Health Plan

Per an order from the Virginia Public Health Commissioner, Hanover County Public Schools (HCPS) is required to submit a COVID-19 mitigation health plan outlining the strategies that we will use to reopen schools in accordance with the Virginia Phase Guidance for Schools. We are evaluating multiple options for learning that include strategies for full-time in-person instruction, online instruction, or a hybrid approach (a blend of in-person and remote instruction). All scenarios rely upon the guidance provided by the Governor of Virginia, the Virginia Department of Education, and the Virginia Department of Health. The School Board must approve a learning plan prior to its implementation.

PLANNING TO REOPEN

CREATION OF A COVID-19 TEAM

HCPS established a COVID-19 Return to Learn Task Force made up of administration, teachers, support staff, health services staff, transportation staff, parents, students and community members to form a plan to return to school during Phase III, as well as steps to take if a directive is given to return to Phase I or II.

The school nurse will be the primary point of contact for each school, and the principal will provide additional support as needed.

MONITORING ABSENCES

School nurses and staff will be instructed to contact the Health Services Coordinator for any report of a student that tests positive for COVID-19, as reported by a parent or a medical provider; a suspected case of COVID-19; or an exposure to COVID-19. The Health Services Coordinator or designee will report all COVID-19 occurrences or concerns to the Hanover Health Department and will follow their guidance in regards to response and communication with families.

Each school nurse will maintain absenteeism reports and records of positive COVID-19 cases and suspected cases of students. The reports will be maintained on a Google form that can be accessed by the Health Services Coordinator and shared with administration as appropriate in accordance with all FERPA and HIPAA guidelines.

Any employee who tests positive for COVID-19 will be required to provide medical documentation of a negative test to Human Resources before he or she is permitted to return to work. Employee positive cases will be reported to the Health Department.

COMMUNICATION

  • Parents, guardians, and staff will receive information about the division’s plans to return to learning prior to the start of the school year through a variety of methods, including email, social media, websites, and other electronic means.
  • Parents and guardians will be responsible for screening students for COVID-19 symptoms prior to students arriving at school each day. However, trained employees will also be available to screen students when needed by use of a verbal questionnaire. Staff will send all students who are exhibiting signs or symptoms of COVID-19 to the clinic or isolation area for further evaluation by a school health professional or designee. The following will be used as a guideline for verbally screening students:
  • “Have you had any of the following since your last day in the building?” (Answering “yes” or “no”):
    • A new fever (100.00 degrees or higher) or a sense of fever such as feeling flushed or having chills?
    • A new cough that cannot be attributed to another health condition?
    • New shortness of breath that cannot be attributed to another health condition?
    • New chills that cannot be attributed to another health condition?
    • A new sore throat that cannot be attributed to another health condition?
    • New muscle aches that cannot be attributed to another condition or specific activity (such as physical activity)
    • A new loss of taste or smell?
  • For children in grades K through 2, the parent will be contacted for immediate pick-up. The parent will be required to respond to the screening for the student, before the child can return to the school.
  • Plans for communicating an outbreak or positive cases detected at the school
    • A student or staff member who has been in contact with any student or staff member who tests positive or who is presumed positive by a health care provider will be notified.
    • Notification and contact tracing will be led by the Health Department. HCPS will assist the Health Department with this activity to the extent possible.
  • Visitors to the school will be prohibited unless essential. Essential visitors will be by appointment only and will conduct the health screening upon entering the building.

PREPARATION OF STUDENT HEALTH SERVICES

  •  School nurses and assistants will have professional development before the opening of school to discuss plans for re-opening during COVID-19. Specific guidance will be provided on the following:
    • Signs and symptoms of COVID-19
    • Signs and symptoms of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)
    • Guidelines for when to call 911-emergency for COVID-19 symptoms
    • Interim CPR guidelines
  • The school nurse will contact the Health Department for consultation, as needed.
  • PPE is being obtained from various vendors and stored for use in the fall, to include:
    • Surgical masks or KN95 masks
    • Isolation gowns
    • Face shields
    • Non-latex gloves
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Safety goggles
    • N95 masks if commercially available. Staff that use N95 mask will be fit-tested.
  • Isolation rooms will be designated at each building and will be separate from the clinic (well-visits only).
  • School nurses will ensure that information about COVID-19 and safety precautions to mitigate the spread of the virus is posted throughout the building.

