There is a plan.
The Centralia R-VI administration has released a plan for negotiating the Coronavirus-related challenges of the 2020-21 school year.
The plan has two primary goals, R-VI Superintendent Steven Chancellor said.
Those are continuing to deliver a good education to the district’s children and to provide that education with a minimum of risk of infection and quarantine.
“We are focusing on how to minimize the risk of quarantine,” he said. “We are working to reduce that risk while keeping procedures simple, not over-complicated.”
Drawing up the plan included input from the district teachers he said.
“We intend to put kids in a place where they can spread out, for example small class sizes and eating lunch in their classrooms where the social distancing can be employed and controlled.”
Keeping social distancing and creating schedules that minimize the intersection and overlap of different groups of students are two keys to making the plan work, he said.
As previously discussed in the Centralia Fireside Guard, the district’s summer school session has been a testing lab of sorts for seeing what works and what does not, regarding risk-minimizing strategies.
So far, he said, most of the innovations are subtle, behind the scenes changes. One example of that, Chancellor said, has to do with lunch.
The original plan, to keep the student groups out of each-others’ way, was after lunch, the custodial staff would roll trash-cans down the hall to pick up the lunch waste from each class room.
“Well,” he said. “We quickly learned that with all the individually-wrapped meals, there was a lot of excess paper and plastic. The rolling cans quickly-filled. So now we use a rolling cart holding several garbage cans.”
Here are some of the high points of the district’s plan.
First, at-home screening
- Families are recommended to take temperatures daily before going to school
- Anyone with a fever of >100.0 F or higher should not come to school
- A student or staff member must be fever-free for at least 24 hours, without the aid of
fever-reducing medication, before returning to school.
- Parents and caregivers should also screen for additional symptoms at home, prior to
coming to school. These symptoms include the following:
o Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
o Muscle or body aches
o New loss of taste or smell
o Sore throat
o Nausea or vomiting
District staff will be expected to self-screen daily.
The district requests following CDC guidelines when a positive test occurs.
In that case, the district’s actions include: § The district will follow the direction of the Boone County Health Department and
communicate based on BCHD’s recommendations and guidelines.
- For all COVID-19 exposure notifications, the district will only notify those who
are deemed necessary to be notified by our local health department.
- We will not do district-wide notifications for positive or presumptive positive
cases unless a child or staff member needs to be notified of the potential
exposure to that positive case.
o The only exception would be in the case of a community or school-wide
event where contact tracing could not happen.
o The district has a legal obligation not to violate HIPAA guidelines and
rules, and will follow those rules and the guidance of our health
department in all notifications.
- Perform targeted cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched hard, nonporous
surfaces, such as counters, appliance surfaces, tabletops, doorknobs,
bathroom fixtures, toilets, drinking fountains, phones, technology, and any other
surfaces that are visibly necessary.
The plan also states, “Diagnosing COVID-19, contact tracing and assigning quarantines are not a function of the
school district. These can only be done by healthcare providers and health departments. The
district’s role ends after identifying symptoms and providing households with recommended
Regarding masks, face coverings, Chancellor said the district had no political motive beyond the students’ safety. “The District has no political motives. The only motive we have is to keep students in school for
the longest period possible.” Masks will be required in these situations.
- When MSHSAA guideline require them for athletics
- For district staff when social distancing cannot be maintained
- Approved visitors and contractors during scheduled contact time in the schools.
The plan puts it this way.
“We have learned it may keep you from quarantine – keeping students in school and
parents at work longer. The county Health Department determines who quarantines and for how long. If your student is involved in contact tracing, having and wearing a face covering in certain situations may be the deciding factor on your student – and potentially your household – being quarantined. During a quarantine, your student will continue to receive instruction via Google Classroom. They will not be considered absent and cannot participate in
extracurricular activities for the period determined by the Health Department.”
Regarding meals, breakfast will be bagged and served in grab-and-go-style and lunch will be picked up by students and eaten in classrooms.
Regarding visitors, access will be limited and waiting outside school doors during afternoon pick ups. Additionally, “Parents picking up students early from school will need to call the office and let them know their estimated arrival time for student pick up. Once a parent/guardian arrives, the student will be released from the school building to meet the parent outside.”
Again the complete plan is available for viewing at www.firesideguard.com.