BOE announces reopening plan for upcoming school year

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The Board of Education convened Tuesday, July 14, at 5:30 p.m. at the Swainsboro Middle School for its regularly scheduled meeting. Chairman Mason Henry called the meeting to order and Reverend David Uncles, pastor of First Methodist Church, led the invocation prior to the pledge of allegiance being recited by all.

Board members reviewed the consent agenda, which consisted of minutes from the June 9, 2020 board meeting, financial reports, and FY 20-21 transpiration fuel bids for diesel, gasoline and oil).

In reference to superintendent comments:

• Superintendent Dr. Kevin Judy gave an update on SHS renovations and advised that the process is running as scheduled. He also stated that roofing projects for SES and ECI are now complete and finalizing punch list. The roofing project for SPS had also began.

• Graduation plans for ECI were announced to be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 24. SHS will host graduation services the following morning on Saturday, July 25, at 9 a.m. Both graduation ceremonies will take place at their school’s football stadium. Social distancing will be practiced for all family units.

Dr. Judy then presented Emanuel County Schools reopening plan located below.

Guidelines for Opening Schools on August 3, 2020 Emanuel County Schools has adopted the following guidelines to reopen our schools based on the latest CDC, Georgia Department of Public Health, and the Georgia Department of Education recommendations:

• All students and employees must stay home if they have COVID-19 symptoms, tested positive for COVID-19, or had close contact with a person with COVID-19 within a 14-day window. Employees and parents/guardians are asked to self-report to the school nurse. A written physician’s release will be required for return. Quarantined students will have access to their education through a variety of methods.

• Temperature checks will be required of all personnel and students before entering the school environment. Students and employees with COVID-19 symptoms or a temperature of 100 and above will be immediately isolated, required to wear a mask, and sent home. Local health officials will be notified immediately for guidance on the next steps.

• Employees are encouraged to wear masks when social distancing is not possible - for example, helping a student with an assignment at their desk. Students are not required - but are encouraged - to wear a mask, especially in common areas such as hallways and bathrooms. Counselors and administrators will support mask-wearing efforts at each school. Students who ride school buses are required to wear masks. The school nor district will provide mask.

• The school nurse will be the school’s main COVID-19 point of contact.

• Frequent hand washing breaks will take place daily in all elementary schools, where students will be required to wash their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds. Middle and high school students and employees will be reminded to wash their hands throughout the day for the same length of time.

• All will be reminded to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, place the tissue in the trash, and immediately wash their hands.

• Hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout each building. Locations include hallways, lunchroom, media center, office areas, etc. Students and staff are also encouraged to bring hand sanitizer from home.

• To promote COVID-19 protective measures, signs will be posted in highly visible locations, and schools will broadcast daily messages. 2 • Schools and departments will develop a schedule for increased cleaning and disinfection. The custodial staff has been trained on the safe and correct application of all disinfectants. Frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the day (door handles, sink handles, light switches, etc.).

• Ventilation systems will be monitored regularly to ensure proper operation and increased circulation of outdoor air as much as possible.

• Based upon classroom configuration and to the extent possible, student desks will face in the same direction, and students seated at tables will sit on the same side. Excess furniture will be removed from classrooms to allow teachers more room to separate students.

• The sharing of items that are difficult to clean or disinfect will be discouraged.

• Schools will promote social distancing when feasible and consider practices for transitioning, such as lanes for travel, throughout the school. Additional time for transitions, designate flow paths to minimize student congregation, stagger class movement to reduce the number of students in a hallway at the same time is just a few of these measures.

• Non-essential student movement throughout the school day will be limited.

• Outdoor recess will be continued, but the number of students gathered in one area will be limited. Some playground equipment that cannot be sanitized may be prohibited for student use.

• While ensuring the safety of children, to the extent possible, students will eat in classrooms, lunchrooms, and outside. This will allow students to be spread out during their lunchtime.

• Traditional water fountains will be closed; water fill stations will be open. Students and staff are encouraged to bring plastic water bottles from home (no carbonated or sugar drinks allowed).

• In place of field trips, assemblies, special performances, and school-wide meetings or events, including open house and curriculum nights, virtual activities will be pursued.

• No parent walk-up for dismissal. All afternoon car dismissals must stay in the car line.

• Non-essential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations will be limited.

• Parent/guardian teacher conferences will be held virtually, when possible. 3

• Guidance from the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) will be followed for school athletics.

• Transportation of Students on Buses:

o We encourage all parents that can transport their children to and from school to please do so. This will minimize the number of riders we have on a bus route.

o Students are required to wear a mask while riding the bus. Students will not be allowed on the school bus without a mask covering their nose and mouth. The school nor district will provide mask.

o Students will be asked to keep their hands to themselves and face forward throughout the trip to school and home. Parents need to encourage this of their children.

o All buses will be deep cleaned before the school year starts.

o Every bus will be equipped with disinfectant and will be disinfected after each route.

o Each bus will have hand sanitizer stations located at the entrance for students to use as they enter and leave the bus.

o Although many buses have air conditioning, drivers will partially open select windows of all buses to allow free flow of fresh air.

o The bus driver will utilize spaced seating (to extent practicable). o Students will be loaded from the back to the front and then dismissed from the front to the back.

o To the extent practicable, siblings will sit together on the same seats.

• If a staff member or student tests positive for COVID -19:

o Schools and Districts will follow the Screening for and Responding to COVID-19 in K12 Schools.

In other news:

• Following the announced reopening plan for Emanuel County Schools, ublic participation was welcomed in which two individuals spoke on concerns.

• The board approved the consent agenda and FY20-21 reopening plan as presented.

• Board members then entered into executive session. Upon re-entering normal session, the following was announced:

• Board members approved the employment of certified employees— Dedra Fellkel, Tammy Harvey, Nakeavis Hunter, Raymond Scott, and Glen Stone, teachers.

• The board approved the employment of classified employees— Patricia Beasley, Chrishanna Brown, Robin Rainey, and Lisa Walton, SFS assistants; Deven Bennett, clerical; Laurel Brown and Mallory Wheeler, paraprofessionals; and Roger Fulghum, bus driver.

• Resignations of certified employees approved by board members included Christopher Pye, Rekayl Simpkins, Vickie Ward, and Alisha Wesley—Moore, teachers.

• Approved resignations of classified employees included Jennifer Dixon and Mallory Weber, paraprofessionals.

• Transfers approved by board members included TCE Teacher Amanda Reynolds, certified employee; and SHS paraprofessional Jessica Andrews, classified employee.

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