Jasper Elementary School adjusting to “new normal”

It’s been over a week since students and staff have stepped foot into the new Jasper Elementary School.

Instead of diving right into the curriculum, teachers are trying to figure out how to balance safety with education.

Jasper Elementary School Principal, Kent Taylor, explains how they are keeping the social distancing guidelines in place.

“We’re working on really limiting the number of contacts that we have with each other. We’re working on tracing the contact of every child and making sure that they’re limited to the number of people they come in contact with in confined areas for a prolonged period of time. And also we’re trying to get the kids outside as much as possible,” he says.

The precautions begin before kids get on the bus.

Bus drivers disinfect each row of seats before and after each trip.

Once on the bus, students are instructed to sit with their siblings. All bus drivers have a seating chart to keep track of where students sit. If a student would test positive for COVID-19, this would help with contact tracing. Face masks are required when riding to school.

School buses come one at a time to drop off their students. Then students are instructed to go to their designated area to wait for their teacher. When seated at their desks, students are allowed to remove their masks.

All desks are kept 6 feet apart to keep students socially distanced.

Teachers enforce this simple slogan when it comes to face coverings: Stand up, mask up.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also changed lunchtime for students.

Instead of all students eating in one cafeteria, the school is using both the main cafeteria and an open concept small learning space.

A table is set up for each class. As an alternative to picking a seat, students look for a piece of blue tape. This tape is placed on every other seat.

The elementary school is increasing and enforcing new cleaning and sanitizing protocols.

“Sanitizing stations” are located throughout the building to encourage students and teachers to keep their hands clean. All teachers have cleaning supply kits.

During school day breaks, they are able to wipe down supplies, desks, chairs, and door handles.

Sinks are located outside of the bathroom to avoid overcrowding.

The cleaning doesn’t stop when the sun goes down either.

The custodial staff goes through the entire building and sanitize all high touch surfaces.

To encourage the use of personal water bottles, all water fountains are turned off and capped.

If you need a refill, each water fountain has a refill station. Unless given permission, no guests or volunteers are allowed inside the school.

If someone is allowed inside, they have to read through a list of COVID-19 questions on the door.

After answering no to each question, the front office staff will buzz them in.

Anyone who comes through the front office will be required to have a face mask, sanitize their hands, and have their temperature checked.

To learn more about the school’s reopening plan, visit gjcs.k12.in.us.

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