After over six months of being shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Winfield’s schools might be reopening.
The Winfield R-IV School District’s Board of Education will hold a special meeting on Oct. 15 to discuss the subject, one Daniel Williams, district superintendent, said is paramount on the minds of most of the town’s residents.
“We anticipate a large crowd at that meeting,” he said. “That’s why we’re meeting in our high school gym.”
The information ascertained from that meeting would be used to determine whether or not students would return to classes on Oct. 19.
Williams said the option for in-person instruction was part of the district’s reopening plan that was created in August. Surveys were recently sent out to parents and faculty to get their input on returning to in-person learning.
“I wanted to remind the parents we’re at this step in our plan,” Williams said. “We want to get that information from our stakeholders, which are our parents and faculty.”
“That information (from the surveys) will be instrumental in how we determine if we come back on Oct. 19.”
In a statement released on Sept. 22, the district said it is also using data provided by the Lincoln County Health Department, the Missouri Division of Health and Senior Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta as part of the decision-making process.
Though Williams believes in-person instruction provides the best learning opportunity for the students in Winfield R-IV, he also wants to reassure the parents of Winfield he and the board will only bring students back as soon as the conditions of the novel coronavirus allow them to.
“We don’t want to just put our kids in danger by reopening the schools just to be reopening, but we don’t want to keep them at home any longer than we have to,” Williams said. “I’m not only a superintendent, but a parent of children in our schools as well.”
If, and when students do return, the district said mitigating measures have been put into place to keep students and faculty safe. In addition to extra cleaning and sanitation supplies being bought for each school, such as hand sanitizer, ionizers designed to destroy pathogens have been installed in all of the HVAC systems in each of the district’s schools.
The Winfield County Commission fully reimbursed the $107,000 cost to purchase and install the systems – and Williams is thankful for the cooperation.
“The county commission has been so great in this,” he said. “They have reimbursed every dollar we have spent to make our schools safe during this time, and we’re blessed to have them.”