The Hannibal Public School District this week released its plans, policies and procedures that students and staff will follow this school year.

School will start as scheduled on August 26. The school district collaborated with the Marion and Ralls County Health Departments, considered guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, and collected surveys from students, staff, and parents to establish this policy.

In the introduction section, the school district states:

"As we have moved through this pandemic, we have learned that children are less vulnerable to infection and are unlikely to become seriously ill with COVID-19. The profound negative impact of loss of in-person schooling on the wellbeing of children has been well documented and thus we are preparing for the return to school for the 2020-2021 school year."

Some of the highlights of the reopening plan include wellness checks for students and staff entering the buildings. Social distancing will be required. Masks are encouraged, but not mandatory. The school is placing heavy emphasis on students staying home when they feel sick.

"We have a culture of working or going to school when sick, and we need to change that culture by encouraging staff and students to stay home when sick. This message should be clearly sent to staff, parents, and students. Perfect attendance awards for staff and students should be eliminated. We must strive to keep sick people at home."

You can find the complete guidelines here.

For parents who are not comfortable sending their children back to school, the district will provide an alternative virtual option.