Clarinda High School

(Clarinda) -- COVID-19 protocols are in place in the Clarinda School District for the new academic year.

Meeting in special session late Monday afternoon, the Clarinda School Board by a 4-to-0 vote approved the district's Return to Learn plan for the 2021-22 school year. Clarinda School Superintendent Chris Bergman says the plan was developed with input from the district's new administrative team, plus School Nurse Kelly Kline and Page County Public Health Administrator Jessica Erdman.

"We wrote the plan as simply as we could," said Bergman, "to make it easy to read and understand, then had Jess and Kelly go back and read through each of them, then I talked to each of them to make sure I knew exactly what they were thinking, and we adjusted it then from there."

Bergman says the district's instructors also provided input in the plan. Among other things, the plan states masks will be available for staff and students, and the district strongly encourages employees and students to wear masks on buses and in school buildings. Bergman says the district received legal counsel regarding mask requirements--state law forbids districts from instituting mask mandates. Also, the policy notes the district has upgraded HVAC systems in each building for improved air quality. Board member Ann Meyer questioned how the district would handle classroom situations involving face coverings.

"Say they have 20 kids in their room," said Meyer, "and 10 are wearing masks, and 10 aren't. Are they going to stagger them. Did they talk anything about that, like a three-foot distance thing?"

Bergman says the district would refer to current practices on different situations.

"Anytime it's situational," she said, "to write a plan or policy around all of that, (we) can't do. So, for this, this is just the skeleton, the bones of the plan. Then, of course, when they get back to school with their teams, they're (teachers) are going to have to be constantly assessing the situation, and doing what they expect."

Other provisions call for daily disinfecting of classrooms, lunchrooms and other areas. Also, parents will not be allowed in buildings before or after school--students will be met at the door. Scheduled visitors will be limited to those invited by school personnel to support learning needs. The plan also indicates that vaccination clinics for staff and students "are being explored and will be offered, as possible." The Clarinda School District's complete Return to Learn plan is published here:

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