WAPAKONETA – Procedures were agreed upon this week among educational groups in Auglaize County to deal with COVID-19 protocols and restrictions as part of plans for reopening schools this fall.
Superintendents of Auglaize county schools along with the Apollo Career Center, Tri-Star Career Center, and the county’s Health Department came together on July 7 at the Auglaize County Education Service Center to create a common practices agreement to deal with COVID-19.
The heads of the various school systems plan to provide the information to parents in each of their districts. Each district will outline the details of their approach to controlling COVID-19 infections.
Overall, the school officials agreed that while there will be a measure of risk while attending classes, prevention of infections will be critical, with the use of good hygiene practices and temperature-taking as part of their routines to control infection.
The wearing masks will be required for staff and strongly encouraged for students grades 3 and up.
If COVID-19 symptoms are detected among staff or students, a policy of communication and quarantine will be implemented. The county Health Department is tasked to develop that communications procedure, which would include sharing of information about occurrences of exposure to COVID-19.
If a student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, they cannot return to class until cleared by the Health Department. Those students or employees who are diagnosed with COVID but symptom-free must stay home for ten days.
It was also agreed if remote learning is requested, school districts will work with parents and students to determine when and how often a student may switch from a traditional classroom to on line and back.
Food service will be offered by all school districts. Logistics need to be determined by each district as to how to comply with health department guidelines. Assigned seating will be strongly encouraged and for some grades alternate locations may be used.
Each school district will decide on whether to allow visitors, following criteria safety protocols such as taking temperatures and having volunteers assigned to a consistent work area.
Parents duties are that a child’s health be monitored each day. They request that any child with a temperature of 100 degrees or more be kept home. The schools will also request that they be informed if a child has COVID symptoms and is running a high fever. This will allow the school to recommend actions to be taken.
Students are asked to follow safety guidelines of mask wearing, frequent washing of hands, and avoiding touching hands to face.
Bus transportation will allow two students to a seat, with attempts to sit siblings together. Assigned seating is also possible, which will assist in contact tracing if needed.
If the state of Ohio require school districts to use alternative schedules, districts may adopt minimum requirements for transportation to reduce the number of students who are eligible for school transportation.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.