COVID-19, colleges and baby custody all come to forefront for Lewis County officers | Information
WESTON – When schools closed in March on COVID-19 concerns, Lewis County Family Court Judge Theresa Cogar Turner shared information on how to manage stay-at-home custody arrangements.
She stressed that visits are allowed under the order, but since school is now due to start on September 8, what guidelines, if any, will be put in place with regard to custody arrangements?
“So far, no new recommendations have been made by the courts on the matter,” Turner said, adding that this also affects students who may be traveling out of the state or have family members who do so, whether for professional or personal reasons.
The Lewis County Schools administration will work with the Lewis County Health Department on COVID-19 precautions and visiting arrangements, Superintendent Dr. Robin Lewis. This includes those children who have a parent who lives in another state.
“It will be a problem when this place is a hot spot. We can educate families about precautionary measures, ”added Lewis, but expects new guidelines to be released that address this issue.
Lewis County’s Department of Health inspector David Whittaker said the West Virginia Department of Education is taking the lead and establishing rules that he and his staff will support.
“So many factors play a role. We have worked closely with Lewis County Schools in the hope of having a lot of testing done before the school opens, ”Whittaker said.
Discussions took place focusing not only on students but also on staff. Lewis said these are factors to consider when deciding on the safest practices for re-entry.
School staff have developed focus areas called “buckets” to prepare for re-entry according to the West Virginia Department of Education. These include family and community relationships, physical and emotional wellbeing, career technology, child nutrition, instructor lists, special needs education, school safety, finance, and technology. The administration reported that they are also researching disinfectants and disinfectants and tools.
The cost of supplies, including masks for administrators, staff, and students, could go as high as $ 200,000. This would also include industrial disinfectant sprayers that are similar to paint sprayers and manufactured by the same company. Funding for this would come from a total of $ 40,000 remaining CARES Act monies collected through maintenance, state aid, Step 7, and grants, Lewis County Schools Treasurer Monika Weldon said in a meeting on July 6th.
As part of the WVDE School Re-Entry Toolkit, a symptom screening checklist is available to school staff that can be used to ask older students and families of elementary school students whether they have had close contact with someone with COVID within 14 days -19 was diagnosed. In this case, they should not be at school and can return 14 days after the last contact.
On return to school, if the student has been self-diagnosed, they must have shown no symptoms for 10 days, three days without a fever and three days after other symptoms have improved. If a student has been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, they should be out of school for 14 days.
“I think the school needs to develop a policy based on recommendations / guidelines from the health department that allows students in these situations to virtually go to school if quarantine requires it,” said Turner.
The virtual school is a viable option, either alone or in combination with in-person tuition. This decision has not yet been finalized by the LC BOE.
In a fluid situation, officials from different agencies are working together to resolve problems preparing for re-entry into school.
“We’ll tackle it at each end,” said Whittaker.