COVID-19 Prevention Measures

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    After a thorough review of back-to-school guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Kansas State Department of Education, and Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, Lawrence Public Schools will implement these COVID-19 prevention measures during the 2021-2022 school year.

    Students benefit from in-person learning and safely returning to in-person instruction in the fall of 2021 is a priority. These mitigation strategies will assist in maintaining safe learning environments for all students and staff.

    The district will continue to work in collaboration with federal, state, and local health officials to monitor information about COVID-19 spread.

    Mitigation strategies are subject to change.

     

    Promoting Behaviors that Reduce the Spread of COVID-19

    Vaccination

    • The district strongly encourages staff and students eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine to be vaccinated prior to the start of school or as soon as possible.

     The district will continue to:

      • Provide educational information to students, staff, and families about COVID-19 vaccination.
      • Work with local public health officials to provide vaccination opportunities for staff, students, and families.

    Staying Home When Appropriate

    The district will:

    • Continue to educate and encourage staff, students, and families to follow public health and safety measures in and out of school.
    • Encourage staff to use a Daily Self-Assessment to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of illness.
    • Encourage families to use a Daily Assessment to monitor students for signs and symptoms of illness.
    • Provide staff information about recognizing COVID-19 signs and symptoms.
    • Anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever (100.0), cough, or shortness of breath, should stay home and seek medical advice, as necessary. (The district will follow its attendance protocols for staff and students. Families should contact their child’s school to report absences. Staff should report absences through Frontline/Time Clock.)
    • Staff and families should notify school officials if they or their children have COVID-19 symptoms, test positive for COVID-19, are waiting for test results, or had exposure to someone with symptoms or a confirmed or suspected case while not fully vaccinated. 

    Hand Hygiene & Respiratory Etiquette

    Schools will continue to educate and encourage students and staff to:

    • Wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or if soap and water are not available, to use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, throw tissues in the trash, and immediately wash hands or use hand sanitizer.

    Cloth Face Coverings, Masks, & PPE

    (Revised 7/27/2021 per CDC and LDCPH guidance.)

    • Everyone ages 2 and older must wear masks when indoors on school district property.
      • Staff will provide mask breaks for students.
      • Masks do not need to be worn when outside, while eating or drinking, or during designated mask breaks.
      • The district prohibits the use of masks with vents or valves, per CDC guidance.
      • Special education teams will work with families to determine appropriate use of personal protective equipment based on student individual needs.
      • Staff will work on a case-by-case basis with individuals unable to wear a mask. (See Request for Mask Exemption.)

    • Athletics (Added 10/12/2021)
      • Indoor Sports - Masks must be worn, except by individuals directly involved in active play.
      • Outdoor Sports - Masks are not required.
      • The district strongly encourages student-athletes to be vaccinated.
      • The district recommends student-athletes wear masks during close-contact sports that present a high risk of exposure.

     The district will make available:

    • Masks, face shields, and gloves for staff and students, as needed.  
    • N95 NIOSH masks for staff, as needed.
    • Gowns for staff performing procedures where contact with bodily fluids is likely.

    Temperature Screening

    • The district encourages staff, students, and visitors to use devices provided for temperature checks when needed.
    • Schools will conduct temperature checks when staff or students report COVID-19 symptoms.

    COVID Testing

    Defining Cases

    • Staff will send individuals with a confirmed, probable, or suspected case of COVID-19 home to isolate until test results.
    • Individuals with a confirmed, probable, or suspected case of COVID-19 should complete public health isolation requirements (10 days from symptom onset and fever-free for 72 hours OR 10 days from collection of the specimen if asymptomatic).
    • Probable Case: Either clinical evidence and epidemiological link OR presumptive lab result with epi link or clinical symptoms.
    • Confirmed Case: Meets PCR lab-confirmed criteria. (See Case Definitions.)

    Infection Periods

    • Positive Cases: 48 hours prior to symptom onset (or 48 hours prior to specimen collection) to 10 days after symptom onset (or 10 days after specimen collection).

    Contact Tracing and Identification of Close Contacts 

    (Revised 9/27/21 per KDHE and LDCPH guidance.)

    • Anyone who is not fully vaccinated and within 6 ft. of an infected individual for longer than 10 minutes is considered a close contact.
    • Anyone not fully vaccinated with direct respiratory particle exposure, even if for less than 10 minutes (e.g. being coughed on or sneezed on by an infectious individual) is considered a close contact.
    • Anyone not fully vaccinated with household contact with an infected individual is considered a close contact.
    • School health services staff will consider proper and consistent mask wearing and appropriate or 3-6 ft. distancing in determining low-risk vs high-risk activities during contact tracing and identification of close contacts. 
    • Quarantine for close contacts at high risk of exposure is 10 days following the last exposure.
    • Individuals identified by school health staff as close contacts at low risk of exposure will not need to quarantine as long as they remain symptom-free.

