School Safety Plan
Introduction (SY 22-23)
The primary goal of this plan is to retain in-person learning for all students. Using the strategies and procedures in this plan, the district aims to retain a safe and healthy setting for all students and staff.
SD 308 has developed this comprehensive Safety Plan to address the operation of schools for the 2022-23 school year, based upon the guidance issued by CDC, endorsed by IDPH and ISBE, and the local considerations and feasibility of measures within our district. The mitigation measures employed may be added or subtracted in response to the prevalence of COVID-19 in the school and/or community setting as addressed in detail in the plan.
The components of this plan are subject to change based upon new or changing guidance from local, state, or federal health authorities, or as needed in response to COVID-19 cases within the schools and/or community.
Mitigation Measures (SY 22-23)
Cleaning & Sanitization
- Cleaning and sanitization will follow CDC guidelines
- Thorough cleaning will occur each evening in every building across the district
- Electrostatic sanitizing sprayers and Kaivac restroom cleaning machines assist with sanitization
- EPA approved disinfecting products will be used to disinfect hard surfaces and restrooms
- School buses will be sanitized each day and high-touch surfaces will be cleaned regularly
- Each classroom space will be provided with disinfectant wipes
- Hand sanitizer will be available in all classrooms and in common areas of the buildings
- Students should use hand sanitizer before and after use of shared equipment
- Items that may have come in contact with a student’s mouth should be cleaned as directed by the manufacturer prior to the next use
Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette
- Visual reminders will be placed throughout the schools to remind students and staff of the importance of frequent hand washing, proper handwashing, and respiratory etiquette
- HVAC air supply, return and exhaust systems will operate as normally scheduled ensuring frequent air changes throughout the occupied times
- Outdoor air intakes and exhaust fans will be maximized to ensure increased ventilation.
- Minimum CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute) per occupant is 15cfm; equating to an outside air damper opened to 20-30%, depending on unit size
- HVAC systems are cleaned and filters replaced on a regular schedule
- If portable fans are used, they should be set up to avoid blowing air directly from one person’s breathing zone to other occupants of a room
- Windows can be open when weather permits to increase the flow of fresh air
- Building entrants are asked not to enter if they are experiencing any of the known signs of COVID-19
- All visitors must follow the district policies regarding entrance to buildings
- Limitations on visitors is at the discretion of building leadership in response to outbreaks of cases in/around the school
- The district does not maintain any requirement in the wearing of masks in schools, on school property, or on school buses (the only exception is when a student is actively symptomatic and being evaluated by a nurse).
- Students, staff, and visitors may choose to wear a mask based on personal risk and/or preference; they should be supported in their decision to do so.
- People at high risk of becoming very sick from COVID-19 should talk to a healthcare provider about wearing a mask and taking other precautions.Masks such as N95, KN95 and KF94 are highly effective in protecting the wearer.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that at low and medium COVID-19 Community Levels, masking be optional. When the COVID-19 Community Level is high, CDC recommends universal indoor masking in schools and other community settings.
- The district does not have a policy requiring students or staff to disclose their vaccination status to the school district.
- The CDC guidance states: staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations is the leading public health strategy to prevent severe disease. Not only does it provide individual-level protection, but high vaccination coverage reduces the burden of COVID-19 on people, schools, healthcare systems, communities, and individuals who are not vaccinated or may not develop a strong immune response from the vaccines.
- There is not a minimum distance required between individuals in schools and on buses.
- There are no capacity-based limitations on occupants in a space, however where space allows, distancing can be maximized to lower the opportunity for illness to spread.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
When performing clinical evaluation of a sick individual exhibiting active symptoms of COVID-19, school nurses will use enhanced droplet and contact transmission-based precautions in addition to providing the student with a disposable mask to wear. Staff performing this evaluation should use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) which may include:
- Fit-tested N95 respirator
- Eye protection with face shield or goggles
Personnel responsible for cleaning areas used by an individual known or suspected to have COVID-19 should use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), which may include:
- Fit-tested N95 respirator
- Eye protection with face shield or goggles
Masks are not required on school buses for riders and drivers, but may be worn if desired.
