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Safety first for in-person learning

two girls in a school classroom wearing masks
Lakewood administrators and staff have established a wide array of procedures to ensure health and safety as Lakewood elementary students return to in-person learning

So far, reports of illness have been low with no onsite transmissions, according to Lakewood’s district nurse Kelsey Mitchell. She and her team of registered nurses are doing all that they can to make sure that trend continues.

Masks are mandatory for anyone on campus. Classroom desks are arranged for social distancing to limit exposure. Ventilation systems have been upgraded to COVID standards. Each classroom has a clear plastic shield to allow for personalized one-on-one instruction. Soon free diagnostic testing will be offered onsite for any student or staff member showing symptoms.

Children are not missing a beat with new routines. “Our teachers did such amazing work helping their students understand how important safety precautions,” said Bill Landry, principal at Cougar Creek Elementary School. “We’ve had no issues with keeping masks on or social distancing.” All three elementary school principals complimented the returning students on their compassion for others.

Protective equipment (PPE) is allocated by job description with the closer the contact with students requiring more protection. Masks, gloves, face shields and gowns are all available and in ample supply. Staff received training on the correct use and disposal of each item. Also in abundance are disinfecting supplies and facial tissue. Each week Mitchell and her staff re-stock.

When an exposure occurs, a detailed response plan is initiated including intensive contact tracing.

Lakewood schools have a registered nurse for each school. State funding would allocate just a fraction of a single nurse for the entire K-12 student enrollment. In the past, the remaining nurses were funded by the local Educational Programs and Operations Levy. Renewal of this levy was not approved by voters in 2020. Current funding is coming from the school district’s fund balance (savings account).