Health and Safety
Student and Staff Health
This school year will be presented with a number of challenges related to monitoring and managing physical health symptoms of students and staff. With guidance from our local health authorities, the following health protocols will provide a more comprehensive approach to managing illnesses and illness symptoms for the purpose of mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
Before leaving for work or sending a student to school, conduct a wellness check to ensure good health. If you or anyone in your home is ill, please stay home. This tool is not meant to take the place of consultation with your healthcare provider or to diagnose or treat conditions. If you are in an emergency medical situation, call 911. These questions are designed to assess whether you should come to school or not.
On-site Nurse Assessment
In order to prevent potential exposure to infectious disease such as COVID-19, minor health issues such as the following will be handled in the classroom: chapped lips, dry itchy skin, students needing bathroom supervision, minor headache that goes away with hydration or rest, non-persistent nausea, minor cuts, and a bruise or bump that does not occur at school. Other minor issues not related to illness should be addressed in the classroom as well.
- Upon greeting a student/staff member who has been referred due to potential illness, the nurse will ask about symptoms and take the student or staff member’s temperature. If the student or staff member has no fever or symptoms of COVID-19 (based on nurse assessment of the reason for the referral), the student/staff needs will be triaged outside of the health room to the maximum extent possible.
- If a student or staff member has an elevated temperature 100 degrees or above, and/or other symptoms of COVID-19, they will enter the health room. The nurse will wear proper gloves, gown, face shield and a mask. Parents will be contacted to pick up their student for further evaluation from their healthcare provider. Students and staff who present with a fever must be fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication. Students and staff will also be excluded if they test positive for COVID-19 or exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 based on CDC guidance that is not otherwise explained. Students and staff presenting with any two symptoms below will also be excluded:
- Fever (100 degrees or +)
- Muscle or body aches
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- New loss of taste or smell
- New runny nose or congestion
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Sore throat
- Close contact with a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
- Students and staff will follow the illness protocol for future return to school.
- The school nurse will immediately notify parent/guardian for pick-up. The student will remain supervised in the health room, separate from others to maximum extent possible, until their parent/guardian arrives. Parents must pick up their student, or arrange for the pick-up of their student, within 30 minutes of notification. Plastic sheeting has been installed in health rooms to provide another layer of support to reduce the spread of virus during isolation.
- Siblings or others living in the same household with a child showing illness symptoms will be screened by the building nurse in their respective building(s), and may be asked to go home as well.
School Return Protocol
- Parents/guardians will be advised to contact the student's doctor to discuss signs/symptoms and risk factors, and they will receive a letter outlining the following protocol:
- Students who are excluded from school will not return until they have worked with the school nurse, and are told they can return. If the only presenting symptom is fever, the student must be fever free without the use of fever reducing medication for 24 hours.
- Students and staff with more than one symptom will be approved to return if:
- 10 days have passed since the first symptom appeared and they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication. Symptoms should also be improving, OR
- They have one negative COVID-19 test, OR
- Student or staff member has a doctor confirmed explanation of symptoms.
- The Executive Director for Pupil Services will be contacted regarding any student or staff sent home for illness. The school will follow next steps as directed by the local health department, which may include quarantine measures.
- If a positive COVID-19 case is identified in a district building, the building or portions of the building may be closed for at least 24 hours and/or until determined by PCR-3 administration and the local health department it is safe to clean and reopen. Communication will be made if/when recommended by the local health department.
- Any staff or student who tests positive for COVID-19 or indicates that they have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 2 weeks will need to contact the Platte County Health Department and follow their guidance for isolation and quarantine.
- Any staff or student required to isolate or quarantine per local health authorities or the District may only report back to school once their symptoms have improved or they present as asymptomatic and after they provide medical documentation to the school nurse that stipulates that they are cleared to return to school.
- During school closures (after cleaning and disinfection), child care programs and schools will stay open for staff members (unless ill) while students stay home. Keeping facilities open: a) allows teachers to develop and deliver lessons and materials remotely, thus maintaining continuity of teaching and learning; and b) allows other staff members to continue to provide services and help with additional response efforts. Decisions on which, if any, staff should be allowed in the school will be made in collaboration with local health officials.
How we will respond when there is a COVID-19 case in our schools
We will notify the entire school building if there is a positive case within the building. If a student or staff member has been determined to have been in close contact at school with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or someone whose medical provider diagnosed them with a presumed case of COVID-19, you will be contacted with further instructions. Close contact is defined as fewer than 6 feet away for more than 15 minutes, regardless of face covering use.
We will ask everyone who has been directly exposed to stay at home for the amount of time directed by local health officials or the District.
If you have been exposed to or experience any symptoms of COVID-19, we ask that you stay home and contact your building nurse or our Executive Director of Pupil Services, Dr. Jen Beutel at 816-858-7001, email@example.com. On evenings or weekends, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. PCR-3 students, staff, and community members should use the Daily Wellness Check linked here.
For more information on what PCR-3 will do when there is a COVID-19 case in school, click here.
For information on cases reported at PCR-3 for the 2020-21 school year, click here.
Social and Emotional Health
Support staff (counselors, social workers) will provide the following support for students and staff:
- Develop and implement professional development for building staff regarding the management of stress, anxiety, and trauma.
