Dear Legacy Parents – Thank you for your continued support and input as we plan for our re-opening. We are looking forward to seeing your students on Monday, August 10. This note is to follow up to the July 23 parent letter to provide additional details on how the school day will look for your children. We have worked diligently to plan for the myriad scenarios that could arise as we begin the school year. As a result, we will greatly heighten our daily routines for cleaning and disinfecting, while establishing additional, healthy hygiene practices, and introducing new expectations for things such as social distancing and face coverings.
Please know we are continuing to heed the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We’ve found this recent article worthwhile as we’ve planned for the reopening: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/reopening-schools.html. Additionally, we will continue to monitor closely guidance provided by Southwest District Health, the State and federal government. This COVID-19 guidance document has been a great planning resource, https://phd3.idaho.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/COVID-19-Guidance-Schoolsv2-06-19-20-00000002.pdf, as has the chart, Schools and Public Health Districts: Planning for Positive or Probable COVID-19 Exposure in a School Setting, (at end of email). Should stricter mandates by these entities be required from what we have planned currently, we will adjust accordingly. We will also determine if plan modifications at the school level are necessary based on what we are experiencing once we are back in session.
We hope you are confident in our teachers’ expertise in setting high expectations through positive approaches that help train students in everything from their academic success to the way they treat each other, and, now, how they will help more than ever in the health and safety of their peers. In fact, our teachers just completed professional development this week that will continue these first few weeks of school so that they are prepared to help their students learn while being safe. Parents continuing to provide a healthy home, coupled with our efforts to provide a safe and healthy school, we believe will result in students flourishing once again in their academic success while feeling safe and secure.
To answer some of the more specific questions we have received from parents, we provide the following:
Pre-Opening Preparations Update: Exciting news! In addition to what was shared in the July 23 parent letter regarding pre-opening preparations, we can now share that a bi-polar ionization unit will be installed in the school’s HVAC system. This creates negative ions in the air that starves viruses, mold and bacteria and, in the case of COVID-19, can kill 99% of its spores. This is the same equipment used in hospitals, the White House, and a few Idaho schools already. In other words, the air that’s flowing through our building will constantly be cleansed. This is an incredible addition to our school and a major expense, but a necessary one to ensure we’re doing all we can to best protect our school community.
Social Distancing Update: We are limiting the mixing of students as much as possible while maintaining interactions between students. For instance, we will do the following:
- Establishing easy, age-appropriate social distancing practices, such as “Airplane Arms” for maintaining a healthy distance from others.
- Minimizing classroom movement in the hallways and using designated marked entry and exit doors and pathways. Each grade will use its classroom exterior door for nearly all movement from class to other activities, such as lunch, recess, PE, science.
- Only students and essential adults will be allowed in the school building.
- Unscheduled visitors will not be allowed in the school building.
- Scheduled visitors will be required to comply with the school social distancing and face covering requirements, and may be required to sign a waiver and allow a health check.
- Music will be held outside, weather permitting, or in the gym. More than the six-feet distancing will be in place. Hand sanitizer will be applied before class.
- PE will be held outside as much as possible and non-contact activities will be emphasized. PE equipment in use will be disinfected after each class. Students will use hand sanitizer as they go to PE. Sharing of PE equipment will be greatly minimized.
- Recess: Students will continue to enjoy recess. Social distancing will be monitored by teacher and/or educational assistant.
- Each classroom’s desks will be distanced as much as possible. All desks will be facing forward. Class sizes will remain the same.
- No large-group activities or events are planned until further notice. This includes, unfortunately, our fall Open House.
- As shared in the July 23 email, the lunch procedure will be –
Two grades go to lunch at the same time. For as long as necessary, the two grades will rotate eating locations weekly, with one grade eating in the café so as to keep an acceptable level of social distancing, and the other eating either outside or in their classroom. As has always been the case, adult supervision in the café, outside, and in the classroom will occur to help maintain social distancing measures and safe hygiene. Students will enter café through one door an exit through the other.
-Disposable utensils will be used.
-School lunches will continue to be provided. However, the salad bar will be removed until further notice with salad bar items now individually wrapped.
