July 14, 2020 – The purpose of this document is to provide guidelines to Nevada County educational institutions— including public, private, independent and parochial TK-12 schools—to facilitate and return to site-based classroom instruction for the Fall 2020-2021 school year. The evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic requires the need to rethink common protocols and practices in the classroom setting with the understanding that these guidelines could change as the situation evolves.
We recognize that each school has unique environments and that we are advising you to do all that you can to keep your students and employees safe from infection. For some schools, this may result in a combination of onsite and distance learning. Each school, however, should develop a reopening plan that is consistent with the guidelines provided by the California Department of Public Health.
- All activities are consistent with and will adjust to changing applicable state and local Public Health orders.
- Health and safety practices and protocols are in place, including hand washing, appropriate face coverings, and access to essential protective equipment.
- Training is provided to all staff and students reinforcing the importance of health and safety practices and protocols.
- A single point of contact will be established and identified at each school site to direct questions or concerns around practices, protocols, or potential exposure. This person will also serve as a liaison to Nevada County Public Health.
- Plans are implemented for intensified cleaning and disinfecting, including training for staff and access to cleaning supplies and essential protective equipment, and regular disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces.
- Schools may implement screening measures for students and adults entering campus; however, doing so would likely be challenging to implement especially for larger schools. We do recommend asking families to take temperatures each morning prior to school. Anyone with a fever of 100.4 or higher should not come to campus. Students and adults should also screen themselves for the COVID-19 symptoms identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including
• Fever or chills
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• Muscle or body aches
• New loss of taste or smell
• Sore throat
• Congestion or runny nose
• Nausea or vomiting
Students and adults experiencing those symptoms should not attend school.
- Staff and students who are symptomatic or sick are expected to stay home until they are fever-free for 72 hours without fever reducing medications.
- Schools and districts will cooperate with Nevada County Public Health to support testing strategies to mitigate transmission of COVID-19, including the possibility of testing for staff at the beginning of the school year, and then regularly thereafter. This may include testing of students with appropriate parental permissions obtained in advance, This recommendation is based on local availability of no-cost testing.
- Protocols, actions and template communications are in place for the following COVID-19 related scenarios (see attached document, COVID-19 Exposure Guide for Schools):
a. A student or staff member either exhibits COVID-19 symptoms, answers yes to a health screening question or has a temp of 100.4 or above.
b. A family member or someone in close contact with a student or staff member test positive for COVID-19.
c. A student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19.
d. A student or staff member tests negative for COVID-19 after any of the reasons scenarios a, b or c.
- Maintain at least six feet between adults and students and between students within a classroom or instructional area where requirements herein are in practice.
- For elementary schools, stable classroom cohorts (up to standard class size at each respective grade level) are maintained throughout each school day, and through each quarter or semester, with an assigned primary cohort teacher, and systems are in place to prevent the mixing of classroom cohorts.
- For middle and high schools, larger cohorts made up of students from more than one classroom may be arranged as long as accurate attendance data for students and adults is maintained on a daily basis while avoiding schoolwide mixing of students and staff.
- Where practicable, desks are arranged facing forward to minimize face to face proximity between students.
- School staff are permitted to visit and instruct more than one classroom cohort, strictly following physical distancing and face covering protocols, and must document/record visits to classrooms that are not identified as their primary classroom cohort.
- Routes for entry and exit to the campus will be designated for each classroom cohort, using as many entrances/exits as feasible.
- Schedules for arrivals, recess and lunch will be strategically coordinated to prevent mixing of classroom cohorts.
- Congregate movement through hallways will be minimized as much as practicable.
- Large gatherings (i.e., school assemblies) are currently prohibited.
- The use of outdoor space for instructional purposes is maximized, shared, and coordinated to ensure students remain in their cohort.
- Use of shared playground equipment will be limited in favor of physical activities that require less contact with surfaces, and shared equipment will be cleaned between uses.
- Use of non-classroom space for instruction such as gymnasiums and multi-use rooms should be considered to support physical distancing with cleaning between uses.
- Meals will be served in classrooms or outside instead of cafeterias or dining rooms with individually plated or bagged meals as much as practicable.
- Routines and schedules will be developed to enable students and staff to regularly wash their hands at staggered intervals.
- All staff as well as all students TK-12th grade are required to wear face coverings while in the classroom and on campus, unless there is a medical or behavioral contraindication, in which case face shields can be worn in lieu of face coverings. A physician’s note is not required to make this determination, but should be decided in consultation with parents, teachers and administration. For more information and talking points regarding face coverings, please see:
• Nevada County Public Health’s Masks Make a Difference Flyer
• California Department of Public Health Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Considerations for Wearing Cloth Face Coverings
- Training will be provided for staff and students on proper use of face coverings which will include instruction to minimize touching of face coverings.
- Sharing of supplies, manipulatives, toys, sports equipment, and other learning and recreational materials will be limited and each student will have separate individually labeled boxes or cubbies.
- Sharing of electronic devices, clothing, books and other games or learning aides will be avoided as much as practicable.
- Use of privacy boards or clear screens will be considered as much as practicable.
- Non-essential visitors, including parent volunteers will be limited and essential workers will be required to adhere to all health and safety guidelines.
- A School Site-Specific Protection Plan outlining the above measures should be completed, posted and shared with all stakeholders and updated as state and local Public Health guidance dictates.
● California Department of Public Health COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Schools and School Based Programs
● Center for Disease Control – Schools Decision Tree
● California Department of Education – Stronger Together: A Guidebook for the Safe Reopening of California’s Public Schools