GIPS to start school with most students in classroom

Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 6:10 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - The Grand Island Public School district is planning to begin classes August 12 with most students onsite at elementary, middle and high school buildings.

During Facebook town hall meetings in both English and Spanish Wednesday evening, the district unveiled three models which were designed to give the schools flexibility depending on the current severity of the pandemic.

The first model, labeled, “Reimagined,” provides for most students to be in school, while some would be online and some would be taught using a combination of both. Parents would have the option of applying for so-called “virtual” learning if they want to keep their children out of school.

Under this model, students and teachers would be required to wear face masks. They can only be removed for eating meals or if given permission by a staff member. Students will also have to wear them during recess and gym class as well. The district has about 100,000 masks in their possession or have been ordered. They will give a reusable cotton mask to each student. If students get the mask wet or damages it in anyway, the school will replace it. If students have underlying health conditions and can’t wear a mask, parents must contact the school district for next steps. They do have a limited amount of face shields to give to students as well.

“We would want to work with the parent for the best solution for their student,” said Dr. Tawana Grover, superintendent of GIPS.

Students and staff will be required to wash their hands every two hours. Staff will be required to screen and temperature check their students once-a-day. Social distancing will also be enforced. Desks will be spread out and students will sit 6 feet apart, if possible during lunch.

If a student contracts COVID-19, the entire school will not be asked to quarantine. They will contact the parents of the children who were around the infected person for more than 15 minutes and without a mask. If they were wearing a mask, they are considered low risk. They will still be screened but more than likely won’t have to quarantine, if they aren’t exhibiting symptoms.

If the severity of the pandemic requires classrooms to be restricted due to social distancing requirements, the school district would go to a “Select” model. GIPS would determine a specified set of programs which would be taught on-site. Those would be programs which require hands-on, in-person instruction. Other programs would be taught online.

If the pandemic worsens to the point where stricter DHMs are put in the place, the district will go to it’s “Remote” model, in which all instruction would be taught online.

“I know there is still a lot of uncertainty. We need to support our families and from understanding the dynamic of COVID-19, but I do believe we will be better and stronger together,” said Grover.

The deadline to register for school transportation is August 1st and for e-Learning is July 17th. All students must register for the 2020-2021 school year, so the school knows how to proceed.

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