HOLGATE — Holgate Local School District has opted to reopen for in-person instruction at the start of the 2020-21 school year. Classes start Aug. 27, with an online learning option available through NOVA.
Parents are asked to keep in mind that any plans created may need to be altered quickly dependent upon circumstances related to COVID-19.
Pertinent communication will take place in a variety of ways dependent upon the nature of the information being shared: the district’s website (www.holgateschools.org), automated school messages, Twitter (@HolgateSchools), Facebook (Kelly Meyers/Holgate Local Schools), and local media.
We recognize that not all families will be ready to send their children back to school. So we plan to have a more limited curriculum available online through our virtual learning program, NOVA. The request form for NOVA can be found under the NOVA tab (on the left) on the district website at www.holgateschools.org. The deadline for registration for online learning is Aug. 14. The NOVA curriculum is provided through Schools PLP, not Holgate teaching staff.
Health and safety
• All employees and students will be required to bring a face covering (must cover nose, mouth and chin) and wear it in designated areas and in certain circumstances (bus, small groups, clinics, lunch). When staff/students are protected by a barrier, facial coverings will not be required. It is important to teach children to sneeze or cough into their sleeve. We don’t just want to reopen school, we want to keep it open if at all possible. In addition, we want to protect our staff members who are more at risk of getting COVID-19 and who could have a much more difficult recovery than younger people who contract the virus.
• Most face coverings will be acceptable (masks, face shields, gaiters/neck scarves, bandanas).
• The number one way to keep school open is to keep children home if they are sick. Please screen your children daily and do not send them to school if they feel ill. If your child is ill, they must be fever-free for at least 24 hours without medication before returning to school. Wearing a face covering at the appropriate times is also an important way to decrease the spread of viruses/germs and keep everyone safer.
• If a student arrives at school and is feeling ill, that student will be immediately referred to the school nurse to be assessed, parents will be contacted, and the child will likely be sent home.
• Persons who have not had symptoms but test positive for COVID-19 may return when they have gone 10 calendar days past their test date without symptoms and have been preferably released by a health care provider. Students may also return if they are approved to do so in writing by the student’s health care provider.
• Persons who experienced symptoms and have been tested for COVID-19 may return to school if the following conditions are met: the individual has been fever-free without the use of medication that reduces fevers for at least 24 hours; and other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath has improved); and at least 10 calendar days have passed since symptoms first appeared; or the individual has received two negative COVID tests at least 24 hours apart.
There will be a separate space (or in some cases a separate room) for students who are exhibiting symptoms that may require them to go home. Some of these spaces may include: MS/HS nurse’s clinic behind a partition, MS/HS in-school detention room, elementary in-school detention room, elementary nurse’s clinic behind a partition. The school nurse will see/assess anyone with symptoms.
High touch surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected daily. More intense cleaning will occur each evening including the use of electrostatic disinfectant misting. Students may assist with wiping down their own workspace and laptops.
Students will eat lunch in the cafeteria with modifications such as hand washing/sanitizing to and from lunch, distancing in the lunch line, seating charts to assist with distancing and contact tracing should the need arise. Cafeteria staff will use face coverings and adjustments will be made to the serving line so students are not touching common surfaces. Face coverings could be required for students in the cafeteria when they are not eating.
Elementary will continue to have daily recess. Additional cleaning and disinfecting of equipment will occur. Students will also wash hands/sanitize on the way to and from recess. Students will be asked to refrain from close physical contact during recess.
At this time will be restricting all volunteers, visitors, guests, vendors, and parents from the school building during the day without an appointment. This is to reduce the number of outside adults from bringing or being exposed to germs/illness while in the facility.
COVID positive protocol
Individuals who test positive for COVID-19, as defined by the Henry County Health Department, may return to school 10 days after symptom onset and being fever-free for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and with improvement of other symptoms. For individuals who have been exposed and deemed a close contact of someone with COVID-19, the health department will determine the need and length of the quarantine period before returning to school. Contact tracing will be conducted by the Henry County Health Department and it will contact all impacted individuals.
Enhanced cleaning protocol
• Increased number of hand sanitizer stations in key locations throughout the facility, classrooms, and buses.
• Safe, effective cleaning products used frequently throughout the day at all high touch areas in school/ classroom and on bus.
• Nightly disinfecting.
Students must be symptom-free and fever-free (100 F) for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication before returning to school.
