ISD Safety Protocols

Posted April 20, 2021

Face Coverings

  • Anyone entering ISD buildings is required to wear a face covering. 
  • Face coverings are required at all times indoors except for meals.
  • Face coverings are NOT required (but are optional) at recess and sports or other outdoor activity. Face coverings should still be worn outdoors in cases of medium to large gatherings/crowds, such as prom and graduation. At graduation, masks may be removed once seated if grouped with members of your own family/household.
  • Students removing their masks for recess should wear their mask until they are outdoors and then place their mask in a pocket or around their wrist to ensure cleanliness.
  • Wearing a face shield in addition to proper mask wearing can be considered, but is not a substitute for a mask.
  • In pre-school and daycare settings, children 2 years of age and older can safely wear masks. Masks should be required in these settings, but “mask breaks” may need to be considered. Mask breaks can include time outside or where a child is physically distanced from others. Masks will never be worn while sleeping. During naptime, children will be physically distanced.
  • Exceptions may be considered for young children (e.g., preschool) where masking may be difficult due to inappropriate mask hygiene (e.g., frequently touching mask and/or pulling the mask down so it does not cover the mouth and nose), or in children with difficulty with speech or language.
  • Other exceptions may include students with special healthcare and educational needs and those who are unable to take off a mask by themselves. Parents seeking support or exceptions, should work with the school nurse.
  • The CDC recommends face coverings have at least two layers.
  • Masks with exhalation valves are not recommended as they can promote the spread of infection.
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed daily and when soiled.
  • Additional masks are available for students and staff if a mask is forgotten or becomes soiled and/or wet.
  • Staff and students will be reminded regularly and as needed about proper mask wearing, including hand hygiene before putting mask on and taking it off, avoidance of touching mask, and en­suring mask covers mouth and nose.

Bus Procedures

  • Students, bus drivers and attendants are required to wear face coverings.
  • Please be aware that drivers who wear glasses may pull their face covering down slightly while driving if glasses are fogging up. Face coverings will be properly worn at all times students are entering and exiting buses but may be adjusted slightly for driving safety while everyone is seated.
  • Parents are required to provide face coverings for students riding the bus. Face coverings should be worn at all times on the bus. Face coverings can be cloth or disposable.
  • All students boarding the bus will be required to use hand sanitizer upon entering the bus. Hand sanitizer is available on all buses.
  • Students will have assigned seats on the bus.
  • Students who do not follow all safety protocols will have bus privileges revoked. This is to ensure the safety and security of all students.
  • Upon arrival at the school site, students will remain seated until they are dismissed by the attendant/bus driver to ensure proper social distancing.

School Arrival

  • Bus riders will enter at designated school site entrances.
  • Car riders will be dropped off at a designated school site entrance.
  • Students will line up physically distant to allow students to complete a non-touch infrared temperature scan.
  • If a student has an elevated temperature with the infrared scan, an oral temperature will be taken. Please be aware that no air conditioning in cars or homes may result in an elevated temperature with an infrared scan. Do not be alarmed if this is the case. The oral temperature will provide the most accurate temperature to determine if a student or staff member has a fever.
  • If the oral temperature is 100 or above, the student will be escorted to a precautionary room. Parents will be contacted to pick up their student for further evaluation from their healthcare provider. Students and staff will be excluded from school if they test positive for COVID-19 or exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 based on CDC guidance that is not otherwise explained. Symptoms of COVID-19 that would require exclusion include a fever of 100 or greater and/or two of the following symptoms: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, loss of taste or smell. Students and staff will follow the illness protocol for future return to school (see Illness Protocol for Returning to School below).
  • Students will report directly to classrooms upon arrival and will not congregate in common areas. Students will stay to the right of the hallway as they move directly to their classroom.

Meals

  • When possible, students may eat lunch in the cafeteria or other large space. Students will only eat in the cafeteria or other large space if social distancing is possible.
  • When social distancing is not possible in the cafeteria or other large spaces, students will eat meals in their classroom.
  • Student desks will be cleaned before and after meals when meals are eaten in classrooms.
  • Students can bring their lunch. Students should bring their lunch in disposable bags/containers when possible.
  • Water fountains will not be used. Students should bring a filled water bottle from home. Water bottle refilling stations will be open.
  • Before meals, students should carefully remove and store their face covering in a clean sealable paper bag or breathable container, as provided by their teacher. Face coverings should only be removed for meals.

