As a requirement of the American Rescue Plan, each school district is required to submit and publicly post a Safe Return to In-Person Instruction & Continuity of Services Plan no later than June 24, 2021. As has been the case throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it is difficult to project into the future exactly what the conditions will be at the time of school opening for students on August 19. The contents of this plan reflect what is an informed estimation of what the district will be able to do to operate safely based on conditions anticipated by the Lake County General Health District (LCGHD), given the information currently available and the current trends in community infection and vaccination. The contents of this plan are subject to change based upon any changes in LCGHD recommendations in response to changes in community conditions. This plan will be formally reviewed at least every quarter, and any revisions which are made will be communicated (via website and email to families).
School Days/School Year
It is anticipated that 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.
At this time, the LCGHD states:
In anticipation of the increasing numbers of COVID-19 vaccinations in the 12 years and older population and the likelihood that the COVID-19 vaccine will likely be approved for children age 11 or younger by the 21-22 school year, it is reasonable to recommend that masks will not be needed by any students, excluding voluntary use, regardless of vaccine status. However, students should be allowed to wear a mask if requested by their parent or guardian. The LCGHD will continue to monitor variants of the COVID-19 virus and if detected may require a change in recommendations.
Consistent with this recommendation and rationale, provided that vaccination rates increase and infection rates decrease as anticipated, masks will be optional--not required--for PCLS students PK-12. Masks will be made available to students who wish to wear them and do not have them.
The current LCGHD guidance is that distancing of three feet in the classroom is acceptable 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
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.
Staff will guide students to follow the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
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.
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:
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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.
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.
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 must quarantine as described above.
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.