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Bossier Schools Ready to Achieve Operational Guidelines

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HwFjcf4Zek0S1Fu7AgP2TRtTJpOpNDG-dkvPcySVMnU/edit#

 

A Message From Superintendent Mitch Downey

 

Dear Bossier Schools family, 

 

As the start of the 2021-22 school year nears, it goes without saying our hope was to be back to “normal” or at least in a different place than where we are now. Though we are still facing a global pandemic that is, once again, on the uptick, rest assured Bossier Schools’ commitment to provide a safe learning and work environment for our students and staff has not changed.  

 

Last year was a success when you look at the big picture. Our schools reopened when the doors remained shuttered elsewhere across the nation and not once were any of our campuses forced to close. That can be credited to the diligence, creativity and tenacity shown by our teachers, paraprofessionals, custodial technicians, food service staff, bus operators and so many others determined to meet childrens’ needs, coupled with the support of their families and this community. Our students are to be equally commended for their resilience and resolve amid adversity.  

 

While there were rough patches, we learned a lot and will build on that knowledge and those successes as Bossier Schools prepares to swing open the doors for full in-person instruction for every child. Virtual instruction will also remain available for families not yet comfortable returning their children to school. Our focus is what is best for each child.  

 

The accompanying document outlines the latest guidance from the Louisiana Office of Public Health, Louisiana Department of Education and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and reflects the 2021-22 operational procedures Bossier Schools will follow. Updates will be made as needed.    

 

We are excited to get the new school year started and, with your continued partnership, Ready to Achieve! 

 

Mitch Downey

Superintendent of Bossier Schools 




Ready to Achieve! Operational Summary - UPDATED JULY 26, 2021

 

FACE COVERINGS 

Face coverings are strongly encouraged but not required on school property, both indoors and outdoors, for PreK-12 students and employees except while traveling on a district bus. 

 

TRANSPORTATION

  • Masks will be required for ALL passengers on a school bus as specified in the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) 2021-22 Operational Guidelines and per Presidential Executive Order No. 13998 for Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel. 
  • Buses will be sanitized daily and hand sanitizer and masks made available. 
  • Seating charts will be kept and consistently enforced.

 

MONITORING AND SCREENING FOR COVID-19 SYMPTOMS

    • Temperature checks will no longer be required at the start of each school day, although students and staff are encouraged to monitor their own symptoms prior to attending school or work for the safety of themselves and others. 

 

  • No student or staff member should attend school or work when experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms or experiencing a fever of 100.4 F or higher even if no other symptoms are present.

 

 

POSITIVE COVID CASE RESPONSE

  • Bossier Parish Schools will continue to work to identify close contacts to any confirmed positive case so that close contacts can be properly notified and provided information for the appropriate response. 
  • Schools will continue to isolate students that develop symptoms during the school day until their parents can pick them up. 
  • Vaccinated students and staff deemed close contacts of a positive COVID-19 case will not be required to quarantine.

 

CLEANING/DISINFECTION 

  • Mitigation efforts will continue by daily cleaning and disinfecting. High-touch surfaces will be cleaned multiple times throughout the school day. Restrooms and other common areas (corridors, lobbies, libraries, meeting rooms, etc.) will be cleaned prior to the school day and by mid-day. 
  • Drinking fountains will remain closed. Students and employees are encouraged to bring personal water bottles for refilling. 
  • Handwashing stations and hand sanitizer will continue to be made available. Hand sanitation will be encouraged throughout the day among students and staff when entering the school, exchanging classes, before and after eating and as appropriate. 

 

PHYSICAL DISTANCING 

  • Maximum group sizes are no longer prescribed, but efforts to remain attentive to physical distancing to the greatest extent possible will continue in classrooms and large spaces. 
  • Staff will work to maintain physical distance to the greatest extent possible when working with students within the context of effective instructional practices. 
  • Schools will be able to utilize large spaces such as cafeterias and gyms without the necessity of barriers or dividers between individual groups.

