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School Board Talks About Changes In COVID-Era

The operation of school will be different when the fall semester begins in August, West Washington County Unit District Superintendent Scott Fuhrhop told the board at its meeting Thursday.

Procedures are being determined by the state, and are subject to change, he said.

Students will have temperatures checked by a no-touch thermometer as they enter.  Students will wear masks that will be provided by the state.

A maximum of 50 students/people are allowed in an area. So that means no assemblies or multiple classes eating in the cafeteria. One of the first sports to be affected is volleyball. The 50 person maximum includes players and fans.

The playground equipment will be roped off, but students can still play outside.

Students will bring their own water bottles, as the water fountains will be disconnected.

Plexiglass will be installed at the restroom sinks to minimize germ spreading because of proximity of students.

The building will have enhanced cleaning, with frequently touched areas sanitized every hour, and classrooms sanitized with foggers.

Although the ISHA had previously announced that sports teams would each be allowed 3 hours of practice a week in the summer, Fuhrhop was informed during the meeting that has been rescinded.

Equipment and supplies for enhanced cleaning have been purchased by through the $63,000 federal CARES grant.

Fuhrhop emphasized that students being able to return to school as normal is tentative. The district must have other plans in place to include scenarios of students alternating to attend two days  a week, so only half the students would be in the classroom each day. On one day a week no students  would attend, with the day designated for teacher preparation. Another plan will be for remote learning, as was done when on-site school ended March 16.

Small groups of teachers will begin planning the scenarios in July.

Superintendent Fuhrhop said that he is so appreciative of the good relations with the teachers and teacher’s union effort to find solutions for educating students. He thanked Union President Christy Sweet.

Fuhrhop and other area administrators will meet with a legal team in Springfield about any recourse of enforcing the state’s regulations.

The Superintendent said that he has been warned to expect less state funding for the 2021-2022 school year because of the state’s budget deficit. The federal government is assisting for the 2020-2021 school year.

Fuhrhop said that he expects the school will be required to offer summer school in 2021 to help younger students catch up to their grade levels.

Full Board Meeting details in this week’s issue.

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