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COVID Planning Fulda Public Schools

Fulda Public School District Safe Learning Plan 2020-2021 

Overview

  • Our goal is to create an environment/schedule that will allow us to have all students in the building for both scenario 1 (In-Person) and 2 (Hybrid).
  • We will follow guidance put out by the State of Minnesota that helps us determine which scenario we can start school in. We will use the 14-day COVID-19 case rate by county. This model ensures that cases are under control in our community and that it will be safe for students to return to school in a Hybrid format.
  • The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) have put forth many requirements for schools that plan to meet in person. See below for Fulda’s complete plan on how to meet those requirements and recommendations. 

Planning

  • A committee was formed and met several times to discuss and develop this plan. This plan will remain fluid and may need to change throughout the year as new guidance becomes available from the MDH and MDE. The Committee consists of School Board members, superintendent, principals, teachers from both buildings, licensed school nurse, janitorial staff, food services, special education teachers and parents.
  • Fulda Public Schools’ number one priority is the health and safety of students and staff. We will be working closely with local public health throughout the school year who will be following county case numbers and monitoring community spread. Numbers will be looked at on a weekly basis at minimum and local public health will help us decide if we need to switch models based on community spread. 
  • We are prioritizing communication to families, community members and staff. Email notification will be the best and most efficient way to contact our families about changes in learning models, positive cases and potential exposures. Interpreter services through Nobles County Collaborative Integration will be provided at no cost to non-English speaking families. We will contact families who do not have email access by phone but will be encouraging all families to get an email account set up before the start of school. 
  • Non-essential visitors and volunteers will be restricted in both buildings. 

COVID-19 program coordinators

  • High School: Mike Pagel, K-12 principal
  • Elementary School: Grant Harms, asst. principal 
  • These staff will work in collaboration with district school nurse, Rachel Isder. They will communicate concerns, challenges, and lessons learned related to COVID-19 preventive activities as needed with staff, students/families, school and district leadership, and local health officials. 

Social distancing and minimizing exposure

  • Social distancing means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. Social distancing is a critical tool in decreasing the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Social distancing floor and seat markings will be used in waiting and reception areas of both buildings. Six foot spacing will also be marked in cafeterias, hallways, restrooms, etc. to serve as reminders for kids to keep their distance. Extra desks and chairs will be removed from classrooms and cafeteria to ensure social distancing requirements can be met. 
  • All unnecessary furniture/materials will be removed from classrooms so that students' desks can be spread out to meet the social distancing requirements.
  • Square footage of each classroom has been measured at each building and these numbers will be used to help us determine how many students can be in each room, our goal is to keep each room under 50% capacity. If we need to be in a Hybrid model, we will always keep capacity under 50%. Fulda’s total enrollment is less than 50% of our building capacity so we will always be able to have all students in attendance at both buildings. All desks will be facing the same direction
  • In the high-school, Mr. Pagel has moved his office to be closer to the lockers so that he and other teachers can monitor student arrival and hallway breaks. 
  • Plexiglass barriers will be set up in each of the offices
  • We will discontinue activities that bring large groups together (assemblies, in-person field trips, etc)

Face Coverings

  • All students, staff and other people present in the school buildings and district offices or riding on school transportation vehicles are required to wear a face covering.
  • Face coverings are meant to protect other people in case the wearer does not know they are infected. 
  • Please see our district face covering policy for further guidance.

Delivering direct student support services

  • School staff will need to be in close contact with students when they provide certain services within the school setting, including: evaluation for service eligibility; screening for developmental or other health conditions; personal care services; and specialized instruction and related services for students with special healthcare needs or disabilities. Personal protective equipment must be used to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission during the provision of these and other services that require close, physical and prolonged contact. 
  • Refer to the Guidance for Delivering Direct Student Support Services: Staff Protective Equipment PPE. This guidance applies when planning for all scenarios. 

