Ocean Springs schools to open with traditional schedule, option for virtual learning

OSSD is approaching its school's reopening in four main ways: "maintaining healthy environments, maintaining healthy operations, promoting behaviors that reduce the spread, and preparing for when someone gets sick."

Ocean Springs schools to open with traditional schedule, option for virtual learning
(Source: Wvue)

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - The Ocean Springs School District held a virtual board meeting Tuesday night, releasing plans for the upcoming school year.

The conclusion the board came to was to return to a traditional schedule while implementing enhanced health and safety protocols.

For those who wish to attend school virtually, the district said they can do so through an application process that opens Wednesday, July 15. It will stay open until July 24. This option is for students unable “to return in August due to documented medical needs or immunity concerns.”

The district reassured those who may lean towards this option saying “OSSD is prepared to support families who may need to continue learning via the Greyhound Virtual Academy in August due to medical needs.”

A survey was conducted, outlining responses from parents (1,726), secondary students (430), and staff (362) about their preferences for returning to school in a safe manner. Overall, OSSD found that “parents, students, and staff intend to return in the fall. Students are not opposed to a hybrid return model as an option.”

Here are the safety measures OSSD outlined and plans to implement during the upcoming school:

Wearing of Masks

  • OSSD Staff: Must wear masks or face shields at all times when social distancing is not possible. The training for the proper care and when to wear the mask/shield will be provided on Aug 5th.
    • Both face shields and masks have been purchased by the district for employees.
  • OSSD Students: All students must wear masks while on school buses
    • All students must wear masks during arrival and dismissal times as social distancing is not possible
    • All students must wear masks during class changes and to pick up grab & go breakfast and lunch Face shields are not appropriate for students to wear according to the CDC.
    • Students will not be required to wear masks in class as we will keep class

Hand Sanitation Protocols

  • Installed 600 additional hand sanitation stations in our schools and buses this summer.
  • Students will sanitize hands upon entering the school bus, each classroom, before lunch, and after recess time. In addition, hand washing will be monitored before lunch for our younger students.

Cleaning of OSSD Facilities

  • Frequently touched surfaces and objects in common areas will be cleaned/disinfected throughout the day by Diversified custodial staff.
  • Frequently touched surfaces and objects in classrooms will be cleaned/disinfected by teachers/asst teachers throughout the day.
  • No water fountains will be used unless they are bottle fillers. Students must bring individual/ personal water bottles. OSSD had additional water bottle fillers installed in schools this summer.

Evaluation of OSSD Air Handling Systems in Collaboration with Singing River Health Systems

  • In order to ensure the safety of the employees, students, and facilities the Operations Director will be meeting with the SRHS Facilities Director (Randall Cobb) to discuss the selection of disinfectant products and their application.
  • This will ensure that the products used are of the highest quality and take into consideration students or staff who have known allergies or respiratory issues.
  • This assessment will review the HVAC systems in the building, checking air exchanges specifically, to review the proper application and use of disinfectants with the district’s equipment

OSSD Bus Transportation Protocols

  • Sanitation Protocol
    • Students will sanitize their hands upon entering the school bus (sanitation stations have been installed on each bus in the stairwell).
    • School buses will be sanitized daily between the elementary and secondary routes and at the end of the day.
  • Health Protocol
    • All drivers will wear masks/or face shields when students are present. A log of each student who rides each route, each day, will be kept on file for contact tracing purposes.
    • Face masks will be mandatory when boarding school buses and during transport. When riding the bus, students should put on their masks before entering the bus and they should avoid touching surfaces with their hands. (Student training video)

OSSD Child Nutrition Protocols

  • All OSSD students will have a Grab & Go breakfast option at each school.
  • No breakfast break at OSHS Classes will pick up meals at the cafeteria at a designated time.
  • Students will take their meals back to their classrooms.
  • OSSD has purchased close lid trays for this purpose. Cafeterias will not be used due to our school sizes.
  • Grab-and-Go meals will be available for distance learning students-follow a schedule similar to the Spring 2020 Grab-and-Go meal distribution plan.

Greyhound Athletics/ Performing Arts

  • Continue screening and sanitary protocols for practices. Governor’s Executive Order 1496 has been extended until the end of July.
  • MHSAA Board to meet on July 14, 2020, to give additional guidance on fall sports.
  • Details regarding sports and performing arts will be available later this summer.

For more information regarding OSSD’s plans for the upcoming school year, click here.

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