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Back to School Plan 2020-2021
Back to School Plan 2020-2021
Dr. Josh Angel
Tuesday, July 21, 2020

It is the desire of the Marion C. Early School District for our students to safely return to campus this August.  We feel we can provide the best education for our students on site and in our classrooms.  Currently, we are planning for our students to return to school full time with safety measures in place.  School policies must be flexible in responding to new information and we must be willing to refine approaches when specific policies are not working or new information dictates. These plans are intended to mitigate, not eliminate risk.  NO single action or set of actions will eliminate the risk of COVID-19.  The goal of physical distancing is to limit the spread of the virus.  

Please understand that this plan can change based on new information and guidance received from the state and local health department. Marion C. Early follows MSBA Policy EBB on Communicable Disease Outbreak Control. 

 

Policy EBB Communicable Diseases: Reporting and Disease Outbreak Control

 

Reporting and disease outbreak control measures will be implemented in accordance with state and local law, DHSS rules governing the control of communicable diseases and other diseases dangerous to public health, and any applicable rules distributed by the appropriate county or city health department.

Health Information

Keeping our community healthy is a joint effort.  It is imperative that you do not send your student to school if they are sick or symptomatic.  Checking to see if your child is healthy before sending them to school is the first and best layer of protection against the spread.  Families are strongly encouraged  to do a temperature and symptoms check before sending your child to school.  Staff are required to do a self prescreen before entering the building. Anyone with a fever greater than 100 degrees should not come to school.  Students and staff should also screen for additional symptoms including: shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, coughing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.   Please see the signs and symptoms document that is attached.

Student Illness

When a student is symptomatic or not feeling well at school, they will be sent to the nurse for evaluation.  When a student has 2 or more symptoms of COVID-19, that cannot be attributed to another health condition, they will be immediately masked and isolated from the general population until picked up from school.  The following protocol will be used to determine when the student can return to school.

  • Students who are sent home with a fever, or other symptoms, must be symptom free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medicines and must have a doctor’s note with a diagnosis not related to a respiratory illness, influenza, or COVID-19.

  • Students who are sent home with a fever, or other symptoms, must be symptom free for 72 hours without the use of fever reducing medications if not accompanied by a doctor’s note. 

  • Students who test positive for COVID-19 will follow the guidance from the local health department and will not be able to return to school until cleared.  The health department will send contact tracers to determine the need for additional student/staff quarantines and provide further recommendations on class/school closure. 

  • All students will be subject to an evaluation by the school nurse before returning to school. 

We understand that seasonal allergies, the common cold, and other viruses have some of the same symptoms of COVID-19.  There will be no exceptions to the above protocol.  

Staff Illness

When a staff member is symptomatic they will use the following protocol:

  • If the staff becomes symptomatic while at school they will immediately mask, contact the building office for supervision coverage, and visit the nurses office.

  • Staff who are sent home with a fever, or other symptoms, must be symptom free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medicines and must have a doctor’s note with a diagnosis not related to a respiratory illness, influenza, or COVID-19.

  • Staff who are sent home with a fever, or other symptoms, must be symptom free for 72 hours without the use of fever reducing medications if not accompanied by a doctor’s note. 

  • Staff who test positive for COVID-19 will follow the guidance from the local health department and will not be able to return to school until cleared. The health department will send contact tracers to determine the need for additional student/staff quarantines and provide further recommendations on class/school closure. 

  • All staff will be subject to an evaluation by the school nurse before returning to school. 

Positive Cases and School Closure

A positive case does not always mean a mandatory closure.  All positive cases will be evaluated by the local health department. Contact tracers will determine the individuals who had significant exposure.  The school will work with the health department on communication and notification in the event of a positive COVID-19 case. School will close, due to a positive case, when it is the recommendation of the health department to do so.  School could be temporarily closed if student and/or staff absenteeism  reaches a certain threshold.  Additionally, there could be multiple school settings, as described below, occurring simultaneously i.e. Kindergarten and 1st grade could be operating in Setting 2 and Grades 2-5 operating in Setting 1. 

We understand this will cause extreme hardships for families and we will operate under the guidance of the PCHD.  Please plan accordingly.  

Precautionary Measures  

Day to Day Operations

  • We will have an increased sanitation schedule. This includes all classrooms, high traffic areas, and buses.  

  • Physical distancing strategies will be implemented based on the feasibility of the classroom space and number of students. 

  • Large group assemblies will not be permitted at this time.  

  • Visitors will not be permitted in the building.  Parents/Guardians will be able to meet with teachers by appointment.  

  • Parents/Guardians should use the car lines for student drop off and pick up.

  • Illness prevention and best practices will be taught to students.

  • Water fountains will be available to refill a personal water bottle only. 

  • Students are not to congregate in large groups before or after school.  

  • Students are not to share supplies.

