Eagle County Schools to start Aug. 18 under draft plan, protocols include face coverings
Eagle County Schools has released a draft document detailing how the school district intends to return in-person and hybrid instruction starting Aug. 18.
With Gov. Jared Polis saying he expects Colorado to be able to safely host classrooms sizes of 25 or fewer starting next month, the district’s draft document issues guidance for teachers and parents on how local public schools will function.
Elementary and middle schools are expected to go forward with in-person instruction five days per week as usual, while Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley high school students will use a half-time in-person, half-time remote learning plan called a hybrid model.
Employees who do not feel safe returning to work due to COVID-19 will have access to paid leave, accrued paid leave, sick leave bank, FMLA leave and unemployment benefits if alternative work options are not feasible, according to the draft document.
“Like security zones in an airport, our protocols combine to create layers of protection,” the document states. “Parents screen at home. Schools screen before access. Visitors are limited. Staff and students wear face coverings. Personal hygiene and frequent cleaning limits germs. Those who become sick are isolated immediately.”
Facemasks will be required by all students, staff, volunteers and guests in school settings. People with certain disabilities including respiratory conditions, those who are hearing impaired or have been advised by a health professional that wearing a mask poses a risk will be excluded from the facemask policy. Clear plastic face shields will be allowed as an alternative to cloth face coverings.
“Younger students will need help putting coverings on and off, and getting used to wearing them,” the document predicts.
All staff and students will be checked for signs of illness upon entry each day. Staff will be trained in health and safety protocols, including how to screen for symptoms.
“Those with any illness must stay home,” according to the plan. “We will look for and ask about these symptoms: cough, difficulty breathing, a fever of 100.4 or higher, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, muscle or body aches, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, congestion/runny nose, chills, unusual fatigue.”
Each school will have isolation rooms for students who develop symptoms while at school. Students or staff will be excluded from the school if they have any of the symptoms listed.
If a student or staff member tests positive, then the district will send everyone home from the class for 10 days of remote learning. If multiple students across grade levels test positive, then the entire school could be closed for 10 days of remote learning. If more than two classes have a positive case in a grade level, then the district will send the entire grade level home for 10 school days of remote learning.
“Parents should screen at home first and rapidly respond to requests to pick up a sick student,” according to the plan.
While parents are encouraged to find alternative transportation — like walking, biking or parent driving — buses will still be available to students. All passengers and the driver will be required to wear face coverings, riders will be kept as far apart as possible, windows will be open as much as possible, and busses will be disinfected between routes.
Classes will also be sanitized throughout the day by teachers and support staff, and custodians will be disinfecting buildings each night. Special attention will be paid to high touch surfaces like doorknobs, faucet handles, check-in counters, restrooms, work surfaces, desks and tables.
“Use of hands of teaching material will be minimized,” according to the plan. “Students will be assigned their own Chromebook to reduce sharing.”
Carpets will be vacuumed using HEPA filters and high-touch outdoor surfaces made of plastic or metal will be cleaned routinely.
“We will maximize distance, align desks and tables, and make use of every inch of space,” the school distract states.