Our priority is the safety and well-being of students and staff, so we have implemented many policies to try to protect those in our schools and on our buses. You can find our current safety protocols along with resources from the Independence Health Department and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) linked here.

If you have additional questions about COVID-19 or believe you or your student may have been exposed, please contact ISD Director of Health Services Lori Halsey at 816-521-5387 or lori_halsey@isdschools.org.  

Thank you for partnering with us to ensure the safety and well being of our ISD community!


ISD Safety Protocols and Continuity of Learning

The following protocols have been outlined for the 2021-2022 school year for the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services (SRCPS), American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds and submitted to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Please note this plan will be updated and amended based upon current guidance from local, state and national entities.

ISD Safety Protocols (PDF)

School Day, Early Education, K-12 and Kids Safari Safety Protocols and Mitigation Strategies

  • 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 techniques and cough and sneeze etiquette.
  • 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. 
  • Students will remain physically distant within the classroom and in hallways as much as possible.
  • If a student is quarantined for any reason and they are attending in-person school, they will be provided with online instructional materials until they are able to return to school.
  • Transitioning your student from in-person learning to ISD Virtual Learning or vice versa, may occur at semester. Please contact your child’s school directly.

Face Coverings

  • Per a federal order from the U-S Department of Health and Human Services, masks are required for everyone ages 2 and up, in an indoor setting, in Head Start and Early Head Start programs.
  • Face coverings are required at all times indoors for ISD elementary students and students ages 2-4 enrolled in ISD Early Education programs, except during meals.
  • Exceptions may be considered for children with difficulty with speech or language, 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.
  • Masks are not required, but are optional, during outdoor recess and when students are participating in vigorous activity.
  • Face coverings are optional for ISD students in grades 6-12 and staff in all ISD buildings.
  • Additional masks are available for students and staff if a mask is forgotten or becomes soiled and/or wet.
  • Exposed individuals opting to Test-to-Stay must wear a mask at all times while at school/work during their quarantine period except when eating or drinking.
  • Students in grades K-12 will not be required to quarantine when exposed to a positive case of COVID-19 in the classroom setting if both the positive case and the exposed student were engaged in consistent and correct use of well-fitting masks during the time of exposure and exposed student does not develop any symptoms. If exposed student develops symptoms within 14 days of exposure, the student will need to quarantine.

Bus Procedures

  • Face coverings must be worn on ISD buses in accordance with the current federal order requiring masks on all public transportation. 
  • 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

  • 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 with assigned seating. 
  • Cleaning protocols will be followed between lunch shifts.
  • When distancing is not possible in the cafeteria or other large spaces, students will eat meals in their classroom.
  • Water fountains will not be used. Students should bring a filled water bottle from home. Water bottle refilling stations will be open.

Recess

  • Recess will be staggered so students have plenty of space and to support contact tracing.
  • All students returning from recess will wash and/or sanitize their hands and return to their class.

Athletics & Activities

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Independence School District has developed the following guidelines to keep our students, coaches, officials, and fans safe at our sporting events, practices, and activities.

  • Athletes/participants will continue daily temperature checks and screenings.
  • IPD officers will be at games/events to support social distancing and safety. Anyone not complying with safety guidelines will be asked to leave. 
  • Stay home if you are sick.  
  • Fans/spectators will not be allowed on the field after games.

Concessions

  • Concession items will be available for purchase. Food workers will strictly adhere to safety guidelines.
  • Please adhere to social distancing guidelines when visiting concessions.  
  • Food/drinks purchased at concessions may be consumed when seated in the stands. 

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 the 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.
  • 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 Independence Health Department, which may include quarantine measures.
  • The ISD will perform contact tracing and provide instruction to individuals who may have had extended close contact with the COVID-positive individual. The ISD maintains contact logs in each of our buildings for contact tracing purposes to use in the event of potential COVID-19 exposure.

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, is within 90 days of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis or opts to Test-to-Stay as a result of as school-related exposure.
  • 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

  • Teachers will walk car riders and walkers to the designated exit to ensure social distancing.
  • 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 K-12 Students and ISD Staff Exposed to a Positive Case of COVID-19

Guidelines for Pre-K Students Exposed to a Positive Case of COVID-19

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

Guidelines for Student/Staff Member Testing Positive 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 de salud y seguridad para estudiantes de Pre-K expuestos a un caso de COVID-19

Protocolos de salud y seguridad para estudiantes de K a 12 expuestos a un caso 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

Communicating Positive COVID-19 Cases

When the District receives a positive case confirmation, the ISD utilizes contact tracing to determine any individuals who may have had close contact with the COVID-positive student or staff member. The ISD maintains contact logs in each of our buildings for contact tracing purposes to use in the event of a potential COVID-19 exposure.

