Chase County Schools still set to start 2020-21 classes as planned
At the last regular school board meeting July 14, it was decided to set up a committee to look into plans for handling COVID-19 protocols when Chase County Schools starts classes this fall.
“The committee is made up of about 16 individuals including teachers, community members and the administrative team,” CCS Supt. Adam Lambert said.
When the committee met last week, they were presented with a “pretty extensive plan” made up by Lambert and the administrative team.
“We spent two, almost three hours tweaking it here and there so we could present to the board,” Lambert said.
As of Tuesday, Lambert and the team was still discussing whether a special meeting would be held prior to the next regular board meeting on Aug. 11 so the committee could approve the plans.
The main items discussed by the committee were the use of masks and what to do if a case is reported at CCS.
“I think (masks) are the million dollar question,” Lambert said. “So right now, we’re going to be going right down the middle with it.”
When school starts on Aug. 19, masks will be enforced in areas where social distancing isn’t possible, such as buses and hallways.
“Once they get in the classroom and they get settled, then the masks can come off,” Lambert said.
Lambert’s main goal is to keep students in school, “but things still change daily.”
As far as what to do if and when a case is reported, Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department (SWNPHD) will be in charge of contract tracing.
“That’s all them,” he added. “The school district isn’t in charge of that.”
If a case is reported, an entire classroom won’t have to be shut down, Lambert added.
The rule SWNPHD is following for contact tracing is 6:15—within six feet for 15 or more minutes.
Students will have assigned seats in classrooms and on buses to help if contact tracing is needed.
“If I am a child sitting in the corner of the room, I’m really only going to have to contact two other families,” Lambert said.
CCS is taking multiple precautions besides masks, including auto temperature scanners—like were used at graduation and prom—and electric static foggers “that will clean down a room really fast.”
“The goal is to start on-time and keep the kids in school,” Lambert said.