Dubois County School Districts announce fall re-entry plan

With the health and safety of their students and staff the top priority, all four Dubois County School Districts worked together to form a fall school re-entry plan, which was released last Tuesday.

In-person instruction will resume Wednesday, August 12, as originally intended. Dubois County students may opt for a COVID-19 online academy instead of in-person instruction, due to the continuing public health emergency. The COVID online academy curriculum is limited, however, and students who opt for virtual learning instead of in-person attendance will not be eligible to participate in extracurricular or co-curricular activities or athletics. Information regarding online enrollment will be forthcoming.

A brief summary of the Dubois County school re-entry plan for in-person instruction follows. 

Health and Safety Protocol

• Masks will be recommended.

• Students will be encouraged to bring their own water bottles, and water fountains on campuses will be for bottle-fill only.

• Students will be assigned seating in classrooms, on buses, and in cafeterias.

• Hand-washing or sanitizing will be required throughout the school day.

• Families must screen their children and keep them home if ill.

• Students with COVID-19 symptoms will be separated from other health areas at schools.

Enhanced Cleaning Protocol

• Daily cleaning and sanitation will be done in all classrooms and high touch areas throughout the school.

• Hand sanitizing will be in all key locations (i.e., classrooms and high traffic areas).

COVID-positive Protocol

• Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must be quarantined for 14 days before returning to school. Contact tracing and guidance will be provided by the Dubois County Health Department.

Other illnesses

• Students must be fever-free for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and be symptom-free before returning to school.

Changes to the School Environment

• Classrooms will be arranged to promote personal space by spreading out desks, which will face the same direction when possible. Sharing of supplies and materials will be discouraged.

• Visitors/volunteers will be prohibited until further notice.

• School bus riders are encouraged to wear face coverings as social distancing is not possible. Students on buses will be assigned seats and sit with siblings. Buses will be sanitized after each run to ensure safety.

• School facilities will be limited until further notice; no outside rentals or use will be permissible.

• Assigned seating will be used in all cafeterias. No self-serve items will be available until further notice. Thorough cleaning and sanitizing in cafeterias will occur between lunch periods.

• Overnight and out-of-state trips for extracurricular activities are prohibited until further notice.

“An immense amount of guidance and information has been used to inform our re-entry plan,” said Southeast Dubois Superintendent Dr. Jamie Pund. “All components of the plan follow directives from Governor Eric Holcomb and consider information and guidance from the CDC, Indiana State Health Department, Dubois County Health Department and Indiana Department of Education.”

A more in-depth version of the plan will be available in the Ferdinand News’ Back to School special section next week. The plan can also be found on the corporation’s website, http://www.sedubois.k12.in.us.

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