During Wednesday night’s Lee County School Board meeting, the Board was presented with a path to tentative reopening public schools.
Lee County schools will be categorized in a four-tier status determination, following the color system used by the Alabama Department of Public Health, said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jason Wright.
Students will be able to return to school or work from home, Wright said. Students will use Google Classroom to access course materials, and all students will be provided with a Chromebook laptop.
Students who learn remotely will be considered as enrolled to the school where their teacher is located, Wright said. Remote-learning students may be required to return to campus for events such as state testing or certain class activities. Students will have the same requirements and opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities.
Students who physically attend school may be required to return to blended learning if a group, class, or entire school closes due to COVID-19, Wright said. Those students will continue with the same teachers online as they had in person.
Masks will be required to ride on Lee County school buses, Wright said. Children who repeatedly refuse to wear a mask on a bus may be disallowed from riding the bus.
Students will have assigned seating on buses, with children from the same household or who belong to the same team being given priority, Wright said. Bus drivers will spray disinfectant on commonly touched surfaces in between bus routes.
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Students will not have lockers, Wright said.
Field trips will be denied unless both the school and the target destination fall into the “green zone” as measured by the ALDPH. After-school programs are also subject to closure depending on the school’s situation.
Students will be required to use their laminated name badge with a barcode for payment in the cafeteria, Wright said. Students will no longer be allowed to type in their identification number to pay. Parents are disallowed from bringing food to their children on school grounds.
Students are asked to bring their own water bottles to school, as water fountains will be replaced with touchless bottle filling stations, Wright said.
Schools will provide face shields to all students in kindergarten through 3rd grade and to all employees, Wright said. Masks will be provided to all students as well. The school board has not made the decision to require masks on school campuses.
Students may be released from classes in a staggered fashion to limit the number of students in hallways, Wright said. Hallway traffic will travel in one direction and students will be asked to stay close to the wall without touching it.
All school facilities will be provided with hand sanitizer and disinfectant, Wright said. Facilities will have designated quarantine rooms for those exhibiting COVID-like symptoms.
First grade teachers have worked with reading coaches to develop a standards-based report card system, said Superintendent Dr. James McCoy. Students are expected to return to school in August with only 70% the learning gains typically expected from a year of in-person instruction.
Students will be provided with live or recorded video instruction, with all instructional materials being provided through Google Classroom, McCoy said. One Google Classroom will be used for all an elementary student’s work. Students will also have a virtual homeroom with their assigned teacher.
Lee County elementary schools will adopt a district-wide curriculum and assessments, McCoy said. Report cards will also transition from numeric to an assessment for kindergarten and 1st grade. All students will take a screener assessment to evaluate their reading and math skills from the previous year.
The Lee County School Board may update their plans for reopening as situations change, Wright said. The complete presentation on the path to reopening will be on their website within 24 hours of their meeting.
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