Continuum of Learning – Moving from Traditional to Remote
At any point during the academic year, CMCSS may need to switch the entire district, or individual schools, into or out of traditional (in-school) and remote (out-of-school) models based on the current conditions surrounding the pandemic. Due to the ever-changing circumstances of the pandemic, parents and guardians should make preparations throughout the year in the event that school buildings are closed and remote learning must take place.
The CMCSS Communicable Disease Team in conjunction with the Montgomery County Health Department (MCHD) will continuously review the local spread of COVID-19 to make district-wide decisions related to the Continuum of Learning options. Although some districts are selecting one metric to determine in-person vs. remote learning, there is not a general consensus at this point on which metric is best for making school closure decisions. Therefore, CMCSS and MCHD are taking a more holistic approach and are, on a daily basis, reviewing the following metrics in Montgomery County:
- Total positive cases out of total tested
- Number of new positives out of the number of new tests
- New active cases per population (per 100,000 and per 50,000)
- Percent of COVID-19 spread in the community following the Tennessee Department of Health guidance for Low Spread, Medium Spread, and High Spread and a common scale of interpretation:
- Normal Operations: 0 positive COVID-19 cases in Montgomery County
- Low Spread: less than 0.5% positive COVID-19 active cases in Montgomery County
- Medium Spread: 0.5% to 1% positive COVID-19 active cases in Montgomery County
- High Spread: Greater than 1% positive COVID-19 active cases in Montgomery County
CMCSS and MCHD will continue reviewing multiple metrics and will be adding metrics over time such as employee and student absentee rates.
COVID-19 Exposure Response Plan
The CMCSS Safety and Health Department will investigate any potential exposure cases in the school system in collaboration with the Montgomery County Health Department. Procedures and protocols are continuing to be developed as new guidance is released.
Click here for the current CMCSS Return to Work/School Flowchart developed by the CMCSS Safety and Health Department in collaboration with the Montgomery County Health Department.
Any school closures will be decided in conjunction with the CMCSS Communicable Disease Team and the Montgomery County Health Department. Transitioning from traditional to remote (rolling closures) for individual schools will be affected by the time frame required for receipt of test results and the length of time it takes to conduct contact tracing.
In collaboration with the Safety and Health Department, Communicable Disease Team and the Montgomery County Health Department, the CMCSS Communications Department will support schools in promptly communicating any school-level closures to stakeholders via phone, text, email, school and district websites, and other communications channels as needed.
CMCSS will implement the new Standard Response Protocol that includes the addition of the “HOLD” response. The new response will be used to ensure building occupants are not moving throughout the building during an investigation of a suspected COVID-19 positive case currently in the building.
Students will eat in the school cafeteria unless otherwise configured by the school. By state law, teachers receive a duty-free lunch period, and in the majority of instances there is not enough school-based staff to monitor meals in the classroom. The district will space students as best it can, but parents should not expect that students would be provided with six feet of separation from other students while eating breakfast and/or lunch in the school cafeteria. The following are additional protocols that the Child Nutrition Department will follow:
- All Operations/Child Nutrition employees will self-screen and have temperatures taken before each shift.
- Staff are required to wear masks in addition to all standard safety protocols.
- Additional training for all Child Nutrition employees (focus on cleaning, disinfecting, specific protocols, and social actions.)
- Students sharing meal items or placing extra items they do not consume, on what are commonly referred to as “share tables”, will be prohibited.
- Choices will be further limited and served by staff only.
- Meals and utensils will be handed to students to reduce contact.
- Child Nutrition staff will key in the student IDs to reduce contact with the keypad.
All CMCSS families who wish to use the cafeteria this year are encouraged to pre-pay their student’s cafeteria account via SchoolCafé. The safe and convenient online system allows parents to make payments, track meal balances and purchases, and monitor their student’s account.
Families with students in CMCSS K-12 Virtual will be able to pick up meals for children at schools. Details for this pick-up service will be provided in the coming weeks. Parents/guardians who feel their household may be eligible for free or reduced meal benefits should apply online at SchoolCafé. The online application allows for a contact-free, secure application environment. Free and reduced meals are available for eligible students choosing either traditional or CMCSS K-12 Virtual.
