Photos courtesy of Michelle Gonzales Signs have been placed around campus to promote hygienic practices. In addition to the signage, new protocols, such as contact tracing and limiting bus capacity to one student per seat, aim to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

School continues preparations for in-person learning

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Due to the commitment form responses, freshmen will be stepping onto campus for the first time on April 16, with all other grades returning on April 19. As 85 students and 25 teachers return, the school has arranged protocol for in-person learning. However, these plans are subject to change as the pandemic’s conditions fluctuate.

In-person learning will occur four days a week on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Priority is to assign students a teacher they currently have.

“The commitment forms were essential in determining the details of the in-person learning schedule and structure,” Principal Debbie Stone said. “We are exploring the possibility of having more student groups access campus.”

The school has adopted safety precautions such as temperature screenings and the Qualtrics Daily Symptom Screener, a survey about symptoms that must be completed before entering campus. Additionally, classroom capacity is limited to 16 students. Although masks are mandatory, students and staff are not required to be vaccinated to return to campus.

“I need to ask my students what they need from in-person learning because their answers will help [me] support each of my students,” drama teacher Kelsey McNeilly said. “Some students are coming for the social element, some are coming because they need academic intervention, and some students need it for their emotional well-being. I think I can enhance students’ lives by providing a space to participate in hands-on learning experiences [as] my goal is to be helpful, impactful, and a lot of fun.”

Additional safety measures include limiting restroom capacity and closing off water fountains, with the school providing bottled water. Enhanced cleaning procedures, in addition to the regular regimen, and protocols reducing bus capacity have been adopted.

“I feel safe after knowing these precautions are in place because it makes me realize they aren’t just rushing to get students back, but taking time to worry about these things,” senior Olivia Chung said. “My main concern is whether students will be able to follow the guidelines of staying a safe distance from one another [on] the staircases or [other] locations that are tight.”

If a student or staff member feels sick at school, they are to return and remain at home for the rest of the day. Contact tracing measures, where authorities identify those exposed to someone who contracted COVID-19 in the past 48 hours, will be taken when applicable. Exposure is defined by the Department of Public Health (DPH) as being within six feet of an infected person for greater than 15 minutes.

“If you are COVID-positive and do not know when you were exposed, then 10 days of isolation from the date you took the test is required,” Lindsey Ma, the district’s COVID-19 compliance liaison with the DPH, said. ‘Upon the [final] day of isolation, a COVID-positive person is no longer infectious, so the DPH says that you can return. You do not need a negative test to return because antigens in your body may give you a false positive.”

Students who did not complete the commitment forms can contact their counselor about participating in in-person learning. Information regarding where students returning to campus need to go, who their teacher will be, and what they need to bring will be emailed to families.

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