The idea of a "Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan" may seem a bit obsolete in our particular situation since Highland returned to In-Person learning this past school year. Regardless, Lewis County C-1, as well as all other schools, are supposed to have such a plan posted on their websites by June 23, 2021.
Above this paragraph is the link to Lewis County C-1's "Re-Entry Plan" we posted last summer, as Missouri schools planned to reopen for in-person learning in 2020-2021. This plan will still be applicable for the 2021-2022 school year; however, the plan will need modifications and updates as time goes on. A committee of district stakeholders comprised of students, families, school and district administrators (including special education administrators), teachers and other school staff members will meet regularly (at least every 6 months) to update and modify the plan to be consistent with current guidance from the CDC, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and the Local Health Department. ***Update: This committee reconvened on 11/17/21 to update the plan and discuss the Test To Stay Option. The committee unanimously agreed to keep the district's protocols the same as COVID numbers have remained low. The committee met again on 12/14/21 after changes from an "order" by the Attorney General, which eliminated the LHD's ability to quarantine household contacts to COVID positive individuals. The committee unanimously agreed to continue with the district's protocols to the best of the district's ability with the absence of the LHD communication and assistance. There was some concern and discussion on the state DHSS and CDC recommendations regarding COVID with the LHD removed from the sources of advice. This decision of the committee was agreed to and the plan readopted by the board on 12/15/21.
Lewis County C-1 will still be utilizing the School Nurse's Algorithm as suggested for handling students with symptoms at school. It is still important for sick students to stay home and avoid contact with other symptoms while sick.
Similarly, the district will continue using the Lewis County C-1 Daily Wellness Checklist as a daily screener for attendance. This screener will provide students, parents, and community members wishing to attend a school event the ability to quickly screen themselves to see if they are approved to attend the school day or school function.
The single most effective mitigation strategy available at our disposal is getting vaccinated! Parents are encouraged to strongly consider getting themselves and their children vaccinated to reduce the spread and avoid exposure to any of the new variants, which have been alarmingly increasing in cases in the US, as well as proving to be more transmissible and prevalent among children than the original COVID-19 strain of the virus. In case you have questions or have heard fearful rumors, here is a link to a super short video to some Fast Facts About COVID Vaccines.
Again, our plan will be revised as we get closer to the opening of school in the Fall; however, our current plan of action is to be operating under the "Low/No Spread" column of our Plan. The district also plans to continue to offer a virtual learning option through the district, similar to the 2020-2021 school year. Specifically outlined in our Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plans, schools are required to communicate how they are addressing the following listed Mitigation Strategies:
Universal and Correct Wearing of Masks: LCC1 will be allowing students/staff to wear masks if they choose to do so; however, there is no mask mandate in place.
Physical Distancing: LCC1 will attempt to provide as much physical distancing as possible, but will be returning to eating breakfast and lunch in the cafeteria. Buses will run at full capacity. The district will still look to keep students in cohorts to the best of our ability.
Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette: LCC1 will continue to provide encouragement and reminders for frequent handwashing, with hand sanitizer readily available throughout the school buildings. (Edited 12-15-21) The district encourages all students and staff members to cover mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing.
Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation: LCC1 will continue increased cleaning, especially in high-touch areas. The district has also replaced all faucets and flush valves to be touchless. Water fountains will remain closed, but the water bottle refill stations will still be accessible to the students during the school day. As far as ventilation is concerned, LCC1 currently has an electronically monitored, efficient HVAC system; however, the HVAC units are older and the district is looking to use relief funding to update our HVAC system in the coming year.
Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the Lewis County Health Department: LCC1, with approval from the LCHD, is not currently contact tracing or quarantining students based upon close contact with positive cases. Instead, parents will be notified when the district is alerted of a positive student/staff member has been present at school and advised to monitor their students for signs/symptoms of COVID-19. Again, anyone that is sick with symptoms consistent with COVID should refrain from attending school or school events.
Diagnostic and Screening Testing: LCC1 will continue using the Lewis County C-1 Daily Wellness Checklist and the School Nurse's Algorithm to monitor for symptoms and determine whether someone should be in attendance or not. Additionally, the district was one of the first to apply for and continues to participate in the BinaxNow testing program through the state, which assures we have the nasal-swab testing kits available for LCC1 students and staff that wish to be tested. Student tests are conducted for FREE at the LCHD with these tests upon parent request.
Efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students, if eligible: LCC1 has worked with the LCHD and Hannibal Regional Hospital to provide vaccinations as soon as they were eligible for all district staff that wished to receive the vaccine.
Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to the health and safety policies: Accommodations are provided when necessary or as mandated within an IEP.
Meals for kids: LCC1 has and plans to remain committed to providing meals to students during school days, even in the event of a prolonged closure due to COVID. If such an event should occur in the future, the district would revert to the bus delivery method to distribute meals provided the necessary State and Federal waivers allow for such delivery method to take place.
In Conclusion, Missouri and Lewis County have made great strides at returning to "normal," but we must remain vigilant in our efforts to protect In-Person learning for the sake of our students.
If you wish to serve on the committee to consider revisions to the district's Safe Return to In-Person Learning and Continuity of Services Plan, please contact the Central Office at 573-209-3217 and provide your name as someone willing to serve on the committee.