Health and safety guidelines for social distancing, student and staff congregation and mask wearing will be in place Aug. 26 when 881 students report for the first day of classes at Butler County Area Vocational-Technical School.
The school is following the recommendations and guidelines for reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pennsylvania departments of health and education and Gov. Tom Wolf's office, said Regina Hiler, executive director.
“In the 2019-20 school year, instructors began to build curriculum in their respective learning management systems, which students are able to access remotely. The current reopening plan is for instructors to teach in person adhering to safety modifications. However, as the school year begins, instructors will continue to supplement their learning management systems with a variety of instructional methods,” Hiler said. “The method in which the curriculum will be delivered to the students will be dependent on the phase.”
If the county reverts to the yellow phase of the state coronavirus protocol, the vo-tech will offer a hybrid instruction model in which some students will attend school in person and the rest will work remotely. The groups of students will rotate, Hiler said.
To ensure adequate separation between students, instructors will be allowed to rearrange students and relocate to larger rooms, and protective barriers will be provided for certain seating arrangements, she said.
Cleaning and sanitizing guidelines also will be followed.
Procedures for cleaning will be made for each shift of maintenance and custodial staff. High-touch areas such as handrails, door handles, counters and restrooms will be cleaned frequently. Hand washing will be encouraged and hand sanitizer will be located throughout the building.
For the culinary arts program, the school will follow CDC considerations for restaurants and bars, which call for staff to wear cloth face coverings, wash hands frequently, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and arrange seating to allow social distancing.
The school-run restaurant The LunchBox is scheduled to open in March.
The number of students attending from each school district is 320 from the Butler Area, 127 from Seneca Valley, 122 from Karns City Area, 120 from South Butler, 101 from Slippery Rock Area, 46 from Moniteau and 45 from Mars Area.
The vo-tech has applied for a grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency's COVID-19 Disaster Emergency School Health and Safety Grant program to cover the cost of the coronavirus safety practices that have been put in place, Hiler said.