City, county schools prepping for students

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New hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed outside the Cullman High School office. (Heather Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – As schools prepare for the new year to start, The Tribune looked into how they are implementing COVID-19 prevention guidelines. We spoke to Kim Hall, principal of Cullman High School, and Dr. Shane Barnette, superintendent of Cullman County Schools.

Cullman High School

The school is currently working to replace drinking fountains with touchless bottle-filling stations and installing hand sanitizer dispensers in areas around the campus. Additionally, some areas (the main office, for example) will have doors that are marked as entrance-only and exit-only to control the flow of traffic. Hall said that similar traffic control was being considered for class changes, with possible solutions including designating specific sides of the hall for one direction only or staggering times for classes to let out to avoid having many students in the hall at once. All custodians in Cullman City Schools have also attended a training session on proper disinfecting and sanitizing procedures.

“Right now, we’re working with our district leaders to prepare for the upcoming school year,” Hall stated. “There are so many different aspects to running a school that we must take into consideration, so we’re working with our maintenance and technology crews, we’re working with our human resources department and our school administration to make sure all the pieces of the puzzle mesh well together to provide for the safety, wellbeing and education of our students.”

Cullman County Schools

In a statement about the procedures the county schools will be following, Barnette said, “We are still working on specifics but we have ordered hand and surface sanitizer, bulk cleaning supplies, product to be used in our Clorox 360 machines and devices to be used to sanitize our buses. We will be placing plexiglass panels in each of our secretary offices as well. Every student and staff member will be given at least three reusable masks, and the staff will also be given face shields in the case that they would rather wear those instead.”

Representatives from both school systems have said that the plans being put in place are constantly changing and evolving as new information is discovered and new guidelines are issued by the Alabama Department of Health, so parents and students are encouraged to frequently check their school system’s website for updates and announcements. These plans are still likely to continue to change during the school year.

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Water fountains in Cullman High School are being converted to hands-free refilling stations. (Heather Mann for The Cullman Tribune)
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Heather Mann

heather@cullmantribune.com