Grand View School will begin the 2020-2021 school year on Aug. 26, with adjusted day times of 8:05 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and off-site learning options.
Superintendent Ed Kennedy said community partnerships are important, especially during this time.
"If students, parents, staff, teachers, administrators, and patrons - and even vendors or guests - are not all on board with the safety measures we have identified, COVID wins," he said. "If we have too many ill students, teachers with positive test results, or classes with severe absenteeism, the school will be forced to close. We may close for a week, a month, or a semester."
He is relying on parents to do all they can to help the school staff take care of and educate their children.
"We'll only be as effective at this as our parents are. We're relying on them to help keep kids healthy. We ask parents to be flexible and ready to adapt," said Kennedy. "It's against the law to send a kid to school with something like this. That doesn't mean we'll call the school officer and arrest them, but we want the parents to be aware. Do right by us, and we'll do right by them."
For those not wanting to send their children to school at this time, a distance learning option is available. Children in the Bilby Early Learning Center up to second grade will have a take-home packet model, and for grades 3-8, it will be a virtual learning model.
"While we are proud of the distance learning models we will have in place, we want your student on campus, if possible. Therefore, if the distance learning model does not work for you and your child, they may immediately move back to a traditional on-campus instructional model," said Kennedy. "Unlike distance learning models at some schools or online agencies, our VLM and THPM will be taught by Grand View teachers. We will have those connections with your students, and we are reviewing technology tools that may allow your student to follow along at home to any or all of the class offerings."
VLM students will work at their own pace and on their schedule, but they will be held accountable academically.
All students in grades 3-8 will have Chromebooks assigned to them. Those on campus will be able to take them home in case of closure. Students in Early Childhood to second grade may get a take-home device if an appropriate learning tool is found.
"We have challenges, and one of them is getting our hands on technology. The Chromebooks we ordered in April were supposed to be here in July. Now they're telling us September or October," said Kennedy. "Hot spots are on order. In the event they are not available when school starts, a suitable arrangement will be made."
Those without internet access in their homes can request a hot spot, and families with three or more students can request two hot spots.
Grand View is the beneficiary of the Community Eligibility Provision, so meals are free to all students. Those in the distance learning programs will still be able to get meals. Families are to be surveyed so they can choose if they want to pick up meals at an on-campus meal distribution point every day, or pick up all 10 meals for the week at once.
For those opting for face-to-face instruction, school gates will open at 7:30 a.m. No supervision will be available before then. Face coverings will be required, and everyone should have their temperature checked before riding a bus or entering the school building.
"We're discouraging bus usage so there can be more social distancing," said Kennedy.
The buses will be sanitized after each route. Seating charts will be used on the bus and in class.
According to the Return to Learn Plan, students will remain with their classes or cohort groups the entire day, with very limited interaction with other groups.
"This keeps groups isolated in the event of an outbreak and also aides in contact tracing to determine who might be exposed," said Kennedy.
Students at the Early Learning Center will be served meals in their classrooms. For breakfast, elementary and middle school students will go to the cafeteria, get a food tray, and then go to their classrooms to eat. Lunch will be planned so that one only one elementary class is in the cafeteria at a time. Middle school students will get grab-and-go meals from the cafeteria to take back to their classrooms.
Students are to bring a reusable water bottle with them, and filling stations will be available.
Grand View will have a trained COVID-19 team consisting of three health aides and other volunteers with backgrounds or training in student health.
"They can serve to discreetly move symptomatic students to an assessment area. They will help isolate students who need to be picked up by parents," said Kennedy.
One thing Kennedy stressed is that parents are urged to communicate with school officials before deciding to withdraw a student from Grand View. Cherokee County school districts are wanting to keep students enrolled, so the kids can eventually return to their home schools. This keeps the community stronger, and the schools still receive funding for each pupil.
For information about Grand View School, call 918-456-5131 or visit www.grandviewchargers.org.