If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the school will call all staff/students considered exposed to the positive case to notify them of the exposure and provide quarantine and/or Test-to-Stay instructions along with a return to work/school date when applicable.

The COVID-positive student/staff member 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 be quarantined 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

Close Contact and Quarantine

According to the CDC, anyone within six feet of an individual testing positive for COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period is considered a close contact of that positive case. The CDC recommends that students and staff considered exposed to COVID-19 be tested, however, testing is not required. An unvaccinated student or staff exposed to COVID-19 would need to quarantine for 14 days from their last exposure to a positive case of COVID-19 or opt to Test-to-Stay. Beginning November 15th, K-12 students and staff who have been exposed to COVID-19 may test out of quarantine and continue to attend school, as well as participate in extracurricular activities, if all Test-to-Stay criteria are met. Please see additional Test-to-Stay information below.

If an unvaccinated student/staff member who is considered exposed does not opt to Test-to-Stay, they will need to complete a 14-day quarantine. If symptoms develop, the student/staff member should isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms, be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and symptoms should be improving before returning to school/work.

If an unvaccinated student/staff member who is considered exposed tests positive for COVID-19, they will need to complete a 10-day isolation, be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication, and symptoms should be improving before returning to school/work. If the student/staff member is asymptomatic when they test positive and develops symptoms during the isolation period, they should isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms, be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and all symptoms should be improving before returning to school/work.

Students DO NOT need to quarantine IF:

  • Both the positive case and the exposed student were engaged in consistent and correct use of well-fitting masks during the time of exposure and exposed student does not develop any symptoms. If exposed student develops symptom within 14 days of exposure, the student will need to quarantine.
  • Other school prevention strategies were in place.

Test-to-Stay

ISD students in grades K-12 along with teachers and staff considered close contacts of an individual testing positive for COVID-19 may continue to attend school and participate in extracurricular activities if all Test-to-Stay criteria are met. 

  • Exposed individuals will remain out of school/work until the first negative test result is received by their school nurse.
  • Exposed individual adheres to the following testing schedule:
    • Receive a minimum of three rapid antigen tests (e.g. BinaxNOW) within the first seven days of the quarantine period.
    • The exposed individual must take a rapid antigen test within 24 hours of being identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case.
    • The exposed individual must take a minimum of two additional rapid antigen tests, preferably on non-consecutive school days within the first seven days of the quarantine period with the final test taken on the seventh day.
    • For example, if an individual is identified as a close contact on day two of the quarantine period (Wednesday), the individual must test on day two (Wednesday, day four (Friday), and day seven (Monday).
    • If exposure was determined after day seven of the quarantine period, one rapid antigen test is required prior to returning to school/work.
  • Upon being identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case and opting to adhere to Test-to-Stay criteria, the exposed individual will be provided with specific testing dates.
  • Failure to comply with the testing schedule will result in quarantine for the remainder of the 14 day quarantine period. At-home rapid tests will not be accepted for the Test-to-Stay. The ISD has free COVID-19 testing available with limited scheduled time slots. Contact your school nurse to schedule an appointment. If there are no appointments available, or if the test is needed outside of school hours, please use these resources:

https://www.jacohd.org/events

https://www.childrensmercy.org/health-and-safety-resources/information-about-covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-testing-at-childrens-mercy/

https://preparemetrokc.org/events/category/covid-testing/list/

  • Exposed individuals must wear a mask consistently and correctly in school at all times during their quarantine period (14 days past the last day of exposure to the positive case) other than when eating or drinking.
  • If the exposed individual develops symptoms of COVID-19 during the quarantine period (14 days past the last day of exposure to the positive case,) the exposed individual will be isolated from school for 10 days from the onset of symptoms.

Test-to-Stay eligibility will be determined by the school district based on the type of exposure. Individuals exposed to COVID-19 in their household are not eligible for the Test-to-Stay option. Household members of students/staff opting to participate in Test-to-Stay do not need to isolate while the student/staff member is awaiting test results. The District may revoke the Test-to-Stay option based on case volume at any particular school. 

Test-to-Stay and Extracurricular Activities

For participation in extracurricular activities, daily testing during the 14-day quarantine period of the exposed individual is recommended. At a minimum, a rapid antigen test is to be taken 24-36 hours prior to participation in MSHSAA-sponsored athletics and/or extracurricular activities scheduled within the 14-day quarantine period of the exposed individual.

