Plato Return to School Update

Plato R-V Re-Entry Plan Eagle with Title

Return to the 2021-22 School Year

 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continued through the summer of 2021, the Plato R-5 School District worked to create a “Return to School Plan” for 2021-2022 that would allow students to physically and safely return to in-person learning while also offering a virtual option for families.  COVID-19 updates were also included on every public Board of Education meeting from March of 2020 to present day. The plan continued to be reviewed and adjusted throughout the school year based on current data, federal and local health guidance as well as staff and community input. In addition, district administrators held staff ”listening sessions” at each school building multiple times throughout the school year. Based on the most current information, adjustments were made throughout the year to allow for more students to return in person each quarter and mitigation strategies began reducing in the later part of the school year. Any adjustments to the original plan were communicated with school all calls and social media.

 

The Plato R-5 School District and school districts around the country learned throughout the pandemic that every plan needed to be flexible and adjusted throughout the year. Based on what we have learned with our current local and national trends, and most importantly, what is happening in our school community, the Plato R-5 School District plans to begin the 2021-22 school year in Phase 3 as normal as possible with the following updated guidance and mitigation strategies:

 

1:1 K-12 Technology Resources

  • Preschool-1st grade students will be issued i-Pads and 2nd-12the grade students will be issued Chromebooks. Insurance and user agreement information will be sent home the first day of school.  

 

Screening

  • Because of the seriousness of COVID-19, we must all work together to follow the guidelines based on information from the CDC, area health departments, and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. 
  • The nurse will be on campus daily.  Staff will visually inspect students for signs and symptoms of illness as they enter the school and/or classroom and will refer them to the nurse if there are concerns.
  • Parents must closely monitor their child for symptoms of  COVID-19. If they or any member of their households or person they have been exposed to are exhibiting symptoms, please contact the school nurse prior to coming to school.  Symptoms include, but are not limited to: fever or chills, cough, headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, new loss of taste or smell, new runny nose or congestion, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, and/or sore throat.  People experiencing these symptoms should not attend school and must call the school immediately to report illness or close contact with a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days. Symptoms identified by the CDC frequently change and will be adjusted accordingly.
  • Students with symptoms should not attend school and parents should consult their healthcare provider and follow CDC considerations regarding their return to school. For students who are diagnosed with COVID-19, either by a laboratory test or based on their symptoms, return to school is permissible when the student is at least 10 days from symptom onset, their symptoms have improved AND they have had no fever, without the use of medicines for at least 24 hours.  CDC guidance on timelines is continually changing.
  • Return to school for children with an alternate diagnosis is at the discretion of their healthcare provider and/or the school nurse. Children with a known close contact with COVID-19 (or an adult with symptoms compatible with COVID-19) should stay home for 10 days from their last contact and until return to school is approved by the local health department or school nurse in accordance with the CDC guidance. 
  • If the school is notified of a relevant positive COVID-19 test result or suspected COVID-19 case they will contact the  health department.  The school will coordinate with the health department and follow their instructions to support contact tracing and parental notification. 

 

Physical Distancing and Hygiene:  

  • Physical distancing has been demonstrated to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  Distances of three to six feet may be effective in reducing viral transmission. However, a person is considered a “close contact” of a case of COVID-19 if they are within six feet of the case for more than 15 minutes.
  • Physical distancing cues and reminders are placed across the district.
  • Students will practice hand hygiene before and after moving from one space to another within the building.
  • Students will be spaced as far apart as possible and assigned seats will be used when possible.
  • Elementary students will spend their day with their classroom group (called a cohort).  Student exposure to other classrooms/cohorts will be limited. Special area teachers will rotate to student classrooms. 
  • Lunch will be with cohort groups in classrooms or physically distanced areas. 
  • Recess will be with cohort groups split between two playgrounds and individual equipment and high touch surfaces will be cleaned between uses.
  • Music and band classes will be socially distanced and held outdoors when possible. 
  • Secondary student movement will be minimized and physical distancing and assigned seats will be used. 
  • Due to the number of students riding buses, physical distancing is not feasible.  Families are encouraged to transport their students to and from school or use carpools if possible.  Students will be strongly recommended to wear a mask.  Windows will be open weather permitting. Students are expected to use hand sanitizer when loading buses.  Students will be assigned seats with families sitting together and buses will be loaded from back to front.
  • Students must bring their own water bottle. Water fountains will not be used, but the water bottle station of the fountain will be available.
  • Classrooms, buses, personal sports and playground equipment, and frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned and sanitized with increased frequency.