    Quarantine Exemptions 

    • Fully vaccinated individuals (2 weeks after final dose of vaccine) are exempt from quarantine, unless symptomatic. They should provide school health or designated staff proof of being fully vaccinated.
    • Individuals providing school health or designated staff proof (a PCR or antigen test or a note from the local health department) of testing positive within the last 6 months are exempt from quarantine. They must remain symptom-free.
    • Individuals providing school health or designated staff negative antigen tests from a testing center (e.g., CVS, Walgreens, pharmacy) each day during the quarantine period may remain at school. They also must remain symptom-free.
    • Individuals with informed consent to participate in the daily KDHE Testing Program at school during the quarantine period may remain at school if they test negative and remain symptom-free.

    KDHE Testing Program - Test to Stay, Learn, Play, & Participate

    (Effective 9/27/2021 per KDHE and LDCPH guidance.)

    School health or designated staff will provide daily rapid antigen (nasal swab) testing during the 10-day quarantine period for students identified as close contacts at high risk of exposure.
    Informed consent must be provided and students must be willing to participate in the testing.

    1. During the quarantine period, individuals testing negative and remaining symptom-free may remain at school and participate in school activities.
    2. School activity coaches/sponsors will communicate with families if student participant testing will be available for a weekend activity.
    3. Students testing while in quarantine may not ride the school bus in the morning, but may ride the bus in the afternoon after testing negative.
    4. Parents/Guardians dropping off students for testing during quarantine must stay at school to receive test results. (Rapid antigen testing results take approximately 15 minutes.)
    5. Instead of the individual in quarantine participating in daily testing at school, they may choose to provide daily negative antigen tests from a testing center (e.g., CVS, Walgreens, pharmacy) to remain at school and participate in school activities. They must test negative and remain symptom-free.
    6. The district will not accept at-home test kits as an alternative to daily testing at school or a testing center for individuals in quarantine.
    7. If testing positive, school health or designated staff will offer a PCR test kit as an option to confirm results.
    8. If PCR test results are negative and the individual remains symptom-free, they may remain at school and participate in school activities. They will continue to participate in daily testing during the quarantine period.
    9. School health or designated staff will consult with LDCPH to determine whether individuals testing negative but exhibiting symptoms may remain at school and participate in school activities.
    10. If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, they must isolate for a minimum of 10 days from the onset of symptoms. Additionally, they may not return to school unless fever-free and feeling well for 72 hours.

    (See left menu for more information about rapid antigen (nasal swab) testing.)

    Advising Staff & Families of Student Illness

    • In accordance with state and local laws and regulations, the district will notify local health officials, staff, and families of reported cases of COVID-19 while maintaining confidentiality in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  
    • The district will follow Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health guidelines for isolation and quarantine periods.  

    Separation While in School/Care Rooms

    • Each school will have a room or space separate from the clinic where students or staff who may have COVID-19 or another communicable disease will wait for evaluation or for pickup.  
    • Schools will inform parents to pick up their child immediately if the child becomes ill at school.
    • Families should keep emergency contact numbers updated in PowerSchool by notifying the school office. 

    Household Exposure for Students & Staff

    • Quarantine affects direct contacts who are not fully vaccinated. It does not affect secondary contacts.
      • Example: If there is a positive case named Leo, Leo's unvaccinated family members will be in quarantine. Leo's unvaccinated classmates will be in quarantine. Leo's classmates' families are secondary contacts and will not be in quarantine.

    Staff Leave

    • The district will follow regular leave practices with regard to staff absences due to COVID-19 isolation and quarantine and continue to monitor and make adjustments as needed.

    Remote Learning

    • The Kansas Legislature passed HB 2134 in May of 2021, and the Governor signed the bill into law. The new law limits public schools from offering remote learning.
    • Remote learning will not be offered in Lawrence Public Schools.
    • Students will be considered present when they are learning in the school building unless otherwise enrolled in an approved virtual program, such as Lawrence Virtual School; a virtual class as part of their daily schedule, or any other allowable circumstance per state regulations.
    • Schools will not have the flexibility of allowing students to remote into class for instruction under the new law and current state guidance.
    • Teachers at each level will work to make assignments available in the event of student absences that may occur due to COVID-19, isolation, quarantine, or a variety of other reasons. 
    • Students and families may contact teachers via phone or email with questions about homework assignments.

     

    Maintaining Healthy Environments and Operations

    Social Distancing

    • Schools will:
      • Observe 3 ft., or as much social distancing as possible, given the physical environment.
      • Provide visual cues about safety measures in classrooms and hallways.
      • Provide directional signs in buildings, as necessary.
      • Remove extra furniture and unnecessary materials from classrooms to increase available space.

    Cleaning & Disinfecting

    • Custodial teams will follow the district’s established cleaning procedures in maintaining healthy and clean environments and prioritize high-touch areas, including handles, handrails, counters and surfaces, tables, chairs, desks, etc.
    • Custodians will clean restrooms throughout the school day.
    • The district will train all staff in effective cleaning and disinfecting procedures.
    • Staff will provide hand sanitizer stations in multiple locations throughout the building for frequent use.
    • Custodians will provide cleaner, disinfectant, and cleaning cloths for classrooms, upon staff request or signup.
    • Building administrators will encourage non-custodial staff to clean and disinfect their classrooms and work areas.
    • Building administrators will notify the custodial staff of COVID-19 cases so they may close affected areas for cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing.

