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Bolivar School District announces masking policy for students

(KY3)
Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 10:01 AM CDT
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BOLIVAR, Mo. (KY3) -

The Bolivar School District announced this week it will require masks at its campus buildings for all students, staff and visitors.

Read the plan below:

Our Bolivar Liberator students, staff, and families are facing some unchartered waters right now in our health/wellness environment and may need to make some difficult decisions in order to best meet the needs of our students and families.  These are uncertain times and there are no perfect answers.

This plan outlines two learning options for families to choose from when registering their students:

  • In-Person Learning (traditional classroom setting)
  • Virtual/Distance Learning or AIM (Alternative Instructional Methods)

Our school calendar will remain the same and students are to report back to school on Monday, August 24th.  At this time, all students will attend school 5 days per week (Setting 1). Registration will determine if secondary (6th-12th grade students) attend 4 days per week (Setting 2).  By August 7th we will notify secondary students of their weekly schedule.

 Should the district need to close a school or the entire district temporarily due to a significant increase of confirmed COVID-19 cases within our learning community, a blend of in-person and AIM instruction will be utilized.  Settings 3-5 will be determined in consultation with our local health department.

 As a District, we are working diligently to provide the safest learning environment.  Please understand changes may need to be made to further protect students and staff.  We encourage flexibility among our entire learning community. If we need to pivot to different settings, our learning community will be notified immediately.  We are committed to complete transparency and will provide up-to-date information via email, a school-reach call, our district website and/or social media.

 For the past several weeks, district and building administration and our Board of Education have collaborated with staff, parents, Bolivar health professionals, the Polk County Health Center, regional educators and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  The collaboration and input has been extremely valuable.  These united efforts to safeguard our Bolivar R-1 Community is deeply appreciated.

While at School

SCHOOL DAY OPERATIONS FOR ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY

Home Health Self Screenings

It is important that all families and staff partner with us in monitoring health.  We ask that students and staff take their temperature on a daily basis at home prior to coming to school or school activities, and follow the self-screening checklist below.  No student or staff with a temperature of 100 degrees or higher may enter the building or attend activities. No fever reducing medication may be taken to reduce fever prior to coming to school or events.

☐ A fever (100 degrees or higher) or chills

☐ New muscle or body aches

☐ Cough, sore throat, headache

☐ New loss of taste or smell

☐ Shortness of breath or breathing difficulty

☐ Congestion or runny nose

☐ Extreme Fatigue

☐ Nausea, vomiting, Diarrhea

Health/Wellness at School

Staff will take student temperatures during the first period of the day. If a student or staff member develops a fever of 100 degrees or higher at school, they will immediately be sent to a safe isolation area and must be picked up from school immediately or leave (if a driver).  They cannot return to school until they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the aid of fever-reducing medication.  A licensed school nurse will be at the five main attendance centers and will assist with all health-related matters.

Protective Face Coverings

While social-distancing practices will be implemented where possible, face coverings for students and staff will be required.  Our goal is to keep staff and students’ safe, and to engage students in high-quality learning & activities.  The most effective way we can do this is by protecting ourselves and others by wearing a face covering.  Students ages four and up will be provided a washable protective face covering for school, or they are welcome to bring a mask from home.  Face coverings must not include messages or images that distract from the learning environment as outlined for other articles of clothing in the student handbook. Bolivar R-1 staff will be provided two face coverings, and instructional staff will also be provided one clear face shield.  If a student has a documented medical diagnosis and cannot wear a face covering, parents must contact their child’s school nurse to receive an exemption, and social distancing measures and/or AIM instruction will be options.  During outdoor P.E., and a few classrooms (band, choir, music) social distancing may replace face coverings where possible, and with the approval of the building principal

Social Distancing

Teachers will stress the importance of social distancing while at school. Elementary students will maintain a core group of 50 students.  This group will go to lunch and recess together. We will do our best to maintain social distancing as much as possible when students are not with their core group.  Classroom desks and common seating areas (including tables) will be arranged to maximize space between students. It will be difficult to keep students six feet away from one another, but every effort will be made to maintain as much distance as possible.  Parents must understand that sending children to learn in-person will pose a risk in our ability to guarantee social distancing at all times.  Students and teachers will be wearing masks.  This will also help prevent the possible spread of COVID-19.   

Water Fountains and Water Bottles

Students are encouraged to bring their own reusable water bottle to school every day.  Water fountains at school will only be used to refill students' water bottles and will not be available to directly provide drinks.

