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School Reopening Plan 2020

Approved by Board of Education

July 21, 2020

Introduction

South Summit School District is committed to preparing individuals for success, and that begins with valuing them by providing a safe and conducive work and learning environment. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has created the necessity for local school districts to create a reopening plan for schools. Because of our commitment, our reopening plan is grounded in the best practices provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Governor Herbert’s Utah Leads Plan, Utah State Board of Education, and Summit County Health Department. The development of our plan has included input from students, parents, and employees. We have not taken lightly the challenge of balancing academic needs and best learning practices for our students with the best practices for health and wellness during a pandemic.

We fully embrace the academic benefits and economic importance of supporting students and parent(s)/guardian(s) being able to return to a normal school and work day. We desire for students to return to school every day while also needing to develop a plan designed for the flexibility of students being in the classroom physically and learning online as a pandemic can cause rapid enrollment changes. Regardless of your preferred option, support services (i.e., special education, counseling, etc.) will be individually addressed to meet the specific needs of the student. The instructional components of this plan are designed for flexibility with students being in the classroom physically, at either full or partial capacity, and learning online as needed.

Background

Coronavirus spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes or exhales small droplets packed with the virus into the air. These droplets can enter the body through the eyes, nose and mouth, either directly or after touching a contaminated object. The potential risk of infection in schools depends on how crowded they are, the time people are in the buildings, and distancing among people. The government's consistent message has been to stay two meters (more than six feet) apart from people outside your household, which is not possible in most school settings. This applies inside the school, on the bus, and during recess and breaks. Ventilation also plays an important role as fresh air can help droplets containing the virus dissipate faster, so being able to open a window or being outside can be an advantage.

The following will be implemented to help provide a safe environment for students, employees and families.

Communication and Training

  • Superintendent, principals, and directors will develop and train teachers and staff on the reopening protocol and action plans. The information will be disseminated electronically during the summer and delivered in person during professional learning days prior to the first day of class. Staff will also be trained and asked to be willing to always evaluate, improve, and reevaluate as necessary.
  • Principals and teachers will educate and train students and caregivers on schools’ protocols and action plans through an information letter sent during the summer, during a parent/student conversation that will occur before the first day of school, in student handbooks, on the school and district websites, on the homepage of every class in the learning management system, and posted in classrooms.
  • The official point of contact for each school for questions or specific concerns will be the principal. However, school secretaries, counselors, and staff will have the training and information to answer questions and hear concerns that can be shared with appropriate personnel.
  • School and classroom newsletters will regularly communicate best practices for at-home preventative care to students and families.
  • Principals and directors will regularly communicate best practices for at-home preventative care to staff members.
  • Staff will be proactive in using a variety of communication tools to communicate with stakeholder audiences, including email, voice messaging, website, social media, and print mailings.
  • The District’s public relations specialist will assist the superintendent in being prepared for locally driven crisis response communications, including pre-written/draft statements for varying situations regarding outbreaks, positive cases, counter stigma, discrimination etc.

Accommodating Individual Circumstance (e.g., High Risk, Personal Decisions)

  • The District’s learning plan will allow for an at-home or at-school student to have access to the same curriculum, including recorded videos, software, and supplemental learning materials. Students/families that identify as high risk can participate in alternative learning by choosing the at-home option every day as long as risk from COVID-19 exists. Teachers and staff will reach out to those students on an as-needed basis.
  • Teaming and cross-training, in addition to providing work at-home options, when possible, will be available to staff who identify as high risk. Additionally, supervisors will be cognisant and take reasonable steps to minimize and mitigate risk for employees who identify as high-risk.
  • Building administrators, SPED director and providers, and nurses will systematically review all current individual health plans, IEPs, 504 plans, etc. to accommodate students with special healthcare needs and update their care plans as needed to decrease their risk for exposure to COVID-19.
  • Administrators will regularly discuss and address concerns related to emotional and social needs of educators,including additional stresses related to workload, adult interactions, and breaks.
  • Counselors will assist the principal in regularly training and consulting with staff regarding the emotional and social needs of students, including physical breaks and peer engagement.