Transportation

  • Buses plan to run at 50% capacity year round. Students from the same household will be allowed to sit next to each other. All other students will be socially distanced as much as possible. Elementary students will sit in the front half of the bus and high school students will sit in the back half of the bus to help limit exposure between buildings.
  • Masks will be worn by everyone on the bus following the mask policy. See Mask policy for more information
  • Buses will have a supply of extra masks for those that forget to bring theirs. 
  • High touch surfaces on the bus will be cleaned at least twice daily, once after dropping off students at school and once again after all students are delivered home.
  • Windows should be open in the bus if conditions allow.
  • Students that become ill during the day will not be allowed to ride home on the bus at the end of the day
  • Bus drivers can notify the school nurse if a student becomes symptomatic while riding the bus. The driver should ensure that they keep their mask on and sit as far away from others as possible. 

Protecting Vulnerable populations

  • Students/families and staff can self-identify to the licensed school nurse if they identify as high risk for illness due to COVID-19. A plan will then be developed to address requests for alternative learning arrangements or work reassignments. 
  • School Nurse and special education staff will evaluate current plans (ex. Individual Healthcare Plans, Individualized Education Plans or 504 plans) for accommodating students with special health care needs and update as needed to decrease their risk for exposure to COVID-19. 
  • Distance learning may be offered to enrolled students who are medically vulnerable.

Sanitizing and Cleanliness

  • Each teacher will have hand-sanitizer in their classroom, they will have students use sanitizer each time they enter and exit the classroom and any additional times as needed (ex. Student blows nose, they should then sanitize)
  • Teachers will notify school nurse when running low on sanitizer.
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be available upon entry to each building. 
  • Each teacher will remind students of proper hand hygiene routine on the first day of school and will reinforce throughout the year as needed. Best practice is to wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Students with sensitivities to hand sanitizer will be allowed extra time to use soap and water.
  • No shared utensils/supplies in any classrooms.
  • No drinking fountains, students will be encouraged to bring water bottles (the fountains will have bottle fillers)
  • Teachers will build in time for students to clean and sanitize rooms (desks, chairs, etc.)
  • They will also build-in time to use sinks with soap and water to clean hands. 
  • Keep windows and doors open as much as possible to help with natural ventilation.
  • All staff will have access to needed cleaning/disinfecting supplies. They will notify custodial staff when running low. Supplies will be ordered based on recommendations from MDH’s recommended Supplies for Schools document. 
  • Posters will be posted around both buildings encouraging the use of proper hand hygiene.
  • Custodial staff will develop a schedule for the routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces and shared equipment throughout the school day. They will use EPA-approved disinfectants for SARS-CoV-2. 
  • Staff will keep cleaning products out of the reach of children and will ensure adequate ventilation to avoid inhaling toxic fumes from these products. 
  • Students may help in cleaning of equipment, but will not use products that say “Keep out of reach of children”.
  • Items that are difficult to clean or disinfect will be stored away and not used this school year.

Monitoring and excluding for illness

  • Regular screening for symptoms and ongoing self-monitoring throughout the school day can help quickly identify signs of illness and help reduce exposure. Staff and students are encouraged to self-monitor symptoms throughout the day. Staff or students who develop symptoms during the school day MUST notify school health services or the office administrative personnel in the school building immediately. 
  • We will follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health guidelines when working with symptomatic individuals. 
  • The CDC does not currently recommend universal testing of all staff and students.
  • Licensed school nurse will educate staff, students and families about the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and when they/their children should stay home and when they can return to school. We will follow the MDH Decision Tree. 
  • We will require that staff and students stay home if:
    • They have tested positive, are waiting for a test result, or are showing COVID-19 -symptoms, until they meet criteria for return (See MDH Decision Tree)
    • They have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19, until they meet criteria for return.
    • Follow the MDH decision tree to determine who must stay home and when staff or students may return.
  • We will ask staff, students/families to conduct symptom screening at home before entering the school building each day. See Fulda symptom screening document. This screening document was developed using recommendations from MDH and CDC.
    • Families will continually be reminded of the importance of symptom screening at home via email, phone calls and text message reminders. 
    • Students/staff that arrive ill will be sent to the ill waiting room and will be asked to leave as soon as able. 
    • Several staff will be trained in the MDH decision tree and symptom screening to help ensure coverage when other staff may be out.

