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Covid-19 Addendum to RSU 50 Student Handbook
Covid-19 Addendum to RSU 50 Student Handbook
Jon Porter
Monday, August 03, 2020

Draft addendum to the 2020-2021 RSU 50 Student Handbook 

**DRAFT  PENDING SCHOOL Board APPROVAL** 

COVID-19 RETURN TO SCHOOL GUIDELINES 

FOR STUDENTS & FAMILIES 

Addendum to the Student Handbook

UPDATED: 8/3/2020 based on current Maine CDC Guidelines

.  The School Committee recognizes the unprecedented times in which schools operate and the fluidity of our public health scenario, deputizing the Superintendent to make changes to this document, without Board approval, based on emerging legal or health guidance.

Thank you to Biddeford School District for sharing this framework with RSU 50.

In response to COVID-19, RSU 50 will comply with the guidelines set forth by the Maine Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as well as the State of Maine, which are incorporated herein. These Guidelines will be in effect from August 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020 and will be updated with the latest CDC and State of Maine guidelines.  Our goal is to continue to minimize the risk of possible transmission of COVID-19 and safely bring back as many students as possible to an in-person school setting to maximize learning.  Therefore, these COVID GUIDELINES are mandatory for all students and their families.   

This year will be a difficult one for students, parents/guardians, and staff.  We consider the safety of your children as our collective responsibility and staff will be flexible as we undergo processes that were not present in previous school experiences.  Thank you for your continued support of your child’s education and your patience as we work through this process.  Please contact the school if you have any questions or concerns. 

_____________________________________________________________

"Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass.  It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” 

- Vivian Greene

_____________________________________________________________

DAILY SELF-ASSESSMENT:

  • Prior to boarding the bus or drop-off, Parents/Guardians will need to complete a self-screening assessment daily for their child to check for symptoms of COVID-19.  Certain responses will require that a child remain home.  In this event, Parents/Guardians should contact their child’s School Nurse.  The self-screening will be available in paper form or an online app.

  • Daily self-assessment questions:

    • Have I been out of the state in the last 14 days?

    • Do I or have I been living with anyone who is sick or quarantined?

    • Do I or have I been around anyone exhibiting these symptoms within the last 14 days:

      • Do I or have I had a loss of taste or smell?

      • Do I or have I had shortness of breath?

      • Do I have a fever or feel feverish?

      • Do I have a cough or sore throat?

      • Do I feel unwell today?

  • Upon arrival at school, students, staff and visitors will be subject to temperature screening.  No personally identifiable data will be collected and students with a fever of 100.4oF or higher will report to the School Nurse and staff/visitors will be sent home.

  • If you are absent for any Covid-19 related reason, you will have access to remote learning.  If you attend remote learning, your absences will be excused.  

  • Parents/guardians should follow the flow chart if ANY COVID-19 symptoms are identified:

 

 FACE COVERINGS/MASKS:

  • All students are required to wear a face covering/mask that covers their nose and mouth when in the presence of others or maintain six (6) feet of distance--about two arm’s length-- at all times throughout the day. See CDC guidance on social distancing. Maintaining three (3) feet of distance is acceptable between and among students when combined with the other measures outlined in this list of safety requirements. 

  • Face coverings must be worn when entering or exiting buildings, while traveling in hallways, and generally when moving about the school. Exceptions may include, but are not limited to:

    • While eating 

    • Taking a scheduled face mask break during the day.

    • During recess, if social distancing allows

    • When the student’s face cannot safely be covered due to a medical condition in which case a doctor’s note must be provided and the student would wear a face shield.

  • Face coverings must be worn by all students utilizing transportation by bus or van.  

  • All students will be provided with two face coverings (age appropriate design and size). If disposable, these should be replaced daily.  If cloth, these should be washed daily.  Face coverings are subject to meeting current dress code standards in regards to the appropriateness of language/images, etc. 

  • Face shields may be an alternative for those students with a medical, behavioral, or other challenges who are unable to wear masks/face coverings.  Face shields worn in place of a face covering must extend below the chin and back to the ears.

PREVENTION MEASURES:

  • All students must practice proper handwashing guidelines and use hand sanitizer upon entering the school, their classroom, before and after donning or removing a face covering, and throughout the day. Hands should be washed with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when visibly soiled.  Hand will be washed/sanitized, before and after eating, and after coughing/sneezing and using the restroom. 

  • All students must practice proper CDC infection control measures:

    • If coughing or sneezing, students must cover their mouth and nose with a tissue, or the inside of their elbow, and immediately discard the tissue.

    • Avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.

    • Avoid touching any surfaces unnecessarily.

    • Refrain from physical contact, including hugs and hand-shakes.