  

VIRTUAL LEARNING 

In addition to daily, face to face instruction, virtual learning will be offered as an option for grades K-12. Upon acceptance into the virtual program, technology will be provided if needed. 

 

INDOOR/OUTDOOR SPECTATOR PROTOCOLS 

Capacity guidance for school-related events and spectator capacity for athletic events will be found on the Louisiana State Fire Marshal website, opensafely.la.gov.  Extracurricular activities/athletics will follow guidance from the LHSAA and other best practice recommendations.

 

VISITORS  

Schools will continue to limit any nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations as much as possible.

 

 

 

LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH OPERATIONAL GUIDELINES

FOR LOUISIANA PUBLIC AND NONPUBLIC SCHOOLS

In light of the Governor’s Roadmap to Restarting Louisiana, the Department of Health is issuing guidance pertaining to opening public and nonpublic school facilities to serve students in the 2021-2022 school year.

This guidance is based on current medical knowledge of how COVID-19 is transmitted through exposure to respiratory droplets when a person is in close contact with someone who is infected.

Protective measures in school settings include: 

  • Physical distancing is achieved by establishing and maintaining small groups of individuals that 

minimally interact with others, including in shared indoor spaces, for the maximum number of days possible. 

  • Correct use of masks (recommended, but not required)
  • Handwashing and respiratory etiquette 
  • Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities 
  • Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine

 

SCHOOL PLANNING FOR COVID-19 CASES 

Given the levels of COVID-19 currently in our communities, schools should plan for and expect that some students will get COVID-19 during the school year.

  • As part of their planning to reopen, schools should expect there will be students who contract COVID-19 and that those students will possibly expose other students/staff in the school setting. Students and staff who are sick should stay home regardless of illness.
  • Students who have COVID-19 should stay home and remain isolated until they have recovered and have been determined to no longer be infectious according to CDC’s end of isolation criteria.
  • Individuals in close contact with the student may be identified and contacted as part of the Office of Public Health (OPH) contact tracing process. Close contact of a case is a person who was within six feet from the student for more than 15 minutes, determined by the OPH contact tracing process.
  • Close contacts will be asked to stay home and monitor symptoms for the determined quarantine period.
  • Not every student/faculty member in a school will need to stay home for a prescribed period, just those identified as close contacts to a case.
  • Options to shorten the duration of quarantine if contacts remain asymptomatic include: 
    • If no symptoms develop during quarantine AND they have a negative antigen or PCR/molecular test collected no earlier than day 5 after their last exposure: they may quarantine for 7 days from last contact with a COVID-19 case OR
    • If no symptoms develop during quarantine and no testing is done, they may quarantine for 10 days from last contact with a COVID-19 case.
    • If quarantine is shortened, daily symptom monitoring and strict adherence to prevention measures including physical distancing, hand washing, and especially wearing masks/face coverings should continue until the full quarantine period from last contact with a positive COVID-19 case. 

 

Because there is an increased risk of post-quarantine transmission associated with options to shorten quarantine, the 14-day quarantine period should be used in school settings where masking among children is not maintained. 

  • Close contacts who were previously diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 90 days and remain asymptomatic do not need to quarantine.
  • Close contacts who are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥ 2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥ 2 weeks following receipt of one dose in a single-dose vaccine) at the time of exposure and remain asymptomatic do not need to quarantine.

 

There are steps that schools can take when a student or staff member has been identified as having COVID-19.

  • Plans for routine cleaning
  • Ensure continuity of education for students/staff who are quarantined or isolated
  • Plans for isolation of positives and quarantining of close contacts  

 

All decisions about implementing school-based strategies (e.g., dismissals, event cancellations, other social distancing measures) will be made locally, in collaboration with the Superintendent/Principal and Regional Medical Director. Factors that will be considered in closing a school or classroom will be the level of community transmission, number of students/faculty affected and risk of spread at the school.

