Returning to school: what to expect and how to prep

Winnebago County Health Department leaders break down procedures
Published: Jul. 21, 2020 at 3:30 PM CDT
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WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Ill. (WIFR) - School is around the corner and local districts are working to put plans in place for how long it will operate in the midst of a pandemic. Winnebago County Health Department’s Dr. Sandra Martell breaks down protocols at the county level for returning to in-person learning.

  • Face coverings will be a part of the dress code
  • Assigned seats likely in the classroom and on the bus
  • Cohort methods used in classrooms to minimize contact: Teachers will treat the class as a group. Students in that group will learn together, play together, eat together and use the washrooms at the same time to minimize contact from other groups of students.
  • Travel plans: If you take a summer vacation, ensure you’re back in time to quarantine for 14 days before the first day of school. For example, if school starts September 1, plan to return from trips by August 17.
  • If a child is called in absent or sick the school might ask additional questions regarding the absence.
  • Schools won’t fully shut down if one student contracts COVID-19, however parents should prepare for waves where taking off of work temporarily is necessary.
  • To prepare: Get children up-to-date on vaccines and physicals. If a child is not used to wearing a face covering, begin to have them wear one.

Dr. Martell says these procedures will be in place to promptly identify students that may be exposed if another gets the virus. “Remember it’s an individual who’s within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes,” she says. “We can handle the bumps. What we don’t want is a trajectory that sends us to the moon. And I mean that from a very positive way. The schools have worked very hard to get this so that we can make in-person learning a possibility because we know that many students need that touch point.”

RPS 205 plans to release specific, in-depth procedures on July 29.

Copyright 2020 WIFR. All rights reserved.

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