Huntsville City Schools discusses health preparations when students return to school

No students will be in class the first 9 weeks of school, but the district said it will be ready when they are back on campus.

Posted: Aug 4, 2020 6:47 PM
Updated: Aug 4, 2020 11:23 PM

Huntsville City Schools talked to WAAY 31 about the toolkit it received from the Alabama Department of Public Health about students and teachers heading back to school.

Andrea Penn, Health Services Coordinator, said much of what was in the department's back to school plan was already in place for the district in its reset plan.

"We had many of these things that are in the toolkit already in place and already ready to go. I feel like we could move forward very effectively and very efficiently if that had been the case that we had students back in the building on the first day," she said.

Penn said she had already reviewed CDC guidelines. She explained that was what was in much of what was in the 86-page plan and explained the reporting aspect isn't all that new to the district's nurses.

"Our nurses will be doing our reporting to the Alabama Department of Public Health, which is something we have been familiar with because anytime there is any communicable disease outbreak of any kind, we always have to report those to the Alabama Department of Pubic Health," she added.

Pen said each school in the district has its own nurse. Creating areas for students with coronavirus symptoms to be isolated from the rest of the students until they can be picked up will be ready when students return to school. Those rooms will vary location by location.

"These rooms will accommodate more than one student and they will be placed six feet apart to maintain that social distancing. We will have personnel that will be in there monitoring the student and they will all have on appropriate PPE as well," she said.

Penn explained in the meantime, they'll be watching the CDC's guidelines closely to make sure they adapt to any changes that are made.

"Plans change, things change, CDC guidance has changed several times, so we are just again working to stay abreast of all the current guidelines from ADPH and CDC so we can make sure we mitigate the risk to students and staff as much as possible," she said.

Huntsville City Schools was awarded almost $2 million through an education and wellness grant from the state. Penn said the district is still determining how that money will be spent.

Madison City Schools was awarded about $800,000 from the grant and said they are still working to determine what they will use it for as well.

Madison County Schools was awarded about $1.5 million through the grant and told us they used the funding to purchase medical supplies, sanitizer, masks, gloves, thermostats for temperature check and high-end temperature monitors for large events.

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