Skyline school officials work to form educational plan

Gale Rose
Pratt Tribune
Teachers and administrative staff are working hard to make  a safe plan of action for the coming school year.

Operational plans for the 2020-2021 school year at Skyline are refined on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. With decisions from the state on requirements in the COVID-19 crisis, USD 438 is making plans and alternative plans that will be nailed down by the August Board of Eduction meeting. 

The BOE voted to start school at 7:45 a.m. and finishing at 3:25 p.m at the July 13 meeting. Teachers will have to be in their rooms by 7:30 a.m. and students will have to go directly to their rooms when they arrive. They will not be allowed to hang out in the front lobby. Visitors to school are discouraged for student and staff safety, said Superintendent Becca Flowers.

"We want staff and parents to know that the safety of our kids and staff are our number one priority," Flowers said. 

Face masks will be optional for staff but they need to remember that masks help reduce the spread of the virus. Masks will be required for those taking temperatures and in food service, Flowers said. 

As a practical matter, if the county doesn't require it, face masks for pre-k through fifth grade will not be required. 

Little ones might be tempted to try on each others masks, said Board member Rick Shriver. 

Face masks on teachers could be a problem for hearing impaired students and there are students at grade, middle and high school levels with those issues. 

Hand washing and sanitizing will be emphasized. Because pre-k and grade school will spend most of the day in their own rooms, the possibility of four 30-minute recess periods is being considered. Teachers will cycle through middle school rooms while students stay put. The plan for the high school is still under development, Flowers said. 

Some high school students may have to change classrooms if class size is too big. No lockers will be used this year. Comfy furniture will be switched for furniture that can be sanitized. Foggers will be used on buses, playground equipment and bleachers. An electrostatic Clorox machine will help capture coronavirus in the air. Breakfast will be delivered to classrooms and a lunch plan is under discussion, Flowers said.  

Construction of roofs over outside spaces is under consideration. 

"We'll be doing stuff outside as much as possible," Flowers said. 

Students will be three to six feet apart in classrooms but that could change. 

Temperatures will be taken before students are allowed to enter the school. School bus arrivals will be staggered to avoid having a lot of students arriving at the same time. Kids will social distance on buses and sit by families. Bus drivers may be required to take temperatures. High school students who drive will have temperatures take when they arrive. 

For families who bring their children to school, temperatures will also be taken. If one person in the vehicle has a high temperature, no one in the vehicle will be allowed in the school. Whoever takes temperatures will have to wear a mask.

Anyone with a temperature over 100 will have to go home along with any other family member in school. They will have to stay home for 72 hours and not be on medication before they can return. If it is covid, they will have to quarantine for 14 days. If a person develops another fever, the whole process starts over. 

A quarantine room has been established. The staff member from that room will have an alternative office in the library. 

Flowers said things are going to change a lot in the next six weeks and all plans have to be flexible. 

The district continues to meet regularly with local and state health organizations. 

The district is keeping a close eye on expenses. Flowers said they are paying as few bills as possible to finish out 2029-2020. 

Many of the scheduled spring and summer maintenance projects were put on hold but will start again when possible, Flowers said. 

The modified prom and graduation were greatly appreciated. 

In other Board activity, Emma Gwinn was hired as a teachers aid.