Manual releases specific guidelines for in-person schooling

Ofelia Mattingly

As teachers and staff are receiving COVID-19 vaccinations, the possibility of in-person schooling is much higher. JCPS has recently released their plans on how in-person classes will work for students. Schools including Manual have also released their individual plans on how schooling will work inside their specific buildings. 

District guidelines overview

JCPS asserts that all students and staff will be required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves and face shields either from your homes or provided by the school. The PPE should not be touched or removed throughout the duration of the school day. The only situation where a student or staff member will be able to not wear a mask is if they provide a medical waiver. All schools will be required to maintain a distance of 6 feet between all students and all personnel.

JCPS recently released guidelines outlining an in-person return to school. Graphic by Molly Gregory. (Molly Gregory)


JCPS will require masks on buses and will provide masks if a student doesn’t have one. Each student will be required to use hand sanitizer when entering the bus. Each bus will have all windows open to provide ventilation as recommended by KDE. Students will be separated as much as possible, but the bus will be loaded without capacity limitations.

The bus driver will hold a seating chart and track the amount of students who ride the bus. If a student is ill, they will be moved to a designated seat at the front of the bus. Between bus runs, the drivers will use disinfectant wipes and sprays.

In their guidelines, JCPS included recommendations for bus COVID-19 protocol. Here are Manual’s guidelines. Graphic by Molly Gregory. (Molly Gregory)

School entry

Upon entry into the school, students will take temperature checks to check for signs of COVID-19 or other illnesses. Parents should not send a student who has a temperature of 100.4 F, has an unusual cough, vomiting or diarrhea, a new rash or has had contact with a person who was diagnosed with COVID-19 to school.

However, if a student develops these symptoms at school, they will be isolated with a supervisor until a parent/guardian picks them up. The district recommends that all parents have a plan in case their child has to be taken home.

All schools will be following the recommendations from the CDC to clean and disinfect the building as well as advising students and staff to promote and reinforce hand-washing. Students should bring their own water bottles and refill to reduce the amount of students using the water fountains. Schools will be limiting the amount of non-essential visitors into the building. Manual will require essential visitors to follow the same set guidelines.

How will this look at Manual?

When arriving at Manual, each person will have a designated entry location determined by the way they get to school. For example, drivers and bus riders will have different entries. Before entering the building, each student will take a temperature check and teachers will have to sign in. For more information about arriving at Manual, including YPAS-specific instructions, click here

For dismissal, bus riders will be released by floor starting with the highest floor. After the main office is notified that all riders are on the buses, car riders, drivers and walkers will be released. Students will not be allowed to socialize in the parking lot and will have to enter the car and leave immediately. Manual personnel will conduct a sweep to make sure all students have left the building.

JCPS outlined their plans to keep students safe as they enter and exit the building. Here are their guidelines. Graphic by Molly Gregory. (Molly Gregory)

Breakfast and lunch

Students will eat in the small cafeteria, large cafeteria and large gym with limited seatings. There will be one designated entrance and exit door. Seats will be blocked off to maintain social distance guidelines. For lunch, the cafeteria line will be in the hall between the two cafeterias. There will be five lunches with approximately 190 students during each lunch period. Students will have assigned seats and will be seated with their own class.

Students who are at YPAS during lunch will have first lunch only and the lunch locations will be in the basement canteen and the tiled back hallways. Students will be allowed to spread out in the hallways with one security guard to monitor each area. On red days, study skills classes will eat lunches during 2nd lunch to increase the spacing between each student.

Social distancing is still required during mealtimes. Students will have assigned seats to ease trace tracking. Graphic by Molly Gregory. (Molly Gregory)

Social distancing in classrooms and bathrooms

In the classroom, unnecessary furniture will be removed to allow additional space for desks to be spread as far as possible. Students will not be allowed to eat food in the classrooms and only water bottles with straws will be allowed. Manual announced in their guidelines that only half of the student body will be in the building on any given day, but class sizes may be reduced even further.

Teachers will modify class work and activities that require multiple students. Students are allowed to bring their own disinfectant wipes and parents can choose if their child can bring their own laptop or Chromebook from home. No lockers will be provided this year.

To use the restroom, students must scan a QR code or fill out a paper form for contact tracing purposes. Students will only be allowed to use the bathroom during class or lunch. Only one student is allowed at a time and will be required to use the restroom closest to the classroom on the same floor. Each room will be cleaned and sanitized multiple times throughout the school day.

All common areas in Manual will adhere to the safety protocols and recommendations of the CDC. All hallways will have a teacher or administrator to supervise the class changes. Hallways will be marked with arrows to create a right and left lane, both having one-way traffic. “X’s” will be marked at 6-foot intervals so students can socially distance. Each stairwell will either be for climbing up or climbing down. 

Though the general idea of how in-person schooling is here, parents and guardians still have the option to allow their child(ren) to stay in NTI. Any additional information can be found here.