    Communal Spaces

    • Observe 3 ft., or as much social distancing as possible, given the physical environment.
    • Office areas will include signage informing staff, students, and visitors who are not fully vaccinated to:
      • Wear a mask
      • Observe 3 ft., or as much social distancing as possible, given the physical environment.
    • No lunch guests.

    Physical Guides

    • Schools will provide physical guides, such as decals on floors and sidewalks and signs on walls, to remind staff, students, and visitors of social distancing.

    Playgrounds & Recess

    • Students and staff do not need to wear masks when outdoors.
    • Students and staff should wash or sanitize hands before and after recess.
    • Students may use playground equipment.

    Food Service

    • Food Service will provide free meals for all students.
    • Staff will clean and sanitize all carts, utensils, and food surfaces after each use.
    • Staff may use disposable items (e.g. utensils, dishes) for meals.
    • Schools will use a simplified menu and provide grab-and-go meal options.
    • Schools will follow National School Breakfast and Lunch Program meal requirements.
    • No guests may join students for meals.

    Food Service & Management of Food Allergies

    • Elementary building administrators, in cooperation with Food Service staff, will determine the location and logistics for meal consumption and share that information with parents.
    • Secondary students will eat in cafeterias or other designated dining areas.
    • The district will continue to reference the CDC’s Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies.
    • Schools will follow these guidelines for eating:
      • A staff member will provide supervision in the designated location where students eat meals and snacks.
      • Staff will enforce handwashing before and after meals and snacks.
      • Staff will clean surfaces before and after meals and snacks.
      • Students may not trade or share food.

    Classroom Modified Layouts

    • Staff will maintain seating charts for use in contact tracing.
    • When the physical environment permits, students will sit facing the same direction.
    • Staff will utilize outdoor spaces for instructional purposes when possible.
    • Plexiglass dividers are available for staff use.
    • Secondary schools may resume the use of soft furniture.
    • Elementary schools will keep soft furniture in storage.

    Sharing Facilities

    • The district will accept community requests for facility use beginning August 1, 2021.

    Visitors

    • The district prohibits indoor visitors at elementary facilities during the school day.
    • Secondary schools will allow indoor visitors.
    • All visitors (ages 2 and older) to secondary schools will wear masks indoors.
    • All visitors will follow sign-in procedures.
    • Visitors who are not fully vaccinated will observe 3 ft., or as much social distancing as possible, given the physical environment.
    • No visitors during meal times.
    • Staff may conduct virtual parent/teacher conferences from the classroom via Webex at the request of a parent/guardian.

    Attendance

    • The district will follow attendance protocols for staff and students.
    • Families should contact their child’s school to report student absences.
    • Staff should report absences through Frontline or the Time Clock.


    Transportation

    • Buses will be regularly cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized.
    • All drivers and riders on school buses and in district vans will wear masks at all times.
    • Maintain a seating chart for passengers.
    • Open windows and vents when possible.
    • Students in quarantine participating in the KDHE Testing Program or providing test results from testing centers may not ride the school bus.

    Field Trips & Gatherings

    • Staff will incorporate district mitigation strategies into the planning of field trips and gatherings for the safety of students, staff, and families.
    • No elementary field trips or activities unless outdoors.
    • No capacity limitations for gatherings.

    Water Systems

    • Water fountains will not be available.
    • Staff and students should bring their own water bottles.
    • Water bottle fillers are available. 

    Ventilation

    • The district provides air purification devices in all classrooms, offices, and workspaces, excluding larger areas, such as gyms and cafeterias where social distancing is possible.
    • Staff should use air purification devices during the school and workday and turn them off when leaving the building.
    • The district will continue to monitor air quality and install new filtration systems when needed.

    Instructional Materials/Shared Objects

    • Limit the sharing of supplies whenever possible.

    COVID-19 Points of Contact & Response Teams

    • School nurses will serve as points of contact for COVID-19.
    • Each building will maintain a COVID-19 response team. 

    Changes in Asthma Management

    Nebulizers

      • Lawrence Public Schools will not allow students to receive nebulizer treatments at school. Nebulizers are small air-compressor machines that individuals with asthma breathe into and out of to administer a liquid form of albuterol. Exhalations through nebulizers used by someone with COVID-19 can spray the virus into the air. Families should consult their physician about alternative treatments, such as metered-dose inhalers with spacers, for their child's school asthma plan.

    Metered-Dose Inhalers

      • Families must provide a personal spacer for all metered-dose inhalers used at school. Please contact a health care provider if the child’s metered-dose inhaler does not have a spacer.

    metered dose inhaler with spacer 

     

    Mitigation strategies are subject to change.

    Feedback on these COVID-19 Prevention Measures may be shared at USD497Info@usd497.org.