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Nixa, Lebanon prepare for new school year, in-person classes

Masks will be required
Published: Aug. 21, 2020 at 6:43 PM CDT
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NIXA, Mo. (KY3) - We are just days away from the start of the new school year.

School district leaders in Nixa and Lebanon have been fine-tuning their plans this week. They want parents to know they are ready for the new school year, and to reach out if they have questions or concerns.

Nixa Superintendent Dr. Gearl Loden is confident most students will have in-person classes five days a week. His district had in-person classes over the summer. They were able to revamp those plans and modify them for the 2020-21 school year.

“And we’ll have almost 900 students that will just be virtual,” Dr. Loden said.

Kids at the elementary level will be taught by eighteen teachers solely dedicated to the online courses.

“Then the high school teachers and the secondary teachers will be more like what you have traditionally, where they’ll have a period online plus they’ll have their regular classes,” Dr. Loden said.

The district has worked the class schedule so some periods will be online, so the teacher will give the students better attention and more personal experience.

In the buildings, all students will be required to wear face coverings. Exceptions include sports and P.E.

Classroom desks are spaced apart with assigned seating. In classes with a larger number of students, plastic barriers will be installed between desks. There will be frequent cleaning in the classrooms, and the teachers will encourage hand sanitizing and washing.

“You have your periods, you have the same kids every day, and a seating chart which helps you know if you have to contract trace,” Dr. Loden said.

Because of the scheduling, students will mainly be interacting with their cohort of fellow classmates. They will be encouraged not to mingle with other classes so avoid possible exposures.

Parents can sign up for the buses. The district is expecting a slightly lower amount of kids riding the bus. They said they have room on the buses to account for social distancing. Masks must be worn while riding the bus.

Next week, the district will run their regular bus schedule to make sure all kids are picked up. Routes will adjust accordingly after the first week.

Nixa Public Schools has been in close contact with the health department, and other school districts in several states to make their plans. They have in place a three-tiered system.

Level 1 (Green level) means school activities will proceed as normally as possible. Social distancing and masks quill still be required based on guidance from the CDC and health department. Visitors in buildings is restricted, and there will be strict handwashing and hand sanitizing.

Level 2 (Yellow Level) means classes will be online or have more days with virtual learning. This will occur if there is a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases. There will be tighter restrictions in activities, reduced class sizes, and stricter limitations at school events. No visitors will be allowed.

Level 3 (Red Level) means all classes will be online. School buildings will be closed to both students and visitors. Administrators may still work in the building unless determined unsafe. Activities will be canceled or rescheduled.

The Lebanon School District is also excited for the return of in-person classes Monday. Superintendent Dr. David Schmitz said his district is prepared, despite some last-minute changes.

An increase in coronavirus cases in Laclede County pushed the Lebanon district to move their high school classes to a hybrid model. Dr. Schmitz said because of the size of the high school buildings, and the number of students, alternating which days groups will be in the building will help reduce exposure risks.

K-8 can still expect a five-day school week. This situation may change if cases continue to rise in Laclede county.

“And then, of course, should we need to in response to any sort of health concern, move to a virtual,” Dr. Schmitz said.

They are recommending students of all ages to wear masks, and avoid mixing with other classes.

Buses can still be ridden, but they have strict social distancing rules, and masks will be required. They are encouraging parents to drive students to school

“Every teacher, every bus driver, every administrator, food service worker, is doing the very best we can to provide a safe learning environment for kids. We want kids back in school,” Dr. Schmitz said.

Similar to Nixa, they are also using a level system to inform parents of protocols. At of the start of the school year, they are in Level 1.

Parents are encouraged to monitor their children before they head to school. Take temperatures daily, and do not send your child to school if sick.

Lebanon's Back to School Plans

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