HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Schools across the Coast were forced to shift the normal way they conducted classes.
For the Hancock County School District, next year may not require as drastic of a change. But to be sure of all possible scenarios, the district released three different plans to reopen in the fall. These include a traditional, hybrid, and distance-learning schedule.
“Our hope is that no matter what we may face ahead, teaching and learning will continue, it just may look a little different from what our normal has been”, said Hancock County School District superintendent, Allan Dedeaux.
As of July 6, the district plans on implementing the traditional schedule on the first day of school— August 6; however, that could change if new guidance is given by CDC, Governor’s office, Mississippi Department of Health, or Mississippi Department of Education.
“Safety is our first and foremost concern of all those involved – our students, their families, faculty, staff, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and community,” Dedeaux said.
- Traditional school attendance will resume for the 2020-2021 school year with few changes to school routines and extra-curricular activities.
- For parents with medically fragile children or parents who feel it is unsafe due to Covid-19 for their children to physically attend a campus, the option of distance learning will be available.
- Reporting to campus for sports and other extra-curricular activities will not be appropriate for students who choose distance learning.
- Students who participate in distance learning will have the option to return to the traditional schedule at the end of each nine weeks.
- Clear health protocols will be enforced including staying home when sick, notifying parents/staff when known exposure has occurred, and following specific re-entry procedures for students/staff who test positive for Covid-19.
- Students and staff will undergo daily temperature checks before access to the school campus will be allowed. Students who have a fever of 100.4 or higher, or other symptoms, will be isolated and the parents will be notified. HCSD requests that parents check their children’s temperatures daily before leaving for school. Parents should keep students at home if they are sick, display symptoms, or have a fever of 100.4 or higher.
- Approved cloth masks are encouraged, particularly on buses and during class changes. Social distancing will be expected where feasible.
- Transportation to and from school will be provided by HCSD buses; however, parents are strongly encouraged to drive their children to and from school or find other means of transportation whenever possible.
- There will be no visitors or volunteers allowed on campus without prior approval of the superintendent or his designee. Parent meetings will be held virtually or held in designated areas and will follow appropriate social distancing and sanitation protocols.
- Both breakfast and lunch will be served daily with appropriate precautions in place. Cafeteria workers will wear gloves and masks when serving students. Meals may be eaten in locations other than the cafeteria.
- School will be dismissed approximately one hour earlier than in years past in order to allow teachers time to prepare and provide instruction for distance learning.
- Activities that require extended contact with large groups will be limited.
- Schools will provide instruction for students and staff on minimizing the spread of infectious diseases. Increased signage will also be posted to help remind students and staff of precautions that should be taken in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- There will be increased cleaning of schools and high touch point areas.
- Hybrid Schedule Students will report to school for instruction according to the published schedule for each grade level or student group. Schedules will be designed so that approximately 50 percent of the students are on campus and the other 50 percent are learning from home. This will allow for smaller class sizes and more distance between students. Classrooms and facilities will be arranged in such a manner as to encourage social/physical distancing.
- School staff will be required to report to the school building daily.
- Schools will operate on an A/B schedule with approximately 50 percent of students on campus during each rotation. Each group will report to campus on designated days while the other group participates in distance learning. Classes with small enrollment numbers may report to campus Monday through Friday. Alternative school students will be required to report to campus Monday through Friday.
- Every effort will be made to ensure that siblings attending the same campus are placed in the same group so that they attend in-person classes on the same days.
- All operational and safety protocols outlined in Option 1 remain in effect.
- Staff will report to the school campus daily. Students will participate in distance learning daily with direct virtual instruction by HCSD teachers provided on a regular basis.
- In situations where access to the internet is not available to students, course content/assignments/instruction will be downloaded to a device or flash drive and provided to the student. If access to a device cannot be provided, students will be provided with other learning opportunities and/or print materials. Course content/assignments/instruction will be updated on a regular basis. Teachers and other staff members will provide assistance to students by phone or other means on a regular basis.
- Grades will be assigned following normal district grading policies as listed in student handbooks.
- Attendance will be recorded according to MDE guidelines.
- Students participating in virtual classrooms will demonstrate appropriate behavior and dress as listed in the student handbook. Behavior or dress that does not meet the standards listed in the student handbook will be documented by the teacher and reported to the appropriate administrator. A parent meeting will be scheduled.