ADvanced REopening Framework - July 27, 2021
Parents, Students and Staff of the Siuslaw School District:
The Siuslaw School District is planning to release by mid-August the COVID-19 safety precautions that the district will implement when school begins. However, the district would like to share where current guidance is leading schools so that everyone can be as prepared as possible for the first day of school if there are no changes to the latest release from the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Health Authority.
These decisions are not being taken lightly, as every decision impacts families, students, and staff members differently. There is no way around it. The district will do everything to minimize those effects and support students and families to support student learning. In addition, it must be clearly understood that any plan is subject to change when health conditions or mandates change. These general strategies outlined below have been reviewed by Lane County Public Health and the district plan has received that agency’s support as the outline is based in sound public health practice and science.
On Thursday, July 22nd, ODE released their updated guidance, the Ready Schools Safe Learners Resiliency Framework for the 21-22 School Year (click here). The guidance changed very little from what was anticipated, so with no update expected prior to mid-August, the district is comfortable in sharing this preliminary safety framework. Having said that, I want to repeat that it is not the final decision and even if we start the school year under what is described below, it may change quickly based on new guidance or variables that may develop in our schools and the community. The district will continue to work with Lane County Public Health throughout the year as conditions change locally.
MASKS: As described in the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) guidance, the District plans to strongly encourage masks for all staff and students K-12, but not require them.
- Masks are an effective way to slow or prevent the spread of transmissible disease.
- It should be noted that at this time, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is requiring that masks be utilized on all public transportation, which includes school buses (click here). As long as this mandate is in place, the district will comply. Masks will be required on school buses: to and from school, to and from athletic events, and for field trips and activities.
- Updates to guidance or other recommendations will be evaluated by the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Department of Education prior to school re-opening in September.
PHYSICAL DISTANCING: As described in the guidance, the district will support and promote physical distancing in multiple ways, including:
- Maintaining three feet between students where possible.
- Consider physical distancing requirements when setting up learning spaces.
- Minimize time standing in lines and take steps to ensure required distance is maintained, including floor markings and one-way traffic flow in constrained spaces.
COHORTING & COHORT LOGS: As described in the guidance, the District will develop cohorts to the extent possible.
- This will take place to some degree at all grade levels, with more at the lower grade levels, and less at the upper grade levels due to instructional constraints.
- Cohort Logs and attendance data will be kept and referred to as necessary.
- Cohorts help manage risks in the potential spread of COVID-19; student cohorting:
- Limits the number of exposed people when a COVID-19 case is identified in the school.
- Quickly identifies exposed individuals when a COVID-19 case is identified.
- Minimizes the number of people who may need to quarantine, as well as school-wide disruptions in student learning.
MEAL TIMES: In all buildings, increased physical distancing will be emphasized during meal times.
INFORMATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO KEEP SICK CHILDREN AT HOME: This has always been something the district has tried to do to avoid the spread of contagious illnesses, not just COVID-19. This practice will be emphasized again at the start of the school year.
- Please keep your children home if they are displaying any symptoms of illness. A general health screener to attend school can be accessed here.
- Everyone should be symptom free for at least 24 hours after a general illness before returning to school.
ENTRY SCREENING: Not having sick staff or students come into the building is one of the best ways to stop the spread of any virus.
- The COVID-19 Daily Symptom Screening for Schools can be accessed here and any student showing any of these symptoms should not be coming to school.
- Students that arrive at school and appear to be visually ill, will be further screened. If students are ill, they will be isolated and sent home as per state regulations.
ISOLATION ROOMS: As advised by ODE and OHA, the district will have exclusion and isolation protocols for sick students and staff identified at the time of arrival or during the school day.
EXCLUSION FROM SCHOOL: School administrators are required by Oregon law to enforce exclusion OAR 333-019-0010. Students and staff are required to isolate when they exhibit “primary symptoms” of COVID-19 per symptom specific guidance.
AIR FILTRATION: Prior to COVID-19, most schools used MERV-8 filters in their HVAC systems.
- In 2020-21 the Siuslaw School District upgraded to the use of MERV-10 to MERV-13 filters on all primary HVAC systems, depending upon location.
- HVAC and ductless systems across the district have also been equipped with iWave units, which disperse both positive and negative ions into the air stream to break down mold, bacteria, and viruses. Other suspended particles, like dust and pollen, become bonded together and large enough to be filtered out.
INCREASED AIR EXCHANGE: The facilities staff have set up HVAC systems for maximum air exchange in learning spaces, as allowed by the constraints of the outside temperatures.
