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The Manchester Local School District Board of Education held a meeting on July 8 to discuss its plan for returning to school.

“Obviously we all know why we’re here, is to figure out our plan for going back to school. There was 12 of us that met one day this week, and a few of us that had met the week prior, so altogether we put several hours into this. It was a great collaboration between both unions and administration,” said Superintendent Brian Rau.

Rau acknowledged the inevitability of community members complaining about the plan.

“All of us, I don’t care what community you live in, whether it’s Manchester down south, or Manchester up north, people are going to complain about the plan. It’s inevitable, you can’t help it. Everybody has different plans to accommodate what they think is best for their district,” said Rau.

Rau prefaced that the current plan documents were fluid and subject to change.

“Second thing that people need to remember, there is no perfect plan for any of this. It’s also very difficult to implement the plan perfectly. All we can do is the very best that we can. The question I kind of pose to myself, is, can we ever do enough to keep students safe and healthy? The answer is no, you can’t. You’re always going to forget something, and you’re always going to not do things maybe you should have. We can do the very best we can, to the utmost of our abilities, which we do, to keep kids safe, and now in these times, keep kids healthy,” said Rau.

The truth of the matter is, it’s never going to be enough, he said.

“I cannot, as a superintendent, guarantee any child’s safety walking into this school, and I’ll say this with the pandemic. I cannot sit here and guarantee every kid’s health during this pandemic. Every time you leave the house, there is an inherent risk that someone takes, and that’s some things that people just need to kind of keep in mind as we’re working through this plan,” said Rau.

Rau presented the results of the return-to-school survey distributed late in June. The survey found a nearly consistent 50/50 split regarding the comfortablity of parents sending their children back to school, children riding the bus and children eating breakfast and lunch in the cafeteria.

“Half of our families are not comfortable sending their kids back to school in this pandemic. So we had to develop a plan that’s going to be somewhat conducive so we can show those 50 percent that’s not comfortable, to be somewhat more comfortable, and the one thing we do not want, is our kids going to a K-12 option because that means they’re not going to be Manchester students. So what we are going to do, is we are going to provide an online option,” said Rau.

The online learning platform which will be utilized is FutureEd Solutions — Rau said it will be renamed to align more with school thematics. Students who participate in the online option will still be eligible for sports and extracurricular activities.

The return-to-school plan consists of three parts; A, B and C, which are color-coordinated to reflect the Ohio Department of Health’s level of risk. The plan was at the request of Dr. William Hablitzel of the Adams County Health Department and was similarly approved.

“Dr. Hablitzel asked us to come up with three plans; Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, based on different risk levels. The Ohio Department of Health has four risk levels; yellow, orange, red and purple. We did not include a plan for purple, which is level four, because that means that everybody is shut down and we’re back to remote learning anyway. How do we determine which plan we’re going to be utilizing? We will get that guidance from the health department,” said Rau.

Yellow/Primary Plan/Plan A:

District Calendar

— Students will attend on Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday. Plan to deep clean our facilities on Wednesday.

— Transporting Students

— We will continue to provide single-route bus transportation as normal.

— Household members will sit together.

— Parents may choose to transport their child to and from school daily.

— Bus drivers will not conduct temperature checks.

— Face coverings are recommended for students.

— Face coverings are required for bus drivers when loading and unloading students.

Food Service

— Students will be eating in the cafeteria with one another and not in the classroom.

— Students will sit near each other with maximum distance provided when possible.

— There will be no self-service.

— Provide time for students to hand wash before and after meal service.

— Food service employees will be required to wear face coverings.

— Conduct cleaning of high-touch surfaces throughout the school day.

— We plan to provide meals on Wednesdays.

Conducting Large Group Gatherings

— Abide by the maximum number of people allowed to congregate as defined by the CDC and current Governor’s executive order

— Implement standard operating procedures while taking preventative measures.

— Face coverings are recommended for students.

— Staff is required to wear face coverings.

— Limit unnecessary congregations of students and staff.

— Follow OHSAA guidelines for sporting events and practices.

Visitors

— Visitors will be kept to a minimum.

— Social Distancing & Class Size

— School personnel will do our best to accommodate social distancing.

— Class sizes will remain at normal levels.

— Students will be permitted to have clear containers holding water. Community water fountains will not be available.

— Face coverings are recommended for students.

— Face coverings are required for staff.

— Each building will develop a social distancing plan, which will be conducive for their

respective building.

Supporting Teaching and Learning

— Conduct cleaning of classrooms and high touch surfaces each day.

— Limit physical interaction throughout the class time (i.e. partner or group work).

— Prepare for potential future remote learning.

