It is the goal of Independence Christian School to re-open with on-campus learning September 8, 2020. It is essential for I.C.S. staff and families to work together to prevent the introduction and spread of Covid-19 in our school environment while still providing a quality education for our students. Employees, students and volunteers should remain at home if they, someone in their immediate household, or someone they have been exposed to has Covid-19 symptoms or is being tested for Covid19. Our employees, students and volunteer’s health and confidentiality will be respected during this global pandemic. We are committed to a safe and complete return to school and we are preparing for full, in-person instruction. We have been monitoring the spread of the virus in Orange County and have created a plan in partnership with Cornerstone Church’s leadership that is reasonable and appropriate, as we do our part in keeping our community healthy and return to life as close to normal as possible for this time. The details set forth in the following plan are subject to change depending on future developments, but this plan will allow us to return to the community we so deeply love and value. We have missed our students! We are excited to have be back on campus learning and growing together. We have identified seven areas that will assist in our safe return to campus.
I. HEALTHY HYGIENE Per California and Orange County Department of Health guidelines, our teachers will be teaching and reinforcing important hygiene protocols to reduce transmission of the virus, including regular handwashing, avoiding hand-to –face contact, and covering coughs and sneezes. Measures Include: Wash hands before and after eating; after coughing or sneezing; after being outside, and before and after using the restroom and immediately upon arrival at school. Wash hands for 20 seconds with soap, rubbing thoroughly after applications, and use paper towels to dry hands thoroughly. (Our soap and towel dispensers are touchless) Staff will model and practice hand washing, especially for lower elementary grade levels , and will use bathroom times as an opportunity to reinforce and monitor proper hand washing. Students will be taught to use tissue to wipe their nose and toTh cough/ sneeze inside a tissue or their elbow. Tissues will be at each student’s desk. Additional hand sanitizing stations have been added to all classrooms and other locations throughout campus. Students and staff will use ethyl-based hand sanitizer when hand washing is not practical. Teachers will implement a schedule for hand-washing routines by grade level at staggered intervals to avoid over-crowding.
II. CLEANING PROTOCOLS To reduce the transmission of the virus, ICS has taken the following cleaning measures: The school has implemented increased cleaning protocols and coordinated with the facilities team at Cornerstone Church. Frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected by the custodial staff daily, and protocols for periodic disinfection throughout the day will be implemented in each classroom. Frequently touched surfaces to be disinfected include, but are not limited to: Door handles Light switches Sink handles Bathroom surfaces Tables desks and chairs Hand railings Playground equipment Lunch tables Drinking Fountains will not be used. Faculty, staff, and students are asked to bring either a fully reusable water bottle or disposable single-use water bottles. Additional water bottles may be purchased for $1.00. Writing the name of the student and staff on the reusable or disposable bottle is required and will assist in minimizing transmission. Students will be allowed to enjoy playground equipment, but rotations for use will be established with cleaning protocols in place to disinfect all surfaces. Students will still be allowed to enjoy the use of playground toys, including balls, hula hoops, jump ropes, etc., as these items are assigned to each class. Cleaning protocols will be in place to disinfect all equipment. All cleaning products are approved for use against Covid-19 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
III. DISTANCE GUIDELINES Our objective is to return to the normal social interactions of a connected learning environment while implementing reasonable measures to help stop the spread of this virus. To do that, we will reduce areas of congestion as much as possible. ICS will provide the same in-person learning environment students and families have always enjoyed, with the following common-sense protocols: Schedules may be adjusted to avoid congestion in common areas at the beginning and end of the day, as well as lunch and recess times. Desks and student seating will be spread out as much as reasonable possible within each classroom. Desks will be facing the same way. Teachers and staff will reinforce standards for students maintaining distance and reducing shared use of materials as much as is practical. Students will enjoy lunch time together, but will eat with their own classmates and will be spread out in reasonable fashion to allow for social interaction while still providing additional space to reduce transmission. Students will eat at the outside lunch tables unless the weather is too hot or too windy. Students will only be permitted to eat with their class until further restrictions are lifted. During recess and lunch, students will be assigned designated areas on the playground where they can play. The assigned areas will rotate to give students access to all areas of the playground on different days. This will minimize contact with students outside of their class. Teachers will implement procedures for turning in school classwork and homework that minimize contact. On-campus volunteers will not be permitted at this time.
