Center schools to stagger reopening, employ restrictions

By Teresa L. Benns This little lady already knows how to stylishly wear a facemask to stay safe. Center Schools will require all staff and students to wear masks when school reopens Aug. 17.

100 percent online learning is an option

CENTER — According to a plan presented at the Tuesday night Center School Board meeting, Center students have the option to “return to learn’ beginning Aug. 17 or can choose to continue to learn online, Center Schools Superintendent Carrie Zimmerman reported Tuesday.

Reopening plans were made based on feedback from students, family and staff provided through surveys, Zimmerman said.

Because Saguache County is still in the “Safer at Home” phase of existence, gatherings have been limited to 10 persons spaced 6 feet apart. Based on this directive, the schools will provide “face-to-face” instruction to groups of 10 or less by providing an alternating schedule for students.
Student instruction

Temperatures of students and staff will be monitored daily. All students three and up must wear face coverings. Students will enter the building at specified entrances according to grade level. Teachers, staff and students are required to wear masks whenever distancing guidelines cannot be followed. Recesses and lunches will be staggered. Hallways will be made one way, where feasible. Distancing will be marked off in the hallways and at bus stops, other locations.

Students will be divided up into two groups. Group A, Center, will attend face-to-face classes Monday and Tuesday and attend virtual learning classes Wednesday and Thursday. Group B, Vikings, will attend virtual learning classes Monday and Tuesday and face-to-face classes Wednesday and Thursday.

Elementary classes will be self-contained with no departmentalization. Secondary classes will follow the established schedule, except for band. There will be designated times and areas for breakfasts and lunches and students will eat in cohorts (small groups of 10 or less). Small groups of learners needing help with IEPS, English Language Learning, and reading assistance will meet on off days on a needs basis.

All children will receive targeted, individualized instruction in small groups and all necessary supports will be provided. No lockers or desk compartments will be used, and no manipulatives or instructional materials will be shared. Materials/supplies can be carried in backpacks, placed in individual cubbies or in classroom containers.

Handwashing and sanitizing will take place at regular intervals. Handwashing stations with soap and paper towels will be set up and hand sanitizer (60 percent or more alcohol), will be provided where hand-washing is not feasible. Students will take 15-minute breaks so classrooms can be sanitized. Regular cleaning of classroom areas will take place throughout the day and deep-cleaning and sanitizing will be done every evening.

Screenings and transportation
Staff will be screened for symptoms each day. Plexiglas barriers will be erected for staff on request. Each student and staff member will be issued one cloth face covering. An isolation room will be established for those showing any symptoms of illness. Improvements have been made to ventilation and filtration systems and circulation of outdoor air will be increased as much as possible.

Those living within Center city limits will need to either walk to school or be transported by parents. Those riding the bus will be monitored before getting on the bus, will sit one to a seat, every other seat (except for same household members) and will be required to wear masks.

Health precautions
Students and staff at greater risk will be allowed to work remotely or accommodations such as medical grade masks, face shields and one-on-one learning will be put in place. These requirements will be determined by a health care provider. For staff, the highest priority will be given to those 65 and older or with highest risk/underlying illnesses as determined by a health care provider (i.e., heart disease, lung disease, diabetes).

When a student or staff member tests positive, the group will remove to remote learning for 14 days. If a student or staff member has been in close or prolonged contact with someone who tests positive, they will move to remote learning for a minimum of three days to allow for additional disinfecting and monitoring. No one may be allowed to return to school until healthy.

Online learning
Those choosing 100 percent online learning will be taught through the school’s Academic Recovery Center’s virtual learning program. All the same standards that apply to Center Schools ordinarily will be carried into the virtual learning process. Instructional videos will be used that provide examples, modeling and real-world context.

Students must complete all daily assignments and teachers/staff will monitor student work and provide additional support. Ongoing progress monitoring will evaluate learning. A parent portal is available so parents can actively monitor their children’s progress.

Student supports will be provided through monthly virtual meetings, weekly check-in meetings, home visits and support as needed by appointment.

Building level and class assignments will be available Aug. 7.


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