FAQ: Guidelines for Schools

 

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GUIDELINES FOR SCHOOLS

Q: What are the state and local guidelines for schools?

Q: If Orange County Moves Back to the State's Purple Tier, Do IUSD and Orange County schools have to close?

A: No. Per the California Department of Public Health and the Orange County Health Care Agency, "Schools that have opened for in-person instruction are not required to close if their county moves back to the Purple Tier." According to health experts, the primary source of recent COVID-19 surges are social gatherings. IUSD would like to remind our community to continue to follow state and local guidelines for reducing the spread of COVID-19, which will help keep our schools safe and open.

To learn more about IUSD's COVID-19 mitigation strategies and planning, including more than $21 million in planned safety investments, visit iusd.org/2020-21. Also, please continue to visit the California Department of Public Health and the Orange County Health Care Agency websites.

As a reminder, the County of Orange moved to the second least restrictive tier – the Red Tier – on September 8, 2020. Under state guidelines, Orange County schools were permitted to reopen for in-person instruction once our county had been in the Red Tier for two consecutive weeks. IUSD continues to follow guidelines of expert health agencies, as we have done since the onset of the COVID-19 public health crisis. The guidelines established by the California Department of Public Health, the OC Health Care Agency, and OC Department of Education inform all IUSD planning efforts and the design of each academic model for the 2020-21 school year. These guidelines outline important considerations and protocols, including cleaning and disinfecting, physical distancing, face coverings, handwashing, notification and reporting of positive cases, and grouping students into smaller cohorts, to the extent possible. For more information about these guidelines, click here.

Q: Is IUSD following guidelines for the safe return of students and staff to District campuses and facilities and if so, what guidelines?

A: Yes, IUSD is following guidelines of expert health agencies, as we have done since the onset of the COVID-19 public health crisis.  The guidelines established by the California Department of Public Health, the OC Health Care Agency, and OC Department of Education inform all IUSD planning efforts and the design of each academic model for the 2020-21 school year. These guidelines outline important considerations and protocols, including cleaning and disinfecting, physical distancing, face coverings, handwashing, notification and reporting of positive cases, and grouping students into smaller cohorts, to the extent possible. For more information about these guidelines, click here.  

 

It is important to note:

  • There are dedicated guidelines for California schools and more specifically dedicated guidelines for Orange County schools from the California Department of Public Health, the Orange County Health Care Agency and the Orange County Department of Education.  These guidelines were developed specifically for schools, which as stated by these agencies, have unique considerations that vary from businesses, retail establishments and retail customers.  IUSD does not make up or determine these guidelines - we follow the guidelines established for all OC schools, provided by the agencies listed above. 
     

  • Guidelines for schools at the federal, state and local levels are continually evolving, which is beyond IUSD’s control.  IUSD continues to closely monitor the situation and changes to the guidelines.  We will pivot, as needed, to align our planning and practices.  Operating in this ever-changing environment means that our planning is also ever-changing and evolving.  We understand this can be a source of frustration but it is critical to have an understanding of this unprecedented environment we are navigating together.

 

Q: Is IUSD going to apply for the elementary waiver for grades tK-6?

A: On August 3, the California Department of Public Health released new information about the criteria for districts to apply for a waiver to reopen and provide in-person instruction for grades TK-6 only. IUSD is reviewing this new information and working with the Orange County Health Care Agency and the Orange County Department of Education to clarify the requirements of the waiver application process.  Click here to read more about the new California Department of Public Health guidelines. 

Q: What is the status of youth sports?

A: The California Department of Public Health released new guidelines for youth sports on August 3.   IUSD will resume youth sports once school starts on August 20 and will follow all guidelines, including physical distancing of six feet and no contact conditioning activities only.  Coaches and schools will provide more information after the start of school.  Click here to read more about the new California Department of Public Health guidelines. 

Q: How are CDC, California Department of Public Health and Orange County guidelines connected?

A: The CDC drafts guidelines for the nation.  Those guidelines are then provided to states, which develop their own guidelines based on their unique needs and conditions.  States then provide guidelines to counties, which further tailor them to meet the unique needs and conditions within their respective counties.  Cities may develop ordinances for business, retail establishments and retail customers based on these guidelines.

 

IUSD follows guidelines for Orange County Schools, which are aligned to the federal, state and local guidelines and process listed above.

 

Q: Why do state and local guidelines allow for flexibility?

