Part 2, School Superintendent Beam on the Reopening Plan for Schools
Here is the second part of Pocahontas County School Superintendent. Terrence Beam, discussing what the plan for the reentry of students back into school will likely look like.
“We had two or three meetings with our chairpersons of all our committees” said Beam. We have eighty-four persons on these committees, all addressing different parts of the problem. And we meet periodically through teams and we discuss where we are -they give me an update of where we are. We’re putting together right now -I’ve been working all day on our template that will list exactly what our plan is. And that plan will be going to our Board (of Education) on August 11th. It will be made public -we’ll send it to the newspaper, we’ll put it on our website and we will try to share it with all our citizens as we possibly can.”
“The elementary kids, we are going to try to provide meals to them in the classroom again, so we keep that core group of students together all day long rather then dispersing them all around the building to be around all the other children and all the adults.”
“High school and middle school is a little bit different. Their schedules are entirely different. The high school is going to be moving toward a possible modified block (instruction) because the way their kids are coming it, they can’t possibly get them all in at one time on a seven period day if they are only coming two days a week, so Mr. riley is working with his CTE teachers and his curriculum team to work on a modified block. That’s not a permanent scheduling change, its just for this particular situation we are in now. He will update the Board (of Education) on their plans for that on the eleventh also.”
“We are working with the Health Department and the Hospital; we’re getting a lot of guidance from them. We’re getting people to send us information on how we can best protect the kids with cleaning our buildings and the PPE’s we are providing for our students. Trying to get the best we can.”
“We just submitted a grant for some money to try to help us get technology supplies for our students. We know that the parents cannot go out and buy their own devices. We’ll try to provide those. We have an eight-hundred thousand dollar grant out right now. If we get that approved, every child in Pocahontas County in grades K-12 will have their own device. Kids will be able to download their lessons onto that device, and the kids will be able to take those home in the event we are shut down again. They will have their lessons there rather then try and do it a different way -they wouldn’t have to download anything off the Internet, which a lot of them don’t have access to. So, we are working on that.”
“We’ve just finished this morning, another proposal. We’re going to apply for another million dollars. Chances of getting all this money is probably not the best, but we are trying everything we know. This one would possibly provide some other ways to deliver our instruction to our students. Our Special Ed Department bought some plexiglass dividers to set in our classrooms, so that teachers working with their teacher close by, would have these plexiglass dividers between them and their teacher. That’s Special Ed, and that’s also for Speech Therapy because the kids are obviously speaking and they are trying to teach them to speak correctly, and sometimes you get stuff out in the air and all this kind of stuff with kids. But we are looking at this grant to possibly obtain more plexiglass, so each school can have some of those in their building. They are fairly expensive, like everything is. And so that is one of the avenues we are considering to try to find ways to purchase those types of devices, again, to try and protect the adults in the building, and the children too, as best we can.”
“One thing I didn’t mention that I want the public to know, is we have purchased these temperature screening tripods that will be in every school. So that when somebody comes in the doors, there is a machine there with a place to place your feet. Bend forward a bit and your forehead is given a temperature. You all will see that when you come in for board meetings. Had to send one of our board members around and said ‘you can’t come in until you get checked” (chuckle.) It shows green if you are good and it shows red if you got a fever. If they are children that come into our school and they come up with a red reading, then we have to separate them and put them in that (isolation) room I was talking about earlier. Trying to find an area where our students can be located if they are symptomatic.”
Every student will be checked?
“Every student, every day… every human that comes through our doors. We put two at the high school. You’ve seen this one out here? So, your legal, (chuckle.)”
Officially certified temperature free by the Pocahontas County Board of Education’s temperature checking machine, I am Tim Walker, Allegheny Mountain Radio News.