Dinwiddie County Public Schools
Health & Safety Measures
Update August 24, 2021
Face Mask Medical Accommodation Request(pdf format)
Dinwiddie County Public Schools will continue to monitor the guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Virginia Department of Health (VDH), Crater Health District, Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), and the Governor’s Office. School officials routinely participate in the webinars and phone conferences sponsored by these organizations. Communication will continue to take place. All stakeholders will be kept up-to-date on the division website should new information become available.
DCPS remains committed to implementing a variety of health and safety measures in the schools, buildings, and on school buses. Health and community level transmission data will be regularly monitored and updates will be made to the health and safety measures as needed.
Health Monitoring of Staff and Students
- Students and staff will be provided a health screening checklist (see Appendix A) and will be asked to review the list each morning prior to coming to school/work. Anyone displaying symptoms of illness will be asked to stay home to help prevent the spread of illness. Individuals must be fever-free without any fever-reducing medication for at least 24 hours prior to returning to school unless he/she has been instructed to isolate/quarantine by a healthcare provider, school nurse, or health department official.
- Families should notify the school nurse if their child is exposed to COVID-19 and should self-quarantine based on the guidance from the VDH. The families of children exposed to COVID-19 will be notified and contact tracing will begin within DCPS in conjunction with the Crater VDH. DCPS and/or the Crater VDH will advise families about quarantine protocol. (VDH – When It Is Safe To Be Around Others)
- DCPS will follow the recommendations provided by the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) regarding the isolation and quarantine periods for individuals that have recently traveled within the United States (outside of Virginia) and internationally. VDH Travel Guidance
Face Coverings/Face Shields
- Face coverings must be worn by students, staff, and visitors. If a student accesses our bus service, face coverings must be worn. If families need the school division to provide a face covering, please contact your child’s school office. Students and staff who are not physically, developmentally, or medically able to wear a face covering may be exempt. Face shields may only be worn by certain identified staff. They should be reserved only for staff of students that have specific learning needs that require reading lips and/or for students with hearing difficulty. They should wrap around the sides of the wearer’s face and extend below the chin. Disposable face shields should only be worn for a single use. Reusable face shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
- Face coverings do not have to be worn while exercising, outdoors, in music class (while singing or playing an instrument while at least 6 feet apart), or eating.
- Cloth face coverings should be washed daily.
- Face Masks and Face Coverings should adhere to the guidance and recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control as outlined at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html.
- The School Board approved mask accommodation request forms.
Sick Leave Policies and Practices
- Staff and students are able to stay home or self-isolate when they have been diagnosed with or have been exposed to COVID-19.
- Any individual who has been sick with signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or exposed to COVID-19 will be required to stay home and self-isolate until cleared by a healthcare provider or as prescribed by the VDH – When It Is Safe To Be Around Others. DCPS will follow the current guidance provided by the VDH as it relates to Covid-19 positive cases and exposures.
- Human Resources will adhere to policies and practices for staff in accordance with DCPS leave policy and guidance from the CDC and VDH. DCPS will comply with all applicable laws.
- School administration will work with individual students struggling with attendance.
Communication of Positive Cases
- Positive cases or outbreaks will be immediately reported to the School Nurse or the Director of Human Resources. They will immediately contact Michelle Powell, Coordinator of Student Services, who will collaborate with the Crater Health Department for guidance and direction as needed.
- Preliminary contact tracing will begin within DCPS and conducted by the Health Department and the families of children and staff exposed to COVID-19 will be notified. Families and staff will be advised about the quarantine protocol.
Maintaining Healthy Environments and Operations
- The Director of School Facilities will continue with established protocols with the contracted custodial service company and district custodial staff that include specific cleaning and disinfection plans for each building to include increased and routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces.
- The Director of School Facilities will work in conjunction with the Director of Transportation to ensure that hygiene practices and protocols are being followed on all transport vehicles.
- The following supplies will be provided for COVID-19 mitigation: soap, water, paper towels, hand sanitizer, spray cleaner, disinfecting wipes, gloves, masks, and other PPE supplies. There will be hygiene stations located in multiple targeted areas within each school, particularly in high traffic areas, to promote healthy hygiene.
- Supplies will be regularly monitored by the principals and department supervisors and needs reported to the Director of School Facilities to ensure supplies are readily available.
- Ventilation Systems and Outdoor Air
- Staff will be encouraged to utilize outdoor spaces and to open classroom windows as much as possible.
HVAC services will be maintained by Johnson Controls who will follow manufacturer guidelines for servicing and maintenance.
- Ventilation systems will be routinely inspected by the Department of School Facilities.
- Staff will be encouraged to utilize outdoor spaces and to open classroom windows as much as possible.
- Water Systems
- The Maintenance Department continues to conduct water monitoring as part of the regular maintenance schedule.
