COVID-19 Information » 2021-22 Return to Learning Plan & Public Comment Period

2021-22 Return to Learning Plan & Public Comment Period

To:                 Marissa CUSD #40 Community

From:            Jeff Strieker, Superintendent

Re:                2021-22 Return to Learning Plan & Public Comment Period

Plan Highlights:

  • Marissa CUSD #40 will follow the 2021-22 Adopted School Calendar, posted on its website.
  • The District will adjust educational and athletic programming as necessary through the year.
  • Mask wearing at school will be optional for all students and staff.
  • Bus drivers and riders MUST wear a mask while on district school buses.
  • Remote learning is only accessible for students who are ineligible for vaccination and is under quarantine by order of the St. Clair County Health Dept. and/or doctor’s notice.
  • Temperature Checks/Screenings have been discontinued.  Students and staff should stay home when exhibiting symptoms.
  • Good hygiene practices will be emphasized throughout the district.
  • Social Distancing will be promoted and observed to the greatest extent possible at all times.
  • Disinfecting practices established last school year will remain in place.
  • Athletic Programs will be back in full activity mode, with guidance from the IHSA and IJHSAA in effect.
  • Lockers and Locker rooms will be utilized and students in Grades 7-12 will be required to wear PE uniforms.
  • Absences due to a documented health department quarantine or isolation order will not negatively count against student attendance (excused). 
  • The District may request confirmation of all vaccinated students and staff to be registered with the School Nurse for the purpose of providing distancing to the greatest extent possible.

 

Introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in major upheaval to all aspects of life, including unprecedented school closures in the spring and fall of 2020.  To open schools for in-person instruction required strict health and safety protocols which created barriers and limitations to teaching and learning.  Recognizing that students across remote and in-person settings faced significant academic, social, emotional, and mental health challenges as a result of the interrupted education and the trauma caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Congress made emergency funds available to local school districts to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19.  Most recently, funds available through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act require that school districts develop a Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services.  As such, this plan has been developed in accordance with the ARP Act and the Illinois State Superintendent of Education declaration of July 9, 2021; is aligned with guidance provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and addresses adjustments needed in response to evolving COVID-19 pandemic circumstances. 

 

Public Input

An opportunity for the public to provide input is being provided from July 20-23 by submitting to the Superintendent, jstrieker@marissa40.org or by phone, 618-295-2313, ext. 301.  Taking the public’s input into account, this plan is being developed through meaningful consultation with students, parents, school and district administrators, teachers, school staff, food service staff, transportation service staff, labor association leaders, and county health department officials.  Upon request, this plan will be provided in an alternative format accessible to parents who are individuals with a disability as defined by the ADA.  This plan will also be made publicly available on the district’s website.  School strategies in this plan may be removed based upon local conditions, levels of community transmission (i.e., low, moderate, substantial, or high), local vaccine coverage, use of screening testing to detect cases in K-12 schools, and consultation with local public health officials to determine the prevention strategies needed.  School officials will communicate any changes in plans to staff members, students, and parents through the district’s regular communication platforms.

 

Maintaining the Health and Safety of Students, Educators, and Other Staff

In accordance with the Illinois State Superintendent of Schools July 9, 2021 declaration, Marissa CUSD #40   will be open fully for in-person learning for all student attendance days for the 2021-22 school year.  Remote Learning will only be made available for non-vaccinated or vaccine ineligible students who are under quarantine as directed by the local health department or the Illinois Department of Public Health.  Absent an order from the Illinois State Board of Education and/or the Illinois Governor’s Office, Marissa CUSD #40 will be in operation in accordance with the CDC’s updated (July 9, 2021) Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in Kindergarten (K)-12 Schools, also adopted by the IDPH on July 9, 2021.  These guidelines include the following:

  

Mask Use
  • Mask use is recommended indoors for students, staff and visitors who are not fully vaccinated. Mask use is recommended outdoors during activities (e.g., participating in outdoor play, recess, physical education, sports, extra curriculars) that involve sustained close contact with other people who are not fully vaccinated, particularly in areas of substantial to high transmission.
  • School staff are to model support for and encourage students to be supportive of people who choose to continue to wear a mask as a personal choice or because of a personal medical reason.
  • Unless exempt by CDC Order, passengers and drivers must wear a mask on school buses.

