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Danville Christian Academy students head back to class Wednesday

Wednesday will be the first day of school for students, faculty and staff at Danville Christian Academy. Influenced by the pandemic which hit the area in March, the theme of this school year is “Surviving to Thriving.”

The decision for returning to the classroom “was a joint effort on the part of our families, staff, administration and the DCA Board,” said headmaster Jim Ward.

The school has an enrollment of about 215 students in preschool to the 12th-grade. He explained that the small class sizes, and not having transportation issues to deal with like other school districts have, made it possible for the private school to welcome students back into the building for in-person instruction this new school year.

However, new rules and many precautions will be in place to make returning to the classrooms as safe as possible, he said.

The school will be following the Centers for Disease Control guidelines. And their back to school plans have been shared with Boyle County Health Department Executive Director Brent Blevins, who gave his approval, Ward said.

Everyone coming into the building and walking through the halls must wear a mask. No one will be allowed to congregate in hallways, classrooms or break rooms.

Once at their desks, if social distancing is obtainable, students will be permitted to take off their face masks, but they will be allowed to wear it all day if they choose to do so.

Temperatures will be checked daily by a thermal camera system. This year, the DCA board implemented a new policy that all students and staff who have had a fever must be fever free for 72 hours and visit a doctor before returning to school.

A few other changes that the school has enacted include: eight hand sanitizing stations have been added; hand washing schedules were developed; hall lockers will be unavailable for students in grades 6 through 12 and backpacks will be carried when changing classrooms; water fountains will be closed; restrooms will be sanitized regularly throughout the day; and fans and open windows will be used for increased air circulation.

Also, non-essential visitors will not be allowed on campus.

In a social media video post to DCA families and students, Ward said, “We are going to do our very best. … We are going to do this as a family. And if our kids are involved, and we are involved as adults, we can’t go wrong.”

He said parents and teachers must reinforce cleanliness. He said to constantly remind students to “be clean. You go beyond clean.”

One way that middle and high school students will help protect themselves and each other is that they will be assigned seats. It will be their responsibility to wipe down their desk and chair with sanitation wipes before leaving the classroom. That way, the space will be clean for the next student.

Ward said parents and staff will be asked to read the several pages of rules and procedures for opening school and sign they understand the plan. However, it is not a waiver, he added.

“We’re going to use our head. Use good common sense.”

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