Clarinda School District McKinley Central Office Building

Clarinda School District McKinley Central Office Building

(Clarinda) -- Clarinda's School District is prepared for whatever happens in another school year under COVID-19.

Meeting in special session earlier this week, the Clarinda School Board approved the district's Return to Learn plan for the 2021-22 school year. As with last year, the plan establishes the district's protocols for dealing with the continuing pandemic. Speaking on KMA's "Morning Line" program Wednesday morning, Clarinda School Superintendent Chris Bergman says the safety of students and staff is foremost of concern. Saying the plan is "fluid in nature," Bergman adds the district must be responsive to continuing developments regarding COVID.

"Our plan is similar to board policy," said Bergman. "It provides expectations and direction for guidance for guidance, then it requires us professionals--teachers and administrators--to problem-solve and apply it in various situations and context. You know, we'll have to be thinking, and having that safety in our forefront."

Among other provisions, Bergman says the policy covers three main points.

"Some of the main pieces of our plan that we really want to emphasize are to stay home if you're sick," she said. "That's often hard to do, but it's the most viable solution for keeping the spread at bay. Staying hydrated--either bringing that bottle of water to school, or we do have some new cup dispensers near our fill station for kids, so we're glad that they'll be able to access that easily. Then, wearing a mask. That is a choice this year. The school district does strongly encourage employees and students to wear their masks on the bus, and in the school buildings. However, it is not required at this time."

As with last year, the plan establishes guidelines for cleaning buildings on a daily basis. Bergman says the district's custodians are a line of defense, in that regard.

"Our custodians are vital to keeping things clean," said Bergman. "It's also a responsibility for all of us to do some of that cleaning, and know if there's something that needs more time and energy than another. I think our teachers last year did an absolutely fantastic job of doing that, and helping us stay clean and healthy."

Guidelines are also set for others entering school facilities. Parents are not allowed in the buildings before or after school, and scheduled visitors are limited to those invited by school personnel to support learning needs.

"If we had a 'Meet the Teacher Night' or of course, any of our athletics or performing arts, those will still be happening," she said, "and we'll be asking people in. It will be similar to a lot of businesses, where you're asking those questions, and making sure that people that have not been exposed, or had any of those symptoms are not entering the building."

Like masks, Bergman says vaccinations will be a "personal choice" for eligible students and staff. You can hear Chris Bergman's comments here:

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