  • Restroom procedures will be established to limit the number of students in the hallway and restrooms at one time.

  • Students should only bring to school what is absolutely essential for each day.  Any items brought to school should fit into a single backpack.  

  • Classrooms will be reconfigured to allow physical distance.  Plexiglass has been purchased for all classroom tables.

  • The use of lockers in the middle and high school will be suspended.  Students will be allowed to carry a backpack with them.

  • Sharing of items (electronic devices, toys, books, and other games or learning aids) will be discouraged and restricted.  

  • Each child’s belongings will be separated from others’ and in individually labeled containers, cubbies, or areas.

  • Student conferences and Open House will be held virtually.

  • Field trips, assemblies, and other large gatherings may not be allowed

  • See CDC’s informational video on how to Stop the spread of germs 

FOOD DISTRIBUTION/MEALS:

  • Elementary students will remain in classrooms for all snacks and meals.  

  • Students will maintain six (6) feet of physical distance while eating breakfast and lunch as students will be unable to wear face coverings during these times.

  • Students are encouraged to bring a full water bottle each day as water fountains will be closed.  Bottles may be refilled using our filling stations (where available). Water filling stations will be sanitized along with all other “common touch” surfaces.

  • Shared food is prohibited. Parents are asked only to send food for their child and not class consumption (i.e. birthdays; holiday celebrations).

  • Students will be required to practice proper handwashing/sanitizing prior to eating.

  • All food served to students will be covered and individually wrapped, including utensils.

PLAYGROUND USE (ELEMENTARY):

  • Use of designated playground equipment and supplies will be allowed under close monitoring.

  • Use of face coverings/shields will NOT be required during this time as long as physical distancing is maintained.

  • Limits will be placed on the number of students on equipment at one time.

  • No more than 50 students may congregate in one section of a play area at a time.

  • If needed, at least three (3) areas of each playground will be established and student groups will be assigned to remain in each area each day.  These areas will rotate so that students are able to use the entire playground over the course of several days.

  • Students will wash their hands/use sanitizer before and after using playground equipment.

  • Recess equipment will be sanitized daily. Playground use will be limited to one grade level per day.

 

  • RSU 50/So. Aroostook Community School will plan for special education students, including students with disabilities, to ensure they receive necessary services and accommodations.

  • Determination of additional PPE requirements will be made by the Special Education Director based upon the unique needs of each student/situation. Additional PPE may be provided for staff working with young children, students with IEPs or student’s with specialized health plans such as, but not limited to:

    • Clear face coverings and/or 

    • Face shields

    • Gloves

    • Gowns

    • Plexiglass barriers for student tables

  • Parents/Guardians are encouraged to transport their child to and from school, if able.

  • Busses will now drop off at the HS, MS, 3-5 Pod, PK-2 Pod. They will also pick-up at these locations. 

  • MS/HS Students being transported by their parents should be dropped off and picked up at the HS Main Entrance.

  • Elementary Students should be dropped off and picked up at the Elementary Main Entrance.

  • Students are required to wear a face covering at all times while on the bus/van, including upon entry/exit.

  • Students must use hand sanitizer when they enter the bus/van.  

  • Families should be vigilant to limit contact between other parents/students at bus stops and direct contact with the bus driver as much as possible by maintaining a six (6) foot distance.  

  • Students will be seated one student per seat and distanced according to guidelines with the seat directly behind the driver remaining open. Families will be sitting together. 

  • Students will be assigned seats and must sit in the seats assigned to them.

  • Seats in the back of the bus must be loaded first and then move forward. The bus should be emptied from the front and then the back, when possible. 

  • Students will need to practice social distancing when exiting the bus. The bus radio will be used to dismiss students.  

  • Several windows should be slightly opened to improve air ventilation.

  • Up to two (2) children are allowed in each van, depending on the size of the van.  If a second adult monitor is required, only one (1) child will be allowed.  The total capacity of a van should not exceed three (3) people at any given time.

  • Bus drivers will clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces between uses as much as possible -- high-touch areas in buses such as seat backs, handrails, stability poles, bars, windows and window ledges.

  • Busses will sprayed between runs.

  • Parents/Guardians will minimize face-to-face meetings by utilizing alternative methods to receive updates (i.e. email, conference call, phone call, web-based meetings).  

  • Any Parent/Guardian needing to enter the building for an IEP meeting or other important business will need to be screened and should utilize reception windows as main office spaces are restricted to administrative and office staff.

  • Parents/Guardians will be asked the same screening questions as students prior to entry to any school building.  If any response is “yes”, the parent/guardian will not be allowed into the building.  If allowed into the building, parents/guardians:

    • Must wear a face covering while in the buildings.

