Students hoping to return on campus will see new safety measures in place and noticeable when they return to campus on Sept 8.
“Along the lines of when you’re on campus, is you have to wear your facial mask the entire time, with basically two exceptions. One is while you’re eating, and that involves your eating in one place you can’t be walking around eating or walking the halls,” Principal Gary Comalander said.
Students will also notice small, but visible changes meant to maintain social distancing and best practices for keeping the campus healthy. Jaguar branded social distancing stickers, blue take directing hallway traffic and sealed off water fountains are just a few of the changes students will immediately notice.
“We have removed half of the chairs, there are no chairs for someone to sit side by side. Or directly in front across from you. It’s kind of a zig-zag pattern”, Comalander said. “So that keeps six foot separation between everybody. So you’re close enough to talk as friends but you’re not within six feet of each other.”
Safety measures are being considered beyond the classroom as well.
“The only other time you can talk off your mask is when you’re exercising, like P.E. or athletics or marching band. We still recommend that you wear your mask if you can, but that’s when you can’t take it off,” Comalander said. “However, you still have to do the separation and as soon as you stop exercising you have to put it back on. So we do have groups that are back to practice and that’s what they have to follow.”
Comalander also emphasizes that following the guidelines is the primary way to help stop the spread.
“So we can get back closer to normal, there is no doubt that what’s happening is worldwide and when people don’t follow the guidelines…people get affected and come down with COVID-19. Because to be honest …I mean we know if someone has a health condition, that they are more likely to get sick, but even people without some do and some don’t and no one knows why. So for everybody’s safety we have to follow these guidelines,” Comalander said.
For students who choose not to uphold their responsibility and follow campus measures, there are consequences in place.
“We will start with the teachers in the classroom to remind what they have to do and if someone makes the choice not to, then administration, one of the administers, will get involved. There won’t be any or a lot of second chances if someone is making the choice of not to follow one of the guidelines to keep people safe and healthy. It’s an easy choice to learn from home,” Comalander said.
However, in the possibility that some students forget to put their mask on, they will not be penalized but will receive a reminder.
“Fortunately, most people with a reminder ‘Oh yes, I forgot to… I got to get my mask on,’ but if someone is choosing not to, then the nice part is that they can learn from home,” Comalander said.
If in the case that a student were to contract COVID-19, with direction from central office, the campus has a readied response.
“If we immediately find out if someone does or has tested positive for the virus, they will be isolated and sent home. The more common thing that will happen is that somebody will be here in the clinic, the nurse, and they would between the nurse and Bexar Metro Health – determine whether or not symptoms are that he doesn’t feel good and it’s not related to COVID-19,” Comalander said.
If the nurse and Bexar Metro Health feel that the student needs to get tested then the student will remain in isolation at home until it is proven that you have tested negative or quarantined for fourteen days to show you don’t have it. If a student or parent needs to find any information regarding the safety measures, there have been resources available.
“It’s all posted on the Northeast website and you would go to neisd.net. It’s been the links to that I’ve emailed out at various times during all of August…I emailed the safety links but all the information is shared on the webpages, and as we get to phase one which is what we are hoping to do right after Labor Day,” Comalander said.