RVSD middle and elementary schools enforce new safety precautions while taking part in hybrid learning

Ms.+Williams+and+Ms.+Mathis%2C+kindergarten+teachers+at+Manor+elementary+school%2C+welcoming+their+students+while+staying+six+feet+apart.+

Dylan Carson

Ms. Williams and Ms. Mathis, kindergarten teachers at Manor elementary school, welcoming their students while staying six feet apart.

On Monday, Oct. 26, the Ross Valley School District (RVSD) authorized their students and staff to participate in hybrid learning. To protect their students and staff from COVID-19, RVSD is enforcing many new safety protocols while on campus. 

RVSD includes transitional kindergarten (TK) through eighth grade and consists of White Hill Middle School and the elementary schools Hidden Valley, Brookside, Manor, and Wade Thomas. As stated by Marci Trahan, the RVSD superintendent, each student’s return date is dependent on their grade level. 

“TK through fifth grade started [hybrid learning] on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Our middle school sixth grade started on Oct. 26 and our seventh and eighth grade hybrid will begin this next Tuesday, Jan. 19,” Trahan said. 

A safety supervisor enforcing safety protocols while students are dropped off for school.

While students and staff are at school, everyone must wear face coverings and keep a six feet distance. Each morning, students and their families are required to fill out a self-check before arriving at school. By filling out the form, RVSD will be able to conduct contact tracing if a student begins showing symptoms of COVID-19.  

There are handwashing schedules to ensure that students will wash their hands frequently throughout the day. According to Danielle Diaz, a third grade teacher at Brookside, students wash their hands each time they enter and leave the classroom.

“… [the students] come through the back door, and they go right over to the sink where they wash their hands when they come in or leave [the classroom] at the end of the day,” Diaz said. 

During the student’s mid-morning break, each cohort is assigned a certain eating and playing area. The kids are allowed to take off their masks at a six-foot distance while eating; however, they must wear masks while playing outside. According to Diaz, making sure her students are socially distanced is the hardest precaution to manage. 

“…at snack, it’s really hard to keep them apart, [the students] just gravitate towards each other,” Diaz said.

Students following safety precautions by wearing masks and keeping six feet distance. (Dylan Carson)

As students return to school, their classroom layout has changed to keep them and their teachers six feet apart and safe. There are arrows and signs set up to help students navigate the classroom and around 10 to 12 desks that are separated by a six-foot distance. Teacher’s desks are positioned in the front of the room with six feet between them and their students.

Teachers have to wear a bluetooth headset that connects them to their online students, as well as communicate to their in-person students. Diaz explains that this makes teaching much more difficult. 

“I’m having to do Zoom with my kids that I have at home at the same time I’m teaching with the kids in the classroom, so I have to kind of divide my attention to them in some ways which makes it really hard,” stated Diaz.

Although students and staff are back on campus, their school day is nowhere near ordinary. With new COVID-19 restrictions and protocols, students will have to adjust to the new normal, continue to stay six feet apart, and be safe.  

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