The Transportation Department will implement the following protocols in addition to their normal routines to mitigate the spread of the virus:
- Buses will be disinfected before the start of the morning and afternoon routes, and high touch surfaces again after each tier before the next group of students are loaded.
- Bus drivers will wear face coverings while students board and exit the bus, and whenever they are facing students within 6 feet of distance.
- Students will be seated in stable seating charts with siblings, or families living in the same household, sitting together first. Other students will fill in the open seats, but remain in these stable seating groups. The seating chart will be assigned from the rear of the bus working to the front. Students will then unload from the front to the rear of the bus for the purpose of reducing the amount of cross-exposure between students.
- Hand sanitizing will be available for students to use as they enter and leave the bus.
- Students will be asked to not share common objects with other students such as cell phones, toys, electronic devices, books, etc. Students must keep personal belongings to themselves and keep hands off of other people or other objects.
- Students will need to have an appropriately-fitted face covering with them at all times. Students will be required to wear a face covering while riding the school bus to begin the school year. This decision will be re-evaluated every 30 days and will be made in collaboration with local health authorities.
- Due to assigned seating to allow for contact tracing, students will only be allowed to ride their own bus to which they have been assigned for home-to-school/school-to-home transport. Students will not be permitted to ride with another student on a different bus.
Arrival and Dismissal
Arrival and dismissal can be challenging for schools with large numbers of students congregating and socializing before the day begins and just prior to leaving school. This time of socialization is an important part of the student experience and can provide the avenue for strong friendships and the development of valuable social skills. However, during this time when prevention and mitigation strategies are essential to reduce the risk of virus spread, the Platte County R-3 School District will incorporate the following arrival and dismissal strategies:
- Schools will use multiple entrances and exits to allow for smaller groups of students to enter and exit where this option is feasible and safe. Supervision will be provided at each area used. Where multiple entrances and exits are not a good option, staff will manage the flow of traffic in and out of the buildings to reduce the number of students moving at a given time.
- Schools may stagger the release of students so that smaller groups will be utilizing these areas at a given time.
- Students will be reminded to keep six feet of physical distancing when feasible.
- Families will be asked to drop off students as close to the school start time as possible and not too early as to avoid the gathering of students before the doors open.
- If possible, families should drive their student(s) to and from school to reduce the total number of students riding the bus.
- As students enter the building, their first responsibility will be to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer located near the entrance of the building or found in the classroom.
- Students will be asked to walk directly to their homeroom or first hour class to discourage congregating in the hallways as they enter the school.
- For those students eating breakfast, morning breakfast meals will be served in the cafeteria or possibly the classroom with a seating arrangement established for physical distancing.
General Daily Routines
- Health hygiene practices will be specifically taught during the first week of school, and continuously reinforced throughout the year.
- Intensified cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting processes will be maintained.
- Absenteeism and communicable disease spread will be closely monitored.
- Schools will postpone or alter non-critical large group gatherings and events, including making adjustments to arrival and dismissal routines, general building procedures, space use and traffic flow.
- Protocols will be implemented requiring that sick students and staff stay home. In addition, standardized procedures for dealing with someone becoming sick at school will be strictly enforced (health screening by nurse, protection of environment and other individuals during screening, disinfection of exposed areas, student sent home, isolation period before returning to school, etc.).
- Classrooms and school routines will incorporate strategies including, but not limited to, the following:
- Schools should limit the mixing of cohorts of students to the extent possible
- Students should be spaced as far apart as possible. Six feet apart is best; when that’s not possible, schools should make efforts to ensure a minimum of three feet of space between students
- Desks should be placed facing forward in the same direction so students do not sit face-to-face
- Physical distancing during transitions where feasible
- Restructuring large group gatherings to multiple smaller groups where feasible
- Minimizing co-mingling of students and attempting to keep stable groups of students together as much as possible
- 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.
Transitions Between Classes
- Schools will establish routines to encourage students to maintain social distancing while transitioning between classes. This will not be perfect in all settings, but efforts will be made to encourage constant movement by students and to discourage students congregating in groups for extended periods of time.
Food Services/Student Meals/Outside Food
- For the initial opening of school, children are encouraged to bring their own meals when feasible. Cafeteria seating will provide as much spacing as possible. Cafeteria plated meals will provide a limited menu to maintain serving methods that limit the amount of times products are handled, while ensuring the safety of children with food allergies.
- The District will use disposable food service items (e.g., utensils, dishes). If disposable items are not feasible or desirable, we will ensure that all non-disposable food service items are handled with gloves and that typical food handling protocols are followed washed with dish soap and hot water or in a dishwasher.
- Following normal protocol, Food Service staff will wash their hands after removing their gloves or after directly handling used food service items.
- If food is offered at any event, pre-packaged boxes or bags will be used instead of a buffet or family-style meal.
- The District will avoid sharing food and utensils and ensure the safety of children with food allergies.
- The District will move to normal food service operations when local health department authorities recommend to do so.
- Students will wash or sanitize their hands before entering the food serving area.
- Cashiers will not take any cash or checks at the register. Students must scan their ID cards using a touchless scanner.
- All plates and utensils will be disposable, or if disposable items are not feasible or desirable, we will ensure that all non-disposable food service items are handled with gloves and washed with dish soap and hot water or in a dishwasher, following normal food service protocols.
- Student seating in the cafeteria area will be spread out to achieve distance between students as close to 6 ft as possible.
- Cafeteria tables will be disinfected between each lunch shift with food-safe disinfectant.
- In addition to normal sanitizing procedures, the kitchen and serving area will be disinfected at the beginning and end of each food preparation and meal service.
- The District will continue to provide meal substitutions and seating accommodations for students with food allergies/intolerances based on medical forms on file.
- Students will be charged for their meal based on their free, reduced or full pay status as in previous school years. Free and reduced applications can be found here and must be completed each year anytime after July 1 for eligibility.
- The District would prefer to use the online meal payment option (K12 Payment Center) to reduce contact.
- Distribution of any outside food or beverages to our students is not allowed. No birthday treats at this time.
Recess and Physical Education
Each school will complete an inventory of outdoor spaces and identify areas to provide separation between students. Recess will be staggered by groups, and staff will disinfect playground equipment and other shared equipment between uses.
PCR-3 will incorporate the following protocols for recess and physical education classes:
- Use cones, flags, tape, or other signs to create boundaries between groups.
- Have students wash hands immediately after outdoor play.
- Stagger the use of playground equipment and establish frequent disinfecting protocols.
- Complete an inventory of outdoor spaces (athletic fields, track, green spaces, open space, and local parks) and designate zones, use stations, mark off areas, floor markers, floor tape, poly spots, etc., to ensure physical distancing separation among students.
- Consider closing locker rooms to mitigate risk and prohibit students and staff from confined spaces with limited ventilation and/or areas with large amounts of high contact surfaces. If not feasible to close, stagger use and clean and disinfect between use.
- Mitigate risk, limit and/or eliminate direct contact with equipment (lessons with no equipment) and do not allow sharing of equipment. If equipment must be shared, clean and disinfect between each use.
- Designate specific areas for each class during recess to avoid cohort mixing.