Return to Learn
District and school leaders are faced with a host of questions and decisions to make before schools reopen. Our Return to Learn Plans are based on current state guidance and will be focused on a few critical things:
- The KCSD plan is guided by state laws (House File 847, Senate File 160) which prevent schools from mandating face masks and requires school districts in Iowa to provide on-site learning.
- Per guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health, Keokuk Schools will treat COVID-19 similar to influenza and other common child illnesses.
- The KCSD Return To Learn plan calls for the school setting to return to a pre-COVID, face-to-face operation focused on maximizing instruction, collaboration, and student learning.
- Families should anticipate that their child may be exposed to communicable diseases and viruses at school.
- Due to health department changes in quarantine requirements, KCSD will not contact trace to identify individuals as “close contacts” who may have been exposed to COVID-19 in the school setting.
- Per guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health, students who believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 in or outside of school are not required to quarantine but rather should monitor for symptoms.
- Curriculum and Instruction will be provided on-site. KCSD is offering a remote teaching option K-5 through a partnership with area districts and Edgenuity is being offered for grades 6-12. Please contact your building principal for more information about enrolling your students in this option. Enrollment for the online option is the entire school year.
Statement on Facial Coverings in the Keokuk Community School District
Iowa Code, House File 847, Sec. 28
Facial Coverings. The board of directors of a school district, the superintendent or chief administering officer of a school or school district, and the authorities in charge of each accredited nonpublic school shall not adopt, enforce, or implement a policy that requires its employees, students, or members of the public to wear a facial covering for any purpose while on the school district’s or accredited nonpublic school’s property unless the facial covering is necessary for a specific extracurricular or instructional purpose, or is required by section 280.10 or 290.11 or any other provision of law.
The CDC issued an Order effective February 1, 2021, imposing a requirement for persons to wear masks while on public transportation conveyances. The CDC indicates that “passengers and drivers must wear a mask on school buses, including on buses operated by public and private school systems, subject to the exclusions and exemptions in the CDC’s Order.”
What does this look like in Keokuk schools?
As applied in an everyday sense, this law (signed May 20, 2021) means that the district or any of the schools cannot enforce or require students or staff to wear a facial covering/mask on school property. Since this law came into effect, masking is 100% optional and supported on all district properties. Students and staff should wear masks on school buses and vehicles to be in compliance with federal guidelines.
With the passage of House File 847, KCSD ended contract tracing and positive-case/close contact notification. Effective for the 2021-22 school year, COVID-19 is classified as a childhood illness per the Iowa Department of Public Health guidelines.
With a watchful eye on needs and health metrics, please note the school district may increase or dial back mitigation strategies to best keep our students and staff as safe as we can. Whenever possible, we will communicate any changes to our students, staff, and parent population. We ask parents and guardians to continue to monitor their child’s health on a daily basis. We appreciate your support as we prepare for the upcoming school year.
The following mitigation strategies are implemented at KCSD this year to reduce the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
- Cleaning Protocols: Cleaning materials are available to our students and staff throughout all buildings. Our custodial staff clean public spaces and high touch areas throughout the buildings frequently.
- Handwashing: Signs are posted in classrooms in addition to restrooms to reinforce proper handwashing techniques. Hand sanitizer stations are available in all classrooms and near all entrances and exits so that people can use it when entering and exiting a location.
- Temperature Taking: Students and staff will not have their temperatures screened daily. Parents are asked to not send students to school when they are not feeling well.
- Water Fountains: Students are encouraged to bring their own water bottles to school. Drinking fountains will be available; however, the use of water bottle filling stations and individual water bottles are preferred.
- Transportation: All students should wear masks on the bus. Buses will continue to be disinfected on a daily basis.
Student & Staff Well-Being
In-Home Health Screenings:
- Parents are encouraged to check their child(ren)’s temperature and overall health prior to departure for school each day. As always, children should not attend school with a temperature of 100 degrees or more. Students need to be fever free without fever reduction medication for 24 hours prior to returning to school. Students may return to school in the middle of a school day.
- Parents need to communicate absences to their child(ren)’s school.
- Parents are strongly encouraged to share the following symptoms with the school nurse:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
- At the elementary level, if the district is made aware that 10% of a classroom is absent due to COVID; we will send a general email to families of students in this class.
- At the Middle School, if the district is made aware that 10% of a grade level is absent due to COVID; we will send a general email to families of students in this grade level.
- At the High School, if the district is made aware that 10% of students in the building are absent due to COVID; we will send a general email to families of students at the high school.
Illness at School
- Students will be screened by the school nurse.
- Students running a fever of 100 F or higher will be held in the nurse’s office until they can be picked up by parent/guardian/emergency contact
- Health and safety measures will be reinforced, such as, but not limited to:
- Frequent hand washing/sanitizing.
- Proper cover for sneezing/coughing.
- Keeping hands away from their face.
- Sanitation efforts will take place throughout the day and after school.
- Hand sanitizer will be readily available.
- Disinfectant wipes will be made available in classrooms for students to wipe down work surfaces if desired.
- Students are encouraged to bring their own water bottles to school. Drinking fountains will be available; however, the use of water bottle filling stations and individual water bottles are preferred.
Student Absences Due to COVID-19
Student Who Tests Positive:
- A student must remain home for 10 days after the onset of symptoms.
- The student is expected to access his/her coursework to the extent possible online.
- Families should communicate the length of a student’s absence to the school nurse. The nurse will communicate with the classroom teacher(s).
- The teacher(s) will determine the best way to facilitate the student’s learning while he/she is absent given he/she feels well enough to participate. Synchronous video sessions will not be held.
- The student will be allowed to submit any work they miss while he/she is absent upon his/her return to school, as well as make up any missed assessments. Please refer to the student handbook for exact requirements.
Student May Return When
- The student may return to school after 10 days since symptoms appeared, and;
- after being fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, and;
- Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving.
Student Who Has an In-Home Exposure
- If fully vaccinated, the student may attend school but closely monitor symptoms and stay home if symptoms arise.
- If not vaccinated, it is recommended by Lee County Public Health Department that the student quarantine.
- The student should:
- Isolate from the positive household member.
- Wear masks in common areas of the home.
- Disinfect shared items such as appliances, hardware, common surfaces, and facilities after each use.
- If the above criteria is met and the student is symptom free, the student may take a COVID test no sooner than day 5 from exposure. They may return on day 8 with a negative test result.
- If the student does not test, then he/she may return on day 11 from exposure as long as they are symptom free.
Staff Absences Due to COVID
Staff Who Test Positive:
- A staff member must remain home for 10 days after the onset of symptoms.
- Absences will be counted against their sick-leave balance.
- Staff who exhaust their leave may request additional unpaid leave from the superintendent who will evaluate each request on a case by case basis.
Staff Who Has an In-Home Exposure
- Vaccinated & Asymptomatic: Staff who are in close contact with a positive case, are vaccinated, and asymptomatic may continue to work but should self-monitor for symptoms.
- Vaccinated or Unvaccinated & Symptomatic: Staff who are in close contact with a positive case at home and symptomatic are recommended to stay home for 10 days. An employee may utilize personal sick leave for this scenario due to being symptomatic.
- Unvaccinated & Asymptomatic: If unvaccinated and asymptomatic, the staff member may choose to stay home for 10 days or until he/she receives a negative test taken after day 5 of exposure. Unpaid leave will be utilized for this scenario due to no symptoms being presented.
Staff Member Testing PositiveMay Return When
- A staff member who tested positive for COVID-19 may return to school after 10 days since symptoms appeared, and;
- they are fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, and;
- other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving.