ESSER III SAFE RETURN PLAN
The Grand Prairie School District continues to work on its plans to return to a full, regular, in-person learning day and school year, since we entered the time period defined as COVID19, or the Pandemic.
We have continually reviewed our experiences and actions that we have taken since March 13, 2020. We have taken what we learned using our protocols that were successful during the 2020-2021 school year to make plans for the 2021-2022 school year to make it as normal as possible. Throughout this process, the District has been guided by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Jefferson County Health Department (JCHD). This latest plan release has been developed in accordance with the federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act and the declaration on July 9, 2021, released by the Illinois State Superintendent of Education. The plan is aligned with guidance provided by the IDPH and the CDC. It also addresses adjustments that may be needed in response to evolving COVID-19 pandemic circumstances. It will be posted on the District's website.
Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, it is possible the District will have to modify this plan during the school year. These modifications and changes will be communicated to the families, staff, and students of the District through its regular communication platforms. In reaction to changing guidance by the CDC, on August 4, 2021, the Governor of the State of Illinois issued Executive Order 2021-18 (COVID-19 Executive Order No. 85), "requiring the indoor use of face coverings by students, staff, and visitors who are over age two and able to medically tolerate a face covering, regardless of vaccination status." In addition, it requires the continued implementation of "other layers of prevention strategies." School Status to Begin the 2021-2022 School Year In accordance with the State Superintendent's July 9 declaration, the Grand Prairie School District will open for full, in-person learning for all student attendance days for the 2021-2022 school year.
Employees will report on Monday, August 9, 2021 while students will report on Tuesday, August 10, 2021. Remote or distance instruction will ONLY be made available for students with a medical reason from a licensed physician and by completing the District's regular approval process for Homebound instruction. Please note the protocols outlined in this guide are subject to changes as guidelines continue to evolve. As a minimum, this guide will be reviewed and updated no less than every six months as required by the ARP Act.
General Guidelines for the 2021-2022 School Year Use of Facial Coverings - The Grand Prairie School District will begin the 2021-2022 school year in accordance with the Governor of Illinois' Executive Order that mandates masks to be worn indoors for students, teacher, and staff at all District Schools and Facilities regardless of vaccination status.
Unless exempt by CDC Order, all school bus passengers and drivers shall wear face coverings.
Physical Distancing - To the extent possible within school and classroom structures so that it does not exclude students from full day in-person learning, school staff are to help students commit to physical distancing as much as possible by:
- Arranging furniture, play spaces, and naptime materials to model and reinforce physical distancing of at least 3 feet
- Providing assigned seating for students and encouraging students to remain in these seats to the greatest extent possible; and
- Developing marked paths of travel in classrooms and corridors. School staff will maximize physical distance as much as possible when moving through food service lines and while eating indoors. Aside from the cafeteria, additional spaces for mealtime seating will be utilized when available and feasible.
- Physical distancing measures are to be done in an equitable manner that does not perpetuate academic, racial, or other tracking. Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette School staff will monitor and reinforce frequent handwashing and respiratory etiquette by:
4a. Continuing to teach handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
4b. Assisting young children with handwashing;
4c. Reminding everyone in the facility to wash hand :frequently;
4d. Utilizing hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol for those who can safely use
it when hand washing is not possible;
4e. Providing adequate handwashing and hand sanitizer supplies that are safely stored.
