Monday marks the first day of the 2020-21 school year in which every student in the Warren County School System will be in class at the same time.
All students are scheduled to be in school Monday through Thursday with no school on Friday. Students will learn virtually on Fridays, which will also allow for deep cleaning of the schools and provide teachers time to catch up with students learning in the VIP@Home setting.
With schools at full capacity, social distancing will be more difficult. School hallways, cafeterias, and common areas are being marked to reinforce social distancing, but the prescribed six feet of separation may not always be an option.
“In many cases there will not be enough room with the traditional schedule. Teachers are spacing as much as possible and following strict seating charts,” said Swallows. “The high school is the toughest building because of the number of students. They have established a traffic flow to better help with distancing.”
Swallows says the school system is well-prepared with masks, hand sanitizer, and hand soap and will make those available for students upon their return from break.
“We’ve stockpiled as a district and the state is replenishing us each month,” said Swallows. “Our schools have done a great job making hand sanitizer available to our students and that’s one reason we’ve been successful in limiting the spread.”
Swallows said students and faculty will be subjected to temperature checks daily before entering school buildings, but he asks parents to assist in practicing prevention.
“We strongly encourage parents to screen their children at home for illness symptoms and make the responsible choice for all involved," he said.
If a student or faculty member’s temperature is just above 99.7 degrees, that person will be given an opportunity to cool down for a short period of time and be retested. If their temperature has dropped, they will be allowed to enter the building.
“Anyone with a temperature above 100.3 will be seen by a school nurse for further evaluation,” said Swallows.
Swallows cautioned parents, students, and staff to continue following the procedures that have kept positive cases of COVID-19 low in the school system to this point.
“I’m very proud of our efforts thus far and expect they will continue throughout the semester,” Swallows said. “Just because we’re going back to more of a traditional schedule, we are not abandoning our safety precautions. With more students in attendance every day there is more likelihood for close contact to occur and the possibility of an increase of positive cases. That will increase our number of students having to be quarantined for 14 days.”
“We must remain diligent in our safety,” Swallows said.