It Would Have be Helpful if Our Government Released School Re-Opening Guidelines Like Indian River County, FL?

On June 11 2020 Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis unveiled a plan that expected K-12 schools to reopen in August at “full capacity.”

On July 7 President Trump said: “So we’re very much going to put pressure on Governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open…We’re going to be putting aloe of pressure on; open your schools in the fall.”

On July 10 Governor DeSantis again pushed to reopen schools in the fall against the advice of some of the nation’s top health officials, and said if Walmart and Home Depot are open, schools should be, too.

With such a push, and with the Federal government having teams of scientists. experts in this field and writers capable of educating the public, school reopening practices were left to the States and their School Districts.

Such was the need for the newly hired School District of Indian River County Superintendent, Dr. Moore, to quickly develop a plan using his own resources with no guidelines to follow.

Think of the time and money the Country’s school districts had to spend developing their own plans when a re-opening plan like Indian River County could have been available by the government for widespread usage.

David K. Moore Ed. E.

Transitioning Back to Schools in the School District of Indian River County.

The School District of Indian River County is committed to establishing and maintaining physically and psychologically safe learning environments for all students and staff. The creation of structures and processes that support optimal working and learning environments enhances the physical and mental well-being of students and staff and maximizes educational outcomes.

Amidst the COVID- 19 crisis, ensuring student and staff safety has rightfully become central to planning efforts and considerations related to the transition back to school in August 2020. Our district has invested numerous hours and resources in planning for school reopening to ensure that student staff and safety is maintained while offering students and families varied options for receiving instruction. These varied instructional options will serve to accommodate the diverse health, safety, and learning needs present within our community.

The SDIRC Safe at School 2020 School Reopening Plan provides information to support a safe transition back to school. This plan outlines the various components of our reopening plan, including health, safety and cleaning protocols, as well as training opportunities and education for our SDIRC community.

The SDIRC Safe at School 2020 Plan has been developed based upon the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines; the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines; and with consultation from our school health officials, local health department, and local pediatricians.

As we reopen schools, our district and school teams will continue to identify barriers and solutions to the challenges we face as related to COVID-19. We ask that all members of our school community partner with us to support a safe transition back to school for our students and staff.

Specialized Preventative Health & Safety Measures

The School District of Indian River County has developed a number of specialized preventative health and safety measures to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19 in district and school settings. As students and staff return to physical school settings, they will experience some significant modifications to school and work environments.

These modifications were made after careful review and consideration of guidelines set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, school health officials, local physicians and health professionals, COVID-19 data, district Think Tanks and workgroups, and feedback from members of our school community.

In the weeks prior to the opening of schools, school site readiness checks will be conducted by the District using a reopening checklist.

Face Coverings

  • Face coverings will be required for students and staff at all times when social distancing is not possible. Additionally, face coverings will be required for students and staff during the following times given that social distancing cannot be guaranteed: 1) On the bus to and from school;
    2) In the hallways of school campuses or district facilities; 3) During school arrival and dismissal times; 4) During transitions across the campus.
  • Staff members and students will receive a reusable cloth face covering from the district on the first day of school to ensure each person on campus is following proper safety precautions. If a staff member or student forgets or loses the face covering, a disposable one will be provided for the day.
  • Face coverings may be brought from home and must be school appropriate and shall notinterfere with the district’s dress code policy.
  • To accommodate varied learning needs and facilitate teacher movement throughout school settings, all teachers also will be provided with a face shield by the district.
  • In instances in which a student does not arrive to school with a face covering, a disposable face covering will be provided for the day. Students who repeatedly do not wear a face covering on school grounds will be educated on the importance of wearing face coverings to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
  • All water fountains in classrooms and hallways will not be in use for a minimum of the first 9 weeks. Parents are strongly encouraged to send in water with their children for use during the day.
  • Prior to the opening of schools, schools will identify which school supplies need to be ordered for each classroom to ensure that ample school supplies are available.
  • Any school resources such as laptops or books which are shared, will be sanitized between uses.
  • Schools will create site-specific procedures for community restrooms and confined spaces toallow for social distancing and proper hand washing.
  • Prominently displayed signage will be used to ensure procedures clearly visible to all individuals on school and district campuses. Site-specific staff members will teach and implement these procedures for these areas.
  • All Food & Nutrition Services staff will wear face coverings during the preparation and distribution of meals.
  • All schools will participate in a grab-and-go breakfast program. The Department of Food and Nutrition Services, in collaboration with school administration, will identify procedures related to the breakfast program.
  • Schools will utilize in-class meal service options when possible. Meal service options for the elementary level of schooling may include food service carts located in geographical/grade level locations which deliver grab-and-go meals for each classroom.
  • During the first two weeks of school, students will receive training on cafeteria and mealtime procedures and safety measures.
    1) Seating will be marked for social distancing; 2) Signage will be posted related to proper entering, exit and disposal of trash procedures; 3) Social distancing will be utilized while waiting in lines in the cafeteria; 4) Students will use a touch-free system to make meal payments.
  • Lunches will be scheduled to maximize social distancing. Students will eat in a designated area daily.