- Facility and Transportation Cleaning, Disinfection, and Ventilation District custodial staff, as well as transportation staff, will continue to clean surfaces daily to further reduce the risk of spreading infection. Maintenance staff will continue to regularly replace school ventilation system filters. - When possible, staff will open doors and windows, use child-safe fans, and conduct activities outdoors when circumstances allow. When it does not pose a safety risk, transportation staff will keep vehicle windows open at least a few inches to improve air circulation. Contract Tracing / Isolation/ Quarantine / Collaboration with State and Local Health Officials Students and staff who have symptoms of infectious illness, such as influenza (flu) or COVID-19, should stay home and contact their healthcare provider for testing and care. District school health professionals should be contacted. The District will follow the advice and directives of the Jefferson County Health Department and IDPH to determine how long a quarantine should last and when a person is able to return to school. Students and staff may present medical documentation or explanation of other illnesses or conditions (such as allergies, fibromyalgia, etc.) that may be causing symptoms that would allow them to return to school or work. It is recommended that medically fragile and immunocompromised students consult their medical provider prior to attending school. Students or staff returning from illness related to COVID-19 should call to check in with the school administration BEFORE returning from quarantine. Any individual within the school environment who shows symptoms will be immediately separated from the rest of the school population. Diagnostic and Screening Testing Personnel at the District's schools will screen students and staff upon entry if they have had symptoms of COVID-19 such as a measured temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, new onset of moderate to severe headache, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, new cough, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain from unknown cause, new congestion or runny nose, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, fatigue from unknown cause, or muscle and body Aches. The District's Health Care Professionals will contact parents and provide information about the location of local testing sites for COVID-19. Vaccination Provisions While being respectful of people's varying levels of vaccine confidence, the District will provide signage and information on the available locations providing COVID-19 vaccinations including the The Jefferson County Health Department, area clinics, and area pharmacies. Appropriate Accommodations for Students with Disabilities Parents of students who need accommodations, modifications, or assistance related to COVID-19 safety protocols, disabilities, underlying medical conditions, or weakened immune systems should contact the Office of Student Services. Staff members who need accommodations, modifications, or assistance related to COVID-19 safety protocols, disabilities, underlying medical conditions, weakened immune systems, or a sincerely held religious belief of practices (covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) should contact their school's administration to discuss the need(s). Staff members with weakened immune systems are advised to contact their healthcare professional about the need for continued personal protective measures after vaccination. Visitors - Nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups are discouraged from visiting schools. Collaboration with Public Health Officials District officials will continue to collaborate and consult with Jefferson County Health Department officials throughout the pandemic on various logistics and decision-making including, but not limited to, school health and safety protocols, screening testing, contact tracing, vaccine clinics, and emergency school closings.
Through September 30, 2023, this plan will be reviewed no less frequently than every six months and revised as appropriate after seeking and considering public input. Revisions will address the most recently updated safety recommendations by the CDC and IDPH, provided in an alternative format accessible to parents who are individuals with a disability as defined by the ADA, and made publically available on the District's website. Daily School Operations Restrooms Physical distancing should be maintained with areas for safe distancing clearly marked. Clearly visible signage will be displayed to remind everyone of physical distancing and face covering requirements. Restroom and hand washing breaks will be scheduled and coordinated when possible. High touch areas will be cleaned throughout the day. Restrooms will be assigned to student groups when possible.
Materials that must be shared or communally used such as electronics, Chromebooks, iPad devices, touchscreens, keyboards, remote controls, door entry systems, etc. shall be cleaned before and after use. Individuals must perform hand hygiene between uses. Hand sanitizer should be used before and after the use of books or library materials.
Physicals and immunization requirements for students remain the same as they did in the past. Families are encouraged to obtain these requirements as soon as possible. Those requirements do NOT include vaccines for COVID-19. All physical and immunization forms must be returned by October 15. Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Social work and guidance staff will continue to check in with students. Faculty and staff will be attentive to the social and emotional learning concerns that they observe and hear from their students.
Physical Education, Gymnasiums, Playgrounds, and Locker Rooms
Physical activity can support students' overall health and help reduce stress and anxiety. Whenever feasible and when the weather permits, schools may select outdoor P .E. activities that allow physical distancing. Hand shaking, high fives, or other physical contact is discouraged. Any shared equipment must be cleaned between each use and disinfected at the end of each class. Areas with equipment must be cleaned and sanitized before and after each class. High touch surfaces on playgrounds will be sanitized routinely. Students and staff must wash their hands or use hand sanitizer at the start and end of each class period or when hands are visibly dirty. - Students must perform hand hygiene after the use of each piece of equipment.
Extra-Curricular activities must follow the IDPH and the Southern Illinois Junior High School Athletic Association (SIJHSAA) requirements set forth for the school setting including social distancing, appropriate use of PPE, and limiting the number of individuals in one space according to the State of Illinois's current mandates, as well as cleaning and disinfecting to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Athletics will follow the guidelines set forth by the Southern Illinois Junior High School Athletic Association (SIJHSAA).
Before the start of each workday, Grand Prairie transportation staff will undergo symptom and temperature checks to verify they can work that day. School buses will be sanitized each day, with seats and high touch areas sanitized between routes.
Before the start of each workday, Grand Prairie food service staff will undergo symptom and temperature checks to verify they can work that day. Food service personnel will use appropriate PPE including gloves and face coverings while preparing and distributing food.
Hand hygiene will be promoted before and after eating a meal or consuming any food items.
Custodial and maintenance staff will continue to receive training on the return to school guidelines to ensure extra sanitation efforts using properly approved products will be utilized in low and high contact areas including door handles, desktops, handrails, light switches, restroom fixtures, counter tops, and bottle fillers.
Cleaning schedules will be created and implemented for the school building(s) and equipment. Extra cleaning efforts will occur during in-person learning to address high traffic and common areas.
Throughout the 2021-2022 school year, the Grand Prairie School District will use our regular communication methods to keep all faculty, staff, students, families, and other stakeholders up to date on changes regarding these protocols.