Guerin Catholic’s Campus Reopening Plan (July 3, 2020)
Guerin Catholic’s Campus Reopening Plan includes preventative measures, with which we will need everyone’s participation. If done effectively, together these should reduce the risk of virus transmission within the school. It also includes procedures we will follow when there is a positive case of COVID-19 among our school community. We need to be prepared for this likelihood, and for everyone to know in advance how it will be handled.
This plan has been guided by resources from our diocese, public health agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and other public agencies such as the Indiana Department of Education and the Governor’s Office, and by our own internal planning groups which includes our Reopening Committee.
If you have any questions on anything contained in this document, or other aspects of our campus reopening plan, we encourage you to contact us. We look forward to welcoming many of you back on campus in July!
SECTION 1: STAYING HOME WHEN SICK OR AFTER EXPOSURE
The most important thing that we can do to prevent virus transmission among our school community, is to not bring it onto campus in the first place. Students and employees will be expected and asked to stay home in the following situations:
- When exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19. Everyone should become familiar with these symptoms, and should establish a daily self-screening process
- After close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) with persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are symptomatic
- After returning from travel to certain locations, as guided by CDC or local public health officials
For July Practices and activities: If any of those descriptions apply to your child, we ask that a parent keep the student at home, and contact Joni Hitchcock, GC Attendance Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (317) 660-0404 to inform the school.
All students and employees will be required to complete a health assessment form before entering the building and will be asked to commit to daily home self-screenings. We will establish processes for students to receive basic screenings at school by staff when needed. In addition, each person who enters the front doors at Guerin Catholic will have an infrared temperature reading.
When students or employees who are already at school report symptoms of COVID-19, we will have a designated isolation room and staff member who is trained to respond. Once brought to that location, students’ family will be contacted, and an initial screening will be conducted. Students may be picked up at that location, and families will receive guidance on steps to take with health professionals prior to returning to school.
PARTICIPATION IN CLASS FROM HOME
When a student needs to stay home for COVID-related reasons as described above, but is feeling well enough to continue to participate in class, Guerin Catholic is establishing a home learning platform which will allow them to keep pace with the learning activities and assignments of their classes. In most cases, our goal will be for students to remain fully enrolled in all of their classes, and keep up with their classwork throughout the time they need to be at home, as long as they are well enough to do so. They will still participate along with their classmates and teachers who are in the building, through the home learning platform.
It is important that we provide every incentive we can for students to stay home when needed, whether they are feeling sick, are self-monitoring due to possible exposure, or simply don’t feel comfortable with the risk of being in a group setting.
RETURN TO SCHOOL
Students who need to stay home for any of the reasons listed above, and their families, will receive guidance on what they need to do in order to return to school and when. This guidance may take place automatically through our screening tool, or in communication with school personnel. In some cases, this may include a student getting a COVID test or seeing a physician. In others, it may include staying home, isolating and self-monitoring for a defined time period. We will rely upon guidelines from medical professionals and public health officials to make these determinations.
SECTION 2: PREVENTATIVE STEPS TO REDUCE TRANSMISSION RISK IN THE BUILDING
MASKS AND OTHER PPE
Until further notice, all employees, students, and visitors should wear a face mask within the building following these face mask guidelines. Students should plan to bring their own masks every day and to keep them clean. Extra masks will be available for students who arrive at school and have forgotten them. Cloth masks or surgical masks are sufficient to meet this requirement, and additional personal protective equipment (PPE) is allowed for any student.
When students and employees are on campus but outside the building, masks are optional, not required, as long as physical distance from others is able to be maintained. Students may be outdoors, for example, when outside for a PE class or athletic practice, for a class utilizing outdoor space, when eating at a designated outdoor eating space, or when waiting outside for pickup. We will continue to ask students to maintain physical distance while outside, but the reduced risk of virus transmission outdoors means that masks will not be required.
