Alexander FFA members work as a team to piece together dividers that will sit on school desks throughout the Alexander School system to protect students from spreading COVID-19.

Students in the Alexander Local School District will be returning to the classroom next week, as the District begins with a staggered start.

The District announced on Friday a staggered start for the second quarter, beginning on Monday, Oct. 19. The second quarter will open under Option 1, Plan A of the District’s Reopening Plan. The week will proceed as follows:

  • Monday, Oct. 19 – Preschool and 1st-12th grade students having last names beginning with A-L will attend. Kindergarten students having last names beginning with A-H will attend.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 20 – Preschool and 1st-12th Grade students having last names beginning with M-Z will attend. Kindergarten students having last names beginning with I-Q will attend.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 21 – First day for all students in 1st-12th Grade. Kindergarten students having last names beginning with R-Z will attend.
  • Thursday, Oct. 22 – First day for all Preschool and Kindergarten.

Option 1 is a school-based learning option. Under Option 1, the Board of Education could vote on any of the four plans. Plan A was passed by the Board at the Sept. 16 meeting. The plan consists of five-day-a-week in-person schooling, with all staff and students reporting. Parents are to perform wellness checks.

Other options under Option 1 are, Plan B, four-day-a-week in-person schooling, with Wednesdays being a remote learning day; Plan C, blended, students in the classroom two days a week and remote learning the other three days; and Plan D, remote learning all five days.

Option 2 is entirely home-based learning. District families had the option to choose this option and continue with online-only education.

In a letter to District families, Alexander Local School District Supt. Lindy Douglas detailed that those wishing to maintain remote learning needed to complete forms by Oct. 5, choosing Option 2, home-based learning.

“Through collaboration with our teaching staff, to the greatest extent possible, we have created a course listing of classes that will be taught by Alexander teachers remotely,” Douglas said.

According to the District’s website, families may choose to switch between the two options once per grading period if they find that their current option is not working for the student or family.

For families choosing Option 1, the District has required the family to do health screenings of students daily before reporting to school. Students are not to attend school in-person if they are experiencing any of the following symptoms/conditions within the prior 24 hours to school:

  • Temperature of 100°F or higher when taken by mouth
  • Sore throat
  • New uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing (for students with chronic allergic/asthmatic cough, a change in their cough from baseline).
  • Diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain.
  • New onset of headache, especially with a fever.
  • Had close contact with a person with confirmed COVID
  • Had close contact with a person under quarantine for possible exposure to COVID

Additionally, all students will receive a temperature check by school staff prior to getting off the bus or being dropped off at the school. Parents are to remain in their car in the line until given a signal to leave. Students who drive themselves will also be screened at the front entrance.

“Any staff or student with a temperature 100°F or higher, showing any COVID symptoms, or having been placed under quarantine by their county health department may not attend school,” an announcement from the District states.

Both students and staff will be required to wear a mask while in the school building, on school grounds or while on the bus. Exceptions for medical reasons may be made if prior approval has been granted by the school.

According to the District, students refusing to wear a mask will be sent home. Students who violate the rule more than three times will no longer be permitted at the school and will be enrolled in remote learning. Students who forget their mask will receive a warning on the first offense.

The Alexander FFA pitched in with helping to ready the schools for next week. The club worked with the District to create partitions and tabletop dividers, which will be used to provide barriers between people when 6 feet of social distancing is not feasible. The partitions will be utilized in the cafeteria and gym during breakfast and lunch to separate students while they eat.

The District states that they will continue to monitor the COVID-19 status of Alexander Local Schools and will be working with the Athens City-County Health Department. District cases are reported Currently, there have been two non-employee staff members and one student test positive. All three have recovered.

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