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Students & Parents » PCLS Safe Return to In-Person Learning & Continuity of Services Plan

PCLS Safe Return to In-Person Learning & Continuity of Services Plan

Revised August 10, 2021

 

Background

The goal of this plan is to provide as many layers of protection against disease spread as possible, while at the same time creating the best conditions for teaching and learning as possible.   The contents of this plan are subject to change based upon any changes in Lake County General Health District (LCGHD) recommendations in response to changes in community conditions. This plan will be formally reviewed on an ongoing basis, and any revisions which are made will be communicated (via website and email to families).

 

School Days/School Year

All PCLS students will return to in-person learning, five days per week, with a return to normal school hours each day (elementary: 8:30-3:00; middle: 8:00-2:30; high: 7:45-2:33). An option to participate in fully remote learning will not be available in 2021-22. 

 

Masks

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

 

Because of the highly transmissible nature of (the Delta variant), along with the extent of mixing of vaccinated and unvaccinated people in schools, the fact that children <12 years of age are not currently eligible for vaccination, and low levels of vaccination among youth ages 12-17, CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all students (age 2 years and older), teachers, staff, and visitors to K-12 schools regardless of vaccination status.

 

This recommendation has been echoed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Ohio Department of Health, and the LCGHD. Masking is not only a layer of protection which can limit the spread of respiratory viruses, but it also makes it less likely that other students will need to be quarantined in the event of a positive COVID case. 

 

PCLS will implement masking to the greatest extent possible, while preserving as many “normal” school activities as possible. Staff, students, and visitors (regardless of vaccination status) will be required to wear a mask while riding a school bus/van, as well as any time indoors, with the following exceptions:

  • While eating lunch
  • While performing in band (instrument covers will be provided; masks are required in choir)
  • While participating in athletic practices/competitions (masks still required for indoor physical education)
  • While engaged in language-acquisition instructional activities with which masks would interfere, provided that there is a minimum of six feet of distance between students 

Note: While masking is not required during these times noted above, students may choose to remain masked if possible 

 

These masking practices achieve two goals: 

  1. They provide effective learning conditions across the full instructional program
  2. They provide conditions under which the likelihood of close contact requiring quarantine are significantly reduced. 

While some opportunities for exposure still remain, the vast majority of students will be protected from the possibility of quarantine for the vast majority of the school day.

 

Physical Distancing

The CDC and LCGHD recommend social distancing of three feet in the classroom for safety. Classrooms will be arranged to meet this standard, and to exceed it wherever possible to maximize space between students. The current recommendation for bus seating is to space students out as much as possible, but that such distancing should not interfere with the ability to transport students to and from school.

 

Hand Hygiene & Respiratory Etiquette

Hand Hygiene

Preschool and elementary students will all wash hands under adult supervision prior to lunch, after recess, after restroom breaks, and at any other appropriate times during the day.

Hand sanitizer dispensers will be available in every classroom, on buses, and in common areas (entrances, hallways, lunchrooms, etc.) for use whenever necessary.

 

Respiratory Etiquette

Staff will guide students to follow the recommendations from the CDC: 

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing;
  • Use in the nearest waste receptacle to dispose of the tissue after use;
  • Perform hand hygiene (e.g., hand washing with non-antimicrobial soap and water, alcohol-based hand rub, or antiseptic handwash) after having contact with respiratory secretions and contaminated objects/materials.

 

Cleaning & Maintaining Healthy Facilities

Cleaning/disinfecting supplies will be available in the classroom for use as needed. Buildings will be electrostatically fogged with disinfectant on a weekly basis. Buses will be cleaned and sanitized on a daily basis.

 

PCLS schools are equipped with modern air-handling systems. These systems (and their filters) are maintained and operated to meet American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers standards for safe air quality (as recommended by the CDC). Air-handling systems continually cycle fresh air into spaces while exhausting stale air. For larger spaces with greater occupancy, this air exchange rate is increased to better ensure the dilution and removal of any air contaminants.

 

Symptom Screening

Families will be expected to conduct a wellness check (including taking their temperature) on their children daily prior to leaving home to go to school. Any student who has a fever of 100o F or higher or any of the symptoms related to COVID-19 should stay home. Any student with the following symptoms should see their primary care provider to be assessed for COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Any families requiring assistance with obtaining a home thermometer to conduct daily checks of their children should contact Maribel Young at the PCLS Family Resource Center: maribel.young@pcls.net  

Student temperatures will be screened as they enter the building utilizing non-contact, thermal imaging cameras. Any student suspected of having a temperature of 100o F or higher will be assessed individually utilizing an infrared thermometer, and if confirmed, will be sent home.

 

Quarantine & Contact Tracing

Quarantine

If a student begins to show symptoms or has a temperature above 100°F while at school, they will be quarantined to a designated location, given a face covering, and monitored.

  • Areas of the building that were occupied by a person exhibiting symptoms will be sanitized.
  • The symptomatic student will need to be picked up from the school within 30 minutes of notification. It is extremely important that families have a plan in place to be able to pick their child up from school should the need arise.
  • It is recommended that the student has a consultation with his/her primary care physician to be evaluated for COVID-19. The school may be able to provide home testing kits if a family is unable to secure a physician appointment for testing. 
  • The student is not to return to school until he/she has been symptom-free for at least 24 hours.

If any student or staff member has been tested positive for COVID-19, per quarantine guidelines from the Ohio Department of Health, that person must stay home for at least 10 days and until they are symptom-free for at least 24 hours. It is critical that the school be notified of the positive test result. The school nurse will provide guidance and will contact the family to monitor recovery. Any time that a student must remain home, he or she is expected to participate in the learning activities provided by his or her teacher(s), as long as he or she is able. 

Contact Tracing

Upon notification of a positive case, the district will conduct contact tracing in consultation with the LCGHD. Anyone identified as having been in close contact (unmasked within six feet for fifteen minutes total over a period of 24 hours) with the infected individual will be notified.  

 

Per the CDC, individuals do not need to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated (or who were previously diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last three months) and are not exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. Such individuals should continually monitor for symptoms, and if they become symptomatic, they should be clinically evaluated for COVID-19. 

 

If a close contact is not fully vaccinated, he/she is to quarantine as described above.

 

Staff/Student Vaccinations

Per the LCGHD:

Vaccination is the best way out of the pandemic for good, and all Lake County residents who qualify for the vaccine and do not have a medical contraindication to doing so (e.g., allergy to a component of the vaccine) are strongly encouraged to get the vaccine.

 

PCLS will continue to work with the LCGHD to make the vaccine as widely available as possible, including providing information about vaccine clinics and, when feasible, hosting vaccine clinics on site.

 

Ensuring Continuity of Services

The need for consistent academic, social/emotional, and mental health supports and services is an important reason for the district’s return to fully in-person learning in 2021-22. Weighing the anticipated risk of COVID-19 against our students’ needs for continuity of these supports/services, we strongly believe that students are best served within this model.

 

The possibility still exists for the disruption of a student’s educational experience in the event of a quarantine. Should this occur, learning activities will be provided by the teacher(s) to be completed via the student’s Chromebook. 

 

Should a student with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) need to be quarantined, the student’s intervention specialist and/or related services provider will work with the student and family to ensure that the services outlined in the IEP are delivered, utilizing remote methods when necessary.