KCUSD Safe Return to School Plan
On September 16, 2020, the Fresno County Department of Public Health (FCDPH) issued guidance related to the application of waivers for students in grades TK-6 to return to in-person instruction. This plan has been written as Kings Canyon Unified School District’s (KCUSD) response to direction provided by the FCDPH and guidance from the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools. Guidelines for bringing students back on campus will utilize parameters established by Fresno County Health Department. The KCUSD Safe Return to School Plan outlined below provides explanations for how each grade level will operate when classes are allowed to resume on campus.
Kings Canyon Unified School District is committed to the safe return of students and staff to school. Our “TK-6 Safe Return to School” plan, developed collaboratively by staff and stakeholders, places health and safety as a top priority following recommendations of state and local health experts.
The plan is grounded in two basic principles:
1) Students’ academic, social, and emotional needs are best when students are in school.
2) The health and safety of students and staff is a top priority.
BEFORE SCHOOL REOPENING
On Wednesday, September 16, KCUSD was informed of the potential to apply for a waiver for the return of students to campus. That afternoon, principals were convened and informed of the District’s plan to apply. Principals were given direction to hold parent and staff meetings to inform them of the District’s plan to apply for a waiver with a projected return date of October 15. Additionally, District administration met with labor partners to consult with them on the projected return to school. On Thursday, September 17, Superintendent John Campbell communicated with families and staff of KCUSD through his regularly scheduled communication. Throughout this process, KCUSD will continue to keep all stakeholders informed of developments with the waiver process and important details about the return to in-person instruction.
Following this initial District communication, each school site will conduct parent and staff meetings to present safety plan details and present District-wide protocols for what to expect in cases of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases or outbreaks. These plans have been developed collaboratively between the District ReStart Team and the District Infectious Disease Task Force using guidance from local and state health agencies.
CLEANING AND DISINFECTING
In order to provide the safest environment for both students and staff on campus, strategic cleaning and sanitizing schedules have been established. These protocols will concentrate efforts in high traffic areas and establish routines established to keep campuses as clean and safe as possible to mitigate the risk of potential spread of COVID-19. Additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and sanitizing equipment were purchased for use at all sites. Below is an outline of the procedures and equipment that will be utilized to enhance cleaning and disinfection.
Cleaning of Surfaces:
Enhancing Cleaning/Disinfecting Procedures
Upon student return, frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned 2x per day. Examples of such surfaces include, but are not limited to:
o Door handles
o Sink handles
o Student desks
Equipment utilized for the purpose of disinfection:
o Approved Environmental Product Agency (EPA) products will be used to disinfect.
o Microfiber pads
o Foggers (mister)
Regular disinfecting of all restrooms will be increased.
Hand washing stations or sanitizer will be available in each classroom/visitor area. Additional hand sanitizer dispensers are available in high traffic areas.
Cleaning supplies are readily available for employees. Cleaning products provided by the District comply with lists provided by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and are expected to be used according to their labeling. Staff have been trained on safe and effective use of the supplies.
Transportation will implement specific procedures:
o Bus disinfection during the workday, in between runs/routes, will be done by the driver.
Each driver will be given clean microfiber towels daily, with disinfectant.
o Buses will be disinfected with foggers AM/PM, after routes.
o Buses will be ventilated while students are on the bus. Every other window will be open.
Each child’s belongings will be kept separate, in individually labeled storage containers, cubbies, or other areas. Belongings will be sent home each day with reminders about cleaning them at home
Increased supplies available in classrooms will minimize sharing of high-touch materials (markers, whiteboards, manipulatives, scissors, etc.) to the extent practicable.
Sharing of electronic devices, clothing, toys, books and other games or learning aids will be avoided as much as practicable.
CLEAR ROLES ON CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION
The KCUSD Safe Return to School Plan outlined below provides explanations for how each grade level will operate when classes are allowed to resume on campus. Note that this plan applies to all KCUSD schools except Dunlap Elementary (see note at the end of the section).
