In-person classes start at Knox Community Schools

Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 6:44 PM EDT
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KNOX, Ind. (WNDU) -

The familiar sounds of joyful children echoed through the hallways at Knox Community Elementary School on Wednesday, the first day of in-person instruction for the district.

“We’re off to a great start, and I saw a lot of smiling faces this morning,” remarked Dr. William Reichart, the district superintendent.

25 percent of students are doing live, virtual learning while the rest of students are learning the “new normal” for school: mask-wearing for students grades 3 through 12, per the Indiana governor’s mandate; maintaining three to six feet distance; and walking on one side of the hallway to limit contact with other students.

“There were no reservations for me [coming back],” said Tifany Binkley, a second grade teacher. “I mean, I think everyone is a little bit fearful of the coronavirus, but I’m kind of treating it like you would in the winter, when the flu season is up and roaring. We’re just washing our hands a lot, keeping our distance, wearing our masks when we come within, you know, three to six feet of students.”

On Wednesday, given physical distancing in classrooms, Reichart said most teachers were allowing students to remove their masks at their desks. Masks are worn when students transition between classes.

“We’ve listened to our pediatricians out there, and also, as educators, we know that the socioemotional factor of kids being around more kids is huge,” he said.

Due to some students taking online classes, Reichart said buses are currently better able to accommodate distancing between students. Buses are also sanitized following morning and afternoon routes. Additionally, playground equipment is cleaned after each recess while the school buildings will be disinfected every night - and possibly during the daytime, too, said Reichart.

What happens if someone displays COVID-19 symptoms?

Each school building has an isolation room where Reichart said a nurse will evaluate a student’s or staff member’s symptoms. Family will then pick up the student while a staff member who is well enough may drive to a doctor’s office for evaluation. Physicians have to provide notes to the district confirming a negative test before a staff or student can return.

Anyone with coronavirus in the district has to self-quarantine for 14 days, unless different guidance is offered by a healthcare provider or local health officials.

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