• 2021-2022 Back to School Plan

    As a community, we continue to face a global pandemic never before seen in any of our lifetimes. The impact on our school family has been significant. Unfortunately, it is expected to continue for an extended period. The plan outlined in this document is based on current recommendations from various government agencies, health departments, and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and feedback from our task force.  The district’s Task Force has worked using the following principles as a guide…

    • The health & safety of our staff & students is our #1 priority & therefore we will do everything we can to follow local, state & CDC guidelines to the best of our ability.
    • In-person learning is the most effective form of learning. We want our students and staff in our schools. However, we also understand health concerns and will work to meet all staff & students’ needs in the best way possible.
    • Hope for the best; plan for the worst. We must make contingency plans in case things happen that are out of our control to ensure learning continues for all students.

    Although we are releasing this plan, the primary decision driver moving forward will be the health recommendations and guidance shared with us by the government agencies with whom we partner. Those include the Cass County Health Department, the Missouri Department Health & Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and DESE. The health and safety of our students, our staff, and their families is our primary concern. We all want students and staff to feel comfortable and safe returning to school environments.

    This plan should be considered a “live” document and may need to be updated as circumstances, recommendations, and guidelines change.

    Should conditions change and we need to stop in-person school, parents and families may not have much notice. Parents are encouraged to have alternative plans ready.


    Research, Resources, & Guidance
    In the development of this plan, the resources and guidance documents below were utilized. These documents along with webinars provided a foundation for the path forward in navigating the journey to reopen schools in response to the pandemic health crisis facing our community.


    Center for Disease Control and Prevention
    American Academy of Pediatrics
    Cass County Health Department
    Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
    Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education




    Re-entry Scenarios
    We need a flexible response plan to open schools due to the multiple scenarios created by the global pandemic. The scenarios below present the opening options of schools that move from least restrictive to most restrictive and include a model to address rolling closures that may occur based upon disease exposure in our school community upon opening. 

    Scenario 1: All In-Person School with minimal protocols in place 

    Scenario 1A:  Masks required by building or for full district when threshold of 10% of student and staff quarantined or isolated is reached.

    Scenario 2:  All In-Person School with masking requirements for all students and staff enacted by Board of Education action.

    Scenario 3: Rolling Closures

    • Affected schools/classrooms are closed due to extensive COVID-19 exposure based on guidance & recommendation. Custodial staff conducts deep cleanings. District Nurse collaborates with Cass County Health Department on contact tracing, support and reopening processes. All instruction provided will be online/alternative methods of instruction.
    • Scenario 3 could also be activated when school is canceled for inclement weather.



    Daily Procedures/Guidelines
    Travel to/from School

    • Staff and students are expected to check their temperature prior to arriving at school each day. Staff and students are directed to stay home if they have any of the following symptoms
      • Fever of 100.4 or higher
      • Cough
      • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
      • Fatigue
      • Muscle or body aches
      • Headache
      • New loss of taste or smell
      • Sore throat
      • New congestion or runny nose
      • Nausea or vomiting
      • Diarrhea
      • Close contact with a person with COVID-19 in the last 10 days (if unvaccinated and both parties were not wearing a mask properly)
    • Families who can provide transportation for students to & from school are asked to do so
    • Students will be separated on the bus where feasible
      • Load from back to front; Unload from front to back
      • Students required  to wear face coverings on bus
      • Students in same family will sit together
      • Windows open when weather allows
      • Use of seating assignments/chart so that students sit in the same place each time (for contact tracing)
      • Buses will be unloaded one at a time
      • Buses will be appropriately disinfected after each use
      • Buses will have hand sanitizer dispensers 
      • Bus drivers have been properly trained in COVID-19 safety measures
      • Drivers and monitors will be required to wear masks at all times
    • Upon arrival students will report straight to their classroom and staff will monitor to ensure no congregating occurs
    • Students will use hand sanitizer or hand washing upon arrival into classrooms
    • Parents who pick-up their student should wait in the car rider line; there will be no parent pick-up at the front door for dismissal

    Visitors

    • No parents or visitors will be allowed in the buildings when school is in session outside emergency situations or by scheduled appointment.  Meetings that can take place online or on the phone will be done that way.
    • Student sign-in and sign-out will occur at the front door.  Parents should have their photo ID ready to show at the door camera when they buzz in.  School staff will “sign in” or “sign out” the student in our Student Information System.  The parent will not enter the building.
    • Parents will wait outside if they are picking up a student. Staff will escort elementary students to the door.
    • Students coming into school after classes begin for the day will go to the office for direction.
    • No large group gatherings; minimal assemblies during the day.