    • Must use the sanitizing station upon entry, maintain a social distance of six (6) feet.

    • Must attend to their specific business and leave immediately following.

  • Upon entering the building, volunteers must follow the same guidelines as visitors listed above.

  • Elementary parents will follow the same procedure for afternoon pick up. There will be a waiting area outside the elementary entrance and inside the glass entry. Social distancing and masks will be required in both areas. 

  • 1:1 devices will be provided to each K-12 student.  These devices will be transported by the student between school and home.

  • Parents/Guardians agree to return the borrowed devices at the end of the school year, unless otherwise determined, to be cleaned and disinfected.

  • Sharing of devices between students will be discouraged. If it is required, devices will be sanitized after each shared use.

  • Classroom seating will be configured with maximum allowable space between students.

  • Elementary and middle school schedules will be developed in a way that will limit student movement and/or interactions between student groups throughout the day.

  • Employees will modify instructional plans to reduce student contact, sharing of materials or equipment and maintain appropriate physical distancing to the greatest extent possible.

  • Common touch surfaces will be sanitized throughout the day.

  • Any RSU 50 student across grades Pre-K-12 will have the option of participating in remote instruction.  Remote instruction is available for any student with health and safety concerns, elevated health risks or a family member with elevated health risks.  

  • RSU 50 Instructional Staff (Teacher or Ed. Tech. III) will lead these classes.

  • These remote learning programs will be fully graded and credit bearing.

  • Students who elect to participate in this remote instruction program to begin the 2020-21 School year must remain in the program at least through the end of the trimester. Any adjustments to a student’s educational plan will be made at the end of each trimester. Any adjustments will require administrator approval. 

  • Assigned instructional staff will also coordinate to ensure programs such as Special Education, 504, or RTI programs are provided to students remotely as needed.

  • Parents/Guardians will avoid exposing others by ensuring their child remains home if they experience any signs or symptoms of Respiratory Illness or a fever of 100.4oF or higher. Please refer to the reporting student illness flow chart above.

  • Students will not be penalized for missing school when required to stay home under these guidelines.  School staff will ask about symptoms when absences are reported.

  • If a student develops a fever/signs or symptoms of Respiratory Illness during school hours, a medical isolation room is designated in all schools for students to wait for their parents to pick up their child immediately.

  • If a student has Respiratory/Covid-related symptoms, the student will need to provide the school with a negative Covid test OR remain out of school for 10 days.  At the end of the 10 days, the student must be fever-free for 24 hours (1 day), without fever-reducing medication, and symptom-free for 24 hours before returning to school.  

  • Any area used by a sick person will be closed until proper disinfection has been completed.

EXPECTATIONS IF TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19:

  • Parents/Guardians will notify the School Nurse if their child, or anyone in their household, has been confirmed to have COVID-19. As a response to protect the health and safety of our students and staff, areas will be sanitized and CDC guidelines followed to notify all families and employees that have come in contact with and/or have been exposed to the student in the most confidential manner possible. 

  • Under the current Maine CDC guidance, a student who has tested positive for COVID-19 will NOT be able to return to school until: 

    • the student has gone 24 hours (1 day) without exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, and at least ten days have passed since the student’s symptoms first appeared; 

OR

  • the student has received two negative COVID-19 test results from specimens taken more than 24 hours apart.

AND

    • Documentation of medical clearance will be required to return to school and must be submitted to the School Nurse.  

  • Students who have had close contact with someone who tests positive for, or is diagnosed with, COVID-19 must isolate at home and monitor symptoms for 14 days.  Close contact is defined as “any individual who has been closer than six (6) feet for more than 15 minutes.”

  • Depending upon circumstances, this could include entire classrooms, clubs, bus routes,  playground groupings, or cafeteria groupings.

  • Students returning from illness-related to COVID-19 will be required to check in with the school nurse and school administrator.

  • The school will work closely with Maine CDC on all contact tracing and other related protocols.

  • During the time students are out of school, arrangements will be made to ensure they do not fall behind in their learning (i.e. remote instruction or make-up work following a healthy return).

EXPECTATIONS IF REQUIRED TO QUARANTINE:

(Still being determined based on Remote Instruction Enrollment)

  • If an individual student is required to quarantine, they will be provided the option to transition into remote instruction and, if they participate, those days will not be counted as absences.

  • If Southern Aroostook is required to close the building due to a positive test, students will transition to remote instruction during closure.  Those days will not be counted as absences.

  • Students who have traveled out of State to those States not listed in the most up-to-date Governor’s orders must isolate at home and monitor for symptoms for 14 days before being able to return to school or provide a negative Covid test. If students participate in remote learning during the quarantine, those days will not be counted as absences.