Related Service Providers and Special Education Staff
Additional equipment is available to staff engaged in providing related services or those working with students where social distancing can’t be maintained and/or hygiene practices present concern for the staff member:
- When assessing or conducting therapy or engagement with students at a table, plexiglass table top dividers can be used.
- Reusable clear face shields, clear masks, gloves, and paper gowns are available to the staff member to use as desired.
Illness (SY 22-23)
Students and staff should not attend school/work when sick. Anyone exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19 (listed below) should isolate at home, and test for COVID-19 and/or be evaluated by a medical provider before returning to school/work. Testing is recommended regardless of vaccination status. The presence of fever, vomiting, and/or diarrhea requires that students/staff remain home for at least 24 hours after resolution of the symptom(s) without the use of fever-reducing medication.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Fever (100.4°F or higher)
- New onset of moderate to severe headache
- Shortness of breath
- New cough
- Sore throat
- New loss of sense of taste or smell
- Fatigue from an unknown cause
- Muscle or body aches from unknown causes
Illness at School (SY 22-23)
- If a student develops illness while at school, they may be sent to the nurse’s office for evaluation.
- Upon evaluation, if COVID-19 is suspected, a nurse may offer the parent/guardian the option to have their student receive a rapid test to rule out COVID-19, and avoid being sent home; parent permission is required prior to testing students.
- Students and staff with chronic or seasonal conditions which present symptoms similar to COVID-19 may provide clinical documentation to the nurse, to be referenced when such symptoms present at school.
- In lieu of a test, when symptomatic, a note from a medical provider can be used to return to school. The note should include an alternative diagnosis and/or stating there is no suspicion of COVID-19, and that the student/staff is clear to return to school.
- Regardless of testing, any person with a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea cannot return to school until fever-free for 24 hours, without use of fever-reducing medications, and free from vomiting or diarrhea for 24 hours.
- Parents and staff should follow normal procedures for reporting absence when students are ill.
- If someone develops symptoms following a known exposure (within 6 feet for 15+ minutes) to a positive case of COVID-19, an individual may be presumed as positive unless a negative test result is received.
COVID-19 Positive (SY 22-23)
- A positive COVID-19 test result requires 5 days of isolation (Communicable Disease Code, 77 Ill. Admin Code 690, Subpart I) after symptom onset (for symptomatic person) or specimen collection date of positive test (for asymptomatic person), AND resolution of fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications, absence of vomiting and diarrhea for 24 hours, and improvement of other symptoms. Vaccination does NOT negate the isolation requirement.
- On days 6-10 CDC states individuals should wear a mask and avoid close contact with others.
- Parents and staff members may access current COVID-19 positive metrics by school building on the district website.
- When 3 or more cases are related by time and location (example: in the same class, or on the same team), a specific email notification will be made to others who may have also been exposed in that setting, at that time.
Reporting a Positive COVID-19 Test (SY 22-23)
An online COVID-19 reporting form should be completed when a student or employee has tested positive for COVID-19.
- Reports will then be sent to the building and certified nurse for the related building/department.
- An email will be sent to the parent or staff member upon form completion, including directives regarding staying home and when it is appropriate to return to school/work.
- When more than 3 cases are potentially connected by time and location, that information is shared with the Kendall County Health Department.
Exposure to COVID-19 (SY 22-23)
- The CDC defines close contacts as individuals who were closer than 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer in a 24 hour period (unless both persons were fully masked, in a school setting, then close contact is 3 feet or closer).
- Exclusion of a student or staff member is not required following exposure, as long as no symptoms begin; unless otherwise directed by the local health department.
- Persons may choose to self isolate at home following a known exposure, absence should be reported following normal procedures.
- Testing is highly recommended at least two times in the 10 days following exposure. District-coordinated testing availability can be found on the COVID Resources tab of the district website.
- Three or more cases epidemiologically linked, and documented, by known exposure with respect to place (same classroom) and time (within 14 calendar days).
- Outbreaks are reported to the local health department and may prompt an investigation.
- Cases potentially linked within a classroom, school, or activity could result in additional mitigation measures, such as social distancing and optional testing for close contacts.
Mitigation Strategy Layers (SY 22-23)
Layered mitigation strategies may be used in response to a rise in cases in the class/team, grade level, building, or district.