    At School During The Day
    Elementary

    • Teachers will survey students for illness prior to starting class and refer students to the nurse.
    • Each class of students will be considered a cohort/family and interaction between cohorts will be restricted.
    • Students & staff will be encouraged to wear a face covering when 6’ social distancing isn’t possible (one-on-one/small group instruction, hallways, etc.) and required when directed by a staff member. 
    • Multiple social distancing strategies will be implemented based on feasibility of the unique space and needs of each school.
      • Use of outdoor spaces when possible
      • Distances of three to six feet may be effective in reducing viral transmission. However, a person is considered a “close contact” of a case of COVID-19 if they are within six feet of the case for more than 15 minutes UNLESS BOTH PARTIES WERE WEARING A MASK PROPERLY.
      • Social distancing becomes a personal responsibility of each individual attending school or coming to a district facility. Anyone causing a disruption or unwillingness to follow COVID-19 safety protocols, putting students/staff at unnecessary risk will be asked to leave the premises immediately.
    • Students will have an assigned seat throughout the day and seating charts would be used (for contact tracing).
    • Students will be grouped in clusters in the classroom to reduce quarantine effects on the entire room
    • Students will be encouraged to maintain distance from each other in the school and taught appropriate hygiene/COVID-19 practices.
    • Students will keep their own supplies for use in the classroom.
    • Personal water bottles will be encouraged as drinking fountains will be covered, but bottle fillers will be available.
    • Built in time during the day for frequent handwashing.
    • Interior classroom doors left open to limit surface touching and for ventilation.
    • Each student will be assigned a Chromebook for use during the school day as needed (these would go home with students if school is closed for an extended period or if the student is quarantined).
    • Movement throughout buildings will be limited or reduced and scheduled so that fewer classes are in the hall at the same time.
    • Breakfast/Lunch
      • Those who eat breakfast will go to the cafeteria upon arrival to get breakfast. Students will be directed to use hand sanitizer or wash their hands prior to picking up their breakfast/lunch. 
      • Three lunch options each day--hot, sandwich, or salad.
      • Lunch counts will need to be taken at the beginning of the day.
      • Each building will create a lunch and breakfast plan that follows social distancing guidelines.
    • Special classes will continue.  Each building will determine the best area for the class to take place in to ensure social distancing.
    • Recess
      • Students will be encouraged to social distance while on playgrounds.
      • Handwashing/sanitizer use upon re-entry to building.
      • Frequently used playground hard surfaces will be disinfected routinely.

    Middle School/High School/CCC

    • Teachers will survey students for illness prior to starting class and refer students to the nurse.
    • HMS, HHS, & CCC will use block scheduling to limit class transitions, decrease class sizes, and limit daily exposure.
    • Lockers will not be used at HMS & HHS. Students will be allowed to carry backpacks.
    • All Harrisonville students will be assigned a Chromebook for use at school and home.
    • Interior classroom doors left open to limit surface touching and for ventilation.
    • Students & staff will be encouraged to wear a face covering when 6’ social distancing isn’t possible (one-on-one/small group instruction, hallways, etc.) and required when directed by a staff member.
      • Students may be exempted from this procedure by the school principal due to a documented medical condition of the student.
      • Students may be exempted from this procedure due to special behavioral or individualized needs as determined by the Director of Special Education.
    • Multiple social distancing strategies will be implemented based on feasibility of the unique space and needs of each classroom.
      • Use of outdoor spaces when possible.
      • Distances of three to six feet may be effective in reducing viral transmission. However, a person is considered a “close contact” of a case of COVID-19 if they are within six feet of the case for more than 15 minutes UNLESS BOTH PARTIES WERE WEARING A MASK PROPERLY.
      • Social distancing becomes a personal responsibility of each individual attending school or coming to a district facility. Anyone causing a disruption or unwillingness to follow COVID-19 safety protocols, putting students/staff at unnecessary risk will be asked to leave the premises immediately.
    • Students will have an assigned seat in each class period and seating charts would be used (for contact tracing).
    • Students will be encouraged to maintain distance from each other in the school and taught appropriate hygiene/COVID-19 practices.
    • Personal water bottles will be encouraged as drinking fountains will be covered, but bottle fillers will be available.
    • Breakfast/Lunch
      • Those who eat breakfast will go to the cafeteria upon arrival to get breakfast. Students will be directed to use hand sanitizer or wash hands prior to picking up their breakfast. 
      • Three lunch options each day--hot, sandwich, or salad.
      • Lunch counts will need to be taken during first period.
      • Each building will create a lunch and breakfast plan that follows social distancing guidelines.

