Schools make adjustments for health guidelines

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)– The start of the new school year is proving it is not going to be easy to avoid COVID-19 in the classrooms. Parents, teachers, and school leaders are trying to make starting back as seamless as possible for their students.

Principal Kimber Scarlett says she can’t wait to finally see her Scott Elementary School students learning in classrooms again with new safety precautions in place.

“Is there some level of anxiety? Of course,” said Scarlett. “There is a little bit, but it hasn’t been a surprise. We’ve been preparing it since June.”

Adjustments have been made to gyms, cafeterias, classrooms, and lockers to keep everyone at a safe distance come August 19th.

“We are also doing the soft start. Three days for half the alphabet and then three days for the other half of the alphabet so we can lower the number of students,” explained Jason Woebkenberg, Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation’s Chief Communication Officer. We want to make those first few days as stress-free as possible given light of the current conditions.”

Students will notice class sizes are smaller, desks are no longer grouped in pods, and there are assigned seating for every class including lunch. This is aimed at decreasing their exposure.

“So that if there is a student that would test positive, we can quickly contact trace and determine who has been in the vicinity of that child. Masks will be worn in any area where you cannot achieve social distancing,” said Woebkenberg

There will also be a staggered schedule for getting books out of lockers, preventing kids from congregating in the hallways.

“Even cafeterias where students would normally come in and cluster together. We hate that can’t happen,” said Woebkenberg. No one will be able to sit across from each other at lunch or in the classroom.

Fewer students are expected to be in classrooms as virtual learning enrollment is on the rise across the Tri-State.

Virtual learning will be available for in-school learners too. The hope is students will not fall behind if they are having to quarantine for two weeks. In Evansville, hot spots will be given to students who don’t have reliable internet service at home.

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(This story was originally published on Aug. 7, 2020)

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