With the upcoming 2020-2021 school year fast approaching, the question on the minds of every student, teacher, administrator and parent is what will this next school year look like. With the ongoing coronavirus outbreak still affecting the policies of numerous institutions all over the nation, it’s been determined that special precautions have to be taken into account for this next year. But, what will those precautions be?
Groups like the Northern Lincoln County School District Parents Association have been working with the school district to help inform these kinds of decisions. Each school is also working on different reopening plans to help make the transition a bit less hectic as the projected start of the school year, Aug. 18, creeps ever closer.
Some schools, such as Meadow Valley Middle School, want to start the year remotely, and “during all phases, teachers will develop a curriculum that can be used via the Modern Teacher and Empower platforms along with various other tools such as Google Classroom, Zoom or Google Meets so that instruction and student learning can occur either online, or partially online, and in order to accomodate all the students needs.”
Schools have created plans that include the students returning to classes in person instead of online, but they will have to follow new rules that keep kids a safe distance from one another. For example, the Panaca Elementary reopening plan includes students’ temperatures being checked as soon as the school day begins. Each child will also maintain the proper social distancing. Couple this with the constant use of disinfectant in the classrooms, and the schools are confident that they will be able to maintain a safe and education-centered environment.
However, these precautions and any others that the schools come up with are void until the district approves them. During a meeting June 23, Superintendent Pam Teel met with members of the community that included staff, medical administrators and parents to discuss the possible reopenings in the fall. Most of Teel’s decision-making was based on her own perceptions of the county alongside the state mandates laid out in Nevada’s Path Forward, a booklet that helps administrators plan out their reopening phases.
According to Jamie Perkins, a member of the Parents Association, Teel had a handful of focuses during the meeting:
“Mrs. Teel’s goal is to have the students return to school as ‘normally’ as possible. After proposals presented from each school administrator, her directives are as follows:
- Social distancing is the biggest goal for students. Making an effort to keep them six feet apart in halls and classrooms.
- An overwhelming majority of parents did not want masks to be required and they will not be, in any school. They may be required on buses to help keep as many students on routes as possible.
- Work is being done to make online teaching as easy to transition to as possible, if needed, but to keep building closures to a very minimum.
- Teachers are being asked to wear masks, or hopefully, face shields to allow for clearer and easier communication.”
Teel also discussed Grover C. Dils’ ability to test up to 100 people in a day if necessary, and the fact that the district will be working closely with health- care officials.
With budget meetings delayed until July, there’s no word on whether or not the new budget changes will affect these current plans. As always, the plans are subject to change depending on how this pandemic continues playing out.