Breakfast and Lunch

Students eating school meals will eat a grab-n-go breakfast in the classroom.  During lunchtime, students will stay with a cohort group of 50 or fewer students and will eat in the cafeteria or commons while maintaining social distances.  Parents/visitors will not be allowed to eat lunch at school, and at this time, food items from outside vendors cannot be delivered to students at school in efforts to minimize possible exposure.  Our nutrition staff will wear protective face coverings during meal preparation and serving.

Transportation

While the District intends to provide transportation, it will be difficult to provide social distance on the bus. The district strongly encourages families to provide personal transportation for their students. Families must designate a need for transportation during registration in order to plan routes and ridership. Face coverings will be required for all students on the bus. Following CDC guidelines, busses will use an arranged seating chart, sanitization between trips, and will open windows when weather permits for increased air circulation.  Busses will stagger arrival/entry into the building and buildings will stagger students' release to busses in the afternoon to avoid congestion getting on/off school busses. Parents at all buildings will release/pick up students from the drop-off and pick- up lines.  Staff will be on-site to assist students into the building and get them safely to class. 

Attendance

It is so important for the health and safety of all students to learn remotely on days they have a fever or other symptoms of illness.  Students who have a health reason that is verified by a parent/guardian or medical professional will receive an excused absence.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

Custodial staff will increase sanitization of high-contact surfaces throughout the school day.  Frequent hand-washing and other health protocols will be practiced and highly encouraged.  Hygiene lessons and social distancing expectations will be taught or reviewed and hand sanitizer will be easily accessible throughout the building and in classrooms.  Upon notification of a positive case, school buildings will be thoroughly disinfected.

Academic Progress

Bolivar R-1 instructional coaches and teachers have worked throughout the spring and early summer to revise yearly core curriculum pacing guides to include the academic standards that were not taught last spring due to COVID-19.  Students will have the opportunity to master any missed standards throughout the 2020-2021 school year.

Selecting a Learning Option

If a student chooses the AIM option for the 2020-2021 school year, Parents and students can re-evaluate and choose to come back in-person for the second semester.  Students who choose AIM will retain their status with the school in which they are assigned.  Communications and access to the school's activities will continue whether the student is attending in-person or participating in AIM (distance learning).

Canvas

Canvas is the Learning Management System (LMS) for the Bolivar R-1 School District.  Teachers will use this platform for all instruction.

Volunteers and Visitors

At this time, only students, staff, and essential support staff will be allowed in school buildings.  Virtual meetings will be highly encouraged.  As our health environment changes, these restrictions may change.

COVID-19 Scenarios, Exposure and Quarantine Guidelines

If a Staff Member or Student Tests Positive for COVID 19: 

If a current student or staff has a confirmed case of COVID-19, they cannot return to a Bolivar R-1 facility until they are symptom free, receive a negative test result, and have been approved by a doctor or the health department to return (medical release is required and must be provided to the front office staff).  During recovery, the student will transition to distance learning, and their teachers will work with him/her to complete missed assignments.  Please contact your school nurse to alert of your absence and health situation.

Exposure and Quarantine

The District will work with the health department to discuss the likelihood of exposure with other students or employees in the building, the number of cases in the community and other factors that will determine if and when the building should move learning to alternative instructional methods (AIM). 

The District will contact the parents/students and staff to inform them that a person who tested positive was in the building and encourage cooperation with the local health department and the school to trace contacts with the individual. The individual will not be identified in any communications; however, the health department may need to selectively identify in order to conduct contact tracing.  The health department will advise close contacts on testing and quarantine procedures.

If the school building closes, all activities will be cancelled or rescheduled regardless of whether the activity was to take place in the building or another location including extracurricular activities, after school tutoring, or field trips.  Parent/students and employees will be encouraged to stay at home until more information is provided by the school or the health department.

If a Family Member of Staff or Student Tests Positive for COVID 19:

IF any of your in-home immediate family members have tested positive for COVID-19, do not enter Bolivar R-1 facilities or attend Bolivar R-1 events.  This decision is due to typical family proximity and interactions.  Please contact your school nurse to alert of your absence and health situation.

Elementary

INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO ELEMENTARY & EARLY CHILDHOOD

Arrival and Dismissal

Arrivals: Students at the elementary schools may arrive at school and enter the front door (BPS) back door (BIS) as early as 7:15. Staff will supervise early arrivals in a common space that will allow for social distancing until students are released to go to class. Students at the Early Childhood Learning Center (ECLC) may arrive at school as early as 7:50. Staff will be on hand to assist children as they enter the building. As an additional safeguard, parents, guardians, and other visitors will not be permitted to enter schools or escort students to class.

Dismissals: Students will be directed to remain in the classroom or designated common area until their bus number, car name or daycare is announced.

Student Supplies

Sharing of student supplies such as crayons markers, scissors, and pencils will not be allowed.  Students will keep their individual supplies separated from those of others in individually labeled containers.

