Schools set policies for planned Aug. 6 re-openings

Richton and Perry Co. school districts set guidelines on use of masks, transportation, other issues

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By RUSSELL TURNER
Dispatch Editor
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If all goes as planned, students in Perry County public schools will be back in the classroom on Aug. 6 for the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

A lot has changed on the county’s school campuses since the spring semester was effectively cut short by Covid-19. The pandemic has only worsened since then, making decisions by education officials extremely difficult.

Both Richton and Perry County public schools are set to return to school on Thursday, Aug. 6, and both school districts have been forced to make adjustments to how they operate in the midst of the pandemic. Each team of administrators met regularly throughout the summer making plans and adjusting them as information and recommendations changed.

“We have had some groundwork and ideas for the reopening of school, but have wanted to wait to make any finalized plans and announcements to make sure that there were not any new orders from the Governor or Department of Education that would be handed down and void all of our previous plans,” a statement on the Richton School District website says. “While this pandemic is very fluid and things can still change in the next few weeks, we feel that it is time to finalize and announce our plans as far as reopening our schools.”

“We realize that there will be a very different look to that ‘traditional’ style of school and that our teachers, students, and administration will have to adapt to the current times that we are in with this pandemic.”

Richton and PCSD will have buses running this school year on the normal schedule and routes. Both school districts are requiring temperature checks of students prior to getting on the buses. For Perry County schools, students with a temperature of 100.3 or higher will not be allowed to board. Richton School District has set the temperature at 100.4 or higher.

“Parents must be prepared for this,” PCSD officials said in a bulletin for parents and students released via their website. “If your child is sick keep them at home.”

Parents with the capability to transport their students to school are encouraged to do so. Temperatures will be checked at the drop-off locations at the schools for car riders and the same temperature guidelines in place for buses will apply.

Neither school district is requiring masks to be worn at all times while on campus, but both will require students, staff and visitors to have masks and wear them in situations where they are in common areas or in close contact, such as small group discussions. Perry County schools will provide masks to those who need them.

School cafeterias will be operating and providing breakfast and lunch for students. Students will be allowed to bring lunches to school, but parents should check their school districts specific guidelines for bringing food onto campus.

Both school systems have daily cleaning and disinfecting plans in place and teachers and administrators will be making adjustments to promote social distancing on campus.

Richton schools will be going with a traditional model of school only, but the county schools will be offering distance learning options for students who cannot attend school due to documented health concerns. If parents think their students qualify for this option they need to contact their school as soon as possible.

“Those students who start this option will have until the end of the first nine weeks to switch back,” district guidelines state. “After the first nine weeks they will be locked into distance learning for the rest of the year.”

Students participating in the distance learning option will not be allowed to participate in extracurricular or co-curricular activities.
County school students who need access to technology will be issued a device, but Internet access is the responsibility of the parent/guardian.

For more detailed information on each school district plans or for the latest updates, go to their websites at www.richtonschools.com or www.pcsdms.com.

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