Classroom Environments

  • All water fountains in classrooms and hallways will not be in use for a minimum of the first 9 weeks. Parents are strongly encouraged to send in water with their children for use during the day.
  • Prior to the opening of schools, schools will identify which school supplies need to be ordered for each classroom to ensure that ample school supplies are available.
  • Any school resources such as laptops or books which are shared, will be sanitized between uses.
  • Schools will create site-specific procedures for community restrooms and confined spaces toallow for social distancing and proper hand washing.
  • Prominently displayed signage will be used to ensure procedures clearly visible to all individuals on school and district campuses. Site-specific staff members will teach and implement these procedures for these areas.
  • All classrooms will have household grade disinfectant wipes available if individuals wish to self-clean desks, classroom surfaces, and shared resources such as laptops.

Cafeteria and Mealtimes

  • The Department of Food and Nutrition Services, in collaboration with school administration, will develop a protocol for using outdoor or classroom lunch options.
  • School-based custodial teams, in collaboration with school administration, will create a cleaning schedule for the cafeteria and other spaces used for mealtimes.
  • The following seating arrangements and procedures transition will be used as related to the school cafeteria:

    1) Seating students near high traffic entry/exit areas will be avoided; 2) Environmental prompts and cues will be posted to remind students to remain at least six feet apart while moving around in the cafeteria or waiting in line.
  • One-way entrances and exits to the cafeteria will be established, as well as designated eating areas to assist with the control of traffic flow and management of the number of students in each school space.School Transportation

School Transportation

  • School transportation personnel and students will be required to wear a face covering on the bus, while also practicing social distancing.
  • School transportation personnel will have disposable face coverings to provide to students in the event a student does not have his or her face covering.
  • All school buses will employ social distancing measures to maximize student health and safety while on the bus.
  • During the first two weeks of school, students will be taught to practice social distancing while waiting at school bus stops.
  • Students will load the bus from back to front in order to encourage social distancing. Students living in the same household will be permitted to sit together on the bus.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available on each bus, and students will be encouraged to use it upon entry and exit.
  • Buses will be sanitized between each run and following the end of the morning and afternoon routes. School transportation personnel will sanitize high-touch areas between each run. School transportation personnel will ensure that they have sufficient inventory of face coverings between each run.

School Arrival & Dismissal

• Schools will establish arrival and dismissal procedures to maximize social distancing while minimizing the transmission of COVID-19. Parents/guardians will remain in their vehicles during all routine arrival and dismissal procedures.

These arrival and dismissal procedures will include: extended day programming drop-off and pick-up points; transitions from and to school transportation; drop-off and pick-up points for car riders, entry and exit points for walkers and bike riders; and dismissal of ill students or students with medical appointments. Face coverings will be worn by students and staff during all arrival and dismissal procedures.

  • Hand sanitizing stations will be located at all single points of entry on school campuses.
  • Similar to school transition procedures, dismissal procedures will include one-way patterns of movement that limit the mixing of cohorts of students.
  • Signage will be provided to remind students of the traffic flow pattern upon entrance andexit of school grounds.
  • Schools will establish inclement weather plan for arrival and dismissal.
    All arrival and dismissal plans will allow for social distancing whenever possible. Students will be supervised by staff throughout dismissal.
  • Arrival and dismissal procedures will include staggered entrance and exit of the school with reference to typical arrival and dismissal times.
  • Schools will clearly message families regarding times when supervision is available and when students are permitted on campus.
  • School site-specific protocols will be established for all late arrival and early pickup. Parents/guardians picking students up will have to wait in the designated area, with face coverings, and students will be escorted to them.
  • Front office areas will have a maximum occupancy which will be clearly posted and enforced by school staff.