School Day K-12

  • Schools will make reasonable best efforts to minimize risk, however, attending schools in-person will introduce a greater risk of exposure.
  • Classroom protocols will include assigned seating.
  • Classrooms have hand sanitizing stations. Students and staff will utilize hand sanitizer each time they enter the classroom.
  • Students will be taught and reminded of proper hand washing and cough and sneeze etiquette.
  • Assemblies and other large group gatherings will not take place.
  • Door handles and other high touch surfaces will be disinfected throughout the day by Facilities team members.
  • Staff will eliminate communal school supplies where feasible. Shared manipulatives will be sanitized following each use.
  • Elementary students will remain with their homeroom teacher throughout the school day.
  • Students will remain physically distant within the classroom and in hallways as much as possible.
  • If a child is quarantined for any reason and they are attending in-person school, they will transition to ISD Virtual Learning until they are able to return to school.
  • If you would like to transition your student from in-person learning to ISD Virtual Learning at any point during the school year, please contact your child’s school directly.

Recess

  • Recess will be staggered so students have plenty of space.
  • All students returning from recess will wash and/or sanitize their hands and return to their class.
  • Face coverings are NOT required (but are optional) at recess and sports or other outdoor activity. 
  • Students removing their masks for recess should wear their mask until they are outdoors and then place their mask in a pocket or around their wrist to ensure cleanliness.

Students/Staff with Illness and/or COVID Testing

  • The nurse will meet students/staff at the door of the clinic with temporal thermometer checks. If the student/staff member has no fever or symptoms of COVID-19 (based on verbal assessment of the reason for the clinic visit), the student/staff proceeds into the clinic as usual.
  • If any students or staff present signs or symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever (100 degrees or greater), or two of the following: cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, sore throat, chills, muscle pain, loss of taste or smell, the student or staff member would be provided a disposable face covering they will be required to wear and will go to a Precautionary Room (see Precautionary Room below). The school nurse will immediately notify parent/guardian for pick-up. The student will remain in isolation until their parent/guardian arrives. Parents must pick up their student, or arrange for the pick-up of their student, within 30 minutes of notification. Precautionary rooms will be utilized to keep all students and staff safe from illness. The Precautionary Room door will remain open so that the nurse and/or designated staff member can monitor the student. The nurse or designated staff member will wear proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to include goggles or face shield, disposable face covering and gloves. Parents/guardians are advised to contact the student’s doctor to discuss symptoms and risk factors.
  • All students and staff who are not fully vaccinated and are living in the same household with the person presenting with COVID-19 symptoms will also be sent home.
  • If you or someone in your household is being tested for COVID-19, you and any other siblings/parents/students/staff living in that household will also be quarantined until a negative test result is received. The student/staff member is not required to quarantine when a member of their household is being tested for COVID-19 or is awaiting results of a COVID-19 test if the student/staff member is fully vaccinated and asymptomatic or is within 90 days of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • The Health Services Director will be contacted regarding any students and staff sent home for illness. The school will follow next steps as directed by the Jackson County Health Department, which may include quarantine measures.

Precautionary Room, PPE and Nursing

  • Each school has an identified Precautionary Room that will be utilized for students and staff exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
  • The Precautionary Room door will remain open so that the nurse can monitor the student.
  • If the nurse cannot monitor the room, a designated staff member will be assigned to do so. The nurse or designated staff member will wear proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to include goggles or face shield, disposable mask and gloves.
  • The nurse will then call a parent/guardian to pick up the student. The nurse will ask the parent/guardian about recent travel of student and/or household members and recent exposure to a confirmed or presumed positive case of COVID-19. The nurse will perform a risk evaluation.
  • The nurse will advise the parent/guardian to contact the student’s doctor to discuss symptoms and risk factors.
  • If there are concerns for exposure, the student or staff member will be quarantined.
  • A staff member or student exposed to a person suspected or confirmed positive for Covid-19 does not have to quarantine if the student/staff member is fully vaccinated and asymptomatic or is within 90 days of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • Although the risk is low, if a fully vaccinated staff member or student develops symptoms consistent with Covid-19, they should isolate, be clinically evaluated, and tested if indicated.

Dismissal

  • Face coverings are required during the dismissal process and at all times on buses.
  • Staff will walk students to after-school programs to ensure distancing. Students will pass a non-touch infrared temperature scan before proceeding to the program.
  • Teachers will walk car riders and walkers to the designated exit to ensure social distancing.
  • Students riding the bus will pass a non-touch infrared temperature scan before proceeding to the bus.
  • Students will use hand sanitizer upon entering the bus.
  • Students will have assigned seats on the bus.

