ASHLAND, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Southern Boone School District is returning on Tuesday with an outlined plan of COVID-19 safety measures in place for students and staff.
In the plan, the district says it has been consulting with the CDC and the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services to make its safety plan decisions. The return plan includes social distancing, increased sanitation measures and contact tracing.
The district says it will reevaluate the plan every six months or as needed. It is next scheduled to review the plan in Feb. 2022.
The Southern Boone School District will not be requiring masks unless certain COVID-19 statistics rise over a certain rate. Students and staff are allowed to wear masks if they wish and the district encourages the use of masks.
Masks are required for students while on school buses per CDC rules. Schools will provide masks for any student who does not have one.
Masks will be required if:
- A new health order requiring masks is put into place by the health department, the district will follow the order and require masks.
- COVID-19 cases and exposures reach 15% of a building's population.
- Local zip code areas of the district have more than a 5%, 14-day positivity rate for children under the age of 18-years-old.
The plan says the superintendent of the district is monitoring Boone County's COVID data to keep track of the case rates in the area.
The district is also keeping track of COVID-19 case rates on its dashboard that is updated every Monday and Thursday. As of Sept. 1, four students had COVID-19 and seven students were in quarantine.
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, 12 students have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 14 days. Since March 1, 2020, a total of 199 students have tested positive for the virus.
No Tolerance Bullying Policy
Outlined under the mask policy section of the return plan, the district says bullying and harassment will not be tolerated. To report bullying, a student or parent should contact the district immediately.
A link to report harassment/bullying can be found here.
Social Distancing & Sanitizing Measures
The district is implementing additional social distancing measures when possible for students and staff.
Students from Pre-K through 5th grades will be grouped into cohorts during meal times in the cafeteria to limit mingling.
Students in 6th through 12th grades will have additional measures in school including plexiglass barriers. When possible, class sizes will be reduced and students will have assigned seating for mealtimes. The district says this will allow for easier contact tracing when there is a positive case.
The school district has also hired additional custodial staff to help with increased sanitation measures.
Extended Employee COVID-19 Paid Leave
The Board of the Southern Boone School District approved extended employee COVID-19 related paid leave.
The district is allowing employees to work virtually when possible and this will not count against employee time off.
Employees who cannot attend work due to a COVID-19 case or exposure are eligible for extended COVID-19 leave after using two days of paid time off. The district will then cover the rest of the COVID-19 leave. This time is maxed out after 160 hours.
The extended COVID-19 leave is set to expire on June 30, 2022.