Gatewood R-III School Announces Ready-To-Open Plan

Friday, July 31, 2020

Ripley County R-III School District

Ready to Open Plan 2020-2021

Dear Gatewood Staff, Students, and Parents:

Our staff  has been planning for the re-entry of our students since closing mid-march. The situation, in many ways, has evolved but at the same time the level of unknown of the virus and its implications is still very high. One thing that we do know is that the children of our community need a quality education. It is our mission, even during uncertain times, to provide a quality instructional program that is safe for our students. 

The re-entry outline provided in the following pages encompasses the ideas of the Ripley County R-III administration in conjunction with other districts in the area, local health care officials and compliance with state statutes. Please understand, although this plan is several pages long, it will not cover every scenario or every aspect of returning to school with the virus present. The Covid-19 situation is still very fluid and changes each day. Changes in the situation could lead the district to revise or change this plan. We ask that you please understand that we will need your patience and cooperation to make it through these difficult times. Our staff will do the best to protect our students and provide quality instruction. 

In phase one, many things will look similar to pre-covid school. Increased sanitation and cleaning will be present to ensure a safe and sanitary campus. Entrance into phase two and phase three will be evaluated by district administration on a case-by- case basis. Additionally, phases could be impacted by local health department policies, state policies or at the discretion of the BOE. We believe deeply that on-campus education is what is best for our students, but we must ensure that we can provide education safely. At any point, if we feel an area of our campus is a risk to the health of our staff or students, we will evaluate and adjust accordingly. 

I want to reiterate one more time; the following is not inclusive of everything we will see or deal with during the 2020-2021 school year. It is impossible to know everything that lies ahead. Our plan is not perfect and will inevitably change in some way. In the following weeks, we will provide more information regarding our phase 3 (online plan) that could be utilized during the 20-21 school year. 

I hope that everyone is safe and healthy and remains that way in the future. We look forward to seeing our students again very soon! If you have any questions, feel free to call our office or email

Cody Young

Gatewood R-III Superintendent

All plans will consist of the following guidelines 

•No attendance incentives

•No disciplinary actions for absences due to COVID-19 related symptoms 

•No guests in the building. (Parents dropping off or picking up items will be met at the door)

•No non-essential gatherings (Parties, assemblies, open house...etc)

We have created this plan to aid in navigating the reopening of our campus, to mitigate risk for employees, students, and families, to reduce the impact of COVID-19 conditions upon returning to campus, and to enhance meaningful learning opportunities for our students. The guidelines referenced in this plan are based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and the Missouri Department of Health (MDH). Regular updates will be made to this plan based on information provided by the CDC, WHO, MDH, and applicable federal, state and local agencies. 

Considerations for Families: Balancing the priorities of mitigating risk and opening campus requires a community effort. The school and families must genuinely partner together to think and act in the best interests of the whole community. What happens beyond the school day impacts what happens on campus, so we ask that families do their best to mitigate risk outside of school. It is critically important that families honor our illness policy and keep children home if they are sick. The same is true for employees. That said, we also want to honor the warm, welcoming feel of Ripley County R-III and keep the safety of all in mind. Below is how we plan to start “Seated School” with Health Precautions in place.

Seated School

•We need every family to self screen their students before putting them on the bus to ensure that they are fever free and that they do not have any symptoms of Coronavirus. It is imperative that we all do our part to ensure that our students are safe. If you have a confirmed case of Coronavirus in your home, please follow the CDC guidelines and keep your family home until the quarantine is over. 

•Parents will have limited access to the building due to the risk of infection. When entering the building during school for a scheduled appointment, a temperature check will be done.

•Drop off- You can drop your child off (if they are not riding the bus) at 7:15 am. Please pull into the parking lot next to the ball court to drop your child off. Parents are asked not to walk their children to class..  Students will go to the cafeteria or if recess has begun then they may go to their assigned playground to be with their class.

•Breakfast will be available to all students and employees. Some days we will grab and go, while other days we will eat in the cafeteria on a rotation.

•Pre-K - 8th students and employees will order lunch each morning and eat in designated spaces on campus. Temporarily, we will not be able to host parents/guests for meals or snacks. 

•Classes will be taught as usual with extra cleaning and safety protocols in place for the health and safety of all.

