20-21 DSES Health and Safety Plan
1. Protect the health and safety of students and staff - physical, emotional, and mental
2. Consistent with local health authorities’ recommendations
3. Guaranteed and viable curriculum for all students and schools
4. Adaptability and flexibility with evolution of COVID 19
5. Emphasize a culture of personal accountability and high integrity
6. Encourage predictable patterns of behavior
7. Limit Interactions & Isolate groups as much as possible. The more proactive and self-contained plans are, the less impact a building will have when they have a positive case. When there is a positive case does the plan and effective implementation of the plan results in remote learning for an impacted classroom, grade, POD, school vs multiple schools and/or entire District.
Updated August 29, 2021
- Students and staff are required to wear face masks while in the classroom unless an opt-out form is completed. Masks are recommended when outdoors.
- Click here to download the Opt-Out Form.The form must be filled out and turned in at the West Ada District Office (now the main office at school) by the student's parent/guardian. Photo ID is required. Forms are available at the District Office.
- Please note: If your child is identified as an exposure in the classroom setting and was wearing a mask, they may be able to leave quarantine to attend school, school activities and school-sanctioned sports. Please refer to Exposure/Quarantine Section for information.
- Centers for Disease Control has issued a public health order requiring masks be worn while on public transportation, this includes school buses. We must comply with a public health order.
- We are required to identify anyone who was within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes to be exposed. They will need to quarantine. Quarantine refers to the practice of separating individuals who have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 to determine whether they develop symptoms or test positive for the disease.
- Quarantine reduces the risk of transmission if an individual is later found to have COVID-19. Quarantine for COVID-19 should last for a period of 7-14 days after the exposure has ended. Quarantine includes not leaving the quarantine location to attend activities, school, childcare, work, or visiting the community or having visitors at the location of quarantine. The exception is to seek medical care or if they qualify as a School Based Exposure*.
- For specific details about quarantining after an exposure, please refer to “Exposed: How to Quarantine” here: Health Services / Exposed: How to Quarantine (westada.org).
*School Based Exposure - These are individuals who were identified as an exposure to a positive individual in the classroom setting.
- Students and staff in West Ada School District are not required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Individual choices regarding vaccinations should be respected.
- We encourage families to study vaccine recommendations, discuss it with their health care provider and choose what they believe is best for their family.
- West Ada School District’s data dashboard webpage provides parents and staff with information about school and district COVID-19 cases. Positive cases reflect those students and staff who were infectious only while attending in-person school. The data regarding quarantines in a building reflects those individuals in quarantine due to being a close contact with an infectious individual at school.
- Click here to go to the Covid Dashboard page.
- This data is not meant to replicate the existing data from other agencies which can be found about COVID-19 cases in the communities we serve.
- This data will start being collected on August 26 and will be available August 30.
Isolation For Those Who Test Positive
- Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 are required to isolate according to the guidance provided by the testing facility or medical provider.
- Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is not permitted at school or any school activities during their isolation period.
Students, teachers, and staff are encouraged to stay home when ill.
For additional guidance, please refer here: Health Services / Symptom/Illness Flow Chart (westada.org)
Before the School Day Begins
- Assess your own health and that of your students with a temperature check and a review of symptoms - fever, chills, cough, nasal congestion or runny nose, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, shortness of breath, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, extreme fatigue, headache or muscle or body aches. If a staff member or a student has a temperature of 100 or higher, does not feel well, or has any of the symptoms listed above, please stay home and don’t risk taking any kind of infection into the school building where others could become sick and begin an outbreak that could result in the halt to in-person classes.
- If you know that your child was identified as a close contact to an infected individual (within six feet of the person who was infected for a period of time adding up to 15 minutes or more over the course of a day) of someone who is a confirmed or probable case of COVID, please keep your child at home for an entire quarantine period of 14 days from the last date of exposure.
- Make the following reminders as a part of your morning routine: the importance of distancing, frequently washing or sanitizing their hands, particularly after coughing, sneezing, using the restroom, or touching surfaces that others have used as well as before and after eating.
- If staff will be in a staff meeting or in a staff lounge, keep in mind that you can be exposed to infection by other staff members, not just students. For that reason, staff should try to maintain physical distancing whenever possible.
Remote Learning Opportunities
If your child has an illness, injury, or is in quarantine, West Ada School District will utilize the following protocols to ensure your student receives classroom instruction:
- Classroom assignments and resources will be available to students through Microsoft Teams or SeeSaw
- Each building will utilize a consistent Microsoft Teams/See Saw structure to support student access at home
- Synchronous learning opportunities will be provided for students during direct classroom instruction through Microsoft Teams
- Assessments/testing will be taken in the building
Arriving at School
- No students will be dropped off before 8:45. If parents/guardians are walking or biking to deliver their child /children, they are asked to maintain a safe distance of 3-6 ft. from other students and adults.
- Playgrounds are off limits before school.
- At 8:45, students will go to breakfast or line up in their designated area.
