COVID Update - August 21, 2020
School is just about here! I see and hear a lot of excitement from kids to get back to school. Our middle school and high school athletes are already back and working hard. I’m also very impressed with how they are handling some of the pandemic mitigation expectations, especially the use of masks. They are showing a can-do, team spirit—I know they want to do everything possible to make sure activities can happen. They make me proud.
Regarding masks, going into the school year, students will be wearing masks a significant chunk of the day—whenever they can’t be socially distanced. We will use our plexiglass sneeze guards to offer frequent breaks. We need your help. The athletes are doing great and they are already acclimated and have masks that fit them well. I see our younger students really adapting well—they already have that Greenback team spirit! But, if a child hasn’t yet practiced with the mask a bit, I believe they will benefit from having a mask that fits well and wearing a mask in short stints before school starts.
We do have a mask for each student if needed—we are still awaiting our full shipment, however—but I believe if a student has a mask that is comfortable and fits their style (I feel like superheroes may rule the day) it will be a more positive experience.
When Executive Order 20-59 expires, we will continue to work with our local doctor team and Pratt County Health Department to determine our zone and the right level of restrictions within that zone. This year will be about adapting our practices to best match the consensus expert guidance. With schools starting around the country, we will learn a lot about what works best. Our goal is to keep our students in school and keep them moving forward. I believe school activities, especially for our middle and secondary students, are important for mental, academic, social, and physical growth.
Over the next few days before school, we will share information from the health department regarding signs and symptoms of COVID-19 to help parents know when to keep a student at home. Of course, not every illness is COVID-19, so we will work to use common sense as we protect students but also remember that school attendance is important for them. We do understand that student absences will be greater this year. For example, this year we will need students to stay home and be fever free (for fevers above 100.4) for 72 hours. That’s a significant change from the 24 hours we required in the past, but KDHE guidelines and our local doctor group believes that will be a significant mitigation to prevent a community spread of COVID-19. We appreciate your support for this. We will be extra diligent about getting work to students when they have an extended absence.
We very much appreciate our community and our parents. I believe it is our rock-solid, can-do spirit that separates us just a bit.
Pratt Schools USD 382