BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - Students in the Lakota Local School District will begin returning to schools in just 10 days.
The sanitizing and social distancing steps taken at Woodland Elementary School are emblematic of steps taken district-wide to keep students and teachers safe.
Students won’t be able to use the school’s playground equipment. Nor will they be able to go inside without wearing a mask.
Seating charts, frequent desk-cleaning and careful hand-washing are also on the list.
Woodland Principal John Wise says wearing a mask all day might end up being the most challenging thing for his students.
If a student does test positive, Wise explains, it’s imperative to “notify the right people when it comes to contact tracing, who those students have been around and sat with at lunch.”
In the cafeteria, students will have assigned tables and seats spaced out for social distancing.
Lakota Schools Superintendent Matt Miller says it was always his priority to bring kids back to school.
“I just have a concern on the social-emotional aspect of our kids not being in school for five months,” he said.
The district’s plan for returning students to the classroom means just 75 percent of them will be in the buildings, with the rest opting to learn virtually. That has allayed some of Miller’s safety concerns. heading into the semester.
“As long as we can meet (those requirements from the health commissioners, then I feel comfortable bringing our kids back,” he said. “But we’re going to have to watch and continue to monitor every single day.”
A contingency plan exists to go fully remote if an outbreak occurs or if health data worsens in the community.
The district says that plan will ensure teaching and learning remain at a high level and that every student has internet access.