by: Jabob Blount, Ozarks First
Branson Public Schools reopened their doors to students for the first time since closing due to COVID-19 concerns for their summer school session.
The district has added different safety precautions for students and parents for their summer session, including:
- Cleaning with COVID-19 and EPA-approved products to clean and disinfect frequently.
- Hand sanitizer dispensers are available throughout the buildings.
- Class sizes will, in most cases, be smaller than usual to support social distancing.
- Breakfast and lunch will be eaten in the classroom or in the cafeteria at a reduced capacity.
- No lunch guests, visitors, or volunteers will be allowed during summer school.
- No in-person parent pick-ups will be allowed.
Superintendent of Branson Public Schools, Dr. Brad Swofford, says delaying summer school gave his district the opportunity to learn more about what safety precautions are needed.
“We’re very excited to have our students and staff back,” said Swofford. “Certainly know that these are unique times, but we did wait a month to do so. I don’t know if that is good or bad as we know there have been cases that have increased, but we did learn a lot over the last month.”
The superintendent says his team is working to keep students and staff safe despite the rise of COVID-19 cases in the area.
“Doing breakfast and lunch in the classrooms and/or small groups in our commons area,” said Swofford. “Just trying to be able to maintain that social distance.”
Another way Branson Public Schools is working to keep students safe is by not be allowing in-person pick-ups for parents to come and get their children.
“These decisions that we’re making are not based upon what the Branson schools are doing,” said Swofford. “These decisions are based on what is being recommended by our local health department and they are getting guidance from the CDC.”
Swofford also says he expects to begin the new school year on time and believes students will be able to have sports, band and other extra-curricular activities available.
“Our expectation right now is that we will have school on August 24,” said Swofford. “And that we are going to have our extra curricular activities.”
Swofford says he and his team are taking it “day-by-day” and will continue to work with the state to decide what is best.