HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Schools in the Harrison County School District are less than a month away from starting back up.
The district released specific plans for the 2020-2021 school year in response to the coronavirus pandemic and a recent survey they took which indicated “an overwhelming desire and need for students to return to school in a traditional fashion.”
However, the school district did approve an option for students to allow for distance learning after a special-called meeting July 24. If students choose distance learning, they will be required to maintain that option for the entire semester and cannot participate in extracurricular activities, including athletic programs.
Students who want to choose distance learning must have access to a computer and internet access, and they must participate actively during the entire regular school day.
Parents who wish to enroll their students in the distance learning option must fill out THIS FORM and return it to the school principal before July 31 at 3 p.m.
Students can also participate in a Medical Homebound program if anyone in the student’s household, not just the student, has a documented medical concern. Participants can receive up to nine weeks of homebound instruction, either virtually or through printed material. That application can be found HERE and must be submitted to the school principal for approval by 5 p.m. July 31.
Students who do attend in-person classes will be required to wear masks. The acceptable face-covering options students must use are highlighted below as defined by the district.
- Cloth Masks
- Handmade Cloth Masks (that follow CDC guidance)
- Disposable Masks
- Neck Gaiters
- Face Shields (with a mask underneath )
Overall, they hope to keep students, teachers, and staff members healthy, happy, and safe, and they believe their schedule for the upcoming year will do just that.
“We are planning simple, yet strict wellness screenings for all adults and students as they arrive to school. This may consist of daily temperature and symptom checks. Additionally, we have expanded our custodial staff and implemented extra safety measures inside our buildings to further strengthen our health protocols. To maintain a healthy school environment, we will need the full cooperation of our community. Together, we can tackle these challenges and do what is best for our children,” the district said in a statement.
Students are set to return back to Harrison County schools on August 6, and “in-person school attendance will be required unless the school principal is provided medical documentation of specific health reasons a student cannot attend, as per district policy.”
The guidelines in place for the upcoming school year are fluid as they may change along with public health updates, state executive orders, and local guidelines.
- Students and bus drivers will wear masks or face coverings that follow the dress code while inside the bus (Mandatory). Hand sanitizer will be available on each school bus. Drivers will sanitize the bus at the conclusion of all bus routes with spray sanitizer. Parents will be informed of the precautionary measures being implemented by HCSD. Parents will be informed of their expectations: Ex. Sick students should not ride the bus, etc. Efforts will be made to implement social distancing where possible. HCSD recommends parents transport students to and from school when possible. No field trips.
- Students and staff will be required to wear a mask at school that follows dress code unless social distancing can be maintained. The issue of masks will be revisited frequently in order to comply with updated health recommendations.
- Walkers: Staff will supervise social distancing considerations provided by the CDC. Students will enter through a designated entrance. Students may have their temperature checked upon entry of the building each day. Multiple hand sanitizer stations will be available upon entry of the building. Students will report to a designated area as assigned by the principal. Anyone showing symptoms or having a temperature of 100 degrees or more will be retained in a designated area and parents will be contacted.
- Car & Bus Riders: Staff will supervise social distancing considerations provided by the CDC. Students will enter through multiple drop-off locations or entrances. The number of students exiting at one time will be limited. Students may have their temperature checked upon entry of the building each day. Multiple hand sanitizer stations will be available upon entry of the building. Students will report to a designated area as assigned by the principal. Anyone showing symptoms or having a temperature of 100 degrees or more will be retained in a designated area and parents will be contacted.
- Car Riders & Walkers: Staff will supervise social distancing considerations provided by the CDC. Staff will monitor the gradual, controlled release of students.
- Bus Riders: Staff will supervise social distancing considerations provided by the CDC. Staff will monitor the gradual, controlled release of students. Schools may provide multiple loading locations or limit the number of buses loading.
- Check-In and Check-Out: Signs will be posted with protocols for check in and check out. Schools will establish a designated time and location for checkouts.
- All visitors will be required to wear a mask. Visitors will not be allowed in areas where students are involved in activities. Parent/teacher meetings shall be held via video conference or phone to the extent possible. Visitors on campus are discouraged, for the protection of our employees and students.
- Gym Capacity: Current executive order allows no more than 50-percent building capacity.
- Social Distancing: Classes or group exercise activities are permitted. Participants shall maintain a minimum of six feet between each individual at all times.
- Cleaning: Shared equipment will be sanitized by a coach before and after each practice or class. Gym floors shall be deep cleaned daily.
- Cafeteria Staff Personal Protection Equipment Provisions: Gloves and masks, hand sanitizer stations, temperature taken before clock-in
- Cafeteria Facilities: Hand washing sink and sneeze guards, floor taped in congregate areas/lines, sanitized between serving periods, restricted to school meal service only (no facility requests), restricted to HCSD students & staff only (no visitors), student touchless hand sanitization stations at each serving line
- Removed from Service: Self-serve produce stations, share tables, condiment stands, pin pads at cashier stands, extra a la carte food sales
- Changes in Service: Cashiers will remain behind serving line sneeze guards. Daily rosters will be provided to the cashier by teachers.
- Changes in Schedule: Additional lunch periods may be scheduled by the principal. Classes may alternate between eating in the cafeteria and the classroom.
- Changes in Seating: Single-sided seating, social distancing and classroom dining to decrease occupancy.
- Supplies: Touchless hand sanitizers will be placed at all school entrances. Touchless hand sanitizers will be placed in all cafeterias. Hand sanitizers will be available in all classrooms. Additional disinfectant wipes have been ordered for each classroom. HCSD has purchased spray sanitizing equipment to spray large spaces.
- Custodial Staffing: HCSD has hired additional custodians to assist with cleaning & sanitizing school facilities as often as possible.
- Procedures: Classrooms will be cleaned and sanitized daily. Every effort will be made to wipe down surfaces and materials during class change.
- Classrooms: Teachers will arrange their classrooms to maximize social distancing. Students will not share materials or supplies to the greatest extent possible. Strict seating charts will be maintained. Staff will ensure all classrooms, restrooms, and all high-traffic areas are routinely cleaned and sanitized throughout the school day.
- Class Transitions: Each school will design a traffic flow plan for class changes to maximize social distancing. The plan will depend on the layout of each building.
- Recess: Elementary students will have recess and be encouraged to social distance. The number of students on the playground may be limited.
- Each student may have his/her temperature checked daily by school staff.
- Students or staff who test positive for COVID-19 will be quarantined from school and school-related activities for at least 14 calendar days. Individuals previously diagnosed with COVID must be fever or symptom-free for 72 hours before they can return to school.
- Parents will be notified of students/staff who have been in close contact with the positive COVID-19 individual and their child will also be quarantined from school and school-related activities for 14 calendar days, as per the current Mississippi Health Department Guidelines.
- Parents must notify the school principal immediately upon their child receiving a positive COVID-19 test result. HCSD will follow the guidance of the Mississippi Department of Health.
- Each campus will have access to a school nurse and a social worker/counselor.
- HCSD will follow all Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) guidelines and recommendations as it pertains to athletic events and activities. Those activities include band, choir, and cheerleading. School districts must abide by MHSAA rules and regulations as a member of the organization.
- No outside entities will be allowed to use or rent school district facilities at this time.