 

SYMPTOM MONITORING

DEVELOP AND COMMUNICATE WELLNESS POLICY FOR STUDENTS AND STAFF 

School systems should develop and communicate a wellness policy for both students and staff that requires sick students and staff to stay home.

  • Individuals who have a fever of 100.4°F or above, or other signs of illness, should not be admitted to the facility. 
    • Communicate to parents the importance of keeping children home when they are sick, the steps being taken to ensure the health and safety of their children and other important information related to limiting COVID-19 exposure. The letter to families should outline all health and safety precautions taken by your facility. 
    • Another sample can be found from https://www.childcareaware.org/.
  1. SCREENING TESTING 
  • CDC funding is available to support the use of screening testing as a strategy to identify cases and prevent secondary transmission. 
  • Screening testing is intended to identify infected people without symptoms (or before development of symptoms) who may be contagious so measures can be taken to prevent further transmission. 

IMPLEMENT ISOLATION MEASURES IF A STUDENT BECOMES SICK, FOLLOW WITH CLEANING AND DISINFECTING PROCESSES AND CONSULT PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS

 

Isolate and Transport Those Who are Sick 

  1. Make sure that staff and families know that they (staff) or their children (families) should not come to school, and that they should notify school officials (e.g. the designated COVID-19 point of contact) if they (staff) or their child (families) become sick with COVID-19 symptoms, test positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 symptoms or a confirmed or suspected case. 
  2. Immediately separate staff and children with COVID-19 symptoms (such as fever, cough or shortness of breath) at school. Individuals who are sick should go home or to a healthcare facility, depending on how severe their symptoms are, and follow CDC guidance for caring for oneself and others who are sick. 
  3. Work with school administrators, nurses and other healthcare providers to identify an isolation room or area to separate anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms or tests positive but does not have symptoms. School nurses and other healthcare providers should use Standard and Transmission-Based Precautions when caring for sick people. See: What Healthcare Personnel Should Know About Caring for Patients with Confirmed or Possible COVID-19 Infection. 

 

  • Establish procedures for safely transporting anyone who is sick to their home or to a healthcare facility. If you are calling an ambulance or bringing someone to the hospital, try to call first to alert them that the person may have COVID-19.
  • Provide a letter of assurance that schools can use to ensure parents are aware of their obligation to immediately pick up sick students from campus.

 

ADDRESS VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS

  • Pursuant to current school reopening CDC guidelines, limit any nonessential visitors, volunteers and activities involving external groups or organizations as possible, especially with individuals who are not from the local geographic area (e.g., community, town, city, county). There is no validated data on how much risk these individuals incur by attending school in person and individuals will need to make the decision to attend in close consultation with their health care provider and school administrator. Furthermore, OSHA statutes on employer responsibilities during a pandemic remain unclear. 
  • School workers are defined as being at “medium risk” of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and while schools are required to provide reasonable accommodation for a workplace safe from health threats, the definition of that accommodation in this setting has not yet been adjudicated. Schools and employees should continue to work closely with legal counsel to determine rights and responsibilities as this area becomes clearer in the months ahead.
  • In the event that a significant proportion of staff members are unable to return to the school facility, consider developing an innovative staffing plan.
  • Individuals need to make the decision to attend in close consultation with their health care provider and school administrators.

 

TRANSPORTATION

  • On January 21, 2021, President Joe Biden issued an executive order requiring the wearing of facial coverings on transportation, including school buses, both private and public.
  • School buses may operate at 100% capacity if all passengers are masked. Windows should be kept open on buses without A/C and when it does not create a safety or health hazard.  Seating charts should be created and consistently enforced.

 

CHILD NUTRITION PROGRAM

For Bossier Parish students, nutritious meals at school are not simply conveniences; they are critical safety nets to support physical, mental, social and emotional health and well-being. All students should have access to school meals and adequate time to consume them. District and school officials are encouraged to collaborate with the school nutrition supervisor and staff to determine which meal options best meet the nutritional needs of students in an environment that promotes optimal physical distancing and personal hygiene practices as a means of supporting optimal academic success.

