SAFETY FIRST – WHAT WE ALL NEED TO KNOW
Safety of our students and staff is a priority. We regularly monitor and thoroughly review guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, California Department of Public Health, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to inform plans and considerations for reopening our schools for in-person instruction. We are pleased, that health and safety conditions have improved in Los Angeles County to allow us to safely reopen and welcome students back into our classrooms beginning April 5, 2021. To maintain a safe and healthy school environment when we reopen for in-person instruction, it is critically important that we all follow current public health guidelines and enforce the following physical distancing, hygiene, and cleaning practices:
Starting with The Basics
We’ve all learned the importance of a couple of key behaviors in the fight against COVID-19. Those behaviors include wearing face coverings, keeping at least six feet apart from others, washing hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer, and when sick, stay home. The Lancaster School District has implemented these basic standards in its preparation for the return of our students. Please read further for more details.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
All students and staff are required to wear a face covering at all times. There are some rare exceptions to the rule, but if your student faces challenges in wearing a face covering, now is the time to have a conversation with him and her about how important it is to wear the face covering at all times.
Students are encouraged to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other students and the teacher whenever possible. This includes while on the playground or in line to enter or leave the school. The District has placed convenient ground markers that are 6 feet apart to help in reminding the students where to stand at a gate, door, or other congregate area.
Students will have opportunities to wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds during the school day. Remind them to also wash their hands before and after using the restroom, eating, or adjusting their face covering. If soap and water isn’t available, all classrooms and offices have been stocked with hand sanitizer.
Our health screening process through ParentLocker provides a digital app that allows parents to quickly enter student health screening information before they even leave for school. Any families that choose to return their children to in-person instruction will be required to complete the health screening each day using the app, which is available on iPhones, Android devices, or on a computer. Questions on the app inquire about the student’s temperature, COVID symptoms or exposure, family quarantine and COVID testing situations at home.
Students must have the information logged into ParentLocker before their child will be allowed into school for the day. If your child is showing any COVID symptoms, indicate this on the app, submit the results, keep the child at home, and then contact the school’s Health Office. If your child does not have a completed ParentLocker, the school will take the student’s temperature via a touchless thermometer as a final safety check before being allowed to proceed to class. Your child’s school will provide additional information on the ParentLocker app, how to access it, and how to use the app.
Isolation and Quarantining Policies
Should your student show symptoms of COVID infection or be exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID, we will ask you to isolate your child at home and quarantine him or her for a certain number of days. This is an important part of controlling infection to make sure that a student who isn’t showing symptoms (asymptomatic) doesn’t inadvertently spread COVID to others.
For more information on any of the above-mentioned COVID-19 Safety Protocols, please go to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health COVID-19 webpage.
There are many locations in the Antelope Valley to get a free COVID test in addition to your family doctor. You can learn more about these free locations by clicking here. If you or your child are displaying COVID-19 symptoms, please do NOT send your child to school until everyone is healthy. It is advisable that you consider getting tested as soon as possible and follow all isolation and quarantine policies recommended by your health care provider and/or Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Classrooms will look different when your student returns to in-person instruction. Each student seat will have a three-sided acrylic shield to provide extra protection for the student. Each teacher desk will also have a plastic shield. Finally, all classroom ventilation systems have upgraded filtration and we’ve installed a size-appropriate portable HEPA filter for an extra layer of protection for all in the classroom. Additionally, please be assured that classrooms, restrooms, and offices are thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis.
Department of Public Health Guidelines have relaxed the number of students allowed indoors in one space. Elementary students will be allowed to eat in the cafeteria by classroom, with assigned seating for each student. Table capacity has been reduced from 24 to 16. Students are encouraged to eat their lunch outside, if they so choose. Middle School cafeterias have seating that is marked to maintain at least three feet of space between diners. Once all seats are occupied, other students shall eat outdoors until an open seat is available. It should be noted that school sites are allowed to modify these dining arrangements to increase safety and social distancing.
Visits to the School
Given the current Department of Public Health safety guidance, it’s important we limit the number of people allowed on school grounds to students, teachers, and support staff. Therefore, visits by parents to classroom will be restricted and all other meetings will be by appointment only. Contact your school office to set up that appointment. All visitors will have their temperature checked, must complete health screening question and are required to follow social distancing guidelines.
Emergency Contact Information
As part of the agreement to return your student to in-person learning you will be required to verify and update emergency contact information. Should your student develop COVID symptoms during the school day, you or the emergency card contact will be required to rapidly come to school to retrieve your student. At that time, you will be given information on free COVID testing in the Valley and how to quarantine and isolate at home.
Coming to School Sick
In the past, there have been times when parents would send their child to school with a runny nose, cough, or even a low-grade fever. During this time of COVID, those symptoms could be associated with a COVID infection. Therefore, all parents must agree that they will NOT send their child to school if the child is showing any symptoms of any illness. Our number one priority is the safety of all students and staff. We can only achieve this goal if we know that our families are partners in following COVID safety guidelines, including keeping home sick children. If a child is brought to school sick, he or she will not be allowed access to the school and the parent will be contacted to pick up the child immediately.
Thank you for taking the time to review information on our safety protocols. We sincerely hope that this was helpful in addressing safety related questions and concerns that you may have had.
We look forward to reopening our schools to in-person instruction and working with our staff, students, and families to maintain a safe and healthy environment for everyone. Questions? Contact Dr. Larry Freise, Assistant Superintendent, Business Office at (661) 948-4661 x100 or email at email@example.com.