A number of safety measures are in place for students’ return to Volusia classrooms.
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
‘We want to provide as safe of an environment as we can for our students and staff. The district has measures in place and each school has a plan.’
Principal, Campbell Middle School
On Monday, students in Volusia County’s public schools will return to the classroom but many will be learning from a distance.
Students will learn by traditional brick-and-mortar class instruction, Volusia Live – real-time streaming where kids logging onto a device at home while a teacher instructs, and virtual online learning at home at their own pace.
School-based planSome safety measures have been implemented in accordance with the Center for Diseases Control Guidelines (CDC) guidelines.
“We want to provide as safe of an environment as we can for our students and staff. The district has measures in place and each school has a plan,” commented Cameron Robinson, principal of Campbell Middle School in Daytona Beach.
Palm Terrace Elementary Principal Tucker Harris noted, “We have a very specific school-based plan designed to keep everyone safe. Ours is broken up in categories like arrival, breakfast, class transition, directions in the halls, lunch, library and more.”
Masks and more
Safety measures include social distancing, wearing mask and face shields, plexiglass,
plastic coverings, daily temperature checks, isolating sick students, disinfecting classes, hand sanitizer available and more.
“We have seating charts and assignments in classrooms and the cafeteria. Even when kids pick out books in the library, they will keep that book for the entire week. Over the weekend we air that book out and sanitize it,” noted Harris.
Mask and face shields will be required almost at all times on campuses.
“Whenever we can’t get the six feet social distance, kids will wear masks. For example, leaving class to go to lunch they will wear masks,” said Harris.
Robinson echoed, “Students and faculty will wear masks. The way we understand is if a kid sneezes it could be in the air. Covid-19 is air born. Outside in physical education classes where social distancing can be enforced is an exception.
“We will be providing masks for those who don’t have them. The district has provided us with safety equipment.”
Temperature checks where buses arrive, drop off loops and at school entrances will be daily.
“If anyone has a temperature above 100.4 degrees they will wait and be rescanned. If it’s still high, we’ll have the nurse look at them. Anyone with a temperature won’t be allowed on campus including students, faculty, staff and visitors,” said Robinson.
There will also be a lot of sanitizing going on in schools throughout the day.
Harris added, “We’ll have someone disinfecting classes when kids leave the classroom to go anywhere else including lunch, P.E. the library, etc.”
There are also protocols for a student who shows symptoms of illness. Robinson explained, “We have an isolation room for students showing signs that they are sick. They can wait with the nurse to be observed then the next steps will be determined.”
Judge’s reopening ruling
On Monday, Leon County Judge Charles Dodson ruled the state order for schools to reopen this month is unconstitutional. Dodson said reopening schools are unsafe.
The ruling favors the unions. The Florida Education Association (teachers union) brought the lawsuit against Florida Education Commissioner, Richard Corcoran and his mandate to open schools. Governor Ron DeSantis plans to appeal.
It’s still unclear how the decision will affect school districts. Most school districts in the state are already reopen. Flagler County Schools opened on Aug. 24.
Volusia County School Board Chair Ida Duncan Wright commented via text message, “We support the judge’s decision. We are not planning on changing our options. We plan to move forward with opening on Monday.”
On positivity rate
Wright touted lower local coronavirus numbers.
“Volusia County isn’t a 1:1 ratio area. We are mindful that the positivity rate is steady declining. Countywide last week, the positivity test rate has decreased to just over 5 percent compared to 7 percent a week earlier, which is the lowest total since mid-April,’’ she said.
For more information on the safety plans, visit https://www.vcsedu.org/reopening-roadmap/safety-health-procedures. The schools’ individual plans are on their websites.