Royal Palm Beach Elementary Principal Reports On Return To School

The Royal Palm Beach Education Advisory Board heard a remote report on Monday, Oct. 5 about precautions being taken due to COVID-19 from Royal Palm Beach Elementary School Principal Tracy Gaugler.

The school has 350 students attending classes in person and 318 in distance learning, with 40 classroom teachers as well as support staff, Gaugler said. A total of 668 students is slightly lower than in previous years.

“Before coming to school, they are required to self-screen and only come to school if they are feeling well and healthy,” she said. “Students and staff are required to wear face masks at all times. We are asking students to have a lanyard so that when they take their face masks off to eat breakfast or lunch, they are able to place their face masks on the lanyard rather than placing them on the table.”

Gaugler said all students received five reusable face masks from the school district, as well as a donation from the village.

Social distancing is encouraged while at the bus stop, and face masks are required while on the school bus. Seating charts to promote social distancing are in effect on school buses, and the district will sanitize the buses between each route.

“Outside, on the sidewalks that surround our school, we have these yellow and blue pawprints so they can continue social distancing while they are waiting to come into the building or waiting for their parents to pick them up after school,” Gaugler said.

Staff members are also on hand outside the school to see that students continue to practice social distancing.

CDC guidelines will be enforced at the main office, and visitors must be scheduled 24 hours in advance. Upon entry to the front office, temperatures will be taken and face masks must be worn at all times. Masks will be provided to anyone without one.

In hallways, cones are posted to remind students to walk on the right side, and stickers are on the floor and walls indicating the spacing students must maintain to conform with CDC guidelines. Free breakfast is served daily from four carts, where students can pick up food to be consumed in the classrooms.

“The desks are set up differently than in years past,” Gaugler said. “Our students are all facing in the same direction. Everything is labeled so students are only sitting in their chairs.”

She said that Royal Palm Beach Elementary School is lucky enough to have Chromebooks for each student.

“We are storing these devices here, and they are all labeled with the students’ names so they are not shared,” Gaugler said. “We ask for limited supplies for our students to bring to school or to use at home.”

All supplies must be kept in a zip-lock bag and labeled with the students’ first and last names.

Distance learning students will continue to complete attendance forms and sign into classes at their scheduled times. Google Meets are recorded, and the student conduct policy is still in place for both classroom and distance learning, she said.