08-31-2020 School Opening Info-Part 2

Good afternoon. More updates for you as we get closer and closer to welcoming back your children.



Goals and Understandings of Reopening Gilford Middle School



The safety of our students, faculty, and community is our priority.


Optimal learning takes place when students interact in-person with their peers and teachers


Reopening school scenarios are intended to mitigate, not eliminate, risk. No single action or set of actions will completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19 transmission, but implementation of several coordinated interventions can greatly reduce that risk.


All of the scenarios must be flexible and adaptive to the current epidemiological data


School Instruction Safety Protocols



In order to provide an in-school instructional environment that balances educational and safety considerations for both students and staff, the plan provides recommendations regarding social distancing expectations, mask requirements, building access, and health screening. Additional protocols are included for logistical and safety issues related to personal protective equipment (PPE), custodial services and sanitizing protocols, food service practices, and transportation.



Limits to Building Access and Facility Use



Restrictions on building use and access are recommended to minimize exposure for students and staff. Schools will only be utilized by staff and students to the extent practical. The plan includes the following recommendations:


Vendors and service contractors will be allowed by appointment only and all individuals will be required to wear a mask and sign in at the main office (signs will be posted at the entrance of each of the schools identifying COVID-19 symptoms and restrictions for access to the building).


Non-essential visitors will not be permitted in our schools, and essential visitors will be required to wear masks.


Parents must schedule appointments and upon entering school will be required to wear a mask.


We will not permit gatherings of more than 50 students in any single space, including auditoriums, cafeterias and gymnasiums. Students and staff will be required to wear masks and a minimum of 3 feet will be required among staff and students.


We will prohibit all non-school district-related afternoon and evening activities.


Health Screenings and Protocols



Students and staff will not have their temperatures monitored when entering the building due to the time constraints of morning arrivals and the inconclusive nature of current temperature reading equipment. Instead, we will ask students and staff to self-assess prior to leaving home.


Parents will be asked to assess their children before leaving home and contact the school if symptomatic.


Parents are asked to NOT medicate a morning fever with Tylenol or Advil and then send the child to school.


Staff will self-assess prior to entering school each day.


Staff is asked to NOT medicate a morning fever with Tylenol or Advil and then report to work.


In-school screenings will follow established protocols


The school nurse will establish a space where symptomatic students will report and be isolated from others.


Screening procedures in such instances will include a temperature check, review of symptoms and, as determined by this check, a call for dismissal.


Students who are showing signs and/or symptoms shall be given a mask to wear.


Students will be isolated from others.

Parent/Guardian will be contacted

Arrangements for dismissal will be made.

Recommendation for self isolation will be made per updated/current protocol

Recommendation for medical evaluation and COVID-19 testing will be made per updated/current protocol

If the medical provider determines no need for COVID-19 testing, a note declaring the student is free of infectious and/or contagious disease and is safe to return to school, will be required and must be submitted to the school nurse.

Follow up with be done with the appropriate public health department regarding return to school based on updated/current protocol

Appropriate notifications will be made as needed


Increased Cleaning, Sanitization, and Ventilation



A new commitment to cleaning high-touch areas is recommended to address potential surface contamination through viral droplets. Ventilation and air circulation systems will be employed to minimize the effects of airborne contaminants. The plan recommends:


Custodial staff schedules will be possibly flexed to accommodate daytime sanitizing and proper disinfecting of common surfaces in high-traffic areas. This will be achieved by incorporating training, adopting formal protocols, and purchasing necessary equipment and supplies.


Custodial staff will monitor/prioritize responsibilities to properly disinfect as needed per Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state guidelines. Tasks will be assigned to each custodian, including specific classrooms, bathrooms, handrails, doors, handles and other high-touch locations according to a checklist of areas which require frequent sanitizing throughout the day.


High-traffic exposure areas within each building will be cleaned on a regular schedule.


Second shift custodians will use electrostatic sprayers to disinfect classroom spaces. Additionally, these sprayers will be used to sanitize larger areas.


Our air filtration system is currently running during the day. HVAC filters will be changed as frequently as recommended and/or as necessary. Run time of the units will be expanded to allow for increased air movement.


Custodian training on sanitizing, disinfecting, and cleaning procedures will be done prior to the start of the new school year and as new technology or products are introduced. Product manufacturers will conduct staff training.


High school students will be asked to wipe down their desk and clear divider surfaces prior to leaving the classroom, and then use hand sanitizer prior to leaving the classroom.


Locker rooms will be designated high-priority areas and cleaned regularly throughout the day with an electrostatic sprayer.


Safety Masks



Teachers will be provided both a face shield and mask and will be required to wear them when they are teaching or in direct contact with students or colleagues


Students will be provided 2 sets of face masks at the start of the school year - additional ones can be provided on a case-to-case basis


A stockpile of additional safety masks will be housed in the nurse’s office


Face Coverings / Masks will be required

The District has purchased masks and PPE for all students and staff

This is non-negotiable

Mask breaks will be built into each student’s schedule

Parents and schools must partner on this requirement to ensure the safety of all

Classroom Recommendations



Students’ desks, chairs and shared supplies (e.g., lab equipment) must be sanitized by the end of the block by students


Students must use hand sanitizer or wash their hands in between classes


Sanitation supplies {e.g., wipes/disinfectants, & hand solutions} must be available for daily use in all classrooms


Assigned seating in all classrooms for tracking purposes


Lessen hallway wandering - students are to use the restrooms closest to their classroom and follow hand washing protocols


Teachers must develop regimented classroom protocols to reduce students leaving their classrooms for unnecessary purposes (opposed to hall passes consider using the phone to message where the student is reporting to)


