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Guidance Concerning COVID-19 and the Public School Setting
Guidance Concerning COVID-19 and the Public School Setting
Eric Allen
Friday, August 14, 2020

This is an update on Alton R-IV protocols based on the latest guidance concerning COVID-19 and the public school setting. The guidance we have been receiving has been fluid and updated often over the last several weeks and may well change again at some point in the future. 


At Alton R-IV, we are incorporating the most current guidance to the best of our abilities for the most practical enhancement of the safety of our students and employees. We will also continue to plan for, and deliver to the best of our abilities, a seated in-person academic option in conjunction with all of the aspects, events, and opportunities that compose the entire school experience for our student body. One of the changes in protocols, based on the guidance provided, will be that Alton R-IV will not conduct a temperature screen of each student and employee daily upon arriving on campus. Based on guidance from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, “It is important to note, however, that temperature screenings are of low sensitivity and performing those checks in-person at school has the potential to create lines/groups of students.” 

Parents should assess their children for COVID-19 symptoms before coming to school and students with symptoms should not attend school and parents should consult their healthcare provider and follow CDC considerations regarding their return to school. Parents and caregivers should be empowered to screen children for symptoms at home, prior to coming to school, and should be provided with the following checklist that includes the following symptoms and exposure: 


• Fever or chills 

• Cough 

• Headache 

• Muscle aches 

• Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea 

• New loss of taste or smell 

• New runny nose or congestion 

• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 

• Sore throat 

• Close contact with a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days 


Students with symptoms should not attend school and parents should consult their healthcare provider and follow CDC considerations regarding their return to school. 

PLEASE REMEMBER, Alton R-IV will be waiving attendance requirements and incentives for this year that had been in place during previous school years based on COVID-19 guidance. 

The Department of Health and Senior Services stressed: “Schools should broadly communicate the importance of keeping students home when they feel sick. At home screening reinforces that decision and reminds families how important that choice is, as it helps to further protect other students, school staff members, and communities as a whole.” Face covering will not be required. However, any student or employee choosing to wear a face covering will have the right to exercise that option if they so choose. 

Some other options that Alton R-IV will be implementing across various aspects of the school day are as follows: Buses will load from back to front for the morning route and family members will sit together. The same seating chart will be used for the afternoon bus route even though students will not load the bus in true back to front fashion. 

Changes will be made to breakfast and lunch shifts to allow meals to be eaten in other locations besides the cafeteria and thus create adequate spacing for students who still do eat in the cafeteria. Mandatory seating charts will be made and utilized for all 6-12 grade classes, as applicable. Traditional water fountains will not be available, but additional water bottle fill stations have been purchased and installed on campus. 

We will continue to review and evaluate guidance as it comes to us from various state and federal agencies and change or add protocols as warranted. The link to the most recent Missouri DHSS and Missouri DESE guidance can be found at the following link: https://dese.mo.gov/sites/default/files/COVID-MO-K12-Reopening-Guidance.pdf