-All Café workers will wear face shields and gloves, in addition to what they already have had in place for proper food service operations.
Hygiene & Health:
- School employees will take their temperatures and complete a wellness check prior to coming to school. Any employee having a fever at a 100°F or greater, or experiencing obvious COVID-19 symptoms, will stay home. The school will follow its already-established procedures for sick-leave, short- and long-term subs.
- Parents are asked to check their students’ temperatures prior to coming to school, if they can, and observe students for COVID-19 symptoms. If fever is 100°F or greater, or student is experiencing obvious symptoms, they must stay home. The parent must call the school office notifying the secretary of their student’s absence. Parents should decide if their child should be tested. If a child tests positive, parents must to notify the school as soon as possible.
- In the event of a positive student or staff COVID-19 test, the school will work with Southwest District Health to provide appropriate notices and next steps. SWDH has provided to schools outstanding planning checklists, decision-making trees, communication plans and protocols to assist when a positive case is determined. We will follow this expert guidance while keeping our school operating in as normal a manner as possible.
- Several temperature checks will occur daily. This includes first thing in the morning before students enter their classroom and at least two more times during the day. Teachers will include on their class schedule the times in which their students’ temperatures will be taken.
- Proper hand washing at bathroom breaks and when needed in the classroom will be in place. Teachers will remind students of the 20-second hand-washing technique, demonstrate it, and come up with age-appropriate, creative approaches at each grade level in which to help students establish this habit of good hygiene while making it fun.
- Hand sanitizing will be a constant throughout the day. Our students are already very familiar with this practice. However, specific times of the day have been established for hand sanitizing, in addition to what students might do themselves. This means first thing in the morning, as they enter the café for lunch, and as they enter PE, music, science, computer lab, and after recess.
- Water fountains will be used ONLY to fill water bottles.
- Science: Students will use hand sanitizer as they enter the science room. Desks and chairs in the science room will be disinfected after each class. Sharing of science equipment will be greatly minimized.
- Computer lab: Tables, keyboards, screens will be disinfected after each class. Students will use hand sanitizer as they enter the room.
- Since each grade is held in a self-contained classrooms, meaning these classrooms are not shared by multiple grades, K-8 teachers will disinfect their classrooms at the end of the day and as needed during the day.
- Desks in all classrooms will face forward.
- Sharing of classroom materials and commonly-used items will be kept to a minimum – for instance, classroom novels or other shared books will be assigned to students rather than returned each day to a common area. If there are not enough books for every student, books will be wiped down after use.
- Students will not be able to share their school supplies with others. Food and drinks will also not be shared.
- All teachers and staff will use face shields.
- Should a student or staff member become ill during the day, all areas in which the ill person was present will be thoroughly disinfected and sanitized.
- Our custodial staff will continue to clean the school building nightly, including disinfecting bathrooms, hallways, front office, etc.
Beginning the Day:
- When Legacy students arrive at school, they will line up at the exterior door of their classroom. In other words, students will no longer be allowed to enter the front doors in the morning. Students will be trained, as appropriate per grade level, in social distancing techniques, such as Airplane Arms. As students are welcomed by their teacher at their class’ exterior door, they will have their temperature checked with a no-touch thermometer. Normal temperatures will receive a checkmark on the teacher’s COVID Daily Checklist. If a student shows a temperature of 100°F, it will be noted on the checklist, the student will immediately be sent to the office where the secretary will notify the parent or guardian to pick up their student. The student will be placed in a separate area from other students until their parent arrives. The school will share with the parent the protocols for informing the school of the student’s condition. Following the temperature checks, K-8 students will enter their classrooms, use hand sanitizer, don masks (see below information on face coverings use). Students will be provided lanyards to attach their masks to so they don’t get lost during the day.
Ending the Day:
- At the end of the day, students will disinfect their desk, chair and lanyard. Again, our teachers are the best at making “chores” such as this one fun and age-appropriate and, as we’ve heard parents say many times, help in these efforts becoming habits at home, if they aren’t already. When students have left for the day, their teachers will disinfect door handles, countertops and other high-touch surfaces in their classrooms.