Active monitoring for symptoms of individuals participating in Test-to-Stay is conducted by the school throughout the duration of the 14-day quarantine period. Individuals should self-isolate at home if symptoms develop. The ISD has free COVID-19 testing available, with limited scheduled time slots. Contact your school nurse to schedule an appointment. If there are no appointments available, or if the test is needed outside of school hours, please use this resource:

https://www.jacohd.org/events

https://www.childrensmercy.org/health-and-safety-resources/information-about-covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-testing-at-childrens-mercy/

https://preparemetrokc.org/events/category/covid-testing/list/

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 and Ventilation

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 and Ventilation

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ventilation improvements will include upgrading equipment that will increase the number of fresh air exchanges in our schools and instructional spaces.

Educational Supports and Continuity of Services

The Independence School District uses Canvas, See Saw and Fuel Ed for Virtual Learning Resources. These resources help organize learning by connecting the digital materials that teachers and students use in one easy place. Canvas and See Saw connect teachers and students through online courses that will include a daily live teaching component, attendance and grading expectations for credit. School counselors, psychologists and Family School Liaisons will be available to provide support as needed. The District will continue to utilize Trauma Sensitive Schools to identify and support the social-emotional and mental health needs of students. The District will use Lifeworks to provide for the social, emotional and mental health needs of staff. 

ISD Building Coaches will model and support teachers to increase instructional skills and fidelity of curriculum implementation by modeling lessons, co-teaching, observing and providing feedback, supporting lesson plan development and curriculum navigation and assisting with student data analysis to help teachers meet the instructional needs of students.

The revision of the ISD literacy model, teacher professional development and supporting resources will develop the understanding of how word recognition and language comprehension work together to establish skilled readers and writers who have strong reading comprehension and writing skills. Administrators, Instructional Coaches, Building Coaches and teachers will receive training and resources which support the Science of Reading.

The ISD math instructional model and resources will support effective mathematics teaching practices and allow students to engage in standards for mathematical practices by establishing mathematics goals to focus learning, implement tasks that promote reasoning and problem solving, build procedural fluency from conceptual understanding, use and connect mathematical representations, elicit and use evidence of student thinking, support productive struggle in learning mathematics and facilitate meaningful mathematical discourse. 

30 learning coaches and 9 classroom paras will support elementary classrooms across the district focusing on literacy and math development. This will allow classroom teachers to provide small group instruction to students to mitigate learning loss. The ISD has added 26 instructional positions to provide additional support and reduce class sizes.

The ISD will evaluate the performance of all sub-groups on State Assessments. This information along with interim data will be used to identify the most impacted students within the district.

The Independence School District will utilize at least 20% of ARP-ESSER III to address students’ academic needs based on lost instructional time. Those funds will be focused in the following areas: Family School Liaisons in elementary schools, Instructional Coaches, Building Coaches and Technology Integrationists, collaborative reading instruction by elementary Library Media Specialists, Spanish interpreters, additional English Language teachers and other additional instructional positions as needed.

The remaining ARP-ESSER III funding for ISD will be used for: continuation and addition of special education staff, teacher laptops, student chromebooks, classroom technology, transportation for summer school, staff training on COVID protocols, sanitation supplies, supplies for COVID prevention, COVID testing and vaccination, furniture for social distancing, contracted mental health, and continued and expanded staffing for the residency office.

Special Education

The District’s Special Education Program will provide specialized instruction, accommodations/modifications, adaptations and assistive technology support for students with disabilities according to a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). 

504

The District will provide accommodations/modifications, adaptations and assistive technology support according to a student’s 504 plan. 

English Language (EL)

EL will be offered in-person during the regular school day. Students enrolled in the EL 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 EL.

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.

Activities and Athletics

The ISD is committed to providing all activity and athletic opportunities possible while adhering to local, state and national entities. Please keep in mind that students enrolled in ISD Virtual Learning are not eligible to participate in ISD activities and athletics. 

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.
  • Practice physical distancing regularly.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or elbow when coughing or sneezing.
  • Students should bring their own water bottles. Water fountains will be closed. Water bottle refilling stations will be open.
  • 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 local, state and national entities. 

  • 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.
  • Clear guidelines will be established for students to follow when entering and exiting all classrooms.

COVID-19 Testing and Vaccinations for Staff and Students 

The Independence School District continues to offer COVID-19 testing for staff and students at an onsite ISD location. The ISD began offering COVID-19 testing to staff and students in November of 2020 and will continue this service into the 2021-2022 school year and until further notice. 

The Independence School District began offering vaccination clinics in our schools for staff the first week the state of Missouri added the tier to allow us to offer that service. The ISD began offering vaccinations for students 12 and older in our schools in the spring of 2021 and will continue offering vaccinations for staff and students into the 2021-2022 school year and until further notice. ISD staff and students who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine if they are asymptomatic.

Periodic Revision

The Independence School District will review and revise this document no less than every six months, with the input and consultation of stakeholders. This document is available to the ISD community on the District website, accessible in multiple languages.