NEW OCTOBER 30: Are face coverings required?
Yes. Students and staff are required to wear a face covering at school.
The State Health Department has issued new guidelines for quarantines. Here is a PDF of the new requirements. Face shields and gaiters are not considered face coverings for the new quarantine requirement when in close contact (6 feet for more than 15 minutes).
What if families do not want their student to wear a face covering?
On July 14, the CDC called on all Americans to wear face coverings as research shows face coverings protect not only the person wearing one, but those around him or her. The District will provide a mask for any student who needs one. If you have concerns about your student wearing a mask, please contact your building principal.
When is it acceptable for students and staff to take off their face coverings?
Face coverings can be removed at appropriate times when physical distancing is implemented. Teachers will communicate to students the appropriate times when face coverings can be removed and where to safely store them when not in use. Students will be allowed to take a “mask break” if necessary by moving to an area where they can physically distance from others and remove their mask.
What about social distancing?
Because we are choosing a hybrid model, we are very comfortable with the ability to provide 6 foot distancing both in the classrooms and at lunch. Extra lunch tables have been added at the elementary and junior high level. The junior high will also use part of the gym adjacent to the cafeteria. At the high school, students will sit four to a table separated by plastic dividers. All schools will have posted traffic patterns in hallways and on staircases.
Preschool and T2K: Class size and staffing allows for reasonable social distancing while keeping best learning practices in place for students.
How will students social distance in the hallways?
At the elementary level, because we will have smaller classes it will allow students to line up appropriately spaced.
At the secondary level, teachers are encouraged to dismiss classes by row as students are already socially distanced in the classroom.
All schools will have posted traffic patterns in hallways and on staircases.
*Remember all students will be wearing masks, which is the best protective measure when social distancing is not possible.
What cleaning procedures are in place?
Custodial and maintenance staff will frequently disinfect highly touched surfaces, like door handles and railings as much as possible. Classroom electronics, tables/desks, and other shared items will be cleaned by custodians and staff. Restrooms and locker rooms will continue to be cleaned with hospital grade disinfectants and cleaners.
How will proper hand washing be maintained?
Additional hand washing time will be built into the daily schedule. Teachers and staff will monitor students to ensure proper handwashing techniques. When hand washing is not feasible, hand sanitizer will be available. Teachers will be issued a spray bottle of hand sanitizer and will spray students hands before entering the classroom. Please consider the CDC site on handwashing to help your student learn best practices.
What other mitigation efforts are in place in buildings?
Plastic barriers will be put in common stop points, such as the main office, library, nursing office, and food service lines. Automatic paper towel dispensers will replace hand dryers where feasible. Classroom electronics and tables will be cleaned frequently. Water fountains will not be available for use, but water stations that allow students to fill bottles will be operational. Students are encouraged to bring their own water bottles to fill.
What about air movement/bringing in outside air during the school day?
Each morning the HVAC units will be turned on early to ensure air movement and comfortable classroom temperatures upon student arrival. Throughout the day, the amount of outside air being pulled into the building will be increased without impacting the comfort level in the classroom. During the summer our maintenance staff has adjusted, cleaned, and replaced filters in all HVAC units to maximize unit efficiency. Inside doors may remain open, but we will not open windows or prop outside doors open as doing so will negatively impact HVAC efficiency.
UPDATED OCTOBER 30: Will students be able to use their lockers or shared cubby spaces?
PK-6: Elementary lockers may now be used for outerwear, gym shoes, and other bulky storage items. Teachers and students will regulate retrieval of items from lockers to ensure the practice of social distancing whenever possible. Hybrid students will continue to carry backpacks into the classroom on their school attendance day.
7-8: Students can use their lockers before school to drop off coats, lunches and sports bags; at lunch to pick up and drop off items; and after school to gather coats lunches and sports bags. Students will still use backpacks to carry am books and supplies from class to class before lunch and pm books and supplies after lunch.
9-12: Students can use their lockers before school to drop off coats, lunches and sports bags; at lunch to pick up and drop off items; and after school to gather coats lunches and sports bags. Students will still use backpacks to carry am books and supplies from class to class before lunch and pm books and supplies after lunch.