Face Coverings UPDATE: At the time of this communication, COVID-19 spread among “tweens” had been steadily increasing. Therefore, we are updating our face coverings protocol as follows:
- Face coverings for 6th-8th grade will be required, meaning all 6th-8th grade students must have a face covering that will be used anytime they are not able to maintain a six-foot distance from another person. Face coverings will not be required during PE, recess, while eating lunch, or during outside breaks the teachers provide when apparent students need to be able to remove them for a time. If your child is unable to wear a face mask for long periods of time due to health issues, please provide a doctor’s note to the school so we have it on file.
- The face covering requirement for K-5th grade will not be as restrictive, realizing the difficulty of long-term, continued use by younger children. However, they will need to be prepared to practice wearing their masks for periods of time, as best they can, and when they’re speaking to an adult who is within six feet of them. (Again, a technique, such as “Airplane Arms” will be used to help students become comfortable in this practice.) K-5th students will not need to wear face coverings during PE, recess, while eating lunch, or during outside breaks the teachers will provide when a face-covering “recess” is needed. If your child is unable to wear a face mask for long periods of time due to health issues, please provide a doctor’s note to the school so we have it on file.
- The above information also addresses our concern for teachers, staff and, possibly, students whose health is compromised – we sincerely hope you will understand our decision for doing so.
- The school will provide face coverings to students who do not have one, or students can bring their own. Since face coverings now have a variety of designs, sayings, etc., on them, please ensure your student’s face covering is appropriate for school. The face coverings provided by the school will be left at the school for washing. Students who bring their own face covering will take them home each day. Students will be given lanyards in which to attach their face coverings to so as to keep them from getting lost, falling on the ground, etc. Face coverings, such as gaitors, are encouraged as they reduce the need for lanyards and can quickly be pulled up or down from the neck as needed.
- Teachers and other employees will wear Personal Protective Equipment, including face shields, during the school day.
- Brown Bus is requiring its riders to wear them. If your student is a bus rider, please plan accordingly.
In the Event of Student or Staff Member Becomes ill with COVID-19:
- Symptomatic staff or students will be encouraged to seek COVID-19 testing from their regular physician or through the local public health authority.
- If a student or staff receives a positive COVID-19 viral (PCR) test result the person stay home for at least 10 days since symptoms appeared and until no fever for at least one day, without use of fever reducing medicine, and other symptoms are improving, OR alternatively, a person who had a positive viral test may return to school when they have received two subsequent negative COVID-19 viral tests at least 24 hours apart and until no fever for at least one day, without use of fever reducing medicine, and other symptoms are improving.
- Students and staff who were in close contact with the person testing positive will be notified and encouraged to seek COVID-19 testing from their physician or local public health authority. We will use SWDH Schools and Public Health Districts: Planning for Positive or Probable COVID-19 Exposure in a School Setting document for next steps and notifications.
- Those testing negative, but exhibit symptoms should remain home until symptoms have improved.
- If they have a negative COVID-19 viral test (and if they have multiple tests, all tests are negative), they should remain home until 72 hours after fever is gone, without use of fever reducing medicine, and other symptoms are improving.
- If they do not undergo COVID-19 testing, the person should remain home until 72 hours after fever is gone, without use of fever reducing medicine, and other symptoms are improving.
- In all cases where a positive COVID-19 test is confirmed among our school community, Southwest District Health will be notified so that we can work in concert with their resources, guidance, and support.
Remote Learning: For those of you considering remote learning, please contact me so that I may get back to you personally.
Attendance Policy: As has been our practice, we will consider absences on a case-by-case basis when extraordinary situations occur within a family, which could include a student or family member contracting COVID-19.
We realize that even with this lengthy email, you might still have questions or concerns. We might not be able to answer all of them, but we will do our best. There might also be changes even with just a week to go before school begins, so please be watching for more updates. Above all, thank you for the overwhelming support and desire in wanting to see your students back at school. We take this responsibility seriously and are doing our utmost to make this school year a great one.
Legacy Charter School District #478
4015 S. Legacy Way
Nampa, ID 83686