Should individual schools or the entire district need to transition from traditional to remote, the district will communicate details on the plan to provide meals for remote learning.
The Operations Department is continuing to make modifications to custodial procedures to reduce the spread of communicable diseases. For more information from the CDC on how COVID-19 spreads, click here. The following are some of the modifications that will currently be in place:
- Custodial schedules will be adjusted to allow more custodians in the building during the school day.
- The maintenance department will handle all groundskeeping so the custodial staff can focus on cleaning inside the school building.
- Disinfecting stations will be established at select entrances and throughout the school building.
- The District will provide sanitizing products in all active classrooms.
- There will be an increased focus on two-step cleaning throughout the day and a decreased focus on window cleanings, floor buffing, etc. In classrooms, students’ desks will be oriented in the same direction.
- All desks, students and teachers, will be cleared at the end of the school day to allow for proper disinfecting by custodians.
- Deep cleaning with pressurized spraying of disinfectants will take place after school each evening by custodians.
- If there is a known outbreak in a room, the room will be closed and extensively deep cleaned to include increased air filtration.
- All buses will be disinfected by the Vehicle Maintenance Department after the morning runs and again after the afternoon runs using “HDQ” and following a pressurized spray, wait, and wipe method.
- An enhanced two-step restroom-cleaning schedule will be in place during the school day with restrooms accessed through main hallways being cleaned every two hours by custodians. At the end of the day and during the teachers’ planning period, K-2 restrooms in classrooms will be cleaned by custodians.
- The following disinfectant has been purchased and will be used by CMCSS: Super HDQ
- The District will increase indoor air filtration from MERV 9 to MERV 13 filters whenever possible.
- Mechanical systems (HVAC) will run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Increased outdoor air ventilation up to 100% as indoor and outdoor conditions permit.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Monitoring Equipment & Personal Hygiene Supplies
- All students utilizing CMCSS transportation are required to wear masks while on the bus.
- All students (general education and special populations in elementary, middle, and high school) are required to wear masks in all common areas in the school building (hallways, restrooms, front offices, counseling or administrative offices, etc.) and when physical distancing cannot be maintained anywhere in the building (including, if applicable, in classrooms).
- There will be special considerations and exemptions made as needed regarding mask requirements. The district understands that some students may have health concerns or physical and emotional limitations that make masks difficult to wear. Parents/guardians will be required to provide medical documentation to the school beginning Mon., Aug. 10 as to why their child cannot wear a mask.
- All employees are required to wear masks in all common areas in the school building (hallways, restrooms, front offices, counseling or administrative offices, etc.) and when physical distancing cannot be maintained anywhere in the building (including, if applicable, in classrooms).
- CMCSS will review an employee’s concerns regarding wearing a mask if they have a documented medical condition. Employees with these concerns may contact Jeanine Johnson, CHRO.
Students and employees are urged to bring their own masks. However, the district will have masks available for any students or employees who do not have their own. Cloth face masks should be washed after each use. Face masks must adhere to the Student Dress Code in the Student Code of Conduct: obscene, profane, provocative, violent, or inflammatory words or pictures on body/skin, clothing or jewelry, or clothing advertising alcoholic beverages, drugs, drug paraphernalia or tobacco products are prohibited and students are prohibited from wearing, while on school property or at any school-sponsored activity, any type of clothing, apparel, or accessory, which denotes such students’ membership in or affiliation with any gang (T.C.A. § 49-6-4215). For more information from the CDC on the use of cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19, click here.
According to the CDC, it is not known if face shields provide any benefit as source control to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles. The CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings.
CMCSS will continue to purchase PPE and will continue to monitor supply levels and order supplies as needed as funding allows.
The State is providing no-cost PPE, including face masks for any school stakeholder who wants or needs one, thermometers for every school, and face shields for every staff member. This includes 298,000 cloth reusable masks for teachers, and 27 million disposable masks for students distributed by the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.
Every classroom teacher will have a full-year classroom disinfecting kit to use so no teacher pays for these materials out of their own pockets. The kits include hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, gloves and masks.
School nurses will be provided with surgical masks, gloves, protective gowns, and face shields.
