Health and Safety in 2020-21

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Information is current as of Jan. 14 and subject to change.

During the 2020-21 school year, the health and safety of students, staff and the community is a top priority as Poudre School District educates children while adapting to the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic.

District and school leaders will continue to work with and follow guidance and orders from public health officials to meet evolving health and safety requirements and to implement district COVID-19 protocols at all schools and sites. Throughout the year, procedures and expectations will be monitored continuously to ensure schools and district buildings are safe environments for everyone. Some local and state agencies the district is working with include the:

  • Colorado Department of Education (CDE)
  • Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE)
  • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)
  • Colorado Governor's Office
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


Overall expectations and monitoring at schools and sites:alt=""

  • Face coverings: Students and staff will be required to wear face coverings that covers their mouth and nose. Parents/guardians are responsible for providing their students with face coverings. See more information in the FAQ section below. 
  • Students and staff who are sick should stay home to care for themselves and keep others from getting sick.
  • Procedures will be implemented to check for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, based on public health guidance. 
    • All PSD employees will be required to conduct a COVID-19 screening before entering a school or district building using a district app. 
    • Families must check their student(s) for COVID-19 symptoms daily and not send them to school if they have a fever of more than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or are sick. 
  • Students will be separated into cohorts at school, as possible, to reduce contact and possible COVID-19 exposure and to allow for contact tracing as necessary.  
  • PSD will regularly communicate and monitor developments with local authorities, employees and families about exposures and cases of COVID-19, and keep them informed about updates to policies and procedures. PSD is actively collaborating with county health officials on plans for possible exposure, contact tracing and school closures.


The list of health and safety procedures below are in place at all schools and sites for all phases during the 2020-21 school year. 

 

General school health and safety procedures

Face Coverings: Requirements and Medical Exemptions from Requirements

Face coverings: 

  • All PSD staff and students are required to wear face coverings on school grounds.
  • Although many face coverings are acceptable and follow Larimer County Department of Health and Environment guidance, face coverings should: 
    • Be worn on the face
    • Be clean and in good repair
    • Be secure - fit snugly, but comfortably against the side of the face
    • Include multiple layers of fabric
    • Allow for breathing without restriction
    • Be machine washable and dried 
    • Be laundered on a daily basis
  • Cloth face coverings should not: 
    • Have anything hanging off the facial covering that would create a food safety hazard
    • Have holes or tears
    • Masks should not be shared with others
    • A face shield alone is NOT sufficient. If a face shield is worn, it must be coupled with a cloth face covering to meet public health guidance.    
  • “Mask breaks” will take place periodically and outdoors for health department-approved time without face coverings. 
  • Students will be allowed to take their cloth face masks off for recess, following public health guidelines.
  • Review PSD’s Student COVID-19 Face Coverings Protocols here.
    • If students repeatedly refuse to wear a cloth face covering or otherwise repeatedly fail to comply with this protocol, the willful disobedience or defiance to follow direction from school staff will be considered grounds for student discipline up to and including suspension or expulsion and/or require a transfer to PSD Virtual, PSD’s 100 percent online option for the 2020-21 school year.

 

Medical exemptions from face covering requirement 
There may be rare instances when students or employees with some medical conditions or disabilities may be exempt from wearing a cloth face covering while at school. 

  • First talk with your school principal to learn more about PSD's process to request an exemption to the face covering requirement. Documentation from a licensed medical provider is required.
  • If a student is approved for a medical exemption, they will need to wear a face shield if they are able; a physical barrier will be put in place (plexiglass, plastic or other); and social distancing of six feet or more will be implemented. Additionally, if an adult(s) is working in close proximity to the student, the adult will wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which will include a gown, gloves, mask, and eye protection.
  • Other potential accommodations or alternatives, depending on the unique circumstance of the request, may include different passing/transition times to maintain distance from other students or attendance at PSD Virtual, PSD’s 100 percent online option.
  • Requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Taking part in the process does not guarantee a mask exemption will be granted.
  • If a student does not qualify for a mask exemption, the student will be expected to wear a face covering while at school.
     