Movement & Transitions

  • The use of one-way hallways will be maximized to assist with the flow of student movement and maximize social distancing, in all areas in which this is possible.
  • Schools will post signage and environmental cues to encourage proper movement to limit contact, as well as to encourage 6-foot social distancing, when possible.
  • Arrangements for increased supervision will be established to monitor hallways and class transitions to maximize social distancing.
  • Students and staff will wear face coverings during all transitions.
  • Group restroom and elevator capacities will be limited to two individuals at a time.

Campus Visitors

  • All campus visitors will be limited to the front office and are required to wear face coverings. Front office areas will have a maximum occupancy which will be clearly posted and enforced by school staff.
  • Schools will hold the discretion as to whether parent/guardian/visitor meetings should be held virtually instead of in-person.
  • All private providers who work directly with select students during school hours will be encouraged to continue their services virtually or outside the school building after school hours.
  • All volunteers, mentors, and community partners will be encouraged to continue their service utilizing alternative methods (i.e., virtually and off campus). If on-campus contact is required, partners will be required to follow CDC guidelines.
  • All visitors must have an appointment when visiting school campuses and will be limited to the front office.

Gatherings, Visits & Events

Elementary

  • The use of space for extended day programming will be modified to maximize social distancing.
  • Cultural Arts classes will be held in students’ assigned classroom space or will use modified space with sanitization between classes in Cultural Arts classes.

Secondary

  • Block scheduling will be implemented to minimize transitions.o Eliminates three transitions of students
  • Time for campus transitions will be extended to support social distancing and hygiene procedures.
  • Large gatherings and assemblies will be delayed for a minimum of the first 9 weeks.
  • Schoolwide assemblies or recognition ceremonies will be held virtually for a minimum of thefirst 9 weeks of school.
  • The use of one-way hallways will be maximized, in all areas in which this is possible.
  • Increased supervision during campus transitions will be utilized.
  • The congregation of students that violates social distancing recommendations during campus transitions will be limited.Wellness Screenings

Wellness Screenings

  • Students shall be screened for possible COVID-19 symptoms at home by parents/guardians to ensure absence of symptoms. Employees who have volunteered to do universal wellness checks will observe for signs of illness as students enter campuses to determine if further screening is needed. Further screening of identified students, including temperature checks, will be conducted by a school health professional in a location that supports student privacy.
  • Before entering a school or district building, all individuals should assess their own wellness with the following questions:
    1) Do you have a new cough, nasal congestion, or runny nose?
    2) Are you experiencing shortness of breath or difficulty breathing?   3) Are you having new muscle pain or fatigue?
    4) Do you have a headache (that is not normal for you)?
    5) Do you have a fever of 100.4 F or higher?
    6) Have you had a fever in the last 24 hours?
    7) Do you have a sore throat?
    8) Are you experiencing a new loss of taste or smell?
    9) Are you experiencing nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or diarrhea?10) Do you have a new rash?

Clinical Spaces & Health Room Protocols

Our district will have a health assistant assigned to each school. The school’s health room will bedesignated to address basic first aid situations and routine school medication administration.

A separate COVID-19 Isolation Room will be designated at each school for students exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. Finally, a third clinical space will be designated to provide any necessary nebulizer treatments. Below, specific guidelines for these various clinical spaces are provided.

Health Room

  • Visits to the Health Room will be limited to essential visits only.
  • The Health Room will be utilized to assess health need of the students, perform prescribedtreatments, administer first aid, administer medications, perform mandated healthscreenings, and house student health records.
  • Parents/guardians needing to drop off/pick up medications or physicians orders must makean appointment.
  • Social distancing of 6 ft apart will be maintained, when feasible, including distancing of cots/chairs.
  • Sufficient inventory of PPE (e.g., masks, face shields and gloves) will be maintained.
  • Approved district disinfectant will be used to sanitize the Health Room after every studentvisit. All disinfectants will be locked up when not in use.All students and staff must wash their hands upon arrival and leaving the Health Room.
  • “Communicable Disease Tracking Logs” will be maintained by health assistants for studentsand staff will be shared with the Department of Health of Indian River County.
  • The “Communicable Disease Tracking Logs” will be utilized by the District to monitor the incidence of confirmed COVID-19 cases among students and staff.
  • When the health assistant is in the Isolation Room or the Nebulizer Treatment Room, a trained back up staff member will cover the Health Room.

