By David Martin

District approves reopening plan


Kids will be returning to their schools Aug. 19 if its reopening plan is approved by the state.

The Sweetwater County School District No. 2 board of trustees approved its Smart Start Plan, which creates the three-tiered opening plan for the school year. The district will open in the first tier, but will change what tier it operates under depending on guidelines issued from county and state health officers.

The first tier allows for in-person classes and activities as appropriate and buildings will be open to all students. Social distancing and masks will be required to the greatest extent possible and most students will be in school at the same time.

The second tier supports a hybrid opening which uses both in-person and adaptive learning as the buildings will only be open to some students, with masks and social distancing used to the greatest extent possible. The third tier closes the buildings to students as a result of local or state health mandates and utilizes adaptive learning for students.

The plan states random temperature checks may be conducted and those with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will be sent home. Children and staff with other symptoms associated with COVID-19 will also be sent home. Should a student become ill while at school, the school’s staff will evaluate the student’s symptoms and have the student distance themselves while they wait for their parent or guardian to pick them up. The school would then follow up with the county health office for advice on how to proceed.

In regards to recess and cafeteria dining, the plan states schools may consider modifying recess and lunch schedules. Schools may implement sanitizing routines for recess while lunch areas may see modified seating areas and service lines to adhere to social distancing guidelines and sanitization needs.

A parent survey initiated by the district resulted in 82% of those responding saying they wanted schools opened. A majority of parents, 68%, also stated they were comfortable implementing a flexible school calendar to accommodate possible health orders.

“We all know ... this has got to be a team effort,” board chairman Steve Core said. “Everybody needs to understand that this is a very fluid situation. The calendar we’re looking at starting Aug. 19 may not happen.”


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