IV. FACE COVERINGS The California Department of Public Health is currently requiring the use of face coverings at all times with few exceptions (as of 7/17/20). The CDC requires that face coverings be worn “as feasible.” Face coverings are considered essential when physical distancing is not possible. We acknowledge that mask requirements can make the normal school experience difficult. The current exceptions allow for not wearing a face covering when eating or playing outside with proper social distancing. Our desire is to maximize these opportunities for our students. We will continue to monitor the situation and make changes as necessary. School staff will wear a face covering at all times unless alone in an office or classroom. Staff may wear their own cloth masks. Extra masks and clear face shields will be provided for all staff. To comply with California guidelines, all children in grades 3-8 must have a face covering. To comply with California guidelines, all children in grade Kindergarten through grade 2 will have disposable face coverings available when needed. V. CHECKING FOR SIGNS & SYMPTOMS Being vigilant about stopping the spread of the virus is critical to our ability to continue operations in an uninterrupted manner. ICS plans to begin the year with the following protocols in place: SYMPTOM-FREE DECLARATION All parents and/or students will be asked to declare if the student has displayed any of the following symptoms with the past 24 hours: Fever above 100.4 F or chills Loss of taste or smell Cough Sore throat Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing Congestion or runny nose Fatigue Nausea or vomiting Muscle or body aches Diarrhea Headache If yes to any of the above, students will be asked to stay home until symptom-free for 24 hours without the aid of medication. Staff will be asked to do a daily healthy check to acknowledge they are healthy and symptom free. They will have a temperature check upon arrival to campus each day. If a staff member becomes ill during the school day, he/she will be sent home immediately. The principal will cover the class until a substitute can be arranged. TEMPERATURE CHECKS Temperatures will be taken with a no-touch thermometer on student’s wrists. If a temperature of 99 degrees or higher is registered on the wrist, then the temperature will be retaken on the forehead to verify results. Prior to 8:00 a.m. families will drop off their children in the front office and their temperature will be taken. Between 8 – 8:30 a.m. parents may drop students off at the rear of the building by the playground gate. Temperatures will be taken and the student will be sent in to their classroom. Until restrictions are lifted, parents will not be able to walk their children into their classroom. *All students are to exit their car at the gate. *Parents are to remain in the car. *Students should wear a face mask at this time. *Parents are not to drive away until the student’s temperature is taken by staff member. *Only the first car in line at the gate should allow children to exit. All children are to remain in their car until it is their turn to exit for their physical safety. Per health department guidelines, anyone with a fever of 100.4F or higher, a cough, or any Covid-19 symptoms will not be allowed to attend until symptom free for 24 hours without the aid of medication. ILLNESS DURING SCHOOL HOURS When a student is not feeling well at school, he/she should report to the teacher in charge of their class. When necessary, the student will be sent to the office and parents notified as deemed appropriate. Students are to be picked up within 30 minutes after parents are notified that their child is ill. While waiting for the parent to come, sick students will wait in the designated sick room until the parent arrives. In the event that parents cannot be reached by phone, persons authorized on the emergency card will be contacted to pick the child up. STAY AT HOME POLICY All students and faculty are asked to stay home if they are not feeling well and to remain at home until symptom-free for 24 hours without the aid of medication. If a student or staff member presents Covid-19 symptoms, they will be sent home immediately and testing will be recommended. Teachers who need to say at home will have lessons prepared in advance. Substitute teachers will be utilized as needed.
VI. PROTOCOLS FOR POSITIVE TESTS If a student or staff member comes in close contact (been within 5 feet for 15 minutes or more) with a confirmed Covid-19 case, they will be sent home immediately, testing will be recommended, and they will be required to quarantine for 14 days from the last exposure or present a negative test. School community notification will be considered. If a student or staff member is confirmed with Covid-19 infection, the following steps will be taken: *Notification of Orange County Department of Public Health *Student or staff member will be excluded from school until proof of a negative test is provided. *Identify students who were in close contact (been within 5 feet for 15 minutes or more) with the infected person. Those who are identified will be required to quarantine for 14 days from the last exposure or present a negative test. Testing will be recommended. *Additional disinfection and cleaning of classroom and primary spaces will be conducted the same day the school is notified. *School community will be notified of a known case. If a student or staff member presents with Covid-19 symptoms and tests negative, they may return to school 3 days after the symptoms resolve. The privacy of any individual testing positive will be maintained in accordance with FERPA requirements. ICS Administration will be the main point of contact for Orange County Department of Public Health.
VII. PARTIAL OR TOTAL CLOSURES Our intention is to operate in a 100% on-site model for the entirety of the 2020-21 school year. Concurrently, we will be offering an online learning program for those families who have a compromised health issue. These students will have the opportunity to Zoom with their class and receive live instruction during normal school hours until they are able to return to class. Student work will be assigned and submitted electronically. In some cases, arrangements will be made to pick up and drop off packets of student work. School closure may be appropriate if multiple cases are confirmed in multiple classes or when at least 5 percent of the total number or teachers/student/staff have cases within a 14-day period.
VIII. STAFF TRAINING AND PARENT EDUCATION All ICS faculty and staff will attend training the week prior to the start of school. They will receive instruction on the Re-opening Guidelines which include: Healthy hygiene practices Cleaning protocols Distancing guidelines and movement of students throughout the campus The use of face coverings Checking for signs and symptoms of Covid-19 Daily health screenings for faculty and staff Protocols for positive tests Plans for a switch to distance learning if needed ICS Teachers will receive training and instruction regarding our online learning program prior to the start of school. ICS parents will be sent links to video Parent Orientations recorded by each teacher. ICS parents will be sent a link to a video Overview of our Reopening Guidelines recorded by our principal.