Bethany Public Schools to require face masks this school year

Classrooms & COVID-19

BETHANY, Okla. (KFOR) – Families across the metro are preparing for the start of a school year that will likely be very different from years past.

Officials with Bethany Public Schools say they have created the district’s ‘Return to Learn’ plan for the 2020-2021 school year.

“Planning for and starting the 2020-21 school year has been and continues to be far different than
the start of any school year in the past. The upcoming school year will likely have disruptions to
instruction in response to COVID-19. Bethany is a strong community and we can get through this if
we stick together. Please show grace to our teachers and staff. It is important to remember that
we all (teachers, staff, administrators, parents and community members) want the same thing. We
want our kids to be safe, happy and learning in school,” the district wrote.

District leaders say that while they have created this plan, things can change depending on how circumstances progress throughout the year.

Families will have the option between traditional on-site learning or distance learning. Under the distance learning plan, parents would check out a Chromebook and teachers would send assignments to the students.

The middle school and high school will begin an A/B schedule, which splits the schools into two groups to allow for greater social distancing.

For parents who choose the traditional on-site learning option, parents should check their children for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or any other signs of illness before sending their children to school.

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, all students sitting within six feet for 15 minutes or longer will be sent home for a 14-day quarantine.

Organizers say they will implement the following rules daily:

  • Students and staff will use hand sanitizer upon entrance and exit of each classroom.
  • Staff will take the temperature of all students as they enter the schools. Staff will take their temperature when they sign in each day.
  • Masks are required for all students, staff and volunteers while inside school facilities.

Officials say masks with multiple layered cloth will be required for all students and staff members. If a student doesn’t have a mask, the school will provide one. If you choose to wear a neck gaiter, it must have multiple layers to meet the criteria.

“Wearing a mask is simply one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of the virus. At the recommendation of CDC guidelines and in consultation with local medical professionals, we have elected to require masks for all students, staff, volunteers and visitors. The doctors and physicians assistants on our leadership team recommend that everyone at school, students and adults should wear a mask. We know this is a divisive issue. We believe it is in the best interests of our students and staff that we require wearing masks. Bethany is a great school and a great community worth protecting. If your child needs a mask, we will gladly provide one. We will teach our kids to assume that if a student isn’t wearing a mask, there is a good reason and that reason is private. Showing respect to others is an important trait for all of us to model for our kids. I ask that we all be respectful of one another during these challenging times,” said Superintendent Drew Eichelberger.

The only exception for wearing a mask in all Bethany Public School buildings is a note from a physician on physician letterhead.

Related: Schools across the metro announce reopening plans

Officials say teachers may present lessons in a face shield, which will be purchased for any staff member who wants one.

District leaders say touch points will be cleaned nightly, and high frequency touch points like door knobs will be cleaned multiple times per day.

Bethany Public Schools will begin class on Aug. 20.

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