Parents worried new COVID-19 school reopening guidelines will be hard to pull off

Parents worried new COVID-19 school reopening guidelines will be hard to pull off

ATLANTA — Metro Atlanta parents say they think the long list of guidelines for reopening schools is a good idea, but they worry they can be fully implemented without hurting the educational experience.

Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes spoke with parents who think the ideas are great but not so great when it comes to development and learning.

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“They just need to go to virtual learning and then provide something else at the school for the social setting part,” said parent Suze Sadler.

Tieara Parris is a special education teacher who has students from kindergarten to 5th grade all in one class.

“I’m thinking its going to be impossible for me to teach as well as mandate the guidelines that the CDC is requiring, especially as far as the masks since I have students who have behavior issues and things like that," Parris said.

A check of several school districts around metro Atlanta found plans largely up in the air.

  • DeKalb County says they are looking at several options, including modifying the calendar to delay the school year, or a mix of face-to-face learning and virtual learning.
  • Fulton County school leaders say they are going to wrap up this year before deciding what to do next year. They are working to notify students when they can come pick up personal belongings.
  • Barrow County schools say they’re developing plans to reopen in August but they are looking at contingency plans. The district did a parent survey and is analyzing the results.

Parris told Fernandes her classroom just isn’t big enough to keep kids six feet apart, but if the schools make changes she’ll do her best to make it happen.

“I know whats required of us and I’m just hoping we can pull it together. Not just for us and our careers but definitely for the students and their well-being,” Parris added.

The CDC described several strategies for slowing the spread of COVID-19 if state and local leaders decide to resume more traditional schooling in the fall. Including standard hand washing techniques and masks for teachers and students, the CDC offered guidelines on maintaining a safe, clean school building.

They include:

  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces in the school and on buses at least daily.
  • Limiting the use of shared art supplies, toys and gym equipment.
  • Keeping each child’s belongings separated from others or limiting the use of supplies to one group of a time between cleanings.
  • Ensure ventilation systems are operating and there is circulation of outdoor air.
  • Space seats and desks at least six feet apart. Turn desks that face each other to face the same direction or have children sit on one side of a table.
  • Create space on buses by keeping one child per row and skipping rows if possible.
  • Install barriers and sneeze guards where needed, like in offices, or tape lines on floors or sidewalks.
  • Close all communal spaces like cafeterias, dining halls and playgrounds.
  • Have children bring their own meals or serve individually plated meals in classrooms with disposable utensils.
  • Setting staggered arrival and drop-of times to limit contact between students and parents.

The recommendations also include replacing field trips with virtual field trips and not allowing visitors into the building.

There are also recommendations on what to do if someone has COVID-19 and how to notify staff and parents.

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