Lexington Public Schools to discuss reopening plan at next school board meeting

The plan to reopen Lexington Public Schools this fall will be discussed at the next school board meeting on Monday, July 13 at 7 p.m.

LEXINGTON — Area schools in Kearney and Grand Island have released their reopening plans this week and Lexington Public Schools will discuss theirs on Monday, July 13.

According to Superintendent John Hakonson, the plan for reopening Lexington Public Schools will be presented at the school board meeting.

It will take place in-person at Lexington City Council Chamber at 406 E. 7th St. at 7 p.m.

The board also will hold two public hearings on student fee policies and the parental involvement policy.

Grand Island Public Schools announced three different models for reopening, this includes “Reimagined,” in which the majority of students are served onsite with the online option determined by school district guidelines.

The second is “Select,” specific predetermined programs and services will be onsite while all others will be taught remotely.

The last is “Remote,” where if certain restrictions are in place, all students will be taught online.

Face masks will be required for all staff, students and anyone entering school facilities. Grand Island plans to start school on Wednesday, Aug. 12.

Kearney Public Schools unveiled five scenarios, which they can respond to different risk levels and directed health measures.

The different scenarios include staff and students on campus, an altered schools calendar, school in session with short term closures, hybrid of on campus and remote learning and full remote learning.

Depending on the risk level in Kearney schools, face masks may be requested but not required, but if the threat level is high enough, masks will be required for both staff and students.

Kearney Public Schools also made a survey available to parents asking them questions if they are comfortable with allowing their children to return to school, where they attend, internet access, etc.

President Donald Trump threatened this week if schools don’t reopen in the fall, federal funds would be held back. Trump said on social media the existing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines were, “very tough,” and “expensive.”

The CDC stated it would not revise its guidelines for school reopening, despite Trump’s calls to do so.

The CDC’s guideline calls for schools, regardless of the amount of community spread, to find out if there are confirmed persons with COVID-19 on campuses, assess the risk and then implement short dismissal times to clean, disinfect and contact trace with local officials.

If there is no community spread, the CDC states schools should prepare, teach and reinforce healthy hygiene, develop information sharing systems, intensify cleaning and disinfection, monitor absenteeism, assess group gathers and events, while considering postponing non-critical gatherings and to establish procedures if someone becomes sick at school.

If there is minimal to moderate community spread of the virus, schools should coordinate with local health officials, implement multiple social distancing strategies for gatherings, classrooms and movement through buildings and consider ways to accommodate the needs of children and families at high risk, the CDC guidance states.

If there is substantial community spread, schools will coordinate with health officials, implement social distancing strategies across the board with extended school dismissals, as well as accommodate the needs of those at high risk, the CDC states.

When a confirmed case has entered a school, regardless of community transmission, the CDC recommends several procedures in their guidance, including,

Coordinate with local health officials. Once learning of a COVID-19 case in someone who has been in the school, immediately notify local health officials. These officials will help administrators determine a course of action for their child care programs or schools.

Dismiss students and most staff for 2-5 days. This initial short-term dismissal allows time for the local health officials to gain a better understanding of the COVID-19 situation impacting the school. This allows the local health officials to help the school determine appropriate next steps, including whether an extended dismissal duration is needed to stop or slow further spread of COVID-19.

Local health officials’ recommendations for the scope (e.g., a single school, multiple schools, the full district) and duration of school dismissals will be made on a case-by-case basis using the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and the specific cases in the community.

During school dismissals, also cancel extracurricular group activities, school-based afterschool programs, and large events (e.g., assemblies, spirit nights, field trips, and sporting events).

Discourage staff, students, and their families from gathering or socializing anywhere. This includes group child care arrangements, as well as gathering at places like a friend’s house, a favorite restaurant, or the local shopping mall.

Communicate with staff, parents, and students. Coordinate with local health officials to communicate dismissal decisions and the possible COVID-19 exposure.

This communication to the school community should align with the communication plan in the school’s emergency operations plan.

Plan to include messages to counter potential stigma and discrimination.

In such a circumstance, it is critical to maintain confidentiality of the student or staff member as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.

Clean and disinfect thoroughly.

Close off areas used by the individuals with COVID-19 and wait as long as practical before beginning cleaning and disinfection to minimize potential for exposure to respiratory droplets. Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area. If possible, wait up to 24 hours before beginning cleaning and disinfection.

Cleaning staff should clean and disinfect all areas (e.g., offices, bathrooms, and common areas) used by the ill persons, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.

If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. For disinfection most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.

A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available hereexternal icon. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).

Additionally, diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted. Prepare a bleach solution by mixing: five tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or four teaspoons bleach per quart of water

Additional information on cleaning and disinfection of community facilities such as schools can be found on CDC’s website.

Make decisions about extending the school dismissal. Temporarily dismissing child care programs and K-12 schools is a strategy to stop or slow the further spread of COVID-19 in communities.

During school dismissals (after cleaning and disinfection), child care programs and schools may stay open for staff members (unless ill) while students stay home. Keeping facilities open: a) allows teachers to develop and deliver lessons and materials remotely, thus maintaining continuity of teaching and learning; and b) allows other staff members to continue to provide services and help with additional response efforts. Decisions on which, if any, staff should be allowed in the school should be made in collaboration with local health officials.

Child care and school administrators should work in close collaboration and coordination with local health officials to make dismissal and large event cancellation decisions. Schools are not expected to make decisions about dismissal or canceling events on their own. School dismissals and event cancellations may be extended if advised by local health officials. The nature of these actions (e.g., geographic scope, duration) may change as the local outbreak situation evolves.

Administrators should seek guidance from local health officials to determine when students and staff should return to schools and what additional steps are needed for the school community. In addition, students and staff who are well but are taking care of or share a home with someone with a case of COVID-19 should follow instructions from local health officials to determine when to return to school.

Implement strategies to continue education and related supports for students.

Ensure continuity of education.

Review continuity plans, including plans for the continuity of teaching and learning. Implement e-learning plans, including digital and distance learning options as feasible and appropriate.

Determine, in consultation with school district officials or other relevant state or local partners:

If a waiver is needed for state requirements of a minimum number of in-person instructional hours or school days (seat time) as a condition for funding;

How to convert face-to-face lessons into online lessons and how to train teachers to do so;

How to triage technical issues if faced with limited IT support and staff;

How to encourage appropriate adult supervision while children are using distance learning approaches; and

How to deal with the potential lack of students’ access to computers and the Internet at home.

Ensure continuity of meal programs.

Consider ways to distribute food to students.

If there is community spread of COVID-19, design strategies to avoid distribution in settings where people might gather in a group or crowd. Consider options such as “grab-and-go” bagged lunches or meal delivery.

Consider alternatives for providing essential medical and social services for students.

Continue providing necessary services for children with special healthcare needs, or work with the state Title V Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) Program.

The entirety of the CDC’s guidance found at the CDC website, cdc.gov.

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