OPENING A SCHOOL IN A PANDEMIC Starting school any normal year is a lot of work but there is no play book for starting a new year during a pandemic. On this episode We’re Going In America, Jack has an all access pass to look behind the curtain to see how Hennessey Public Schools in Oklahoma made it look easy. This story actually started about 3 years ago when Superintendent Dr. Mike Woods started taking the school down a technology path that put them in a good place for a pandemic. Using grant money, the school was able to install large interactive panels in every class room. Originally, these were intended to create a richer teaching environment in the class room. Sometimes the right tools are not obvious. For example, the school found that some business tools, not school tools, worked just right for this situation. Every classroom’s interactive panel was equipped with a Poly video conferencing unit and Pragmatic business networking equipment and software. This equipment allows the teacher to record their entire class and make it available to students regardless of where they are, in class or at home. To help minimize face to face contact, the school implemented a portal that allowed parents to enroll their children without coming to the school. As a first line of defense, the school installed a comprehensive video based heat detection system at the entrance of every building along with portable units that could be used where needed. Once again, looking outside the box, the school found a way to detect fever in a crowd using equipment designed for another use. This system scans up to 30 people per second capturing the temp of every student and staff member as they enter the buildings. Every class room has been optimized to allow for social distancing. Masks must be worn when social distancing is not possible such as hallways and common areas. All lockers were sealed up and every room and hall is equipped hand sanitizer dispensers. Additional bus routes were added to allow social distancing and family units are to sit together with seats between others. Masks must be worn while on the buses. Lunch schedules were split to reduce the amount of students present at one time and lines were eliminated by placing pre prepared food trays on the tables for every student. In addition, a special grant was obtained that allows every student to eat lunch for free. All scenes filmed with Jack or Dr Woods without a mask were done on green screen in a closed studio setting, or during a weekend while school was closed and no one else was in the building.