As the calendar inches closer to July, schools in Hancock County are continuing to take steps towards reopening in August in a COVID-19 environment. All four of the Hancock County school corporations are working closely with each other and the county’s health department to design guidelines and all are expecting to resume class on their scheduled start dates.
In a joint statement released by all four of the county’s superintendents, they state that all schools will receive training on COVID-19 symptoms and protocols.
“The safety of all Hancock County students, families, teachers and staff is always our first priority,” the statement reads.
The districts will adhere to county-wide guidelines when it comes to physical health and environmental health.
Under the new guidelines, families will self-screen for symptoms and should any symptom be present, they should exclude themselves from school.
In addition, staff and students should have a mask with them at all times. While masks will not be required for students at all times, there will be certain situations when wearing one will be required. Schools will also promote social distancing by maximizing instructional spaces and scheduling flexibly. Students can expect assigned seating on the bus, in classrooms and in the cafeteria.
Schools will start enhanced cleaning procedures in classrooms, common areas and on high-touch surfaces, and additional hand sanitizer stations will be installed. On the playground, students will be in separate groups to promote proper social distancing and limited interactions with other students.
Furthermore, visitors and guests will be restricted and schools will discontinue perfect attendance incentives to permit families to make the best health choice for their students. Also, immunizations must be up to date.
Implementation of the guidelines will be handled on a corporation by corporation basis, and the schools, along with the county health department, are creating a response plan for confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a school building.
Part of the response includes: closing all rooms where the case was present immediately for a deep cleaning and the entire school will be closed if positive close contacts cannot be identified.