Illness Protocol for Returning to School/Work

You can find situational guidance for students/staff returning to school/work here:

Guidelines for Student/Staff Member Presenting with Illness and Returning to School/Work

Guidelines for Student/Staff Member Exposed to Positive COVID-19 Case

Guidelines for Student/Staff Member Exposed to COVID-19 Symptoms in their Household

Guidelines for Student/Staff Member Testing Positive for COVID-19

Guidelines for Student/Staff with Household Member Testing for COVID-19

Encuentre orientación sobre escenarios específicos de COVID-19 vinculados a continuación:

Protocolos para estudiantes / miembros del personal que se presentan con una enfermedad y regresan a la escuela / al trabajo

Protocolos para estudiantes / miembros del personal expuestos a un caso positivo de COVID-19

Protocolos para estudiantes / miembros del personal expuestos a síntomas de COVID-19 en su hogar

Protocolos para estudiantes / miembros del personal que dan positivo por COVID-19

Protocolos para estudiantes / miembros del personal con examen de miembro del hogar para COVID-19

Communicating Positive COVID-19 Cases

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, the school will notify the families of:

  • parent/guardian of students in the same classroom/cohort
  • parent/guardian of students on the same bus
  • parent/guardian of students in the same clubs/teams
  • staff members in that program/school building
  • The ISD will perform contact tracing and provide instruction to individuals who may have had extended close contact with the COVID-positive student. The ISD maintains contact logs in each of our buildings for contact tracing purposes to use in the event of potential COVID-19 exposure.

The COVID-positive student is able to return to school when they satisfy the ISD Illness and Return to Work/School Guidelines.

If a school employee tests positive for COVID-19, the school will notify:

  • parent/guardian of any student(s) that were in close contact with the COVID-positive employee
  • all employees in the school
  • The ISD will perform contact tracing and provide instruction to individuals who may have had extended close contact with the COVID-positive employee. The ISD maintains contact logs in each of our buildings for contact tracing purposes to use in the event of potential COVID-19 exposure.

The COVID-positive employee is able to return to school when they satisfy the ISD Illness and Return to Work/School Guidelines

Vaccinations and Quarantine

According to the CDC, an individual is considered fully vaccinated for Covid-19 two weeks after receiving the second dose in a two-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna) or two weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson). A staff member/student must be able to show proof of full vaccination to their supervisor/school nurse. A staff member or student exposed to a person suspected or confirmed positive for Covid-19 does not have to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic. If the staff/student develops symptoms consistent with Covid-19 within 14 days of exposure, they should isolate and contact their Primary Care Physician for further guidance and testing if indicated. Although the risk is low, if a fully vaccinated staff member or student develops symptoms consistent with Covid-19, they should isolate, be clinically evaluated, and tested if indicated. A fully vaccinated staff member or student is not required to miss work/school (unless symptomatic) for the following:

  • Household member has symptoms consistent with Covid-19
  • Household member is being tested for Covid-19 or is awaiting results of a Covid-19 test
  • Household member is positive for Covid-19
  • If fully vaccinated staff or student is asymptomatic and required to test for medical procedure and/or travel

Travel and Quarantine

Staff and students traveling on a cruise ship or out of the country will not be allowed to return to school for 14 days upon their return. Asymptomatic fully vaccinated staff/students would not need to quarantine after travel. Travel should be reported to the building principal. Questions can be directed to ISD Director of Health Services Lori Halsey at lori_halsey@isdschools.org. You may return to school after car travel and/or air travel if you are symptom free. Because travel increases your chances of getting infected and spreading COVID-19, the CDC recommends avoiding travel to protect yourself and others from getting sick. Upon your return, be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19 and report any symptoms to your doctor.

Disinfecting Protocols

  • Door handles and other high touch surfaces will be disinfected throughout the day by Facilities team members.
  • Restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected regularly throughout each school day.
  • Locker rooms will be disinfected, and commonly touched surfaces in locker rooms will be cleaned throughout the day.
  • Commonly touched surfaces in large spaces (gyms, fine arts rooms, etc. ) will be avoided by students when possible. Those surfaces, equipment and/or objects will be disinfected before and after use when avoidance is not possible.
  • Playgrounds and high-touch surfaces made of plastic or metal, such as grab bars and railings, will be cleaned routinely.
  • Custodial staff will disinfect all commonly touched surfaces. End of day will include cleaning and sanitizing of restrooms, teacher desks, student desks, door-knobs, handrails and front office work spaces.

