Area schools preparing for in-person school year

Area schools will be opening the 2020-21 school year soon.
Liberty School District J-4 will begin the 2020-21 school year on Monday, August 17. There will be particular attention paid to social distancing. Increased sanitizing and disinfecting throughout the day and after school hours will be the norm for this school year. Staff and students will have access to hand sanitizing stations placed throughout the building and in the classrooms. Bus routes will run as normal, and students will have assigned seats so that families are sitting together. A copy of Liberty’s reopening plan will be available on the school’s website,, this week.
Lone Star in northeastern Washington County will open the school year on August 25.
Arickaree R-2’s first day is August 24.
Otis R-3 also is opening on August 25 to in-person instruction.
All the districts have similar reopening plans, as they have all worked together, along with Yuma County school districts, in formulating the plans.
Schools will begin the school year in Green Phase, as of now.
The districts have a three-tiered process for determining the level of school opening, and procedures to follow if it starts to have positive COVID-19 cases among students and staff.
Parents are asked to please keep children home if feeling ill, including checking their temperature in the morning. They are asked to keep them home if it is 100.4 or above.
Daily health screenings may be conducted by school personnel on staff and students in the Otis schools when medical equipment is not available at home. Arickaree will screen all students at the beginning of each day at the designated area per individual grade level.
All staff and students in fourth grade and above, are required to wear face coverings when indoors for as long as the state’s mask mandate is in effect., When the order is lifted, students will be encouraged to wear face coverings during the check-in process, while in common areas and during transitions. Face coverings also are recommended when riding a school bus.
There will be frequent disinfecting and cleaning of the buses.
The districts have remote learning in place for those who have to stay home, or may not feel comfortable coming to school, as well as in the event the schools have to close to in-person instruction. There also is an online option for anyone who would like to be strictly home-schooled.
The districts also have protocols in place if a student or staff member contracts COVID-19, or a family member tests positive, as well as in the event a student or staff member becomes sick while at school and exhibits any COVID-19 symptoms. There also are protocols for returning to school.
The districts have the Green, Yellow and Red Phases, dictated by the number of positive cases within the school district within one week, or the lack of any positive cases. The schools listed here will go to the Yellow Phase if five or more students or staff test positive within one week. They would go to Red Phase, which calls for remote learning, if more than 15 students or staff test positive within one week.
Arickaree and Otis both have their comprehensive reopening of school available on their websites, and