Murphysboro school dist. begins in-person classes with safety on their minds

COVID-19 precautions

MURPHYSBORO, Ill. (KFVS) - As schools in Jackson County begin their school year, some are starting off blended with in-person learning.

The Jackson County Health Department is monitoring all K-12 schools, along with Southern Illinois University.

Murphysboro School District 186 began their first day of in-person classes on Tuesday, August 18.

High School Principal Cody Ellenmeyer said he was thrilled with how the first day of classes turned out.

“It’s been impressive how well the students have followed our guidelines,” he said.

The district has many precautions in place to make sure all of their students and staff feel safe at all times throughout the day.

“We have a lot of safety precautions in place right now in order to have a blended learning style here at the high school and throughout the entire district,” Ellenmeyer said.

Some of those precautions start before the students even enter the building.

“If they rode a bus, they were screened before they got on a bus, their temperature was taken and they were asked if they have any symptoms of COVID. Same thing when they get off the bus, or they get out of their parent’s car or they drive here or ride a bike or walk,” he said. “Before they come in the building, they are being temp screened as well.”

If a student in any of their buildings shows signs, the district has a plan to make sure everyone is safe.

“If a kid, say, they temp over 100.4 or higher or they are showing one of the symptoms, then we’ll have our nurse in what we’re calling our ‘hot room’ be able and go through and check out their symptoms to see what’s going on,” he said.

With buildings only being at 50 percent capacity, Ellenmeyer said it’s easier to maneuver things

“So, our students last name A through J go on Tuesday, Thursdays; our students last names K through Z go Wednesday, Friday,” he said.

If anything turns south during the school year, district 186 is ready to react.

“I think Dr. Evers and the district is going to lean heavily on the Jackson County Health Department for that guidance,” he said. “If we do get the guidance that we do need to step back and go full remote, we will move into a full remote situation.”

Lunch time can also be a problematic time for schools, Murphysboro said they have that covered as well.

“We are only keeping 50 kids in our cafeteria during lunch time,” he said. “We’re keeping our auditorium foyer open for lunch as well so we can space those out to follow all the guidelines.”

Ellenmeyer said he hoped his students realize how much their staff wants to further their education.

“It’s showing our community, it’s showing our kids that our educators care about them and that we want to do what’s best for them. That we value their education and we’ll make adjustments. This is going to be a fluid situation.”

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