Enterprise City Schools Superintendent Greg Faught on July 7 released the school’s plan for returning for the 2020-2021 school year.
According to a statement from Faught, ECS devised the plan using guidance from local, state and federal leaders along with local medical professionals.
“It is exceedingly important to understand that this is a ‘plan’ intended to guide our actions and decisions and is in no way designed to address every possible scenario we might face during the 2020-2021 school year,” Faught emphasized. “As new and better information becomes available, this plan will change.”
The plan lists five “principles” that will guide the school’s planning, decision-making and execution of plans to return to school. Those principles are listed below:
• We will be transparent. We will share what we know and what we don’t know and be clear about what we can and cannot control.
• We will be equitable. We will center decisions on what is best for our students, families and educators.
• We will listen. We will bring together diverse stakeholders and experts to understand the reality of our situation and to seek creative solutions.
• We will put safety first. We will leverage science, data and public health leadership to guide our decisions.
• We will be decisive. Given the size and scope of the challenge, we must move deliberately and make tough choices. We may make mistakes but will adapt quickly as we discover better solutions.
Additionally, ECS released more detailed information on its plan to reopen. According to the plan, ECS will rely on guidance offered from the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) should any students or staff members contract COVID-19.
Also, ECS strongly encourages all medically cleared students to attend school in person and all schools will have hand sanitizing stations in various locations throughout each building. All classrooms, common areas and buses will be cleaned with disinfectant as often as practical throughout each day.
Facial coverings will not be required for anyone while on campus but is strongly encouraged for students, staff and parents. All employees of Enterprise Schools will be provided with facial coverings and/or shields.
Water fountains will not be accessible, so students are strongly encouraged to bring their own water to drink throughout the day, and the student’s name should be clearly written on his or her container. Locker use will also cease until further notice at Enterprise High School, Coppinville Junior High and Dauphin Junior High.
School lunches will be allowed to be “grab and go” to be consumed inside the classroom depending on each school’s individual situation. Students may be placed in traditional rows during lessons in an effort to achieve appropriate spacing.
Open house activities at each school may be altered based upon the latest professional guidance, and parents will not be permitted to escort their children to class on the first day of school. Parent volunteers will also not be permitted to work with children at school until further notice.
Principals at each school will be responsible for ensuring that proper measures are taken to ensure appropriate procedures and distancing are taken when parents must visit the office.
Students must be symptom and fever free for 72 hours before returning to school after an illness. This new procedure will supersede any prior guidance.
Any students who contract COVID-19 should be quarantined for the recommended number of days by the ADPH, and parents and staff will be contacted by the appropriate officials should a teacher or student within their class be diagnosed with COVID-19.
Principals at each school will also implement further procedural changes to achieve the safest environment possible. Parents who have not enrolled their children prior to the first day of school will be required to call and make an appointment to do so. Parents will not be permitted to enter the building to enroll students during the first week of school and may enter buildings by appointment only.
Parents are asked to screen their children for fever before leaving home each day and are asked to consider packing personal hand sanitizer in their student’s backpacks. Any hand sanitizer should be labeled with the child’s name for personal use only and not to be shared with other students. Parents are also asked to speak to their children about the benefits of frequent hand washing and keeping their hands to themselves. It is also recommended that students change clothes and wash up thoroughly as soon as they get home from school.
Bus services will be available for students but “experts recommend riding to school in a personal vehicle with family members,” according to the ECS plan.
ECS, like most schools in the state, will offer virtual – or distance – learning for those students whose parents choose to keep them at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the ECS plan, “it is important to understand that distance learning alternatives are inherently inferior methods of instruction compared to in-person teaching and learning. Prolonged periods away from the traditional school environment may result in learning gaps, which could hinder the ultimate outcomes of those students’ education.”
Students whose parents elect to keep them at home and receive alternative distance instruction will do so for the entire nine-week grading period. Additionally, students who remain home for distance learning will not be permitted to participate in any extra-curricular activities, which includes band, choral music and athletics.
All students that remain home for distance learning will be expected to be prompt when attending virtual classes, must demonstrate discipline in keeping up with assignments and exhibit academic integrity at all times.
Students that are injured, ill or tending to a family member in need may receive distancing learning instruction and then return to school when mutually decided between the school and parents. July 21 is the deadline to opt-out of traditional in-person instruction. Forms for this opt-out can be found at www.enterpriseschools.net.