Back to School: Mt. Vernon Community School Corp. strives for safety of students, staff

Supt. Jack Parker displays a fogger that will be used to clean classrooms and buses. (Photos by Anna Skinner)

Mt. Vernon Community School Corp. recognizes the anxiety about returning to school, so it has taken action to ensure school is as safe as possible for students who opt for in-person learning.

In addition to requiring masks be worn at all times when social distancing is not possible, MVCSC also purchased 60 handheld foggers and 20 fogger carts to use for cleaning.

“It’s a really fine mist and it’s the spray that’s used in hospitals,” Supt. Jack Parker said. “Basically, they’re going to be used on every playground, shared athletic equipment, after every bus route.”

Mt. Vernon Community School Corp. purchased 20 fogger carts for cleaning.

The district paid $28,000 for the foggers and $45,000 for the carts.

“The classroom fogger has a compressor and much more capacity to do larger areas,” Parker said.
In addition to ramping up its cleaning equipment, MVCSC also established guidelines for families and staff to self-screen at home, and if someone exhibits one of the symptoms on the guidelines, they are asked to stay home and get tested for COVID-19.

“We want the people to be able to return to work or school as quickly as they can, but for students, if they have a symptom and need to stay home, we are preparing all of our instruction to be delivered virtually to all students,” Parker said.

Students attending in-person classes will receive the same content students opting for eLearning will receive. Parker said the district estimates 12 percent of students will participate in virtual learning.

“We are giving all introductory instruction the exact same way, regardless of at home or school,” Parker said. “Students in class get additional support live, but those at home get extra support by observing classes and teachers providing video screens.”

If students or staff are unable to do social distance, masks or face shields will be required.

“We are working really hard to make sure we are able to maintain social distancing in classrooms, and our biggest hurdle is some of our furniture, so we are working to provide partitions,” Parker said. “We have a relatively low class size. Twenty-three is our average class size. If you consider 10 to 12 percent of the population is staying at home, the average class size is down a couple more.”

Mt. Vernon Community School Corp. will provide a mask and face shield to each student.

Teachers are removing extra furniture to allow for social distancing, but in areas where social distancing is not possible, like certain classrooms, buses and other areas, masks and face shields will be required. MVCSC is providing masks and face shields to each student. Every person in the district is expected to have a mask with them at all times.

Parker said the district is monitoring all local and national developments with COVID-19, and he expects the district will remain flexible.

“We need our parents to continue to be nimble and know we are doing the best we can to make it the safest and healthiest environment for all students and staff,” Parker said.

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Assigned seats

To better implement contact tracing if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, there will be assigned seats on buses and cafeterias. Siblings are expected to sit together on buses.

There also will be assigned seats in the cafeterias. Students will wear masks while getting their food, and MVCSC has developed a touchless system for students to scan their IDs to charge to their lunch account.

Cafeteria tables will further be spread out, some even occupying hallways.


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