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Safety Protocols

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Required: An entity is legally bound to do, as required by federal or state law, executive orders, state/local public health orders, state board rule, or in the case of waivers, expectations that the state board requires in exchange for waiving a state law or rule. Executive orders and public health orders could change over the next months as we learn more about COVID-19 and receive updated epidemiological data.

Gatherings Requirements

  • Please refer to the Health Guidance by COVID-19 Phase for gathering size based on phase.
  • Class sizes and cohorting guidance will vary with phase and grade level (see below).
  • Cohorts are encouraged to reduce contact with others.
  • Cohorts reduce the number of exposed students/staff from a confirmed COVID-19 case and will result in fewer students/staff required to quarantine.
  • Special service providers should not be included in the teacher-to-classroom ratios. These providers should minimize contact with non-client students and other adults in classrooms.
  • Cohorting: the practice of keeping the same students and teachers in the same small group at all times during the school day. Ideally, changes in cohorts are timed to align with school semesters or trimesters after lengthy breaks, but even shorter blocks of time, such as two weeks, can be effective. Cohorting helps limit the number of contacts each individual has. As a result, if quarantines or dismissals are needed, they may affect fewer people, resulting in fewer disruptions to in-person learning. Students may be in multiple cohorts (for example, bus ride to school, after-school sports, classroom). 

Continuum of Screening Requirements

  • Conduct Daily temperature checks and monitor symptoms in employees and students and any person entering the building, if they did not complete the screener from home. Check for Signs and Symptoms
  • Effective November 17, 2020 and expires 30 days from October 30, 2020,  PHO 20-36 COVID-19 Dial -  Employers with over 50 employees in any one location shall implement screening systems. Wellness screenings are required by state public health orders, and methods may vary. Below are a few steps for screening: - Individuals who are sick or are experiencing flu-like symptoms should get tested for COVID-19. If an individual has tested positive for COVID-19 and/or has developed symptoms of COVID-19, including early or mild symptoms (such as cough and shortness of breath), they should be in isolation (staying away from others) until they are released by public health. In most cases, individuals are released from isolation when they are fever-free, without medication, for twenty-four (24) hours, other symptoms have improved, and at least ten (10) days have passed since symptoms first appeared. A limited number of people with severe illness may require longer isolation. Coloradans who are sick and receive negative COVID-19 test results should continue to stay home while they are sick and should consult with their healthcare provider about the need for additional testing and the appropriate time to resume normal activities.

  • Employers with over 50 employees in any one location shall implement screening systems. Wellness screenings are required by state public health orders, and methods may vary. Below are a few steps for screening
    • Employees and students  will undergo home temperature and symptom screening or self-screening.
    • Employees and students  unable to complete screening prior to arrival will undergo screening on site. Maximize  privacy and minimize exposure to others during onsite screenings.
    • Screen employees, students and essential visitors, based on public health recommendations, safely, respectfully, as well as in accordance with any applicable privacy laws or regulations. Confidentiality should be maintained.
    • Consider using a professional development day for staff to practice the screening protocols with each other before applying to students. with a phased approach.
    • Any screening policy should take into account students with disabilities and accommodations that may be needed in the screening process for those students.
    • It is not required to re-screen staff, students, visitors if they leave and request to return to the building the same day.
    • Implement protocols for conducting, monitoring, and tracking screenings

Minimize Transmission Risk: 

Effective November 17, 2020 and expires 30 days from October 30, 2020,  PHO 20-36 COVID-19 Dial - Individuals who are sick or are experiencing flu-like symptoms should get tested for COVID-19. If an individual has tested positive for COVID-19 and/or has developed symptoms of COVID-19, including early or mild symptoms (such as cough and shortness of breath), they should be in isolation (staying away from others) until they are released by public health. In most cases, individuals are released from isolation when they are fever-free, without medication, for twenty-four (24) hours, other symptoms have improved, and at least ten (10) days have passed since symptoms first appeared. A limited number of people with severe illness may require longer isolation. Coloradans who are sick and receive negative COVID-19 test results should continue to stay home while they are sick and should consult with their healthcare provider about the need for additional testing and the appropriate time to resume normal activities.

 

Masks/Face Coverings Guidance

  • Executive Order D 2020 245 Mask Order , expires 30 days from November 9, 2020, protects Colorado workers and communities by requiring workers in critical businesses and critical government functions to wear a non-medical mask covering their nose and mouth while at work and while serving the public. Ensure educators and staff wear medical or non-medical cloth face coverings that cover the nose and mouth while working,  whenever possible and except where doing so would inhibit that individual’s health, including during in-person instruction.

  • Added a new Paragraph S. to the end of Section II. that states the following: CDPHE, in consultation with the appropriate Local Public Health Administration, may grant waivers for certain indoor activities that take place for a limited time period if such activities cannot practically or safely be performed while wearing a mask.

