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Sweet Home School District is sharing possible reopening plans with parents

Posted at 4:57 PM, Dec 05, 2020

The Sweet Home School District is sharing possible reopening plans with parents, after the state issued new guidance for COVID-19 testing requirements for schools in Orange cluster zones.

"The biggest change is that the state no longer requires 100 percent of students and staff that are attending in-person to have tested negative before you have to start," said Superintendent Anthony Day.

All testing had to occur within seven days of reopening school. Now, the state's requirement is to test 20 percent of students and staff over a month-long period.

Day said testing is one of many factors to take into consideration for reopening.

One of the key reopening questions is: are schools safe? Day said he believes so because everyone is required to wear a mask.

"It's demanded at schools. We - kids and staff wear masks all the time whenever they're together," he said.

And hybrid and remote learning has allowed them to maintain social distancing in classrooms and shared spaces.

"We have been providing mask breaks for kids. Short periods where they get to take their masks off. Those will probably not be allowed when we come back," he said.

Another question is staffing and whether there will be enough personnel. The district wants to collaborate with other school districts.

"If we go by ourselves, then we are going to have staff members that have their own concerns with childcare," said Day. "We have to be respectful."

Lastly, the district needs to figure out how much time is needed to communicate to families and staff in order to make the transition.

The district will be gathering input from staff on Monday, the Reopening Task Force Committee will convene Monday night.

The Board of Education will receive that feedback and make a decision Tuesday night.

"And it's whether or not to try and get kids back as quickly as possible, or to delay and perhaps take a look at it after the break," said Day.