ABERDEEN – The Aberdeen School Board has provided an approved plan to reopen the schools this fall. Their plan is divided into four different categories, and will have different expectations and guidelines, depending on the Southeastern Idaho Public Health District’s current status of Bingham County.
Currently, Bingham hangs in the moderate level of active cases, but is not elevated to Moderate Level because it does not have any hospital bed shortages.
The Aberdeen plan resembles that of Blackfoot and Shelley, but with some caveats. Aberdeen will continue to have classes five days a week, whether in the classroom or online. They have adopted any and all practices that they are able to control. The board wants to ensure that they have full intentions of providing the safest, most efficient educational process that they can cultivate for the students. They acknowledge that the future is unknown, but they will rely on good decisions and policies to help in the guidance. The goal is to accept all input and criticisms from patrons, family, and staff, all while remaining as transparent as possible all while taking any and all precautions to prevent and stifle any potential spread of COVID-19.
The district will not require the use of masks by students, faculty, and staff, but does recommend that they be utilized. The district has incorporated all Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines in their plan and expects students and staff to abide by them as best they can. Moreover, they have added hand sanitizer to every classroom, disinfecting sprays, and thermometers will be available in every school. Aberdeen’s plan also recognizes the need for as much social distancing as possible, however, they also wanted to make it a point to state that it may not be possible on the buses. Because of that reason, they will encourage families to sit together on the bus, because they are already near each other at home.
The school district intends to use disposable trays and utensils during their lunch program to limit the amount of contact of objects by an employee that has entered a persons mouth. Students will also be encouraged not to share food or drinks because of potential transmission. The district makes it a note that in the cafeterias, complete social distancing will be less than recommended.
As for their sports programs, Aberdeen will continue having sports as long as the Idaho High School Activities Association and the CDC allow them to continue. The recommendation from the board is to contact the student’s principal for any questions or necessary details.
Aberdeen will also provide testing to all students at the beginning of the year to see where each student is educationally so that the district can target any and all deficiencies. They have full intentions of trying to meet each and every student’s needs this year while cleaning and sanitizing daily to ensure that the students are able to attend school in person.
SYMPTOMS AT SCHOOL
Aberdeen has plans in place for if and/or when an infected person enters the building. They will be required to report to health officials regarding the persons whereabouts as well as who they were in contact as required by law. They will then shut that part of the facility down until it has properly been sanitized. They will advise that anyone who is symptomatic to stay home until they meet both Idaho and CDC guidelines in order to return to the campus. The school has a quarantined sick room for anyone showing symptoms can go until they leave the building.
The district is doing everything in it’s power to ensure a safe and feasible return to the classroom for the 2020-2021 school year. They have had their reopening plan approved by the Southeastern Idaho Public Health District (SIPH) and their school board. They will be reopening for school on Friday, August 14, for student orientation.