R-II Board Unveils Plans To Deal With COVID-19 Crisis During Special Meeting

By ERIC X. VICCARO

Ste. Genevieve Herald

The Ste. Genevieve R-II School District convened in a special meeting on Aug. 10 at the R.W. Thomas Library projection room to discuss its 2020-21 reopening plan.

Ste. Genevieve R-II superintendent Dr. Julie Flieg brought up ways students will be social distancing throughout the fall semester as the district deals with COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

The first day of class has been set for Aug. 24.

Flieg talked about “cohorts,” in which elementary school students will be placed in the same group of peers to limit their exposure to others in the same building.

“Students will stay with the same group of students and adults throughout the day when possible,” said literature found on Page 7 of the district’s reopening plan.

“At the middle and high school, we will establish seating charts and other protocols to make this easier,” Flieg said.

Flieg even encouraged outdoor classes to take place.

Any child with a fever of 100 degrees or higher should not go to school, Flieg said. Students and adults also should screen themselves for respiratory symptoms.

Visitors will be asked to make an appointment and fill out a health screening questionnaire before being admitted into any school building. Face coverings must be worn.

New Plexiglas barriers have been installed in main offices as well as libraries.

Should a student forget to bring his or her mask, he will be given one to wear. Flieg encouraged everyone to wash their masks frequently.

All students and staff are encouraged to bring their own water bottles. Water fountains will temporarily be turned off.

However, water filling stations will be open, and additional spigots are currently in the process of being installed, Flieg said.

Bus drivers, from Fallert Transportation, will be trained in how to wear personal protective equipment, use of disinfectants and other methods for cleaning these vehicles.

As part of the reopening plan, Flieg noted that student field trips will not take place and that staff and faculty will not travel to professional development workshops at this time.

Flieg said that schools will open at 7:15 a.m. each day, with buses anticipated to arrive 30 minutes thereafter – allowing faculty time to be ready for students. Dismissal also will be staggered to avoid congestion in the hallways.

Dr. Paul Taylor, assistant superintendent, mentioned some personnel – an at-risk and special education instructor – will have their own classrooms.

Flieg covered additional measures concerning blended and virtual instruction written in a Herald story from Aug. 9.

“It’s five days of learning (per week),” Flieg explained.

In a worst-case scenario, should the district need to close buildings due to COVID-19, learning “won’t stop at home” in a virtual setting.

In closing, Flieg remarked this is Version I of the re-opening plan – which will be updated and possibly changed should the pandemic make a turn for the worse.

“I would like to thank the committee that worked on this,” Taylor said, “the hospital staff and the health department.”

Additional discussions took place centered around athletics. Look for a story on these talks in the August 26 edition of the Herald.