STUDENT AND EMPLOYEE MENTAL HEALTH

  • A list of mental health resources will be available to students and families.
    • A list of resources will be posted on the division website.
    • Resources are listed on the school counselor webpage.
  • Staff will be aware of possible trauma related to COVID-19
  • Human Resources will provide employees with information on the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), when needed for personal and/or work- related problems.

PROMOTING BEHAVIORS THAT REDUCE THE SPREAD OF COVID-19

EDUCATION AND TRAINING FOR EMPLOYEES, STUDENTS AND FAMILIES

  • Orientation and training for staff and students specific to the most current COVID-19 mitigation strategies include:
    • Videos that outline the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and cleaning for staff
    • Specific training for students regarding hygiene best practices
    • Use of facial coverings
    • Maintaining social distance guidelines when possible
    • Frequent hand washing
    • Respiratory etiquette
    • The importance of staying home when ill
    • Avoiding contact with individuals that are ill
    • Proper cleaning techniques for commonly touched surfaces
    • Cleaning procedures when students leave the classroom
    • Cleaning products that are approved for use
    • Following markers provided in common areas for distancing
    • Following one-way hall traffic where instituted when permissible
    • Avoiding congregating in groups
    • Avoiding sharing of equipment and classroom materials
    • Avoiding sharing food, drinks, and utensils
    • Avoiding sharing electronic devices, toys, books, or other learning materials
  • Adequate supplies to promote healthy hygiene habits at each school facility will be provided as available.
  • Signs and posters promoting healthy hygiene habits as well as COVID-19 symptoms will be displayed prominently both inside and outside of school facilities.
  • Staff will use cloth face coverings when physical distancing cannot be maintained whenever possible. Face shields will be used as an alternative when necessary and only with documented need (e.g. teachers for deaf children)
  • Staff will use face shields when working with students who have hearing impairments.
  • Students must use cloth face coverings during any phase of a stay at home order. Cloth face coverings as is medically and developmentally appropriate will be used, when physical distancing cannot be maintained whenever possible.
  • Every effort will be made to maintain student distance with a goal of 6 feet.

PROMOTION OF PHYSICAL DISTANCING

BUILDING OPERATIONS

  • School leaders and operational staff have reviewed and recommended alternative designs for classrooms and common areas to promote social distancing as detailed above.
  • The number of students in a classroom will be reduced to promote physical distancing to the greatest extent possible.
  • Building and maintenance personnel will ensure that water systems are safe after a prolonged shutdown.
  • Discontinue the use of water fountains. Add water bottle filling stations as available funding allows.
  • Building and maintenance personnel will regularly check the ventilation system in each building to assure it is working correctly.
  • Develop physical/social distancing and directional markers to remind students/employees to stay apart.
  • Prohibition of External Facility Use except for those licensed to provide child-care.

TRANSPORTATION

  • Families of students with disabilities are encouraged to transport their students to and from school.
  • Pupil transportation will be limited based upon capacity and may not be available to all students.
  • To maximize transportation of students, one student will be permitted per seat. All students must wear a face covering, as medically and developmentally appropriate. Siblings or those who live in the same household may share a seat.
  • Bus drivers, bus attendants, and drivers of other county vehicles will use cloth face coverings while transporting students.
  • Buses that can safely open windows are encouraged to allow fresh air to circulate.
  • Protocols for cleaning and disinfecting buses and county vehicles after each route will be established and monitored.
  • Student field trips will be suspended.

FOOD SERVICES

  • Student meals will be provided with social distancing practices leveraged during the purchase or consumption of the meal.
  • Signs and floor markings will highlight safe distancing, as identified above, through the lunch line, at tables and throughout the cafeteria.
  • Disposable serving trays and utensils will be used.

ATHLETICS AND EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

Guidelines for recreational sports and other recreational activities will be followed as prescribed by state guidelines for Phase l- III.

INSTRUCTION

  • Remote learning will be an option for students.
  • Restrictions around mixing of student classes will be implemented.
  • Limit student movement between classes when possible.
  • Prohibition of field trips.