Remote learning plan
At any time it may be necessary to transition to remote learning whereby students are educated at home by our teaching staff. This plan could take place districtwide, by building, or by grade/classroom. Google Classroom is the primary platform that will be used. A more detailed remote learning plan will communicated once established.
Health and safety protocols
1. Face coverings
Face coverings help prevent the spread of viruses. Staff will be required to wear face coverings when working within proximity to others. There will be situations when face coverings will be required of students (bus, clinics, classroom activities, lunch, or as directed by staff). Face coverings are strongly recommended for students during class changes and when in hallways. Students are required to bring a face covering to school daily and keep it with them throughout the day.
2. Separate clinic locations
There will be a separate clinic area for students displaying symptoms who are waiting to be picked up.
3. Seating charts
Seating charts will be required on buses, in classrooms, and in the cafeteria. Siblings will be seated together on buses whenever possible.
4. Water bottles
Students will be allowed to carry water bottles. All water fountains will be used only for the purpose of filling water bottles.
5. Facility usage
Facility usage will be denied for any outside groups not affiliated with the school.
6. No outside deliveries
Deliveries of food, gifts, balloons, flowers, etc. will not be permitted into school for students or staff during the school day.
7. Stay home if sick
Families must screen their children daily and keep them home if ill. A fever of 100 or higher or if the child doesn’t feel well will mean a child must stay home. Children who become ill at school will be sent to the nurse who may require him/her to be picked up.
8. Hand washing, sanitizing
Hand washing will be required throughout the day. Additional hand sanitizers will be available throughout the building, in each class room, and on the buses.
• Face coverings may be required in certain situations/activities. (If students are directed to use face coverings by an adult they must adhere to the directive or risk consequences in the student code of conduct for insubordination.)
• Classroom layouts may be modified to facilitate distancing. Physical barriers may be used.
• Assigned seats will be required.
• Hand washing/sanitizing will be required frequently throughout the day.
• The sharing of materials will be reduced and discouraged.
• Students will assist with disinfecting desk and computers as needed.
• Purpose: Meet teaching staff, find classroom locations, deposit lunch money, and drop off supplies.
• New student orientation: Monday Aug. 24, from 5-5:30 p.m. in the multi-use room in the elementary wing.
• Grades 1-2, 9-12: Monday, Aug. 24, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
• Grades 3-8: Tuesday, August 25, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Open house requirements
• Only two parents/adults per family.
• Face coverings required for adults/students grades 3-12.
• Only children in listed grades will be allowed to attend.
• No visitors or food deliveries.
• Distancing within serving lines.
• Seating charts in cafeteria.
• Reduced number of students per period.
• Students will be required to wash/sanitize hands on the way to and from lunch.
• Additional cleaning between lunch groups.
• Students will be required to wash/sanitize hands on the way to and from recess.
• Transportation request forms must be completed by Aug. 14 in order to be placed on a route.
• Face coverings will be required for students in grades 3-12.
• Assigned seats will be required; families may be seated together.
• There will be strict loading and unloading procedures based upon route order.
• Only one alternate drop-off/pick-up location will be allowed for the school year.
• Town bus stops will be kept separate to reduce rider numbers per bus.
• Riders must sanitize hands when boarding and unloading from the bus.
Update contract information
• Parents are required to keep all contact information up to date in the parent portal. If you need assistance, contact one of the school offices.
Questions about Positive Cases
• If the school is notified of a positive COVID-19 test, the district will immediately notify the Henry County Health Department. In some cases, the department will notify the school district first. If your child was in close proximity to the individual who tested positive, the Henry County Health Department will notify you with recommendations (you check your child’s temperature daily and watch for symptoms). The health department will offer guidance related to the potential need to quarantine/isolate before returning to school. The school will clean/disinfect any areas affected by the individual who tested positive.
• Families will be notified if there are multiple confirmed cases and if the school will be closed for quarantining/isolation purposes. The Henry County Health Department will notify families and complete contact tracing involving the affected individuals. The school will work closely with the department on all cases to help protect the safety of all of our students and staff.
• We know that a family member is more likely to get COVID-19 if another family member has it. If an individual in one’s home has COVID-19 or is isolated because of COVID-19, those in the household should also stay home for a minimum of two weeks and contact the school to report the information. This could be longer if the student becomes symptomatic. The Henry County Health Department will provide guidance.