Local schools getting ready to open amid pandemic

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Confirmed cases of COVID-19 are on the rise here in Carroll County and across the state, but county schools all plan to open their doors to students on Aug. 4 with some basic guidelines to try to protect the health of both students and staff.
Huntingdon Director of Schools Pat Dillahunty, West Carroll Director Dexter Williams, Hollow Rock-Bruceton Director David Duncan, and South Carroll Director Lex Suite all say that they are recommending but not requiring students and staff to wear face masks.
McKenzie schools, however, are requiring that all students, staff, and visitors wear masks when inside school facilities, according to McKenzie Director Lynn Watkins.
Watkins added that he understands that some students and staff may have medical conditions that make it hard to wear a mask and that trying to keep masks on the youngest students is not realistic.
“We’re going to try to use some good common sense,” said Watkins.
Dillahunty commented that her school system’s policy on masks could change depending on how the virus situation progresses.
All the school directors said that they will be taking the temperatures of all students and staff as enter school buildings every day.
They also said that their school systems are prepared to provide distance/virtual learning to any students whose parents elect to keep them at home.
And if Governor Bill Lee should decide to close down schools statewide, as he did back in March, local school directors say they should be able to provide distance learning for all students.
“We’re preparing and making changes every day to keep students safe and provide the best education we can,” said Dillahunty.
“There are a lot of unknowns, the situation is fluid, and there are still some things we need to get in place before next Tuesday,” said Williams. “But I feel like we’re doing all we can to keep our students and faculty as safe as possible.”
“We’ve taken all the precautions we can take at this time,” said Duncan.
“I think we are prepared, but we’re continuing to monitor the situation,” said Suite.
More detailed information about each school system’s guidelines regarding COVID-19 can be found on the school system websites.
County schools will open for a half day on Aug. 4 and then start full-day schedules on Aug. 5.

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