HAND WASHING & USE OF HAND SANITIZER: Regular handwashing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others. Each building will continue with protocols and systems to ensure access to soap, water and alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
INCREASED SANITATION BY CUSTODIANS AND STAFF: Continue with cleaning of high touch surfaces both throughout the day and after school.
COVID-19 TESTING: The Siuslaw School District will continue to have diagnostic testing available on campus for students and staff that become ill or that may have been exposed to COVID-19 while on campus.
- Information on the diagnostic testing program is available here.
- Diagnostic testing consent forms are available here (same as spring term 2021).
TRAINING: Training for staff and students will occur at the beginning of the year regarding all of the safety protocols in place. It will take a team effort to ensure our schools can stay open to in-person instruction, and everyone has a responsibility to do their part. The safety measures listed above provide an excellent opportunity to experience a full school year, and limit the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses.
Finally, a few additional pieces of important information:
- The district is required to enforce quarantining and isolation protocols. When a case of COVID-19 is identified in our school, we will contract trace with the assistance of our staff and District Nurse. Any staff member or student that is unvaccinated and determined to be a close contact, will be excluded from school for 14 days. When primary symptoms are shown, there are strict guidelines schools must follow before the individual can return.
- One of the biggest challenges students will face is the disruption of instruction when required to isolate or quarantine. General instruction will be interrupted for those individuals, just like in any other illness situation. Simultaneous live instruction will not be provided when this occurs. The district will work with families individually to support student learning with the least interruption.
- Be respectful of others. Many staff and students will continue to wear masks. Most, if not all, certainly wish to be mask free but they have individual circumstances that prevent it. We have many medically fragile students in class. We have siblings of medically fragile students and we have folks who have medically fragile family members living in their home. For many of these people the vaccine is either not advised or unavailable due to their age. Mask “shaming” or harassment will not be tolerated in any form, and will be addressed directly and quickly.
Andrew S. Grzeskowiak - Superintendent Siuslaw SD97J
Anticipated Guidance for Fall 2021
July 21, 2021
Greetings, Siuslaw School District Staff and Families,
At the end of June, the Governor lifted the majority of COVID-19 mandates in Oregon. Additionally, our state governing body, the Oregon Department of Education, in conjunction with the Oregon Health Authority, has given greater flexibility to local districts on COVID protocols.
For the last 18 months, the Siuslaw School District has worked closely with Lane County Public Health Department to thoughtfully implement all mandated health and safety guidance. Moving forward, we will continue to collaborate with Lane County Public Health to prioritize the safety and wellness of our students, staff, and community.
To start the upcoming school year, we anticipate implementing the following regarding COVID-19 guidance:
Maintain contact logs in order to identify and isolate COVID-19 cases and exposures (state requirement).
- We will continue to work with Lane County Public Health to identify COVID-19 cases, as well as those considered exposed to COVID-19.
- Isolate and/or Quarantine affected unvaccinated students and/or staff.
Set up learning spaces for three-feet physical distancing to the maximum extent possible, while not limiting activities due to distancing.
Make face coverings optional on campus.
- We know that education is more effective (and fun) when we can see each other’s faces.
- Masks will be available at all schools for any individual that wants the option and a mask or face covering will be encouraged for those that are unvaccinated.
- Masks are an effective way to slow or prevent the spread of many diseases, like the common cold and seasonal influenza, so we will work with our students and staff to respect individual choices.
- In the event of a localized outbreak or in cases of general community spread of COVID-19 or other infectious agents, face coverings may be mandated by health authorities periodically.
Continue other safety measures.
- These include: diligent cleaning and disinfecting, increased fresh air intake and upgrades to our schools per OSHA requirements, education and training, dedicated school COVID-19 safety teams, and easily accessible hand washing and hand sanitizer stations.
This guidance is the direction we are leaning for the 2021-2022 school year, while continuing to follow the regularly-updated Ready Schools, Safe Learners Resiliency Framework. ODE is due to share additional guidance July 22, so the following week we will be sharing our plan for the fall of 2021.
The last year and a half have been trying for our staff, families, and community in so many ways. While COVID-19 may not be fully behind us, we are grateful and hope-filled to put more of our energy where it belongs, into ensuring ALL our students are learning and achieving their potential!
If you have questions, please email them to email@example.com . We will ensure the appropriate person answers them. Please know it is currently summer break for many of our staff, so our reply might be a bit slower than usual.
Andrew Grzeskowiak, Superintendent - Siuslaw School District 97J