REOPENING SAFELY GUIDELINES
Northshore Adventist Academy is preparing to return to in-person instruction in accordance with the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Health policies which prioritize the health and safety of students, staff, and their families. While we are in Phase 4, no more than 50 individuals can gather in one space in a school building. A space is considered a classroom, lunchroom, gymnasium, etc. Please note that according to Executive Order 2020-40, in order to reopen all public and nonpublic schools in Illinois serving prekindergarten through 12th grade students – these guidelines must be followed. A summary of the major requirements is outlined below. The full reopening guidelines can be found at https://www.isbe.net/COVID19 .
These guidelines are subject to change as the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Health readjust the guidelines to keep our children safe as we return to school.
Face Covering Requirements
- Face coverings are required for all who enter the building, including students, staff, parents, and visitors. It is recommended to limit all parents and visitors from entering the building.
- Face coverings do not need to be worn outside if a 6-foot distance can be maintained.
- Face coverings must be removed during eating, so it is important to ensure a 6-foot distance between individuals.
- Special attention should be paid toward students when putting on and removing face coverings for purposes such as eating. Hand hygiene should be performed immediately after removing and replacing face coverings.
- Face Shields should not be used in lieu of face-coverings such as masks unless there is a physician’s note documenting a medical contraindication.
- Face shields may be used by teachers in situations where it is important for students to see how the teacher pronounces words such as English Learners, early childhood, foreign language, etc., however, wearing a face mask with a plastic insert is preferred for these situations.
Social Distancing Requirements
- Rearrange desks so that there is a 6-foot distance in all directions between each desk and face desks in the same direction. Require students to remain in their seats to the greatest extent possible. Open windows, if possible, for increased ventilation.
- Teachers should develop a marked path of travel inside the classroom to maintain social distancing from the entry point of the classroom to each student’s assigned seat.
- Students should stand in the hallway on social distancing markers that are spaced 6-feet apart when waiting for the bathroom, drinking fountain, recess, checking-in after morning arrival, and checking out at dismissal.
- Suspend or limit the use of lockers. If students can remain 6 ft apart, then lockers may be used for personal items such as coats, hats, gloves, lunches, ect. School items should remain in the classroom or backpack to reduce the time students would need to leave the classroom.
- Only allow supervisors and staff who are required for instruction to be in the classroom.
- If students typically rotate to different classrooms, they should stay in one classroom, and teachers should rotate to them
Schoolwide Cleaning and Disinfection Requirements
- Hands should be washed frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds.
- Build-in time for hand hygiene and/or schedule hand hygiene breaks to include:
- transition times
- arrival to and departure from school
- after coughing, sneezing, or nose blowing
- following restroom use
- before food preparation
- before and after eating
- after contact with a person who is sick
- upon return from the playground/physical education
- upon exiting and returning to the classroom
- touching shared items such as books, pencil sharpeners, doorknobs, answer keys, light switches, dispenser handles, P.E. equipment, etc.
- following use of water fountains, sinks, faucets, and countertops
- following glove removal
- Ensure adequate hygiene supplies, including tissues, hand sanitizer, extra face coverings, gloves for staff, and handwashing supplies such as extra soap and paper towels if a sink is present.
- Ensure students do not place their mouths on the spout of the water fountain by having students use it only to fill their water bottles.
- Schools should determine any “hot spots” where germ transmission may easily occur and ensure hand sanitation/handwashing supplies are readily available and used often.
- Consider assigning classroom computers to minimize disease transmission. Computer keyboards and/or touchscreens can be difficult to clean, so consider utilizing keyboard covers to facilitate cleaning. Shared computers should have signs posted instructing proper hand hygiene before and after computer use. Electronics, including tablets, touchscreens, keyboards, remote controls, lunchroom keypads, door entry systems, etc., should be cleaned before and after use.
- Communicate with parents of younger students to discourage or prohibit their children from bringing any toys from home to school. Consider labeling students’ personal items and keeping them in a separate bag to ensure they remain separate from the belongings of other students.
- Restrict or discourage the borrowing or sharing of any items. The CDC recommends that electronic devices, toys, books, pencils, papers, games, or learning aids not be shared.
- Lunches – Students will eat lunches at their desks or outside (weather permitting).