Handling suspected or confirmed positive cases of COVID-19

  • Licensed school nurse, Rachel Isder (507-920-0140) will be responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns and will help coordinate with local public health regarding positive COVID-19 cases. 
  • Staff, students and families should contact the school nurse if they or their student have symptoms of COVID-19, a positive test for COVID-19, or had a close exposure to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days. 
  • All symptomatic individuals will be sent to the ill waiting room
    • Elementary: old special ed room, by the current speech room
    • High School: old principal office, right next to main entrance and district office
  • The classroom teacher will notify the office of the symptomatic individual and the school nurse will meet the student/staff in the ill room. If the school nurse is not available, a delegated professional will meet the ill individual. Assessment of symptoms and questions will be asked and MDH decision tree will be followed to determine if the individual should be sent home or remain in school. The room is big enough to ensure social distancing.
  • Room will be sanitized after the ill individual leaves. Proper PPE will be worn while assessing ill individuals

Water and Ventilation symptoms

  • Water fountains will only work to refill water bottles, these will be sanitized daily. Students are encouraged to bring their own bottle to refill. 
  • Windows will be open as much as possible to help increase circulation of outdoor air. 
  • Classroom doors and bathroom doors will be propped open as much as possible to avoid needing to touch the handle to open the door.
  • Fans may be used as needed to help circulate air, but care should be used to minimize air from blowing from one person directly to another.

Fulda Elementary COVID Planning

Social Distancing

  • Each grade in the elementary school will only ever mix with other students from their grade (ex. 5th grade split into 2 classrooms during day, lunch and recess together as a grade, but they never mix with 4th grade). Using these smaller cohort groups help minimize the risk of mixing students. 
  • All classrooms are large enough to accommodate 6 feet of social distancing with all students present
  • Posters will be posted around the building to serve as visual reminders to remind students and staff to keep social distancing a priority. 

Student Arrival & Breakfast

  • Teachers in classroom at 7:35
  • When students arrive they go directly to the classroom. Bus schedule will ensure that each bus arrives at a different time to help minimize crowding. 
  • Free breakfast will be provided in classrooms to ALL students from 7:35-8:00. Most items will be individually packaged and served to the students.

PE/Music

  • PE/Music will be a 30-minute block of time each day, but students will stay with their individual classroom and have PE or music on alternating days (example: On Monday, Elness’s first grade class will have music while Noding’s first grade class will have PE.  On Tuesday they will switch.) PE/Music teachers will work together with teachers to plan out which class goes where.
  • Generally speaking, music will be in the classrooms and PE will be in the gym. This will limit the unnecessary mixing of cohort groups.
  • PE and music will be held outside whenever possible and students will be encouraged to be spread out. 
  • When singing, students should all face the same direction and be at least 6 feet apart. 

Lunch (supervised by paras)

  • One grade in lunchroom at a time
  • All students will wash hands with soap and water before lunch, they will be sent in small groups to the bathroom to avoid congregating in small spaces. 
  • Students will be able to take their masks off once they are seated at their table with their lunch tray. 
  • Tables will be arranged for social distancing and grouped by individual classrooms.
  • Decals will be placed on the floor in the hallway for social distancing purposes.
  • North preschool room will be overflow cafeteria seating.
  • Each grade has a 30-minute window for lunch, but they will be dismissed after 25 minutes to allow a 5 minute window to clean tables and clear the hallway before next grade comes to lunch.
  • Lunches will be more “ready to go” so the line doesn’t take so long.
  • Grades that have a very early or late lunch (K, 1, 6) will have a school-provided snack at another time of the day.
  • We will discontinue self-service food and beverage distribution, food will be individually packaged as much as possible. Food and beverages will be served directly to students. 

Recess (supervised by paras)

  • One grade at recess at a time, the playground will be open for students to use.
  • Encourage social distancing, see mask policy for removal options while outside at recess.
  • Inside recess: stay in their own classrooms, social distancing will again be encouraged.
  • All students will wash their hands with soap and water after recess. 

Chromebooks/iPads

  • 3-6 grade has enough Chromebooks for one-to-one. K-2 has 5-10 iPads per classroom.
  • Charging stations will be set up in each classroom so students are not crossing rooms to charge.
  • Chromebooks will be assigned to students so they are not sharing with other students.
  • Chromebooks will stay in school normally.
  • If we go to distance learning, we will have a procedure to check them out for those families that need them.

