Return to school plan guidelines released
School board addresses COVID-19 related issues

Published 8:16 am Thursday, July 23, 2020

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The Lincoln County Board of Education approved some revisions and amendments related to COVID-19 during a special called meeting last week.

March 12 is the last day students were in session and now, with the novel coronavirus still spreading and the opening of school growing nearer, the district is making changes to ensure a safe return to school in the fall.

Working with the Healthy at School guidelines and the Lincoln County Health Department, the district has released a “return to school plan guidelines.”

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The first day of school will be Aug. 26 and parents have two main options to choose from this year.


OPTION 1 – In-person

The first option is in-person school and will require day-to-day health and safety actions.

Parents and guardians will be required to screen students for symptoms each morning, including a temperature check. If the student isn’t feeling well, or is running a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher, they should not attempt school in-person that day. Schools will supply families with thermometers.

Students will also have their temperature checked by staff before entering the school building each morning.

Students in grades first through 12 will be required to wear a face mask in instances where six-foot social distancing is unobtainable. Students will be allowed to remove their masks in classrooms for instruction when social distancing is properly maintained. Each student will receive two face masks from the school at the beginning of the year.

Hand sanitizing stations will also be placed throughout the school buildings. Buildings will be cleaned frequently with CDC approved cleaning supplies.

Each school will have a designated area to quarantine individuals who develop symptoms while on campus.

Transportation will also be a bit different this year. Parents/guardians are asked to ensure their students are fever-free before getting on the school bus or being dropped off at school each morning.

On the bus, face masks will be required when six-foot social distancing is unobtainable for first through 12-grade students. Students will be assigned seats on buses and will be encouraged to sit with household members.

Buses will be sanitized daily between routes and will have hand sanitizer available for staff and students.


Option 2 – Patriot Learning Academy

This option is designed for families with access to high-quality internet who do not believe it is in the best interest of their student’s health to return to school.

Not to be confused with Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI), the Patriot Learning Academy will be available the entire semester and a student may leave in-person school and opt into the PLA at any time during the semester.

Kindergarten and first-grade students will be working from a workbook curriculum while second through 12-grade students will be working online. Students in grades second through 12 must have daily access to high quality internet.

Daily attendance will be taken and daily participation is expected of all students.

The PLA will rely on participation and completion and teachers will set due dates for assignments. There will be no set log on time for students each day.

Students will be assigned PLA teachers to help assist them with instruction and students will be asked to communicate with instructors on a regular basis.

PLA students will be permitted to participate in after school activities if they meet eligibility requirements.

Meals will be available for students enrolled in PLA but meals must be picked up at the school.


Return to School survey results

Before releasing the Return to School Plan Guidelines, The Lincoln County School District reviewed results from the “Return to School” online survey.

The survey fielded 1,360 responses and accounted for over 1,900 people, according to the district.

Survey responders left 722 comments and suggestions.

Here are the results:

Question 1: If offered, will your student return to standard (five day a week) in-person school this August and follow all Healthy at School guidelines?

  • 58.7% YES
  • 32.6% NO


Question 2: If offered, would your student be interested in an NTI/online school option, instead of attending in-person?

  • 67.1% YES
  • 28.3% NO


Question 3: Do you have reliable internet access (example: can you stream YouTube and movies, etc.)?

  • 90.7% YES
  • 9.3% NO


Question 4: The Healthy at School Guidelines released by the KDE require all staff and students to wear a mask in situations where six ft social distancing is unobtainable. Will you be able to provide your student with a mask?

  • 84.4% YES
  • 15.6% NO


Question 5: Will your student be riding a school bus?

  • 39.6% Yes, twice a day
  • 1.3% Yes, morning route only
  • 7.4% Yes, afternoon route only
  • 46.1% No, my student will not be riding a school bus


Other COVID-19 related business:

  • Board members unanimously approved a communicable disease waiver that parents or guardians of students participating in extracurricular activities or sports will be asked to sign. The waiver releases the liability on the district if something happens related to COVID-19.
  • Board members agreed that requests for volunteers, field trips, facility requests, assemblies and mass gatherings will be approved on a case-by-case basis.
  • Updated and approved the revised employee handbook to reflect COVID-19 related changes until Dec. 31, 2020. The changes require staff to wear masks while at work. Staff must take their temperatures and log them daily before coming to work. If an employee has a temperature of 100.4 or higher, they must notify their supervisor and will not be allowed to report to work. The changes also address paid medical leave for staff, or family members of staff, who test positive and must be quarantined.

The student handbook is also being amended with COVID-19 related changes and is expected to be finished before the next board meeting.