Carthage School District to do health screenings for all students next school year

School board gives back to school plan final approval

CARTHAGE, Mo. – Kindergarten teacher Sharon Frost is ready to see students in her classroom again. She’s so excited that she’s already getting things ready to make learning fun and safe.

“Usually I have students who go to work stations in pairs. And this year we’ll be doing it more individualized,” says Frost. “And for playtime, I’m thinking about having a container for each child so they have their own toys.”

Safety is a main key to the districts recently approved back to school plan. And health screenings for every student at every school will be a big part of that.

“The teachers will be taking temperatures in the classroom for themselves and also for the students,” explains District Nursing Supervisor Dana Cook.

Instead of temperatures being taken before students get on the bus or arrive at the school, teachers will be the ones watching of symptoms and doing temperature checks before their classes start. Frost says that incorporating the screenings into her day should be pretty easy.

“I like to greet every child by name as they come in, so we’ll just work that into the morning greeting routine. It shouldn’t be a problem,” explains Frost.

Dana Cook explains that if a teacher finds a student has a high temperature or any of the symptoms of COVID-19, they’ll be sent to the nurse’s office for further screening. Then, the nurse will decide whether or not the student should be sent home. If they have to be sent home, students will be sent to a separate room away from other students until they’re picked up by their parents.

Parents are being asked to do the same screening before they send their kids to school each morning.

“For in-person school to remain successful, our parents have to do their job and do proper screening before they send their kids,” says Carthage Superintendent Mark Baker.

“If you have the no-touch thermometers like we’ll be using at school, be sure and follow the directions. You don’t press on the forehead or anywhere on the skin. Make sure you follow the directions,” says Cook. “If they have a temperature of 100 or above, if they have a cough that has been lasting and won’t go away, if they feel short of breath, or if they have a sore throat, that child will need to stay home.”

If a student has to be sent home for one day, they will make up for the lost time the next day. If they have to be out for an extended period of time, then they would be given take-home learning materials.

While all of this is sure to be more work for parents, students and teachers alike, Frost thinks that it will be worth it.

“It’s worth every bit of work to have the classroom full of kids again.”

The district is offering a virtual remote learning option for students as well. Parents have until August 7th to enroll their students in virtual classes.

School starts in Carthage on August 20th.

You can find the district’s reopening plan here: