CMCSS Reopening Update August 20
August 20, 2020
Good evening, CMCSS families,
Tonight, we have a few updates and several reminders for families. Thank you in advance for taking the time to thoroughly review today’s reopening update!
Metrics: CMCSS and the Montgomery County Health Department (MCHD) are, on a daily basis, reviewing the several COVID-19 metrics in Montgomery County. Regarding the % of COVID-19 in the community metric, MCHD informed CMCSS that there was a delay in the entry of recovered cases into the data system which directly affects the accuracy of the current number of active cases. Although Montgomery County has hovered right between low to medium spread, the percentage would be lower based on this information. The Tennessee Department of Health is actively updating the calculation. Because of this, MCHD does not recommend using the % of COVID-19 in the community as a basis for transitioning from traditional to remote. CMCSS and MCHD will continue reviewing multiple metrics and will be adding metrics over time such as employee and student absentee rates. CMCSS is continuing to move forward with a traditional reopening on Aug. 31 for families that chose that model for their child(ren). As always, families choosing traditional for their child(ren) should make preparations throughout the year in the event that individuals are quarantined and/or school buildings are closed and remote learning must take place.
Quarantines: The 14-day quarantine period restarts any time an individual comes into close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Furthermore, a household contact is an individual who shares any living spaces with a case. This includes bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms, kitchens, etc. Household contacts must be quarantined for 14 days after the case has completed their (minimum) 10-day isolation period (whether the case is symptomatic or not). The quarantine period could be 24 days or more. This guidance is from the Tennessee Department of Health: Releasing Cases and Contacts from Isolation and Quarantine.
- Close contact: any individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 10 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.
Communicating Quarantines/Rolling Closures: Because transitions on the Continuum of Learning could happen at any time based on unpredictable, ever-changing conditions of the pandemic, similar to inclement weather, in most scenarios, families will not have much advance notice of a transition. Families choosing traditional for their child(ren) should make preparations throughout the year in the event that individuals are quarantined and/or school buildings are closed and remote learning must take place.
- School-wide or district-wide transitions: The CMCSS Communications Department will contact families via telephone and email using the SchoolMessenger platform in the event of school-wide or district-wide transitions from traditional to remote or remote to traditional. Additionally, this information will be listed on www.cmcss.net.
- Classrooms or groups of students: In the event that an individual classroom or group of students must quarantine and learning will transition from traditional to remote for those specific students, school administrators will contact families via telephone and email and provide a timeframe in which students may return to school.
Fan attendance at Athletic Events: Following guidance from TSSAA, all CMCSS facilities and stadiums have limited seating capacities for all sporting events. Masks are required for all spectators. Families are allowed to sit together, but spectators must remain physically distant whenever possible from all other spectators. CMCSS has the authority to enforce health and safety guidelines for spectators and the right to remove spectators who do not adhere to the guidelines. Additionally, school and district leaders have the authority to prohibit spectators if there are concerns.
Reminders for All Families
- All CMCSS students (traditional and CMCSS K-12 Virtual) will have half days of school on August 31 and September 1. The first full day of school will be Wednesday, September 2. For information on half-day schedules, please visit your child’s school’s website.
- Students, employees, and anyone visiting a CMCSS facility is required to self-screen prior to entering. Self-screening, wearing masks, and taking proper safety precautions will be essential in mitigating the spread of COVID-19. For more information about self-screening, please click here to review the CMCSS Traditional Model Safety and Health Update.
- Families who may be eligible for Free and Reduced Meals, but have not yet filled out the application, can do so on www.schoolcafe.com until October 21. Child Nutrition will provide a contact-free payment process this year. Parents can begin loading money in advance on www.schoolcafe.com.
Reminders for Traditional Families
- CMCSS face mask requirements are based on local, state, and national guidance, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC, as well as feedback from families and employees. For more information about our mask requirements, please click here to review the CMCSS Traditional Model Safety and Health Update. The following are important highlights from the requirements:
- All students utilizing CMCSS transportation are required to wear masks while on the bus.
- All students (general education and special populations in elementary, middle, and high school) are required to wear masks in all common areas, and anywhere in the building where physical distancing cannot be maintained, including classrooms.
- All employees are required to wear masks in all common areas, and anywhere in the building where physical distancing cannot be maintained, including classrooms.
- Click here for the current CMCSS return to School/Work Flowchart that all students and employees are required to follow.
- CMCSS will limit nonessential visitors from the school environment to prevent crowding, and access to the building will be limited for all visitors. Lunchtime visitors will not be permitted. Out of an abundance of caution and due to current health and safety protocols, parents/guardians will not be permitted to walk students to their classrooms on the first half day of school. The district especially understands that parents/guardians of kindergarten students experience a mix of emotions as their children begin school. Schools will reach out to families to provide more information about how faculty, staff, and administrators will make this transition as smooth as possible during the pandemic.
- Families should anticipate that class sizes will be roughly the same as they were before the pandemic. Although there will be fewer students in the school buildings, the district still has the same number of teachers to serve students in the district overall.
- The Transportation Department is adding more stops on routes to allow for better physical distancing at bus stops. There will be less students riding on CMCSS school buses. Because of this, the district will be able to reduce capacities on buses. Currently, the Transportation Department is projecting an average ridership per bus of around 38 for middle and high and up to 50 for elementary. Bus stop information will be emailed to families tomorrow. Families may also click here to visit the zoning and transportation site. All students utilizing CMCSS transportation are required to wear masks while on the bus.
- Elementary students will still participate in specials during the school day. However, to reduce traffic in the hallways and better cohort students, teachers will rotate so students can stay in their classrooms.
- There will not be back-to-school nights for elementary students this year. In the coming days, teachers will reach out to families to introduce themselves and welcome their students.
- Middle school sixth-grade jumpstarts and high school freshman orientations will be determined by each school. For questions, please contact the school directly.
- Water fountains will be taped off, placed out of order, and unavailable until further notice. Students should bring enough bottled water with them to last the entire school day. Touchless water bottle filling stations can still be utilized. However, these stations are not available at all school locations and it is not feasible for providing water for an entire school. The district will continue to explore options for hydration.
Reminders for CMCSS K-12 Virtual Families
- Learning Mentor (LM) training will be emailed to all LMs and parents on Monday, Aug. 24. This training is self-paced and can be completed on your own time, but it must be completed by September 1.
- Meals will be available for K-12 Virtual students wishing to participate. The first meal pick-up will be Tuesday, September 1, from 1-2 p.m. at each student’s enrolled school. After that, meal pick-up will be each Monday (or the first day of the school week) from 1-2 p.m. All meals should be purchased in advance. Each school will communicate the pick-up location with their families.