While districts across the country have been working during the summer on their disease prevention and emergency preparedness plans, the Fort Worth (Texas) Independent School District’s updated plans are the result of a real-life test.
In late April, officials decided to close every school in the district for over a week. Not only was each school thoroughly disinfected, but the district’s Curriculum and Instruction Division recruited teachers to teach “Sofa Studies” classes on EdTV, which provides educational programming for the local cable system and on AT&T U-verse. “Soon teachers from all over the district were anxious to take part,” says Superintendent Melody Johnson. Now that this “Sofa Studies” infrastructure is in place, it can be used to reach students who are home sick, whether or not the district is closed. In addition, EdTV can now be streamed live over the Internet.
This time around, however, Johnson hopes that prevention techniques will keep the virus from spreading and allow schools to stay open. “We have a robust campaign that highlights handwashing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and staying home when you don’t feel well,” says Johnson. “That advice remains the best that is available.”