The health and safety of students and staff is always a priority for Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES but in this era of COVID-19, preparations for the 2020-21 school year are quite different than in past years. At the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center at WEMOCO, the administrative team has been doing their own homework by conducting site visits at industry partners. At these visits, administration is learning about the new standards industries are being held to, as well as practices and protocols that the team can bring back to the classrooms.
“We know we have to meet Department of Health and state guidelines as we prepare to have students and staff return to our buildings and classrooms,” said Assistant Principal Shawna Gareau-Kurtz. “So, it was important to us as an administrative team to collaborate with business and industry partners and learn from them so that we are doing our very best to ensure safe environments in our classrooms.”
With 21 different industries represented in CTE programming, the administrators visited a variety of industries during the summer months where they learned about PPE and industry-specific practices.
During the team’s visit to an auto service provider, the service manager shared how much his job has changed over the last several months. He explained that all employees are required to complete daily health screenings. He also shared disinfecting procedures for vehicles prior to and following service before customer pick-up and how these procedures impact scheduling appointments. The service manager also shared which equipment the company uses to disinfect tools, which is helpful information that can be applied when disinfecting lab space and tool rooms at WEMOCO.
A visit to a construction company confirmed a growing industry and the need for workers, even during this national pandemic. The team learned about the many opportunities in the construction industry they can bring back to students.
The team visited a fast food restaurant to see the latest in the culinary field. Because the restaurant they visited chose not to re-open its dining room yet, they learned how the business operates its “take-out” practice, from packaging food and signage to the interaction employees have with customers. They also learned sanitation procedures.
At a salon, the owner explained services the business is allowed to offer under the guidelines and the procedures that they put in place to ensure the safety of its customers and staff, including masks and hand sanitizers, calling upon arrival for appointments and the placement of workstations to meet social distancing requirements.
Gareau-Kurtz said the visits have also been valuable as CTE plans for placing students in work-based learning opportunities during the upcoming school year.
“Visiting industry partners and seeing what they are doing to keep their customers and staff safe provides comfort in placing students out in industries through our work-based learning programs,” she said. “A site visit will be conducted by a work-based learning coordinator prior to approving a student to work at a facility to ensure protocols are in place for the safety of our students.”