    Disinfecting/Hygiene

    • Harrisonville custodial employees have been trained on COVID-19 safety protocols.
    • Cleaning and disinfecting will occur nightly in every classroom, commons area, and on high-touch surfaces. Custodial staff will be using E-MIST machines in the evening to disinfect the entire building.
    • During school hours the custodians will be disinfecting touch points throughout the school.
    • Hand sanitizer dispensers will be available at most exterior doors; hand sanitizer will be available in every classroom
    • Each teacher will have disinfectant/cleaner and gloves in the room to use as needed throughout the day; scheduling will provide for multiple opportunities for teachers to spray frequently touched surfaces (desks, door handles, etc); for example, when students are at recess or lunch, during passing periods.
    • Drinking fountains will be covered, but bottle fillers will be available at each building.
    • Each restroom will have one touchless sink. 
    • Students and families will be provided with best practices for hygiene during the school day and upon arriving at home
    • Students will be directed to wash hands or use hand sanitizer prior to the start of class and each time they enter the classroom. Elementary classes will develop a handwashing/hand sanitizer schedule to ensure multiple opportunities for this.

    Student/Staff Health Procedures 

    • Staff will participate/receive COVID-19 safety training/materials.
    • Nursing staff will wash hands and disinfect health room surfaces (cot, counters, chair, etc.) in between each student visit(only students who require daily medications or have scrapes and bumps will be seen in the nurse's office). 
    • Each school will designate a separate precautionary room (separate from nurses’ office for students/staff with COVID-19 symptoms). 
    • Students who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms will be checked by the nurse and will be kept in the precautionary room until parents pick them up (this room will be disinfected after each student has been seen). 
    • The nurse will advise the parent/guardian to contact the student's doctor to discuss signs/symptoms and risk factors. 
    • PPE equipment (face shields/goggles, face masks, gloves) will be provided to health services staff to use in the precautionary room. 
    • Staff and students are expected to check their temperature prior to arriving at school each day. Staff and students are directed to stay home if they have any of the following symptoms 
      • Fever of 100.4 or higher 
      • Any new cough 
      • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 
      • Muscle or body aches 
      • Headache 
      • New loss of taste or smell 
      • Sore throat 
      • New congestion or runny nose 
      • Nausea or vomiting 
      • Diarrhea 
      • Close contact with a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days 

    Action Plan for Positive Case 

    • It is the responsibility of the parent to contact the school if their student tests positive for COVID-19. Parents should contact their student’s school nurse.
    • The Cass County Health Department will conduct the contact tracing (including communication) for positive COVID-19 cases. 
      • When it comes to case investigations, the Health Department receives the notification of a reportable disease (in this case, COVID-19) with the patient's name and contact information. The person who has tested positive will then be contacted by phone by Health Department staff and interviewed about their medical history, their current symptoms, and any significant contacts they had going back to 2 days prior to symptom onset. (or 2 days prior to testing, if asymptomatic). The CDC and the State of Missouri define a contact as anyone who has spent 15 continuous minutes or more within 6 feet of a positive case. Once the health department gathers information about known contacts of the positive case, they will reach out to those individuals to inform them of their exposure and direct them to quarantine for the 10 days after their exposure. 

     

    Exclusion for Illness Guidelines
    (This could change based on current CDC guidance) 

    Students and staff will be excluded from school if they test positive for COVID-19

    Students and staff who are unvaccinated and have been in close contact with another person who tests positive will be excluded from school for ten days from the most recent close contact.

    High and low risk symptoms of COVID-19 that would require exclusion from school:

    High Risk: New Cough

                      Difficulty breathing

                      New Loss of taste/smell

    Low Risk:  Fever (100.4 F or greater)

          New Congestion/Runny Nose

          Nausea/Vomiting

          Diarrhea

          Sore Throat

          Headache

          Muscle Pain

    The school nurse is encouraged to use professional medical judgment and to evaluate the entire clinical picture when making assessments. For example, a temperature of 100.4 with body aches likely indicates an acute illness and should be treated as such. Conversely, a student with a history of asthma and a temporary cough after PE that resolves with a student’s inhaler use would not necessarily be assessed as having “severe cough or shortness of breath.” 

     

    Return to School from Illness Guidelines 
    (This could change based on current CDC guidance)
    If a student has one low-risk symptom (see above), they cannot attend school that day, and they may not return until 24 hrs after the symptom is resolved (e.g. if they had a fever, they would have to be fever free for 24 hrs without fever reducing medication before they could return to school).

    If a student has 2 or more low risk symptoms OR one high risk symptom (see above), they are sent home and advised to consult their health care provider for further evaluation of symptoms and risk factors.  

