As plans for returning to school are finalized and tweaked, parents and students may still have some unanswered questions or concerns about protocol and safety measures. The following most frequently asked questions should provide some additional insight into Alexander City Schools’ current Return to Learn draft.
When are masks required?
Masks must be worn in all indoor areas where social distancing of at least 6 feet cannot be maintained; during transition time within a school building; in transport to and from school on buses; and during outdoor activity that involves 10 or more people.
Will students be provided masks from the school?
The Alabama State Department of Education will provide three masks per student and the Alex City Board of Education will provide two per student. This means students will have five wash-and-wear masks at their disposal and no cost to the parents. Superintendent Dr. Keith Lankford said basic and solid colors are preferred or school colors. Please no writing on them unless it is school symbols or initials.
What should I do if my child is experiencing any symptoms?
Parents are asked to check the health status of their student(s) daily using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention checklist of symptoms: cough, fever, chills, muscle pain, shortness of breath or difficult breathing, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell. Students should not come to school and seek medical attention if experiencing any of these symptoms.
Parents should immediately report a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis to the school nurse for further guidance.
If symptoms are developed while in school, the nurse will immediately contact the parent and quarantine the student until he or she can be picked up. Lankford stresses it is imperative every family have a working telephone number on file and a backup contact list to pick up a student if the parent can’t in a timely manner.
How will students eat?
Breakfast will be served in classrooms daily for all students at no cost. Lunch will also be served in classrooms and parents are encouraged to pay using My School Bucks. Parents are not permitted to eat with students on campus and students may not share food or snacks with classmates, including cupcakes for birthday parties, etc.
Are there options for students to still receive meals if out of school?
Grab-n-Go meals are available for students in COVID-19 quarantine; during a temporary school closure and during a school district shutdown. Schools will provide designated instructions for pickup.
How will children be safe on buses?
The potential for separate bus routes for elementary and secondary students is being explored. All parents requiring bus transportation must register their child through Registration Gateway and complete a transportation form. Self-check signage will be on the exterior of the bus during a.m. and p.m. routes and hand sanitizer will be available as students enter and exit. All buses will be cleaned and sanitized daily.
Additional rules: Bus registration with accurate contact information; facial masks must be worn at all times during transport; no eating is allowed; and there will be assigned seats where family members will be seated together. For non-family members, students will be assigned two per seat allowing for some space in between. Students must face forward, not lean across the aisle and students must ride their assigned buses only.
How will cleanliness be maintained?
The maintenance department will provide soap, paper and sanitizing stations throughout the school and focus attention on maintenance requests in a timely manner. Custodial services will be trained in sanitation and cleanliness as it applies to COVID-19 and cleanliness checks will be conducted daily. Electrostatic sprayers will be used in each school for sanitation purposes on a bi-weekly basis or when a deep cleaning is required.
What is the COVID-19 dashboard?
The Alex City Schools system will incorporate a data dashboard on its website and it will list the number of positive cases for each school in reference to both teachers and students; will link the Tallapoosa County information from Alabama Department of Public Health; a matrix will guide decisions for the classrooms and school closures based on the percentage of positive cases at a given time. There will be four alert levels: normal, moderate risk, high and very high.
Are there individual plans for each school?
Yes. Each school will provide instruction and guidelines for parents and teachers to review before Aug. 20.
Where can I learn more?
There will be a Return to Learn Help Desk link at alexcityschools.net, along with our resources for parents, students and teachers.