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Guidance provides recommendations for “how to” implement a statute or rule. These recommendations in this toolkit are based on best practice and provide direction for how to operationalize the requirements set forth in various executive orders and public health orders. All efforts should be made to follow the recommendations when feasible.

Overall Guidance

  • While schools play a role in identifying students, faculty, and staff who have COVID-19 symptoms or who have had recent known or potential exposure to SARS-CoV-2, school staff, including school nurses, are not expected to directly administer SARS-CoV-2 tests. In some circumstances, school-based healthcare providers, within a school-based health center, may conduct SARS-CoV-2 testing. Not every school-based healthcare provider will have the resources or training to conduct testing, and accordingly, should not feel compelled to do so; these providers can help link students and their families and staff to other opportunities for testing in the community (Source CDC).
  • Find a community testing site near you: https://search.211colorado.org/search?terms=COVID-19%20Testing&page=1&location=Colorado&service_area=colorado

Prepare for Increased Cleaning and Hygiene Protocols

  • Invest in tools and equipment: non-latex gloves, non-touch thermometers, masks, gowns, eye protection, tissues, no-touch trash cans, soap, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol (for staff and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer).

Masks/Face Coverings Guidance

  • Teach and reinforce use of cloth face coverings.
  • Individuals should be frequently reminded not to touch the face covering and to wash their hands frequently. Information should be provided to staff, students, and students' families on proper use, removal, and washing of cloth face coverings.
  • Masks for Kids: What You Need to Know About Face Coverings
  • For students who are unable to wear a mask, it will be helpful to collaborate with pediatricians, families, and schools to develop alternative plans.
  • ESSER and CRF funds can be used to provide masks or face coverings for all students and staff to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
  • Students who rely on their school for a mask might face social stigma if the school-provided masks are easily identifiable (e.g., disposable blue masks). A possible solution might be to hold a mask donation drive or order school themed masks for all students.
  • For questions and answers about masks in schools and elsewhere, please visit covid19.colorado.gov/mask-guidance.

Plexiglass Guidance

  • ​Plexiglass is considered an additional protective barrier, but CDPHE does not recommend it as an alternative to masks/cloth face coverings in most situations.
  • Options for students who are deaf or hard of hearing: Cloth masks may not always be the best viable option when teaching or supporting students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Face shields or plexiglass barriers may be used as a temporary alternative, if additional precautions are taken, including physical distancing when feasible and strict cohorting.
  • We recognize that students may find it difficult to wear a mask/cloth face covering at all times, especially younger students. With that in mind, the plexiglass protective barrier is an additional barrier schools/districts may consider. However, it is not an alternative to masks/cloth face coverings. Students age 3-10 are encouraged  and students age 11 and older are required to wear a mask/cloth face covering over the nose and mouth, unless the student has a health or education reason for not wearing a mask. Those with trouble breathing, or those unable to remove a mask without assistance should not wear a mask/cloth face covering.

Proper Hygiene Guidance

  • Educate and invest in proper hygiene and reinforce washing hands and covering coughs and sneezes among children and staff.
  • Follow hand washing recommendations. Consider the need for additional hand soap from increased hand washing.
  • Consider setting up temporary hand washing stations outside the school building.
  • Follow cough/sneeze protocol.
  • When teaching students school routines at the beginning of the school year, include routines for washing hands and keeping shared spaces clean.
  • Post signs in highly visible locations (e.g., school entrances, restrooms) that promote everyday protective measures and describe how to stop the spread of germs (such as by properly washing hands and properly wearing a cloth face covering.
  • Broadcast regular announcements on reducing the spread of COVID-19 on PA systems.
  • Include messages (for example, videos) about behaviors that prevent the spread of COVID-19 when communicating with staff and families (such as on school websites, in emails, and on school social media accounts).
  • Find free CDC print and digital resources on CDC's communications resources main page.
    • Educate and invest in proper hygiene and reinforce washing hands and covering coughs and sneezes among children and staff.
      • When teaching students school routines at the beginning of the school year, include routines for washing hands and keeping shared spaces clean.
      • Follow cough/sneeze protocols.
      • Follow hand washing recommendations. Consider the need for additional hand soap from increased hand washing.
  • Ensure in-school signage around COVID-19 prevention practices are posted either non-verbally (i.e. graphics) or in all the languages represented in the school district.
  • Ensure ventilation systems operate properly and increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible by opening windows and doors, using fans, or other methods. Do not open windows and doors if they pose a safety or health risk (e.g., allowing pollens in or exacerbating asthma symptoms) to children using the facility.

Cleaning, Disinfecting and Sanitizing Guidance

Ventilation Guidance

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Consideration: Ideas to think about as you make your own decisions.

Overall Considerations

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