It's Back to School Time.....or, is it?
Typically during the final week of July, we would be ramping up for "Back to School." 2020 looks a little different thanks to the pandemic still plaguing our State and our Nation.
While so many people have debated the best way to handle back to school in light of the virus, we just want to address and document the crazy times in which we are living so that we can look back at this blog in the future.
Here's what we know for sure: The Kentucky Department for Public Health, in collaboration with the Kentucky Department of Education, on June 24 issued highly anticipated guidance for schools and districts on how to safely reopen for the upcoming school year amid the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic.
The release of the 24-page document, “Safety Expectations and Best Practices Guidelines for Kentucky Schools (K-12),” was announced by Gov. Andy Beshear at his daily news conference on the pandemic. The DPH guidance covers multiple areas, such as mask-wearing, social distancing, health screening and sanitation.
Guidance in the document falls into five categories:
Cloth Face Coverings, School Health Policies and Personal Protective Equipment
Screening and School Exclusion
Sanitation and Environmental Factors
Masks will be required any time students and staff are moving or cannot stay 6 feet apart, unless there is a medical reason they cannot do so. Stack said masks are the one thing public health officials know can prevent the spread of the virus, along with washing hands and maintaining social distance.
Masks may be lowered during classroom time if all students and staff are seated at least 6 feet apart and no people are walking inside the classroom.
Schools also will be expected to stagger arrival times, increase space between students and reduce class sizes and congestion in common areas.
Temperature checks using a touchless thermometer will be required for all students and staff at the point of entry to school property. To ride the school bus, parents must attest that the student’s temperature is not greater than 100.4 when boarding or districts may choose to do a temperature check when students board buses.
The document includes bullet points with the safety expectations and best practices, and an “at-a-glance” summary at the end of each section aimed at younger children. It was designed to not only be clear for school administrators and staff, but families and students as well.
Although the guidance is not backed by legislation or administrative regulations, Brown said if schools do not follow it, they open themselves up to the potential spread of the virus, in-school contract tracing and closure if cases develop. But he said he believes schools and districts will be pleased with the direction the guidance takes, reflecting KDE’s goal of working with partnering agencies and schools to provide the support administrators need to reopen schools safely and in a way that is responsive to the needs of their communities.
We hope that this is something we won't have to deal with for the entire school year, but please choose the best option for you and your family. If Todd Reporting can help you in any way, please don't hesitate to contact us.