A: As we have seen throughout this pandemic, there are regional and local variances and unique needs, which require flexibility.  The same holds true for Orange County School Districts and for IUSD schools and facilities, which have different features and varying needs.  Flexibility will enable each school to meet the unique needs of its facility and community to help ensure they can mitigate and reduce risk students and staff.

 

Q: How is IUSD implementing health and safety guidelines at each school site or District facility?

A: IUSD’s practices and protocols are informed by the guidelines for Orange County Schools, and consider the unique features and needs of each school and facility to the fullest extent possible. Each school has developed a site plan to meet the requirements established by the California Department of Public Health and the Orange County Health Care Agency for opening.  Principals provide information to their school communities.  If you have a question about your student(s) school, please contact the school directly.  Click here to read the guidelines for Orange County schools.   To read more about IUSD Opening and Safety Planning, visit iusd.org/2020-21.  

 

Q: What is the Orange County Health Care Agency Attestation?

A: It is the document that verifies IUSD and all other OC schools open their facilities in accordance with guidelines and mandates.  Click here to view the attestation form all OC school districts must certify to be in compliance.  Each school has post the attestation form for their site and communicated its location to the school community. 

 

 

FACE COVERINGS

During the July 14, 2020 IUSD Board of Education Meeting, the Board voted to require face coverings on IUSD campuses and in classrooms for all staff, students and visitors. Persons with a medical or mental health condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering are exempt per state guidelines.

For all questions related to face coverings, please review IUSD's policy on face coverings, which is aligned to the California Department of Public Health guidelines.  Information provided includes implementation of the policy, types of face coverings, access to face coverings for students and staff, exemptions and more.  

 

response to positive covid-19 cases

Q: What are the protocols if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?

A: Click here to read more about protocols for all OC schools, should students or staff exhibit signs or receive a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.  Protocols include reporting to the Orange County Health Care Agency, notifications to impacted families and staff, student and staff confidentiality, cleaning procedures and more.

Q: If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 will the school be shut down for two weeks?

A: If a student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, the Orange County Health Care Agency will work with school and District staff to implement the appropriate protocols.  Click here to read more about the COVID-19 protocols for reporting to the Orange County Health Care Agency and considerations for full or partial closures of school facilities.   

 

Q: Will students or staff need to self-quarantine if they are exposed to or living with someone who is positive for COVID-19?

A: Orange County Health Care Agency guidelines require individuals exposed to or living with someone who is positive for COVID-19 to quarantine for 14 days from the last unprotected exposure. Click here to read more about Orange County Health Care Agency COVID-19 protocols.

Q: If a student is showing signs of COVID-19 while at school, how will that be handled?

A: IUSD will follow the protocols for OC schools for preparing if someone is sick, which includes working with school nurses, administrators and health providers to separate anyone showing signs of COVID-19 until they can be transported home or to a healthcare facility, notifications to those impacted, cleaning protocols and more.  Click here to read more detailed information about protocols for OC schools if someone is sick or exhibits signs of COVID-19.

Q: If a student is sent home with COVID-19 symptoms, will the school notify families?

A: IUSD will work directly in consultation with the Orange County Health Care Agency and will follow protocols for all OC schools, which includes notifications to impacted staff and families when someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, while maintaining student or staff confidentiality.  Click here to read more about protocols for OC schools if someone is sick or exhibits signs of COVID-19.

Q: If there is a positive case of COVID-19 what will be the disinfection and other health procedures to ensure it is safe for students and staff?

A: IUSD will work directly in consultation with the Orange County Health Care Agency and will follow protocols for all OC schools, which includes cleaning and disinfecting.  IUSD custodial  staff is being trained in accordance with CDC and California Department of Education guidelines.   Click here to read more about COVID-19 protocols for OC schools for cleaning and disinfecting.

 

enhanced cleaning and hygiene

Q: Will IUSD custodial staff have enhanced cleaning procedures at IUSD schools and facilities?

A: IUSD will follow cleaning and disinfecting protocols established for all OC schools, which can be found by clicking here.  This includes cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and limiting shared resources and materials.  IUSD custodial  staff is being trained in accordance with CDC and California Department of Education guidelines. 

Q: Will classrooms, labs and other shared spaces be cleaned between periods/classes?

A: IUSD will follow cleaning and disinfecting protocols established for all OC schools, which can be found by clicking here.  This includes cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and limiting shared resources and materials. Additionally, IUSD students and staff will be trained to support wiping down spaces and materials after each use.

