District » COVID Protocol

COVID Protocol

Edinburgh Community Schools COVID-19 Re-entry Plan
Document Overview
The Edinburgh Community Schools are a place that students and parents choose due to our student/family centered, personal, caring, safe and secure environment. To attain this vision from our strategic plan we must put in place plans that allow us to educate students “in-person” while remaining vigilant about the prevention and spread of Covid 19. This document is the framework for how we will achieve this vision while making decisions using the best information available at this time.
The guidance provided by national, state, and local officials rapidly changes. Please expect revisions and updates throughout the school year based on information provided by federal, state, and local officials as the medical landscape and knowledge surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve.
We believe the best instruction takes place when teachers and students can work together in the classroom. Our goal is to have school in session with classroom instruction throughout the school year. To accomplish this, we will need to maintain a safe and healthy school environment and monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community.
Knowing there are students with various health needs, the Edinburgh Community Schools are dedicated to offering options for students who have family members who may be immune compromised or students themselves facing challenges in returning to classroom instruction. Beyond the safety measures being taken on the ECSC school campuses, we will provide a virtual option to students on a case-by-case basis as needed. We have one-to-one technology, grades K-12, which allows us to provide instructional services to our students at home. We will accommodate any special education needs, technology needs, and provide office hours for assistance during the school day.
Health Protocol for Schools
It is essential for the school community to work together to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in the school environment and in the community while still providing a quality educational program.
State statute gives public school districts the authority to exclude students who have a contagious disease such as COVID-19 or are liable to transmit it after exposure (IC 20-34-3-9).
In addition, the local health department has the authority to exclude students from school and may order students and others to isolate or quarantine (IC 16-41-9-1.6). As such, districts/schools are encouraged to work closely with their local health departments.
Symptoms Impacting Consideration for Exclusion from School
Students and employees will monitor symptoms to recognize the following COVID-19-related symptoms:
A fever of 100.4 degrees F or greater
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Sore throat
Congestion or runny nose
This list does not include all possible symptoms. The CDC will continue to update this last as more is learned about Covid-19. Students or employees will be excluded from school if they test positive for COVID-19 or exhibit one or more symptoms of COVID-19 based on CDC Guidance that is not otherwise explained until they present a medical release form signed by a doctor.
Return to School After Exclusion
Once a student or employee is excluded from the school environment, they may return if they satisfy the recommendations of the CDC.
Untested persons who have not received a test proving or disproving the presence of COVID-19 but experience symptoms may return if the following three conditions are met:
They have not had a fever for at least 24 hours (that is 1 full day of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers);
Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved); and
Test Positive-Symptomatic
Persons who experienced symptoms and have been tested for COVID-19 may return to school if the following conditions are met:
The individual has been fever free for 24hrs (without the use of medicine that reduces fevers);
Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath has improved);
Medical Inquiries
Federal law typically limits the type of medical inquiries that can be made, but given the nature of the pandemic, more leeway has been given to districts/schools in this circumstance to make additional medical inquiries of staff and students than would otherwise be allowed.
If a parent tells the district/school that a student is ill, the district/school may ask the parent whether the student is exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19.
If an employee calls in sick or appears ill, the district/school can inquire as to whether the employee is experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
If a person is obviously ill, the district/school may make additional inquiries and may exclude the person from school property.
Wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Non-students
Mask-wearing requirements or recommendations in schools should be consistent with state and/or local guidelines. At this time the wearing of masks and other PPE for non-students is optional.
 Wearing Masks and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – Students
Mask-wearing requirements or recommendations in schools should be consistent with state and/or local guidelines. At this time the wearing of masks and other PPE for students is optional in all corporation buildings and buses.
Additional accommodations will be made for students based on their individual health plan.