Students should use their own personal learning tools and devices (e.g., pencils, pens, Chromebooks, binders, etc.) as much as possible. Students that do not have access to these items will be provided a reasonable supply of them by the school


Teachers should promote the use of technology to limit the back and forth exchange of traditional paper copies of assignments and assessments




Hallway Transitions



Hallways and stairwells are two directional but students will remain close to the walls to ensure that students are not crossing into each other's space

Restrict students congregating in the hallways - students report immediately to their next classroom

Restrict lockers to only those students that medically require the use for one

Students and staff wear masks at all times while transitioning from one class to the next


Food service - Breakfast



Breakfast - easy. Offer a grab and go breakfast. Write their name down and then punch in the data later in the system (students in classroom and are responsible to wipe down desks or all them access to the lunch room)


Food stations serving breakfast will be located in the hallways left and right of the main office area (3rd optional) cereal, cinnamon rolls, sandwiches on average 40 breakfasts


Food service - Lunch



No money is exchanged - students place an envelope with their name, the check, and student ID account numbers into a dropbox


There are 5 Cohorts per grade level. At lunch, 3 of the cohorts will eat in the gym and the other 2 cohorts will eat in the cafeteria. We will also utilize the picnic tables as much as we can, dependent on weather.


Additional Considerations




Markings on the floor to indicate 6 feet distancing


Grab and go - black microwave containers - Pre-order possible using Google Sheet



Additional Safety Precautions



Promoting a culture of around washing hands - e.g., signs and announcements/reminders


Hand Sanitizer Stations - expand locations throughout the building


Limiting unnecessary visitors - full restrictions on field trips


Plexiglass shields to employees desks (teachers included)


Signage (e.g., floor markings, social distancing, hallway arrows)




Nurses Office



Nurse’s station divided into 2 sections: one section for typical office visits and the other for students exhibiting symptoms of the Coronavirus - tracking protocols to determine who has been exposed and in contact with individuals infected or possibly infected, as well as communication protocols to alert those who should be informed.


Limit access to the office -kids can email or schedule an appointment


Eliminate staff (ibuprofen, tylenol, etc.) visits


Isolation rooms for sick individuals

Ramp up bandages, cough drops, etc. in the classroom

Remove tissues from the nurse’s office - find other locations

Plexiglass barrier

Additional sanitization protocols

Go to infirmary side of office till ready to RTC

Suspected COVID-19 to isolation room with mask


Safety Protocols & Procedures • The school district will establish an affiliation with a local medical care provider such as Convenient MD for testing and other medical related support. • All staff will be trained on new or updated safety protocols and procedures related specifically to COVID-19 prior to the start of school. • We must establish a protocol to report symptoms of or exposure to COVID-19. Health officials, such as school nurses, will respond accordingly. School administrators will report to district administrators.


Student Services



Regular education teachers, service providers, and special educators will collaboratively plan learning tasks in order to consistently provide specialized instruction aligned to curriculum standards and competencies across all settings and provide accommodations for students who may be unable to independently follow school health and safety protocols.


IEP teams will determine how special education services are delivered based on a review of the evidence of student growth/success related to the approaches used prior to, during, and after distance learning to make these decisions.


For students who are unable to wear PPE, the Special Education Team will determine alternative seating, instructional spaces and/or materials needed. Teams may consider a flexible student schedule so that transitions through hallways are scheduled at times when hallways are less populated.


For students who are unable to wear a mask or require more significant physical support, the IEP team, including the school nurse, will meet to develop individualized protocols. Consideration of documented student needs based on sensory issues, social-emotional, hearing and language will be reviewed.


For families who choose to keep students at home during this period, Special Education Teams, including parents, will meet to consider the unique needs of the student and mutually agree on a plan for special education service delivery.






Contingency Planning




With a future as uncertain as ever, we need to be flexible and nimble. While we may do everything possible to reduce the spread in our schools, we may experience increased cases of community members, parents, staff, or students who are not diligent in taking similar precautions. The reopening plan includes contingency plans for a number of scenarios. As part of the process of self-assessing symptoms, parents and staff will be required to report any positive test results to their school principal. The follow procedures will then be followed:



Generally, everyone (parents, students, or staff) who doesn’t feel well is expected to stay home until they have been symptom-free for 24 hours.



Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19, will be required to provide a negative test result in order to resume school.



A temporary remote learning plan will be considered for the student or staff member.



Individuals testing positive will remain anonymous in accordance with HIPPA and FERPA guidelines, and any contact tracing will be executed by state officials.



If a school receives a report of a teacher or student testing positive:



All parents and staff of that school will be notified.



A deep cleaning will be executed overnight.



School will resume the next day. State Ordered Closures and Transition to Remote Learning If we see a local spike in cases of COVID-19, local or state health officials might recommend that we close schools for a period of time. If schools are closed for more than two days we will transition to a distance learning environment structured similar to in-school instruction.



The following preparations will be included in 2020-21 staff and curriculum planning to account for the possibility of being required to transition to a remote learning environment:



All students—whether in-school or enrolled in remote learning--will be issued a device as part of a 1:1 computer initiative.



Students will receive intentional instruction to fully utilize online learning tools at the start of the year focusing on the school district digital tools used in distance learning.



We will identify essential curriculum, and incorporate the best practices identified from distance learning that will be used in all models of instruction.



Professional development time will also be given to effective practices used in both in-school and distance learning structures to support student engagement, deepen staff understanding of the features of the school district’s technology and application tools, and general communication routines and procedures.



Teacher-guided practice and classroom discussion—priorities for in-school and independent practice, especially using tech tools—will be prioritized for home.



Thanks for reading another of my lengthy emails. WARNING: They'll be more updates coming this week as the final pieces are beginning to fall into place. And not a moment too soon!



Thank you and take care,



Peter
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