Placeholder text, please change
An Employee » Safe Return to In Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan

Safe Return to In Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan

Introduction

 

Dr. J.R. Green Superintendent On March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plans (ARP) Act was signed into law. In it, the U.S. Department of Education is providing an additional $121.9 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER III Fund). This legislation will award grants to state educational agencies (SEAs) for providing local educational agencies (LEAs) with emergency relief funds to address the impact that COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the nation. 

 

South Carolina will receive $2,112,051,487 in ESSER III funds from the Act, with 90 percent being awarded to school districts with amounts determined in proportion to the amount of Title I, Part A funds they received in summer 2020 from funds under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The remaining funds will be used for state-level activities to address issues caused by COVID-19. 

 

This plan describes how the LEA or district will provide a safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services for all schools, including those that have already returned to in-person instruction. This report template complies with all reporting requirements of the ARP Act (Public Law 117-2), the ESSER III grant terms, conditions, and assurances (CFDA Number 84.425U), and the interim final rule established by the U.S. Department of Education, 86 FR 21195. 

Maintaining Health and Safety

 

Overview

 

A district’s plan must include how it will maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and other school and LEA staff, and the extent to which it has adopted policies or practices and a description of any such policies or practices, on each of the CDC's safety recommendations including: universal and correct wearing of masks; modifying facilities to allow for physical distancing (e.g., use of cohorts/podding); hand washing and respiratory etiquette; cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation; contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the state, local, territorial, or Tribal health departments; diagnostic and screening testing; efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students, if eligible; appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to health and safety policies or practices; and coordination with state and local health officials. 

Description of maintaining health and safety
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), schools should consider and use multiple mitigation strategies to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. In accordance with best practices, recommendations, and guidance from federal, state, and local public health officials, Fairfield County School District (FCSD) will continue to follow and implement measures to maintain the health and safety of students, staff, visitors, and other stakeholders by ensuring adherence to policies and/or practices. A description of actions that were taken during the 2020-2021 school year can be found in the district’s 2020-2021 Restart, Reimagine, & Reopen Plan: Parent Resource Guide/Employee Resource Guide. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1s4iQni6weo03g-jm_fxRbgN1uly0PPUn/view
 
As with the 2020-2021 school year, it is the intention that FCSD will continue to make decisions that affect the health and safety of students, staff, visitors, and other stakeholders using recommendations from federal, state, and local public health officials and make necessary adjustments as new guidance is released for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year.
 
Each section of this plan will give a description of actions that have been taken during the 2020-2021 school year as well as briefly describe efforts that are underway to ensure that the health and safety of students, staff, visitors, other stakeholders, and the community remains a top priority for Fairfield County School District.
 
• In-person learning for students: We will create as much space between students and teachers as is feasible during the day, but not limit social distancing during primary instructional time in the classroom.
• Extracurricular activities will continue.
• Schools will continue to limit the overall number of people in school facilities until it is deemed appropriate to increase public access to an event or facility. If distancing cannot be achieved in a space, the number of occupants will be reduced. Schools must also limit the overall number of people on transportation vehicles.
• The wearing of a face covering is optional for all students and staff while in a school or facility. Masks are required while traveling on all public transportation (school and activity buses). Disposable masks will continue to be made available for those who present without one when boarding the bus.
• We highly encourage the wearing of face-covering to those who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine.
• Custodians, food services staff, bus drivers, and nurses will follow cleaning and disinfecting protocols according to SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines.
• Nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations should be restricted for at least the first 90 days of school.
• Classrooms, offices, and work/meeting areas will be arranged to ensure and maintain a safe learning environment. Classrooms and offices will continue to be cleaned periodically with an electrostatic sprayer and EPA-approved disinfectant.
• School nurse available in all schools.

Policies or Practices Regarding CDC Recommendations

 

Universal and correct wearing of masks

Description of Policies or Practices, if applicable 

 

As guidance from federal, state, and local public health officials continue to evolve surrounding the universal and correct wearing of face masks, Fairfield County School District will adjust implemented measures as necessary prior to and during the 2021-2022 school year to ensure the health and safety of students, staff, and stakeholders.

 

Modifying facilities to allow for physical distancing (e.g., use of cohorts/podding)

Description of Policies or Practices, if applicable

 

Social Distancing in the classroom will be accomplished by limiting instructional groups to family pods within a given classroom or designated learning area. Signage will be used to control traffic, to point out and encourage social distancing, to encourage respiratory etiquette, to encourage hand washing and sanitizing, and to inform visitors of our COVID19 rules.

 

Extended and/or staggered meal service will be implemented to support social distancing while ensuring adequate time for students to consume their meals. Transportation will comply with SCDHEC and CDC guidelines regarding capacity that are in effect during the 2021-22 school year.

