CHALMERS — At least one White County school system has finalized plans to return to class for the upcoming academic year.
Frontier School Corporation Superintendent Dan Sichting released plans Thursday morning for the district to begin school Aug. 6. The plan went into effect June 30 and is pending school board approval at its July 27 meeting.
“Frontier School Corporation will be implementing the necessary health and safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Sichting noted in the school corporation’s reopening plan statement. “Administration and local health authorities will constantly evaluate the presence of COVID-19 in the school community and our ability to maintain a safe environment within our schools.”
According to the plan, the junior/senior high school will have in-person classes from 8:05 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. Monday through Friday. Doors to the school will open at 7:50 a.m. No unsupervised students will be allowed inside the building before that time.
Students will be required to report directly to their first-period class or to the cafeteria for breakfast. Students who walk or drive to school will be released at 3:10 p.m. and must promptly leave the school. Bus riders will stay in the classroom and be released via the public address system. Bus locations and exit doors will be assigned.
Students who participate in extracurricular activities will also be released at 3:10 p.m., with hours and arrangements communicated by the athletic director and coaches.
Elementary students will attend school between 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Students who ride the bus will disembark and head straight to classrooms or breakfast, which will be served from 7:50-8:10 a.m. Bus dismissal for the school day will be 2:55 p.m.
Students who arrive by car will be allowed to enter the school between 8-8:15 a.m. Car-rider pick-up from school starts at 3 p.m. A car rider number is required for pick-up.
No student will be allowed inside the elementary building before 7:50 a.m.
Students in kindergarten, first and third grades will enter and exit the building through the playground door; students in second and fourth grades will enter and exit through the main entrance; and students in fifth and sixth grades will enter and exit the school through the gymnasium entrance.
Parents will not be allowed to walk their children to classrooms.
Field trips and special events will be evaluated based on the COVID-19 situation at the time of those events.
Frontier will not have any open house events for the 2020-21 school year, nor will kindergarten, first and second grades have a Grandparents’ Day event this year.
Parent-teacher conferences will be virtual or in-person by appointment on Sept. 16. Students will have distance learning on parent-teacher conference day.
Should a student be confirmed to have a case of COVID-19 at any time, Frontier will close the school for one to five days to properly clean the building and distance learning will be placed into effect so as to not lose instructional time.
Long-term closure will occur if there are multiple cases within the school corporation and/or in the community. Frontier will work with the White County Health Department to make that decision, Sichting said. Distance learning would also be used in that case.
Cleaning protocols will increase daily and nightly. Hand sanitizer stations will increase within the buildings, and handwashing will be required throughout the day.
Students and staff will be required to have a face covering with them at all times. Face coverings will be strongly recommended to be worn when social distancing is not an option. Students can bring their own face coverings, and Frontier will be provided with cloth and paper masks courtesy of the Indiana Department of Education.
Sichting noted that if the intensity of COVID-19 in Indiana changes, face coverings may become a requirement.
Seating charts will be required on buses to assist with contact tracing efforts, and siblings will be seated together on the bus.
Screening for the virus must be conducted at home every morning before sending a student to school. If symptoms are shown, contact the school’s attendance line. The school nurse will contact the family to determine next steps.
Parents should not send their children to school if they show any or all of the following symptoms:
- Fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater
- Cough/runny nose
- Diarrhea within the last 24 hours
- Vomiting within the last 24 hours
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
The aforementioned list does not include all possible symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will continue to update the list as more is learned about the virus,
Snacks that are brought to school must be pre-packaged (if allowed in the classroom). Sharing of food will not be allowed in classrooms or in the cafeteria, and adjustments will be made to cafeteria serving lines and seating.
For the junior/senior high school, classrooms will have seating charts and there will be no locker assignments. Students are encouraged to use backpacks.
While walking hallways, students must travel on the right side and keep moving during transitions. Bathrooms will be assigned, as will cafeteria seating and regulation of movement.
Students will not be required to dress for physical education classes to minimize locker room interactions, and music classes will emphasize other COVID-19 prevention efforts.
For the elementary school, alternating lunch and recess schedules will be made, with time for cleaning between grade levels. Students will use designated stairs and hallway directions, and seating charts will be used for social distancing and contact tracing efforts.
Bathroom breaks will be scheduled.
Students will be with their grade level for recess. If an alternative recess is needed, parents should contact Principal Carmen Bordner at email@example.com.
Preschool students will begin classes Aug. 10. Students are required to enter and exit the building via the preschool doors, not through the main entrance.
- No visitor will be allowed past the main offices, including but not limited to volunteers, mentors and lunch guests.
- All drinking fountains will be closed in classrooms and hallways. Touchless water bottle fillers will still be available. Students who use water bottles must ensure they are either disposable or are taken home and cleaned daily.
- Professional development will be provided to all staff and students at the start of the school year to inform them of COVID-19 symptoms and screening measures. COVID-19 signage will be posted.
- Technology devices will go home with all K-12 students each day. Devices will be sanitized at the beginning, middle and end of the school day.
- Students with special health considerations are asked to contact Amanda Wheeldon, school nurse (firstname.lastname@example.org) to create a health care plan per doctor recommendation.
For parents who do not wish for their children to be in school with others, a virtual instruction option is available. Parents should contact the appropriate school principal to make arrangements. Students who opt for virtual instruction will not be able to participate in extracurricular school activities and can opt in or out of virtual instruction at the beginning of the school year.
Elementary and junior high school students choosing the virtual option must maintain this selection through the end of the first nine-week grading period. High school students choosing this option must maintain this option through the end of the first semester due to credit earning.