GIPS seeking feedback for Safe Return to School Plan
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Grand Island Public Schools is asking staff, student, family and community feedback regarding its proposed 2021-2022 Safe Return to School plan. This is not a final plan, but a draft.
The proposed plan and feedback survey are available on our website until July 15, 2021: www.gips.org/safereturn. The final plan will be shared and go into effect August 1, 2021.
“Our staff, students and families finished last school year strong, despite the many challenges due to this pandemic,” GIPS Superintendent Dr. Tawana Grover said. “We are truly better and stronger together, and the success of last school year proves that point. We are looking forward to starting the next school year with fewer restrictions while maintaining a safe environment.”
Under the proposed Safe Return to School plan:
- Masks are optional for all staff, students and visitors unless “Substantial Transmission” (as defined by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) occurs in Hall County. Unvaccinated individuals are encouraged to wear a mask per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. Vaccines are not currently available to those under the age of 12.
- Exception: Masks would be required when riding district-provided transportation, in accordance with Federal law.
- Visitors (families, community partners, etc.) are allowed in GIPS buildings
“Family engagement and community partnerships enrich our students’ education,” Dr. Grover said. “We are excited to welcome our families back into the buildings,” Dr. Grover said.
As part of maintaining a safe environment, the proposed plan suggests keeping many safety practices already in place. Last year, the GIPS Board of Education invested in the Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization air purification system. All buildings are equipped with hand sanitizing stations and CDC approved cleaning supplies as an added layer of safety.
In addition, GIPS is proposing a threshold model to implement more safety measures if needed based on the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Hall County, transmission rates and possible school-based exposures. GIPS continues to engage with the Central District Health Department and local medical professionals to help create a safe school environment in this pandemic. GIPS will also continue to gather research on COVID-19 information from various sources including the local health department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Nebraska Department of Education and the U.S. Department of education.
COVID-19 vaccines and testing will continue to be available to those who want them.
GIPS will continue to review the proposed plan and communicate any changes through the district website, email and social media.
“We want to thank our parents for their support and their adaptability throughout this pandemic. We have taken intentional steps to create a safe space for our students and staff,” Dr. Grover said.
In June, GIPS loosened COVID-19 safety protocols for summer school. Those protocols are working, as GIPS has had no known summer school students test positive for COVID-19.
“This gives us great confidence in our proposed Safe Return to School plan, which suggests fewer restrictions,” Dr. Grover said. “We encourage our stakeholders to read the full proposed plan and give feedback via the survey so we can continue to work together toward Every Student, Every Day, A Success.”
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