Revised March 2, 2022
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
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.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
When making decisions about community prevention strategies and individual preventive behaviors in addition to vaccination, health officials and people should consider the COVID-19 Community Level in the county. Layered prevention strategies — like staying up to date on vaccines, screening testing, ventilation and wearing masks — can help limit severe disease and reduce the potential for strain on the healthcare system. CDC recommends using county COVID-19 Community Levels to help determine which COVID-19 prevention measures to use for individuals and communities.
Accordingly, whenever the Lake County COVID-19 Community Level is “low” or “medium” (fewer than 200 cases per 100,000, fewer than twenty new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 over seven days, and a seven day average of fewer than 15% of inpatient hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients), the wearing of masks by students, staff, and visitors in PCLS buildings and on PCLS transportation will be optional. Whenever the Lake County COVID-19 Community Level is “high”, the superintendent will consult with the Board of Education and the Lake County General Health District regarding the appropriateness of mandating the wearing of face masks. At such time, the superintendent may implement such a mandate.
Even during times when mask wearing is optional at school, staff and students are welcome to wear a mask if they so choose.
During times when masking is mandatory, 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 any time indoors, with the following exceptions:
Note: While masking is not required during these times noted above, students may choose to remain masked if possible.
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: [email protected]
Quarantine/Isolation & 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 a student or staff member has tested positive for COVID-19 and is having symptoms, per the Ohio Department of Health, they should stay isolated from others for 5 days following onset of symptoms. It is critical that the school be notified of the positive test result. After the 5th day, if the student or staff member is symptom-free and/or improving, they could return to school and normal activities as long as they continue to wear a mask around others for an additional 5 days. If a student or staff member has no symptoms but has tested positive for COVID-19, they should isolate themselves from others for 5 days from the date of the positive test. After the 5th day, they could return to school and normal activities as long as they continue to wear a mask around others for an additional 5 days.
In accordance with recommendations from the Ohio Department of Health, the district will promptly notify the LCGHD of any “clustered” school cases or potential school outbreaks, and assist them with contact tracing associated with the “cluster”/outbreak. Contact tracing for individual, stand-alone cases will not be conducted.
Per the Ohio Department of Health, if a student is notified that they have been in close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID‐19 virus, they can continue to attend school if they are closely monitoring for symptoms and convert to isolation protocol if they start to experience any symptoms and are vigilant about mask wearing for the 14 days following exposure. If the student or parent feels the mask wearing cannot be done reliably, then they should remain at home. This applies to vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
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.