Highland School Fall Opening Plans Released

The Highland County Public School System has released its proposed plans for opening school this fall. These include face-to-face and virtual options, as well as contingency plans if the schools are required to go completely virtual due to ordered shutdowns, or if a COVID case related to the system is identified.

  1. Plan A is an in-school option (5 days a week)
  2. Plan B is a virtual option (parental choice)
  3. Plan C is the alternate plan in case the entire school must go totally virtual due to a state or federal shutdown.
  4. Plan D is also an alternate plan in case of a shut down due to an active case of Covid19 in the school system (student or staff) or a guardian of a student tests positive for Covid-19. Highland County Public Schools will be closed for 14 days, once a confirmed case is identified. Education will continue through (virtual schooling).

In school mitigation mandates for face-to-face instruction are:

  • All students PreK-12 will be required to wear a mask on the bus. one student per seat is allowed – siblings may sit together. Students will have to ride home on the same bus they rode in on. There will be no bus notes or phone calls to change the bus. If a student needs to go somewhere besides home after school, the parent will need to plan for transportation.
  • All students PreK-12 will be required to wear a mask while attending school. They may remove the mask to eat, during PE if instructed to do so, in the classrooms if they are 6 feet apart and only when instructed to do so, and while outside if they are able to be 6 feet apart.
  • 6 feet social distancing will be maintained.
  • The students will be encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water.
  • The students will be encouraged to use hand sanitizer.
  • The buses will be cleaned after every run, and hand Sanitizer will be available on the buses.
  • The classrooms will be cleaned periodically during the day.
  • The doorknobs, sinks, and bathrooms will be cleaned on a continuous rotation.
  • The floors and mats used in the classrooms, and technology used will be cleaned every day.
  • Elementary student will have their own supplies, not to be shared. Middle and high school students will not be issued lockers.
  • The water fountains will be turned off. Students are encouraged to bring their own water bottle that they can fill in the classroom, or in the cafeteria.
  • Students will only be permitted in the bathroom one student at a time.
  • Elementary – students will stay at their location and will not change classes/desks. Desk will be cleaned daily after use. There will be no snack cart or break time. Desk will be sanitized between classes as middle and high school students’ transition.
  • Both school offices will be locked to all staff and students. Office personnel will allow entry if there is a specific purpose
  • All classes except PreK will be eating in the cafeteria. There will be 5 lunches, and students will be 6 feet apart in line, and while seated in the cafeteria. The students will be allowed to remove their masks to eat, however if they are moving in the cafeteria they will need to put their mask back on. Students will be issued a badge with their picture and school number on it, which they will scan for lunch. Cafeteria tables and kitchen serving lines will be cleaned after each lunch shift.

Highland County Public Schools will provide a screening tool to parents, students, and staff for a home health assessment prior to staff and students reporting to school. The division will utilize the county developed screening form as a guideline for the student and staff screening questions. Students will also be screened in their first period/homeroom or upon arrival to school. All visitors to either of the schools will be required to wear a face mask past the entrance doors. If students are sent home from school with a temperature, they will be required to stay home for 72 hours after a fever has subsided without using fever-reducing medications.

The proposed opening date is September 8th. The full plan presentation can be found on the school Facebook page and website, and with this story on alleghenymountainradio.org.

Parent meetings will occur on Wednesday, July 29th and Thursday July 30th at 6:00pm in the High School Gym to get feedback on the plans. The meetings will be in person and virtual – the virtual link on Facebook and our website. The final plan will be announced at the next School Board Meeting on Monday, August 3rd.

Highland Schools Fall Opening Plan

Story By

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Scott Smith

Scott is the News Director for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan, and also is a member of the boards of the Highland-Bath Farm Bureau , Highland Chamber of Commerce and Highland Sheep and Wool Association. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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