MAINTAINING HEALTHY ENVIRONMENTS

  • All staff will review and sign a contract outlining expectations required for safety and self-reporting of COVID-19 symptoms. The forms will be audited to ensure compliance.
  • Parents will be responsible for screening students for COVID-19 symptoms prior to students arriving at school. However, trained employees will also be available to screen students as they arrive at school by use of a verbal questionnaire. Staff will send all students who are exhibiting signs or symptoms of COVID-19 to the clinic who will be triaged and students displaying any COVID-19 symptoms of illness will report to the sick-isolation area. The interior of the clinic will be used for well visits.
  • Hygiene practices will include education and training in the following areas:
    • Cleaning and disinfection protocols
    • Transport vehicles
    • Schedule for increased cleaning
    • Routine cleaning and disinfecting
    • Ensuring adequate cleaning supplies
    • Correct usage and storage of cleaning supplies
    • Hand sanitizer stations will be located at the entrance to the school and in common areas. Sanitizing supplies will be in each classroom.

MAINTAINING HEALTHY OPERATIONS

  • Staff who are at a greater risk for illness based upon medical documentation will be given the option of telework if their role allows and their skillset is needed virtually.
  • Students who are at greater risk for illness or who are not comfortable wearing a mask will have the option of online learning or homebound instruction as deemed necessary by a health care provider
  • In-person gatherings will be limited to the number of individuals based on the most current Executive Order in effect. Social distancing will be followed to the greatest extent possible. Facial coverings will be required. Those who are ill or in quarantine based on CDC guidelines will not be allowed to attend. Signage will be posted to reflect all requirements. Virtual events will be encouraged in lieu of in-person gatherings. (e.g., student assemblies, special performances, school-wide parent meetings, and spirit nights)
  • Staff who test positive for COVID-19, have a suspected case, or are in quarantine due to exposure will be given the option of telework if their role allows. COVID sick leave will be implemented for those who cannot telework or are too sick to work for up to four weeks.
  • Students who test positive for COVID-19, have a suspected case, or are in quarantine due to exposure will have the option of remote learning from home.
  • In anticipation of staff absences due to illness or quarantine, directors/leaders will decide which staff can be cross-trained to fill in.

PROTECTING VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS

  • Students and staff that are at risk due to medical conditions will be given options for return to school or return to work when feasible.
  • When students are out of school due to illness:
    • they will be offered remote learning, if possible.
    • they will have extra time to make up work or have extra instruction when they return.
  • homebound instruction will not be available during isolation or quarantine
  • Upon receiving medical documentation confirming that an employee is at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, the division has considered the following options to support employees:
    • modified job duties, if feasible
    • telework, if the job duties allow 

PREPARING FOR WHEN SOMEONE GETS SICK

  • Students or staff presenting with COVID-19 symptoms will be assessed in a triage area of the clinic and if needed moved to a separate isolation room and will be required to wear a face covering as medically and developmentally appropriate.
    • The area will be designated with markings to ensure social distancing
    • A non-contact thermometer will be used
    • Staff members conducting triage should wear a medical grade mask and should wear gloves if there is contact with the ill student. N95 masks will be used when commercially available.
    • A parent/guardian or other family-designated adult will be required to pick up ill children. In some cases, students who have a vehicle at school may be permitted to transport themselves.
    • The area will be cleaned after each student
  • Parents/guardians of students who have been out of school due to illness or quarantine must communicate with the school nurse before returning to school. If a student has tested positive, a medical clearance will be required. A medical provider clearance may be requested for other suspected illnesses.
  • The Hanover County Fire-EMS Department Infection Control team, in partnership with the Hanover Health Department, will provide guidance to HCPS regarding responding to and managing all Hanover County employees affected by COVID-19 as the employer. Staff members who test positive for COVID-19 or who are quarantined due to COVID-19 must communicate this information to Human Resources. Any employee who tests positive for COVID-19 will be required to provide medical documentation of a negative test before he or she is permitted to return to work.

PLANNING FOR A REDUCTION IN FACE-TO-FACE INSTRUCTION, FULL CLOSURE, OR PARTIAL CLOSURE

  • Conditions that will trigger a reduction in face-to-face instruction
    • An executive order issued by the Governor of Virginia to move from Phase III to Phase II or Phase I.
    • Recommendation from the Health Department based upon an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the school division.
    • A lawful order issued by local, state, or federal officials.
  • Conditions that will trigger full or partial school closure
    • Recommendation from the Chickahominy Health District based on the most up-to-date guidance from VDH and CDC.
    • Recommendation from the Chickahominy Health District based on increasing numbers of community transmission of COVID-19.
    • An executive order issued by the Governor of Virginia to close school
    • A lawful order issued by local, state, or federal officials.

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR SCHOOL NURSING STAFF

Health Department Contact

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