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BCSD Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan (Aug. 2021)

Revised on Thursday, August 25, 2021


Introduction  

On March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plans (ARP) Act was signed into law. In it, the U.S.  Department of Education is providing an additional $121.9 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER III Fund). This legislation will award grants to state educational agencies (SEAs) for providing local educational agencies (LEAs) with emergency relief funds to address the impact that COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the nation. 

South Carolina will receive $2,112,051,487 in ESSER III funds from the Act, with 90 percent being awarded to school districts with amounts determined in proportion to the amount of Title I, Part A funds they received in summer 2020 from funds under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The remaining funds will be used for state-level activities to address issues caused by COVID-19. Berkeley County's ESSER III allocation is $72,478,919 for the three-year period through September 2023.

This plan describes how Berkeley County School District will provide a safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services for all schools, including those that have already returned to in person instruction. This report template complies with all reporting requirements of the ARP  Act (Public Law 117-2), the ESSER III grant terms, conditions, and assurances (CFDA  Number 84.425U), and the interim final rule established by the United States Department of  Education, 86 FR 21195. 

 

Maintaining Health and Safety  

Overview of ESSER Requirements 

The district’s plan must include how it will maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and other school and LEA staff, and the extent to which it has adopted policies or practices and a description of any such policies or practices, on CDC safety recommendations. 

Description of maintaining health and safety 

Berkeley County School District will continue to follow the recommendations and guidance by the SC DHEC and CDC. We anticipate many changes/revisions/modifications to these health and safety protocols for the 2021-2022 school year as we continue to utilize practicable measures, to provide the safest situation possible for our students and employees.

Cleaning

  • COVID-19 approved disinfectants will continue to be used in all spaces.
  • Surfaces and common spaces will be cleaned and sanitized daily. Those items to be cleaned frequently include but are not limited to doorknobs, light switches, classroom sink handles, countertops, desks and chairs.
  • Desks and chairs will be wiped down with an appropriate/approved disinfectant.
  • Hand sanitizing stations are placed in common areas, inside the entrance of buildings, and in classrooms.

Student Health/Health Clinics

  • If your student is sick, please keep them home.
  • Students will not share supplies.
  • Students will wash and sanitize hands often.
  • Non-essential visits to the school health room will be minimized or eliminated. All teachers are expected to call the nurse with concerns, prior to sending a student to the health room. 
  • Parents should administer medications at home (if practicable) to limit possible exposure.
  • Parents will only bring "as needed" medication to be used at school only if absolutely necessary. (i.e. inhalers, EpiPens, Benadryl, etc.)
  • Each school will identify an isolation area in close proximity to the health room or if space permits, in the health room.
  • The student will be asked to wear a mask while sitting in the isolation area. (The nurse will call the parent of the child to ask permission for the child to wear a mask while displaying symptoms.)
  • Isolation area will be disinfected between each use.
  • If a student is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, he/she will be escorted to an isolation area for further monitoring until he/she is signed out.
  • If a student is sent home from school with COVID-19 symptoms, a letter will be given to the parent(s) explaining when the student may return to school.
  • All positive cases will be reported to DHEC by the district’s Nursing Services Coordinator.
  • Health rooms with 2 entrances will designate an entrance for “sick” visits and an entrance for “healthy visits” (students coming for medications, treatments, etc.). These entrances will be designated by proper signage for students and staff to follow. This will protect healthy students and staff from potential infectious students/staff.
  • Health rooms that do not have multiple entrances will keep healthy students (children receiving medications or procedures) separate from students who are ill.
  • Nurses will train school staff on proper wear and removal of protective equipment.
  • Commonly touched areas in the health room will be cleaned throughout the day.
  • All medical procedures must be conducted in the nurse’s clinic; unless the student has a one on one nurse. Toileting may be conducted in designated restrooms for students with high support needs.
  • Schools will implement frequent hand-washing and/or hand-sanitizing opportunities.
  • Sharing of food or any other item should not occur; this includes cupcakes or cookies for a celebration. Schools will be encouraged to communicate to parents that the only food allowed for celebrations should come in individual packaging. 
  • Limit any non-essential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations as much as possible, especially with people who are not from the local geographic area. 