    If tested for COVID and results are negative or the doctor determines that there is likely an alternative diagnosis through lab testing and evaluation (e.g. positive test for strep throat), the student may return to school after being free of fever for 24 hrs (without fever reducing medication) and symptoms are improving (e.g. has been on antibiotics for strep throat for 24 hrs and symptoms have improved). Precautions and exclusions for other contagious conditions according to the CDC manual for Prevention and Control of Communicable Diseases will continue to be enforced. 

    If the student’s COVID test result is positive, the student may return to school when the following three criteria are met: completing 10 days isolation order and 24 hrs fever free without fever reducing medication, and symptoms improving.  

    UNTESTED Persons who have not received a test proving or disproving the presence of COVID-19 and experience at least 2 low risk symptoms OR one high risk symptom may return when the same three conditions are met for a positive COVID test (see above).

    COVID-19 tests are free to our community at the Cass County Health Dept.(816) 380-8425 by appointment only and once per week at both Cass Regional Medical Center (816) 380-3474 and Belton Hospital (816) 348-1200. Call directly for dates and times.

    Risk Evaluation and Expectations of COVID-19 Exposure  

    • Close contact for an unvaccinated individual is defined as having prolonged exposure (being within 6 feet for 15 or more minutes) to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, however, other factors will be considered (e.g. symptoms of the person with COVID-19 at the time of exposure and type of interaction or activities during close contact), so the final determination of close contact is up to the discretion of the local health department based on the findings of the investigation and contact tracing conducted in collaboration with the school 
    • If a non-vaccinated student or staff member was in close contact with a person that tested positive for COVID-19, they will self-quarantine for 10 days from the last date of exposure to the person. They will self-monitor for symptoms, if symptoms develop, obtain a COVID-19 test and follow CDC guidelines  
    • If a non-vaccinated student or staff member had prolonged and repeated exposure with someone while they had symptoms of COVID-19, they will self-quarantine for 10 days from the last date of exposure to the person. They will self-monitor for symptoms, if symptoms develop follow CDC guidelines. 
    • If a student or staff member was in the same room/building as someone who tested positive for COVID-19, but not in close contact (as identified above), the risk of catching the virus from that person is low. Follow the general precautions, including social distancing, washing their hands, and monitoring for illness. 
    • If a student or staff member was around someone else who was exposed to a person that tested positive to COVID-19. As long as the person they were around is not currently sick and the staff or student was not around the person with COVID-19, they are not considered exposed to COVID-19. Follow the general precautions, including social distancing, washing their hands and monitoring for illness. 

    Attendance
    Students who are quarantined and receive virtual learning will automatically receive 94% attendance for completing assigned coursework. 

    In-person attendance will be counted as normal.

    The high school is suspending its attendance procedures for extracurricular and graduation participation, as well as the attendance incentives for “opting out” of finals. 

    There will be no attendance incentives/awards.

    Layers of Protection for Students/Staff
    Our success will depend on everyone in our community sharing responsibility in our collective health and well-being.

    Community Responsibilities

    • Follow CDC, state and local guidelines - Practice social distancing; wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible, stay home if sick
    • Serve as models for students
    • Vaccinate if health and age allows

    Families’ Responsibilities

    • Teach/encourage appropriate hand washing, good hygiene, and social distancing
    • Teach proper way to wear, put on & remove face coverings
    • Talk to child about procedures/protocols they will encounter at school
    • Check for symptoms before children go to school every day - take temperature
    • Keep children home who are sick or who’ve had close contact to COVID-19
    • If possible, transport children to school in personal vehicle
    • Talk to your child about showing kindness & acceptance to all who might take added precautions
    • Serve as models for students
    • Vaccinate if health and age allows

    Staff (includes substitute teachers) Responsibilities

    • Trained in COVID-19 safety protocols
    • Check for symptoms before going to school every day
    • Stay home when sick or upon close contact to COVID-19
    • Teach/enforce school/classroom procedures for social distancing
      • Pathways
      • No sharing materials
      • Regular handwashing/use of hand sanitizer
    • Disinfect classroom/building as scheduled
    • Monitor for potential student sickness throughout day
    • Encouraged to wear a face covering when 6’ social distancing isn’t possible (one-on-one instruction, hallways, etc.)
    • Limit interaction outside cohort; staff/adult meetings online when possible
    • Vaccinate if health allows

    Student Responsibilities

    • Practice proper and regular handwashing
    • Practice social distancing
    • Encouraged to wear a face covering when 6’ social distancing isn’t possible (one-on-one instruction, hallways, etc.) and when directed by a staff member
    • Know, report symptoms to parents, staff
    • Vaccinate if health and age allow


    **Accommodations provided as dictated by the Individual Education Plan or 504