•Pre-K - 8th students will need to drink from water bottles, these should be marked with the student’s name and not be shared. The Bank of Grandin is donating the bottles for our students and staff.  They will stay at school and will be cleaned by our staff.

•Pick Up - At the end of the day,  we will go to the playground for recess and if you are picking your child up you can pick up your child at 3:30 pm. You will again use the parking lot next to the ball court. You will see a staff member that will escort your student(s) to your vehicle. Please stay in your vehicle. When your child is in the car make the loop and exit, so that the next parent can pick up their child and we can keep congestion to a minimum.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

•Each teacher will be provided with hand sanitizer and will use it as often as needed.

•All classrooms and common spaces equipped, and checked for refill daily, with hand sanitizer and spray bottles of cleaning solution (Safe for children).

•Covid Fogger to clean high traffic areas quickly

•PPE (mask, gloves, thermometers)

Social Distancing

•Physical distancing strategies will be implemented based on the feasibility of the unique space and needs of each building

•Personal work spaces will be cleaned and sanitized frequently to limit the movement of students around the school, faculty and staff will use supplies in classroom first aid kits, and the nurse will be called to the classrooms as needed.

Parents and Visitors:

•Parents will have limited access to the building due to the risk of infection.  When entering the building during school for a scheduled appointment, a temperature check will be done.

•Parents are asked not to walk their children to class, but we understand that the first two days will be a new experience for some of our younger children.  Parents of a student in Pre-k and Kindergarten may walk their child to the classroom door, but CANNOT enter the room.   

Illness at School Ripley County R-III will follow all Missouri Department of Health and CDC guidelines regarding student illness in school during Covid-19. Parents must keep children home if they are experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms. Students who experience the following Covid-19 symptoms at school will be given a mask, placed in an isolation room, and parent/guardian called for immediate pick-up: 

•Fever greater than 100.4                                                                  


•Shortness of breath 

•New loss of taste or smell

•Close contact with a person who has covid in the last 14 days.

Students who are sent home must remain home until symptom free without the aid of any medication. Once the student returns to school, the office staff will need to check the student back into school. 

Staff Screening

•Staff members will screen at home following the same protocols as families screening students.

Face Coverings (Masks)

•At this time wearing a mask is a personal choice and the Ripley County R-III School District will not be requiring students or staff to wear one.

Open House

•Open House will be different this year, parents will do a drive through open house to meet the teacher and the students can drop off supplies. It will be a quick stop at your child’s teachers designated spot and you will hand the teacher a bag labeled with your child’s name and that has all of their supplies in it. NO ONE IS TO EXIT THE VEHICLE! The kids can wave at the teacher and then the line will continue to the next grade teacher (if stop is needed) or continue on in the line to the exit.  It is crucial for everyone to self diagnose and stay home if you have a fever or are exhibiting any other symptoms. We will follow the parent visitor guidelines during this time. 


•We will start the year with limited gatherings of students during the school day without guests. Smaller performance options, virtual or blended options for gatherings, and outdoor gatherings are all possible, depending on local and state guidance. 

Field Trips

•We will be limiting field trips due to the risk associated with travel. Any approved field trips will require an individual parent permission slip for each trip and screening procedures for the trip will be detailed in the permission slip


We are currently working with area districts on how we will handle 7th and 8th grade basketball.


 We will provide bus transportation to all our students as we have in the past. However we will have some additional procedures to follow: 

•Request that parents confirm that they will be using busing this year

•Assigned seating with family members when possible.

•Sanitizer on the bus as the students get on the bus 

•Buses will be cleaned using the fogger each day.

•Bus Drivers have been trained on COVID Safety Measures

•It is recommended that parents transport their children in personal vehicles.

Short-term Distance Learning (DL) Plan (72 hours) 

This basic plan will be adopted to support any children who need to have an extended absence due to quarantine or similar reason. This plan will be utilized only if we are required to close for up to 72 hours. 

•An at-home project will be sent home digitally or by paper depending on the project.

•Instructions for online meeting and schedule will be provided via email 

•For children out due to quarantine for extended time, families will receive a check-in from classroom teachers and be sent videos/lessons 

Long-term Distance Learning (DL) Plan 

This is the minimum plan in place to be used only if Ripley County R-III is required to close campus for an extended period of time. 