In the Hallways
- Students are encouraged to maintain as much distance as possible when inside the school building and when in the hallway. Hallways have the potential to create special risks of close contacts. It is important that everyone keeps moving to alleviate congregating in the hallways.
- Students can be assigned another student to follow behind when moving in the hallway, including for fire drills, and one method for maintaining a safe distance of 3-6 ft. between students is to have students extend one arm in front of them with the instruction not to touch the student they are following.
In the Classroom
- Universal safety precautions will be taught and regularly reviewed by classroom and specialist teachers.
- Teachers and students must sanitize their hands upon entering the classroom. Building custodians will check wall mounted hand sanitizer dispensers daily to check levels and replace cartridges. Teachers are responsible for requesting individual bottles of hand sanitizer from administration.
- Student desks should be distanced as much as possible, at least three (3) to six (6) feet apart is ideal.
- In cases where physical distancing is not possible, due to the size of the classroom and/or number of students, the creation of pods can be considered. Pods are only appropriate for elementary school children and should always be the smallest number of students possible (ideally three to five students) to ensure that the pods can be physically distanced from each other by at least three (3) to six (6) feet. Even when pods are utilized, it is recommended that all students in the pods wear a proper face covering correctly, except when outdoors and distanced by more than three to six feet. A pod is never preferable to physically distancing each student in the classroom because pods create intentional close contacts. The utility of pods is the need to only quarantine the pod in the event a student becomes infected, as opposed to having to quarantine the entire classroom because none of the students could be distanced. However, this is only possible when all other pods can be successfully distanced from other pods. If pods are utilized, children should remain in the same pod for all classes and activities during the day as much as logistically possible.
- Remind students of the need to maintain distancing and that students should only get up to move around the classroom with teacher permission and supervision that ensures adequate physical distancing as much as possible, three (3) to six (6) feet is preferable.
- Remind students NOT TO SHARE laptops or computer keyboards, drinks, food, snacks, gum, writing utensils, tissues, face masks, make-up, chap stick, eating utensils, musical instruments, or personal items.
- Student desks, chairs, keyboards, or other items frequently touched at the student’s desk should be cleaned between use by different students.
- All surfaces frequently touched by numerous students throughout the class or day (e.g., doorknobs, counter tops, faucet handles and sinks) should be cleaned often during the class and throughout the day.
- Everyone is encouraged to wear a proper face mask correctly while in the classroom. For those students or teachers who have the need for their lips to be seen, e.g., interpreters, special education teachers or teachers teaching young children how to sound out letters or words, the Clear Mask (https://www.theclearmask.com) or the Rafi Nova Mask (https://rafinova.com/pages/face-mask) are acceptable face masks when engaged in activities for which a cloth face mask or surgical mask is not practical. The advantage to the Clear Mask is that the plastic window does not fog with speaking.
- Consider holding class outside when weather permits and the material to be taught allows for this.
- If a student reports feeling ill or appears to be ill, remove the student from the classroom in a manner that protects the individual students' privacy and into the hallway, where the student must be physically distanced from all other persons. Contact the school nurse prior to sending the student to the nurse and advise the nurse of the student’s symptoms so that the nurse can make the necessary preparations to receive the child. The student should then be escorted to the school nurse, without stopping at the student’s locker and without contact with anyone else to the extent possible.
- Teachers and staff should be mindful of their proximity and duration of close contact with students within the classroom. Within a class period, teachers should avoid being within (six) 6 feet of a student for a duration of 15 minutes or more.
- Teachers and staff should consider every type of classroom activity and how to conduct those activities with the mitigating measures in place.
- If recess is indoors, students are encouraged to wear their face masks and distance as much as possible.
- Students must wash their hands thoroughly at the end of recess. Otherwise, washing and sanitizing are, for our purposes, equally effective. When washing, use soap; warm, but comfortable water; and ensure that you rub your hands vigorously, lathering the soap and getting water and soap over the entire hands and between the fingers for 20 seconds. When sanitizing, similarly, get the sanitizer rubbed over the entirety of the hands and between fingers. Allow the sanitizer to air dry rather than wiping the hands dry.
- All students and staff should wash or sanitize their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds before and after eating.
- Physical distancing to the best of capabilities is especially important during meals, because students will have to take their face masks off to eat. If students can eat outdoors, this will be the safest, because the risk of airborne transmission will be significantly less.
- There is currently no evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be transmitted through food handling or preparation. Nevertheless, contact exposure remains a concern and therefore, students should not share food, drinks, plates, or eating utensils. Tables and chairs should be cleaned thoroughly and disinfected before and after a student sits down to eat their meal.
- Avoid self-service food and drink stations, such as vending machines, drink stations or salad bars, where students may congregate and where equipment, service items, food or surfaces may become contaminated from the shared use by multiple students.
- Because we are required to limit visitors in the school building, eating lunch at the school with your child will not be permitted.
- Physical distancing of at least three (3) to six (6) feet is preferable.
- Whenever possible, PE should be conducted outdoors.
