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School district discusses its Smart Start back-to-school plan

• Work session held Tuesday evening, July 28.

The administrative team and superintendent met with trustees of the Lincoln County School District 2 Board on Tuesday, July 28 for a work session. The purpose of the session was to present and discuss the district’s Smart Start school plan.

The district’s plan has been a group effort, according to Superintendent Matt Erickson.

“We have had multiple committees, our administrative team as well as 35 staff members and teachers offering their perspective on the general district plan as well as building specific plans,” Erickson said. “We hope to have those building specific plans up on the website next week.”

Tuesday’s work session was set up to allow 45 minutes for the plan to be presented to the school board. The meeting was then opened up to the public for comments. The public attended and participated in the meeting via Zoom or Facebook.

The Smart Start plan addresses four specific areas, Erickson said. Those areas include: communication; safety and wellness; school operations; and instruction and technology.

Under the communication section of the plan the district’s strategy includes sharing information with parents, families and stakeholders through:

• the school district’s website

• school websites

• local media outlets

• instant campus messaging

• and social media.

The communication plan would come into play to share changes in health orders, adjustments within the district and how the school district is moving forward with education.

The safety and wellness portion of the plan focuses on student arrival at school, student transitions throughout the school day, and student dismissal.

Building maintenance and sanitation is also included in the safety and wellness section.

The school operations section of the plan focuses on transportation of students, nutrition and facilities.

Students will be required to wear face masks on buses and in areas where social distancing is not possible. School lunches will be pre-packaged by staff. There will be no self-serve options. Water fountains will be closed and water bottle filling stations will be installed. All school facilities will follow CDC protocols.

The instruction and technology segment of the plan focuses on three areas: preparation, the first weeks of school and what will happen during the school year.

According to information provided by the district, students will be in full school whether they are learning remotely, virtually or face-to-face in the classroom.

Assessments will be completed to identify gaps in learning. Attendance will be taken.

The plan presented to the school board will serve as the general district plan. Each school within the district will have a building specific plan as well. The building specific plans will be posted on the school district website by next week.

The district’s Smart Start plan will be submitted to the state for review later this week.

“Once we hear back from the state we are ready to move forward,” said Erickson.

The academic year in LCSD2 will begin on Monday, August 24 in Cokeville; and Tuesday, August 25 in Star Valley.

Athletic programs and student activities will also resume on their regular schedule this fall.

According to Superintendent Erickson, LCSD2 has every expectation to operate on a Tier One level, with students in the classroom for face-to-face learning. The state has identified three tiers of operation, he said. Tier Two deals with how a school will operate if a student(s) or staff test positive for COVID-19. Tier 3 means school facilities are closed and the district moves to an adaptive learning plan.

“Our goal is to be a Tier One district,” he said. “That is our expectation and where we want to be. We are going to create a situation where our students have a positive learning experience and can be successful.”

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