 

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 encourage students to remain in these seats to the greatest extent possible; and
  • establishing proper 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 (e.g., weather permitting).  Students and staff who are fully vaccinated do not need to distance while eating.
  • Physical distancing measures are to be done in an equitable manner that does not perpetuate academic, racial, or other tracking (e.g., separating people into fully vaccinated and non-fully vaccinated cohorts).

 

Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette
  • School staff will monitor and reinforce frequent handwashing and respiratory etiquette by
  • continuing to teach handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
  • assisting young children with handwashing;
  • reminding everyone in the facility to wash hands frequently;
  • using hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol (for teachers, staff, and older students who can safely use hand sanitizer) when handwashing is not possible;
  • continuing to teach respiratory etiquette (e.g., covering coughs and sneezes); and providing adequate handwashing and hand sanitizer supplies that are safely stored (up, away, and out of sight of young children and used only with adult supervision for children under 6 years of age).

 

Facility and Transportation Cleaning, Disinfection and Ventilation
  • School custodial staff and transportation staff will continue to clean surfaces daily.
  • When possible, staff will open doors and windows, use child-safe fans, and have activities, classes, or lunches 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.

 

Contact Tracing in Combination with Isolation and Quarantine
  • 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.
  • Individuals in our school environments who show symptoms of COVID-19 are to immediately report to or be escorted to the school’s health care professional’s office to be either sent home or be quarantined in the school’s supervised safe area while awaiting pickup/evaluation. Students and staff are required to wear masks while in the safe area.  Parents should ensure that ill students are picked up from school within 30 minutes of being notified.  Ill students will not be allowed to utilize the school bus to return home. 
  • Students and staff who are not fully vaccinated should quarantine after a recent exposure to someone with COVID-19. Fully vaccinated people who were in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 but do NOT have COVID-19 symptoms do not need to quarantine or be tested.  Quarantine decisions will be made and communicated by the St. Clair County Health Department officials.
  • Student absences related to a COVID-19 isolation or quarantine will be recorded as excused. To ensure continuity of services, school work missed during such an absence can be requested and made up in accordance with the school’s policy (refer to student handbook); social, emotional, mental health, or other needs will be provided in accordance with a student’s IEP or 504 Plan.  Parents of students who have social, emotional, mental health, or other needs outside of an IEP or 504 Plan should contact their child’s principal to discuss needs.  Remote instruction will only be made available for non-vaccinated or vaccine ineligible students who are under quarantine as directed by the local health department or the Illinois Department of Public Health.
  • Absent COVID-related leave days previously provided by Federal law, staff absences related to a COVID-19 isolation or quarantine will be recorded in accordance with the district’s sick leave policy and related professional negotiations agreements.
  • To the extent allowable by privacy laws and other applicable laws, school health care professionals will continue to collaborate with the St. Clair County Health Department officials to confidentially provide information about people diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19.
  • The school’s health care professional will inform the school community of outbreaks while maintaining student and staff confidentiality rights.
  • Students and staff suspected of having COVID-19, whether they were tested or not, are to follow the CDC guidelines to determined when they can return to school.
  • Following quarantine, students and staff returning from illness related to COVID-19 are to call to check in with the school’s nurse, Mrs. Baker.

 

Promoting Vaccination
  • Working with the St. Clair County Health Department Marissa CUSD #40 will communicate any future vaccination dates with the parents and students of the district and may host vaccination opportunities for students, staff, and community if available.
  • Respectful of peoples’ varying levels of vaccine confidence, those who want to get vaccinated against COVID-19 can visit govto find out where they can get vaccinated in our community.

 

Disabilities or Other Health Care Needs
  • 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 their student’s principal to discuss the need(s).
  • 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 or practice (covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) should contact their school’s principal 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 or organizations with people who are not fully vaccinated are discouraged from visiting schools.

 

Plan Review

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, provided in an alternative format accessible to parents who are individuals with a disability as defined by the ADA, and made publicly available on the district’s website.