TK and Kindergarten
In order to allow for the safe distancing of students and staff, minimizing class size and establishing consistent groupings, students enrolled in Transitional Kindergarten (TK) and Kindergarten will attend an assigned morning or afternoon class daily. For our youngest students, the continuity of attending school every day is of paramount importance. During TK and Kindergarten, students learn the expectations of school and begin setting the foundational elements for their education.
Grades 1 and 2
Students in 1st and 2nd grades will attend school every day on a traditional full-day schedule. Attending daily allows these students to participate in developmental reading lessons that are foundational to their overall academic experience. In order to allow for safe distancing, minimizing class size and establishing consistent groupings, additional 1st and 2nd grade classrooms have been created utilizing all available facilities. The hiring of additional teachers invests in our students and ensures they receive the instruction they need to be reading by the 3rd grade, the single greatest indicator of future success in school.
Special Day Class
Students who are in Special Day Class (SDC) per their Individualized Education Program (IEP) will attend school every day. The small number of students in these programs will allow for safe distancing of students and staff and will ensure consistent groupings. This will allow students in SDC to receive consistent instruction towards meeting their IEP goals.
Grades 3 – 6**
In order to adhere to social distancing guidelines, minimizing class size and establishing consistent groupings, students in grades 3 – 6 will attend school on a modified schedule. Students will be assigned to a team. Students on Team Monday/Thursday will attend school on Mondays and Thursdays and every other Wednesday. Students on Team Tuesday/Friday will attend school on Tuesdays and Fridays, and every other Wednesday. Wednesdays will continue to be early release days to maintain time for collaboration and staff development. This will be vital for teachers who will be creating lessons for our current learning model.
**KCUSD will make every effort to assign families to the same team.
Understanding that families may desire an alternative to returning to the classroom, parents with students in grades TK - 6 may apply for Distance Education.
The above plan applies to all eligible KCUSD schools except Dunlap School. Due to the ability to limit class sizes and having available facilities to house additional personnel allows Dunlap School to allow for appropriate social distancing for all grades. Because of these unique factors, Dunlap students in grades TK-6 will attend school on a traditional schedule, Monday through Friday.
In order to reduce the number of potential contacts between students and to require students to adhere to health and safety protocols, times will be staggered when students and staff are moving outside their classrooms/work areas. Students will be required to stay six feet apart when transitioning from one space to another.
ENTRANCE, REGRESS AND MOVEMENT WITHIN THE SCHOOL
To ensure the health and safety of students, staff and visitors while on KCUSD facilities, the following protocols and procedures have been put in place:
● Signs will be posted at the main entrance doors with health and safety reminders.
● Signs indicating the path of travel will be posted.
● Six-foot distance markers will be placed at main entrances and other areas where lines may form in buildings, as appropriate.
● Physical barriers will be used when a minimum of six feet of physical distance cannot be maintained.
● Hand sanitizer will be available at main entrances and other locations as appropriate.
● All visitors must enter the main building entrance when they visit any KCUSD site.
● Limit access to campus for parents and other visitors is limited.
● Sites/Departments are highly encouraged to schedule appointments in advance for all visitors; walk-in visitors may be seen at the discretion of the site/department.
● All visitors are expected to self-certify their health status before entering any KCUSD facilities by answering the health questions listed on posted signs at main entrances. The self-certification is ensured by staff confirming responses of visitors before entering.
● The Office Receptionist is required to contact a department staff member prior to sending visitors to their destination.
● Visitors are escorted to their destination.
● Facility use agreements are reviewed, and establish common facility protocols for all users of the facility.
● Protocols are established for accepting deliveries safely. Signage to the destination is posted. Masks are required.
● Students enter/leave campus through designated routes determined by each site.
● Staff utilizes and models appropriate designated routes with their own movement on campus.
● Meals will be distributed by kitchen staff in cafeterias for all students on campus.
● All personnel will utilize protective equipment at all times (masks, face shields, gloves, aprons and barriers) in order to ensure safety of students and staff.
● Meals will be fully plated for "grab and go" pick up by students, in order to ensure maximum safety.
● Students will only touch the plate that they take.
● Students who have to leave campus can receive a sack lunch.
● In support of safety protocols, social distancing signage will be visible and compliance will be monitored by cafeteria staff.