Clinical Space COVID-19 Symptomatic
Each school building has a nurse’s office for daily medication and routine health issues. Any student experiencing COVID-19 symptoms will be provided a mask and monitored until a parent can pick up the student. Only essential staff assigned to the room may enter. A record will be kept of all persons who entered the room and the room will be disinfected several times throughout the day. Strict social distancing is required and staff must wear appropriate PPE. Students who are ill will be walked out of the building to their parents. If a student or staff member has a fever for any reason, the staff or student must be fever-free, without the use of fever-reducing medications, for 24-hours before returning to school. Additionally, all staff and students with fevers or symptoms associated with COVID-19 are encouraged to seek medical attention for further evaluation and instructions.
Clinic Space Non-COVID-19 Related
Students who do not display symptoms of COVID-19 can be seen and treated in the nurse’s clinic. These would include students who are injured during the school day or students with special health care needs such as those with chronic health conditions (i.e., diabetes or seizures), those requiring medical treatments (i.e., suctioning, tube feeding, etc.), those with individual health plans.
Confirmed Case of COVID-19 on School Property
When there is confirmation that a person infected with COVID-19 was on school property, the custodial staff will be informed, so that impacted building or bus areas, furnishings, and equipment are thoroughly disinfected. If possible, based upon student and staff presence, the custodial staff will wait 24 hours prior to disinfecting. However, if that is not possible or school is in session, the cleaning will occur immediately.
Immunization requirements should remain. Assistance through local health departments and health systems will be provided.
Preventive Measures
The priority for preventing the spread of disease in the school setting is to insist that sick employees and students stay home.
Handwashing and avoiding touching your face, eyes, nose, or mouth are also important steps a person can take to avoid becoming sick or spreading germs to others.
These key times for handwashing will include a modified class pattern to maintain the best opportunities possible while maintaining distancing between students and include:
Each hour of the school day
During breakfast and lunch
After recess and when using the restroom
After blowing nose, coughing, or sneezing
After using shared equipment.
Everyone (student or otherwise) will be permitted, but NOT required to wear a mask while on any of the ECSC campuses or buses.
Edinburgh Community Schools’ Educational Instruction Plan
Daily classroom instruction provided and transportation is available. Breakfast and lunch will be provided following the ECSC guidelines above. Daily recess will take place for all elementary students. State and local health guidelines will be followed. Sports season will take place as scheduled for all student athletes attending school. Additional services will be provided for students who incur absences during the school year due to COVID-19 related issues. Communication through your building offices during extended absences will ensure measures are taken to ensure academic needs are met.
For students who are ill and unable to attend school in-person, every classroom teacher will provide support to ensure that students do not fall behind (including streaming the class so that the student can participate live from home). 
Course sizes, structure, and classrooms to decrease infection
We may move classes outdoors when possible.
We may limit classroom visitors to outside curriculum instructors only when deemed necessary to prevent the spread of Covid 19.
Some soft, hard to clean items have been removed from classrooms. (stuffed animals, bean bag chairs, and other soft touch toys). Classes will also avoid or minimize sharing electronic devices, toys, books, art supplies, and other games or learning aids when possible.
There will be no use of attendance awards or perfect attendance incentives for students. We want to work collaboratively with parents and students in an effort to reduce the spread of colds and virus related symptoms that may be symptoms of COVID-19. If your child is sick, please keep them home and notify the school of the absence. A doctor’s note will not be necessary for each absence but may be requested, if symptoms are COVID-19 related, to return.
Nutrition service procedures to minimize exposure
Prior to any meal service, all children should utilize hand washing or sanitizing to ensure safe eating practices. Opportunities to wash hands before both breakfast and lunch will be provided to students.
If your student brings their lunch, please send bagged or boxed meals with all necessary utensils, condiments, napkins, etc.
We will take the following precautions:
No self-serve food line items.
Disposable napkins and silverware will be provided.
We have installed controls such as sneeze guards in cafeteria serving lines and provided face shields for all cafeteria workers.
We will serve medically fragile students separately from other students. Please call your principal if your child needs an accommodated meal or mealtime.
Food-sharing is prohibited.
Online deposits will be taken. We will limit cash transactions during the waiting line. Staff handling cash will not also handle food.
Hand sanitizer will be available upon entry to the cafeteria.
