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Palm Beach County School Board approves safety protocols for students

Students with temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will be asked to stay home
Palm Beach County School District logo
Posted at 6:47 AM, Aug 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 00:25:39-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Palm Beach County School Board unanimously voted Wednesday to approve student policies for when they return to brick and mortar campuses and in-person learning.

The measure was approved by a vote of 6-0.

During a first read, the school board then discussed safety policies for teachers, which will be addressed further in a future meeting. Working from home may be available for employees exposed to COVID-19 or exposed to a family member that is ill.

All of this will not be implemented until Palm Beach County enters phase two of the state's reopening plan.

According to the reopening plan, which was approved by the state Tuesday, the district is preparing campuses to be ready to reopen one week after Palm Beach County enters phase two.

Attorneys for the district said there will be options for school employees who have underlying conditions once brick-and-mortar instruction resumes. This includes getting approval to continue distance teaching or change their job assignment.

"We have people whose futures, whose careers, are vested in teaching who know that they don't have the ability to come back. So, they have to wait until we open up brick and mortar before they have a decision from their principal?" asked District 3 board member Karen Brill.

School superintendent Donald Fennoy said they have looked at what other school districts are doing but, "there is no consistency across the state."

Students who have a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will be asked to stay home under the plan.

"This is going to be a problem, and I know we don't have enough folks to do a temperature check for everybody, but we are going to have to find a way to check all these children where there may not be anybody at home when that child leaves for school. They may not even have a thermometer," school board member Marcia Andrews said.

Students will be asked to wear an approved facial covering at all times, including on the bus, with exemptions like a face shield.

If a student tests positive for COVID-19 or comes in contact with someone who has the virus, they will be enrolled in distance learning.

Under the plan, the parent of the child will be asked to notify school authorities by the next day. A school administrator would then alert their supervisor and district administration to make a determination of any necessary cleaning of affected areas.

During the meeting, the board heard from Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County Director Alina Alonso on the latest on coronavirus cases in the county. Some of the student protocols include wearing masks, with up to five being given to students from the district, social distancing and staying home if you are sick.

Rhonda Trust has children in the public school system and is eager for them to get back to in classroom instruction.

"It may be fewer students in the classroom. It may mean plexiglass more handwashing, again a lot of these common-sense things that should have been in practice," Trust said. "There is a way to do it if day cares can do it with young children with no social distancing."

The school board also discussed developing a district-wide policy for visitors to schools once they reopen.

Read the student protocols here.

Read the employee protocols here.