What should schools do about students or faculty returning from countries where COVID-19 is widespread or where local transmission has been reported?
For travelers returning from mainland China, the Federal and state governments will already have been alerted to the names and contact information of these individuals and they will work with these individuals to establish monitoring and provide the recommendation that they self-quarantine at home for 14 days.
For individuals arriving from countries with a Level 3 travel advisory, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends these individuals self-monitor their health while self-quarantining at home for 14 days.
For individuals arriving from countries with a Level 2 travel advisory, the CDC requests these individuals practice social distancing and self-monitor their health for 14 days.
What should schools do if a child is experiencing flu-like or COVID-19 symptoms?
For questions related to children who may experience flu-like or COVID-19 symptoms while at school refer to the CDC Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Childcare Programs and K-12 Schools to Plan, Prepare and Respond to COVID-19. Parents should contact their local health department or health care provider for additional information and ongoing support. There is a 14-day social distancing or period of social isolation that is required before a student can return to school.
What should schools do if a student or staff member is identified for testing?
In the event that a student or a staff member qualifies for COVID-19 testing, they should be excused from school or work. A nonspecific letter from the local health department will likely be provided for this purpose. Your local health department will work with your school to conduct contact tracings and to assist with public health community messaging.
What should schools do if a student or faculty becomes a case?
If the first case of COVID-19 is identified in a school, the local health department will work closely with your school to make environmental cleaning recommendations, conduct contact tracing, and investigate any potential exposures to that individual.
How should your school adress the impact chronic absenteeism may have on school accreditation ratings?
If a school closes, then the chronic absenteeism is not impacted because students are not considered absent when the school is closed.
Schools where student absences resulting from COVID-19 have an aggregate, negative impact the school may present sufficient student data to waive that standard for the next reporting period.
What may be done in cases where schools are closed for so many days that the 990 hour clock requirement cannot be met?
If a school closes schools in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, they should make every effort to make up missed time, including using scheduled vacation days and planned school closure days as well as extending the length of the school day or calendar. Should any school in a school division miss more than five days as the result of an emergency situation, the school may make up teaching days or hours as they would any other extended weather or natural disaster related emergency closings.
If schools are still unable to meet these requirements, they can consider seeking a waiver from the Accreditation Commission. The Commission has expressed they will be more flexible depending on the magnitude of the situation but waivers will only be granted to those schools or school divisions that have exhausted all means to make up for lost teaching time.
Schools heads should note that any decision to close schools should be made in consultation with your local health department and in the interest of public health first. The League does not provide recommendations regarding school closures.
What is the criteria for schools to close due to COVID-19?
The CDC has provided interim guidance for both schools that do and do not have identified cases of COVID-19 in their communities. The CDC advises that any student or staff that has traveled to/from a country with a Level 3 travel advisory be asked to stay home for 14 calendar days. The same restrictions are advised for newly registered students arriving from a country identified as Level 3. A link to this advisory information can be found here. Please note that CDC guidance is only a recommendation for travelers, does not apply to family members, and is not mandatory. Local school divisions should continue to refer to CDC resources for the most up-to-date guidance on best practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Are schools able to continue instruction via online learning in the case of a COVID-19 outbreak within the division?
Absolutely. There are several online providers that are eager to assist in this crisis. Schools can also consider using free resources like Google Classrooms.
What is recommended in classrooms for cleaning desks by teachers? (in addition to the regular cleaning that is done outside of school hours)
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued information about cleaning products that are registered for use against COVID-19. The CDC has a link for information related to cleaning products and processes.
What are your thoughts on travel within the United States?
The CDC has communicated that there are currently no travel restrictions or travel advisories for travel within the United States. This is a fluid and ongoing issue that may change in the future.
How should divisions track students who are absent because of COVID-19 in the Student Information Systems?
LCS recommends that schools maintain attendance records of any student known to be absent due to COVID-19. This information would be required if a school wanted to appeal the chronic absenteeism in accreditation.
How should schools handle absences in cases where parents choose to keep their students at home due to fear of exposure (i.e. no illness or recommendation for self-quarantine)?
Many schools, parents, and guardians have expressed concern about student absences related to COVID-19 safety concerns. Community fears may be high as identified cases increase, particularly for families with loved ones living in the home who have a compromised immune system. Exercise caution when deciding not to excuse absences related to COVID-19.