By Elise Fisch
Now officially open, Florida’s S.S. Seward Institute has successfully implemented its new, COVID-19-compliant school program which has operated smoothly, save for certain technical difficulties involving Chromebooks and broadband internet access. Faculty remarked on how cooperative the students were in their first few days of school activity.
At the Board of Education meeting held on Thurs., Sept. 17, Principal Michael Rheaume reported that Seward students have all been fully compliant with mask requirements, and only a couple had forgotten their masks at home and were provided one by the school.
The district currently has a total of four non-contact thermal scanners for recording temperatures, two for Golden Hill Elementary and two for S.S. Seward. One of these scanners is moved between the two buildings during peak hours, putting three at the building that needs an extra one during its busy hours, and only one at the building not experiencing as much traffic at that time. Any student or staff member who is absent from school for a day will be referred to their primary care physician to assess whether a COVID-19 test is necessary or not. Results must be reported to the district who will then report it to the state.
Many of the families who opted into full remote learning are now reaching out to district officials to request their child begin attending in-person classes. The option to make the switch is available with a deadline to notify the district by Fri., Oct. 9. The switch is planned to take effect the following month on Mon., Nov. 9. The Board members will have to formulate a plan to accommodate having more persons in the school at a time. Superintendent Jan Jehring believes it will only be a matter of revising to an every other day schedule for students.
Athletics to Resume in November
Athletics have been postponed until Mon., Nov. 30, and the season will begin with winter sports, pushing the fall sports season into March, with spring sports following in May. If the district is not allowed to begin sports in November, the seasons will be condensed between the months of January and June.
Pre-season training will begin on Mon., Oct. 5, outside only weather permitting, with indoor practices beginning on Fri., Oct. 30. Students who wish to participate can do so directly after school, and training activities will be conducted in one-hour blocks of time. Masks will continue to be mandatory while participating in athletics. Sign-in sheets will be taken very seriously during training sessions to keep meticulous track of which students and faculty were present each day.
The next meeting of the Florida Union Free School District Board of Education will be held on Thurs., Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. in the S.S. Seward Institute cafeteria, 51 N. Main St., Florida.