IPSD school board discusses their back to school plan


Sydney Burleyson

The IPSD school board records their meetings which are then posted on their YouTube channel.

The IPSD school board members gathered at Metea to discuss their goals and plan for reopening the schools last night. This is the first time that they have had an in-person meeting at the school since the pandemic began, with limited capacity and social distancing. At the meeting, they discussed how IPSD schools will go about opening safely, with protective measures such as COVID-19 screenings and 25% capacity.

IPSD Deputy Superintendent Doug Eccarius went into detail about the district’s plan on returning to in-person learning and COVID-19 cases in the area.

“We have been in the moderate arena, which says that we can encourage learning models that maintain at least 6 feet of social distancing and some to no mixing of groups of students and teachers throughout or across school days,” Eccarius said.

Linda Rakestraw, who is the Interim Assistant Superintendent, went into detail about how the high school schedule will work, hitting topics such as times and schedules.

“Using pilots for our Monday schedule was a strategic move designed to protect our Tuesday-Friday teaching block in the event that any local health metrics that change our quarantines could be imposed,” Rakestraw said. “We felt that Mondays could withstand construction and changes without impacting the core of our instruction,“ said Rakestraw.

Mondays are currently 30 minute teaching blocks. Once the school moves into the pilot system in November, the teaching blocks will be 45 minutes. 

Rakestraw explained that the schools will take all necessary steps to ensure that both in-person students and remote learners are receiving the same education. She wants to make sure that both in-person and remote students are taken care of and get the clarification and resources that they may need.

“We are limiting our student capacity in classrooms to between 12 and 15 in a room,” Rakestraw said. “We also need rigorous educational instruction to be offered for both in-person and our remote learners. Our students at home are just as important to us as those in the classroom.”

Eccarius stated how they will deal with cases in the school and check for symptoms. There will be morning COVID-19 checks on Synergy that parents must fill out. Students must wear masks the whole day and there will be plexiglass for close contact situations.

“If we can assure that students are seated six feet apart, we have a more than likely chance that they wouldn’t be considered in close contact,” Eccarius said. “That would avoid them being quarantined from school. If a student tests positive, and other students or teachers are within six feet of them for 15 minutes, they would be quarantined for 14 days.”

Metea will begin a new Monday schedule on Oct. 26. Students will be in the physical classroom from 7:25-2:05 p.m. They anticipate hosting open houses for freshmen and new students, and they plan on bringing students in once in November. In addition, 204 hopes to create a plan to bring students in on Tuesdays and Thursdays.