By Brian McBride
The Osceola County School Board approved a back-to-school plan for students and parents on Tuesday that gives them three options when they begin returning Aug. 10.
The plan was submitted by a back-to-school task force, which was established by Superintendent Debra Pace to allow students to return safely concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.
Parents were given three options, which they had until July 15 to decide. They were:
1. Their children can return to a traditional classroom setting under safety guidelines.
2. Students could continue digital learning and return to the classroom once a vaccine was available.
3. Parents could enroll students into virtual school full-time. They will have to call 407-870-1445 to do that.
According to option one, here are the safety guidelines students would have to adhere to.
• Before they arrive at school, students will have to have their temperature checked. If they have a fever of 100.4 or higher, have a cough, shortness of breath, lost of taste or smell or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, they would need to stay home and contact their medical provider.
• If students are eligible for bus transportation and they want to ride a bus, parents will need to submit an online registration by July 15 at www.osceolaschool.net/startsmart. While waiting for the bus, students will practice social distancing and wear face coverings. They must use hand sanitizer when they board the bus, wear face coverings and sit no more than two in a seat. The bus will be cleaned nightly.
• When students arrive at school, they may have their temperature checked by staff and must wear face coverings.
• Students will have to bring water bottles to school, as water fountains will be closed for regular use. They may be used to refill water bottles.
• In the classroom, students may remove face coverings when working independently at their desk. The must wear face coverings wen working in small groups with their teacher or peers. They will use their own headphones for computer stations and will use hand sanitizer before and after completing computer tasks. Desks, tables and computer stations will be spaced 4-feet apart and be faced in one direction. They will be required to wash their hands frequently or use hand sanitizer throughout the day.
• When changing classes or going to a special area class, students will need to wear face coverings and practice social distancing. There will be one-directional signs in hallways and stairways.
• In the cafeteria, students will be required to wear face coverings when waiting in line for food and practice social distancing. Before picking up food, they must use hand sanitizer. Tables will be spaced 4-feet apart and face one direction. At outside tables, no more than four students can sit together.
• Students in VPK, kindergarten and first grade will have a staggered start Aug. 10-12 to provide time for individual assessments and small-group instruction on social distancing procedures.
• Spectators attending extracurricular events will be expected to wear facial coverings and practice social distancing. Random temperature scans may be required.
To read the entire plan, go to https://www.osceolaschools.net.