Clad in masks and frequently sanitizing, Fort Calhoun Community Schools is seeing an almost-normal school year.

The district's first day was Aug. 20, with almost all students returning to the buildings since its closure March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Jerry Green, superintendent, said around 40 students throughout the district have opted for remote learning.

The district requires all individuals to wear masks and have their temperatures taken before entering the building each day.

"As far as the sanitizing piece goes, we've got hand sanitizer at every entrance, we are sanitizing desks between every passing period, anytime a student enters a room they are sanitizing their hands and the elementary is sanitizing throughout the day as well," Green said.

"Those procedures, I think, are becoming part of the regular day."

Though Green said this isn't the norm the district is used to, he's proud of every individual doing their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"I think the students have adjusted very well to the procedures we put in place. We're trying to go through the day as normal as possible," he said. "Teachers have done a nice job adjusting as well. I think it's working very well."

Since the start of school, Green said they've seen very few cases or people having to quarantine due to exposure. Any cases are reported to Three Rivers Public Health Department.

"Once we become aware of a positive case, we immediately are in touch with the health department and they give us the walkthrough, the contact tracing information and we can only notify those who need to be notified," he said.

The district also keeps families up-to-date with COVID-19 absences reports on its website, fortcalhounschools.org.

Green said the district is confident in the ability to report and find out information on potential cases.

Many events, such as band, choir and show choir performances, have been canceled, but athletics are still ongoing, with capacity limitations restricting those who can come to games.

Though band and choir events are canceled, the classes are still ongoing and are now held in the auxiliary gym.

Other sanitizing efforts include the bus drivers cleaning buses after every drive, paraprofessionals coming in early to check temperatures at the door and food service staff prepackaging food for students.

Green said he's happy with the successful start of school.

"The overall attitude has been very positive and I think we've been pretty successful in our first three weeks of school," he said. "But we're going to have to stay the course if we want to stay in school, because it's simply not going away at this point. We have to continue doing what we've been doing and celebrate each week we get through."

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