Elizabethton City Schools release reopening plans for 2021-2022

Published 9:52 pm Tuesday, July 27, 2021

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Elizabethton City students will return to school on August 5, 2021, which brings excitement to students, educators, administration and parents alike.

While immunizations have helped elevate some concerns surrounding COVID 19, Director of Schools Richard VanHuss said, “Our number one priority continues to be the health and safety of our students while being able to provide appropriate academic instruction and meet students’ social-emotional needs.”

With that in mind, the following back-to-school guidelines will be followed for the 2021-2022 school year. Note that modifications to this plan may be required based on conditions in our area and/or information from state and local health officials.

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-The traditional, 5-day a week, daily instructional model provides instruction in-person while adhering to additional safety protocols. There will not be a virtual school option for students

-Teachers will assess student’s current instructional level and adjust instruction to address students’ individual needs.

Health & Hygiene

-Hand sanitation stations will be available in all buildings.

-Increased cleaning and sanitation of high contact areas are a priority.

_Parents are requested to check temperatures prior to sending students on the bus or to school.

_Training for staff and students on recommended healthy routines will be provided as needed.

-Staff and students are encouraged to stay home if they are sick or running a temperature of 100.4 or greater.

-Face coverings are recommended for students and staff but are not required.

Facilities and Routines

-No water fountain use: students are encouraged to bring a water bottle.

-Increased cleaning and sanitation of high contact areas are a priority.

-Increased air circulation in classrooms through windows, doors, and air purifiers (as feasible and practical).

-Large group assemblies will be limited for essential purposes only and will follow guidelines (as feasible and practical).

-Only academic field trips that can be conducted safely, given current conditions, will be approved.

-Social distancing within the classroom will be prioritized (where feasible and practical); six feet may not be possible in all classrooms.

-Schools will alter arrival and departure procedures to minimize contact and congestion, as needed.

-Physical activity will be conducted outdoors whenever possible to group students safely.

Bus Transportation

-Bus drivers will disinfect buses routinely.

-Students will spread out as much as possible on the bus to minimize contact.

-Bus unloading will be from front to back to minimize contact.

-Face coverings for students are recommended, but not mandatory.

Cafeteria Procedures

-Thorough handwashing and/or hand sanitizing will be completed prior to meals.

-Lunch periods will be adjusted and seating arranged to promote student separation as much as possible.

-Student groups may eat in places other than the cafeteria (where feasible and practical) at the discretion of the school administration.

-Cleaning and disinfecting tables will be conducted after each class is finished eating.

-Grab & Go breakfast will be provided (as feasible and practical).

School Clinics

-Every school in the system has a nurse on staff.

-Students who have temperatures above 100.4 will be placed in a separate area with a mask. and monitored until parents arrive.

-Clinics will be thoroughly cleaned throughout the day, as needed.

Campus Visitors

-Visitors to buildings during normal operating hours will be limited to appointment only.

-Visitors may be asked to complete a COVID-19 symptom screening upon entry to the building.

-Lunch visitors will not be allowed until lunchroom seating returns to normal.

-Use of school facilities from outside groups will be limited depending on present conditions.

-Volunteers will be allowed in buildings with the same screening as staff.

Student Supports

-Attendance modifications for quarantined students will be made, as necessary, to support students.

-Students will be screened as needed for mental health support and referred to School Counselors and/or Mental Health Counselors.

Extended Learning Programs

-Before and after school extended learning programs will continue at all elementary schools and at the junior high.

-Programs will follow all school safety guidelines. Athletics

-All athletic teams will follow TSSAA mandates.

-Updates will be provided as available from TDOE, TSSAA, and TDH.

COVID-19 Procedures for Confirmed Cases

-If a positive test for COVID-19 occurs in a school with a student or staff member, the district will work with local health officials and take the lead in notification and contact tracing.

-School administrators will maintain confidentiality in accordance with ADA (American Disabilities Act) and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996).

-Students and staff who are fully vaccinated will not be required to quarantine if they are identified as a close contact.

-Potential school closure will be based on the level of risk determined by the district.

-If the need arises to close schools due to COVID-19, virtual learning will be initiated for impacted students as soon as possible.

-If a closure is needed for intensive cleaning, communication will be provided.

-The student/staff member with COVID-19 will be allowed to return to school adhering to TDH guidelines.

– It is our intent for the Health Department to help with contact tracing to minimize disruption to the school setting.

-Classroom/school/district closures will only occur if a significant need warrants the closure or if it is mandated by the state or local health officials.

-Individual school plans will include specifics that are age and space appropriate and may vary from these general district protocols. As the need lessens, these protocols will expire allowing programs and procedures to return to normal.