FACE COVERINGS AND OTHER ESSENTIAL PROTECTIVE GEAR
KCUSD Staff must wear face coverings in KCUSD facilities at all times.
● Grades TK-2 are encouraged to wear a face covering.
● Grades 3- 6 are required to wear a face covering.
● Visitors must wear a face covering when entering and moving about KCUSD facilities.
An appropriate face covering is one that covers the nose and mouth. It may be secured to the head with ties or straps or simply wrapped around the lower face. It may be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk or linen. Acceptable cloth face-covering options include, but are not limited to:
o Face covering provided by KCUSD
o Neck gaiter
o Homemade face covering
o Face shield (consider a shield with a cloth drape on the bottom)
o Tightly woven fabric, such as cotton T-shirt and some types of towels
Face coverings that do not comply with this protocol include, but are not limited to ones that:
o No longer cover the nose or mouth
o Have stretched out or damaged ties or straps
o Cannot remain securely attached to a person’s face
o Have holes or tears in the fabric
o Obstruct an employee’s vision
Employees or members of the public must immediately replace their face coverings when damaged, or leave the facility.
HEALTH SCREENINGS FOR STUDENTS AND STAFF
All KCUSD staff and students are required to “self-certify” each day before reporting to their site.
Passive and Active Screening for illness/infection control
KCUSD will maintain communication systems that allow staff and families to self-report symptoms and receive prompt notifications of exposures and closures, while maintaining confidentiality. Parent Square will be utilized to update families regarding any changes to protocols and procedures necessary.
● Passive Screening:
o Instruct parents to: screen students before leaving for school (check temperature to ensure temperatures below 100 .4 degrees Fahrenheit, observe for symptoms outlined by public health officials); keep students at home if they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19; keep students home if they have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19.
o Instruct parents to contact school if students demonstrate the previous information.
o Train staff to self-certify for symptoms before physically reporting to work.
o Verify that visitors self-certify before entering the facilities.
▪ Limit outside visitors – schedule appointments when possible
● Active Screening:
o Direct staff to engage in symptom screening as students and fellow staff enter campus.
o Screen in a manner consistent with public health guidelines, which include visual wellness checks and, if symptoms appear, temperature checks.
Procedures for Student and Staff Separation in Case of Illness
In the event that the affected person is a staff member, the site administrator will immediately ask the affected staff member to report to the school’s designated “Isolation Room”. Staff will be required to return home. The site administrator and district COVID-19 representative will assess the exposure risk to the students and staff. KCUSD will initiate the COVID-19 Exposure Plan (see section Communication Plans AFTER COVID-19 case).
In the event that the affected person is a student, the site administrator will immediately supply the student with a mask if he/she is not already wearing one and escort the affected student to the school’s designated “Isolation Room”, where the student will receive initial evaluation by a school site representative. The school will:
o document the case
o notify the parent or guardian of the symptoms observed
o ask the parent to pick up the student
o encourage parent to seek further medical attention and/or testing.
The site administrator will then assess the risk posed to the other individuals in close proximity to the student, and take appropriate actions. These actions may include quarantine of the class if the affected person tests positive. KCUSD will initiate the COVID-19 Exposure Plan (see section Communication Plans AFTER COVID-19 case).
HEALTHY HYGIENE PRACTICE
All staff, families and students are encouraged to take the following preventative actions:
● Use respiratory etiquette. Cover cough with tissue or sleeve. See CDC’s Healthy Habits to Prevent Flu page for multilingual posters and fliers posted.
● Encourage hand washing by students and staff:
o Establish routines for handwashing for students or use hand sanitizer every time students leave and enter the room.
o Share with all sites sessions and videos on the importance and the proper procedures for handwashing.
● Post signs near bathrooms and in common areas. Remind and encourage students and staff to wash hands and observe appropriate cough/sneeze etiquette.
● Hand sanitizer will be available at main entrances and other locations as appropriate.
● Hand washing stations or sanitizer will be available in each classroom/visitor area.
Additional Healthy Practices:
● Keep each child’s belongings separated and in individually labeled storage containers, cubbies or areas. Ensure belongings are taken home each day to be cleaned.
