of those riding the buses down. Curwensville students who attend the Clearfield County Career and Technology Center will also be permitted to drive themselves to the center for classes each day.
If the county or the state is in the yellow phase, other than kindergarten and first grade students, 50 percent of the student population will be in attendance and riding the district’s transportation, in two groups. Kindergarten and first grade students will attend school daily. Group A will attend school in-person on Mondays and Tuesdays and Group B on Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesdays, the buildings will be deep cleaned and will be a virtual instruction day with teachers at school. Cleaning and disinfecting will follow the same method as the green phase as will student arrivals, meals, and classroom and hallway procedures.
In the red phase, all students will use distance learning. There will be no students in the school buildings and only essential staff will report. Meals will be delivered by school buses on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.