At this time, the St. Johns County School District has no plans to change its health and safety protocols for COVID-19 – including making face masks optional – when classes resume on the 16th. August.
At its July 13 meeting, the school board adopted its official COVID-19 guidelines for the 2021-22 school year, eliminating mandatory face coverings, daily temperature checks and desktop screens – all measures that were used at the height of the pandemic for the 2020-21 academic year.
In an interview with The Record Tuesday, however, Kyle Dresback, director of student support services, did not rule out adjusting the policy going forward as the district continues to monitor case and positivity rates, including the statewide increase in the Delta variant of the virus.
As of Monday, St. Johns County had a total of 33 variant cases, more than double the 16 reported last week. Of the 33 cases, 13 are children under the age of 13, according to data from the Florida Department of Health.
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According to Dresback, “We will be relying on our community health partners, including the Department of Health, to continue to assess the situation, but we are also trying to make sure that we don’t react too quickly in one way or another. another.”
Any change, even minor, would have to be approved by the school board, Dresback said, with the issue prepared and a public notice issued before the vote. An emergency meeting could also be called if necessary.
Vaccinations are optional, Dresback said, and are only approved for children 12 and older.
Dresback said it was up to families whether they wanted their students to enroll in brick and mortar classes in public schools or enroll in the Florida Virtual School program.
Dresback said he believed that at the last check-up, at least 97% of students in the district planned to take traditional in-person classes for the 2021-22 school year, with somewhere between 700 and 800 students opting for the program. state virtual school.
Among the health and safety protocols adopted by the school board for the 2021-22 school year:
- Face masks will be optional at school and on SJCSD transport.
- Temperature checks will no longer be a daily routine when students, staff or visitors arrive at the school.
- Desktop screens will no longer be a mandatory feature of all classrooms, but will be used as needed for health and safety protection or for instruction / assessment purposes.
- Whenever possible, maintain social distancing and have sufficient space to keep seats / desks 3 feet or more apart. The goal is to minimize the number of students who would be considered close contacts in a classroom.
- Adequate supplies to support healthy hand hygiene behaviors, including access to soap and water and / or hand sanitizer.
- Frequent cleaning and disinfection plans for shared spaces, objects, etc. will continue. This will include continuous treatment of surfaces with an antimicrobial coating capable of killing viruses for up to 90 days. Frequently touched surfaces would include doorknobs, sink handles, playground equipment, desks, reception counters and other surfaces as needed.
- Students who fall ill on campus will be removed from the classroom. The pupil will be brought to an isolated area of his school. A school nurse will carry out a health check of the student. The school nurse and / or a member of staff will contact the parent / guardian to pick up the student.