- Most water fountains have been retrofitted into water filling stations. Staff and students will be encouraged to bring their own water bottles whenever possible. Water bottles should not be shared with others.
- Educational messaging will be placed in high traffic areas and reviewed regularly with students and staff.
- Food and Dining Services
- Meals will be served in classrooms and/or staggered in the cafeteria to limit the mixing of student groups.
- Students and staff will not be allowed to share food with others.
- No outside food delivery will be allowed for students. Students and staff may bring their own lunch.
- Masks are not required while actively eating or drinking.
- As long as the level of community transmission remains in the “Substantial” or “High” range, volunteers and visitors may only be permitted in the building on a limited basis.
- Field Trips, Recreational Sports, and Activities
- DCPS will comply with current guidance from the Virginia High School League (VHSL), which is posted at www.vhsl.org.
- Field trips will be approved on a case by case basis.
- Educational partnerships for student teaching and practicum placements are permitted with health screenings and adherence to this plan by the college student and university.
- Continuity of Operations
- Executive staff will support school-based administrators to ensure continuity of operations, training of substitutes and other back-up staff.
Student Health Services Preparation
- Maintenance of normal (non-COVID-19) health services
- All non-emergency first aid will be handled by the teacher in the classroom. Any non-emergency first aid that the teacher cannot handle should be communicated to the school nurse by phone or email, so a time of arrival can be scheduled. (See Appendix B)
- The clinic will provide medication administration, emergency first-aid that can’t be provided in the classroom, and health services as required.
- All staff will be trained on Clinic Procedures and Classroom-Based Care Guidelines that will be utilized. (See Appendix B)
- All of the annual mandatory training (bloodborne pathogens, EpiPen) will continue and the division will follow legal requirements, policies, and guidance related to health services.
- Maintenance of routine mental health services
- School Psychologists, Social Workers, and Counselors are available for consultation regarding access to school and community mental health resources. This group of staff will work together to procure mental health services as needed.
Educating Students and Staff
- DCPS will educate the school community about infection control strategies:
- Proper use of PPE (gloves, masks, face shields)
- Maintaining physical distancing to the greatest extent possible
- Recognizing signs and symptoms of Covid-19 and MIS-C illness or notifying school if family members are ill
- Guidance on what to do if the family unit has been tested and diagnosed with COVID-19
- Confidentiality related to contact tracing and student/staff health issues
- Hand hygiene, proper handwashing techniques
- Awareness of school emergency response plans related to pandemics
- Temperatures and definition of fever
- Environmental cleaning of school buildings – school clinics, classrooms, etc.
- Strategies to reduce anxiety during this time of COVID-19 in the school staff, students, and parents/guardians
Appendix A: Daily Health Screening Checklist
Screening, monitoring, and testing are essential components of limiting the spread of COVID-19. An important part of keeping schools safe is actively encouraging sick staff and students to stay home if they are ill and emphasizing to all the importance of knowing the symptoms of COVID-19.
Daily health screens of students and staff for COVID-19 symptoms are a recommendation of the CDC. Therefore, divisions may decide to assess student temperatures and symptoms (or absence of symptoms) each day.
Symptoms of COVID-19
People with these symptoms or combinations of these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Fever (CDC defines this as 100.4F or greater, or when one feels warm to the touch or gives a history of feeling feverish)
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste or smell
This list is not all possible symptoms. Other less common symptoms have been reported, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
COVID-19 Screening Questions
Students and staff should assess themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 before reporting to school and/or may be asked the following by school personnel upon arrival:
“YES or NO since my last day in the building, have I had any of the following:”
- A fever (100.4°F or higher) or a sense of having a fever?
- A cough that cannot be attributed to another health condition?
- Shortness of breath that cannot be attributed to another health condition?
- Chills that cannot be attributed to another health condition?
- A sore throat that cannot be attributed to another health condition?
- Muscle aches (myalgia) that cannot be attributed to another health condition or specific activity (such as physical exercise)?
If an individual answers YES to any of the screening questions before arriving, they should stay home and not enter the building. If an individual reports COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival, the school should activate the emergency protocol for COVID-19.
Appendix B: School Clinic Procedures
Each school nurse will wear gloves, a medical-grade mask, and face shield/goggles when assessing each ill student or providing first aid. He/she will wear a minimum of a KN95 preferably an N95 mask and face shield/goggles for any COVID-19 suspected case.
All non-emergency first aid will be handled by the teacher in the classroom. Any non-emergency first aid that the teacher can’t handle should be emailed or phoned to the school nurse, so a time of arrival can be scheduled.
Staff will not enter the clinic areas unless it is necessary for him/her to be assessed for illness or injury.
All student and staff emergency contact information must be completed and up to date. A minimum of three contact persons will be required.