As recommended by the CDC, washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. Students and staff will be required to wash hands throughout the day. When soap and water are not available, hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol is an acceptable substitute. Hand sanitizing stations will be placed throughout school buildings and in cafeterias.
In addition to the hand sanitizer the district already has in stock, the Operations Department has ordered over 700 half-gallon bottles of hand sanitizer as well as 5-gallon refills. Old Glory Distilling Co. will be donating 4oz bottles of hand sanitizer to all staff.
Sneeze guards will be installed in all front offices.
Gov. Lee’s Safe Reopening Plan for Tennessee Schools, July 28, 2020
As described by the American Academy of Pediatrics, physical distancing, sometimes referred to as social distancing, is simply the act of keeping people separated with the goal of limiting the spread of contagion between individuals. There is a conflict between optimal academic and social/emotional learning in schools and strict adherence to current physical distancing guidelines. Each school will develop guidelines to promote physical distancing that are developmentally appropriate and feasible.
School buses are mass transit vehicles and CMCSS school buildings, classrooms, and cafeterias are designed and equipped to serve large numbers of students at the same time. District vehicles and facilities are not capable of providing the six feet of individual spacing that is currently recommended by the CDC to reduce or prevent the spread of COVID. Parents and guardians selecting a traditional return to school for their children should not expect that their child(ren) would remain six feet from their classmates during their ride to and from school or at all times while they are in district buildings.
Students will be required to remain seated in classrooms with assigned seats, and when feasible, will remain with cohorts to minimize cross-over with other students and staff.
Safety and Health Department Trainings
The CMCSS Safety and Health Department, in conjunction with the CMCSS Professional Learning Team, will develop online COVID-19 training for students, staff, parents, and visitors before the start of the 2020-2021 school year. The training will consist of the following items:
- School Safety teams
- Training on symptoms of COVID-19, prevention techniques, and CMCSS procedures relevant to the individual to prevent and minimize exposure
- Personal sanitation guidelines such as handwashing, hand sanitizer vs. soap and water, cleaning of personal and high touch areas by students and staff, etc.
- Temperature and symptom screening of students and staff
- At-home screening measures prior to riding CMCSS transportation or arriving at school
- Universal precautions when in contact with bodily fluids
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Physical Distancing/closure of meeting areas
- Health screening room spaces and removal protocols to use when suspicions of COVID-19 arise and the role of the School Nurse
- Immediate notification of CMCSS Safety & Health Department in the event of a suspected or identified case of COVID-19 among students or staff
- What to do when a COVID-19 exposure occurs (exposure rubric)
- Building expectations including when in-depth cleaning protocols are necessary
- Bus seating and sanitization measures
- Training of visitor guidelines and measures CMCSS will use to minimize additional community entry into schools to prevent crowding (i.e. parent drop off without building entry)
Employees will be expected to self-screen, including temperature checks, before entering school premises.
Self-screening protocols for students and visitors will be implemented as needed. However, families are strongly encouraged to engage in self-screening at home prior to each school day. If students or employees are sick or someone in their home is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, they should not come to school. Click here for updated guidance from the CDC regarding screening K-12 students for symptoms of COVID-19.
Modifications will be made to the student attendance policy for the 2020-2021 school year to the extent allowable by law. If students or employees are sick or someone in their home is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, they should not come to school. CMCSS is awaiting a COVID-19 specific code from the Tennessee Department of Education for attendance purposes. Students who need to be out for an extended period due to illness will be excused, and there will not be a gap in their education as the district will have the ability to provide remote learning for that student.
Have you had any of the below symptoms as a new-onset in the past 72 hours? (This does not include chronic conditions)
- fever of 100 degrees or greater
- new onset of a cough
- new onset of shortness of breath
- new onset of sore throat
- new onset of body aches
- new onset of headache
- new onset of loss of taste or smell
- nausea or vomiting
- congestion or runny nose
If “yes”, please consult your personal health care provider before returning to any CMCSS locations.
School-Based Mitigation Measures
Each school building will utilize its School Safety team to ensure proper hygiene measures are in place throughout the school year. The School Safety team will attempt to maintain minimization of the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the following areas:
- Identify specific handwashing times for each class
- Implement hand sanitizer stations in the front office areas and throughout the building
- Procure and use disinfecting and personal hygiene supplies
- No mass gatherings such as assemblies and pep rallies unless appropriate physical distancing can be maintained
- No field trips for at least the first semester; encourage virtual field trips, where feasible.