PPE will be provided to all food service staff, including both staff preparing and serving food.
Extra-Curricular and Co-Curricular Re-entry
Athletic Participation Guidelines
All summer activity is completely VOLUNTARY. Any student-athlete, or parent of a student-athlete, who does not feel that it is in their best interest to participate is free to exclude themselves from any and all workouts, practices, etc. Voluntary participation will serve as assumption of risk and agreement that the school will not be held responsible for any illnesses that may occur. All students who participate in ANY activity MUST complete and sign the COVID-19 Waiver Form PRIOR TO any involvement.
Any coach or student-athlete experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19 will not be allowed to return to participation until he/she is completely symptom-free for 72 hours without medication, or can show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, or a medical release from a medical provider. We are consulting CDC guidelines and are aware that these are changing as this virus evolves and will continue to monitor and update as needed.
Prior to participation, all student athletes are required to have an IHSAA Pre-Participation Physical for the upcoming school year. All athletes must provide an IHSAA Health History Update Questionnaire and Consent & Release Certificate prior to participation.
All athletes and parents will be required to sign the ECSC COVID-19 Waiver Form stating that they will self-monitor the athlete’s health each day prior to sending the athlete to the school for workouts. This self-monitoring will include checking for fever and any symptoms of illness. If the athlete has a fever higher than 100.4 degrees F or is experiencing any symptoms of illness, the parent agrees that the athlete will not attend workouts that day and will not return until they have met the requirements of #2 above.
Any student-athlete noticing a rash on any body surface needs to report it immediately to their coach and seek medical attention either from the athletic trainer and/or physician before returning to practice/play.
Bathroom usage will be restricted to specific locations on each school’s campus and they will be thoroughly cleaned each day that usage occurs.
Coaches will be responsible for sanitizing any/all equipment used during a given practice or workout, especially equipment that is shared such as footballs, volleyballs, handheld pads, etc.
Coaches will be responsible for the cleaning of any facility that requires it before and after practice or workout occurs.
All facility usage, both indoor and outdoor, must be approved and scheduled in advance with school administration.
Extra-Curricular and Co-Curricular
All State and local guidelines for group limitations must be followed and social distancing is encouraged.
Any student who prefers to wear a face covering for activities will be allowed, if doing so will not cause a health risk.
Consideration is given to vulnerable individuals and it is encouraged for those individuals to seek medical guidance regarding his/her individual level of participation.
Prior to participation, all student athletes are required to have an IHSAA pre-participation physical for the upcoming school year. All athletes must provide an IHSAA Health History Update Questionnaire and Consent & Release Certificate prior to participation.
Any person with COVID-19 related symptoms cannot take part in workouts, rehearsals, or practices and should contact his or her primary care provider or other appropriate healthcare professional.
The state website has a list of over 200 testing facilities, their location and hours of operation. This list is updated frequently.
Coaches must track COVID-19 impacted attendance and report to district/school athletic director.
Individuals should wash their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with warm water and soap before touching any surfaces or participating. If this is not possible, hand sanitizer will be available to individuals as they transfer from place to place.
Appropriate clothing/shoes should be worn at all times to minimize transmission.
No sharing of clothing, shoes, towels, or water bottles.
Contact should be limited to only contact necessary to compete as defined by the IHSAA. Modified sportsmanship practices should be observed, (NO Team handshakes.)
If equipment must be shared, including sports balls, weight room facilities, non-wind instruments, etc., this equipment will be cleaned prior to use and immediately following use by the coach.
Any equipment such as weight benches, athletic pads, etc. having holes with exposed foam will be covered or discarded.
Competition may begin.
Spectators, media, and vendors can be present but should implement social distancing and follow established mass gathering guidelines.
Concessions may be sold. Food handlers and cashiers will use appropriate PPE.
