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Pender Public Schools

Plan for Safe Return to School - 2022-2023

The 2022-2023 school year begins on August 18, 2022. This plan is intended to help the return to the educational process be as safe as possible. Several requirements exist for public schools in Nebraska, and each of those requirements are addressed in this plan. Other safety measures are needed to provide the safest possible environment for students and staff members, so those components are included as well.

The list below includes the items required in the 2022-2023 Plan for Safe Return to School:

  • Universal and correct wearing of masks

  • Modifying facilities to allow for physical distancing (e.g., use of cohorts/podding)

  • Handwashing and respiratory etiquette

  • Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation

  • Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaborations with the State, local, territorial, or Tribal health departments

  • Diagnostic and screening testing

  • Efforts to provide vaccinations to school communities

  • Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to health/safety policies

  • Coordination with State and local health officials, including the needs for support and technical assistance to implement strategies consistent to the greatest extent practicable, with relevant CDC guidance

  • Ensure continuity of services, including but not limited to services to address students’ academic needs and students’ social emotional, mental health, and other needs, which may include student health and food services

The list below includes the items not required but included in the 2022-2023 Plan for Safe Return to School:

  • Symptom screening

  • Food service

  • After School Programming

Required Components

Universal and Correct Wearing of Masks

  • Face masks are encouraged for staff and students that have not been vaccinated.

  • Special face masks and bell covers will be available for band. They will be optional unless circumstances dictate a change.

  • Face masks may be required temporarily for staff and students if COVID-19 cases rise, and the administration believes that this safety precaution is necessary to prevent further spread and a possible school closure.

Modifying Facilities to Allow for Physical Distancing

  • Social distancing will be practiced to the greatest extent possible and practicable. If necessary, social distancing strategies will be increased from 3 to 6 feet.

  • Nonessential furniture will be removed in an effort to make social distancing possible.

  • Student desks and tables will be arranged in ways that maximize social distancing efforts.

  • Barriers such as plexi-glass will be used when deemed necessary.

  • Non-essential visitors and volunteers may be limited if deemed necessary.

Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette

  • Proper handwashing techniques will be taught and encouraged.

  • Proper cough and sneeze etiquette will be taught and encouraged.

  • Hand sanitizer will be available at all times, so it can be used when needed.

Cleaning and Maintaining Healthy Facilities

  • High touch surfaces will be cleaned frequently and routinely. Disinfecting wipes and solutions will be used as will an electrostatic sprayer containing a disinfecting solution.

  • When possible, shared supplies and equipment will be sanitized between uses.

  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) settings will be set to maximize ventilation.

  • HVAC filters will be changed regularly.

Contact Tracing in Combination with Isolation and Quarantine

  • The NNPHD requirements for contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine will be used as a guide. Board Policy 5409 will be utilized.

  • Normal health and wellness procedures will be followed:

    • Students and staff shall stay home when sick.

    • Students and staff must be fever free for 24 hours (without medication) before returning to school. A fever is a temperature of 100.4 or above.

  • Students will continue to be excused for COVID related absences. A note from a doctor may be required.

Diagnostic and Screening Testing

  • Students and staff who have a temperature of 100.4 or higher will be sent home.

  • Students and staff who exhibit signs and symptoms of COVID-19 will be encouraged to stay home.

  • If COVID levels rise, PPS will consult with NNPHD regarding screening and testing protocols.

Efforts to Provide Vaccinations at School

  • PPS staff members are encouraged to be up-to-date on all vaccinations.

  • On-site vaccination for PPS staff members will be provided for all staff members if possible.

  • PPS will provide information to parents and students regarding vaccination availability within the community and surrounding area.

Appropriate Accommodations for Children with Disabilities with Respect to Health and Safety Policies

  • All IEP’s and 504 plans will be followed. If necessary, these plans will include specific health and safety procedures related to COVID-19.

Coordination with State and Local Health Officials

  • PPS will continue to communicate and collaborate with local and state health officials in an effort to monitor case levels, be up-to-date with COVID-19 related guidance, and implement or modify COVID-19 protocols.

  • This plan will be reviewed at least every 6 months and revised as is needed.

Ensuring Continuity of Services

  • The goal is to provide in-person education for all students the entire 2022-2023 school year.

  • In-person education is instrumental in addressing the academic, social emotional, and mental health needs of PPS students.

  • If it is necessary for a student to miss an extended period of time due to COVID-19 related absences, PPS will ensure the student stays up-to-date with all learning. A device and connection to the internet will be provided if needed for all school-related needs.

Additional Components

Symptom Screening

  • Families are encouraged to screen students for COVID symptoms and follow NNPHD’s guidance for testing and quarantine/isolation.

  • Normal PPS health protocols will be followed:

    • Students and staff members who are sick should stay home

    • Students and staff members must be fever free for 24 hours (without medication) before returning to school.

  • If the need for symptom screening arises, protocols will be implemented

Food Service

  • Breakfast will be served and eaten starting at 7:30 am in the lunchroom.

  • Lunch will be served and eaten from 10:50 am to 1:00 pm in the lunchroom.

  • Water fountains (including bottle fillers) will be available. Students may bring bottled water if they so choose. Since the drinking fountains will be available, bottled water will not be provided by PPS.

After School Programming

  • The After School Program for students in grades K-6 is available from 3:30 pm to 5:00 Monday through Thursday.

  • Pendragon Hour for students in grades 7-12 is available for academic support from 3:45 pm to 5:00 pm Monday through Thursday.

Communication of Positive Cases

  • When students or staff members test positive for COVID-19, communication with potentially impacted individuals will occur.

Important Notes:

  • Feedback for this plan was sought by the District in two ways:

    • During the Board meeting on July 12, 2021

    • Via the survey posted on the District’s website (7-1-21 through 8-6-21)

  • This plan was developed to create a safe environment for PPS students and staff members while providing the best possible educational environment

  • This plan was formally adopted by the Board of Education on August 9, 2021

    • It will be formally reviewed by the Board of Education in October, January, March, and July in the year 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024

    • Other reviews and revisions will occur as needed

  • This plan was formally reviewed during the Board of Education meeting on September 13, 2021

  • This plan was formally reviewed during the Board of Education meeting on February 14, 2022

  • This plan was formally reviewed on July 13, 2022

  • During the 2022-2023 school year, up-to-date COVID information will be shared every month by the Superintendent during the Administrative Reports agenda item. Included will be the number of students and staff that currently have COVID and the number of students and staff that have recovered from COVID during the 2022-2023 school year. The report will also ask and allow for any feedback on the Plan for Safe Return to School from anyone in attendance at the Board meeting.