(Minerva, Ohio) – The Minerva Local School District is offering two learning options for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year.
Officials explained in a statement this week that school will return in a traditional format, with appropriate safety measures in place, five days per week. “We strongly believe the traditional school format is the best learning model for most students,” they explained. Additionally, the district will offer an online learning option to families and students who are not able to or choose not to return to the traditional school format at this time. Officials indicated it is important to note:
- Minerva Local Schools is committed to decreasing the likelihood of infection and keeping our community safe through additional hygiene, cleaning, and safety procedures. Included in the plan are additional safety precautions that will be in place. Officials ask that families understand that being in a school environment is a public place and a certain level of risk cannot be eliminated.
- The school district, cooperation with the Stark County Health Department, could elect at any time, to return to remote and online learning if cases within the school, or County, begin to escalate to a severe risk level.
Also included in the district’s restart plans are online learning options. Families are asked to declare traditional school or online learning for each of their students by completing the Google school choice form by Wednesday, July 29th. This information can be found by visiting the district’s website. For families with students attending R.G. Drage Career Center, officials with that building will be sending more information soon.
Classes will begin Thursday, August 20th with the following measures in place:
- In high use areas and high touch areas, daily sanitization protocols will be followed. This includes busses, cafeterias, restrooms, classrooms, and all areas used frequently throughout the school day.
- Parents are expected to perform a health check each morning to ensure an appropriate temperature, below 100 degrees. The child should not be exhibiting any symptoms of illness before coming to school. If a student is exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms, they are not to attend school until they are symptom-free for 72 hours without the use of medication.
- Students should plan on attending school full days with the following safety protocols and adjustments in place:
- Transportation – Face coverings will be required for all students, grades PreK-12 on bus transportation. Limited to two children per seat.
- Buildings – All students PreK-12 will be required to wear face coverings while inside all buildings. Face covering breaks will be given throughout the day.
- Physical Distancing – All classrooms will maximize physical distancing.
- Cafeteria – Breakfast/Lunch periods and seating will be altered to allow for physical distancing. In some cases, areas other than the cafeteria may be used. Classrooms may be used in some cases. Foodservice will follow guidelines such as touchless serving lines, individual packaging of condiments, spacing in seeing lines.
- Drinking fountains will be closed, but filling stations will be available. Students need to bring their own water bottles to school each day.
- Arrival and dismissal procedures will be refined to avoid congestion in any one area.
- Recess may be altered so playground areas are utilized safely and with fewer students at one time.
- Transitions (between classrooms, going to the restroom, etc.) may be scheduled so as to avoid congestion in the halls and crossover with groups of students. Throughout the buildings, directional arrows and signage may be utilized.
- Frequent hand-washing will be part of the daily routine. Hand sanitizer will be readily available in all areas.
- Visitor and volunteer access to buildings will be limited.
- Furthermore, expect additional guidance on the following:
- Reporting requirements in the event positive cases are identified among a staff member or a student. Protocols are in place with local health departments for contact tracing, quarantine, and return0to-school guidelines.
- Lastly, officials will be sharing information on the following in the coming weeks:
- Details about virtual open houses and orientations.
- Continuously updated FAQs about the start of school (which will spell out in more detail all the items outlined above).
Officials also indicated additional documentation that will continue to be updated for each building.