Special Education Overview
Edinburgh Community Schools will continue to collaborate, share information, and review plans with local health officials to help protect the whole school community, including those with special health needs. District and school plans will be designed to work with other community strategies to slow the spread, protect high-risk populations, and the community’s healthcare system, and minimize disruption to teaching and learning, while protecting students and staff from social stigma and discrimination. Districts and schools should develop a strong communication plan with families to discuss the delivery method of instruction for students with disabilities. An appropriate platform for delivery of special education-related services must be identified. Schools must ensure that adequate staffing is available to meet the needs of all students with IEPs within the district.
Case Conferences
Annual Case Reviews
At this time, there has been no waiver of the requirement to convene the case conference committee (CCC) annually to conduct the annual case review (ACR) consistent with the requirements of 511 IAC 7-42-5 (a)(2). Districts and schools must conduct the ACR within the one-year timeline, regardless of school closure status.
Case Conference Committee Meetings to Review and Revise the IEP
As schools and districts plan to reopen buildings to provide in-person instruction, CCC meetings with parents should be scheduled to review the provision of services and the educational progress of each student. Discussion should determine whether or not there is a need to adjust the frequency or duration of services.
Educational needs can be measured by considering:
Whether the student participated in continuous learning opportunities provided by the school and district during the COVID-19 school building closure;
Parent observations of the student’s learning during the continuous learning opportunities provided by the school or district;
Whether there were services identified in the student’s IEP prior to the school closure that the school or district was unable to provide during the building closure due to restrictions on in-person services; Whether the student continued making progress toward meeting his/her IEP goals;
Whether the student experienced any additional or new social-emotional health issues during building closure and re-entry;
Whether the student experienced any regression during the period of school building closure.
Future Services/Compensatory Services
The United States Department of Education (USED) has advised, “[A]n IEP Team and, as appropriate to an individual student with a disability, the personnel responsible for ensuring Free and Public Education (FAPE) to a student would be required to make an individualized determination as to whether compensatory services are needed under applicable standards and requirements.” QA1 Questions and Answers on providing Services to Children with Disabilities During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Outbreak (USED March 12, 2020).
This does not mean schools must immediately offer compensatory services to all students with IEP’s; rather, it requires the CCC to lead a discussion of the educational needs of the student, including the potential loss of skills. Based on these individual needs, the CCC may consider the appropriateness of collecting data for an agreed-up time following the student’s return to school and subsequently reconvening to discuss the need for future services at that time.
It is important school staff are documenting with specificity the special education and related services being provided to students with disabilities while monitoring and tracking individual student progress. This information will be necessary to inform the CCC in making a determination as to what future services or compensatory services are necessary to ensure the provision of a Free and Appropriate Education.
Transition IEP’s
Transition assessments need to be updated annually, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. When updating transition assessments, teachers of record (TORs) may conduct assessments virtually or in person. Assessments may be administered prior to or during the CCC meeting. In all cases, assessment information needs to be documented within the Summary of Findings utilizing the SPIN method – Strengths, Preferences, Interests, and Needs. Ways to provide transition assessments virtually are available as a part of the eLearning Resources for Secondary Transition document.
Transition services still need to be created so the school is the primary service provider. It is recommended that the narrative include in-person and remote ways to accomplish objectives and goals to accommodate for the fluidity of the COVID-19 situation.
CCC Meeting Method Options
CCC meetings may be conducted virtually while school buildings are closed. See this guidance document for more information on conducting remote CCC meetings. As school buildings re-open, CCC meetings may be conducted in-person or through virtual means.
Requirements for evaluations remain unchanged. Please refer to the Revised Evaluation Timeline memo for detailed evaluation information. Evaluations may be conducted virtually if the school psychologist has been appropriately trained in conducting virtual assessments and has access to the digital assessments. Additionally, the National Association for School Psychologists (NASP) has combined resources to support virtual evaluations. This link will take you to NASP resources related to evaluations.
Medically Fragile Students
Medically fragile students are at high-risk of severe medical complications if exposed to COVID-19, and therefore may be unable to attend school. Medically fragile students unable to attend school will need to be provided with educational services remotely.  The determination of services to be provided must be made by the CCC based upon the individual student’s medical and educational needs. Special Education and related services determined by the CCC could be provided online or in a virtual instructional format, through instructional telephone calls, or through other curriculum-based instructional activities (511 IAC 7-42-10). If the services have to be delivered through online or virtual instruction, technological competency and the need for additional assistive technology must be considered. The CCC must convene at least every 60 instructional days to review the IEP for every student unable to attend school in person (511 IAC 7-42-11).
