September 27, 2020

Grant County Herald

Community news from the prairie to the lakes

West Central Area set to reopen

Student Teacher Eddie Cease meets with WCA North teachers Mrs. Gruchow and Mrs. Biss to prepare for the opening of the 2020-21 school year on Thursday, September 10.

With West Central Area Schools opening next week, many students still are not sure what to expect and parents not sure what is expected of them. WCA has laid out some guidelines for students and parents that they may find helpful.

When to keep children home

If your school-age child displays COVID-19 symptoms, it is the parents responsibility to promptly report to the school. Symptoms to look for are: Fever of 100.4 or higher; chills; cough; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; fatigue; headache; loss of taste or smell; sore throat; congestion or runny nose; nausea or vomiting; or diarrhea.

Any student who experiences symptoms during the school day will be sent home and must comply with MN Department of Health quarantine requirements. WCA students’ temperatures may be taken along with a short symptom screening checklist as needed.

If your student has symptoms of COVID-19, stay home until all three of these things are true: 1. You feel better. 2. Your cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms are better. 3. It has been 10 days since you first felt sick, and you have had no fever for at least 24 hours, without using medicine that lowers fevers.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions.

If a lab test shows your child has COVID-19, someone from the health department will give you more information and answer your questions.

Caring for someone who is sick

If someone in your household gets sick, do your best to keep them away from others in the house. Have one person take care of the person who is sick. Stay six feet away from the person who is sick as much as you can.

The person who is sick should wear a cloth face covering when anyone else is in the room, except when sleeping. The caregiver, and everyone else in the house, may want to wear cloth face coverings when they are in the same room with the person who is sick. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age two, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is not able to remove the covering without help.

The person who is sick should not make food or eat with others in the house.

If a sleeping room must be shared, open doors or windows sometimes to get fresh air inside. Sleep at least six feet apart, hang curtains or put cardboard walls around the person who is sick, and sleep head to toe.

If a bathroom must be shared, clean doorknobs, faucets, and other surfaces people touch a lot. Clean each time the person who is sick uses the bathroom.

Always wash your hands when touching surfaces and items in rooms the sick person also uses. Do not to touch your face with unwashed hands.

No Visitors 

Only students and staff will be present inside the school buildings. In the case of an emergency, visitors will be allowed in the main office area and are required to use face coverings.

Face coverings

Masks, gators, or shields will be required by all persons in school buildings and buses, unless a medical or mental health condition prevents it.

Face coverings can be removed at meal times or while outdoors when social distancing can be practiced.

Face coverings should comply with the Minnesota Department of Health guidelines, covering the nose and mouth.

At WCA, one cloth mask and three disposable masks will be provided to each student, or students may choose to provide their own.

Cloth face coverings should be washed frequently, and disposable coverings should only be used once.

Buses

Students will be required to wear face coverings on all buses at all times. Buses will be loaded from the rear to front so students do not have to pass each other. Up to two household members will be allowed to sit together. Each building will have bus and parent drop off doors clearly marked. All students will be required to ride their assigned bus and/or shuttle.

There will be no 6:00 p.m. late buses from WCA.

At Herman-Norcross, parents are encouraged to bring students to school by themselves if they feel comfortable in doing that.  

A seating chart will be put in place on each bus, and students will be seated one to a seat. 

Only family members will be allowed to sit with each other.

The seat behind the driver will be kept open.  

Superintendent Rick Bleichner said, “We feel that we will be able to transport our students safely to and from school.”

Classrooms and buildings

All educational materials will be carried by the individual student during the day. There will be no sharing of materials. Hallway traffic will use lanes. Lockers will only be used to store outerwear. Desks and tables will allow for social distancing. Water will be available at fillable hydration stations.

Hand sanitizer will be available in all classrooms, the office, and in commons areas.

EPA approved disinfecting products will be used to disinfect hard surfaces throughout the day.

Cleaning and sanitizing will follow CDC guidelines, including frequent cleaning of high traffic touch points.

Signage for proper hand washing, social distancing, and the use of face coverings will be posted throughout the schools.