Return to school plan approved
The Cameron R-1 School District Board of Education unanimously approved returning to school on time following Monday’s special meeting inside the Goodrich Theater.
The board unanimously approved a four-tier plan with each tier created to match the necessary measures needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We’ve taken bits and pieces of this plan from other school districts and tried to come up with a way it will best meet Cameron’s needs,” Superintendent Matt Robinson said. “It’s probably not going to meet everyone’s needs, but we feel like it is the best plan for Cameron overall … As part of the process, we’ve had teachers, administrators and nurses – all types of people involved – as part of the committee work on this. In addition, we also did surveys of staff and surveys of the community and we returned about 700 household forms.”
As part of the Plan A, students will regularly attend class in person. Should the district receive information indicating a potential outbreak, it may require students sixth through 12th would then enter Plan B. As part of Plan B, the district would split middle and high school students into two groups, Group A and Group B, which the district would determine by alphabetical order. While Group A attends class, Group B would take an Alternative Method of Instruction day. Students on AMI will access their coursework online. Students without access to the internet would take home work packets, which their teacher would grade after quarantining the packet for 72 hours. Students attending Parkview Elementary School and Cameron Intermediate School would continue attending classes face-to-face.
“When we look at Parkview and [Cameron Intermediate School], we feel we’re going to be able to cohort those students will be with the same kids all day long. They will be in the same classroom all day long,” Cameron R-1 Asst. Superintendent Laurie Medford said. “… Disinfecting will not be as much of an issue. That’s the reason why we’re recommending [splitting] grades sixth through 12th. Grades sixth through 12th are transitioning daily. It’s more difficult to track the classrooms they are in and harder to practice social distancing.”
If positive COVID-19 cases continue the district may enter Plan C, when only grades kindergarten through fifth would physically attend class while the remaining Cameron students would take AMI coursework. Plan D is a complete shutdown. In this event, both Group A and Group B students would receive their AMI assignments and packets Monday with the assignments and due the following Monday.
“The CDC offered us guidance for this and we used their recommendations. If a kiddo tests positive, before returning they have to be fever free for 72 hours without medication, symptom free for 10 days,” Medford said. “… The key to communicating, aside from notifications, is as a faculty, as a staff, as a district and as a community we continue to reinforce if you do not feel well you have to stay home. If you have any symptoms, then you have to stay home … Attendance will not count against a kiddo. It will not count against that.”
Students grade sixth through 12th will be required to wear a facial cover. Although not policy, the district strongly encourages pre-K through fifth-grade students to wear facial coverings. Visitors will not be allowed inside school buildings. Parents will be allowed to opt into an online only program.
“Our recommendation is that all staff wear facial coverings every day. Students pre-K through [fifth] will be strongly encouraged and students in grades six (and up) will be required to wear those,” Medford said. “… Visitors will not be allowed to visit the building. We understand the value of having families inside the building. We just feel at this time we need to eliminate that.”
Medford said Durham Bus Company ensures its drivers will sanitize the bus after each route and perform a pre-boarding temperature test on him or herself before picking up any students. Students grades sixth through 12th will be required to wear masks while on board and assigned seating with their siblings to further reduce potential spread.
“How we exit the buildings, how we load the buses all have to be modified as much as possible to allow for social distancing, to allow to spread out. The committee put in a lot of work. We’ve been meeting since May to create this draft plan,” Medford said.
All meal services, including breakfast, will take place inside the classroom. Students will be restricted from using water fountains, instead the school will provide water coolers and disposable cups. In order to better track students infected by COVID-19, students will have assigned seating both in class and during meal service.
“If we have a positive test, it will make it easier to work with our county health department offices in tracing,” Medford said.