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EACS prepares to have kids back in the classroom with social distancing, extra cleaning protocols

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ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WPTA21) — East Allen County Schools has announced its plan to allow students and employees back in school buildings for the 2020/21 academic year.

The district posted their reopening safety plan Monday which includes employee health screening, enhanced cleaning and hygiene protocols, and social distancing measures.

A spokesperson for the district says the full 2020-21 plan is a work-in-progress, and administrators are still ironing out more concrete protocols. The spokesperson wished to stress that the "reopening safety plan" does not constitute the district's "official start of school plan," describing it as a "mandate by the governor" with which the system has complied.

According to the plan, the number of students, employees and visitors allowed in the buildings will be limited and social distancing will be enforced "whenever possible".

Those who enter the school are encouraged to wear masks although they are not required.

Hand wipes and sanitizer will be available at all the main entrances, and common touch points like doorknobs and handles will be cleaned daily by custodians. Drinking fountains will not be in use.

The full plan is as follows, and is subject to change following guidance from health and state officials:

Employee health screening process

  • Limits on the number of employees, students and visitors in buildings
  • Visitors will not be permitted in the administrative work areas
  • Employees are to use virtual conference and meetings when possible as determined by their supervisor
  • Alternating schedules when possible in coordination with the supervisor
  • Six (6) feet separation whenever possible on EACS property, including in:
    • Common areas;
    • Break rooms; and
    • Meetings
  • Employees, students and visitors are required to stay home if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
  • Employees, students and visitors exhibiting such symptoms may be isolated and sent home
  • Educating with posted flyers describing symptoms
  • Contact tracing, documentation and reporting
  • Following Allen County Department of Health and Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) guidance
    • Close areas of contact and clean
    • Re-entry
  • Employees, students, and visitors are encouraged to refrain from shaking hands or making any unnecessary physical contact
  • Employees, students and visitors are encouraged to practice good respiratory etiquette
    • Cover nose and mouth when they cough or sneeze with a tissue, handkerchief, or in the crease of an elbow
    • Encourage employee use of masks and gloves at the employee’s discretion
    • Refrain from touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Prompting Signage at Main Entrances: Employees, Students, Families and Visitors may wear masks and/or gloves when entering the buildings.

Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols

  • Hand wipes and hand sanitizer provided for use
    • Main entrances at each EACS building
    • Workrooms and by copiers
  • Intense daily cleaning of light switches, doorknobs, and handles by custodians
  • Employees should disinfectant and clean personal workspace and equipment (i.e. phones, computers, keyboards, mouse). Materials may be requested from custodians
  • Employees are required to wipe down surfaces and equipment before and after meetings
  • Employees are encouraged to use personal stylus at common copier and public phones
  • Pens for others to use will be at reception desks and will be cleaned prior to use and place in a separate container after use to be cleaned and sanitized
  • During the past few weeks, buildings have had limited access and continuous deep cleaning

Enhancing the ability of employees, students, and visitors to wash hands or take other personal hygiene measures

  • Posters and flyers will be posted in restrooms and common areas promoting handwashing
    • Employees MUST wash hands before returning to work
    • Always wash immediately after removing gloves and after contact with a person who may be sick or has exhibited symptoms
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds
  • Hand wipes and hand sanitizer will be provided for use and will be located, at a minimum, at:
    • Main entrances of each EACS building; and
    • Workrooms and by copiers
  • Additional key times to wash hands include
    • Immediately after removing gloves and after contact with a person who is sick;
    • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing; and
    • Before eating or preparing food

Social distancing measures

  • Complying with recommendations established by the CDC to the greatest extent possible
  • Maintaining six-foot social distancing for both employees and members of the public are crucial, including, but not limited to:
    • Common areas;
    • Break rooms; and
    • Meetings
  • Encouraging employee, student, and visitor discretionary use of masks and gloves
  • Installation of plexiglass shields at each main reception area
  • Social gatherings and celebration carry-ins are strongly discouraged
  • Limitations on the number of employees working in buildings
    • Employees are to use virtual meetings when possible as determined by a supervisor
    • Alternating work schedules when possible as determined by a supervisor
    • Encourage employee discretionary use of masks and gloves
  • Discontinuing the use of public drinking fountains as well as sharing of other employees’ phones, work stations, desks, or work tools and/or equipment
  • Refraining from touching eyes, nose, and mouth to the greatest extent possible

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Jazlynn Bebout

Jazlynn Bebout is the Assignment Desk Editor and Digital Editor at WPTA. Follow her on Twitter @jazlynnsb

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