Homebound Services
Districts and schools must provide special education and related services to a student with a disability who is absent for an extended period of time. QA-2 Questions and Answers on Providing Services to Children with Disabilities During a COVID-19 Outbreak (USED, March, 2020) states:
It has long been the department’s position that when a child with a disability is classified as needing homebound instruction because of a medical problem, as ordered by a physical, and is home for an extended period of time (generally more than 10 consecutive school days), an individualized education program (IEP) meeting is necessary to change the child’s placement and the contents of the Child’s IEP, if warranted. Further, if the IEP goals will remain the same and only the time in special education in special education will change, then the IEP Team may add an amendment to the IEP stating specifically the amount of time to be spent in special education. If a child with a disability is absent for an extended period of time because of a COVID-19 infection and the school remains open, then the IEP Team must determine whether the child is available for instruction and could benefit from homebound services such as online or virtual instruction, instructional telephone calls, and other curriculum-based instructional activities, to the extent available. In doing so, school personnel should follow appropriate health guidelines to assess and address the risk of transmission in the provision of such services. The Department understands there may be exceptional circumstances that could affect how a particular service is provided.
If a child does not receive services after an extended period of time, a school must make an individualized determination whether and to what extent compensatory services may be needed, consistent with applicable requirements, including to make up for any skills that may have been “lost.”
If the school has been provided a statement from the student’s physician that the student will be unable to attend school for 20 or more instructional days, Article 7 requires the school provide instruction to the student during the time the student is unable to attend school (511 IAC 7-42-12). For students with disabilities, (511 IAC 7-42-11) requires the CCC to determine the appropriate educational services to be provided.
Use of Homebound due to Infection in Student’s Family
Once school buildings reopen, a student with a disability may be quarantined at home for an extended period of time due to a family member’s infection. A school or district would follow the same homebound protocol identified above to ensure the provision of FAPE. School personnel should likewise follow appropriate health guidelines to assess and reduce the risk of transmission in the provision of such homebound services.
Use of Homebound Not Related to COVID-19
As schools reopen, students who were receiving services in a homebound placement pursuant to their IEP will remain in that placement until the CCC determines that a different placement is appropriate. Whether the location of the homebound services identified in the student’s IEP is in the student’s home or an out-of-school location other than the student’s home, school personnel should follow appropriate health guidelines to assess the risk of transmission of COVID-19 (511 IAC 7-42-11).
Homebound Timelines
Schools and districts must ensure the CCC reconvenes at least every 60 instructional days (this instructional day count includes remote learning days used pursuant to the LEA’s Continuous Learning Plan) when a student is receiving services in a homebound setting. 511 IAC 7-42-(a)(7). Changes to the IEP related to a safer service delivery method during school closures and re-entry may be considered by the CCC as these 60 days reconvene (511 IAC 7-42-11).
Special Transportation
If districts and schools are providing in-person services and a student requires transportation, then the IEP should reflect this service. Collaboration with transportation vendors to implement a bussing plan that meets social distancing recommendations is imperative (including pick-up, in-transit, and drop off). It is also important to review cleaning and disinfection protocols.  