● Ensure adequate supplies to minimize sharing of high-touch materials (markers, whiteboards, manipulatives, scissors, etc.) to the extent practicable.
● Avoid sharing electronic devices, clothing, toys, books and other games or learning aids as much as practicable.
IDENTIFICATION AND TRACING CONTACTS
At the site level, an administrator is designated as the COVID-19 representative. This person will be the primary point of contact for communication with the local health department. This person will train several staff members to contact trace at all levels within the school site. Accurate records will be maintained in a confidential file to ensure that the site can report all relevant information to the Fresno County Department of Public Health (FCDPH).
In the event of a confirmed positive COVID-19 case, the staff member receiving the confirmation (could be self-reported) will immediately notify the designated site COVID-19 administrator. This individual will complete and submit a confidential questionnaire, including the individual’s contact information, possible exposure dates, close contacts, and additional pertinent information. The case will be assigned to a district contact tracer who will further document the case and support the infected individual. Direction will be provided on self-isolation and on how to get care and treatment. Only those persons who need to know of a possible exposure will be informed, and confidentiality will be maintained to protect the employee and possible contacts. The questionnaire completed by the site COVID-19 representative and the notes completed by the contact tracer will generate an on-going confidential list of symptomatic employees and exposed staff and students for possible reporting and/or communication with the FCDPH.
KCUSD will implement physical distancing by examining every setting, transition and activity in the school day to determine what restructuring is needed and how that will be done to maintain six feet of separation. Physical distancing actions at school include:
● Implementing changes in the daily/weekly school schedule to decrease class size such that students and the teacher can maintain a physical distance of six feet at all times.
● Limiting contact during meal distribution, recess and non-instructional time (student arrival/departure/passing period).
● Designating routes for entry and exit, using as many entrances as feasible (as determined by individual sites).
● Staggering times when students and staff are moving outside their classrooms/work areas to reduce the number of potential contacts and require students to stay six feet apart when transitioning from one space to another.
● Installing physical barriers to maintain 6ft of physical distance when feasible.
o Providing designated areas where interaction with the public takes place (e.g. picking up or dropping of materials, paying fees, registering for classes, etc.).
o Including barriers (such as furniture) in designated interaction areas.
KCUSD will instruct staff that common areas include all areas of the building/site accessed by the public or staff members for shared purposes, including lobbies and waiting areas, meeting rooms, hallways, restrooms, break rooms and elevators. Physical distancing strategies to increase safety will include:
o Excess furniture removed or identified as “not for use”
o Physical barriers created
o Physical distancing signage that reminds individuals to remain six feet apart
o Directional markers used where feasible to maximize one-way traffic
o Outdoor eating encouraged
o Virtual meetings encouraged whenever physical distancing is not possible
STAFF TRAINING AND FAMILY EDUCATION
Staff training, successfully implemented in July’s Summer ReStart program, will serve as the framework for October’s reopening of campuses. In July, 1356 students and 212 employees, participated with in-person and on-the-job training with implementation of current guidelines for screening, safety, disinfecting, spacing and movement on campus. These 1500+ people stand fully prepared to model and reinforce the practices necessary to safely return the school community to in-person instruction on campus. Further, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, all KCUSD staff has been required to complete a training on both COVID-19 School Based Guidelines and Antimicrobial Pesticides. In addition to these trainings, sites reviewed all District COVID-19 protocols with their staff including proper hygiene and handwashing techniques, education around the identification of symptoms, and the following of District protocols for addressing suspected and confirmed infection.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, families have been kept abreast of all developments related to District decisions related to the education of their children during non-student days and Distance Education. Through this time, parents have received multiple communications that included educational materials and resources notifying them of ways to stay safe, connected and informed about COVID-19. In preparation for the return to school, KCUSD will continue to provide parents with information and resources to support their children from home. Parents will be provided with informational meetings and workshops from both site and District levels. Parents will continue to receive information through routine communication from the Superintendent via ParentSquare and additional educational resources available on the District website. Finally, parents will work with school leaders to decide for each of their children, whether a return to campus is appropriate or not, when special family circumstances exist.
