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Addressing possible outbreaks in schools: Some reentry plans remain unclear

Local News

Many local school re-entry plans are focused on preventing a spread of COVID-19, but if it does happen, the plan is even less clear.

“It’s a little fluid right now,” Ian Grande, Principal at Shiloh Christian School said.

The cafeteria chairs at Shiloh Christian School are empty now but won’t be for long. School is back in session August 20 and administrators say they’re working with the health department to figure out what to do if a student tests positive.

“So we’ll work with DOH, they’re going to be the ones spearheading the process on determining who’s a close contact and what the procedures are for those close contacts,” Grande said.

They’re not the only ones — many, including schools within the Bismarck Public school district, are still discussing and adjusting plans just weeks before re-openings.

“You’ve got all these moving parts which kind of worries me how you get a big group of people together on the same page,” Jon Lee, Bismarck School Board member said.

The Bismarck School Board met Monday and extensively discussed the role of a COVID Advisory Team tasked with recommending what level the schools should return to based on risk.

“There’s red, orange, yellow, green and blue,” Superintendent Jason Hornbacher said.

The color-coded system ranges from no kids in class, to face-to-face learning with precautions in place.

Mandan Public Schools also announced Monday a change in their “Smart Restart Plan” because of a rise in cases. The Mandan Middle School will move to a hybrid model similar to the high school, and all staff will now be required to wear masks when they can’t socially distance.

In a statement, Mandan Public Schools Superintendent said, “We will need to adapt as the situation surrounding COVID-19 evolves, and we receive further guidance from N.D. Department of Health.”

The Bismarck School Board’s COVID Advisory Team will meet weekly starting Tuesday.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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