Blue Ridge District Update 9/30/2020
According to the Navajo County Department of Health Services, our community is considered safe for the beginning of a return to in-person learning. However, schools are encouraged to adhere to physical distancing, strict personal hygiene practices, daily temperature checks, and mask-wearing age six and older.
Importantly, considering the sizes of our classrooms, facilities, buses, and learning spaces, strict physical distancing is not possible in every instance. Thus, added precautions will occur to incorporate meaningful safety protocols. Such measures include face-coverings, worn by all, with a redoubling of social distancing efforts at mealtime, recess, and before and after school.
Among other things, student temperatures are taken twice daily, with frequent hand washing encouraged. The outdoors will also be used as much as possible.
Next, students and staff exhibiting COVID-like symptoms must remain home. Protocols are in place with Navajo County to trace and address suspected infection and positive cases among students and employees. Parents and staff are notified of instances of potential exposure and positive cases while protecting student privacy.
Consistent with CDC guidance, open-air settings are preferable. Therefore, teachers' grades (k-12) are encouraged to take their classes outside, weather permitting, as much as possible. Recess and other outdoor activities are strongly encouraged.
Elementary teachers are free to use our expansive playground areas and fields while keeping their students separated from other classes and grade levels. JHS and HS teachers may do the same. In all such instances, student safety and constant supervision are paramount.
Consistent with steps outlined in the September School Board meeting, in-person learning will resume, beginning at our elementary, one grade at a time, starting with our Kinders on October 5, 2020. Students will attend four days each week, with Fridays used for online learning.
Additionally, if all goes well, first graders will resume in-person instruction, on Monday, October 12, 2020, following the same format and rules outlined above for each grade level until all elementary classes have returned.
Our goal is to bring back all elementary kids for face-to-face instruction from October through the middle of November. Many elements, including staffing considerations, play essential roles in making this possible.
Please stay tuned for additional information in the coming weeks. Please note, plans are subject to change depending on local conditions.
Additionally, high school and junior high students will remain online for the entire first semester.
Lastly, all students requiring additional help are encouraged to contact their respective principals to discuss on-campus supervised but independent learning. Thank you for your cooperation and patience.