Health, Safety, & COVID-19 Protocols
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Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
All students and staff will be required to wear face masks during their time in the classrooms and hallways. The requirement to wear face masks in Michigan has resulted in the near universal supply of masks among students and faculty. The fit, feel, and style of a family provided mask will likely lead to greater comfort over the course of a school day. Therefore, all families are encouraged to secure the preferred style of mask best suited to the needs of their children. Ideally, students will have both a primary and secondary mask on them each school day. Reusable masks must be washed at home each day and disposable masks but must be discarded daily.
It is understood that there will be situations in which a mask is forgotten, lost, or damaged. The district will have ample supply of masks readily available to meet the needs that arise throughout the school day. The district will also be prepared to support students with reusable masks as specific circumstances require.
Students are encouraged to carry a personal size hand sanitizer with them between school and home. As hand washing with soap and water is most effective, this will be taught as a best practice and scheduled by elementary classroom teachers prior to lunch. A 60% or higher alcohol based hand sanitizer will be provided in every classroom, office, and common space.
If a student or faculty member presents with COVID-19 symptoms during the school day, they will be asked to wear an N95 mask as recommended in the Return to Learning Roadmap. Otherwise, N95 masks will not be utilized to ensure maximum supplies are available for hospitals and first responders.
Classroom PPE Tool Kit
All staff interacting with students will be provided an initial supply of PPE, cleaning supplies, and other resources for themselves and students. These items will be replenished as needed. The identified cleaning supplies, soaps, and hand sanitizers have been selected to ensure they comply with CDC and other standards and to prevent unintended consequences such as undesirable fragrances to the greatest extent feasible. Fragrance-free has been an operational goal as products have been identified and this approach will be maintained as stock is replenished (unless shortages prevent it).
The MI Safe Return to School Roadmap requires all staff and students in grades 6-12 to wear face coverings at all times, except when eating or drinking or when not medically viable. The Roadmap requires K-5 students to wear face coverings outside of the classroom and strongly recommends K-5 students wear them in the classroom. EGRPS will require K-5 students to wear masks both in and outside of the classroom as an additional precaution. EGRPS may make adjustments to this requirement as conditions warrant. Teachers will provide mask breaks to students with necessary social distancing. The CDC recommends cloth face coverings as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the cloth face covering coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. The district will make face masks available to both staff and students; however, families are encouraged to supply their own masks so students can wear their preferred fit/style.
Cleaning & Disinfecting
The district is committed to ensuring that intensified cleaning occurs in compliance with the Return to School Roadmap, industry standards, and best practices. To accomplish this mission, every employee will play an important role in ensuring the spaces they work in are maintained and cleaned throughout the day. The district is also investing in additional custodial staffing and is actively recruiting individuals to fill four additional cleaning positions that will be focused on day-time cleaning. The following summary of cleaning protocols will occur each school day:
- The district will use an EPA-approved disinfectant specifically listed for use against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) (List N)
- Every classroom will be equipped with a towelette bucket system with the selected disinfectant.
- Every classroom will be equipped with a spray bottle of the same disinfectant.
- All disinfectants will be clearly labeled
- Each building will be thoroughly cleaned each evening and students and staff will arrive to clean classrooms.
- The HVAC operation schedule has been extended to provide for after hours operation to fully exchange the indoor air with outdoor air.
General Cleaning Standards
- The HVAC operation schedule has been modified to increase fresh/outdoor air exchanges by approximately 100% during the school day. This is universally true across the district except in select spaces where a smaller increase is limited due to mechanical design.
- Teachers will clean frequently touched surfaces in the classroom including light switches, doors, tables, desks at least every four hours at the elementary level.
- Teachers will clean frequently touched surfaces in the classroom including light switches, doors, tables, desks between each class at the secondary level.
- Custodial staff will clean each bathroom at least one time during the day. Such schedules may involve the cleaning of classroom bathrooms during instruction.
- Custodial staff will clean and disinfect common spaces consistent at least every four hours at all levels.
Elementary Classroom Supplies
The suggested back-to-school supplies listed on each elementary buildings’ website are for individual use only. Families are asked to label all student supplies with each child’s first name and last initial to further support this goal. Frequently used items within the classroom will be assigned to individual students and used exclusively by that student only throughout the school day whenever possible (e.g. some textbooks, devices, etc.). Other items within the classroom will be cleaned, disinfected, and/or sanitized as required per the Return to School Roadmap.
Screening for COVID-19 Symptoms
Parents/guardians will be provided information on how to screen their child(ren) at home for COVID-19 each day before arriving at school. Screening for COVID-19 symptoms includes temperature taking and checking for specific COVID-19 symptoms as defined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). In its July 23, 2020, guidance for schools, the CDC does not currently recommend universal symptom screening (screening all students grades K-12) be conducted by and at school. As a result, parents or caregivers are strongly encouraged to monitor their children for signs of infectious illness every day. Students who are sick should not attend school in-person. Symptom screening will identify only that a person may have an illness, not that the illness is COVID-19. Many of the symptoms of COVID-19 are also common in other childhood illnesses like the common cold, the flu, or seasonal allergies. Of utmost importance, is that students stay home when sick until at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever (temperature of 100.4 or higher) or signs of a fever (chills, feeling very warm, flushed appearance, or sweating) without the use of fever-reducing medicine (e.g., Tylenol).
EGRPS employees will also screen for symptoms before arriving to work in the district. Employees and parents/guardians of children exhibiting unexplained COVID-19 symptoms, testing positive for COVID-19, or in close contact with a COVID-19 infected person should immediately contact the building administrator/building secretary.
The protocols articulated in the EGRPS Return to Learning Plan are based on guidance from the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The KCHD provides daily guidance in this area to Kent County Schools through its School Tool Kit. Data and science about COVID-19 changes daily, thus, the information conveyed in the plan is subject to change based on recommendations from the KCHD and/or the CDC.
Every COVID-19 related situation is unique and will require individualized analysis in regard to the precise steps and communications for implementation. Nevertheless, the graphic displayed provides a general overview of procedures and protocols related to a student or staff member presenting with COVID-19 symptoms, presenting with a positive COVID-19 test, and/or have close contact with a person testing positive for COVID-19. The CDC defines “close contact” as any individual within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes with or without a mask, indoors or outdoors.
Reporting a COVID-19 Concern
The district has established a confidential message box for families to report positive COVID-19 cases or other COVID-19 concerns. Families should call this number as the primary method to make a COVID-19 report. After listening to the prompt, a message providing basic information will be left in a building specific message box. Building administrators will follow-up with a phone call to gather further information and determine next steps. The EGRPS COVID Report Line is: 616-649-6486. Please note this number will not be activated until the first day of school.