When should a student be kept home from school?
Go through the following symptom checklist with your student every day before school. If your student exhibits symptoms with no known cause such as seasonal allergies, keep your student home and call your healthcare provider and the school attendance office. As parents, you know your students best and whether their symptoms are normal for them. Here is a printable checklist to record symptoms daily. Please place this checklist on your refrigerator or in a binder at home for easy access each morning.
If you have one of the following HIGH RISK symptoms:
- New cough
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- New loss of taste or smell
- Fever greater than or equal 100̇
OR at least two of the following LOW RISK symptoms (with no other confirmed cause, like seasonal allergies):
- Muscle and body aches
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
Will there be temperature screenings prior to entering school buildings?
No. The District asks that you take your student’s temperature before coming to school and perform this self-screening. The CDC and Scott County Health Department agree with this protocol. Do not allow your student to come to school if their temperature is greater than or equal to 100 degrees. Call your healthcare provider and the attendance office if your student is presenting symptoms.
UPDATED OCTOBER 30: When should I be tested?
Contact your healthcare provider to determine if you need to be tested. The Scott County Health Department recommends that individuals who are identified as contacts to positive cases are tested 5-7 days AFTER the last date the individual was exposed to the positive case. If other family members have not had the same exposure to a positive case of COVID-19, they do not need to get tested unless the child being quarantined begins to have symptoms. Even if your child tests negative for COVID-19, he/she must still remain at home for the full 14 days.
What happens if a person presents symptoms at school?
A student or staff member who has a temperature or is presenting symptoms of COVID-19 will be isolated in a special area of the nurse’s office and assessed. Learn about our isolation protocols here. If the student has a fever, the parent will be contacted to pick up the student as soon as possible and asked to call their healthcare provider. Custodial staff will be informed to clean workspaces used by the symptomatic person. Siblings of the symptomatic student will also be assessed.
What happens if there is a positive COVID-19 case?
Administration will coordinate with local health officials to determine the course of action. This will allow local health officials to determine appropriate next steps, including whether extended dismissal of all students and staff is needed to stop or slow further spread of COVID-19. These decisions will be on a case-by-case basis.
NEW OCTOBER 30: How will the District alert the community of a COVID-19 case at a school?
When a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the District will immediately contact the Scott County Health Department who will help guide our decision and conduct contact tracing as required. We must also be cognizant of student privacy under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The District posts positive case counts and the number of individuals quarantining every Friday afternoon at https://www.pleasval.org/return-to-learn.
UPDATED OCTOBER 30: What are the procedures for allowing a sick student or staff member to return?
For a chart of these guidelines, click here.
If a student, staff member, or visitor is sent home with symptoms of COVID-19 and tests positive, they will isolate until the following criteria have been met:
- No fever for at least 24 hours without the use of medicine that reduces fevers
- Symptoms have improved.
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
If a student or staff member with severe, advanced immunosuppression who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate until the following criteria have been met:
- They have had no fever for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medicine)
- Symptoms have improved
- At least 20 days have passed since symptoms first appeared
- they have had 2 negative tests in a row, 24 hours apart
If a student, staff member, or visitor has with symptoms of COVID-19 (One high risk OR two low risk), tests negative or gets an alternative diagnosis from a doctor and has not been in close contact (within 6 feet of a case for more than 15 minutes) with a positive case, they may return to school when the following criteria have been met:
- No fever for at least 24 hours without the use of medicine that reduces fevers
- Their symptoms are improving.
- A doctor’s note will be required.
A student or staff member with symptoms of COVID-19 (one high risk OR two low risk) that is not tested or evaluated by a healthcare provider will be isolated for 10 days.
A student with one low risk symptom should monitor symptoms and can return to school as long as the following criteria have been met:
- They never develop a second low risk symptom or a high risk symptom.
- No fever for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication.
If a student has had close contact (within 6ft for more than 15 minutes) with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 and was not consistently and correctly wearing a mask even if that student has tested negative, they will quarantine with the following criteria:
- At least 14 days after the last contact
- Temperature checks twice a day and watch for symptoms of COVID-19.