Enhanced Environment Hygiene and Safety

  • The superintendent and auxiliary services director will coordinate with Summit County Health Department to determine proper sanitation processes.
  • The auxiliary services director will provide oversight in the development and implementation of the increased cleaning and hygiene regimen protocols. Communication of these protocols will be provided to applicable staff and in the native language of staff if requested. Information will be sent to parents prior to school beginning and posted in appropriate and conspicuous places in the building.
  • Faculty and staff will wear appropriate face coverings according to state/county orders. In the case of no order, during the pandemic, students will be encouraged to wear masks when engaged in contact longer than fifteen minutes and/or within six feet.
  • Students will wear appropriate face coverings according to state/county orders. In the case of no order, during the pandemic, students will be encouraged to wear masks when engaged in contact longer than fifteen minutes and/or within six feet.
  • The auxiliary services director will coordinate with building administrators, food service director, transportation director, and custodial staff to ensure that hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, soap and water will be readily available to staff, students, and visitors in controlled environments to ensure safe use.
  • Teachers will implement hygiene standards as part of regular instruction.
  • Frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected regularly by staff and students. A plan to clean more frequently, as needed for at-risk populations, will be implemented by the principals.
  • The auxiliary services director will coordinate with building administrators, human resources, school nurse, food service director, transportation director, and custodial staff as to what constitutes an adequate hygiene and prevention inventory: PPE supplies, face covering, sanitizer, soap, etc.
  • Administrators of buildings will evaluate functions of facilities and determine how to maximize physical distancing, acknowledging that, in many instances, physical distancing of six feet or greater is not feasible.
  • Learning devices (computers, iPads, etc.) will be distributed to students to use during the year. Computer labs will rarely be used, and if they are used, proper sanitization methods will be used before and after use.

School Schedules

  • To begin the school year, parents will choose between the five-day blended learning or online learning school schedule. Both schedules include remote learning opportunities that are designed to provide a learning experience that is more beneficial than traditional online learning and improved from online learning last year. The option selected will be for the first quarter, and parents can reevaluate their choices before the second quarter.
  • Blended learning for South Summit Schools will include in-person learning for all students on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and remote learning on Wednesday.
  • Blended learning for Silver Summit schools will include in-person and remote learning Monday through Thursday and remote learning on Friday. Silver Summit Academy will pilot an A/B schedule that includes two days in-person, two days remote, and one day for personalized intervention.
  • Online learning for all South Summit and Silver Summit Schools will be completely remote. Dual Immersion will not be available for the online school schedule, but resources will be available for students to continue learning the language, and their spots in the program will be reserved for them during the pandemic.
  • Remote learning activities will be designed to mirror in-class activities. Sameness in learning objective, assignments, assessments, and pacing will be the goal of each teacher. Students are encouraged to work on their classes at home during the same time period that their peers are attending in-person classes.
  • The curriculum and instruction that will be accessed online will include live and/or recorded instruction from the teacher, learning assignments, apps, and software programs to enhance learning, socialization activities with classmates, and access to online support to help with technology and academic questions.
  • Counselors will be available to support mental health and academic planning.
  • Our goal is to safely and incrementally move toward full in-school learning; therefore, these learning models will be evaluated after each grading term, and more frequent adjustments will be made based on updates from the Summit County Health Department, CDC, and the Governor’s Office.

School Setting - Classrooms

  • The District will provide all employees with online training on implementing strategies to identify and mitigate risks in a classroom setting. The content will be from the Leavitt Group, CDC, and Summit County Health Department.
  • Principals will reinforce the training during professional learning days prior to the first day of school in addition to staff meetings and communications, while regularly monitoring to ensure that strategies are put into practice.
  • Auxiliary services director will reinforce training during staff meetings with custodial and maintenance staff and regularly monitor to ensure strategies are put into practice.
  • Faculty will encourage students to wear face coverings according to state/county orders. In the case of no order, during the pandemic, students will be encouraged to wear masks when engaged in contact longer than fifteen minutes and/or within six feet.
  • Faculty will assign seats and/or small groups to support contact tracing.
  • Educators will maximize space between seating and desks, striving for six feet of distance when possible.
  • Teachers will have students facing forward in class whenever possible.
  • Principals will strive to keep the same students and teachers or staff with each group to the greatest extent practicable.
  • Principals and faculty will identify and use large spaces (auditoriums, gyms, and outdoors) when feasible to maximize distancing.
  • Teachers will move nonessential furniture and equipment out of classrooms to increase distancing footprints and reduce potential surfaces that could be contaminated.
  • Portable plexiglass, face shields, and/other auxiliary aids for one-on-one/small group contact will be provided to ensure students have access to see the teacher’s lips and better hear in classes that require face-to-face contact (e.g. reading and vocabulary).
  • Educators (teachers, paraeducators, support providers) will use a plexiglass barrier, when practical, to establish a separation when social distancing isn’t possible and when it’s not feasible that masks be worn for academic learning.

