Neligh Oakdale Public Schools is seeking Public Feedback for their Safe Return to In-Person Instruction Plan. This is a draft at this time. Please respond to Ron Beacom at firstname.lastname@example.org
Safe Return to In-Person Instruction Plan
Created June 2021 – This plan will continue to be evaluated as new information/guidance becomes available.
The Neligh-Oakdale Back to School Safety Committee developed our initial COVID-19 safety protocols during the summer of 2020. The plan allowed us to successfully return to in-person learning and remain in-person throughout the 2020-2021 school year. The current plan was updated in June of 2021 for the 2021-2022 school year. It is based upon new guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Nebraska Association of Local Health Departments (NALHD), and the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE).
This plan has been developed based upon the COVID Transmission Levels/Positivity Rates experienced currently within the geographical region of the district. Positive cases within Neligh-Oakdale Public Schools and the surrounding area have been extremely low over the past few months (February-June 2021). If COVID Transmission Levels/Positivity rates increase, these plans may be revised to include additional COVID mitigation measures.
The CDC recommends that schools continue to implement several strategies at the same time to mitigate illness. Some of these strategies are general in nature, while others are specific to COVID. Neligh-Oakdale Public Schools will continue to take actions to insure the safety and health of all our staff, students and patrons of the district.
Specifically, this plan addresses all the components required by the American Rescue Plan (ARP).
- Face masks are encouraged for staff and students who have not been vaccinated. The continued use of bell covers in band will be optional unless the number of cases increase. (In Governor Pete Ricketts’ May 24, 2021 Executive Order, he stated, Face masks and coverings are not to be required by any state agency.)
- Social Distancing will be practiced to the greatest extent possible, with a goal of maintaining three feet between students where feasible. In areas where it is difficult to separate students, nonessential furniture will be removed. (The CDC has stated there isn’t evidence that six feet is required to maintain low spread and therefore, changed the recommendation to three feet in schools.) If we experience an increase in case levels, we will require student desks and tables to face in the same direction.
- To begin the year, we will allow visitors. Non-essential visitors and volunteers may be limited if case levels increase.
- Proper handwashing, cough and sneeze etiquette will continue to be taught, reinforced and monitored. Hand sanitizer will continue to be available and encouraged when handwashing is not feasible.
- Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities will remain a priority:
- Formal contact tracing and quarantining efforts have shifted to a civil duty. (The Governor discontinued all Directed Health Measures in the state of Nebraska including contact tracing, isolation and quarantines) It is advised that any student or staff member with symptoms stay home. Students must be fever free without medication for 24 hours before returning to school.
- Students and staff who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms will be encouraged to stay home and to be tested.
- Through coordinated efforts with NCDHD, all faculty and staff were provided the opportunity to be vaccinated. Neligh-Oakdale Public Schools provided information to parents and students regarding on-site vaccinations.
- Students IEPs and 504 plans will be followed. These may include accommodations that apply to the health and safety of students, relative to COVID-19. Students with disabilities may be prioritized for in-person learning if cases rise to the level where hybrid or home-based learning is required.
- Neligh-Oakdale Public Schools will continue to collaborate with our local and state health department on a regular basis, monitoring case levels and new guidance, and implementing or revising strategies when necessary.
- Our goal is to continue to provide in-person learning to all students, addressing their academic, social, emotional, and mental health via the many programs in place within our school. We will return to school with our regular school schedule and will follow the adopted 2021-2022 school calendar to the greatest extent possible.
- Water fountains will be reopened. However, students and staff may continue to bring water bottles to school. Refilling stations will be available throughout the day. (The Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department stated in June, “If your business has a water fountain that has been closed down during COVID-19, we are now encouraging these to be opened for use.”)
- -High-touch surfaces will be cleaned frequently and routinely
- -Shared supplies and equipment will be sanitized between uses
- -New HVAC system installed to maximize ventilation and bring in outdoor air
- -Filters to be changed every six months
- -Those determined to have had close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be required to monitor symptoms, and stay home if symptoms present themselves.
- -Additional computers and internet hotspots have been purchased in order to ensure equitable access for all students.