Other Safety Actions (hand washing, school safety features)

 While at school, please keep in mind the three W's - "Wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance." Signage and wayfinding markers will be placed in all PSD schools and facilities to remind the school community about the three W's.

  • Hand washing and other hygiene practices will be promoted through a shared culture of safety.
  • Schools will have a designated isolation room or area to separate anyone who exhibits COVID-like symptoms.
  • Removable plexiglass dividers will be in front offices and possibly in other areas within PSD buildings.
  • Hand-sanitizer and touchless water bottle-filling stations are being installed.  Students will be encouraged to use water bottles and hydration stations since water fountains have been shut off per county orders.
  • All employees will be trained on health and safety protocols.

Social Distancing and Interactions (drop off/pick up times, in classrooms and throughout the school day) during Phase 3

  • Student arrival, drop-off and pick-up times - Students will go directly into the buildings after drop off. Gatherings outside of the school before or after school will not be allowed.
  • Students and staff will maximize social distancing to the fullest extent possible, but it may not be possible in all instances.  All students and staff are asked to limit close contact with others, which is defined by the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment as being within six feet of another person for more than 10 minutes. 
    • When in Phase 4, it may be difficult to maintain social distancing, but efforts will be made to maximize distancing to the fullest extent possible. 
    • Visual cues such as floor decals and/or signs will be utilized to indicate the flow and direction of one-way traffic and effective distancing.
  • Students are separated into cohorts. When at school, students will remain in the same cohort throughout the day at elementary school.
     
  • Classroom guidelines: 
    • Maintain maximum desk/table spacing based on room dimensions.
    • Seating charts will be used in classrooms
    • Classroom floor space will be maximized by removing non-essential furniture.
    • Furniture that can't be disinfected (i.e. soft fabrics) will be removed from classrooms and common areas.
    • Students will have their own school supplies and backpacks. Personal items will remain at the desk with the student.
    • Shared school supplies and materials are discouraged. If supplies are shared, disinfection will take place between uses.
  • Students are encouraged to bring their own water bottles. Drinking fountains will be shut off, per county orders, but bottle-filling stations will be open where available.
  • School lockers are not available except for students who need them for health reasons.
  • Recesses, lunches, and students passing in the halls are staggered to keep students separated. Recess will occur outside with the following protocols 
    • Playground equipment will be used by small groups of students. 
    • Students will wash their hands upon reentering the school. 
    • Recess times will be staggered for each class/cohort.

 

Meals and Recess

Meals when PSD is in Phase 1 Remote Learning - Meals will be available to students at designated meal sites. See the Meals during 2020-21 web page for meal sites and information about meals when PSD is in other phases of education.. 

Outdoor recess

Playground equipment may be used by small groups of students. Students will wash hands or use hand sanitizer before entering and after exiting the playground.

Restrictions for Nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities at schools

  • Nonessential visitors or volunteers are not allowed at schools until further notice.  
  • No field trips, including all 5th grade Eco trips.
  • No in-person assemblies (e.g. all-school assemblies, music performances, extracurricular activities).
  • No large gatherings or meetings over 50 people (county guidance), including events like school supply drop off, back-to-school nights, etc.

Cleaning, Disinfection, and Ventilation

  • Spray bottles of disinfectant for staff use in each classroom. 
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers available in high-traffic areas in district buildings, including at all entryways and main offices.
  • Circulation of outdoor air will be increased as much as possible by opening windows and doors. Additionally, school ventilation systems are designed to recirculate air and are designed to work best when windows are closed. PSD is upgrading air filters to MERV 13 filters throughout buildings to filter out micron levels of COVID-19 where possible.