  • Students will have assigned seats in all classes. 

  • Technology items that are shared will be disinfected between use.

  • Students will be visually screened for signs and symptoms of illness.  All students are subject to additional screening measures, including temperature checks based on the recommendation of the PCHD.

  • The use of face coverings is highly encouraged and will not be prohibited in any instance throughout the school day. 

    • We have purchased a washable mask for all students and staff. 

  • Students in grades 6-12 will be required to wear a face covering when physical distancing measures cannot be maintained i.e. passing periods, lunch lines, and prolonged periods of close contact small group instruction.   

    • Due to possible medical related concerns, we understand not all students and staff will be able to wear face coverings for prolonged periods. 

    • Existing dress code policy applies to face covernings. 

  • Staff members are required to wear a face covering in any instance physical distancing cannot be maintained. 

Recess

  • Elementary recess will be adjusted to limit the number of students on the playground at a given time. 

  • Students will wash their hands before and after recess.

  • Playground equipment will be sanitized on a regular basis. 

Food Service

  • Elementary students will eat breakfast in the cafeteria and will have assigned seats by class. 

  • MS/HS students who eat breakfast will go to the cafeteria for a grab and go breakfast and report directly to their first hour.   

  • Lunch will be served in the cafeteria with increased physical distancing efforts.

  • Tables will be disinfected after each use. 

Transportation

  • Transportation services will be provided.  It is increasingly difficult to physical distance and to ensure a common cohort of students while on the bus.  It is recommended that parents transport their children to school if possible. 

  • It is highly encouraged that all students wear a face covering while riding the bus. 

  • Students will have assigned seats and family members will sit together.

  • Students will be assigned seats based on pick up order. 

  • Buses will be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis.

  • Students will use hand sanitizer upon entering and exiting the bus. 

Staff Training 

All staff will be provided training and professional development in the following areas:

  • Coronavirus Awareness

  • Coronavirus Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Workplace

  • Coronavirus Managing Stress and Anxiety

  • Coronavirus Transitioning to a Remote Workforce

  • Virtual and Blended Learning Teaching Strategies

  • Trauma Informed Training 

Learning and Instruction

Parents who choose not to send their students to school, due to COVID concerns, will be able to enroll in our Alternative Learning System (ALS), with an approved application.  This will be a virtual school setting taught by MCE teachers. Google Classroom will be used as the virtual learning platform. Students will be expected to spend multiple hours per day completing their work. You can find the application for our ALS here.   For more information on our Alternative Learning System, please contact the elementary or high school office.  

We believe that seated face-to-face school is the best platform for learning. Unfortunately, there may come a time when providing this learning environment will not be possible.  We have planned for 3 learning settings. 

Setting 1 (Traditional)- Traditional school setting with increased precautionary measures described above. 

Setting 2 (Blended)- When the Polk County Health Department guidelines recommend/mandate an increase in social distancing, we will operate in Setting 2.  In setting 2, students will attend in seated classes and participate in virtual classes through our Alternative Learning System.

Tuesday

50% of students attending in-person

Group 1 = seated

Group 2 = virtual

Wednesday

50% of students attending in-person

Group 1 = seated

Group 2 = virtual

Thursday

50% of students attending in-person

Group 2 = seated

Group 1 = virtual

Friday

50% of students attending in-person

Group 2 = seated

Group 1 = virtual

Students will be assigned to group 1 or 2 once school starts. 

Students not scheduled to be in attendance will be able to pick up a grab-and-go breakfast and lunch. 

Setting 3 (Virtual)- When the Polk County Health Department or state recommends/mandates school closure, we will operate in Setting 3. This is a full virtual setting and all students will participate in our Alternative Learning System.  We will make every reasonable effort to provide equitable access to technology and connectivity in Setting 3.  This could include the following:

  • All students will be able to checkout a Chromebook 

  • Mobile hotspot checkouts based on availability and need

  • Adding wifi hotspots to buses and parking them throughout the district for students to complete course work. 

Breakfast and lunch will be available with details provided at a later date.  

 

In all settings, students will be accountable for their learning. Students with special needs will have their Alternative Learning Method implemented by their IEP team.  We will work with students on attendance due to illness, illness prevention, and recommended/required quarantines.  All attendance incentives will be put on hold for the 2020-2021 school year.  

MCE could operate in multiple settings simultaneously i.e. Kindergarten and 1st grade could be operating in Setting 2 and Grades 2-5 operating in Setting 1. 

We understand this will cause extreme hardships for families and the transition from one setting to another can occur very quickly.  Please plan now for a quick pivot from one setting to another.  

Athletics and Extracurricular Activities

MCE plans to continue with athletics and extracurricular activities with preventive measures in place.  We will operate under the guidance of MSHSAA and the PCHD.  More information will be forthcoming.