515-285-7729
2317 Watrous Ave • Des Moines, IA 50321-2144

Covid-19 Policy 2020-2021

It is essential for the school community to work together to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in the school environment and in the community while still providing a quality education program.   State statute gives schools the authority to exclude students who have a contagious disease such as COVID-19 or who are liable to transmit the disease after having been exposed to it. In addition, the local health department has the authority to exclude students from school and may order students and others to isolate or quarantine.

Exclusion from School

Students and employees will be excluded from school if they test positive for COVID-19 or exhibit one or more of the symptoms of COVID-19 based on CDC Guidance that is not otherwise explained:

  1. a)  A fever of 100° F or greater
  2. b) Coughing 
  3. c) Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  4. d) Chills
  5. e) Repeated shaking with chills
  6. f) Muscle pain
  7. g) Headache
  8. h) Sore throat
  9. i) New loss of taste or smell
  10. j) extreme fatigue

Screening

Teachers will enforce screening protocols for anyone that enters their buildings i.e. taking temperatures, asking questions, or otherwise examining people who appear healthy and asymptomatic. This screening will occur before parents/drivers are able to leave. Students and employees exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 without other obvious explanations are prohibited from coming to school, and if they do come to school, they will be sent home immediately.

Return to School After Exclusion

Once a student or employee is excluded from the school environment, they may return if they satisfy the recommendations of the CDC.  Currently those guidelines are:

  1. Untested. Persons who have not received a test proving or disproving the presence of COVID-19 but experience symptoms may return if the following three conditions are met: a. They have not had a fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers); and b. Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved); and c. Health care provider clearance (note) before returning to school.
  2. Tested. Persons who experienced symptoms and have been tested for COVID-19 may return to school if the following three conditions are met: a. They no longer have a fever (without the use medicine that reduces fevers); and b. Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved); and c. They have received two negative tests in a row, at least 24 hours apart, or health care provider clearance (note).
  3. Tested with no symptoms. Persons who have not had symptoms but test positive for COVID19 may return when they have gone seven (7) calendar days without symptoms and/or have been released by a health care provider.

Students may also return if they are approved to do so in writing by the student’s health care provider.  

Siblings or Other Students in the Household

If a student is excluded from school due to COVID-19 symptoms or has had a positive COVID-19 test, his or her siblings or other students living in the same household, will also be excluded from school.  If they do not exhibit symptoms, they will be excluded from school and asked to self-quarantine.

Self-Quarantine

If a student or employee has recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19 symptoms or diagnosed with COVID-19 or has recently traveled from somewhere considered to be a “hot spot” by the CDC, the school may exclude the student or employee from the school building and recommend that they self-quarantine for 14 calendar days.

Confirmed Case of COVID-19 In the School Building

         When there is confirmation that a person infected with COVID-19 was in a school building, the school will close the school building for a minimum of 2-5 days and work with the local health department to assess factors such as the likelihood of exposure to employees and students in the building, the number of cases in the community and other factors that will determine when the building should reopen.  

         The school will contact parents/students and employees and notify them that a person who tested positive for COVID-19 was in the building and encourage cooperation with the school and the local health department to trace contacts with the individual.  The individual who tested positive will not be identified in communications to the school community at large but may need to be selectively identified for contact tracing by the health department.

         While the school building is closed, all school activities will be cancelled or rescheduled, regardless of whether the activity was to take place in the building or another location, including extracurricular activities and field trips.  Parents/students and employees will be encouraged to stay at home until more information is provided by the school or the health department.

The School Environment Recommendations

Parents

  • Parents are not allowed in the building during school hours. If you need to obtain access to the teachers or students during the day please call or text your child’s teacher. 
  • If a students leave for an appointment during school hours, they will not be allowed back into the school building that day.
  • Please follow the pick up schedule that the school outlines for safety reasons. 

In the Classroom

  • Alternate recess to minimize the number of students on the playground, require social distancing, and allow time to disinfect equipment in between classes.
  •  Increase space between students during in-person instruction.
  •  Move classes outdoors.
  •  Rearrange desks to increase space in between students (Goal:  6 feet).
  •  Face desks in the same direction.
  •  Require students to remain seated in the classroom and assign seats.

In the Lunchroom

  • Napkins and silverware are provided directly by staff, not for individuals to grab.
  • Require students to eat (socially distant) with classmates from their homeroom in the lunchroom.
  • Prohibit or limit food-sharing activities.
  •  Stagger times students are in the lunchroom.

Before and After School

  • Stagger drop-off and pick-up processes.
  • Stagger times that classes are released.
  • Require students to stay in an assigned section of the school yard or playground as opposed to mingling with other classes.
  • Schedule restroom breaks to avoid overcrowding.
  • Rearrange furniture to avoid clustering in common areas.
  •  In locations where students line up, tape marks are put on the floor to indicate the appropriate social distancing.

Hygiene in School

  • Clothe facemasks are required to enter the building, in common areas, and highly reccommended in the classroom setting. Face shields may be acceptable.        
  •  All persons are required to wash hands when they come to school and every hour.
  •  Place hand hygiene stations at the entrance of the building.
  •  Encourage students and employees to sanitize their backpacks and personal items at the beginning and end of the day and separate personal items into cubbies or baskets that are not shared with other students. 
  • Do not allow students to share lockers.
  • Require all persons to wash hands after blowing noses, coughing or sneezing or when in contact with bodily fluids.
  •  Disinfect door handles, light switches, stair railings and other frequently touched surfaces every hour.
  • Disinfect bathrooms and other common areas frequently with posted schedules where workers sign off the time when the work has been completed.
  • Post signs in bathrooms with directions on how to effectively wash hands.

Dealing with Illness

  • Any person exhibiting signs of illness will be separated for evaluation.
  • A separate room will be set up for any person who is exhibiting signs of COVID-19 to be cared for.  Few people will be allowed in the room, and the room will be disinfected frequently.  Students/staff will be walked out of the building from the room to persons driving them home.  The names of all persons who enter the room will be documented.
  • If possible and if adequate equipment is available, staff will take regular temperature checks of students and staff.  Use a touchless thermometer if possible.  Do not use oral thermometers.

 

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