OPS parents react to school safety protocols

Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 10:40 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Omaha Public Schools is one of many that will have students return to the classrooms during a pandemic. A number of safety measures will be in place in OPS buildings to help fight the spread of COVID-19 and WOWT was given a first-hand look at those measures Wednesday morning.

District leaders say some of the changes have to come from the students’ homes, too. For example, parents will have to take their kid’s temperatures every morning. If their student is running a fever, they have to stay home.

OPS parent Lynell Stafford thinks the district is doing its best in creating a safe return to school.

“I think just seeing what some of the other areas are doing, I’m glad that they’re making some effort to make classes smaller and socially distance,” she said.

However, she admits she has concerns with the busing system. The district plans call for 1 student to sit in a seat and the pattern zigzags down the line.

“My only concern is that it’s too easy to turn around and be face to face with the kid behind you,” said Stafford.

The students will unload the bus from front to back and drivers will run the same schedule and routes even though some students will only be attending school on certain days.

More change in the cafeterias, too. Students will not sit next to or across from each other to maintain social distancing.

“It looks pretty clean and social distancing even just with the sitting and eating,” said OPS parent Julie. “I was expecting it to look even more isolated, but that looks pretty good.”

“I thought they were all going to be sitting on one side but it looks like they’re going to able to see kitty-corner to them so I think that’s a good plan,” said Stafford.

Sandwiches will be individually wrapped and ketchup packets will be handed out to each student.

In all schools, there will be an abundance of hand sanitizer, passing periods will be staggered, doors will be marked “in” and “out,” and cleaning protocols will be increased.

Both parents think OPS is on the right path in terms of safety and cleanliness.

“Kids are flexible and they’ll go with whatever needs to be done,” said Julie. “It’s a hard call. There’s no great answer so we’ll just go and do it the best we can, right?”

“I appreciate that the school board has made this decision. I know it wasn’t easy,” said Stafford.

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