Washington Township Schools COVID-19 Operations Plan
This plan for WT has been developed in collaboration with Indiana Department of Education (IDOE), Mayor Hogsett’s Office, Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), Marion County Public Health Department (MCPHD) and with the benefit of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. This Plan is contingent upon executive orders related to COVID-19 from the Governor’s office or directives from IDOE, Mayor’s office, ISHD or MCPHD.
We strongly recommend all staff and parents review the COVID-19 Plan and Resolution and hold age appropriate conversations with students. Please be mindful that COVID-19 continues to be a fluid situation, and we remain under the direction of the Governor’s office, Mayor’s office and State/Local Health Department. Our priority is to maintain the health and safety of our staff, students, and families.
COVID-19 Authority for School Opening / Closure
|Preschool||Elementary School||Middle School||High School|
Option #1: Full time In-Person Learning 4 days per week (Commitment = 1 Semester)
Option #2: Full time Virtual Learning Academy from home. (Commitment = 1 Semester)
Option #1: Full time In-Person Learning 5 days per week (Commitment = 1 Semester)
Option #2: Full time Virtual Learning Academy from home (Commitment = 1 Semester)
Option #1: 4 Days (Tue. – Fri.) in-person, 1 day virtual (Mon.)
Option #2: Full time Virtual Learning Academy from home
Option #1 Hybrid Learning 2 days in-person and 3 days virtual per week. *see additional notes below
Option #2: Full time Virtual Learning Academy from home
WT Schools will follow school guidance and directives from MCPHD for opening/closure of schools due to COVID-19.
Any school/district events held on or off (i.e. Prom, Commencement, etc.) WT Schools property will follow public event guidelines and protocols from MCPHD public health orders and executive orders from the Mayor’s office.
*Additional Notes for Secondary Grades 9-12 When Schools are Open:
- The secondary administrative team will continue to review opportunities to implement an increase for in-person learning days in accordance with MCPHD public health order guidelines.
Criteria may include but are not limited to the following: GPA of 1.9 or below; mental health challenge documented by health professional; significant achievement performance decline from previous performance; engagement and attendance decline in multiple courses; danger of failing to meet minimum graduation requirements. School leadership teams will determine students who may meet criteria for additional in-person learning days and collaborate with families accordingly.
- When MCPHD COVID-19 School Guidance (through public health order) allows High School to transition to more in-person days and/or changes the social distancing requirement from 6 ft. to 3 ft., North Central, True North and JEL can transition to 4 days per week in-person while applying all protocols.
Frequently Asked Questions
Please note that Frequently Asked Questions have been added over time, and some apply to Virtual Learning, Hybrid Learning, and In-Person learning. All FAQs remain here as a reference point for those individual scenarios.
A procedure for our school health clinics will be implemented to screen for symptoms of COVID-19 when symptoms are exhibited by a staff or student while in our school facilities during the school day. These procedures will follow the IN State Department of Health COVID-19 Screening Decision Tree. Staff or students exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 during the school day, as determined by the school nurse, will be safely and immediately isolated under appropriate supervision in the school/building until they can leave. Parents/guardians who are called to pick-up a student exhibiting symptoms must arrive within 60 min. Parents need to make sure emergency contacts in our student information system are updated.
MCPHD encourages staff and students to contact and work with their appropriate health care providers on COVID-19 concerns and follow guidance on self-screening and self-reporting symptoms. Symptoms of COVID-19
- Clean and disinfect high-touch areas, such as doorknobs, light switches, sinks and toilets, etc.) throughout the day.
- Spray bottles with cleaning fluid, and paper wipes / towels are available in classrooms and common areas for increased cleaning of hard surfaces throughout the day. Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol will be available throughout the facilities for increased accessibility.
- Students will have increased and extended bathroom breaks for frequent and adequate handwashing.
- Playground equipment will be cleaned and disinfected daily. Playgrounds are closed for public use due to the capacity of WT to disinfect the equipment.
- Air quality will be monitored at a regular frequency and the air filters will be replaced as appropriate. Fans will be provided as requested and / or in locations that may have restricted airflow.
- All buses will be disinfected between each dropoff and pickup of students.
- Staff and students may be asked to support additional cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch areas and shared/personal use materials throughout the day. Utilizing staff and students to clean and disinfect high-touch areas and shared/personal use materials will provide extra support for maintaining a healthy learning environment and continues a current practice.
- General Social Distancing Expectations:
- Students should be seated 3-6 feet apart facing one direction in the classroom setting.
- Teachers and students are to maintain a 3-6 foot distance.
- Move classes outside when weather permits and is feasible for instruction.
- Students will be placed in cohorts in elementary schools as much as possible (the same students grouped together).
- There will be no field/study trips during the school day or any student trips.
