Grove City Area School District students will have options for instruction when classes resume.

School board members approved Monday the district’s health and safety plan for the 2020-21 school year, which begins Aug. 31.

The plan must be submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Finch said the approved plan follows guidelines from state agencies.

The reopening plan is laid out in a 39-page document.

Students and teachers completed the 2019-20 school year with remote instruction, and students who want to continue with distance learning for safety reasons can continue in the new school year.

For students who want to return to the classroom, the district will follow guidelines that include face masks and coverings when students are within 6 feet of one another.

If the state mandates change, the district will announce updates on social media, the district’s website, and through Blackboard Connect — a notification system the district uses to share important information with parents and guardians.

Finch said about about 14 to 16 desks can fit in most classrooms while maintaining 6 feet of distance.

That’s down from an average of about 25 desks per classroom.

Once the district finds out how many students opt for in-person instruction, it will be able to adjust accordingly, he said.

The plan is available online at grovecity.k12.pa.us.

Elements of the plan include:

• Each school building will be cleaned before staff and students enter, and at the end of each day. Cleaning will also take place throughout the day.

• Students riding buses drivers will have to wear face coverings Parents are encouraged to transport their children to school.

• Hand sanitizer will be available at school entrances, high-traffic areas, and in classrooms.

• Six-foot distances will be marked off in common spaces and groups will be distributed throughout buildings in order to avoid large gatherings.

• Attendance logs will be tracked to help with contact tracing in the event of a potential COVID exposure.

• Outdoor spaces will be used as outdoor classrooms, weather permitting.

• Staff members will be trained during in-service days at the end of August.

• Visitors will be required to make appointments before entering school buildings, and they must wear face masks.

•In the upper grades, bell schedules, hallway traffic patterns and locker access will be adjusted.

• All students in kindergarten through 12th grade will receive a Google Chromebook.

• Parents will be required to take their child’s temperature and assess for signs of the virus before school each day.

• The school will use thermal scanning devices to monitory body temperatures as people enter a building.

• Each building will have a quarantine area for students with the virus.

•The district will notify families if a staff member or student is confirmed to have COVID-19 illness or exposure.

For students who are considered “high risk,” the district will work with their families to develop a plan of action for their education.

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