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Safety protocol, procedures released for elementary students

ROCHELLE – With the start of the school year quickly approaching, Rochelle Consolidated School District 231 has released the safety protocol and procedures for reopening its elementary buildings and Rochelle Middle School.

As the district moves forward with its plan of a hybrid, online and in-person learning plan, all students in grades K-12 will be assigned a technology device to aid in the remote learning process. The district will also continue to provide amenities such as transportation for students who qualify in accordance with the district’s pandemic transportation policy as well as breakfast and to-go lunch options. 

All students and staff will be screened upon entering the building with infrared thermometers and anybody who shows a temperature over 99.5 will be asked to wait in a designated holding center for 15 minutes before rechecking his or her temperature. If the individual’s temperature does not change the school nurse will check for other COVID-19 symptoms. 

If any student demonstrates further symptoms during his or her morning screening or throughout the day, they will be isolated in a controlled environment and sent home. It is also very important to notify the school if a student will not be in attendance as well as complete the Rochelle schools’ “students with COVID-19 symptoms” form. 

Symptom tracking

The information gathered through the forms will be used for tracking students who present symptoms and to help determine the appropriate steps on how to proceed. All classes kindergarten through fifth grade will meet Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and middle school classes will meet Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:43 p.m. While this is the current plan, the district warns that just like everything during the pandemic, it can change overnight. 

“The district remains committed to providing as much in-person learning as possible while keeping our students and staff as safe as possible,” Superintendent Jason Harper wrote in an email sent to parents. “But with so much uncertainty due to the spread of COVID-19, keep in mind that the district may have to go to all remote learning for a variety of reasons. The Rochelle schools highly encourage each family to start working on a plan now for supervision and daycare in the event the districts move to all remote learning. This scenario is highly likely and we may not have much lead time to communicate the shift.”

While students and staff are inside the building, they will also be implementing many safety requirements and procedures. All students and staff will be required to wear facial coverings unless a medical condition dictates otherwise. Cloth and paper face coverings are permitted as well as plastic face shields for those who have medical concerns or are in the dual language program.

Anybody who chooses to wear a face shield must also maintain 6 feet of social distancing throughout the day. Students and staff will also have access to multiple hand sanitizing and washing stations within their classroom and throughout the building.

Before students or staff re-enter the classroom, they will have the opportunity to wash or sanitize their hands.  Weather permitting, students will also be given the opportunity to have outdoor breathers throughout the day.

Each grade level will have a designated time and location and will remain socially distanced but will be permitted to remove facial covering at this time. Students will be required to put facial coverings back on before re-entering the building.

“In general, the classroom procedures and safety protocols will be the same across the district,” Harper said. “Each school will have the same plan with minor exceptions due to building layout, staff and resources.”

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