- *Those who have tested positive for COVID within the prior three months and have been in close contact with a case do not need to quarantine.
If a student has had close contact (within 6ft for more than 15 minutes) with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 and has consistently and correctly worn a mask, they will not have to quarantine, but must monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.
- Per the Iowa Department of Public Health, this quarantine rule does not apply to people wearing shields and/or gaiters at the time of close contact and therefore the person would have to quarantine.
- Please remember, if you have a positive case in your household, you must quarantine, irrespective of whether a mask is used in the household.
- Click here for a guide from the Iowa Department of Public Health.
If a staff member is a critical infrastructure employee and has had close contact (within 6ft for more than 15 minutes) with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, they are allowed to continue to work as long as they remain asymptomatic and must wear a mask.
A student or staff member without any symptoms and who have not been identified as a close contact of a confirmed case, being tested for surveillance purposes only, are not required to be isolated while results are pending.
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 and does not have symptoms (asymptomatic), they will isolate until the following criteria have been met:
- At least 10 days have passed from their first positive test
- They continue to have no symptoms since the test.
- *If the person develops symptoms during the time they are isolating, the 10 day period starts again.
Persons who test positive for COVID-19 on serologic testing should not quarantine or isolate, unless
- They also diagnostic test positive for COVID-19
- are sick with COVID-19 symptoms
- have not yet met the isolation release guidance described above.
Retesting is not recommended for a previously diagnosed person (unless immunosuppressed, see above) if it has been less than three months after the date of symptom onset (or date of test if asymptomatic persons) for the initial COVID-19 infection.
Quarantine is not recommended in the event that a person previously diagnosed with COVID-19 is in close contact with a new infected person during the three-month time period since their diagnosis, as long as the previously diagnosed person remains asymptomatic (i.e., has not developed symptoms of a new illness).
If a student is treated with antibiotics for any illness (such as strep throat, pink eye, pneumonia), they may return to school when the following criteria have been met:
- 24 hours after start of treatment
- No fever for at least 24 hours without the use of medicine that reduces fevers
Upon returning to school after illness, the student will check in with the nurse. Temperature will be checked and simple assessment will be performed.
What if my student is high risk or immunocompromised?
Students who are considered high risk or immunocompromised should consult their health care provider regarding school re-entry. Discuss concerns with your building principal to determine the appropriate learning model.
My student takes medication at school. How will this be handled?
- Medications should be given at home whenever possible, especially once a day medications.
- Additional medications must be brought to the school by a parent/guardian.
- Because nebulizer treatments are an aerosol-generating procedure, nebulizer treatments to deliver asthma medication will need to be switched to a metered dose inhaler or dry powder inhaler for school use. All inhalers to be used at school will be required to have a spacer.
- Limitations on the amount of acetaminophen and ibuprofen administered will be in place given they can “mask” a fever and/or headache.
If you wish to speak to your school nurse it may be necessary to schedule an appointment.
UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2: Should I quarantine if I’ve traveled?
New guidance from the CDC does not require someone to quarantine upon return from international or US travel
Will my child be allowed to bring treats to his or her classroom?
No. To minimize exposure, students, staff, and the PTA will not be allowed to bring food/snacks to share, including birthday treats.
Will family members be allowed in the building?
No. We will limit family members entrance to buildings.To encourage social distancing and to minimize outside exposure, families will not be allowed to eat lunch with their students.
What is the procedure for picking up my child during the school day?
If a student needs to leave school during the day for any reason, families will remain outside in their vehicle and phone the office. Students will be escorted out of the building.
What can I do to keep schools open?
We are asking that all families follow CDC guidelines -- wear a mask in public, social distance, and wash your hands. Know that your actions outside of the school setting could increase the risk of COVID-19 spread.
Our goal is to return to on-site learning and to remain in on-site learning. By avoiding large groups and following the CDC guidelines, we will reach our goal. Consider limiting your child’s in-person out-of-school interactions to children in the same A/B group or to activities where physical distancing can be maintained.The CDC has also released this checklist for families, so you can help prepare your students.