 

Handwashing and respiratory etiquette

Description of Policies or Practices, if applicable 

 

Fairfield County School District promotes and encourages behaviors that reduce the spread of germs throughout all facilities. FCSD will continue to encourage and remind all students and staff to wash/clean hands frequently and practice respiratory etiquette via daily announcements, ParentSquare reminders, and the importance of staying home when sick or displaying COVID-19 symptoms. No-touch hand sanitizer stations have been installed at multiple locations throughout the buildings to include the main and bus rider entrances and all classrooms were provided with refillable hand sanitizer bottles.

 

High-touch surfaces(doorknobs, handrails, light switches, etc.) will be cleaned with disinfectants throughout the school day. All FCSD staff will follow cleaning and disinfecting protocols according to SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines.

 

Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation

Description of Policies or Practices, if applicable

 

Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities will be a top priority as we return to in-person learning. Building administrators will be in communication with the custodial team daily to ensure DHEC recommendations for cleaning and disinfection of the facility are being followed and to address concerns proactively. Leaders will ensure cleaning and disinfection is performed with EPA-approved disinfectants for SARS-CoV-2 on a routine and ongoing basis to include frequent cleaning of high touch areas and the use of electrostatic sprayers to sanitize classrooms and student desks.

 

Principals will tour the building to monitor the cleaning and provide remedies in areas of need in consultation with the custodial team and/or Director of Maintenance. This may include, but not be limited to, changing of custodial schedules to maximize cleaning, ensuring necessary supplies and staff are readily available, and communicating cleaning protocols to staff, students, and families to alleviate concerns regarding the virus that causes COVID-19.

 

The importance of well-ventilated spaces extends beyond preventing the spread of COVID-19. ESSER funds will be used to improve the ventilation and air quality in all buildings, by changing air filters and replacing aging HVAC systems. Replacing the aging HVAC systems will increase the ventilation (air exchange) rate and the percent of outdoor air in ventilation. Also, schools will be encouraged to hold outdoor recess and incorporate the use of outdoor classroom spaces when the weather permits.

 

Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine

Description of Policies or Practices, if applicable

 

Fairfield County School District will continue to adhere to safety protocols established by the CDC and South Carolina DHEC in support of our efforts to provide a safe learning environment for students, faculty, staff, and guests. The DHEC Interim COVID-19 Guidance for Schools will be used as a guide to ensure procedural continuity for the management of known and possible COVID-19 cases.

 

Whenever symptoms of COVID-19 appear at school, teachers will send students to the health room to be examined by the school nurse. If the school nurse believes the symptoms indicate the probability of COVID-19, parents will be notified immediately and asked to pick up the student from school. Until the arrival of the parent, the student will be isolated from other students and required to wear a mask while he/she is waiting to be picked up.

 

Parents should update health records, emergency phone numbers and provide the school nurse with the latest health information on students. The district lead nurse will communicate directly with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to determine the next steps in each situation. The DHEC exclusion and notification guidance will be followed. The DHEC re-entry guidance will be followed when a child is ready to re-enter school after being excluded for a case or symptoms of COVID-19. School nurses will comply with HIPAA regulations in the handling of COVID-19 cases.

 

Diagnostic and screening testing

Description of Policies or Practices, if applicable 

 

Fairfield County School District does not conduct any diagnostic screening or testing but has assigned a designated point of contact to collaborate with DHEC to obtain additional information regarding a potential third-party vendor conducting onsite screening testing for the 2021-2022 school year. Although FCSD does not conduct onsite screening or testing for COVID-19, we will continue to encourage the use of DHEC’s local free testing sites and other locations that are available within the county.

 

Efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students, if eligible

Description of Policies or Practices, if applicable

 

Fairfield County School District partnered with a local health care organization in January of 2021 to provide vaccinations for eligible individuals during Phase 1a vaccination allocation. In March of 2021, FCSD partnered with Cooperative Health to provide all educators and other staff members with COVID-19 vaccinations. Now that COVID-19 vaccines are available to individuals 12 and up, FCSD has been encouraging those individuals to get vaccinated as soon as possible. FCSD will hold an information session at Fairfield Central High School via ZOOM and in-person regarding COVID-19 vaccines on June 17, 2021, to encourage student-athletes and their families to get vaccinated. FCSD is collaborating with CVS Health to host an upcoming vaccine onsite clinic and/or arrange for students to get vaccinated at a local CVS. The district will continue its efforts to encourage eligible students, their families, and staff to get vaccinated throughout the 2021-2022 school year.

 

Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to health and safety policies and practices

Description of Policies or Practices, if applicable

 

Fairfield County School District will continue to follow accommodations that are detailed in the student’s Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). If additional accommodations are needed, the IEP team will meet to determine how accommodations should be provided to maintain the health and safety of all individuals. Additional supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) will continue to be provided as needed.

