SCSD # 2 returns to school without masks; Smart start-up plan approved
GREEN RIVER – Masks in Sweetwater County School District (SCSD) # 2 Schools will be optional to start the 2020-2021 school year.
The board of directors of SCSD No.2 approved the Smart Start plan on Tuesday evening, in which students and staff will have the option of wearing or not wearing masks depending on their discretion. The district will operate within a three-tier system.
Level I, with which the district will begin, is called the “open” level. In this level there will be face-to-face lessons and student activities where applicable. All students who attend classes in person will be in schools at the same time. Social distancing and various hygiene protocols will be applied where possible. Face coverings are optional and the buildings are open to all students.
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To start the year, parents will only be admitted to the buildings by appointment.
In addition, water bottle filling stations will be available, but water fountains will not. The district will monitor symptoms closely and parents are urged to keep students home if there are symptoms.
Teir II, “Hybrid,” will go into effect if there is a 15% or 30% positivity rate at a specific school.
If a specific school reports a 15% positivity rate among staff and students for COVID-19, that school will be asked to reinstate the mandate for masks or face coverings for a period of 10 days. After 10 days, the positivity rate will be recalculated to see if the school has returned below the 15% threshold.
All other schools will not be required to wear masks during this period, unless they themselves achieve a positivity rate of 15% or higher.
If a specific school reports a 30% positivity rate among staff and students, that school will be closed to in-person learning and instruction will be provided remotely for a period of 10 days. After 10 days, the positivity rate will be recalculated to see if the school has returned below the 30% positivity threshold and if a mandate for masks or face coverings is needed, or if a school can resume in normal circumstances.
Level III is the “online learning” level. Below this level, school buildings will be closed to in-person learning due to local or state health directives or orders, or if there is a district-wide positivity rate of 30%. Instruction will be provided remotely below this level.
SCSD No.2 Superintendent Craig Barringer said more than 300 district staff have been vaccinated. However, the district does not require staff or students to be immunized.
President Steve Core has said there will be no tolerance for harassment from students and staff who choose to wear masks.
“There is no tolerance for bullying. If a child is being bullied for wearing a mask, you have to stop them, ”Core said.
Administrator Rachelle Morris added that it is not appropriate for staff to ask colleagues or students if they are vaccinated or not, as it puts them in an unfair position.
Core and administrator Robin Steiss have expressed some concerns about entering school without masks, however, the board is broadly in favor of starting without a mask mandate.
“Parents are thrilled to start without a mask,” Roosa said. “I just want people to know that we are doing our best for our students. ”
Steiss said she believes there is about 50/50 between those in favor of the maskless return and those against it.
“I think we just need to be diligent to make sure our kids and staff are safe because there is a lot of fear out there,” Steiss said.
Administrator Mark Sanders said the district just needs to continue to monitor the situation and listen to professionals and continue with studies and results.
“The proper thing to do is watch what’s going on,” Sanders said. “Shutting down things preventively is ridiculous, in my opinion. If we’re going to keep our kids safe, take their cars and cell phones off.”
Activities to resume normally
SCSD No.2 business director Tony Beardsley said business would mostly run normally. The coaches will monitor the children’s symptoms, and if the children show symptoms, they will be sent home. Once the symptoms are gone, they can resume the practice.
“Face coverings, social distancing and hand washing will be encouraged because we know these things help,” Beardsley said. “But they won’t be necessary.”
In addition, he said the equipment and facilities will be properly disinfected.
However, seating maps will be put in place on buses in case COVID-19 tracing should take place.