WCS Announces Safety Protocol Changes for Elementary and Secondary Schools

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From WCS

Based on updated guidance from the CDC, local health authorities and Williamson County Schools (WCS) data, some safety protocol changes are being made at elementary and secondary schools in WCS, the school district writes in an email to parents.

The safety protocol changes are for students only, WCS explains. “There are no changes for staff. Masks, social distancing as much as possible, hand washing, and monitoring for signs of illness are still required inside the classroom and when moving through the building,” states an email to parents.

As outlined by WCS:

Elementary Level

At the elementary level, adjustments are being made to recess and special area classes during the school day. Most elementary schools implementing these beginning April 5, 2021. Individual school administrators will communicate specific information with their school communities.

• Recess: Students will be able to remove their masks during outside recess, if they choose to do so. There are no changes for staff members. This is being adjusted after review of multiple scientific studies on how the virus is transmitted from one individual to another individual and the impact of sunlight, heat, humidity and being outdoors along with CDC guidance on outdoor recess.

• Special Area Classes: Students will begin leaving their classrooms and moving to special area classrooms. They will be expected to continue to wear masks when moving from class to class and during the class period. Students will be required to wash their hands before and after the special area class.

• Lunch: Adjustments to lunch procedures will be reviewed after TCAP testing.

• Promotion Ceremonies: Individual school administrations will create a plan for promotion ceremonies due to limited seating capacity at some venues. Staff and students will be required to wear masks unless they can maintain a six foot distance from one another. All attendees will also be required to wear masks and remain six feet apart. Family units and social groups who gather together regularly do not have to maintain the six foot distancing.

Secondary Level

At the secondary level, adjustments are being made to promotion and graduation ceremonies as well as prom.

• Middle School Promotion Ceremonies: Individual school administrations will create a plan for promotion ceremonies due to limited seating capacity at some venues. Staff and students will be required to wear masks unless they can maintain a six foot distance from one another. All attendees will also be required to wear masks and keep six feet apart. Family units and social groups who gather together regularly do not have to maintain the six foot distancing.

• Prom: Students will be required to wear masks at all times except when eating or having pictures taken. Due to the nature of proms, social distancing cannot be guaranteed and therefore students and parents need to be aware that closer contact may occur. Details about the proms will be made available by the schools.

• Graduation Ceremonies: As announced earlier, graduation ceremonies at our traditional high schools will take place outside, weather permitting. The number of guests invited to graduations will be increased and individual schools will share those details. With the new guidance, masks are not mandated for participants in the graduation ceremony while outdoors since they will be seated six feet apart. When less than six feet apart, participants will not be together for greater than 15 minutes. Attendees will also have the option of not wearing a face mask. Persons who want to wear a face mask and socially distance should check with the school administration for guidance. Family units and social groups who gather together regularly do not have to maintain the six foot distancing. If inclement weather forces the ceremony to be held indoors, attendance may be decreased.

• Athletics: High schools will continue to follow TSSAA guidelines for athletic events.

Schools will communicate any specific or additional details to families before April 5.

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