USD 232 school district releases final draft of learning guidelines

The USD 232 school district on Monday afternoon released a final draft version of its learning guidelines for the coming school year. The major change from last week's draft version is that students will be required to have their temperatures taken by staff when they enter the building, in addition to the already required health screening. File photo.

The USD 232 school district on Monday afternoon released a final draft version of its learning guidelines for the coming school year. The major change from last week’s draft is that students will be required to have their temperatures taken by staff when they enter the building, in addition to the already required health screening.

“As much as we would like to start school with some level of normalcy, we are preparing for a number of possibilities,” administrators wrote in an announcement on the district’s website.

Those possibilities are spelled out in a 55-page document titled “Coming Back Together,” a framework for on-site, remote and hybrid learning opportunities. The final draft can be found here.

“We remain committed to doing everything we can to protect the health of our students and staff for the safe return to on-site instruction and learning,” administrators wrote. “Our team worked to develop a comprehensive framework that incorporates the most current guidance from health experts, educational leaders, as well as feedback from parents, teachers and students.”

Administrators acknowledged that the learning guidelines will likely undergo future updates as circumstances change during the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiple areas of the document are open-ended, such as dates for families to sign students up for the optional remote learning program.

The school district is also sending out a survey to families on Wednesday, July 22 to collect information and interest regarding the three learning environments — on-site, remote and hybrid learning — for the 2020-21 school year.

Here is a breakdown of more significant changes and clarifications to the final draft of USD 232 school district’s learning guidelines:

Temperature checks and symptom screening

When required by state or local orders, school staff must take students’ temperatures when they enter the building, according to the final draft document. The temperature checks are in addition to the required visual inspections of every student for signs of illness. Trained staff will also conduct follow-up assessments as needed.

USD 232 school board members had initially discussed concerns that it will require too much time each day to take every student’s temperature.

Masks and face shields

Masks and face shields are required by state and county orders, according to the final document. In their discussion last week, school board members said they wanted to ensure that district families understood the mandate comes from the state of Kansas or Johnson County, and not the school district. A complete copy of this section is below:

“By state and county order, barrier masks will be worn by all individuals in public spaces. Exceptions to wearing barrier masks may be made in accordance with the order. Barrier masks will be worn to cover the nose and mouth. In the event that state and local orders regarding masks change, the USD 232 Board of Education will consider the changes for possible adoption. In some instances, the wearing of face shields may be permitted. Face shields may be worn along with barrier masks for added protection. Barrier masks are not required while in the act of eating or drinking. When social distancing can be practiced, students and staff may be allowed to remove their mask from their nose and mouth for a short time.”

The use of lockers

Lockers are high-touch areas and can be a place for students to gather. School buildings will develop protocols for locker use that reduce student congregation, according to the final document. An earlier draft had called for administrators to consider not using lockers at all.

Recommended protocols for lockers include the following:

  • If lockers are used, establish protocols for both academic and athletic lockers
  • Lockers should be cleaned and sanitized frequently
  • Assign lockers to maximize the distance between students using sets of lockers at the same time
  • Consider not allowing shared use of lockers by multiple students

Optional remote learning program

The final draft version of the learning guidelines also clarify some points on the school district’s optional learning program. Students must enroll by a date to be determined, and those who enroll must remain in the program throughout the current semester.