— Hand hygiene products will be available in all buildings and high volume areas.

— Parents may opt out of recess.

Practicing Prevention

— Students are expected to monitor their own temperatures and their health on a daily basis

before coming to school.

— Teach and reinforce good hygiene measures such as hand washing, covering coughs, and

face coverings.

— Hand hygiene products will be available in all buildings and high volume areas.

— Post signage in classrooms, hallways, and entrances to communicate how to stop the spread.

— Post signage regarding COVID-19 symptoms, preventative measures (including staying home when sick), and good hygiene.

— Clean/disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least daily and shared objects after each use.

— Allow students and staff to bring hand sanitizer, face coverings, and a clear water bottle to use from home.

— Staff are required to wear face coverings.

— Conduct deep cleaning of schools each Wednesday.

When a student or staff member becomes sick

— Diagnosed with positive COVID-19 case:

— Communication will be developed by the Adams County Health Department, not

the school district.

— Specify to parents which classrooms/bus/school building/other school activity the

confirmed case was in (e.g. Mr. Smith). More generalized statement to building

staff.

— The school district will cooperate with the Adams County Health Department in

contact tracing to identify close contacts of the case of COVID-19.

— 14-day quarantine will be required of any student who is determined to have close

contact with the case of COVID-19 by the Adams County Health Department.

— The Adams County Health Department will write a letter for the school district to

use and the letter will explain/define what is considered close contact to a COVID-19 case that will result in quarantine.

— Work with school administrators, school nurses, and other healthcare providers to

identify an isolation room or area to separate anyone who exhibits COVID-like

symptoms.

— Expectations for students and staff returning to school include:

— Students and staff with a fever of 100˚ F will be sent home.

— Students and staff may not return to school until they have been fever and symptom free for a minimum of 24-hours, without the help of a fever reducer, including but not limited to Tylenol, Motrin, Aspirin, etc.

— Example: If the nurse would send a child home on Monday, the earliest they

would be permitted to return to school would be Wednesday.

— Students with fever or respiratory symptoms should be placed in a mask/face

covering and isolated in a designated area until they can be picked up by a parent

or guardian.

Orange/Plan B:

District Calendar

— Same as outlined in Yellow/Plan A.

Transporting Students

— Same as outlined in Yellow/Plan A. Additionally;

— Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces on the bus at least twice daily.

— Air-out buses when not in use.

Food Service

— Same as outlined in Yellow/Plan A.

Conducting Large Group Gatherings

— No large meetings in the cafeteria or gym.

— If large group meetings are necessary, we will utilize Google Meet or Zoom.

— Parents may opt out of recess.

Visitors

— No visitors will be permitted in the building.

Social Distancing and Class Size

— Same as outlined in Yellow/Plan A, except class sizes will be conducted differently.

Supporting Teaching and Learning

— Traditional instruction will be delivered to students attending on-site.

— Students not attending on-site will utilize remote instruction.

— Hand hygiene products will be available in all buildings and high volume areas.

— Conduct cleaning of classrooms and high touch surfaces each day.

— Limit physical interaction throughout the class time (i.e. partner or group work).

— Use master schedule to balance class numbers as much as possible- remove unused desks and furniture in the classroom; maximize social distancing.

— Establish distance between teacher’s desk and student’s desk.

Practicing Prevention

— Wellness screening will be conducted at school.

— Teach and reinforce good hygiene measures such as hand washing, covering coughs, and face coverings

— Hand hygiene products will be available in all buildings and high volume areas.

— Post signage in classrooms, hallways, and entrances to communicate how to stop the spread.

— Post signage regarding COVID-19 symptoms, preventative measures (including staying home when sick), and good hygiene.

— Clean/disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least daily and shared objects after each use.

— Provide face coverings and other PPE, if necessary, to students and staff.

— Face coverings are required for all students and staff.

— Allow students and staff to bring hand sanitizer, face coverings, and a clear water bottle to use from home.

— Conduct deep cleaning of schools each Wednesday.

When a student or staff member becomes sick

— Diagnosed with positive COVID-19 case:

Same as outlined in Yellow/Plan A.

Red/Plan C:

— School buildings and facilities are closed; reduce contact by delivering a week’s worth of meals during a designated time and location; implement a remote learning plan.

— Use social media and other communications to inform parents, students, and staff about COVID-19 updates.

“If we go into red mode, then I will use our website, people will use the Facebook page, I’ll keep folks informed as best I can throughout the updates. So with that said, that’s the plan,” said Rau.

A team will meet July 16 to develop the remote learning plan. A special meeting will be held July 22 to adopt the revised school calender and remote learning plan.

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