 

Masks and Face Covering

  • According to the CDC, the use of face coverings is an important strategy to reduce transmission of COVID-19, primarily by reducing the spread of infection from the wearer to those around them.
  • Parents are asked to provide face masks for their children. 
  • Students are strongly recommended to wear masks while on the bus and during transition times. 
  • Mask requirements and guidance are continually changing and may become mandatory at some point in the future. 
  • School will deliver training to students on the safe and proper use of masks.
  • Parents are encouraged to wash/replace masks daily.

 

Symptomatic at School 

  • All students and staff members with a fever of at least 100.4° or other symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should seek medical care for further evaluation and instructions. All students and staff members who become symptomatic while at school require immediate isolation and should wear a medical-grade mask until they are no longer in the building. Parents will be contacted immediately to pick up their child and advised to seek medical guidance prior to returning to school.

 

Positive Cases 

  • Public health officials are allowed to share health information about a student or staff member with school officials to allow necessary contact tracing to take place.  Information will be protected and not shared with others.
  • When a member of the school community tests positive for COVID-19 health departments should contact the person confirmed with COVID-19, inform direct contacts of their possible exposure and give instructions to those involved with the confirmed case, including siblings and other household members, regarding self-quarantine and testing. Health departments should proactively communicate to the school the existence of a positive case among its students or staff.  
  • The schools will report any known COVID-19 cases or exposures to the health department where the student resides.
  • When there is confirmation that a person infected with COVID-19 was on school property, the school will contact the health department immediately and follow the directions of the health department. 
  • The school will consult local health departments regarding whether to close and the possible length of closing, based on levels of community transmission. 

 

Contact Tracing

  • The school district will work with local health departments to contact trace individuals who have been in close contact with someone identified as having COVID-19. Close contacts are defined as having been within six feet of an infected individual for more than fifteen minutes. The consistent use of a face mask by involved parties and close contacts may be considered in determining the need for quarantine. The district will follow health department guidelines regarding contacts and guidance to stay home from school. 
  • Students and staff are expected to follow health department guidelines regarding quarantine or isolation.
  • The school district will make every effort to facilitate contact tracing and be ready to provide timely, effective documentation to the appropriate local health departments.   

 

Diagnostic and Screening Testing

  • Testing will be provided onsite as needed and with parent permission in accordance with current CDC guidance.

 

Vaccinations

  • Plato R-V will work with local health departments and other health providers to offer vaccination events as needed.

 

Continuity of Educational Services

  • Virtual option available when appropriate for the student.
  • An alternative method of instruction plan is in place for district, building or classroom closure.
  • An alternative method of learning plan in place for students who are required to isolate or quarantine. This may include virtually connecting to a classroom or homebound instruction.
  • Accommodations will be provided as necessary for students with a 504 plan or Individual Education Plan.

 

PHASES OF LEARNING 

The Plato R-V School District has created the following three phases to address potential COVID-19 guidelines during the 2021-2022 school year. The district will be in only one phase at a time and the phase will be determined by the status of the pandemic. 

 

Phase 3 Seated Classes:  Schools are open, but with precautions.

