Planning for the 2020-2021 School Year
The spring of 2020 brought about unprecedented changes to our society and our education system. As we look forward to the 2020-2021 school year, we anticipate that COVID-19 will continue to circulate. Students, teachers, and other school staff will be at risk for transmitting and acquiring infection.
It is important that everyone in the school community take steps to reduce transmission, particularly to those at high risk, while balancing the need to maintain a strong education system that effectively supports staff, students, and our community.
We developed this document to provide guidance around policies, practices, and strategies that schools must implement and recommendations they should consider to optimize education and promote health and safety, while mitigating risk throughout the school year.
- Provide guidance to OSD stakeholders regarding the reopening of schools
- Assist leaders with understanding and prioritizing needs by using an equity lens to ensure the needs of all students are met through comprehensive planning
- Explore alternative operational and instructional models to be responsive to traditional school site limitations with regard to social distancing
- Develop a team to identify district- and school-level needs
- Determine areas of focus and prioritize efforts
- Identify available services and assets
- Monitor implementation of plans
- Adjust plans and services as needed
Section 1: Health and Safety Considerations
School Site/Campus procedures
- Students and adults entering campuses will be screened for symptoms.
- The district will not conduct COVID-19 testing. This is a responsibility of parents/guardians.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Face coverings will be required for every person inside a school building or classroom, or outdoors on a school campus whenever it is not possible to maintain a minimum of six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household. *See board policy EBDCC for exceptions to this requirement.
- Parents are responsible for providing their child a face covering.
- Thermometers, sanitary wipes, and hand sanitizer are in every classroom.
- Gloves are not recommended.
- School nurses should wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when caring for ill staff or students. Appropriate PPE includes N-95 mask (or surgical mask if N-95 not available) and eye protection (face shield or goggles).
- School nurses will not be considered close contacts while wearing appropriate medical PPE.
- Social distancing protocol of maintaining a 6ft distance from another person should occur when possible.
- Students will not be able to maintain social distancing in a majority of classroom settings or on district transportation.
- All student bus riders are required to wear a face covering on the bus in order to utilize district transportation.
- When a student boards the bus, they will use hand sanitizer to clean their hands.
- After scanning, students will occupy a seat and remain seated until arrival at school.
- Upon arrival at school, students will exit the bus while remaining masked, and enter the school through entry points designated by the building principal.
Recess for students in grades PreK-6 will be conducted in a designated location by class. There will be no interaction with students outside of the static classroom at recess. No playground equipment will be used. Students will only be able to use balls/equipment from their particular classroom supplied by the teacher.
Reopening and Course Offerings
What courses will be offered once school reopens? What are the guidelines and recommendations for courses such as music, physical education, performing arts, science labs, choir, etc.?
It is the goal of the Oxford School District to continue to offer all courses that would be offered during a traditional school year. OSD administrators will utilize a decision matrix recommended by the Mississippi Department of Health in determining adaptations to courses that may place students and staff at high risk due to the nature of the course.
The Oxford School District will follow the guidance of the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) regarding school athletic and activity programs.
Employees will sign an acknowledgement form agreeing that by clocking into work, they have self-screened to ensure they do not have a temperature above 100.0°F or above and have not answered “yes” to any screening questions.
Daily screening shall include the following questions, and any employee answering “yes” to any question shall not report to work or will be sent home:
- Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
- Are you experiencing a cough, sneezing, shortness of breath, or sore throat?
- Have you had a fever in the last 48 hours?
- Have you had new loss of taste or smell?
- Have you had vomiting or diarrhea in the last 24 hours?
- Have you traveled outside of the United States in the past 14 days?
Protocol When Someone Is Sick at School/Work
- If sick, do not come to school/work.
- Immediately separate students and employees with COVID-19 symptoms (such as fever, cough, sneezing, or shortness of breath) at school.
- Identify a room/space to isolate anyone who displays symptoms or tests positive of COVID-19.
- Keep the student/employee separated from other people as much as possible.
- Contact Parent, Guardian, or emergency contact list
- Parent picks child up
- If we can’t contact parent/guardian/emergency contact:
- District representative takes child to parent work site.
- If unable to contact legal guardian(s), contact Department of Human Services (Jennifer Chandler, 662-542-5520).
- Individuals who are sick should go home or to a healthcare facility depending on how severe their symptoms are.