Computer Labs/Classroom Devices, manipulatives and books

All technical devices and learning manipulatives needed for instructional purposes will not be shared with another student without first being sanitized.  Classroom libraries will follow the same sanitation procedures (wait time) before re-circulating materials as being utilized by the library-media centers.

Encore Classes (P.E., Music, Tech, Art)

Students will attend special area classes once per week for 50 minutes.  Equipment and work spaces will be sanitized between users/classrooms.  Students will follow social distancing guidelines when lining up and traveling in the hallways to Encore classes.

Recess

Students will attend recess in a constant cohort group of 50.  Students will wash hands before and after recess.  Each elementary site will develop a schedule that will allow for daily outdoor play time. Recess equipment will stay with the cohort and will be sanitized daily.

Library/Media Centers

Libraries will be open for lessons and for checking in/out books.  Books will not be re-circulated until they have been sanitized.  Hands will be washed or sanitized before and after visits to the Library.  At present time, book fairs will be virtual.

School-wide Assemblies

School-wide assemblies, programs, and large group gatherings will not be held, however smaller classroom celebrations will be encouraged. Each school will develop procedures and protocols to carry on such events through a virtual experience or with smaller groups.

Outside Snacks and Birthday Treats/Parties

In efforts to reduce risks to students, parents and students will not be allowed to bring in edible food items or small party favors for birthday treats.  Principals may continue to "celebrate" with announcements over the intercom and well-wishes in the classroom.

PTA Events

PTA serves a very important role in our schools.  We understand that due to COVID-19, adjustments will be necessary.  All PTA events will be limited to those deemed safe by the building principal.

Technology Devices

In the event we have to transition from the traditional setting (settings 1 & 2) to a distance learning option (settings 3, 4 & 5) due to COVID-19, Students in need will be assigned a device to use at home.

Field Trips

Principals and the Assistant Superintendent will assess requests for field trips and will approve/deny based upon the most current information regarding COVID-19.

Secondary

    INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO MIDDLE & HIGH SCHOOL

Schedule Pick up and Freshman Ignite

Bolivar High School will host a Freshman Ignite on Friday, August 21st from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  Students will follow social distancing practices and will wear protective face coverings.   Building principals will assess the COVID-19 environment to determine the best way to distribute students' schedules.  More information surrounding meeting teachers and orientation will be individualized by each building and will be forthcoming.

Arrival

Middle School: Middle school students who need to arrive to school early may be

dropped off at the Field House no earlier than 7:00 a.m.  Front doors at BMS will not open until 7:30 a.m.  Students will wear face coverings and practice social distancing during early arrival times.

High School: Students should not arrive at the high school earlier than 7:00 a.m. students will practice social distancing guidelines and wear face coverings upon arrival to campus.

Hallways, Passing Periods, and Lockers

Students will walk on the right side of the hallway and make efforts to adhere to social distancing guidelines as much possible.  Lockers will not be used at Bolivar High School unless specifically requested. More information surrounding backpacks and student lockers at Bolivar Middle School will be available soon.

Chromebooks

Middle School: Middle School students will be assigned a Chromebook to use and take home during the school year.  Information on distribution and check-out will be available soon.

High School: High School students are assigned a Chromebook to use and take home during the school year.  Information on distribution and check-out for freshmen students will be available soon.

Library-Media Centers

Media Centers will remain open with adjusted guidance for checking out and returning resources.  Books will not be re-circulated until they have been sanitized.

Lunch

All secondary schools will operate with several lunch periods to decrease the number of students eating in the cafeteria.  Students will daily eat with a cohort of no more than 50 students and will practice recommended social distancing guidelines.  In efforts to minimize possible exposure, food items from outside vendors cannot be delivered to students at the high school or middle school during the school day.

School Assemblies

School-wide assemblies, programs, and large group gatherings will not be held, however smaller class or classroom celebrations will be encouraged. Each school will develop procedures and protocols to carry on such events through a virtual experience or with smaller, socially distanced groups.

Athletics and Activities

Our Bolivar R-1 Athletic Director, Coaches and Trainers have been instrumental in preparing athletes and families for healthy athletic environments and procedures.  Bolivar athletic programs will continue to follow district safety protocols and will work closely with the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) regarding practices and sanctioned sports events.

Band, Musical, & Drama Performances and Productions

Band, Vocal Music, Drama & Speech Teachers will assess programs designed for public performance and make modifications that allow for smaller audiences and the practice of social distancing.  Options to conduct virtual performances will be considered as program alternatives.

Field Trips

Principals and the Assistant Superintendent will assess requests for field trips and will with l approve/deny based upon the most current information regarding COVID-19.

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