Students in the New Albany School District are scheduled to return to school Aug. 6, said Superintendent Lance Evans.
The New Albany School Board on Thursday approved the return to school plan that was developed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
"It is a good plan," Evans said.
The plan looks at the three different coronavirus possibilities—low spread, moderate spread and substantial spread.
If there is a low spread of the coronavirus, students will return to school on the traditional schedule. This is what Evans thinks will happen.
If there is a moderate spread of the coronavirus, there will be a hybrid schedule that involves some virtual learning and some in-person instruction. Basically, some students would go to school Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and another group of students would go Tuesday and Thursday. The students who were not at school would take part in virtual learning.
If there is a substantial spread of the coronavirus, the schools would be closed, and virtual instruction would take place.
Even though students are expected to return to school under the traditional schedule, there will still be many safety measures put in place. For instance, school employees will be required to wear a face covering or face shield. Students will be strongly encouraged to wear a face covering or shield. The face coverings and shields for the students and employees will be provided by the school district.
Water fountains will be turned off, and students and staff can bring water bottles from home. Certain classroom furniture and other items will be removed to allow students to spread out. Deep cleaning the schools and providing hand sanitizer are other parts of the plan.
Bus drivers will also be required to wear face coverings or shields, and field trips will be discontinued until further notice. Congregations of students and staff will be limited. Temperatures will be taken when students and staff enter the school, and nonessential visitors will not be allowed in the buildings.
The school district is also going to ask parents to take their children to school if possible rather than children riding the bus. If there are fewer children on the school bus, social distancing can more easily occur.
All food service workers will be required to wear face coverings. Students will pick up meals in the cafeteria and then return to the classroom to eat. The meals will be individually wrapped.
The hallways will basically be divided into walking lanes to keep students separated.
In terms of virtual learning, Evans said he realizes that some students do not have good Internet access. Those students could be provided with paper learning packets, he said. The school district would "ensure" that those students had "every necessary resource" to be successful, he added.