- Charger Health & Wellness will be available to provide primary care services to students and employees. No student will be seen without express written consent of parent or guardian.
- Close off areas used by a sick person, and do not use these areas until after cleaning and disinfecting.
- Wait at least 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting. If 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
- Identify room/space to ABM for disinfecting.
- Student Immediately transitions to online instruction
- Inform those students/employees who have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 to quarantine for 14 days, self-monitor for symptoms, and follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.
- “Close contact” is defined as being at less than 6 feet for 15 minutes.
COVID-19 Case Identified in Student or Staff
- MSDH will notify the school when aware if not previously reported. Parents will be encouraged to notify the school as well. In the event that MSDH is aware of COVID-19 case, school will be notified
- RN Margaret Hayden is the district representative for COVID-19.
- Be prepared to identify close contacts.
- Parents should notify the school and keep student in isolation at home for a full 10 days from the onset of symptoms.
- Parents should be notified when a student or teacher is positive — this may be a targeted group notification based on the group size.
If you think you have COVID-19, and have symptoms:
- You are encouraged to be tested.
- Use current district absentee policy.
If you were referred with COVID-19 symptoms, fever, and/or exposure, but tested negative for COVID-19:
- You may return at the end of 14-day quarantine from the date of referral. You must also be fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.
If you tested positive for other conditions (such as strep or flu):
- You may return to school with a medical excuse from a doctor after being fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.
If you tested positive for COVID-19, you can be with others after:
- All COVID-19 cases must be isolated at home for 10 days and fever-free for 24 hours.
- Close contacts to COVID-19 cases must be quarantined for 14 days from the date of first contact with infected individual (“close contact” is defined as being at less than 6 feet for 15 minutes or more).
- Education and training for all employees must be provided on how to properly put on, use, take off, and dispose of PPE.
- School personnel know and recognize the most likely symptoms of COVID-19 and how to protect employees and students from transmissions.
- Education and training on Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette
- Training on safety protocols
Facilities Safety and Sanitation Considerations
- The district will increase frequency of cleaning restrooms, conference rooms, breakrooms, cafeteria, and buses.
- Enhanced cleaning by replacing general purpose cleaners with EPA-registered disinfectant for nightly cleaning, and ensuring we are disinfecting spaces within a 24-hour period.
- Daily enhanced cleaning by damp wipe disinfecting of high-touch areas and restrooms.
- Electrostatic spray disinfection service
- Weekly disinfection of buses
- Quarterly disinfection of all buildings and facilities
- Hand sanitizer and sanitizer wipes are available in each classroom
- Bus seats will be wiped down with sanitizing solution between routes
When Child Identifies as High Risk Due to Adverse Health Conditions
Parents are given the option of online instruction or attending school in person. If parent opts to allow child to attend school, then parent assumes risk.
Section 2: Instructional Program
It is the intent of the Oxford School District to provide two educational options for students during the 2020-2021 school year:
- Traditional Model — All students will attend school five days a week. Schools will adhere to recommended Mississippi Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control guidelines as feasible and outlined in Oxford School District Board Policy EBDCC. All courses typically offered will be taught; however, modifications to classroom structure, teaching strategies, and content standards may be made as needed. (Subject to change under Executive Order.)
Online Learning — It is the district’s responsibility to serve all students and will therefore offer online instruction to ensure all students have access to a quality education on a daily basis. Synchronous distance learning provides flexibility for students who cannot physically participate in classroom instruction yet keeps them on pace with their peers. Parents who chose for their child to participate in online learning instead of traditional classroom instruction will have the option to transition their child back into a traditional classroom setting at the end of a nine week grading period. Every family will be given the option to re-evaluate for the next nine-week period.
SeeSaw will be the learning management system (LMS) for students in grades PreK-4, and Schoology will serve as the LMS for students in grades 5-12.
Online instruction will also be utilized if a student or group of students in a traditional classroom setting are quarantined due to a positive COVID-19 test or exposure to the virus. In such cases, students will be able to assimilate back into the traditional classroom setting once the allotted quarantine time expires.
The district must anticipate the need for Individualized Education Programs (IEP) Addendums that outline instruction and services that can be offered through:
- On-campus instruction
- Distance Learning
To ensure the provision of free, appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE) is met and provided with parental agreement in a fluctuating environment, we have considered the following:
- How will instruction, related services, and accommodations be provided during the student’s extended absence for quarantine or self-isolation?