School Setting - Transitions

  • Principals/Directors will identify high traffic areas and collaborate with custodians to apply floor markings or signage to direct traffic.
  • Principals/Directors/PLC Teams/Specialists/Support Providers will stagger or limit transitions to support contact tracing and minimize interactions with multiple groups.
  • Lockers will not be available during the pandemic. Students are encouraged to bring a backpack that can be hung on the back of a chair or on a hook in classrooms. Please consider a backpack that is safe for transporting electronic devices.
  • All staff will monitor the congregation of students and will work to minimize congregating when possible.
  • Teachers will encourage students to bring personal water bottles and will provide time to refill to minimize use of water fountains. Teachers will regularly wipe classroom faucets if used by students to refill water bottles or wash hands.
  • Employees may prop doors open during high-risk Covid-19 transmission periods in order to better support air circulation and reduce the touching of door surfaces whenever possible. Doors will remain locked, even if they are open. Teachers will wipe door knobs before and after transitions if the door isn’t propped open.
  • Custodial staff will regularly clean high-touch surfaces (faucets, door knobs, etc.) after school transition periods.
  • Staff and students will wear masks during transitions.

School Setting - Entry/Exit Points

  • Only essential visitors and volunteers, as approved by the principal, will be in the school.
  • All visitors and volunteers will enter through the main entrance to the school and check-in at the front office. Front office staff will health screen and check temperatures before allowing them entrance into the school.
  • All visitors and volunteers must wear appropriate face coverings while in the building unless they have been given an exception from the principal.
  • To minimize congestion at the beginning of school, principals will assign specific doors for students to enter as they arrive at school. These entrance points will be appropriately staffed to ensure that students are the only ones entering the building.
  • Teachers will use assigned exit doors for recess, end-of-day school transitions, and fire drills to minimize congestion. Exit assignments will be at the discretion of the principal. Staff will strive to have these doors propped open during school/class transitions, balancing with appropriate safety measures.
  • Principals and teachers will adjust activities, programs, and calendar to limit nonessential visitors and volunteers on campus.
  • Principals will establish protocols for drop-off/pick-up, including possibly staggering times, while communicating these to families in an information letter sent before the start of school. Updates to the protocols will be expediently communicated to families.
  • Teachers will reinforce established protocols for drop-off/pick-up in their communication with families and students.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available for visitors and volunteers near the entrance and/or front office. All visitors will have to sanitize their hands before entering the school.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available for students in the classrooms. Locations will be communicated to them by their teacher.
  • Handwashing stations will be visibly marked with signage, encouraging students, staff, visitors, and volunteers to regularly wash their hands. Auxiliary services will post the signage.
  • Auxiliary services will post signs in all District buildings to encourage physical distancing. The design of the signs will be coordinated with principals/directors to be age and use of building appropriate.

School Setting - Transportation

  • All passengers and drivers will be required to wear appropriate face coverings.
    • Exceptions must be addressed in writing, will be considered, and possibly approved by a committee composed of the transportation director, school nurse, SPED director or human resources for employees, and auxiliary services director. Students will not be refused transportation for failure to wear a face covering. Drivers will provide disposable masks to students who do not have masks.
  • Drivers will be provided with an appropriate mask and will receive training from the transportation director regarding strategies to ensure their safety.
  • Daily cleaning and disinfecting of seats and other high-touch surfaces will be completed by the bus drivers. The transportation director will provide training and cleaning supplies.
  • Bus drivers will assign seating to support contact tracing and social distancing to the extent possible.

