Back to School Plan

SAFE RETURN TO IN PERSON INSTRUCTION AND CONTINUITY OF SERVICE

This Safe Return to School Plan will be reviewed and updated monthly at each regularly scheduled monthly board meeting this school year.  These meetings are open to the public and participants will have the opportunity to provide comments during the Hearing of Visitors.   

TSD’s goal is to safely provide in person instruction throughout the school year.  Recent guidance has been released from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) for schools related to mask use, quarantine requirements, COVID testing, and vaccinations.

TSD will continue to work with San Miguel County Public Health (SMCPH) to interpret these guidelines and evaluate the risk of transmission as we make decisions on school operation.  The number of COVID-19 cases amongst students, teachers and staff and levels of community transmission will all help to inform the District’s decision making.  Because local conditions and relevant guidance continue to be dynamic, all of these plans are subject to change.

Mask Use at School and on Busses

TSD will follow all County and State and Federal public health orders for indoor mask requirements.  At the present time, these health orders require indoor mask use at school and on busses for individuals 2 years of age and older.  In the event the indoor mask requirement is lifted TSD will evaluate the continued use of masks for students and staff:

  • Grades 7-12: As this age group is eligible for vaccination, and our county vaccination rate is high (approaching 90%), masks may not be required at school for this grade span. Masks will also be required for indoor athletics for this grade span. Masks will not be required for outdoor athletics unless requirements from CHSAA, CDC, or CDPHE change.
  • Grades K-6: As this age group recently became eligible for vaccination we will consider removing the mask requirement after a reasonable period when students have had a chance to get vaccinated.
  • Pre-K:As this age group is not eligible for vaccination masks may continue to be required.
  • On Buses: Per federal requirements, masks will still be required for all students and adults on buses, with no exceptions, regardless of age. CDC order
  • Masks will be available and encouraged for students who are more comfortable wearing them, as well as for those students who are not vaccinated. This is aligned with CDC and CDPHE guidance.

Masks are available to students at each of the schools.

Staying Home when Sick, Quarantines and Contact Tracing

Students, teachers, and staff who have symptoms of infectious illness, such as influenza (flu) or COVID-19, should stay home and see their healthcare provider for testing and care, regardless of vaccination status. Staying home when sick with COVID-19 is essential to keep COVID-19 infections out of schools and prevent spread to others.  If a student becomes sick at school, the school nurse will screen the student or staff member for COVID-19 systems using these flowcharts

CDPHE Return to Learn Guidance. 

San Miguel County Isolation/Quarantine

CDPHE Flowchart

CDPHE School and Childcare Illness Policy and How Sick is Too Sick

These flowcharts should also be used by parents and guardians when deciding if their child should remain home from school due to sickness. 

It is essential that parents keep children home if they are showing signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and get them tested.  Getting tested for COVID-19 when symptoms are compatible with COVID-19 will help with rapid contact tracing and prevent possible spread at school.

Per the recent CDPHE guidance, Colorado is taking the position that if a community has a high vaccination rate (which San Miguel County does), then quarantines will not be required for typical classroom exposures.   Like last year, we will work with SMCPH to interpret this guidance on a case by case basis. The District will work closely with SMCPH to help identify contact tracing of students and staff based upon seating charts and other known in school activities.

COVID-19 Screening/Testing

TSD no longer provides weekly Microgen testing at the schools.  Several alternatives exist: 

  • Microgen will continue community testing at several locations in San Miguel County, including on Tuesdays from 7:00am-12:00pm at the west entrance of TMHS by Butcher Creek.  To sign up for Tuesday testing, or to see other SMC testing locations and times, visit   https://www.freecovidtestingsanmiguelcounty.com/
  • TSD will continue to have BinaxNow Rapid Antigen Tests available at school for symptomatic students and staff.  In addition, anyone can sign up to receive in CDPHE’s Rapid At-Home program, where you can have BinaxNow Rapid Antigen Tests delivered to your home so you have them available if anyone in the house is symptomatic.  For more information in ordering At-Home tests, please go to https://covid19.colorado.gov/covid-19-testing-at-home
  • We also have some Rapid At-Home kits in our school offices, so please contact your school office if you would like one.

Please understand that a negative rapid test by itself does not mean a symptomatic person can return to school, as rapid tests are antigen tests and not PCR tests. Please contact your school nurse with any questions.

For further details about known positive cases at the Telluride Schools please click here.