 

Hybrid: Grab & Go with some social distancing seating in cafeteria & common areas 

 

  • Grab and Go for breakfast with more traditional lunch procedures.

 

  • Cafeteria & common area seating will be determined per school facility.
  • Social distancing will be required.
  • Sanitizing is required between groups/classes, so extended and staggered lunch serving times are recommended.

 

MAINTENANCE - CUSTODIAL PRACTICE

As the district prepares for the 2021-2022 school year, school facilities should be clean and safe for students and staff with a physical setting that is appropriate and adequate for learning. Improving the quality of school facilities will be an arduous and intentional undertaking. However, Bossier Parish Schools’ actions will provide a safe, healthy environment and advance positive impacts for both employees and students within the school facility.

 

SCHOOL INFECTIOUS DISEASE SAFETY PROTOCOLS

  • Ensure availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (disposable gloves, wipes, mask, plastic shield, dual all-purpose cleaner/disinfectant, sprayers)
  • When needed, sanitize high touch areas using proper PPE between classes.
  • Clean and sanitize corridors, interior doors, exterior doors, bathrooms, etc. as needed between class changes and/or every 2 hours using proper PPE and sanitizer.
  • Clean and sanitize playground equipment as needed.
  • End of day cleanout
  • Deep clean and sanitize classrooms and areas per custodial policies.
  • Presumed infected areas:
    • Close off the area and call Maintenance to help.
    • If a sick child or staff member has been isolated in the facility, clean and disinfect surfaces in the isolation room or area after he/she has gone home.
    • Maintenance will bring fogger equipment to fog the area. Let the product sit for 10-30 minutes, then clean and disinfect.

Note: Sanitizing reduces bacteria or viruses on surfaces; on non-porous surfaces, disinfecting destroys bacteria and viruses listed on product’s label

 

FACILITY USE (COVID-19) (best practices/recommendations)

 

Approved Use: Outside groups that have been approved by BPSB for on-going use of facilities for specific activities should, as a minimum, follow all applicable guidelines and BPSB COVID-19 protocols and practices. In the event an outside group paying for weekly usage is unable to access the BPSB facility or use it for the intended function, the facility use fees could be temporarily suspended (with proper notice) during a period of inactivity and reinstated without fault when circumstances allow.

 

One-time requests: One-time requests for access to school facilities and use of school facilities are always at the discretion of the individual principal. All BPSB established COVID-19 protocols should be followed. If this is overly burdensome on school staff (additional cleaning, after hours, weekends) then the request should not be granted.

 

General public use: Use of facilities (tracks, fields, facilities) by the general public should be monitored closely at the school level and any unauthorized or inappropriate activities addressed immediately. 

 

Authority: The individual school principal always has the discretion to deny any request for use of their facility if that use is not in the best interest of the school system or in violation of BPSB Policy KA/KFA.

 

 

NURSING/HEALTH CARE PRACTICE

Plan for a brief daily face-to-face meeting for the school nurse to apprise the principal of the current health status of the campus, and to be a resource.  Nurses will be provided a schedule that works best for the schools that they serve in conjunction with the principal of each school. Nurses will communicate concerns with the principal and the Nursing Coordinator.  Plans/schedules can be adjusted to meet the needs of the schools.

 

EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

In order to support the whole child and develop a student’s passions and interests, it is important to consider maintaining extracurricular activities during the various reopening plans as much as possible. Activities and events will follow the same LHSAA guidance as the regular school day. All requirements and recommendations will still apply. 

While success was seen over the past school year, the district will evaluate how extracurricular activities may continue effectively. Some clubs and programs may move virtually. Bossier Schools will work to respond to student needs for access and availability of resources to participate in activities.