 

Coordination with state and local health officials

Description of Policies or Practices, if applicable 

 

Fairfield County School District continues to work closely with DHEC to ensure that the mitigation strategies being used in our schools to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 are up to date with the best practices and recommendations from federal, state, and local public health officials. As new guidance is issued, adjustments to implemented measures are made ac

Continuity of Services

 

Overview

 

Districts must describe how the LEA will ensure continuity of services, including but not limited to services to address students' academic needs and students' and staff social, emotional, mental health and other needs, which may include student health and food services. 

 

District response on continuity of services 

 

In addition to our whole school efforts to provide a combination of virtual and in-person learning experiences to meet the needs of all of our families, our team of parent liaisons will continue to work in conjunction with our social workers, guidance counselors, and resource officers to provide support to families in need. We will continue to assist families with challenges of childcare and food insecurity by connecting them with appropriate community agencies. One of our social workers currently serves as our point of contact for foster care. Identification efforts will continue to be coordinated with our district registrar, who also serves as our homeless and migrant point of contact. A hotline and/or request link on our website will be established for families to call in and be connected with the appropriate resource person for needs ranging from SEL to technology equipment issues. Translation and interpreting services will continue to be available as requested. We are also currently collaborating with the ALL4SC initiative to address specific instructional needs through support that the University of South Carolina might offer such as virtual opportunities for PBL learning experiences and virtual mentoring opportunities.

 

Additionally, meal pickup will be available for virtual families as we return to in-person learning. Parents will be able to request meals on a weekly basis using ParentSquare. Meals will be available for pickup at all schools throughout the district. Meals will need to be ordered one week in advance via ParentSquare. Families will be encouraged to access and use the P-EBT funds provided on pre-loaded cards to purchase healthy meals and options for their families. School counselors, social workers, and support staff will continue to identify families in need and provide resources to access food and meals. For in-school meals, schools will allow students access to breakfast meals even after the morning bell, including allowing students to bring grab-and-go meals into the classroom.

 

Fairfield County School District understands personal and work-related stress can cause adverse social and emotional issues that interfere with daily routines including the ability to work at full capacity. The district will implement an Employee Assistance Program which will offer counseling and other support services to all employees at minimal or no cost.

 

Employee Assistance Programs provide confidential assistance with counseling, financial and legal consultation, work-life assistance, and crisis intervention services. Employees and family members will have direct access to EAP-related resources via the district or service provider websites.

 

 

Periodic Review

 

Overview

 

Districts are required to review and, as appropriate, revise their Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan at least every six months through September 30, 2023, including seeking public input and taking such input into account in determining whether to revise the plan and, if revisions are determined necessary, on the revisions it makes to its plan.

 

If a district developed a plan prior to enactment of the ARP Act that was made publicly available and was developed with public comment, but does not address each of the required aspects of safety established in the ARP Act, the district must, as part of the required periodic review, revise its plan consistent with the ARP Act requirements no later than six months after it last reviewed its plan. 

 

District response on ensuring periodic updates to its plan 

 

Fairfield County School District will formally review and update the plan twice a year, in September and March. Fairfield County School District will continue to gather input and feedback from the stakeholders using the established email address, fcsdesser@fairfield1.org. Additionally, the use of surveys, Town Hall Meetings, focus groups (i.e. Teacher Forum, Student Advisory Group, business partnerships), and public comment during the monthly board meetings will allow the district to receive ongoing input and feedback. We anticipate the Reopening Plan will change as guidance is updated from the CDC and/or DHEC.

Public Input

 

Overview

 

The ARP Act requires that school districts make their Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan available to the public online and that the plans be in an understandable and uniform format; to the extent practicable, are written in a language that parents can understand or, if not practicable, orally translated; and upon request by a parent who is an individual with a disability, provided in an alternative format accessible to that parent. Before making its plan publicly available, school districts must seek public comment on the plan and develop the plan after taking into account public comment. 

 

District response on public input in the development of its plan 

 

The Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan Survey was posted on the district website, was sent via ParentSquare, and was shared via our social media platforms on Friday, June 4, 2021. The survey closed for submissions on Monday, June 14, 2021. The district has over 240 responses and over 100 comments from various stakeholders. These responses were reviewed by district personnel and a summary of the results will be posted on the district’s website for public review.

 

Survey results and feedback were reviewed and used in the development of the Safe Return In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan. The responses from the survey indicate the following: Almost 67% of the respondents plan to have their child report to in-person instruction in August 2021. Over 52.5% of the respondents are very concerned about the student’s social and emotional well-being. Over 55% of the respondents are very concerned about the well-being of teachers and staff. Over 54% of the respondents are very concerned about the cleaning and maintenance of healthy facilities.

 

Fairfield County School District plans to use the feedback provided to develop and implement a plan to combat the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate its effects on the overall school environment for the 2021-2022 school year. The ESSER III plan will include efforts to increase academic achievement and learning recovery; resources for instruction; additional mental, social, and emotional support for students and staff, and the cleaning and maintenance of healthy facilities; support for special populations; and measures to mitigate and stop the spread of COVID-19.