PHYSICAL DISTANCING AT SCHOOL
Guerin Catholic will make a number of adaptations to provide an environment where students, faculty and staff are able and encouraged to maintain appropriate physical distance from one another throughout the course of the school day. It should be noted that we cannot guarantee that 6 feet of distance from others will always be able to be maintained within our building. Current scientific guidance gives us confidence that when we put into place all of the rest of these procedures such as staying home when sick or exposed, consistent personal PPE, and regular hygiene practices, this will provide sufficient risk mitigation for our population within our building, even if students are sometimes closer together than 6 feet. Still, we will take a number of steps for physical distancing of students, faculty, and staff, including:
- Classroom spacing and arrangement of desks for maximum distance
- Assigned seating in the classroom
- Increased faculty/staff proctoring of common areas to remind students of distancing guidelines
- Adapting group work assignments to provide more physical distance among groups of students than usual in the classroom
- Adapting activities and locations for courses such as PE, visual arts, and performing arts, to maximize distance and avoid activities which have shown greater risk of virus transmission (e.g. contact sports, choral activities in close proximity)
- Reducing and eliminating shared classroom materials whenever possible
- Increased use of outdoor campus space for various classes and activities as weather allows
Students, faculty, and staff at Guerin Catholic will receive regular education and instruction in personal hygiene procedures which are shown to reduce the risk of virus transmission. These include:
- Frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as often as possible
- Hand sanitizing – Guerin Catholic will provide additional sanitizing stations in common areas, and students are encouraged to carry and use their own hand sanitizer throughout the day
- Avoiding handshakes, high fives, hugs and touching your face
Our facilities staff will be implementing regular cleaning and sanitizing procedures throughout the building, which are much more intensive than normal. In addition, faculty and staff will observe protocols for cleaning each classroom and meeting room after use, before the next group enters.
FOOD SERVICE AND NUTRITION
Serving and consuming food and beverages presents challenges in our current environment. Changes to these procedures will include the following:
- Water fountains will be accessible for bottle-filling only. Students will continue to be encouraged to bring their own reusable water containers and rely on them throughout the school days.
- Cafeteria service will be adapted to minimize or eliminate self-service. New “grab and go” options will be the norm.
- Vending machines will be temporarily discontinued.
- Additional eating locations will be designated for our lunch periods and will set up to provide for physical distancing between students.
DROP-OFF, PICK-UP AND MOVEMENT ON AND OFF CAMPUS
Drop off and pick up locations and procedures will be similar to usual, with the line of cars forming along our circle drive at the end of the instructional day. Students who are waiting for pickup will be asked to wait outside, weather permitting, and with physical distancing, rather than inside the main entrance. Additionally, we will host a staggered dismissal with student drivers with no after school commitments and those being picked up at the end of the instructional day being dismissed before those staying for after school activities.
Class field trips will not occur for the time being.
All school visitors are asked to check in at the main desk, as usual. Visitors will need to have an appointment, be met and guided by an employee, and will need to follow all building procedures including wearing a mask.
SECTION 3: WHEN THERE IS A POSITIVE CASE OF COVID-19 IN THE COMMUNITY
If a student, or a member of the student’s household, is confirmed positive for COVID-19, we ask that the family inform the school immediately. We should all be prepared, mentally and with procedures, for this likelihood.
COOPERATION WITH LOCAL HEALTH OFFICIALS
According to public health guidance, upon learning of a positive case of COVID-19 in our community, the school must provide notification to the Hamilton County Public Health Department (HCPHD) as well as the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). We will provide this notification, and expect to remain in communication with these officials about their procedures and guidance as we care for our students and families.
We expect that local health officials will carry out their own contact tracing procedures. And, it will also be possible and helpful for the school to carry out its own procedures as well. If a student, employee, or other person who has been in the building tests positive for COVID-19:
- School staff will conduct a brief “case investigation” interview to help determine close contacts among the school community.
- The student or community member’s close groupings will be considered, such as teams, classroom seating arrangements, etc.
- Families of students who have been in close contact with the COVID-19 positive individual, will be contacted by the school, and asked to self-monitor and follow CDC guidelines. This may include a requirement to stay home from school for a period of time.
According to the Indiana State Department of Health, “if an individual in one’s home has COVID-19 or is quarantined because of COVID-19, those in the household should also stay home for a minimum of two weeks.”
COMMUNICATION AND PRIVACY
In the case of a member of our community testing positive for COVID-19, we will need to depend on the specifics of the situation to guide what communication is necessary with the broader school community. Privacy considerations, as well as the health safety of the entire school community, will always be respected. Depending on the situation, we may need to inform the entire community that there has been a positive case, but we also may not. We will make these decisions in consultation with local health officials.
Again, depending upon the situation, upon learning of a positive COVID-19 case, it may be necessary to temporarily close the school for cleaning. In addition, we will closely monitor community transmission rates, our own school absentee rate, and the guidance of local health officials, in making these decisions. In decisions of school closing, we will communicate the need to the school community, and provide a home learning platform for continuous learning for all students during the closure.