Early Education & Early Childhood Special Education

  • Face coverings are required in all ISD buildings.
  • One parent/guardian per student may enter with their student and pass a non-touch infrared temperature scan. Jackson County requires anyone entering public buildings to wear a face covering.
  • In pre-school and daycare settings, children 2 years of age and older can safely wear masks. Masks should be required in these settings, but “mask breaks” may need to be considered. Mask breaks can include time outside or where a child is physically distanced from others. Masks will never be worn while sleeping. During naptime, children will be physically distanced.
  • Exceptions may be considered for young children (e.g., preschool) where masking may be difficult due to inappropriate mask hygiene (e.g., frequently touching mask and/or pulling the mask down so it does not cover the mouth and nose), or in children with difficulty with speech or language.
  • Every child, parent and staff member will have a temporal temperature taken upon arrival.
  • If a student, parent or staff member has an elevated temperature with the infrared scan, an oral temperature will be taken. Please be aware that no air conditioning in cars or homes may result in an elevated temperature with an infrared scan. Do not be alarmed if this is the case. The oral temperature will provide the most accurate temperature to determine if a student or staff member has a fever. If the oral temperature is 100 or above for the student and/or parent, both student and parent would need to return home. If the oral temperature is above 100, the staff member would also need to return home.
  • Students will be taught and reminded of proper hand washing and cough and sneeze etiquette.
  • Assemblies and other large group gatherings will not take place.
  • Staff will eliminate communal school supplies where feasible. Shared items will be disinfected following each use.

Special Education

Special Education In-Person
The District’s Special Education Program will provide accommodations/modifications, adaptations and assistive technology support for students with disabilities according to Individualized Education Plans (IEP). Special education students attending school in-person will be provided instruction relative to their IEP goals. A student’s case manager will work with families to ensure a student’s IEP is being met. If you have questions regarding the implementation of the IEP contact your student’s IEP Case Manager at his/her neighborhood school building when school resumes.

Section 504 In-Person
The District will provide accommodations/modifications, adaptations and assistive technology support according to a student’s 504 plan. A student’s 504 plan will be implemented as written for in-person attendance. If you have questions regarding the implementation of your student’s 504 plan, contact your student’s neighborhood school building counselor when school resumes.

Special Education Virtual
The District’s Virtual Education Program will provide accommodations/modifications, adaptations and assistive technology support for students with disabilities according to Individualized Education Plans (IEP). The student’s neighborhood school building is responsible for the development of the IEP and conducting evaluations. The student’s neighborhood school building is responsible for providing special education services, as defined by the student’s IEP. IEP teams will convene to determine services for a virtual setting. Special education services may be offered virtually (asynchronous) or in-person during the regular school day or a combination of both. Parents who opt for ISD Virtual Learning will be required to provide their own transportation to access in-person special education services. If you have questions regarding the implementation of your student’s IEP, contact your student’s IEP Case Manager at his/her neighborhood school building when school resumes.

Section 504 Virtual
The District’s Virtual Education Program will provide accommodations/modifications, adaptations and assistive technology support according to the student’s 504 plan. The student’s neighborhood school building is responsible for the development of the 504 plan and conducting evaluations as outlined in section 504. If you have questions regarding the implementation of the 504 accommodations/modifications, course adaptations or assistive technology needs, contact your student’s neighborhood school building counselor when school resumes.

Kids’ Safari

  • Face coverings are required in all ISD buildings.
  • One parent/guardian per student may enter with their student and pass a temporal thermometer check. Jackson County requires anyone entering public buildings to wear a face covering.
  • Every child, parent and staff member will have a temporal temperature taken upon arrival.
  • If a student, parent or staff member has an elevated temperature with the temporal check, an oral temperature will be taken. Please be aware that no air conditioning in cars or homes may result in an elevated temperature with a temporal check. Do not be alarmed if this is the case. The oral temperature will provide the most accurate temperature to determine if a student or staff member has a fever. If the oral temperature is 100 or above for the student and/or parent, both student and parent would need to return home. If the oral temperature is above 100, the staff member would also need to return home.
  • Students will be taught and reminded of proper hand washing and cough and sneeze etiquette.
  • Staff will eliminate communal school supplies where feasible.