- All staff lounges will be closed for eating due to confined space and inability to wear a face covering while eating. Staff lounges may be used for non-eating activities while implementing social distancing, properly wearing a facial covering. Additionally, areas in schools not used for instruction, such as staff lounge, may become designated isolation areas for a person exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms awaiting pick-up as needed.
- For areas of the school or WT facilities where lines may regularly develop, such as the front office or bookstore, the staff will mark off designations for places to stand to provide a visual cue for social distancing from the targeted person with whom the person is speaking.
- Until further notice, there will not be any convocations, assemblies, and events during the school day that bring non-essential visitors into the school.
- School events beyond the school day may occur with strict times to limit the number of people in the building at a time, to adhere to MCPHD guidelines for public events or policy by the WT School Board. Face coverings are required to be worn by all attendees over the age of 2 years.
- Small group instruction is permitted but must be limited to less than 15 minutes with any given group of students (teachers and students should wear face coverings during this time).
- Staff meetings, training, professional development, etc. will be held virtually when possible. When not possible, face coverings properly worn are required and meetings should occur in spaces large enough to meet social distancing 3-6 feet guidelines.
- Clear dividers may be used in instruction situations where social distancing is not possible in combination with face coverings unless an exemption is met.
- Students should sit all facing the same direction to minimize potential exposure.
- Woodwind and brass Instruments should not be shared.
- If string instruments must be shared, they should be disinfected between use.
- Percussion students should not share mallets without properly disinfecting them, unless students are wearing gloves.
- Students will be assigned times to pick up and return instruments from lockers to encourage social distancing.
- Class may occur in a gymnasium whenever physical education classes are outside.
- Facial coverings must be worn by all students and staff prior to entering the performing arts room. Facial coverings should continue to be worn until all students are seated and ready for instruction (example, long rests, sectional work, moving around the room, etc.)
- In instrument groups where a mask cannot physically be worn, the mask should be worn over the chin and replaced during periods where the student is not playing. Students should not talk without a mask.
- Instruments should be cleaned per guidance from the National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), and National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM)
- The district will provide special musician masks and bell covers for band students where appropriate.
- Singing may take place indoors under the following conditions:
- Students must wear a mask at all times
- Singing will be limited to 30 minutes per class period and teachers must allow for one full air exchange (at least 30 minutes) prior to allowing another class or group of students to begin singing in that space.
- Students will all face the same direction when singing
- All rehearsal spaces must be set up to maximize social distancing of 3-6 feet
- Class may occur in a gymnasium whenever physical education(PE) classes are outside.
- PE teachers will create scheduled locker room access in order to allow students to socially distance as much as possible while changing in and out of PE uniforms.
- PE will be taught outside whenever the weather permits, and the heat index is between 50 degrees and 85 degrees.
- Transportation by personal vehicle is encouraged. Parents/guardians are encouraged to transport students to and from school whenever possible.
- Students should not be dropped off or walk on to school property until the following times (students involved in athletic practices prior to school are exempt from this schedule but must be under the supervision of a coach):
- North Central High School and JEL 6:50 AM
- Middle School 9:00 AM
- Parents/guardians are expected to pick up students no later than fifteen minutes after the end of school, practice, or an event in order to prevent students from gathering in an unsupervised situation.
- Student Late Arrival or Early Release - Parents/guardians can bring in students who are late or need to be picked up early, but they will not be allowed beyond the front office. Parents/guardians should always wear face coverings when entering the building even if the duration of the visit is not expected to be long.
- School Day:
- Class periods may be modified where necessary to allow for proper social distancing.
- Students will be expected to be moving in the hallways, i.e. not stopping to talk to others, during passing periods to prevent gatherings and to social distance as much as possible.
- Students will be strongly encouraged to socially distance before school, during lunches, and after school in all large gathering places such as the student center, gyms, cafeterias, and any large space where students may congregate. Face coverings must be worn except while eating or if the student has an exemption.
- Students will have to carry all of their belongings in their backpacks because, with a few exceptions, students will not be assigned or have access to hall lockers Exceptions may be considered for students through a request by a parent/guardian to the Principal.
Physical Education (PE)
- There will not be any self-serve food items.
- Napkins and silverware (disposable if possible) are provided directly by staff, not for individuals to grab.
- Sneeze guards will be in every cafeteria serving line. There are floor markings adhered to the cafeteria floor to promote social distancing while waiting in line.
- There will be no shared food or shared food tables, i.e. no staff pitch-ins; no shared food or snacks brought in by staff, student or families; and no food/drinks will be served or purchased at the school during or following student activities (sporting events, clubs, concerts, plays, etc)
- Limit cash transactions. Staff handling cash will not, also, handle food.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be provided to all food service staff, preparing and serving food. The PPE provided will include a face shield, face covering, and gloves and must be worn at all times while preparing, serving and cleaning up after meals.