Priority cleaning schedule for buildings:

  • Daily Cleaning 
    • Restrooms disinfection
    • Locker rooms disinfection
    • Health offices/public areas/reception area
    • Trash/recycling removal
    • High-touch surface disinfection 
    • Sinks and counters disinfection 
    • Vacuum/sweep of hallway floors
    • Entryway door handles and high-touch surfaces 
    • Disinfection with ionizing hydrostatic sprayer
  • Every Other Day Cleaning
    • Vacuum/sweep classroom floors
    • Sweep gym floors
    • Vacuum rooms used for small group learning 
  • Once Per Week Cleaning 
    • Vacuum office area
    • Vacuum media center
    • Scrub gym floor
    • Staff lounge
    • Outside trash removal
    • Detail cleaning (carpet stains, mopping of floors, dusting, etc.)
    • Computer labs

 

Fire and Lockdown Drills

PSD anticipates hosting one fire drill per month. Lockdown drills may be conducted via video training, instead of live, if PSD is in a hybrid model of education. More information will be shared when available.

Transportation

  • Drivers wear face coverings. 
  • Windows and vents on the bus are left open or slightly open at all times for improved ventilation.
  • Buses are disinfected daily and between routes

Students who use PSD buses are expected to follow these protocols: 

  • Students must wear masks or face coverings at all times when on the bus. Students are not permitted to board a PSD bus without a face covering/mask. 
  •  Parents are expected to take their child’s temperature and symptom screen before leaving the house and to ensure that an ill student does not ride the bus.
  • Students entering the bus will load the bus from the rear to the front of the bus and unload the school bus from the front of the bus to the back when possible.
  • Students are not permitted to eat or drink on the bus.

For information about who is eligible for busing, visit the Transportation web page.
 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at Schools and Sites

PPE items include:   

  • PSD logo cloth masks and gaiters for every employee 
  • Face shields for every employee 
  • No touch “germ keys” for every employee 
  • Chalk-based spray paint and a marking stick for outdoor social distancing marking 
  • Small hand sanitizer bottles for classrooms 
  • One “Under the Weather” tent to isolate individuals who become symptomatic during the day 
  • Gloves in a variety of sizes 
  • Disposable non-surgical masks for adults and children 
  • Spray bottles of sanitizer for each classroom and microfiber towels 
  • Social distancing stickers 
  • Push broom sweepers for each classroom 
  • PSD health and safety signage in English and Spanish 
  • Plexiglass barriers for main offices, reception areas, and public spaces

 

 

Procedures for specific classes, school events and athletics

Performing Arts and Music Classes

Requirements for performing arts and music classes: 

  • For all singing, playing of wind/brass instruments, and projected theatrical speech in PSD performing arts classes, 15 feet of distance is required between all participants, indoors or outdoors, during elementary or secondary classes, following the LCDHE current COVID-19 guidance for schools.
  • Masks are required indoors at all times, including for singing. Additionally, for singing and wind/brass playing, all participants must face in the same direction; otherwise the spacing must be doubled (to 30 feet).
  • Wind and brass players should use a mask/face covering that allows them to place their mouthpiece under the mask or through a small slit or flap in the mask (this mask should be used only for instrument playing, and a standard intact mask used for other times of the day).  Outdoor playing can be done without masks if the proper distance is maintained.
  • LCDHE has set the guidance of no indoor singing in non-music classrooms in order to limit the possibility for spread of respiratory droplets and to limit the possible number of students and staff who may need to be quarantined, should a case of COVID-19 be connected to a performing arts or non-music classroom. There is currently no indoor singing in non-music classrooms in PSD (i.e., kindergarten, foreign language).
  • Outdoor singing in non-music classes is permissible if there is 15 feet between each participant. This includes all kinds of singing, notably "Happy Birthday." If "Happy Birthday" is to be sung, schools are advised that it should be done outside at 15 feet of distance, or a recording should be used instead; it is also acceptable for the words to "Happy Birthday" be spoken, instead of sung, indoors in a non-music classroom.   
  • Music will be projected on screens whenever possible or students will be provided a personal copy of the music. There will be no sharing of music.
  • Use of a handheld microphone will be highly discouraged with students and a lapel microphone should be used in its place when possible (unless disinfecting can be done between uses).
  • There will be no public in-person music performances during the first semester at the elementary or secondary levels.  This decision will be revisited prior to the second semester.
  • At the secondary level, students will be encouraged to video themselves playing instruments/singing and use class time for review and/or individual instruction, as well as instruction of the non-performance Music Standards.
  • Elementary music classes will focus on activities that do not involve singing or playing recorders until more information is available, i.e., study results.

