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CMCSS 2021-2022 In-Person Learning Health and Safety Overview

May 19, 2021

COVID-19 Exposure Response Plan

The CMCSS Safety and Health Department will investigate any potential exposure cases in the school system in collaboration with the Montgomery County Health Department (MCHD). CMCSS and MCHD collaborate on close contacts and communicate regarding contact tracing.

Click here for the current CMCSS Return to Work/School Flowchart developed by the CMCSS Safety and Health Department in collaboration with MCHD.

Cafeteria/Child Nutrition

Students will eat in the school cafeteria unless otherwise configured by the school. By state law, teachers receive a duty-free lunch period, and in the majority of instances, there are not enough school-based staff members to monitor meals in the classroom. The district will space students as best it can, but parents should not expect that students would be provided with physical distancing from other students while eating breakfast and/or lunch in the school cafeteria. The following are additional protocols that the Child Nutrition Department will follow:

  • All Operations/Child Nutrition employees will self-screen before each shift.
  • Additional training for all Child Nutrition employees (focus on cleaning, disinfecting, specific protocols, and social actions.)
  • Students sharing meal items or placing extra items they do not consume, on what are commonly referred to as “share tables”, will be prohibited.
  • Choices will be further limited and served by staff only.
  • Meals and utensils will be handed to students to reduce contact. 
  • Child Nutrition staff will key in the student IDs to reduce contact with the keypad.

Cleaning/Sanitizing/Facility Operations

The Operations Department has made modifications to procedures to reduce the spread of communicable diseases. For more information from the CDC on how COVID-19 spreads, click here. The following are some of the modifications that will currently be in place:

  • Disinfecting stations will be established at select entrances and throughout the school building.
  • The District will provide sanitizing products in all active classrooms while supplies last.
  • There will be an increased focus on two-step cleaning throughout the day and a decreased focus on window cleanings, floor buffing, etc. In classrooms, students’ desks will be oriented in the same direction.
  • If there is a known outbreak in a room, the room will be extensively deep cleaned to include increased air filtration.
  • An enhanced two-step restroom-cleaning will be in place at the end of the day, and restrooms in classrooms will be cleaned by custodians.
  • The District will increase indoor air filtration from MERV 9 to MERV 13 filters whenever possible.
  • Mechanical systems (HVAC) will run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Increased outdoor air ventilation up to 100% as indoor and outdoor conditions permit.

Extracurricular Activities (Athletics, Clubs, Organizations)

CMCSS will continue following TSSAA’s guidelines regarding spectators at extracurricular events. The district will keep families informed as guidelines are updated throughout the year.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Monitoring Equipment & Personal Hygiene Supplies

Face Masks

In accordance with the CDC’s guidance that fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask, CMCSS strongly encourages students, employees, and visitors who are not vaccinated to wear face coverings in common areas and when physical distancing cannot be maintained anywhere in a building or on transportation. At this time, there will not be a universal face-mask requirement for students, employees, and visitors effective June 1, 2021. 

Cloth face masks should be washed after each use. Face masks must adhere to the Student Dress Code in the Student Code of Conduct: Obscene, profane, transparent fabrics/cloth, netting, open holes, provocative, violent, or inflammatory words or pictures, or advertising alcoholic beverages, drugs, drug paraphernalia or tobacco products are prohibited from wearing, while on school property or at any school-sponsored activity, any type of clothing, apparel, or accessory, which denotes such students’ membership in or affiliation with any gang (T.C.A. § 49-6-4215).

For more information from the CDC on the use of cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19, click here.

According to the CDC, it is not known if face shields provide any benefit as source control to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles. The CDC does not recommend the use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings.

PPE

CMCSS will continue to purchase PPE and monitor supply levels and order supplies as needed as funding allows.

School nurses will be provided with N-95’s, surgical masks, gloves, protective gowns, and face shields.

As recommended by the CDC, washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. Students and staff will be required to wash hands throughout the day. When soap and water are not available, hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol is an acceptable substitute. Hand sanitizing stations will be placed throughout school buildings and in cafeterias.

Sneeze guards are installed in all front offices.

Physical Distancing

Physical distancing, sometimes referred to as social distancing, is simply the act of keeping people separated with the goal of limiting the spread of contagion between individuals. There is a conflict between optimal academic and social/emotional learning in schools and strict adherence to current physical distancing guidelines. Each school will develop guidelines to promote physical distancing that are developmentally appropriate and feasible.