  • All students will be in the seated classroom, five days a week. 
  • In the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19, it is possible that one or more classrooms may be temporarily closed while others remain open. 
  • Attendance will be taken in person and all students will be held accountable for their performance. 
  • Transportation to and from school will be provided with restrictions and in accordance with health department guidelines. If possible, students and families are encouraged to provide their own transportation to and from school.  Students that ride the bus will be assigned seats on the bus with household units. 
  • Pick-up and drop-off procedures will be changed to allow for meeting health guidelines.
  • The district will meet or exceed state and local COVID-19 sanitation guidelines. 
  • Regular health checks, such as temperature, respiratory symptoms screening, etc. may be enacted on a daily basis. 
  • Physical distancing will be encouraged. 
  • Use of masks may be required in certain circumstances. 
  • Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette will be taught and implemented. 
  • All students will minimize their time in crowded areas and staggered times may be used for activities such as recess. 
  • Guidelines for admitting parents and visitors to the building will become more stringent. Please remain in your vehicle and call the office once you arrive at the school if assistance is needed. 
  • Breakfast and lunch may need to be eaten in classrooms and or in groups of fewer than 50, depending upon state and local guidelines. 

 

Phase 2 Blended Learning: Schools are open, but under physical distancing restrictions and virtual learning is also being used.

  • Students in grades PK-5 will be seated in the classroom in our buildings; however, to maintain physical distancing, students will be divided into two groups and will attend school in person two days a week.
    • On days that students in grades PK-5 are at home, students will be required to login and participate in online activities.
  • A limited number of students with unique learning needs in grades 6-12 will be invited to attend school in person where they will remain in one classroom all day. All other students in grades 6-12 will participate in online learning as outlined in Phase 1. 
  • In the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19, it is possible that one or more classrooms may be temporarily closed while others remain open. 
  • Attendance will be taken in person and online and all students will be held accountable for their performance. 
  • Transportation to and from school will be provided with restrictions and in accordance with health department guidelines. If possible, students and families are encouraged to provide their own transportation to and from school.  Students that ride the bus will be assigned seats on the bus with household units. 
  • Pick-up and drop-off procedures may be changed to allow for meeting health guidelines.
  • The district will meet or exceed state and local COVID-19 sanitation guidelines.
  • Regular health checks, such as temperature, respiratory symptoms screening, etc. may be enacted on a daily basis. 
  • Teachers will use a limited number of technology platforms to provide direct instruction. 
    • The district will provide parent training and resources for the approved platforms. 
  • Hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and physical distancing will be taught and implemented. 
  • Physical distancing will be encouraged. 
  • Use of masks may be required in certain circumstances. 
  • Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette will be taught and implemented. 
  • All students will minimize their time in crowded areas and staggered times may be used for activities such as recess. 
  • Guidelines for admitting parents and visitors to the building will become more stringent. Please remain in your vehicle and call the office once you arrive at the school if assistance is needed. 
  • Breakfast and lunch may need to be eaten in classrooms and or in groups of fewer than 50, depending upon state and local guidelines. 
  • If a parent experiences issues managing multiple students in the online environment or accessing the internet, the parent should contact their child(ren)’s school.

 

Phase 1 Online Learning: All school buildings are closed to students, but learning will continue. 

  • Online learning will occur for all students in grades PK-12. 
  • All courses will be taught by Plato R-V teachers. 
  • Students will have a minimum of two days to complete an assignment. 
  • Students will be expected to: 
    • Log in, be in attendance and participate in online learning and individual practice during regular school times: 7:45 to 3:45 Monday-Thursday and 7:45-2:35 on Fridays. 
  • Teachers will use a limited number of technology platforms to provide direct instruction.
  • A building-level schedule will be developed to avoid overlapping of online instructional sessions. 
  • The district will provide parent training and resources for the approved platforms. 
  • If a parent experiences issues managing multiple students in the online environment or accessing the internet, the parent should contact their child(ren)’s school.

 

Career and Tech Ed Centers (WCC, LTCC, and Houston)

  • Students who participate in Career and Technical Education at WCC, LTCC, or Houston will follow their specific centers’ guidelines.

 

The plan and procedures listed above will be periodically reviewed and revised when necessary. Updates will be provided to the community via letters, social media, and public Board of Education meetings throughout the school year. 

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