Q: Will IUSD provide additional hand sanitizer in common areas that are not near sinks, such as front offices and lunch areas?

A: IUSD has purchased additional hand sanitizer dispensers and will make them available in areas without sinks to the fullest extent possible.

Q: Will IUSD provide students and staff with healthy habits education and training for how they can keep their areas clean?

A: In accordance with guidelines established for all OC schools, IUSD will provide information to students, staff and families about healthy practices and protocols, including handwashing, face coverings, cleaning, reducing use of shared objects and materials, sneezing and coughing etiquette, and more.  To read more about these protocols for OC schools, click here.

Q: Will students be reminded of sneeze and cough etiquette?

A: In accordance with guidelines established for all OC schools, IUSD will provide information to students, staff and families about health habits and what to do if they are sick or exhibit signs of COVID-19.  Click here for more information.

Q: How will the schools keep frequently touched surfaces clean?

A: IUSD will follow cleaning and disinfecting protocols established for all OC schools, which can be found by clicking here.  This includes cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and limiting shared resources and materials.

Q: Will there be scheduled handwashing before and after eating?

A: In accordance with guidelines established for all OC schools, IUSD will provide information to students, staff and families about healthy practices and protocols, including handwashing. To the fullest extent possible, students will be encouraged and given opportunities to wash hands and/or use hand sanitizer before eating.

Q: Will lunch tables be cleaned before and after eating?

A: Yes. School custodial staff will clean lunch tables and areas between uses.   IUSD custodial  staff is being trained in accordance with CDC and California Department of Education guidelines. 

 

 

PHYSICAL DISTANCING

Q: Will students be physically distanced 6 feet apart?

A:  IUSD will follow the guidelines and protocols established for OC schools.  To the extent possible, students will be physically distanced and schools will maximize available space to support small cohorts when possible.

Q: Will there be smaller class sizes to reduce the number of students in one space together?

A: IUSD’s academic models were designed to help create smaller cohorts of students.   See academic models for additional information.

Q: Will high school students participate in athletics and what will be the rules?

A: Given the nature of this fluid situation and recent guidelines from the California Department of Public Health prohibiting athletic summer camps, including conditioning, IUSD and all OC school districts await further guidance from state and local agencies related to athletics.  When we have more information, our District and/or schools will keep our community informed.

Q: For students who ride buses, how will they be cleaned and how will students be physically distanced?

A: IUSD will follow the guidelines and protocols established for all OC schools, which includes cleaning and disinfecting for both facilities and buses.

Q: How will transitions between class periods and activities be handled?

A: IUSD will follow the guidelines and protocols established for all OC schools, which includes minimizing individuals congregating in hallways and other common areas.  Given that each IUSD school is unique, school staff will inform families about specific protocols for their campuses.

Q: Will schools utilize outdoor and other spaces to spread students out?

A: As outlined in the academic models, schools will use outdoor and other spaces on campuses to help decrease the number of students in one location to the fullest extent possible.  Each IUSD school is unique and school staff will inform families about specific protocols for their campuses.

Q: What will be the protocols when entering school front offices to protect the staff?

A: IUSD schools will follow the guidelines for all OC schools, which include screening and other procedures.  Click here to read the guidelines.  School staff will inform families about specific protocols for their campuses.

Q: Will there be protocols for shared items in classroom?

A: IUSD will follow cleaning and disinfecting protocols established for all OC schools, which can be found by clicking here.  This includes cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and limiting shared resources and materials.

Q: Will students be allowed to go to camps, field trips, athletic competitions and other school related activities?

A: Given the nature of this fluid situation and recent guidelines from the California Department of Public Health  all OC school districts await further guidance from state and local agencies related to athletics.  When we have more information, our District and/or schools will keep our community informed.

Q: How will schools handle back to school night and other school events?

A: Given the nature of this fluid situation, IUSD does not have an answer to this question at this time.  We will continue to closely monitor this situation and related health conditions for our city and county, in addition to following state and local guidelines.  When we have more information, our District and/or schools will keep our community informed.

Q: Will there be staggered drop-off and pick-up times?

A: IUSD will follow the guidelines and protocols established for all OC schools, which includes options such as staggered drop-off and pick-up times to the extent possible.  School staff will inform families about specific protocols for their campuses.

 

 

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