Nebulizer treatments will not be administered to students at this time unless it is needed during an emergency situation. Metered-dose inhaler orders will be accepted.
The clinic will provide medication administration, emergency first-aid that cannot be provided in the classroom, and health services as required.
All required vaccines will be up to date for students and encouraged for their household members. Flu vaccines will be encouraged for all students and staff members.
School staff will work with school counselors, social workers, and school psychologists on strategies to reduce mental health illnesses and anxiety related to COVID-19. Staff will acknowledge the student’s situation, and validate their emotions, and provide a coping toolbox for calming strategies.
All students presenting to the clinic will be assessed for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and if suspected of possible COVID-19 then he/she will be sent immediately to an isolation room and the parent will be called to immediately pick up the student.
Students will sanitize/wash hands and the area will be cleaned after students leave.
Infection control will be a priority in our school clinic(s). To prevent potential exposure to infectious illnesses and promote treatment, many students need to stay in place in the learning environment. Try to reserve non-scheduled clinic visits for illnesses. See the lists below for appropriate clinic visits and appropriate classroom care. Every student, except scheduled visits for medication and/or glucose checks, must have a pass that includes the student’s full name, reason for visit, date, and time. See below for guidance on when to send students to the clinic and when to keep them in the classroom.
Staff may contact the school nurse prior to sending the student to the office if they are uncertain or need guidance about student care. Each teacher will have a supply of basic first aid care (Band-Aids, lip balm, etc.) to minimize clinic visits.
Appropriate Clinic Visit
Students should be triaged before they come to the clinic. If students or staff arrive at the clinic, those potentially feeling ill with COVID-19 related symptoms should immediately be relocated to an isolation area so as not to “contaminate” general health clinic space.
- Symptoms of COVID-19
- 911 will be called if any student or staff member is showing any of these signs: trouble breathing; persistent pain or pressure in the chest; new confusion and/or altered levels of consciousness; inability to wake or stay awake; bluish lips or face
- Avulsed (broken or displaced) tooth
- Scheduled medications – physical distancing will be provided and times staggered
- Scheduled specialized physical health care procedures
- Diabetic care
- G-Tube feedings
- Difficulty breathing
- Head injury/complaining of neck pain – DO NOT MOVE, keep student calm, call 911
- Sudden vision impairment
- Diabetic “lows” or unconsciousness
- Severe bleeding or other traumatic injuries – call 911
- Severe abdominal/groin pain
- Seizure (uncontrolled movement) – Do not hold down, remove objects that may cause injury – contact nurse, do not move student if seizing, clear area around student
- Signs and symptoms of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), which may include: fever, rash, and swollen, red eyes, hands, and feet
- Scheduled medications where designated school staff trained in the administration of medication may deliver medication to students
- Nurses may visit classrooms and administer medication to the student
- To the extent possible, students self-administer medication that may be self-carried by law with the paperwork on file in the clinic (asthma and/or diabetic students)
- Students in grades 6-12 are allowed to carry inhalers and epinephrine.
- Minor toothache / Primary tooth comes out – tooth cases will be provided
- Restroom accidents / soiled clothing – students will be allowed to change clothes in the class restroom or communal restroom. Parents will be notified that clean clothing is required.
- PreK-5 soiled clothing may be stored in the student’s classroom for the remainder of the school day. Grades 6-12 soiled clothing may be stored in the student’s backpack. Any soiled clothing left in the school building will be discarded. Ziploc bags will be available for storage. Accidents should be handled with discretion for the protection of the student.
- Wound care/small paper cuts, abrasions, picked scabs, ice packs for small bumps/bruises, and scrapes need to be cleaned and a bandage applied. Most scrapes do not require a clinic visit.
- Localized bug bites (if no known allergy) can be treated by applying a cool, wet paper towel to the area to prevent scratching.
- Minor headache or fatigue with no other symptoms – Students with headaches need to drink water and rest at their desks for 20 minutes BEFORE coming to the clinic.
- Mild stomach ache or nausea – Students with stomach aches should try going to the bathroom, then rest at their desks for 20 minutes BEFORE coming to the clinic.
- Readily controlled nosebleeds, where the student can deliver self-care and soiled tissues may be disposed of in the teacher’s trash can. Only “saturated” items need to be disposed of in the clinic.
- Anxiety/stress/psychological issues – Try minimizing stimuli, using calming techniques and/or redirection, and refer students to the school counseling office. This is not a clinic visit if breathing is not affected.
Dinwiddie County Public Schools has taken the following steps to make these plans available to the public:
The plan is available in Spanish, and can be translated into additional languages (written and verbal) upon request. Please contact the School Board Office for translation assistance. Parents may also work directly with their school for translation needs related to school specific information.
Upon request, a parent or guardian with a disability as defined by the ADA may be provided with the plan in an alternative format.