 

ATHLETICS

High School:

BPSB will follow LHSAA guidance to member schools that have provided for the opportunity to return to competitive events to the greatest extent possible. LHSAA utilized a phased approach for high school athletes and is intended to help school administrators, coaches, parents, students and communities operationalize a return to normal practice of high school athletic activities. 

See below for links to LHSAA information:

 

Middle School:

Bossier Parish Schools strongly recommends its Middle Schools follow LHSAA guidance for all middle school activities/athletics as well.

 

BAND, VOCAL & MUSIC:

  • Band or vocal activities may occur indoors or outdoors. When band and vocal music classes are unable to practice outdoors, class can be held indoors in accordance with National Federation of State High School Associations and the National Association for Music Education Guidance which has physical distancing, masking and instrument covering provisions. Indoor concerts can be held in accordance with Theaters, Concert or Music Hall guidance found at OpenSafely.

 

STUDENT LEARNING

District Leadership communicated expectations: ALL laws and legislation governing Public School Education are soundly in place.

  • Expectations for teachers: Both for “in-person” and the Bossier Parish Virtual Learning Program
  • Teach new lesson/skill every day of the school week.  
  • Provide timely feedback to students 
  • Introduce on-grade level, high-quality curriculum daily. Other resources may supplement, but must not supplant Tier I Curricula
  • Accelerate learning (closing the gaps instead of widening the gaps) using Super Essential Standards identified from previous year
  • Complete attendance daily
  • Expectations for students:
    • Learn a new lesson/skill every day.
    • Expect to engage in classroom activities/discussion daily (either through virtual means or in-class discussions).

 

IDENTIFYING THE SUPER ESSENTIAL STANDARDS (SES)

       

District Level Initiative

  • The SES will be embedded in the Grade-Level Standards and will be revisited repeatedly throughout the high-quality tiered system within Response to Intervention (RtI).
  • Students will be exposed daily to on-grade level standards with the three to five SES from the former grade level embedded in teaching and learning. 
  • It will be critical that each school has firmly in place PLCs (common planning) and a robust RtI system (time built into the Master Schedule).  
  • Enrichment and Elective Classes will need to apply the identified Super Essential Standards in ELA and Math within the taught curriculum to support accelerated learning.
  • While transitioning to blended or virtual learning, other products purchased by the individual schools may be used to supplement, but not supplant Tier I Curriculum and/or high quality RtI provided by the school district. 
  • BPS Academic Resources available to supplement Tier I Curriculum and/or high quality RtI provided by the school district. 

 

BOSSIER PARISH VIRTUAL LEARNING PROGRAM

The Bossier Parish Virtual Learning Program offers an option for grades K-12 that became operational in the Fall of 2020. Facilitated by certified Bossier Parish educators based at BPSB sites, students learn virtually via the Edgenuity platform that is aligned with Louisiana Student Standards. Upon acceptance into the virtual program, technology will be provided if needed. 

 

The Butler Educational Complex offers the following programs using the Edgenuity platform: Middle School (MS) Virtual Learning Academy, HiSet, and the Alternative School Program in grades 4-12. 

 

The Bossier High School Virtual Learning Academy provides students an opportunity to learn through non-traditional means in grades 9-12. Bossier Parish offers an array of virtual courses using the Edgenuity platform in the subjects of history, geography, math, English language arts and science, as well as a variety of electives with customized education to support student goals.

 

VISITORS TO SCHOOL FACILITIES

  • Recommend that all visitors wear masks and maintain physical distance of 6 feet from
  • others. Limit any nonessential visitors, volunteers and activities involving external groups or
  • organizations as much as possible.  
    • Essential visitors are individuals who must enter schools or early learning centers in order to conduct visits in accordance with Louisiana law or policy. Essential visitors include, but are not limited to, individuals who:
  • conduct class observations
  • observe teacher candidates as part of the teacher preparation quality rating system
  • provide essential supports and services including, but not limited to, early intervention services, special education services, or mental health consultation