- However, when PE is held indoors, it is important to try to distance students at least 6ft from each other and that they try to wear proper face masks correctly during the entire class due to the risk of airborne transmission and due to the fact that when a person exerts his/herself and, as a result, breathes faster and heavier than normal, that person, if infected, will project more virus in their respiratory droplets and those droplets can travel further than 6ft.
- When activities involve the shared use of balls, ropes, or other equipment, hands should be cleaned and disinfected after use and items cleaned and disinfected when possible.
- Students should drink from their own water bottles that are clearly marked with their names. They should not share water fountains or drinks with each other.
- Students should wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds if their hands are soiled at the completion of PE. Otherwise, students may wash or sanitize their hands for 20 seconds at the completion of PE.
- Larger group meetings should follow guidelines below or consider conducting meetings virtually when possible and/or considerations for maximum number of participants.
- Meeting participants are encouraged to maintain as much physical distance as possible - preferably six feet.
- If you’re holding larger group meetings, consider limiting the number of participants to allow for adequate distance.
- Cleaning and disinfecting products as well as hand sanitizer should be available.
- Staff members eating in the same room, should try to maintain at least six (6) feet of physical distancing or more.
- Wearing a face mask properly is encouraged.
- Ensure that students leave the school building in an orderly fashion, maintaining physical distancing of at least three (3) to six (6) feet apart.
- Students should not congregate on the school property. If students are awaiting board the school bus or their parent’s car, continue to keep students physically distanced if waiting more than 15minutes.
- If students are riding the bus home, they must keep their face masks on until they exit the bus at their destination. Students should not share seats on the bus and should use their best efforts to physically distance on the bus. If weather permits, open as many windows on the bus as is feasible.
Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities
- Frequent hand washing and/or hand sanitizing is of upmost importance in the spread of COVID. Therefore, WASD has ensured that we have enough inventory of soap and wall-mounted hand sanitizer stations in every classroom.
- Wall mount hand sanitizer stations will be placed in every classroom.
- Staff will be provided cleaning supplies to disinfect/wipe down tables or materials when needed.
- Daily, custodial staff will disinfect tables/desks, countertops, sinks, toilets, and frequently touched surfaces such as doors and door handles, light switches, and hand railings with the Victory sprayer (an electrostatically charged sprayer) in conjunction with the chemical; BruTab 6S (Disinfectant tablet).
- Two times per week, schools will have a deeper disinfection of desktops, tables, chairs and other surfaces tops with a chemical called SC Johnson TruShot Disinfectant. Along with this, twice per week, student cubbies will be disinfected with the Victory Sprayer in conjunction with the BruTab 6S (Disinfectant Tablet).
- Cafeteria tables and benches will be disinfected after each use.
Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the State, local, territorial, or Tribal health departments
Contract tracing procedural steps are outlined below:
- Receive information of a confirmed positive case
- Health Services determines infectious period
- Determine close contacts during the infectious period.
- Close contacts are notified and informed to quarantine
- Determine if communication to those outside of close contacts is warranted
- When there has been close contact with someone who has a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, it is important to determine whether that exposure involves anyone who was within six feet of the person with the confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more in any 24-hour period in the two days leading up to the person becoming symptomatic or being tested. This would constitute a “close contact.”
- Close Contacts should quarantine themselves for a period of 7- 14 days. While quarantining, the person should monitor for the development of symptoms. If symptoms occur, the person should contact their health care provider for testing and further instructions. Quarantine students may be able to attend school. Please refer to Exposed: How to Quarantine- https://www.westada.org/Page/84985
Diagnostic and screening testing
- Several diagnostic and screening locations are available in the surrounding community. For location information, please visit Ada County Central District Health at https://cdhd.idaho.gov/covid.php or contact the CDH Covid-19 Call Center at 208-321-2222.
- Please note that in most cases the Government provides free COVID-19 testing. Students with Medicaid also have access to free testing through their designated provider.
- West Ada has the VAULT COVID-19 Saliva Test. The VAULT COVID-19 Saliva Test will be utilized on a very limited basis and has been designated for students without access to healthcare who express desire to utilize the 7-day asymptomatic exposure quarantine option and are unable to access testing. It is prudent that we continue to recommend to parents that they utilize the existing numerous resources in our community, Primary Care providers and Family Practitioners, including Meridian Schools Clinic to appropriately diagnose, order testing and prescribe any follow up medical treatments. Health services staff, Counseling and Admin will identify those rare situations when use of the VAULT COVID-19 Saliva Test would be appropriate.
Efforts to provide COVID 19 vaccinations to school communities
- West Ada encourages but does not require vaccinations for students, staff, and visitors. Those not fully vaccinated are encouraged to wear a mask at school and district facilities.
- West Ada encourages our staff, students, and patrons to contact their health care provider about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Several vaccination locations are available in the surrounding community. For location information, please visit Ada County Central District Health at https://cdhd.idaho.gov/covid.php or contact the CDH Covid-19 Call Center at 208-321-2222.