SAN ANGELO, Texas — San Angelo Independent School District students return to classes to start the fall semester next week. Some will begin the new school year from home through the online learning program and others will be inside classrooms.
“It’s gonna be a different year,” said Wes Underwood, Chief of School Leadership for SAISD, “Our principals have done a good job planning what the days are gonna look like. We’re excited to see kids whether they chose the in-person option or the virtual option.”
With the start of the new school year just around the corner, San Angelo ISD is taking measures to ensure all district facilities are ready for children to arrive on the first day of classes. According to Underwood, maintenance and custodial crews have been cleaning and disinfecting throughout the summer.
“Before kids step on campus for the first day of school they will also do another disinfecting process. We’re also going to do that on rotation throughout the school year,” explained Underwood.
Underwood said campus principals have plans for students to maintain social distancing, have minimal contact and practice good hygiene.
Schools will have multiple entry points for students to use when they arrive first thing in the morning and there will be sanitizing stations throughout all campuses. During lunchtimes, students will receive boxed lunches and seating will be staggered.
“Each campus is unique based on the campus layout, available personnel, so on and so forth. They’ve worked really hard on their plans,” added Underwood.
Outside recesses will still take place, but classes won’t be mixing and they will be rotating on the playgrounds.
“We’re doing it in a way that classes aren’t mixing. They’re rotating through different areas of the playground and not having that congregation you would see in any given year,” continued Underwood.
One of the biggest adjustments for students will be face masks. All students in the fourth grade and up or ten years or older will be required to wear a face mask when on campus or on a school bus.
“That’s a big change. We’re gonna reinforce lessons about why we do that, the proper way to wear a face mask and reinforce that as students are moving throughout the day,” said Underwood.
Parents are encouraged to drop their students off at school to reduce virus exposure on the bus, but transportation will still be available to those who need it. Drivers will be attending COVID-19 trainings, wearing face masks, enforcing social distancing and sanitizing buses after each trip.
“The driver is gonna monitor social distancing. They will also be working on cleaning procedures to make sure they’re cleaned daily. Bus drivers will wear face masks or face shield as well,” explained Underwood.
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the district has a plan in place.
“The first thing we’ll do is close the area off and conduct a deep clean. We’ll also notify the families of students, teachers and staff. We’ll look at a variety of factors to see if a closure or quarantine will be necessary, depending on how long ago it was that the individual was on campus and what activities were involved. A lot of those factors will be taken into consideration to make a decision on what steps will be taken next,” continued Underwood.
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