Monroe Special Education teacher shares COVID-19 safety guidelines for her students, classroom

Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 9:33 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Teachers and students are getting back into the swing of things for the new school year and the special education department is no exception.

Denise Smith has been teaching special education since 1996. Now at Wossman High School, she and her colleagues are making sure their students and classrooms are safe.

“Monroe City has made sure of that. That all the teachers have been in service on what we need to do, all the new technology and how we’re going to instruct the students,” Smith said.

Smith has eight students in her classroom along with two paraprofessionals.

Students’ seats are spread out six feet apart and teachers will be wearing protective gowns when interacting with students. In addition, they will be cleaning surfaces after each class session and practicing frequent hand washing.

Students in third grade and above are required to wear masks.

Smith said they want to maintain the nurturing environment which means there will be a lot more air high-fives, hugs, and kisses.

While the classroom will have new health and safety guidelines, that doesn’t mean students’ individualized educational plans will change.

“The child will still get the services that the IEP says they’re supposed to have,” she said.

An IEP focuses directly on a students’ accommodations which can be anything from physical therapy to a modified curriculum.

As students and teachers adapt to the daily changes, Smith says that students’ health and learning always remain a top priority.

“They don’t have anything to fear, we’re going to take care of their children just like they’re ours,” Smith said.

To see the full list of state guidelines for schools, click here.