The Clearfield Area Board of School Directors approved its health and safety plans for the upcoming school year in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic at its meeting Monday night.
The Health and Safety Plan is 28 pages long and it is the district’s plan to keep students safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it could change as circumstances change.
“We are in an ever-changing landscape,” Superintendent Terry Struble said. “And this is what we are going to do to keep our students and staff safe once we return to school.”
The plan sets forth what the district would do depending if the area is in the green, yellow or red phase of the commonwealth’s COVID-19 restrictions.
In the green phase, students will return to school but all students and staff will wear masks inside and on buses and vans when other people are less than six feet away. Disposable masks will be available to those students who don’t have a mask.
The gymnasiums will also be used for dining to increase social distancing, physical education classes will be held outside when possible, the use of water fountains will be restricted but the water bottle filling stations will remain open. Students will be asked to bring their own water bottle, and water bottles would be available to those students who forget their bottle, Struble said.
Students will also get off the bus as soon as they arrive at school and all students and staff will have their temperature before entering. Anyone whose temperature exceeds 100.3 degrees will be further evaluated by the nurses.
Locker use could also be restricted to limit students congregating and students will also be discouraged from sharing pens, pencils, notebooks, etc.
All students in grades 4-12 will have their own laptop they can use in school and at home. All students in grades K-3 will also get their own laptops but they will stay in the schools and will not be brought home as long as they are having classes in school, Struble said.
Hand sanitizer will be available in every classroom and in the secondary level, hand sanitizer will also be available in the hallways.
Because of all the changes, the district is considering having the schools reopened in phases where they would be divided into two groups where they come to school on alternating days for the first couple of weeks. Struble said the school district would give more information on this in the coming days.
If the area is in the yellow phase, students in grades K-3 will go to school four days a week in the elementary school and they will be the only students in the school and on the bus runs. Normally the school holds grades K-6. When students aren’t physically in school, classes will be held virtually, Struble said.
Grades 4-6 would go to school Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the junior/senior high school and they would be the only students in the school at that time. The other days would be virtual.
Grades 7-8 would attend school on Tuesdays and grades 9-12 would attend school on Thursdays — all other days, school will be held virtually.
Also students in grades 7-12 students — when having classes at home — they will be required to log onto their computers at the beginning of the school day to receive live instruction. Those students who don’t have adequate internet service at their homes would be allowed to download the lessons at a later time.
If the area is in the red phase, all schooling would be virtual, Struble said.
If parents are concerned about their children coming back to school, the district does have cyber school that is closely aligned to the district’s regular curriculum so it would be easier transition if at some time they want their child to return to regular classroom instruction, Struble said.
Board member Philip Carr cast the lone dissenting vote, as he said he believes the students and staff should wear masks whenever possible while inside, and not just when they are more than six feet away from other people.