Teacher Prep and Lunch Time

  • The students’ PE/Music, lunch, and recess time will be the classroom teachers’ prep time and duty-free lunch time.
  • The students’ lunch/recess time will be the classroom teachers’ prep time.
  • Max capacity in teachers’ lounge will be posted based on square footage and social distancing guidelines. South preschool room will be a secondary teachers’ lounge.

Technology/Art Class

  • Only 5th and 6th grade will have technology and art.
  • Tech first semester. Art second semester
  • Teacher (Munson/Busman) will go to classroom
  • Each classroom will have it one day each week

Band

  • Elementary band will follow state and district guidelines for social distancing.
  • They will meet in a more open space and may need to split into smaller groups to meet square footage guidelines for distancing. 
  • Students will all face the same direction while in band. Anyone not playing their instrument will be expected to wear a face covering. 

Health Education

  • Health class, emphasizing good hygiene, will be offered to all K-6 students by school nurse and/or PE teacher. Location and times are to be determined but will meet state guidelines for social distancing. 

 

Special Education/Title/EL

  • Special Education, Title, and EL services will be provided and will follow state and district guidelines for social distancing.
  • The Guidance for Delivering Direct Student Support Services: Staff Protective Equipment manual from the MDH will be followed to ensure staff are wearing proper PPE. 

Dismissal

  • Staggered dismissal time and assigned dismissal route will help with social distancing and reducing mixing of groups . Teachers need to stick to the assigned time and route.
  • Walkers dismiss out recess door
  • Students getting picked up by parents will dismiss out main entrance (para will help facilitate)
  • Teachers’ duty day is done at 3:05

Hallways/Restrooms/Lockers

  • Hallways: Traffic will stay to the right side of the hallways and stay socially distant. Markings on the floor will help students remember which direction to travel and to stay 6 feet apart from others. 
  • Restrooms: Teachers will have scheduled restroom breaks for their classrooms. A maximum occupancy will be posted on each bathroom entrance.
  • Lockers: Lockers will be labeled “A, B, or C” and teachers will dismiss “A” lockers first, then “B”, etc. to alleviate congestion in the hallway.

Library/Computer Lab

  • Each classroom will have a book return box in their room
  • Scheduled library time only: Either librarian comes to classrooms with a cart of books, or a small group of students can go to the library at a time as long as they are fewer than the maximum occupancy number posted.
  • Scheduled computer lab time only: A maximum occupancy will be posted and computers will be socially distanced.
  • Computer Stations disinfected after each use following EPA recommendations.

Preschool

  • Preschool will take place In Presbyterian Church basement across the street from the elementary school.  All state and district guidelines will be followed.

Office/Visitors

  • Essential visitors only.
  • A “Visitor Station” will be set up in the entryway and the office staff will meet them there.
  • Traffic flow in the office will be labeled as one way, staff will be encouraged not to congregate in the office.
  • The “Health Office” in the office will be strictly for well individuals (school nurse desk work, kids needing medications, kids with injuries, etc)
  • All symptomatic individuals will be sent to the “ill waiting room” (old vision impairment room) and the nurse or delegated professional will be notified and meet the ill individual there. See “monitoring and excluding for illness” for further information about this. 

Distance Learning in Elementary

In the event that we must transition to a distance learning model, a combination of physical packets and online instruction will be utilized at the elementary school.  It will vary by grade level, and any change in learning model will be communicated with parents.

During distance learning we will provide our Special Education, English Learning Students and our students who are at risk of failing opportunities to come into our building for instructional support.  The number of students in our building at any one time will not exceed 5% of our student population and they and our staff would adhere to social distancing parameters.

We will follow all the requirements found in the planning guide for schools if we need to move to distance learning. 

  • Contactless pick-up or delivery of meals and school materials will be available to all students.
  • We will implement a school-age care program for critical workers.

