East Washington Classroom With Social Distancing

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- School districts are preparing to welcome students back to school, and the hot topic on everyone's minds:

Masks.

Amy Dean, director of innovation and assessment for the East Washington School Corporation, said how the implement the use of masks in the school building is a "legitimate concern."

"If you feel like masks are going to be a concern for your student, we have this great virtual option," Dean said.

For students who choose to go to school in-person, desks are spaced out for social distancing. Furniture is also being moved out to help with social distancing. Classes start Aug. 5.

Here is the School Corporation's re-entry plan.

"We are trying to see this from all angles, trying to keep safety at the forefront of our minds," Dean said.

To come up with ideas on how to start school again, East Washington worked with nine other southern Indiana School districts:

  • Salem
  • Paoli
  • Orleans
  • Springs Valley
  • North Harrison¬†
  • Scottsburg
  • Lanesville
  • South Harrison
  • Austin

"We met throughout the closure and summer to discuss various topics related to re-entry and bounce ideas off of each other," Dean said. "We also consulted with Butler University."

For East Washington, masks are required when social distancing isn't possible for all 1,400 students here. 

"The bulk of their day, (elementary school students will) be in the classroom maintaining 6 feet of distance where they don't need to have the mask on," Dean said. "As you move up into middle and high school, we add passing periods" when masks are required.

Dean said COVID-19 case numbers are relatively low in Washington County because it's largely rural, and that has helped them develop a plan.

"That's one of the reasons why we feel like we can get 100% of students back," Dean said.

When students return, they'll see other changes. Playground equipment is off limits. Water fountains will be replaced with no-touch water bottle filling stations. Hand sanitizing stations will be placed in all classrooms and throughout other high traffic areas of each building.

Hand-washing will be required throughout the day. Restrooms and other high-traffic areas will be disinfected throughout the day.

There will be a well patient clinic and a sick patient clinic for fevers and virus symptoms. On the bus, masks will be required and students will have assigned seats.

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