UPDATED: An earlier version of this story stated those with a temperature of 104 degrees would be sent home. The temperature should have said 100.4 degrees.

The Barbourville Independent School Board met Thursday, July 16 where they discussed plans for reopening schools and bids for services.

The board voted to confirm bids for visual services, physical therapy, special education evaluations, and fire inspection and monitoring. The rates for the various services remained the same as the previous year. The board also moved to renew membership with the Kentucky school Boards association and to declare a school bus as surplus. The contract with the Barbourville Police Department to provide resource officers was renewed as well.

Superintendent kay Dixon stated that Barbourville is “focused on providing students what they deserve, a high quality education.” She continued that the school’s plan had been and was continuing to be reviewed by Health Department Director Rebecca Rains. “It’s going to be a year of adaptations,” she said, adding that changes would be necessary.

The district is offering totally virtual and in-person learning options this year. The virtual option is following state standards, “it’s not going to look like last year,” said Dixon.  The district will be providing student with the technology they need to complete the virtual option.

Students attending class in-person will not have to wear a mask all day. Face coverings will be required in a number of occasions such as while moving, on the bus, and when unable to remain six feet apart. Floor decals have been placed to help with social distancing and staff will be masked while moving about the school and class room.

To cut down on the number of students in the building, two rotating groups have been set up. Dixon stressed students in the same family will be in the same group to make things easier on families. The school will not be taking grouping request due to the logistically problems that would accompany a high volume of them. “groups are based administrator needs and other variables,” she said. A calendar covering the different groups is expected in early August.

The district has spent over $100,000 on supplies like masks, touchless water fountains, foggers, and other sanitizing equipment. The school and playground will be sanitized daily. High-touch areas will be cleaned frequently throughout the day.

Dixon did recommend parents hold off on buying backpacks and lunchboxes for the time being. “if a pack sets off a metal detector it can’t come in,” she said. Staff will not be allowed to search bags, touch car doors, help with seat belts, and have been undergoing training in sanitization.

Staff and students will undergo daily temperature checks and will be sent home if they have a fever over 100.4 degrees. Students will be issued a device they can keep in case they are unable to return to school due to sickness.

Pre-school students will be masking while moving around. Classes will be kept to groups of 10 to allow for social distancing. There will not be Friday sessions to allow for sanitizing of the area. Pre-K teachers and staff will wear clear mask so that students are able to see them speak and identify them.

Dixon and her staff feel good about the district’s plans. “We care about your health, your student’s health, and our community’s health,” she said. While there will be issues that need re-addressed, the board is confident they’re in a good position to adapt to the challenges the pandemic throws out and above all else, to provide quality education.

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