Each measure will be considered individually, based upon the current situation, possible transmission sources, and the population impacted.
Optional screening program to test unvaccinated students and staff to identify unknown cases of COVID-19.
- Participation would be opt-in from parents, with signed permission.
- Depending on the source of risk
(COVID-19 cases in school or increase in community cases), the testing program could include all students and staff who have opted in, or a randomized sample to help identify prevalence of asymptomatic cases in school
Required Testing for High-Risk Sports/Activities
Required screening testing prior to an event/contest in which social distancing would be difficult to attain and risk is high for the participating population.
- A testing strategy may be employed for participation in extracurricular activities where risk is determined to be great.
- Requires parent permission.
- Could be conducted at school or other testing locations.
Limited Movement in Buildings
Limit potential exposure by reducing the unnecessary movement of students in buildings
Example: bring specials to elementary classes rather than moving the class to the special room.
- Strategy more applicable at younger grades and in self-contained classes.
Capacity Restrictions in Large Gathering Spaces
Place a capacity limit on spaces where distancing is difficult and large numbers of students/staff are gathered (auditorium/gym).
- Place 75% or 50% limitations on spaces to reduce potential exposure.
- Consider virtual-alternatives to large gatherings of people.
Use of Barriers When Social Distancing is Difficult
Add temporary plexiglass dividers to tables/desks between individuals in spaces where distancing is not possible and exposure exceeds 15 minutes.
- In certain settings where mitigations are difficult to utilize, or respiratory etiquette is not consistent, barriers may be used.
Metrics (SY 22-23)
As COVID-19 cases in students and staff are reported, the data on the district website will be updated. The data will indicate the number of positive cases of COVID-19 reported each day, by building, and if the report is for a student or staff member. This data will serve as the primary source of information when monitoring trends.
Since COVID-19 testing is frequently self-administered and not results not reported to the state, area metrics will not be used to make determinations on the appropriate mitigation changes within the district. Parents and staff members are encouraged to visit the CDC website for more information about how community levels are determined and any associated recommendations they may choose to utilize.
A rolling average case count will be tracked daily. Any upward trends (increase over the average for 14 days or longer) or outbreaks (3 or more cases connected by time/place) could result in the consideration of additional layers of mitigation and/or a consultation with the health department.
Special Settings (SY 22-23)
- Eating surfaces in the lunchroom will be cleaned as often as feasible throughout the lunch serving periods, sanitizing wipes are available in eating areas for student use as desired.
- Masks are recommended for vehicle occupants when riding in a driver's education vehicle.
- Students are asked to utilize hand sanitizer before and after driving/riding in the driver’s education vehicle.
- Disinfectant is available for student drivers and staff to wipe hard surfaces (wheel, signals, seat belt buckle, etc.).
Band and Choir
Singing and instrumental music produced by woodwind or brass instruments may be considered a higher-risk activity due to the aggressive expelling of respiratory droplets. Additional precautions to consider during these activities include:
- Instructors giving preference to outdoor rehearsals and performances
- Ventilation quality to be considered when determining location of practices and performances.
- Avoiding unnecessary sharing of equipment where the mouth may come into contact (such as mouthpieces) and follow manufacturer’s instructions to clean thoroughly between uses.
- Encourage physical distancing between individual performers (singers and musicians, teacher and student), and also between performers and audience members when feasible.
- Athletes are encouraged to wash hands and utilize hand sanitizer before and after utilizing shared equipment.
- Athletes and coaching staff should NOT attend practices and/or contests while experiencing illness; testing is recommended anytime COVID-19 symptoms are present.
- While screening testing for COVID-19 is not part of the district’s safety plan, it may be employed at certain periods of outbreak within a group of students, and may be required for participation in high-risk extracurricular activities during that specific time.
- Team members will be notified anytime 3 or more cases have been identified within their group, constituting an outbreak, which could result in additional mitigation measures being implemented.
- Any additional guidance regarding athletics issued by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) will be considered and implemented as required.
Disclaimer (SY 22-23)
This guidance has been developed using information published to schools by the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Department of Public Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and provided to the Kendall County Health Department.