- Collaborate with classroom teachers on activities for mental health support for students.
- Provide social emotional support for students anxious about school reopening and new routines.
- Collaborate with community agencies to provide best practice mental health support for students and staff.
- Provide classroom lessons on school expectations specific to health, safety, and physical distancing practices to help students adjust to a different school setting.
- To help staff members during the COVID-19 pandemic, Aetna has opened crisis response lines for all members. Just call 1-833-327-2386. All Aetna and CVS Caremark members also have access to the Aetna nurse medical line at 1-800-556-1555.
What We All Can Do
The following recommendations come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Recommended Universal Precautions.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick, even inside your home. If possible, maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other household members. Put distance between yourself and other people outside of your home. Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus. Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 adult arms’ length) from other people. Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others especially when unable to maintain physical distancing. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. Face coverings may be challenging for students (especially younger students) to wear in all-day settings such as school. Face coverings should be worn by staff and students (particularly older students) when the condition of the virus dictates the need, and are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult. The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected. Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a complete substitute for social distancing.
Cover Coughs and Sneezes
If you are around others and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit. Throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Clean and Disinfect
Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants work well.
Monitor Your Health
Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. Especially important if you are running essential errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be difficult to keep a physical distance of 6 feet. Take your temperature if symptoms develop. Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen. Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.
What We Are Doing At School
Cleaning and Disinfection
The Platte County R-3 School District will implement a robust cleaning and disinfecting protocol for frequently touched surfaces (including but not limited to playground equipment, door handles, sink handles, drinking fountains, desks, copy machines, phones, computers, etc) within the school and on school buses daily, and frequently throughout the day as recommended by the CDC. The use of shared objects (physical education equipment, art supplies, toys, games, writing utensils, etc) will be limited when possible, or cleaned between use. The District will implement a schedule for increased, routine cleaning and disinfection before the school day, during the day, and after the school day ends. Cleaning products will be used safely especially when near children, and staff will use disinfectant products when there is adequate ventilation to prevent the inhalation of toxic fumes.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Increased number of hand sanitizer stations will be provided throughout each building.
- PPE equipment, including gloves, face shields, face coverings, and gowns will be provided for health room staff and employees who work in very close proximity to students with special needs.
- Face shields will be provided to nurses for use when conducting health screenings, and should be used in conjunction with a mask. Face shields will also be available to be used in conjunction with masks for those working in very close proximity to students.
- Touch free thermometers will be available for school use.
- All staff will be provided a face covering.
- Students will be asked to have their own appropriately sized face covering available for use if it becomes necessary for students to utilize them based on current health department guidance. Backup masks will be provided on a limited basis.
- Students and staff are expected to wear protective face coverings when attending in-person learning. Face coverings are required on the bus and during all transitions such as, entering or exiting the building, passing periods, traveling to the lunchroom, lunch lines, nurse’s office, etc. Any time social distancing is not possible, students and staff should wear face coverings. Face coverings may only be removed when seated alone at your desk and guided by the teacher, once appropriate distancing has been established and can be maintained. Refer to CDC guidance for use of cloth face cover.
The District will operate ventilation systems in a manner that will increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible. The District is also working to install air purification systems to provide additional support for indoor air quality.
Access to drinking fountains will be limited to bottle refill stations until further notice. Drinking fountains will be cleaned and sanitized, but staff and students will be strongly encouraged to bring their own water bottles to minimize the use and touching of refill stations.
The District will space seating/desks/tables to be at least six feet apart wherever possible. It will not always be feasible to get all classroom furniture six feet apart. Furniture will be arranged to provide as much distance between students as possible and in some settings, additional strategies such as plexiglass barriers may be used. Desks will be set-up to face in the same direction (rather than facing each other), or students will sit on only one side of tables, spaced apart unless barriers are used between students. Office space, conference rooms and communal areas will provide physical distancing to the extent possible by removing and/or spacing furniture to increase distance between users.
Physical Barriers and Guides
The District is installing physical barriers, sneeze guards and partitions, particularly in high traffic areas where it is difficult for individuals to remain physically distant (e.g., reception desks). Physical guides and signage such as tape on floors and signs on walls will be used so that staff and children remain physically distant in lines and at other times for creating “one way routes” in hallways.
The use of close, communal, shared spaces such as cafeterias and playgrounds will be staggered, implementing smaller group sizes and providing for cleaning and disinfecting between use. Physical barriers will be considered in areas where physical distancing is difficult.
School Decision Tree
The School Decision Tree from the CDC will be used for school closing decisions and what actions will be implemented upon such decisions.
Plan Monitoring and Accountability
Restart Committees and Building Safety Teams will be established at each site to create building-specific protocols aligned with this plan and to ensure that all reopening planning activities carefully consider its guidance. Each of the critical areas of operation should be addressed in school building reopening strategies.
- General health and safety guidelines
- Building spaces and classroom configurations
- Student flow, entry, exit, and common areas
- Maintaining information and data related to Contact Tracing
- Facilities cleaning practices
- Recess/physical education
- Field trips, extra-curricular activities & use of facilities outside of school hours