- What assistive technology is necessary to support each student’s learning in virtual and/or a blended learning environment?
- The Curriculum and Instruction Department worked alongside teachers to identify the standards not taught due to school closure during the spring semester of the 2019-2020 school year. Based on the number of standards identified, instructional coaches and teachers restructured pacing guides for the 2020-2021 school year to include standards not taught last year. Standards will be scaffolded into classroom instruction where they best fit during the 2020-2021 school year.
- Content standards have been prioritized for all courses in all OSD schools based on Marzano’s prioritization criteria. The prioritization of standards allows teachers more time to teach the most important standards to depth instead of breadth as well as supports the Oxford School District Portrait of a Graduate.
- Remediation of standards not mastered by students during the 2019-2020 school year will be retaught in classroom instruction as well as supported through the Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS) process.
Differentiated and Blended Learning Environments
It is the goal of the Oxford School District to provide a personalized learning experience for all OSD students that meet the needs of each individual child regardless of a student learning in a traditional format or online. As a result, we have restructured our elementary and secondary learning management systems (SeeSaw and Schoology) into a streamlined, manageable format to better personalize the learning experience for students as well as parents. Students will be given a pre-assessment, and instruction will be tailored to the needs of each student based on their performance as it relates to the standard being taught. Students will be formatively assessed frequently, and instruction will be adjusted as needed. Parents will have access to the learning management systems to track student progress.
Assessment plays an important role in the education process. Whether learning online or in a traditional classroom setting, students will be assessed through observation, academic tasks, and assessments. Students will be assessed both in formative and summative fashion. Formative assessment practices will drive the adaptation of instruction based on student academic needs. Teachers should have an understanding that students will perform well on a summative assessment based on formative feedback throughout the learning process.
- Online Learning: Students participating in online learning will be assessed through observations through video conferencing and discussion boards as well as assignment submissions and assessments. Students will be required to schedule a time to take major tests at the Oxford School District Testing Center. Major assessments will be proctored by an Oxford School District employee in a classroom set aside for assessment of online students.
Grading for students in the traditional classroom setting and online environment will follow the same OSD grading policies.
Professional development on online learning and the Oxford School District learning management systems (SeeSaw and Schoology) will be provided to students, teachers, and parents before the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.
The Mississippi Department of Education is responsible for establishing general attendance requirements that are to be followed by Mississippi school districts. These guidelines are reflected in Oxford School District board policy JBD.
Section 3: Ensuring Equity, Access, and Social Emotional Wellness
Schools have a responsibility to be culturally and linguistically responsive and continue to meet the needs of all students, including language support for English Learners and support for students with disabilities.
- Ongoing monitoring of equity will be happening throughout the year. Areas found deficient will be immediately addressed with a focus on access and social emotional health.
- The Parent Resource Office will assist parents and connect them to the people who can help.
- Students will eat at school, and meal pickup locations will be available for remote learners.
Processes for screening, identifying, and assessing student needs:
- Students are screened by surveys in Panorama, one-on-one with coaches and counselors, and triage given from knowledgeable classroom teachers.
- Counselors and Behavior Coaches will be actively monitoring and staying in touch with students weekly.
- Classroom teachers will monitor connectedness to ensure academics are possible.
Section 4: Communication
Reopening schools requires careful planning, prioritization, and communication with families frequently. Stakeholder engagement is a priority through various surveys and feedback.
- Frequent and ongoing communication will ensure students, parents, and employees feel comfortable returning to schools and district offices.
- Plans for proactive communication that share information, identify concerns, and address concerns will be implemented with all stakeholders.
- The district will continue to partner with local public health and government officials to garner accurate data for our decision-making processes.
- Public Information will be provided to families and community partners using multiple methods and languages (email, mobile app, district and school websites, Powerschool, School Status, local media outlets, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube).
- Health information that identifies an individual will not be published by the OSD.
- The district will work to confirm or dispel misinformation about positive COVID-19 cases and required quarantine that affects classrooms and or/groups of students.
- The district will work to contact parents immediately via various communication channels if their student is in an affected group.
- Each campus will utilize signage as reminders for adequate hand washing techniques, observing social distancing, and adequate face coverings.