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 keeping students safe and in school is our goal. 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 and able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to be vaccinated and to get booster shots.

     The district will continue to:

      • Provide educational information to students, staff, and families about COVID-19 vaccinations.
      • 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 Health Assessment to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of illness.
    • Encourage families to use a Daily Health 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, 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 3/4/2022)

    Lawrence Public Schools lifted its mask requirement on March 7, 2022. Masks are optional in all school district buildings.

    Public health officials recommend that unvaccinated individuals, anyone with a severe medical condition, and people with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 wear a mask. The district will continue to provide KN95 NIOSH masks to staff. 

    We respect that some students and staff may choose to continue to wear masks for personal or family health and safety reasons. We ask that all staff and students be respectful of all choices and continue to bring a mask to school. We encourage everyone to consider wearing a mask when around others who need or choose to wear a mask. 

    It is understandable that some individuals may feel anxious about this change in masking procedures. Please contact your child's teacher or school counselor if you feel your student could benefit from additional support.

    In addition, the district has lifted restrictions on elementary field trips. All other district COVID-19 mitigation strategies remain in place. They have served us well! 
     
    Please keep in mind that COVID-19 remains a serious health risk. The district encourages vaccination and booster shots for all who are eligible. Consider getting tested before and after traveling and gathering, and when feeling ill. Always practice healthy habits, monitor yourself and your students for symptoms, and stay home when ill. 

    The district will continue to review data about absenteeism, staffing coverage, and COVID-19 transmission in our district and community. The district will be prepared to reinstate a mask requirement if needed.

    The district's goal remains to keep students and staff safe and in school. Thank you for your partnership!

    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

    • The district will provide saliva-based PCR test kits for staff and students, upon request and as supplies are available.
    • Schools will provide saliva-based PCR test kits for staff and students to take home when they report COVID-19 symptoms, as supplies are available.
    • See Free Test Kits Available from School Health Clinics.

    Defining Cases

    • Staff will send individuals with a confirmed, probable, or suspected case of COVID-19 home to isolate until test results are known.
    • Individuals with a confirmed, probable, or suspected case of COVID-19 should complete public health isolation requirements.
    • 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).

    COVID-19 Isolation Period

    (Revised 1/19/2022 per LDCPH guidance.)

    The district also will follow updated Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health requirements for students testing positive for COVID-19. Students infected with the virus must be isolated for 5 days. They may return to school on Day 6 with a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test obtained from an area testing center, such as a local pharmacy. Students also must be fever-free for 24 hours with improving symptoms to return to school on Day 6. 

    If the student tests positive for COVID-19 on Day 6, they will need to isolate five more days to complete the full, 10-day isolation period. They may return to school on Day 11 without a COVID-19 test. 

    In addition, if a student infected with the virus is unable to wear a mask, they must be isolated for the full, 10-day period. 

    Contact Tracing and Identification of Close Contacts 

    (Revised 1/19/2022 per KDHE and KSDE guidance.)

    Beginning January 18, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas State Department of Education recommended schools temporarily suspend contact tracing or the identification of close contacts at risk of exposure while at school. The recommendation is due to widespread transmission of COVID-19 in public spaces, including schools. KDHE and KSDE stated in the announcement that they understand the immense pressure schools are facing to deliver high quality education despite the COVID-19 omicron surge. 

    Lawrence Public Schools will follow this recommendation. Our schools will not conduct contact tracing to identify students at high risk of exposure to the virus. The district encourages school families to continue to use the COVID-19 Daily Assessment to monitor their children for symptoms and keep them at home when they show signs of illness. School health office staff will only offer COVID-19 testing to staff and students who become symptomatic while at school. 

    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. 

    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 remote learning in public schools.
    • 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 guests during mealtimes.

    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 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 visitors during mealtimes.

    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

    (Revised 11/1/2021)

    • 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.
    • Staff may conduct virtual parent/teacher conferences from the classroom via Webex at the request of a parent/guardian.
    • No visitors during mealtimes.

    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.
    • 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 in the mornings.

    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 capacity limitations for gatherings.
    • Indoor large gatherings should observe 3 ft. social distancing whenever possible.

    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.