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Special Education classes work to implement social distancing, while staying ‘hands on’

The DIISD is working to make sure each student has their own desk, and own learning materials, that can be washed.
Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 1:46 PM EDT
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KINGSFORD, Mich. (WLUC) -Special education will look unique this year. For many instructors, this fall’s transition to the classroom also comes with a call for new ideas.

“Our students are unique in that some students cannot remove a mask independently, so we cannot put masks on those students,” said the Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District special education director, Tricia Meneguzzo.

Instead, each student will have an individual face covering plan, made by their parent. The DIISD is mandating that special ed teachers wear a mask or a shield.

“We have the communication masks, that are the clear that show the mouth,” said Meneguzzo.

They also have medical masks, shields, and rapid response face shield, which covers the neck. In the classroom many things will remain hands-on, but in a safe way. Woodland Elementary houses two special education rooms. Right now, the teacher is working to make sure each student has their own desk, and own learning materials. But she’s just happy to get students back to the classroom.

“It’s going to be a unique year. I’m going to tell them my top priority is keeping them safe, as well as teaching them,” said Nicki Lawler, a teacher for cognitive impaired students with the DIISD.

Lawler has made a social story, to show students what this year will entail. There will be one class with four students, and the other with 6. Each will have three teachers to help.

“I set up the classroom physically so that each student will have their space to practice social distancing,” said Lawler.

She also says that hygiene and hand-washing will be strongly adhered to, during the school day.

“We will still have a lot of learning going on. Most of our students are coming for face to face, but we have some that have opted not to,” said Meneguzzo.

That will look different for any student that doesn’t return to the classroom.

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