Homeless shelter prepares to send students safely back to school

Open Door Mission is making every effort to protect the children and others at the shelter from COVID-19.
So far this school year, more than 3,800 students statewide have missed school due to quarantine.
So far this school year, more than 3,800 students statewide have missed school due to quarantine.(KFYR)
Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 10:43 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Open Door Mission is getting making every effort to protect both the children and everyone else at the shelter from COVID-19.

“We have close to 60 school-aged children who are registered students at Omaha Public Schools,” said Candace Gregory, President and CEO, Open Door Mission. “Along with those children we have children who are attending all the other districts from Millard, to Bellevue, Council Bluffs, to Bennington.”

Most students from those other districts have already returned to class; next week OPS students will also be on their way

“Our children going to school absolutely brings forth a higher risk because now I have children going to over 8 school districts and coming back,” said Gregory, noting they’re doing everything possible to keep them from bringing the virus back with them.

“We’ve been very blessed not to have any of our children here get COVID,” said Gregory. “We have not been as successful with adults, we’ve had a few waves.”

Open Door Mission has seen a total of 40 cases of COVID-19 among staff and guests; going to great lengths to try and keep that number down.

A part of that is still doing two temperatures checks and symptom checks on our guests daily," said Gregory. “We are still cleaning during waking hours from seven in the morning to 10 in the evening; not only cleaning but disinfecting,” said Gregory. "We actually bought commercial foggers that you would see in a hospital setting so that our maintenance staff can come through and that fog just lands all those crevices and areas we can’t get with a cloth.

And while they’re glad to see the children getting back to school, there are some mixed-feelings

“At the same time I have concerns for children who have underlying health issues, or teachers, or even family members who have those types of health issues,” said Gregory. “Two of our children here will continue to remote learn because it is not safe for them to be around other children for their health reasons.”

The shelter will also be offering a free flu shot to its roughly 900 guests starting next week in effort to try and keep everyone safe and healthy.

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