FAPE requires taking into account the needs of individual students. Therefore, at a minimum, school re-entry planning for providing IEP-required therapies in accordance with the CDC community-level guidance for schools must address:
Student-specific medical and special transportation needs for transitioning back into school settings such as classrooms, playgrounds, and day programs for therapy services;
Unique operating conditions, including:
Intensified cleaning and disinfecting of equipment and surfaces between therapy sessions;
Class and therapy group size reductions, staggered (alternate days/rotation) scheduling and/or spaced seating to facilitate physical distancing, restricted sharing of equipment/learning aids, and possible shifts to non-traditional class settings to improve ventilation;
Instruction about and observance of frequent handwashing and face covering recommendations;
Remote therapy needs, including assistive technology, as necessary, for special student populations who cannot yet safely return to congregate settings;
Contingency planning to continue services if COVID-19 transmission requires intermittent or extended school building closures; and
Individual students’ skills regression or lack of progress and communication with parents/families about IEP therapy service changes or additions to address regression;
Anticipated backlogs in evaluations and possible need to prioritize new referrals before re-evaluations;
Adequate staffing to meet all students’ therapy needs, including:
Age and underlying medical conditions that may preclude qualified personnel from delivering services in the physical proximity of students and other staff;
Technology training and access for therapists to serve medically fragile students, such as those who are ventilator-dependent and have tracheostomies, (see USDOE and IDOE COVID-19 web resources on expanded options and Indiana Medicaid coverage for IEP therapy services; and
Flexible and adaptive scheduling to maximize therapy service provision despite personnel shortages, staff illness/isolation, and limited access to students.
The district requirement to provide equitable services to parentally-placed students with disabilities attending reopened non-public school buildings within the district boundaries.
Student Transportation Considerations
The school bus is often the student’s first contact with the school in the morning and the last point of contact in the afternoon. We are paying particular attention to protocols used in student transportation to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and protect both students and employees.
The following are protocols Edinburgh Community Schools have put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. The precautions are not required by law but are taken as an additional precautionary measure in an effort to protect both students and staff.
Preparation and Cleaning and Inspection of all buses and transport vehicles for cleanliness and safety has taken place this summer. The following are additional considerations taking place during the school year:
All bus seats and student areas will be sprayed using the CDC and local health agency approved cleaning solution before and after each route, both morning and afternoon.
Students will be assigned a specific seat and must remain in that seat throughout the route.
Wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting a bus that transported a passenger or had a driver who tested positive for COVID-19 or exhibited symptoms of COVID-19. If 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible. Affected buses can be used immediately after cleaning and disinfection.
Bus routes have been modified to allow for fewer student exchange points and fewer riders where possible.
Modifications for School and Extracurricular Transportation Situations
Custom-arranged, reimbursable transportation for McKinney-Vento, foster, and medically fragile students is possible for those able to transport McKinney-Vento, out of district homeless, foster, or medically placed students.
Drivers and maintenance/cleaning staff are properly trained.
Contact your school if you feel a student or the driver exhibits symptoms of COVID-19.
Students displaying symptoms of COVID-19 must be picked up from school. They will not be allowed to ride the bus home.
Avoiding touching surfaces often touched by passengers.
All activity buses will be cleaned after their route before sports teams or academic teams travel.
Health Department Mitigation Strategy Recommendations
Edinburgh Community Schools is working with the Johnson County Health Department to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among students, staff, and teachers. Although evidence shows that most children infected with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, some children will develop serious illness, especially those children at risk because of underlying health issues. We encourage families with children who have underlying health issues to discuss your child’s attendance in our classroom with your personal health care provider. You can also consult with our local health office to determine whether continued remote learning is the appropriate plan until adequate immunization can occur.
Edinburgh Community Schools are prepared to respond to COVID-19 cases if and when they occur in our facilities. Through our action plan and working with our local health officials, it is our mission to provide your child with the best educational opportunities possible in any circumstance.
Any student, teacher, administrator, or staff who is symptomatic for infection should stay home and consult their primary care provider or seek testing even if vaccinated.
Other Considerations to Note:
The Edinburgh Community Schools’ school year calendar is currently following the previously approved schedule. In the event a change must be made all parents will receive notification of the updated calendar dates and the dates will be taken to the board in a public school board session.
We will make every effort to ensure communication is enhanced through this period of rapidly changing information.
. Working together we look forward to working with your student during the school year.
We do not require vaccination of students/staff at this time.  However, per CDC guidelines, vaccination is strongly encouraged for those eligible.
Please Note: This the current recommendations. Information can change rapidly based on the infection rate and new information about the virus. This information is subject to change.