Fulda High School COVID Planning

Hybrid Learning with strict social distancing and capacity limits

Overview

In order to meet the requirement of this learning model we will limit the overall number of people in school facilities and classrooms to 50% maximum occupancy and we will provide sufficient social distancing with at least 6 feet between people must occur at all times.   

Maximum occupancy for each room in the school will be posted.  The majority of our academic classrooms have a 50% capacity of 21.7 persons.

We will also limit the overall number of people on transportation vehicles to 50% maximum occupancy and develop a plan for contactless pick-up and/or delivery of meals and school materials for days that students and staff are not in the school building.  

We will be following the Minnesota Department of Education and Minnesota Department of Health guidelines and notification procedures concerning student and staff COVID-19 exposure and positive testing.  

Sanitizing and Cleanliness

  • We will follow the recommended facility cleaning protocol.
  • Masks required in building per district masking policy - all persons will be masked
  • Hand-sanitizer in each room.
  • No shared utensils.
  • No drinking fountains. Just water bottles (the fountains will have the bottle fillers)
  • Teachers will allow  time for students to clean and sanitize room (desks, chairs, etc.)
  • Keep windows and doors open as much as possible
  • In order to maximize classroom space - teachers will clear their classrooms of items not necessary for day to day instruction and place these items into storage.

Teacher and Student Arrival and Dismissal

  • Teachers are in the building from 7:35 am - 3:05 pm.
  • Students arriving after 7:35 am will report to their 1st period classrooms.
  • Staggered class dismissal times will help reduce the number of students in the hallway together. 

Hallways and Lockers

  • During movement between class periods and at the end of the school day, there will be one-way traffic going NORTH in the hallway from Room 101 (Mrs. Haberman’s) classroom past Room 111 (Ms Kelm’s) classroom.  Hallway traffic around the Courtyard and Gym will be counter clockwise.  Floor and wall signage will be used.
  • High School student locker spacing - use every 3rd locker.
  • The 28 student lockers on the opposite side of the hallway from the ‘old’ Office will not be used in order to avoid congestion.

Cafeteria and Noons

  • Seating will be limited and arranged to allow for 6 foot spacing.
  • Lunch will be served over three “Noons” from 11:17 - 12:50 - 50 students each “Noon”
  • Addition of another Noon Section - Noon C this year.  
  • High School Choir - 2 sections, Noon A - grades 9/10 and Noon B -  grades 11/12
  • Jr High students and students not in Sr High Choir will have 45 minutes of Noon Study Hall.
  • We will discontinue self-service food and beverage distribution, food will be individually packaged as much as possible. Food and beverages will always be served directly to students. 

Building Administration

  • The HS Principal Office will be relocated to the ‘old’ Office.  This move by the building Principal will allow for better monitoring of students and allow for more space for student discipline and result in less traffic into the District Office.  The High School Administrative Assistant will be in the outer ‘old’ Office - student access / interaction through sliding glass windows from 7:30-8:15.  The current Principal Office located adjacent to the District Office will be used as an ill/symptomatic individual room.

Class Schedule 

  • Class times

1st Hour    8:05 - 8:50

2nd Hour   8:53 - 9:38

3rd Hour    9:41 - 10:26

4th Hour   10:29 - 11:14

Noon A     11:17 - 11:46

Noon B     11:49 - 12:18

Noon C     12:21 - 12:50

5th Hour    12:53 - 1:28

6th Hour      1:31 - 2:16

7th Hour      2:18 - 3:03

 * Staggered class dismissal times - classrooms 102, 108,110, 112, 113, 116, 118 will dismiss 2 minutes prior to all other rooms.

Office/Visitors

  • Essential visitors only.
  • All visitors / student pickups will occur at the District Office.

Distance Learning in High School

In the event that we must transition to a distance learning model, we will use online instruction that may be complemented with ‘physical’ instructional materials.  

During distance learning we will provide our Special Education, English Learning Students and our students who are at risk of failing opportunities to come into our building for instructional support.  The number of students in our building at any one time will not exceed 5% of our student population and they and our staff would adhere to social distancing parameters.

Any change in learning model will be communicated with parents.

  • Contactless pick-up or delivery of meals and school materials will be available to all students.
  • We will implement a school-age care program for critical workers.