sharpsville gym

SHARPSVILLE — Though their time in class was cut short last spring, students at Sharpsville schools are expected to return to class in the fall, albeit with some changes to their routine — starting with the bus ride to school.

While some buses will have fewer passengers than others to allow for space, students will have to wear masks when riding the bus. When at school, the students must wear their masks whenever social distance cannot be maintained, Superintendent John Vannoy said.

Other changes will include hand sanitizer dispensers in the classrooms, gyms and locker rooms, as well as touchless water facets and hand dryers. Students will also be encouraged to use water stations to reduce contact instead of water fountains, Vannoy said.

High-traffic areas such as hallways will be cleaned throughout the day, Vannoy said.

“We’ll have signage throughout the buildings promoting hand washing and social distancing guidelines, sneeze into your elbow, and if you’re not feeling well, student or staff, then stay home,” Vannoy said.

Recess normally has a mixture of unstructured and structured activities, such as kickball games, although there will be some adjustments to allow for social distancing. That could include canceling some activities or designating certain grade levels on the playground, Vannoy said.

“Recess is a nice break from the academic component, and it’s good for the socialization component and it’s good for the exercise component,” Vannoy said.

If the pandemic requires that schools close again in favor of digital education, Vannoy said online classes would be more structured than they were this spring. This would involve using Google to hold virtual classes at the same time as they would in school, which will be more uniform under one platform while following the students’ traditional schedule.

“It would be very consistent, where you wouldn’t log on for lunch or study hall, but there will be attendance, live teaching and traditional grading,” Vannoy said. “School is gonna be school.”

So far school officials have spoken with a few parents who are curious about what the new school year will look like, although Vannoy said a survey would be sent out early next week to gather feedback from parents.

“We are excited to welcome everybody back, but we are going to take it one day at a time,” Vannoy said.

Like David L. Dye on Facebook or email him at ddye@sharonherald.com.