- Procurement and use of signage to communicate policies and procedures to staff, students and families
- Identify Health Screening Rooms and protocols for immediate removal of symptomatic individuals
- Spot check for physical distancing, continued closure of meeting rooms/assembly areas, handwashing, etc.
- Develop school-specific plans for how people enter and exit the building and who may be allowed in different parts of the building to reduce traffic and congestion.
- When feasible, limit class exchanges, have teachers rotate between classes, and cohort students as much as possible.
- Students will be required to have assigned seats, and when feasible, will remain with cohorts to minimize cross-over with other students and staff.
- Ensure that employees and students that are on quarantine are not entering the school building.
The role and responsibilities of the school nurse are essential healthcare workers as we face the COVID-19 pandemic in our community and schools. The following are some of the specific responsibilities of the school nurse during the pandemic:
- The Safety & Health Department will take the lead on the COVID-19 Exposure Response Plan. The school nurse will ensure school staff and families know how to contact the Safety & Health Department.
- School nurses will assess and evaluate students exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms.
- Evaluate the current school nurse designated space and determine if there is an adjacent space for health screenings.
- Each school is required to have a Health Screening Room for anyone displaying COVID-19 symptoms.
- Each school will have a system in place for the nurse to triage sick students so that students receiving well services aren’t exposed to sick children.
- Use standard transmission-based precautions when caring for sick people.
- Update school-based communicable disease policies as guidance changes.
- Inventory and request supplies for school clinics (sanitizer, soap, tissues, paper towels, trash cans for the Health Screening Room that are no touch or without lids, cleaners/disinfectants, PPE, etc.)
- Closely monitor school health data.
- Educate students and families on when they should stay home and when they may return to school in conjunction with their medical provider/Montgomery County Health Department.
- Identify the number of students with underlying health considerations.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents are encouraged to consider alternative methods of transportation to and from school because passengers on school buses will not always be afforded a minimum six-foot distance from other students. Parents and guardians selecting a traditional return to school for their children and who opt-in to transportation should not expect that their child(ren) would remain six feet from their classmates during their ride to and from school. The following protocols will be in place on CMCSS transportation:
- All employees must self-screen and have their temperatures taken before each shift.
- Bus Drivers, Bus Aides, Bus Monitors, and students are required to wear masks the entire time while on the bus.
- Students must bring their own masks, but extra masks will be available on every bus.
- Buses will be disinfected every day by the Vehicle Maintenance Department after morning and afternoon runs.
- Hand sanitizer will be available on all buses.
- Seats will be assigned and passenger attendance sheets will be completed every day by the driver. (Assigned seating is imperative to allow for contact tracing.)
- If a student, driver, monitor, or aide tests positive, the bus will be placed out of service for 24 hours and disinfected.
- Additional bus stops will be added to reduce the number of students at each bus stop.
- Bus windows and roof vents will be open when possible. (Windows will be cracked and roof vents open during inclement weather routes.)
Since March 12, 2020, CMCSS has restricted school- and district-sponsored travel. Until further notice:
- All school- or district-sponsored out-of-state travel for employees and students is prohibited.
- All school- or district-sponsored in-state travel via CMCSS transportation will continue to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis for approval.
- All school- or district-sponsored travel on for-hire transportation (charter bus, planes, etc.) for students and employees is prohibited.
CMCSS will limit nonessential visitors from the school environment to prevent crowding, and access to the building will be limited for all visitors. Lunchtime visitors will not be permitted. Essential visitors should conduct a self-screening of symptoms before entering the building and will be required to wear a face mask while on campus. Building administrators will approve any essential visitors throughout the day. Parents/guardians should call or email their child’s teacher or the front office of the school to set up an appointment before arriving.
Water fountains will be taped off, placed out of order, and unavailable until further notice. Students should bring bottled water to school each day. Touchless water bottle filling stations can still be utilized. However, these stations are not available at all school locations and it is not feasible for providing water for an entire school. The district will continue to explore options for hydration.
As of July 24, 2020; subject to change. (PPE section updated Aug. 20, 2020)