The Woodall Public School Board of Education held a special meeting Monday, July 27, and the website was updated with its Return to Learn plan on Tuesday.
"In an effort to keep the campus of Woodall School open for the 2020-2021 year ... the district commits to being proactive in terms of safety and maintaining the health of all students, staff and patrons who visit the campus," said Woodall Superintendent Ginger Knight.
Like all facets of life during the pandemic, this plan is ongoing and subject to change.
On Aug. 3, Woodall announced the decision to delay the start of school for students until Thursday, Aug. 2.
"This will allow more time for our staff to prepare for the very different, upcoming school year. We need to prepare technology and schedule an orientation time, for students who choose to start the year in distance learning," said Knight on Facebook.
School staff will still report on Aug. 10 for professional development and preparation for the school year. An updated school calendar will be available after the Aug. 10 Woodall School Board meeting.
Woodall will follow the Oklahoma State Department of Education's safety protocol, which uses the Department of Health's COVID-19 Alert System and its color categories, by county, to guide recommendations. As of July 28, Cherokee County was in the yellow zone, which means there are between 1.43 and 14.39 cases per 100,000 people.
"Parents who are not comfortable with their children returning to campus will be given an option of other pathways for learning. Please contact the counselor or principal," said Knight. "While it will be difficult, every effort will be made to maintain distance between students at school, when possible."
Woodall is offering traditional, blended, and online options. Every student will have an electronic device checked out to use on site and to take home if needed. Hot spots may be available for families without home internet. Traditional students will participate in necessary virtual days, and instruction on those days will be provided by teachers.
Students in the blended option will begin the semester on site, but if they need to transition to online learning due to health or safety concerns, they may do so.
Students who go home will follow the same lesson plans and grading scale as with the traditional path, and participate in virtual meetings. Families are warned this option is not to be abused for vacation time or because a child just wants to stay home. Those choosing this path should not be participating in or attending activities.
The online option will use the Edgenuity learning platform, and attendance and grades will be based on completion of assignments. Families must commit to a semester of online learning.
"While Woodall does not recommend this pathway, we recognize the need to provide this model for students who are self-disciplined and have family support. Parents will need to monitor learning to ensure students are completing self-paced lessons in a timely and efficient manner," said Knight.
The district will restrict entrance inside school buildings to students and staff. The office will have plexiglass sheeting across the office counters. Parents are encouraged to conduct all business by phone, text, or email. The Meet the Teacher open house night is canceled, and parent-teacher conferences will be held remotely. Parents will be contacted by a teacher and informed about the beginning of school.
The first day for students in grades K-8 is to be Aug.13, and preK will start Aug. 17.
Every effort will be made to social distance students on the bus, and students will have assigned seats.
"We encourage parents to transport their child to and from school, if possible," said Knight.
"Because social distancing on the bus will be difficult, drivers and students will be required to wear masks."
School gates will open at 7:30 a.m. and students may arrive after that time and go directly to their classrooms. There will be no supervision before 7:30 a.m., so students should not be dropped off early. Breakfast will be served in the classrooms, and the school day will start at 8 a.m.
Woodall staff will be provided with face masks, shields, and gloves, and will be asked to use the PPE as they see fit. The PPE will not be mandatory unless required by government officials. Hand sanitizer dispensers will be in every classroom and disinfecting wipes will be provided.
Students in preK-grade 5 will stay with the same classmates and teacher as much as possible, while students in grades 6-8 will stay with the same students in one classroom. Teachers will travel to those classrooms for instruction. Students will have assigned seats and must stay in them as much as possible. The seating charts will be provided to the Cherokee County Health Department to assist in contact tracing.
Sixth-grade textbooks and supplies will be placed in cubbies, and students in grades 7-8 will have lockers spaced apart. Students will go to lockers in groups of three-five people. The e-Hall Pass program will be used to limit the number of students in the restrooms, halls, office, and library. Cafeteria schedules will be adjusted to provide social distancing, and students will stay seated with their classes while in the cafeteria. Cafeteria tables will be sanitized before the next class enters. The playground will be disinfected frequently, and only one class will use it at a time.
"The district will regularly maintain and disinfect all high-traffic areas such as halls, bathrooms, gym, cafeteria, etc. This will help with the spread of the virus, but it will not guarantee someone won't contract the virus on campus," said Knight.
Drinking fountains will be closed and water bottle filling stations will be used, so students will need to bring their own non-breakable water bottles each day. The after-school program will be offered until 5:15 p.m. Students will be grouped by grade level and stay with their groups.
"Parents with students involved in extracurricular activities must understand and accept the risks involved with those activities. Seventh- and eighth-grade athletics and chorus will have seventh- and eighth-grade students combined for that hour," said Knight.
No field trips, classroom parties, assemblies, or large group activities will be scheduled until further notice. Extracurricular activities have been postponed until September.
For information on Woodall Public School, visit www.woodall.k12.ok.us.