OKEECHOBEE — “Students at Rock Solid Christian Academy are very happy and excited to be at school,” said director Joy Yates.
“We are encouraging them to interact with their friends. We are doing a lot of outside activities and spread out more when we are in big groups, but the kids still get to interact with their friends, and they needed that. I think that is really important. They missed that socialization back in March when schools closed down,” said Principal Amanda Carver. “We still enforce all the cleaning policies. That was a learning curve for the kids to understand why we have to wash our hands so much and not hug and shake hands as much.”
Yates said they made the decision during the summer to make the wearing of masks voluntary. They feel that it is important for children, particularly the very young preschoolers, to be able to see their teachers’ faces, their smiles, so teachers, staff and students can wear a mask if that is what they are more comfortable doing, but it is not required.
Since Christmas break, there have been some exposures within some of the families of the children who attend the school, and they are now having to quarantine. Since school started, they have had a couple students with close contact, but none who have actually tested positive. When this happens, Carver said they follow instructions they get from the health department. “You hear so many different things,” said Yates. “We read everything that comes our way, but there are so many different recommendations out there that we don’t know what to believe. The best thing is to just get instructions directly from the health department on how to handle the situation.”
The school plans to stick with the same policy they have used since school started this year. It is the same one the district uses, said Carver. If anyone has any symptoms at all, they cannot be on campus. They do not take temperatures unless there seems to be a reason for it. They trust the parents to keep the children home if they are sick. The teachers do keep an eye on the children all day, watch for symptoms and will take temperatures if the child appears ill. The child must be asymptomatic for 24 hours without medication before they are allowed on campus.
Because things went so well the first half of the year, they don’t really plan to make any changes.
Jenna Corbitt, whose three children attend RSCA, said she is happy with the precautions the school takes. She feels they are reasonable and effective. The only problem at all for her children is that they are a little sad when she can’t come to their award presentations, but they understand the reasoning, and they are happy she can see the videos on Facebook. They just miss having someone there in person to cheer them on.