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6 things every Leon County parent should know before school starts

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Posted at 2:02 PM, Aug 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-28 14:43:18-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Leon County's first day of school is coming with a new set of safety procedures aimed at keeping kids safe from COVID-19.

Here's some changes every Leon County parent should be aware of before sending their kids back to school on Monday, August 31.

1) PICK UP/DROP OFF PROCEDURES

Several Leon County public schools have announced changes to their pick up and drop off procedures for students.

At some schools, like Gilchrist Elementary, parking and walking up to pick up/drop off your students is not allowed. Instead, the school is only offering drive-thru pick up and drop off only.

However, the rules at your school could be different. Make sure to pay attention to your Listserv messages and reach out to your school as soon as possible should you have any other questions.

You can lookup contact information for your individual school by clicking here.

2) BUS RIDES

It is required that all students and staff wear a face mask or face covering while riding the bus to and from school. If a student forgets their mask, an emergency mask will be provided for them and district stresses that no student will be left at a bus stop because they don't have a mask.

Each bus will be equipped with hand sanitizing materials and students will be asked to sanitize their hands each time they board the bus.

While each bus will be used for multiple trips each day, high-touch point areas, such as seats and handrails, will be disinfected between each bus trip. At the end of each day, the district says every bus will be sanitized.

Students served by ESE buses are assigned to buses by the schools. For placement in an ESE program, or to update students’ address, phone number, email contact, or pick-up/drop-off address, contact the Exceptional Education Student Services Office at 850-487-7160.

3) MASKS ARE REQUIRED

Students and staff are expected to wear face coverings during school hours whenever social distancing is not possible, which includes inside classroom. Not sure what all the policy includes? Leon County Schools has a list:

CAMPUS-WIDE FACE COVERING ZONES:

Hallway TransitionsMain Office
RestroomsStudent Services Office
OFI ClassroomGuidance Office Area
ClinicNew Horizons Program Office
COVID-19 Isolation RoomSchool Bus

Before School

Mass Gathering Locations

(Cafeteria, Picnic Area, Gym,

Media Center)

After School Dismissal Locations

(Parent Drop-Off, Bus Ramp,

Flag Pole Gate Area)

That list also includes a face covering requirement in all classrooms. Students will also be allowed to take mask breaks, which will be determined and supervised by teachers.

The only exception to the face covering rule is during the consumption of food and beverages during breakfast and lunch and for students with medical conditions.

Face coverings will be placed back on when breakfast/lunch is complete. If your child is not able to wear a face covering, make sure to notify your school's principal as soon as possible.

As for the types of face coverings allowed, they can include a cloth mask with ear loops or ties, or medical-grade masks (e.g., surgical face masks, N95 respirators) and must cover the nose and mouth completely.

Here's what's not allowed: Any mask that incorporates a valve that is designed to facilitate easy exhaling, mesh masks, masks with openings, holes, visible gaps in the design or material, or vents, gaiters and/or bandannas.

Individual needs regarding face coverings will be addressed on a case by case basis. Requests for accommodations should be submitted to school administration.

Now, what happens if your student doesn't comply with the face covering policy at school? Here's what the district has to say about it:

For more on LCS' face covering policy, click here.

4) BREAKFAST / LUNCH

According to the school district, "students will participate in breakfast and lunch service in a manner that complies with social distancing and masking requirements." LCS is also putting in place signage to indicate where students stand while picking up their meals.

Food service staff will have their temperature checked daily and wear face coverings and gloves during food preparation and service. Plexiglass shields will be installed at each cash register where there will be transactions.

Digital Academy students will also have access to meals. The district says to contact your school for meal pick-up information.

5) DAILY HEALTH SCREENINGS / WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMEONE GETS SICK?

For students, teachers will monitor students and get them to the proper location for screening if symptoms are suspected or are present. Parents are asked to keep their children home if they have COVID-19 symptoms or test positive for the virus.

Students who report feeling ill will be given an assessment, to include a temperature check, to determine if they are symptomatic for COVID-19.

If the student is determined by the school nurse to have COVID-19 symptoms, the child will be immediately placed in a supervised isolation room until the student can be picked up by a parent or guardian.

For teachers, they are advised to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms every day, including performing a temperature check, before work each day. If they have COVID-19 symptoms or test positive for the virus, they are required to inform their supervisor.

For any positive cases, LCS will adhere to the following protocol:

6) OTHER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES

With all the precautions being taken to protect students from COVID-19, school activities will look different this year.

All fall sports will begin on Friday, September 11. For football, the first weekend of games will start Friday, September 25 and teams will have an opportunity for a 7 game season. For all sports, schools will only play in county and not travel out of Leon.

Guidance from LCS also states that there will be no locker assignments, no showers or locker rooms, no field trips and no pep rallies.