Activities and Athletics

The ISD is committed to providing all activity and athletic opportunities possible while adhering to CDC guidelines. Please keep in mind that students enrolled in ISD Virtual Learning are not eligible to participate in ISD activities and athletics. Certain opportunities may be limited to the extent in which they can be offered due to physical distancing and gathering size recommendations. Some opportunities may only be offered virtually. Offering of and participation in activities will require flexibility by students, families and sponsors which may include, but are not limited to:

Precautions to Minimize Risk

  • Students will complete a temperature check daily prior to participation in all after-school activities and athletics.
  • Locker rooms will be disinfected, and commonly touched surfaces in locker rooms will be cleaned throughout the day.
  • Wash and sanitize hands often.
  • Do not touch face, eyes and mouth as much as possible.
  • Practice physical distancing regularly.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or elbow when coughing or sneezing.
  • Staff will disinfect the venue and all equipment (weights, balls, jump ropes, etc.) prior to and after activity each day.
  • Students should bring their own water bottles. Water fountains will be closed. Water bottle refilling stations will be open.
  • Staff will modify drills and activities to limit or reduce potential violations of physical distancing guidelines including high fives, huddles, team meetings, etc.
  • Staff/coaches will avoid using whistles when possible to reduce droplet spread.

Specials and Performance Electives

The Independence School District is committed to providing all curricular opportunities possible while adhering to the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). To the extent possible, the district expects all classroom activities to be performed while adhering to CDC recommendations, including but not limited to:

  • Weather permitting, students may go outside for all physical education and/or chorale classroom activities.
  • A larger space will be considered to accommodate for physical distancing if designated classrooms are too small to allow for appropriate student numbers and/or spacing.
  • Commonly touched surfaces and equipment will be avoided when possible. Those surfaces and/or objects will be disinfected before and after use when avoidance is not possible.
  • Upon the return of library books, each book will go through a quarantine hold of at least 72 hours prior to recirculation.
  • Clear guidelines will be established for students to follow when entering and exiting all classrooms.

ELL

ELL will be offered in-person during the regular school day. Students enrolled in the ELL program may elect to attend in-person as normal on their regularly assigned days even if enrolled in ISD Virtual Learning. Parents who opt for ISD Virtual Learning will be required to provide transportation for in-person ELL.

IMPACT

IMPACT will be offered in-person during the regular school day. Students enrolled in the IMPACT program may elect to attend in-person as normal on their regularly assigned days even if enrolled in ISD Virtual Learning. Parents who opt for ISD Virtual Learning will be required to provide transportation for in-person IMPACT.

In-Person School FAQ

My child takes medication and I’m required to give it to the nurse. How do I bring medicine to school?
Please continue to do what you have done in the past and have the current prescriptions or documentation from the doctor of the current order. Please arrange a time to meet with the school nurse. Please wear a face covering when you meet with the school staff.

How do I pick my student up early from school?
Please call when you arrive at school and let the office know that you need your child to be checked out early. If necessary, a staff member will escort your child to your car and ask that you sign him/her out for the day.

The school day has already started and my child is late. Should I walk him/her into the office?
Yes, it is acceptable to walk your child into the office and check him or her in. We do ask that you wear a face covering, pass a temperature scan upon entering the building and maintain physical distancing protocols. However, if you do not feel comfortable walking your child into the building, please call the office and a staff member will come to your car and bring your child into the office.

I have an IEP/504/parent meeting, can I come to the building to attend?
IEP meetings will be held on campus unless parents request another format (by phone or virtually). Face coverings will be required. District screening protocols and physical distancing measures will be followed. IEP team members who travel between buildings can participate virtually if the parent is in agreement.

Will we still be able to hold monthly PTA meetings?
Yes, however we strongly encourage virtual meetings for the time being. If an in-person meeting is conducted on school property, PTA meetings will limit the number of adults gathering and require that face coverings be worn and physical distancing guidelines be followed.

Will my child’s class go on field trips or have guest speakers?
Teachers will work to provide rich experiences through virtual field trips and online guest speakers.

How will the Inspire Friends program be impacted?
The Inspire Friends Program resumed in April. Volunteers are approved through the ISD Foundation. Volunteers will pass a temperature check upon entering the building and practice social .distancing and proper mask-wearing during their visit.

How will volunteer coaches be impacted?
Volunteer coaches will be permitted re-entry into our schools for the purpose of coaching children participating in these activities. Safety procedures put in place by the district, CDC and local health department will be followed by volunteer coaches at all times. These would include handwashing/sanitizing upon entering the building, the use of a face covering, physical distancing guidelines, etc.

Public Use of Facilities

In addition to the safety and security measures performed daily at each of our buildings, every effort will be made to limit unnecessary exposure to students and staff during school hours. The following protocols will be in place in each of the schools:

  • Only employees and approved volunteers and visitors will be allowed in the building during school hours. This includes all essential staff, parents/guardians, and district personnel.
  • Parents/guardians should contact the school prior to visiting if they do not have a scheduled appointment.