Please visit the San Miguel County website for further information about testing opportunities: https://covid-19-sanmiguelco.hub.arcgis.com/pages/testing

And for the COVID -19 Dashboard regarding COVID-19 cases and vaccination rates: https://sanmiguelco.maps.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/56e682135d1d4128bee1a0426aed1d10

Vaccinations

There is currently no federal or state guidance which requires COVID vaccination for school attendance, nor is there federal or state guidance which requires us to collect information on which students have been vaccinated for COVID (or not). Based on that, we have no plans to monitor the vaccination status of students. If SMCPH requires this information as part of contact tracing they might request it, and if state or federal guidelines change to require COVID vaccinations or to require vaccination status then we will comply as required.

Physical Distancing

Based on studies from 2020-2021 school year, CDC recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms, combined with indoor mask wearing to reduce transmission risk. The District has configured its classes, common areas and cafeterias so that whenever possible we maintain a physical distance of 3 feet. 

A distance of at least 6 feet is recommended between students and teachers/staff, and between teachers/staff who are not fully vaccinated. Mask use by all students, teachers, staff, and visitors is particularly important when physical distance cannot be maintained. 

In addition, the District layers multiple other prevention strategies, such as cohorting, improved ventilation, handwashing and covering coughs and sneezes, staying home when sick with symptoms of infectious illness including COVID-19, and regular cleaning to help reduce transmission risk.

Students in Pre- k through Grade 5 are maintained in cohorts, which means keeping people together in a small group and having each group stay together throughout an entire day.  Cohorts can be used to limit the number of students, teachers, and staff who come in contact with each other, especially when it is challenging to maintain physical distancing, such as among young children, and particularly in areas of moderate-to-high transmission levels. The use of cohorts can limit the spread of COVID-19 between cohorts but should not replace other prevention measures within each group.  Cohorting people who are fully vaccinated and people who are not fully vaccinated into separate cohorts is not recommended. It is the school’s responsibility to ensure that cohorts are established in an equitable manner that does not perpetuate academic, racial, or other tracking.

Ventilation, Cleaning and Disinfection

Improving ventilation is an important COVID-19 prevention strategy that can reduce the number of virus particles in the air.   TSD regularly purchases and replaces air filters used in its HVAC and air filtration systems.  We have installed air purifiers within each enclosed classroom and area.  We have previously engaged a consultant to review indoor air quality and have implemented recommendations on how to improve indoor air quality.

During transportation, open or crack windows in buses and other vehicles, if doing so does not pose a safety risk. Keeping windows open a few inches improves air circulation.

In general, cleaning once a day is usually enough to sufficiently remove potential virus that may be on surfaces. Disinfecting (using disinfectants on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency COVID-19 list) removes any remaining germs on surfaces, which further reduces any risk of spreading infection.

In the event that we identify someone who tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 24 hours, we will clean AND disinfect the space impacted.

Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette

Students and staff should practice handwashing and respiratory etiquette (covering coughs and sneezes) to keep from getting and spreading infectious illnesses including COVID-19. The school will monitor and reinforce these behaviors and provide adequate handwashing supplies, training and opportunities.

If handwashing is not possible, hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol may be used (for teachers, staff, and older students who can safely use hand sanitizer). Hand sanitizers are available throughout the school and with adult supervision for children under 6 years of age.

Remote Learning

In recognition of the need for student quarantines, the following accommodations have been made for temporary remote learning for the 2021-2022 school year:

                1. Expansion of the definition of “actively engaged in the educational process” addressed in Board Policy IC/ICA, School Year/School Calendar/Instruction Time to include remote learning as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic for students provided under the supervision of a certificated or licensed teacher.
                2. Defining “supervision of a certificated or licensed teacher” as meaning a certificated or licensed educator, including teachers, counselors, paraprofessionals, or other certificated or licensed staff as assigned.
                3. Attendance will be recorded at least once daily for days when instructional hours are provided, meaning a student is “actively engaged in the educational process.”
                4. Student contact days may include remote learning days implemented as a result of public health and safety measures. Teacher-pupil instruction and contact time may occur in the following ways:

a.  Presence during in-person instruction;
b.  Assignments completed at home;
c. Logging into the online learning platform;
d. Signing an online form attesting to work completed at home;
e. Student demonstration of learning; and
f.  Responding to teacher emails or communication

                5.  The District will ensure that all students who are participating in remote learning will receive equitable instruction and services. Further, the District will ensure that, within the constraints of COVID-19, equitable and appropriate instruction will continue to be offered to those students requiring accommodations.

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