Isolation Room

  • The Isolation Room will be used for students presenting with a fever or flu-like symptoms.
  • Students in the Isolation Room will remain separate from all other students.
  • The health assistant is the designated priority staff member for the Isolation Room.
  • All items in the Isolation Room should be easily wipeable with disinfectant.
  • Sufficient inventory of PPE (e.g., masks, face shields and gloves) will be maintained.
  • Approved district disinfectant will be used to sanitize the Isolation Room after every studentvisit. All disinfectants will be locked up when not in use.
  • All students and staff must wash their hands upon arrival and leaving the Isolation Room.

Nebulizer Treatment Room

During this COVID-19 pandemic, nebulizer treatments should be reserved for children who cannot use or do not have access to an inhaler (with or without a spacer).

  • Anyone who assists in the Nebulizer Treatment Room must wear PPE; have been properly fitted for PPE; be trained on when to use PPE, including how to properly put on PPE, take off PPE, and dispose of PPE.
  • The number of people in the Nebulizer Treatment Room must be limited to the student and staff member administering the treatment.
  • All items in the Nebulizer Treatment Room should be easily wipeable with disinfectant.
  • Approved district disinfectant will be used to sanitize the Nebulizer Treatment Room afterevery student visit. All disinfectants will be locked up when not in use.
  • All students and staff must wash their hands upon arrival and leaving the NebulizerTreatment Room.Students or staff who present any of the following illness symptoms will be sent home from the physical school setting:
  • Fever of 100.4 F or more
  • Chills
  • New cough, nasal congestion, or runny nose
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • New muscle or body aches, or fatigue
  • Headache (if abnormal for you)
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • New rash (for students)

 The following response procedure will be used for students or staff presenting illness symptoms while on district campuses:

1) The supervising teacher or staff member uses the telephone or classroom call system to alert the health assistant.

2) The identified student will be escorted by a staff member, who will both be wearing a face covering to a pre-identified Isolation Room.

3) If the individual presenting with symptoms is a staff member who is supervising students, the health assistant will alert school administration to arrange for coverage for the staff member. The staff member will then leave campus while wearing a face covering.

4) When the student presenting with illness symptoms arrives at the Isolation Room, temperature and symptoms checks will be completed by the health assistant.

5) The health assistant will complete a “Communicable Disease Tracking Log” for the identified student.

6) Designated contacts for the student will be informed of needed pickup from school.

7) The health assistant will follow Department of Health guidelines for reporting and contact tracing.


8) Follow-up actions will be implemented according to CDC and Department of Health recommendation.

9) Custodians will disinfect and sanitize all potentially affected areas related to each identified case.Students and staff displaying possible symptoms of COVID-19 may return to activities/school the day following:o The receipt of a negative COVID-19 test or release from healthcare provider AND with coordination by school administration.

10) Students who have been identified with a confirmed mild or moderate case of COVID-19 may return to the physical school setting after:

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared and
  • At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved.

11)  All employees must follow the Department of Human Resources policy for return to work. (

Athletics & Extracurricular Activities

  • Social distancing measures will be implemented for all practices and extracurricular activities.
  • Safety plans, including sanitization and social distancing procedures, will be submitted andapproved by school administration for all athletics and extracurricular activities.
  • All equipment and materials will be routinely cleaned and sanitized for all extracurricular activities per district procedures.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available during all practices and activities.
  • All athletic events will be held in accordance with the FHSAA guidelines and recommendations related to COVID-19, pending release by the FHSAA.

School Orientations

  • Back-to-School orientations will be held both virtually and face-to-face.
  • For face-to-face orientation sessions, social distancing measures will be in place and schools will conduct symptom screenings and require face coverings when social distancing is not possible.

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