Self-Screening

Employees will be expected to self-screen, including temperature checks, before entering school premises.

Self-screening protocols for students and visitors will continue. Families are strongly encouraged to engage in self-screening at home prior to each school day. Click here for updated guidance from the CDC regarding screening K-12 students for symptoms of COVID-19.

Self-Screening Protocol

Have you had any of the below symptoms as a new-onset in the past 72 hours? (This does not include chronic conditions)

  • fever of 100 degrees or greater
  • new onset of a cough
  • new onset of shortness of breath
  • new onset of sore throat
  • new onset of body aches
  • diarrhea
  • new onset of headache
  • new onset of loss of taste or smell
  • nausea or vomiting
  • congestion or runny nose
  • chills
  • fatigue

If “yes”, please consult your personal health care provider before returning to any CMCSS locations. Students, employees, and visitors who are sick must follow the CMCSS Flowchart.

School-Based Mitigation Measures

Each school building will utilize its School Safety team to ensure proper hygiene measures are in place throughout the school year. The School Safety team will attempt to maintain minimization of the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the following areas:

  • Identify specific handwashing times for each class
  • Implement hand sanitizer stations in the front office areas and throughout the building
  • Procure and use disinfecting and personal hygiene supplies
  • Mass gatherings such as assemblies and pep rallies will be approved on a case-by-case basis.
  • In-person field trips will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis; virtual field trips are encouraged, where feasible.
  • Procure and use signage to communicate policies and procedures to staff, students, and families
  • Identify Health Screening Rooms and protocols for immediate removal of symptomatic individuals
  • Develop school-specific plans for how people enter and exit the building and who may be allowed in different parts of the building to reduce traffic and congestion.
  • When feasible, limit class exchanges, have teachers rotate between classes, and cohort students as much as possible.
  • Students will be required to have assigned seats, and when feasible, will remain with cohorts to minimize cross-over with other students and staff.
  • Ensure that employees and students that are on quarantine are not entering the school building.

School Nurses

The following are some of the specific responsibilities of the school nurse during the pandemic:

  • The Safety & Health Department will take the lead on the COVID-19 Exposure Response Plan. The school nurse will ensure school staff and families know how to contact the Safety & Health Department.
  • School nurses will assess and evaluate students exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Evaluate the current school nurse designated space and determine if there is an adjacent space for health screenings.
  • Each school is required to have a Health Screening Room for anyone displaying COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Each school will have a system in place for the nurse to triage sick students so that students receiving well services aren’t exposed to sick children.
  • Use standard transmission-based precautions when caring for sick people.
  • Inventory and request supplies for school clinics (sanitizer, soap, tissues, paper towels, trash cans for the Health Screening Room that are no touch or without lids, cleaners/disinfectants, PPE, etc.)
  • Closely monitor school health data.
  • Educate students and families on when they should stay home and when they may return to school in conjunction with their medical provider/Montgomery County Health Department.
  • School nurses will add student exclusions to the EMR per the CMCSS flowchart.
  • School nurses will upload any COVID-19 Vaccination information provided to the school in the EMR.

Transportation

Passengers on school buses will not always be afforded physical distance from other students. Parents and guardians selecting a traditional return to school for their children and who request transportation should not expect that their child(ren) will be physically distanced from their classmates during their ride to and from school. The following protocols will be in place on CMCSS transportation:

  • All employees must self-screen
  • Hand sanitizer will be available on all buses.
  • Additional bus stops have been added to reduce the number of students at each bus stop.
  • Bus windows and roof vents will be open when possible. (Windows will be cracked and roof vents open during inclement weather.)

Travel

All school- and district-sponsored out-of-state travel for students and employees will continue to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis for approval.

Employees should refer to the CMCSS COVID-19 Employee Work-Related Travel Policy (HUM-A095

Visitors

CMCSS will limit 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. Visitors should conduct a self-screening of symptoms before entering the building. Building administrators will approve any visitors throughout the day. Parents/guardians should call or email their child’s teacher or the front office of the school to set up an appointment before arriving.

(See Extracurricular Activities for information regarding spectators at athletic events.)

Water Fountains

Water fountains are taped off, placed out of order, and unavailable until further notice. Students should bring bottled water to school each 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.

 

Effective June 1, 2021. Subject to change based on updated guidance and local, state, or national recommendations or mandates.