School Setting - Restrooms

  • Staff will be provided education from the District’s Human Resources Office on proper hand hygiene.
  • Students will be provided on-going education from their teachers on proper hand hygiene, and will be using proper hygiene throughout the day.
  • Auxiliary services will display signage on proper hand hygiene near hand washing stations and in classrooms with sinks.
  • Custodial staff will regularly clean high-touch surfaces (faucets, door handles, paper towel dispensers etc.) throughout the day.
  • Custodial staff will receive training from auxiliary services director for proper daily COVID-19 restroom cleaning protocols and the wearing of proper PPE.
  • Maintenance will regularly monitor for proper airflow and ventilation in restrooms.
  • To minimize congestion, principals will assign restrooms for students.
  • Teachers will reinforce restroom assignments with their students and explain why this practice helps them to be safer.
  • Teachers will control hall passes to restrooms to minimize the number of individuals in restrooms.
  • Principals/Directors will collaborate with custodians to apply floor markings for lines outside of restrooms to maintain social distancing.
  • Teachers will train their students to stand on the social distancing floor markings outside of restrooms and waiting until a stall is available.
  • Students will be strongly encouraged to wear masks while in the restroom.
  • Custodial services will establish a rotating monitor to frequently ensure soap is available.

School Setting - Cafeterias

  • Food and nutrition services director will coordinate with the school's principal and custodial staff to mark spaced lines and designate serving line flow paths.
  • Food Service workers will wear face coveringsat all times in the cafeteria and food preparation and storage areas.
  • Teachers will provide opportunities for students to wash their hands before and after meal services.
  • Food and nutrition services director will train staff on the protocols for cleaning and disinfecting high-touch areas.
  • Principals will coordinate with the food and nutrition services director to stagger serving hours and decrease lunchtime to reduce the number of students at one time, including possibly serving meals in classrooms.
  • Weather permitting, students may be allowed to eat lunches outside.
  • Students will wear masks when waiting in lines, according to state and county orders.
  • Food service will be provided to students on remote learning days.
  • Food service will be available to online students.

Large Group Gatherings (e.g., assemblies, recitals, dances)

  • Principals/Directors will ensure group gatherings are organized with health and safety guidelines and requirements in place and, as needed, in consultation with Summit County Health Department.
  • Only essential large gatherings will be approved by the principal/director. During school hours and when feasible, teachers will track attendance and seating location to support contact tracing.
  • Non-essential (student and/or staff) activities will happen virtually as much as possible.
  • Staff will explore the feasibility of activities being in smaller groups to accommodate social distancing or on days when students are not attending school in person.
  • Staff, students, volunteers, and visitors will wear face coverings when participating in large group, indoor gatherings.
  • Visitors and volunteers attending large group gatherings that will have contact with students (six feet or less) will have a non-contact temperature test before being admitted to the event and will respond to health screening questions.
  • Principals will review their safety drill plans and include mitigation strategies to accommodate social distancing.

Unique Class Courses with Higher Risk of Spread

  • Principals will coordinate with faculty to identify class courses that will be more at risk (choir, dance, etc.) and provide a list of the courses and plans to mitigate the risks that are supported by Summit County Health Department.
  • Face coverings will be worn by students when distance is limited and the activity allows.
  • Sanitation time will be scheduled between sessions/use.
  • Maintenance will regularly monitor for proper airflow and ventilation in rooms with courses and activities with higher risk of spread.

Recess and Playgrounds

  • Superintendent Sorenson will provide a plan to the Summit County Health Director to ensure recess and playgrounds are managed with health and safety principles and requirements in place.
  • Principals will alternate schedules for recess, playground time, and use of outdoor spaces to avoid large groups of congregating students who are not part of the same cohort/class.
  • Custodial staff will disinfect playground/gym equipment daily, weather permitting.
  • Teachers will allow time for handwashing/sanitization before and after recess.
  • Students will be encouraged to wear face coverings if they are not going to maintain safe social distancing during outside recess and free time.

Special Education, Related Services (SLP, OT, etc.) or School Counseling/Psychologist

  • Portable plexiglass, face shields, and/other auxiliary aids for one-on-one contact will be provided to ensure students have access to the needed support services.
  • Service providers will coordinate with the principal and parents to provide reasonable accommodations for students who are unable to wear face coverings in settings where it is required of other students.