- Parents are requested or required to use single-use/disposable items when sending lunches to school – paper sacks, plastic bags, plastic utensils, etc.
- Playground equipment – should be monitored, and the number of students using each piece of equipment should be limited.
- Consider staggering playground times to allow one class in a playground space at one time rather than multiple classes playing together. Maintain appropriate cleaning of playground equipment. Any equipment/items that cannot be cleaned should not be utilized. Discourage the sharing of toys. High-touch surfaces made of plastic/metal, such as swings/slides, railings, and other play structures, should be cleaned routinely and disinfected as per the most recent CDC guidance.
- Thorough cleaning of all high touch areas should be done nightly, and deep cleaning should be done over holiday breaks.
Symptom Screening and Temperature Check Requirements
- Schools must conduct temperature and symptom screenings or require self-certification and verification for all staff, students, and visitors entering school buildings. Schools not requiring self-certification should check for a temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit/38 degrees Celsius and currently known symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, fatigue, muscle and body aches, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Individuals who have a temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit/38 degrees Celsius or one known symptom may not enter buildings.
- Individuals who exhibit symptoms should be sent home and referred to a medical provider for evaluation and treatment and be given information about when they can return to school.
- Parents or caregivers need to report if a student currently has any known symptoms of COVID-19 which are: fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, fatigue, muscle and body aches, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- Schools must provide a supervised quarantine space for students/staff who are experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms and may be awaiting evaluation and/or pickup.
- The quarantine space must be disinfected after it is occupied by a student or staff member and deep-cleaned daily. Only essential staff and students assigned to the space may enter. Students exhibiting COVID-19-like symptoms must wear a face-covering unless medically contraindicated. Per CDC Guidance, close off areas used by a sick person; do not use these areas until after cleaning and disinfecting. Wait at least 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting. If 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
P.E. Social Distancing Requirements
- Physical activity supports students’ overall health and well-being and helps reduce stress and anxiety, but guidelines must be followed.
- Face coverings must be worn inside, while maintaining 6 feet of distance.
- If P.E. must be taught inside, consider using separate partitions in open spaces, utilizing markings on the gym floor or wall to maintain distance between students.
- Games and sports activities that require close guarding and any potential physical contact with another player must be avoided in order to comply with the Illinois Department of Public Health requirements.
- Schools should eliminate the need for the use of locker rooms, as well as allowing students to participate in activities without changing clothing. Shoe changes can be done in the classroom prior to arrival in P.E. If lockers are used, they should not be shared.
- Consider staggering playground times to allow one class in a playground space at one time rather than multiple classes playing together.
- Any equipment/items that cannot be cleaned should not be utilized. Any shared equipment must be cleaned between each student use and disinfected at the end of each class.
- High-touch surfaces made of plastic/metal, such as swings/slides, railings, and other play structures, should be cleaned routinely and disinfected as per the most recent CDC guidance.
- Whenever feasible and weather permitting, educators should select outdoor physical education activities that allow natural social distancing.
- Masks do not need to be worn when students are outside if they can maintain 6 feet of distance from one another.
- Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who are suspected of having COVID-19 infection should seek medical attention, self-isolate, and follow CDC guidelines for discontinuation of isolation.
- Individuals who have had close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is suspected of having COVID-19 infection should isolate at home and monitor for symptoms for 14 days.
- Close contact means the individual was within 6 feet of the individual who tested positive for COVID-19 or is suspected of having COVID-19 infection for more than 15 minutes.
- Schools should provide a supervised quarantine space for students/staff who are experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms and may be awaiting evaluation and/or pickup.
- Judgment administrator/designee must determine who is placed in the quarantine space and the level of supervision required for persons within the quarantine space.
Remote Learning Requirements
- Parents can opt for full remote instruction for their students.
- Schools should also consider planning for remote instruction for students who are medically fragile, at a higher risk of severe illness, or who live with individuals at higher risk of severe illness.
- Receiving and actively participating in remote instruction and learning will count towards students’ attendance.
- A whole school is not required to transition to remote instruction if an individual who was in the building tests positive for COVID-19. Only those individuals with close contact with someone who tested positive or who is suspected of having COVID-19 are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.
- The school will provide remote instruction to students who are self-quarantining if they are well enough to engage in learning.
- Teachers and staff who are self-quarantining should continue to work remotely if they are well enough to do so.