- Breakfast will be eaten in the classroom . Food will be available for pick up or already in the classroom as students enter the building.
- Lunch will be eaten in the classroom
- Rotation of grade levels as usual
- Cafeteria serving lines will not be open
- Specific meal identification will be provided for students with documented allergies or special dietary needs
- Menus will be limited and include all components of a reimbursable meal
- Meal payments will continue to be collected through on-line payments (MyPaymentsPlus)
- Breakfast and lunch meal service method will follow the process as in the past with social distancing modifications where possible
- Menu choices will be limited (all food items will be wrapped or covered) - Same items will be available on all serving lines
- Sneeze guards will be in place
- Placemarkings on the floor will be provided to support social distancing
- Students will scan their own ID at checkout
- Cash transactions are limited and students will be encouraged to use on-line payments through MyPaymentsPlus. Additionally, a payment dropbox and/or kiosk will be available if feasible (currently being explored). One cash line will be implemented if feasible, however there will be no change provided. All change will be deposited to the meal account
- Tables will be cleaned and disinfected after each meal service.
Elementary School Meal Service
Middle and High School Meal Service
- Acceptable face coverings How to Wear a Face Covering
- Must cover nose, mouth, and secure under the chin while fitting snugly against the sides of the face
- May use items such as scarves, bandanas, cotton material (DIY Face Coverings, How to Make Your Own Face Covering by Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams), in lieu of a traditional medical face mask
- Face coverings must not violate the attire code for obscene, vulgar or inappropriate material.
- The CDC states masks with exhalation valves or vents SHOULD NOT be worn to prevent the person wearing it from spreading COVID-19 to others. Click here to view CDC Considerations for Wearing Masks.
- Face Covering Expectations
- Staff Expectations: Staff will wear a face covering, even when social distancing is in place, unless exemption is met. If the staff member is alone in a work space, they may remove the face covering
- Singing will require a face covering even if social distancing is applied.
- Grades PreK-12 Student Expectations: Face covering required even when social distancing is in place except for exemptions.
- Face coverings are required at recess except for exemptions.
- Exemptions for wearing a face covering NOT requiring approval:
- Anyone who is unconscious or incapacitated.
- When staff or students are performing tasks that cannot be completed while wearing a face covering: eating, drinking, playing instrument with mouthpiece, etc.
- When the wearing of a face covering by a teacher may impede the student’s learning (speech pathologist, special needs, Preschool and Kindergarten). In these rare circumstances a plastic divider must be used.
- A student or staff member who is unable to remove a face covering on his/her own.
- Anyone who is having trouble breathing.
- When doing an activity that causes heart rate to increase with strenuous physical activity (i.e. PE class). In this circumstance social distancing must be applied.
Staff - Staff will follow normal HR attendance reporting procedures. Staff who are notified about a positive COVID-19 result are required to notify their supervisor immediately. Confirmed COVID-19 cases will be reported to MCDPH by designated WT staff. The MCPHD will conduct any necessary contact tracing and keep records on confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Students - Parents of students who are notified about a positive COVID-19 result are required to notify their Principal immediately. All normal student attendance procedures will be followed as outlined in the School Board approved Student Handbook. Absences will be recorded in the student management system, accordingly per normal procedure. Confirmed COVID-19 cases will be reported to MCPHD by designated WT staff. WT in conjunction with the MCPHD will conduct any necessary contact tracing and keep records on confirmed COVID-19 cases.
WT will be terminating any attendance incentive rewards systems and recognition programs related to attendance.
WT Collaboration for Reopening of Schools
Marion County Public Health Department (MCPHD) Review June 24 – August 21, 2020
Washington Township (WT) School Board Approval July 6, 2020
Washington Township (WT) School Board Review of Updates August 12 & 18, 2020
Washington Township (WT) School Board Vote on Updated Plan August 26, 2020
Washington Township (WT) School Board Vote on Updated Plan September 15, 2020
Washington Township (WT) School Board Vote on Updated Plan November 11, 2020
Washington Township (WT) School Board Vote on Updated Plan December 9 & 18, 2020
- Dr. Caine Letter to Parents 12/20
- MCPHD Science Regarding COVID Spread in Schools
- COVID-19 Information for WT Schools
- Reopening of Schools Info for WT
- Marion County Public Health Department COVID-19 Info
- COVID-19 Testings Sites in Marion County
- Free Face Masks Form for Marion County Residents
- IN Department of Education Reopening of Schools Guidance Document
- Center for Disease Control Information on COVID-19
- Visual Poster Resources for COVID-19
- The American Academy of Pediatrics Reopening of Schools Guidance