EDUCATION

Dysart district changes COVID-19 protocols

Masks no longer required for staff, students

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Several safety measures were put in place at all Dysart Unified School District facilities to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Now, changes have been announced as district officials and parents prepare for the start of the 2021-22 school year.

Throughout the summer months the final air scrubbers were installed, to the tune of 2,700, assistant superintendent Jim Dean said.

He said the air scrubbers help clean the air of pollution particles as well as normal viruses, and coronavirus particles.

Throughout the upcoming school year, personal protective equipment will be available for all staff and students if they ask for it. Several items are left over from last school year and district officials are prepared to purchase more if needed.

“Cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer will be available for staff and students that would like to use it, but we are not recommending continuing the process of teachers constantly cleaning desks,” Dean said.

However, students and teachers that wish to clean desks will be provided the necessary supplies.

The recommendation also includes face coverings and masks be optional to all students, staff and visitors. This was the protocol through summer school, and worked without incident.

In addition, temperature checks are no longer required by teachers when students enter the classroom. Vaccinations are not required for students or staff and less restrictive distancing measures will be in place so as to return to normal operations. The recommendation rather than six feet is three feet now when possible.

Dean said all Dysart staff are essential workers and if they come in contact with an individual that tested positive for COVID-19, will be handled with self-monitoring of symptoms, but will not automatically quarantine. But he said any student or staff member that does test positive will have to isolate.

Likely the biggest change would be the direct contact aspect of students who have direct contact to a positive case. Last year, when this happened anyone in direct contact had to quarantine for 10 days.

Dean said 14,000 different students had to quarantine which equates to approximately 140,000 days missed due to quarantine. And approximately 29 individuals contracted COVID-19.

“So this year we recommend if a student has direct contact with a positive case at school we notify the parents and provide information related to symptoms and allow parents the decision to quarantine or send the kids to school,” Dean said. “But we do want to continue to remind parents students should not come to school if ill.”

Athletic events will return to normal operations and are in the process of transitioning now. School cleaning will also return to normal operations.

Normal cafeteria operations will return. This includes the normal trays for service, as well as pump stations for condiments versus single packets.

“I would like to thank Dr. Kellis and his leadership team for recognizing parental choice is very important to our community,” Dawn Densmore, governing board member said.

Christine A.K. Pritchard, governing member requested the board remain informed on the latest recommendations coming in since there are various directives coming from several outlets.

Kellis said he has requested the attorney general give an opinion so it is clear who is in change and believes that would go a long way in terms of following guidance from a person of authority.

Reporter Jennifer Jimenez can be reached at jjimenez@newszap.com or follow her on Twitter @SCW_Independent.

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