• Daily lessons will be emailed to families or information about online assignments will be sent by 6:00 pm on the night before. 

•Two Online Meetings will be offered weekly. 

• One on one meetings scheduled weekly for each student using email, Zoom, Google classroom, etc.

Parents Without Internet Access

We are working on extending our wifi access to the parking lots for families to access if school is not in session. We are also working on getting flash drives to put student work and teacher videos on that will not require the internet.

Learning Management Systems (LMS)

 We are utilizing the zoom programs, Google Hangout, and incorporating Google Classroom to help prepare students for success whether they are at school or home. Teachers and staff will communicate with families on access to assignments and specific needs in the event that a child is absent from school for an extended period of time. 

Grading and Attendance

We will be returning to our normal grading policy for this school year, including distance learning days. Attendance during any distance learning days will be taken based on participation in online sessions and completion of assignments. 


 In the event of a long-term quarantine, students will be provided with a device if their parent has indicated that they do not have a device at home. This will be used for SCHOOL work only.


We will be installing bottle fillers on fountains, but normal access to the fountains will be closed due to contamination. The bank of Grandin has donated water bottles for each student that will stay at school and our staff will sanitize as needed.


 The academic day will begin at 7:50 am and end at 3:30 pm. 

•Students should be dropped off and picked up at the car drop off line in the parking lot next to the ball court. 

•For morning drop off,you can drop your child off (if they are not riding the bus) at 7:15 am. Please pull into the parking lot next to the ball court to drop your child off. Parents are asked not to exit their vehicles.  

•For afternoon pick up, we will go to the playground for recess and if you are picking your child up you can pick up your child at 3:30 pm. You will again use the parking lot next to the ball court. You will see a staff member that will escort your student(s) to your vehicle. Please stay in your vehicle. When your child is in the car make the loop and exit, so that the next parent can pick up their child and we can keep congestion to a minimum.

Dining Procedures

 Lunch will be served in the cafeteria using social distancing practices, schedules have been adjusted to stagger students using the cafeteria . Trays will be on the tables when the children enter the cafeteria and each child will have an assigned seat. Due to social distancing guidelines and safety practices, parents will not be allowed to eat in the classrooms or cafeteria with the students. 


Students in Preschool and Kindergarten will use a playground that has a border around it to help keep social distancing practices in place. Grades 1-4 will be using the playground in the center and the upper grades will use the upper playground area.

 Online Learning Option

The Ripley county R-III School District will be providing  an online option for those not comfortable with seated school.  Guidelines will be posted in a separate document.

Virtual Learning Guidelines

The Ripley County R-III School District is offering students the option of participating in virtual learning beginning August 24, 2020. Virtual Learning is designed for those families who are not comfortable with sending their children to school due to Covid-19. It is highly recommended that students in pre-k through second grade attend school for in person learning.

•Families who choose virtual learning over onsite learning MUST commit to do so for one semester.

•Students enrolled in virtual learning will not be able to participate in extracurricular activities, club meetings, field trips, etc.

•Households must have reliable internet that will support virtual learning.

•Each student in the household must have a device that will support the use of Google Meet/Classroom, Zoom, and other online resources chosen by the school district. (The district may provide devices if needed and available)

•Parents and/or students must be familiar with Google Meet/Classroom, Zoom, etc and have the ability to use it effectively.

•Expectations and accountability for students will be the same as that of the traditional classroom.

•Students will be required to participate in instruction each day school is in session. Schedules will be determined by building administration and teachers.

•Virtual Assignments will be graded using the same grading scale and expectations as the traditional classroom.

•Parents/Caregivers must commit to providing support for students in order to ensure virtual learning is successful.

•Attendance will be verified daily.

•Students must keep up with the pace of the virtual course and turn in assignments as assigned. Failure to complete assignments and participate in virtual classes will result in failing grades that could lead to course failure and/or grade level retention.

•Students must participate in all required state assessments. All mandated assessments will be administered on-site. Arrangements will be made in advance and will adhere to guidelines.

•Students will receive Music, Art, and PE weekly.

•Meals for students enrolled in virtual learning will be available for pick-up at the school each day school is in session. Times will be announced at a later date.

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