 

Science Labs and Art Classes 

  • Educators will limit the use of shared science and art equipment that would be shared among students during a class period.
  • To the extent possible, adequate supplies will be provided to minimize sharing of high-touch materials (art and lab supplies, equipment, etc.). Equipment will be cleaned/disinfected between uses.
  • Individualized digital tools will be utilized, when possible, to lessen students sharing equipment.   

Physical Education Classes

  • Classes will be conducted in a way that students and staff can respect physical distancing guidelines, when possible, classes will be conducted in outdoor spaces. 
  • Educators will limit the use of shared PE equipment and eliminate the use of equipment that would be passed among students during a class period.
  • When used, equipment that is touched or handled by a student will be cleaned/disinfected between students/classes.
  • Students will be advised to dress in clothes that are appropriate for participation in PE to reduce or eliminate the need for lockers.

Athletics

  • PSD will follow guidelines provided by the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA), recommendations from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) regarding team sports and activities.
  • PSD has consulted national, state and local health department protocols and guidance in the creation of the “phased” return to in-person activities plan.
  • All parents/students participating in athletics will sign a release indicating their understanding of the health and safety risks and protocols in place to reduce the exposure to the coronavirus.
  • In compliance with any health orders, it's possible that students may be asked to withdraw from participating in athletics.
  • Participants will be grouped in student cohorts to minimize the potential of spreading the virus. If someone becomes sick, to the greatest extent possible, PSD will try to quickly identify the students who have been in contact with that student.
  • Based on national and state guidelines, district athletic directors and coaches have participated in several training presentations to ensure a clear understanding of the required safety measures and protocols that have been established to minimize the exposure or spread of coronavirus.
  • All sport season timelines and athletic schedules are tentative and subject to change based on CHSAA, State of Colorado, Larimer County and PSD guidelines and restrictions. All athletic teams/programs could be subject to calendar and schedule modifications that will impact scheduled opponent’s, length of the sport season, locations, dates, times and total number of scheduled games and practices.
  • More information: PSD Athletics, Activities and Events web page
     

School Assemblies, Field Trips and Travel

  • All school events such as school assemblies, pep rallies, plays, dances, concerts, back-to-school nights, etc. will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine if they can be held safely. Public health officials will be consulted for all events
  • All field trips and/or other activities outside of school, including 5th-grade ECO trips, will not be allowedfor at least the first quarter (roughly nine weeks after the start of school). Decisions may be made later on a case-by-case basis in accordance with public health guidance and orders. 
  • All out-of-state and international field trips have been canceled through the end of 2020. 

 

Monitoring symptoms, PSD protocols for COVID-19

Staff Symptom Monitoring and PSD Protocols for Staff

All staff are required to symptom and temperature check each day prior to entering the building using PSD’s COVID-19 online application or app. 

Visit the PSD Protocols for COVID-19 web page to see all protocols and learn about state and county guidance and what happens when there is a COVID-19 case in PSD.

Student Symptom Monitoring and PSD Protocols for Students

Student Symptom Monitoring: Student symptom and temperature checks are the responsibility of parents/guardians and should be done prior to students getting on the bus or entering school.

Visit the PSD Protocols for COVID-19 web page to see all protocols and learn about state and county guidance and what happens when there is a COVID-19 case in PSD.

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