In information released Thursday, July 23, officials with the Morgan County R-I School District responded to frequently asked questions.

What safety protocols will be in place during the school day?
We have been busy planning for a safe educational environment with the use of an increased cleaning schedule during the day and evening shifts, regular hand-washing times, hand sanitizer stations in each classroom and common area, as well as increased cleaning supplies and material to allow us to effectively disinfect any area. Social distancing will also be used with students remaining in classrooms when possible and limiting large group interactions.

Will ‘virtual/remote/online’ learning be available?
Yes, online or virtual education will be available. More information regarding online learning can be found on the district’s website, www.mcr1.us

If a student or teacher is diagnosed with COVID-19, will the entire school be shut down?
Most likely. We will work with the Morgan County Health Center to determine the need for closure and the duration of the closure.

If school is shut down short term or my family and I have to be quarantined because of COVID-19, how will my child receive instruction?
Anytime a student misses school for short durations they will have access to online instruction via Google Classroom. We plan to record teacher lessons and have students complete assignments like they were at school that day. Expectations are for students to keep up with their peers so they will not be delayed when they return to school.

Will parents be required to sign a waiver for students to attend school?
No, waivers will not be required.

What will the procedures be for lunch?
As long as the Morgan County Health Center determines minimal or little transmission, we will have similar procedures prior to COVID-19 with the exception of the salad bar.

What will the procedures be for recess?
We understand how important recess time is for all children. There will still be many opportunities to be outside with peers. Classrooms will visit the playground on a schedule that limits interaction between different classrooms. Consequently, recess times will be spread out throughout the school day. There will be protocols in place during outside time. These protocols will include cleaning processes and expectations.

Will kids move to different rooms for PE, art, music, and library?
Yes, at this time we plan on having students travel as a classroom group. Physical education will be outside as much as weather permits.

What will school counseling services look like?
The elementary counselor will visit classrooms to deliver social, emotional, career, and academic lessons. We will continue to provide services to students for issues impacting the school environment. In addition, outside counselors and providers will continue with on-site visits.

Will my child be stuck in the classroom all day?
This is not our intent. Our intent is to keep them in stable groups as much as possible while at school. There will be a plan for bathrooms, hallways, recess, and specials.

Will parents and visitors be allowed in the building?
No, we want to be very proactive in ensuring a tight system of tracing as we re-open. We will continue to monitor and, should the environment or recommendations from our health partners change, we will loosen restrictions. We prefer to start with tight guidelines and slowly loosen as it becomes safe to do so.

Will social distancing happen in all settings?
We will do our best to maintain social distancing when students are not within their stable groups, such as walking in hallways and sitting in lines. Inside classrooms, we know it will be difficult to keep children six feet away from one another, just as it will be difficult for teachers to support students from six feet away. We will do our very best to maintain as much distance as is possible in the building.

Will my child be issued a locker?
At this time, we have not determined if we will be issuing lockers this year.

How will my student’s IEP services be delivered?
We plan to implement each in-person student’s IEP as written.

If Morgan County R-I has to close my student’s building or the entire district because of health concerns, will my student continue to receive special education services?
Yes, while the amount and location of services may need to adjust based on the need for remote instruction, your student will continue to receive all services identified within their IEP. New learning will occur even in the virtual learning environment. Additionally, students will continue to receive appropriate accommodations relevant to their learning environment.

Can I still refer my child for special education testing?
Yes. No changes are being made to the evaluation process. If formal assessment is needed, the student will be pulled to a testing environment. Safety precautions will be taken to ensure a sanitized environment before and after testing.

Will students be required to wear a mask?
As of July 22, students will not be mandated to wear a mask. If you prefer your child wear a mask, we will do our best to honor and uphold this request. If, or when, the Morgan County Health Center determines moderate COVID-19 spread in the county we will require students in grades five through 12 and staff to wear a mask while in hallways and when not social distancing.

Will teachers and staff be required to wear a mask?
As of July 22, staff will not be mandated to wear masks but may if they choose.

If students are in a phase that will require virtual learning, will the work they are completing count for a grade?
Yes, all work will count for grades.

Will temperature checks be given to students?
No, any students who exhibit symptoms will be referred to the nurse.

What will the protocol be for a sick student?
We will follow our normal guidelines of fever-free and contacting parents when students are absent or become ill at school. Students who are absent from school the prior day will need to report to the school office on their next attendance day. Students with COVID-19 symptoms will be isolated immediately with the nurse until parents arrive. If a student is sent home from school or does not attend school because of COVID-19 symptoms, they will be required to have a doctor’s note prior to returning to school.

If the building is closed for cleaning or a snow day, will students have a virtual day of learning?
Yes. If school needs to close due to a confirmed case for cleaning purposes, learning will continue. In this case, students will move to the online platform with their classroom teacher and coursework will continue seamlessly. In some cases with our youngest learners, work may be sent home, depending on when the closure occurs.

Will there be increased opportunities for hand-washing and hand sanitizing?
Yes, staff is currently in the process of installing additional hand sanitizing stations in each classroom and in common areas.

How will the district increase communication with families?
The district will be using a new communication app called “Parent Square.” This app will allow parents to communicate with teachers and vice versa much more efficiently. More information will be given at the start of the school year.

Will buses run as normal?
We will continue to transport students whose families are unable to provide transportation. Protocols are in place to ensure a safe environment while on the bus that include loading the bus from back to front, hand sanitizer available, as well as assigned seats.

What should I do if I feel my child’s prior health conditions make it impossible for them to return to school?
We understand some immune- compromised students may not be able to attend in-person classes. Contact Molly Roe or Heather Oelrichs at 573-377-2217.

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