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PCSSD prepared to safely welcome students back to school on Monday

With less students attending, Sylvan Hills High School students are able to practice social distancing more easily.

PULASKI COUNTY, ARKANSAS, Ark. — The Pulaski County Special School District has more space to safely allow students into the classroom.

At Sylvan Hills Middle School, everyday staff members are required to take their temperature.

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It's logged into a computer system for contact tracing purposes, and then they are cleared to go to their classrooms.

"All of our buildings are going to be at 50% capacity for the school year,” said Jessica Duff, spokesperson for PCSSD.

With less students at school, that leaves space for social distancing in the Sylvan Hills Middle School classrooms with a maximum of 15 students in each room. Each desk is within arms length of another. 

“So in this classroom, these desks that have tape on them means no child can sit here, so every other desk here,” said Duff.

The rooms look pretty normal other than the distanced seats. That’s because the district is able to safely social distance without the use of additional PPE that more crowded schools have to use.

"So we are not having to worry about adding additional Plexiglas or curtains in the classrooms,” said Duff.

However, Pre-K and Kindergarten rooms will have the additional PPE because many of their rooms have round tables instead of desks. Social distancing is more challenging there.

Some schools are using shower curtains as shields between the teacher and students, but Duff said they are not using those because their Fire Marshal deemed them unsafe.

"It's actually a fire hazard to have those hanging from the ceiling,” said Duff.

The district is also working on ways to better the ventilation system in buildings.

Though there's little PPE for the secondary grade levels, Duff said with spacious rooms and masks, they feel ready for the school year.

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"So far what we have set up, we believe is in compliance with the guidelines,” said Duff.

Duff said the nursing stations will have medical grade curtains for a designated quarantine room.