In-School Safety Protocols Overview by Kristen Okabayashi, Principal
First, we have two reminders from last week’s newsletter on the three learning models. If you believe your student would like to opt into the virtual model for trimester 1, or under the hybrid model you carpool with another Hope family, please send Mrs. Wallace a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I realize many of you are eager to hear more about our health and safety procedures as we prepare to reopen, which is why we are sending out more detailed information about this important topic ahead of our general reopening plan next week. Hope’s reopening task force has carefully considered guidelines from multiple sources throughout the summer, including OSPI, the CDC, and the King County Department of Health. In addition, in the past two weeks I personally completed a 24 hour class with Joffe Emergency Services on Pandemic Coordinator Training. COVID-19 safety protocols continue to be updated every week, and will continue to evolve, as our communities work together to try to reduce transmission of the virus as much as possible. Following is an overview of Hope’s updated protocols.
Health Screening and Drop-off Procedures Students will arrive at designated screening points during their staggered arrival times between 8:00-8:45 AM. Hope staff in PPE will greet each family in the car; all members in the car age 5 and older must wear face coverings. Upon greeting, students will first have their temperature taken with an infrared thermometer. Any student with a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher will need to return home.
According to the Department of Health, each student must be checked for signs of illness each day. Staff and students with any illness must stay home. Students/families will be asked:
- Does your child or anyone in the household have any of the following symptoms?
- A cough
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- A fever of 100.4°F or higher or a sense of having a fever
- A sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- Muscle or body aches
- Congestion/running nose – not related to seasonal allergies
- Unusual fatigue
- Has the student been in close contact with anyone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19?
- Has the student had any medication to reduce a fever before coming to school?
If all the answers are “no”, student may proceed to the school entrance, use hand sanitizer, and go to class. Students arriving after 9:00 AM will need to ring the doorbell at the front office and may need to wait briefly for a staff person to assist with screening protocols.
Items from Home Items from home should be limited to a morning snack/lunch, a filled water bottle with labeled name, 1-2 extra face coverings, and school materials.
Face Coverings OSPI has mandated that all students age 5 and older wear face coverings; we are requiring preschool students to wear masks as well. At this time, there are options for face coverings including cloth masks or face shields. As mentioned previously, we encourage you to have your child practice wearing a face covering now, and practice for longer and longer periods of time so they find a covering that is comfortable and they are accustomed to wearing.
Visitors to School/Volunteer Hours In general, visitors will be extremely limited in the building as we reopen. Student paperwork should be emailed if possible, or can be dropped off at the front of the school entrance on 42nd Ave SW in the drop-off bin, or emailed if possible. The exceptional approved visitor will be required to go through screening protocols. For trimester 1, volunteer (PIP) hours will be waived, with the requirement changing to 20 hours yearly for this school year only. Volunteer hour requirements for trimesters 2 and 3 will be evaluated closer to the respective trimester start dates.
Classroom Procedures During the day, classrooms will have specific protocols to follow. These include:
- Students are required to wash hands or use hand sanitizer at multiple points throughout the day (upon arrival to school, before and after going outside, before and after eating, after using the restroom, after blowing nose or sneezing at a minimum). School entrances and each classroom have hand sanitizer dispensers readily available.
- Classes will remain together as cohorts throughout the day including recess times. Different groups of classes will not be combined unless student is enrolled in K-5 extended care program.
- Students will be encouraged and reminded to allow six feet of social distancing; student desks will be arranged according to six feet social distancing protocols at all times.
- Windows will be open to allow for fresh air in classrooms.
- Students will eat snacks and lunches while socially distanced within the classroom, and tables will be cleaned before and after eating.
- Students who are purchasing lunch will have it provided in individual lunch containers.
- Cohorts will use assigned restrooms, to be shared with 1-2 other cohorts.
- Chapel services and other large group activities such as assemblies will be live streamed or cancelled until it is safe to gather in larger groups.
- PE classes will be held outside in the lowers playground as much as possible.
- Music classes will not offer singing or vocals this year until it is safe to do so.
Pick-up Procedures At pick-up, students will depart school together with their teacher to designated pickup areas at staggered pick-up times consistent with arrival times. Parents/guardians who arrive prior to the usual departure time may have to wait briefly for staff assistance.
Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfecting Procedures Tables and desks will be disinfected multiple times per day. High touch surfaces such as door handles, handrails, and restroom faucets will be disinfected multiple times per day. High touch surfaces on the playground will be cleaned daily. Classrooms will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected at the end of each day by the school’s professional cleaning service. In addition, we are currently working with a company to consider a regular electrostatic disinfection of the entire school building.
Protocol for Potential COVID-19 Symptoms at School If a student displays any symptoms listed earlier, that person will be isolated in the church nursery located off the school lobby, with supervision at a distance from the lobby. A parent or guardian will be called immediately to pick up the student, as well as siblings living in the same household, if applicable. The area will then be aired out and disinfected.
Parents/guardians of a student with potential symptoms should follow Department of Health guidelines. Family must let the school office know immediately via phone call or email if the student or other household members are diagnosed with COVID-19. If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the school will follow Department of Health guidance. Most likely, upon a positive test result, all members of the infected student’s class are considered a close contact and should self-quarantine for 14 days. If this is the case, students in that classroom will transition to online learning during the quarantine.
Returning to Hope after Potential or Diagnosed COVID-19 Staff and students who had signs of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 can return to camp when:
- At least 24 hours have passed since recovery – defined as no fever without the use of medications and improvement in respiratory signs like cough and shortness of breath; AND
- At least 10 days have passed since signs first showed up. OR
- It has been at least 24 hours since recovery AND a health care provider provides a note that the student does not have suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
The following are links to some of the resources we have considered in our safety protocols:
As we prepare to reopen, we ask everyone’s support as we work together to reduce transmission of this virus. Everyone in our community must do our best to follow guidelines on social distancing, mask-wearing, and stay home when not feeling well. Thank you!