JERRY CITY – Elmwood Local Schools has released its return-to-school plan, announcing it will be in session five days a week.

Superintendent Tony Borton emailed the plan to parents Thursday night.

The first day of school has been pushed back a week to allow staff to prepare the building. The new date is Aug. 26.

That extra week will allow teachers to plan online lessons if they become necessary and socially distance their classrooms, Borton said.

He is using a color-designated plan, with all-day classes being green, a mix of studies online and in the building yellow, and full online curriculum red.

Masks will be mandatory.

“We as a district understand it is controversial,” Borton said.

The intent is to keep kids in school “and I think masks will help that,” he said. “We can’t worry about what side we’re on, we have to just do what’s best and move forward.”

Levels will be determined for each building, not at a district level. Consequently, there are times that each building could be at a different level. Changing between levels will happen with advice from the Wood County Health Department, the governor’s office and number of local cases.

In the district goes yellow, students will be divided into two groups, with one group attending Tuesday and Wednesday and the other attending Thursday and Friday. Households will not be split up, and when students are not on campus, they will receive online lessons. On Mondays, lessons will be online for everyone.

“With the fluidity of our situation, we are encouraging families to be aware that changing between green, yellow, and red levels will likely happen,” Borton said in the email. “As much as our goal is to stay on green, we need to realistically understand that we may be asked to change to another level and that may be out of our control.”

He urged families to be proactive by making arrangements now for how to handle in students must stay home.

A fully online option is available for parents who do not want to send their children back to school.

The Royal Academy will be offered to grades 6-12 and a method for lessons for grades K-5 has yet to be determined.

Busing will continue to be provided with two students per seat and in some instances three if children are younger. There will be an attempt to seat siblings together and a seating chart will be required to assist with contract tracing if needed.

Borton is asking parents to provide their own transportation if possible, to reduce the number of riders at any given time.

Other parts of the plan include:

• Face coverings for students are required when in hallways, common areas, and any time students cannot maintain the social distancing of at least 6 feet. They also are required during classroom instruction and face masks breaks will be made if possible.

• While on school transportation, face coverings are required.

• While in the cafeteria, students will wear masks in all areas except when they are seated and eating. Seating will be assigned.

• Staff members are required to wear masks in all areas of the building, per the governor’s orders. When in their room and alone, coverings may be removed.

• Students and staff will need to take their own temperature before reporting to school and stay home if their temperature is above 100F or if experiencing other symptoms. District officials may randomly check students’ temperatures throughout the day.

• Field trips and large assemblies will not take place until further notice.