TESTING OF STUDENTS AND STAFF
Per the recommendations of federal, state and local health officials, KCUSD has developed a comprehensive protocol to respond to students or staff members who have been exposed to, exhibit symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19. This protocol includes recommendations for locations and contacts of testing facilities that have partnered with KCUSD to expedite testing.
Student/Staff has tested positive for COVID-19:
The current recommendation is to seek medical attention and to quarantine at home for a minimum of ten (10) days, plus one additional day, with declining symptoms in order to be eligible to return to school/work at the site. If asymptomatic, recommendation is to seek medical attention and to quarantine at home for a minimum of ten (10) days before being eligible to return to school/work.
Student/Staff exhibits symptoms and is waiting for test results:
The current recommendation is to seek medical attention and to quarantine at home for a minimum of ten (10) days, for at least one day after symptoms resolve without the use of medication. May return to school/work if the test is negative for COVID-19 and symptoms have resolved for at least one day.
Student/Staff is exposed to a confirmed positive COVID-19 individual:
The current recommendation is that all COVID-19 exposed individuals seek medical attention and quarantine at home for a minimum of fourteen (14) days in order to be eligible to return to school/work.
Same household family members of COVID-19 positive individuals are asked to quarantine for fourteen (14) days, following the tenth (10) day of active symptoms in the patient. It is recommended that same household family members seek a COVID-19 test if any of the identified symptoms appear.
TRIGGERS FOR SWITCHING TO DISTANCE LEARNING
The Superintendent will consider an individual school closure based on the number of cases, on the percentage of the students and school staff that are positive for COVID-19, and following consultation with the Fresno County Department of Public Health. Individual school closure may be appropriate when there are multiple cases in multiple groupings at a school or when at least 5 percent of the total number of students and school staff positive cases, within a 14-day period, depending on the size and physical layout of the school.
Fresno County Department of Public Health may also determine school closure is warranted for other reasons, including results from public health investigation or other local epidemiological data.
The Superintendent will consider closing the school district if 25% or more of schools have closed due to COVID-19 within 14 days, and in consultation with the local public health department.
In case of a classroom/site/district closure, instruction will immediately revert to the Distance Education model. In this Distance Education virtual model, students will receive instruction in accordance with the requirements of SB 98 through a standardized instructional delivery model that will include daily live interaction via online, face to face instructional session (synchronous) and independent, guided work (asynchronous) utilizing the District's Board adopted guaranteed and viable curriculum. These daily interactions will satisfy the minimum instructional minutes outlined by the California Department of Education (CDE) of three (3) hours per day for kindergarten, three (3) hours and fifty (50) minutes for grades 1-3, and four (4) hours for grades 4-12. Contributing to the meeting of these instructional minutes, time value of assignments will be determined for assignments that are completed during both synchronous and asynchronous instruction. Traditional grading practices will be in place for all grade levels (TK-5 Standards Based Grading and Grades 6-12 Letter Grades).
COMMUNICATION PLANS AFTER COVID-19 CASE OCCURS
KCUSD recognizes the importance of responding quickly and appropriately to possible and confirmed COVID-19 exposure. The following is an outline of the response protocol:
Communication Response to Positive COVID-19 Case
1. School Site notifies identified COVID-19 District Representative
2. District Representative notifies Deputy Superintendent
3. Deputy Superintendent works with District Representative and school administration to trace exposure
4. Deputy Superintendent reports to the Fresno County Department of Public Health (FCDPH)
Scenario A: FCDPH recommends closure of classroom:
A. Notify classroom staff members. Staff members advised to quarantine for fourteen (14) days.
B. Notify remaining school staff members in a live meeting either in person or through Zoom.
C. Notify parents of students in the classroom via messaging sent through ParentSquare. Students advised to quarantine for fourteen (14) days.
D. In the event of classroom closure, the entire room will be thoroughly disinfected.
Scenario B: FCDPH recommends closure of school:
A. Notify all school staff members. All staff members advised to quarantine for fourteen (14) days.
B. Notify parents of all students in the school via messaging sent through ParentSquare. Students advised to quarantine for fourteen (14) days.
C. In the event of a school closure, the entire school will be professionally disinfected.