Monitoring for Incidences

  • Summit County Health Department will provide training to our school nurse, who will then develop and train staff on the protocol for symptom monitoring. The school nurse will monitor protocols and provide follow-up education and training. Incidences of non-compliance will be reported to the superintendent.
  • Parents/guardians will complete an online assurance affirmation that they will not send their children to school with COVID-19 symptoms as currently identified by the CDC. Accommodations will be provided for parent/guardian/caregiver with barriers to checking symptoms before entry to school bus and/or school.
  • The District will not keep records of student temperatures but may monitor for access.
  • A plan will be developed by the school nurse and communicated through the principal to assist families in conducting symptom checking at home.
  • Superintendent Sorenson will work with the SSSD Education Foundation, businesses, as well as seek grants to obtain scholarship funds to assist families needing access to thermometers or other items as needed to fulfill appropriate symptom checking requirements.
  • School secretaries will monitor staff/student absenteeism and implement symptom recording to monitor for potential outbreaks and contamination of COVID-19 transmission. The tracking system for employees will be under the direction of human resources, and, for students, the principal will track for outbreaks and contamination.
  • The District’s public relations office will develop and train staff on a plan to stay home if they feel sick and will post reminders regularly on social media. Posters will also be made and posted in the schools to remind people of this important preventive practice.
  • Principals and teachers will regularly communicate to parents and students about the importance of staying home if they are sick.
  • The Board of Education will approve a policy that directs that during a pandemic students and/or staff will not be allowed to physically return to school or other district-owned buildings unless their symptoms are not due to a communicable disease as confirmed by a medical provider.
  • The COVID-19 symptom monitoring plan will include symptom checking at home, symptom checking at the beginning of the school day, and then educating staff and students to self disclose at any time during the day if they are not feeling well and/or have any symptoms.
  • Students will not be penalized for not attending class and/or school related activities for reasons related to COVID-19 transmission.
  • Human resources will review leave policies and provide reasonable recommendations to support staff for absenteeism related to COVID-19 transmission.
  • Staff may request to work remotely if they have symptoms, test positive, or are high risk as determined by a medical provider. The decision to work remotely will be based on whether the job functions can be successfully and efficiently completed remotely as determined by their supervisor and human resources. Staff members are not expected to work remotely if they are not feeling well, using PTO, and/or need to be absent from work.
  • Faculty will review and adjust punitive attendance practices and consider leniency and late work due to student illness. Principals will review teachers’ approaches to this practice.
  • Attendance recognition programs will be eliminated during the COVID-19 pandemic and during the 2020-21 academic year.

Containing Potential Outbreaks

  • In consultation with the Summit County Health Department, the school nurse will develop educational materials and deliver training to administrators, teachers, and staff for containing potential outbreaks as well as procedures for tracing a positive COVID-19 case by employees, students, visitors, or those who have come into contact with an individual testing positive.
  • Principals will designate quarantine room(s) at each school to temporarily house students with COVID-19 symptoms who are unable to return home. Consideration will be given to identifying three separate quarantine areas for students:
    • General waiting area for students presenting with unscheduled needs.
    • Well student area for students presenting with unscheduled needs.
    • Quarantine area for students presenting with COVID-19 symptoms - separate from other students. Students should wear a mask if presenting symptoms.
  • Custodial staff will follow protocol for properly sanitizing quarantine room(s) and all areas where a person with a positive case was physically present with symptoms.
  • Public relations, under the direction of Superintendent Sorenson, will communicate health and safety issues transparently, while protecting the privacy of students and families. All staff should direct media and other inquiries related to positive COVID-19 cases to Jodi Jones in the public relations office.
  • A digital thermometer will always be available at the school’s front office and in the nurse's office. Additional thermometers will be available in needed locations.
  • Supplies will be provided to teachers to address minor injuries and basic first aid in classrooms to reduce the number of students in the office or health room(s).

Temporarily Reclosure (If Necessary)

  • The Superintendent's Office, in collaboration with the Summit County Health Department, will develop education and training on the protocol for responding to confirmed cases and temporarily reclosing schools if necessary. The plan development will include insight from internal and external stakeholders.
  • In the event of an outbreak, the Summit County Health Department will be contacted and trigger the pre-established plan, which may include class dismissal, school dismissal, longevity of dismissal based on community spread, cleaning/sanitation, communications, contact tracing etc.
  • Public Relations will develop a communication procedure for students and faculty in the case there is a temporary reclosure.
  • Principals will review with staff and faculty the events and outcomes of Spring 2020 closure and analyze lessons learned, and then develop a Continuity of Education plan in the event of another school closure.
  • Ongoing professional learning will be provided under the direction of the principal and digital teaching and learning coaches to utilize remote learning capabilities.
  • All scheduled extra-curricular/in-person events will have a contingency plan if they need to be postponed, canceled, or transitioned to virtual.