Transportation

  • Students that are ill will not be permitted to ride the school bus.
  • Buses will be disinfected following unloading of students using electrostatic cleaners.
  • Personal protective equipment will be distributed as needed.
  • Bus staff will use gloves and eye protection when using disinfectant supplies. Gloves will be discarded after use.
  • Each student will be assigned a seat on the bus. Each driver will maintain a seating chart as documentation of the students’ location on the bus. When possible, members of the same household will be assigned the same seat.
  • The driver will maximize the circulation of outside air to the extent practicable. The opening of roof vents and windows will be utilized as weather permits.
  • Posting of COVID-19 prevention in prominent areas on school buses.
  • Training options will be made available for cleaning.
  • Parents are encouraged to educate their students on positive behavior at bus stops, to include all general safety rules.
  • School building guidelines and disinfecting protocols will be followed.
  • Per the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) August 26, 2021 memorandum, "Face Coverings on School Buses", the SCDE will again enforce the CDC’s Order requiring the use of face coverings by students and staff on state owned and operated school buses.

Cafeteria

  • School-specific plans for meal services are to be followed.
  • If there is a student with allergies, arrangements will be made for the student to eat in an allergen-free zone.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Schools will offer extracurricular activities consistent with student, classroom, and school building guidelines.
  • Before and after school programs will operate when school is open to students.
  • Programs will adhere to the CDC and DHEC guidelines.

Athletics

  • Health and safety guidelines for athletics are provided by the South Carolina High School League (SCHSL). Information compiled for the guidelines was carefully reviewed and vetted by SCHSL staff; South Carolina school superintendents; South Carolina athletic directors and coaches; the SCHSL Sports Medicine Advisory Committee; the South Carolina Department of Education's AccelerateED Task Force; the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) and members of the office of S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster.
  • Visit the SCHSL website to review all guidelines and restrictions for high school athletes and athletics staff.

 

Policies or Practices Regarding CDC Recommendations 

Universal and correct wearing of masks

  • Berkeley County School District (the “District”) is mindful of the evolving need for safety measures to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The District strongly encourages the use of face coverings at all times practical when social distancing cannot be achieved. Face coverings are strongly encouraged to be worn by all persons when entering and exiting school buildings, while in the hallways and common areas, and while in close proximity to others.  The District recognizes that wearing face coverings will not be practical at all times, but strongly encourages the wearing of face coverings when social distancing cannot be achieved. Conspicuous signage shall be posted at all entrances informing students, staff, and visitors of the expectations set forth in this protocol.  
  • Per the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) August 26, 2021 memorandum, "Face Coverings on School Buses", the SCDE will again enforce the CDC’s Order requiring the use of face coverings by students and staff on state owned and operated school buses.

 

Modifying facilities to allow for physical distancing (e.g., use of cohorts/podding)

Social Distance Practices

  • When and if practical, classrooms, the cafeteria, and any other area should be set up for appropriate social distancing to the extent possible. The use of cohorts/podding has been suspended. Classrooms will begin to reflect this. 
  • Avoid students congregating in common areas. 
  • Limit people on-site to only students and essential faculty and staff to the extent possible, during instructional hours. Volunteers will be allowed as appropriate with some expected restrictions.
  • Assemblies or other congregate events are allowed. 
  • Students should have his/her own bag/bin of supplies 
  • Outdoor play will follow designated school health and safety protocols. 
  • Classes will utilize recess equipment. 

Please review the SCDHEC Indoor School Close Contact Scenarios and the BCSD Exposure Guidelines.


Handwashing and respiratory etiquette

  • Handwashing will be encouraged and modeled. 
  • Students wash/disinfect hands before/after physical education class.
  • Everyone will sanitize/wash hands before and after eating. 
  • Everyone will sanitize/wash hands after using the restroom.
  • Everyone will cough or sneeze into a tissue or elbow, covering mouth and nose with an arm and immediately throw tissue into a trash can and wash hands with soap and water.


Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation          

  • Each facility must follow custodial requirements for the daily cleaning and disinfection of any portion of a facility used. The building principal or facility lead is to properly train and supervise custodial staff on implementing intensified cleaning, including of frequently touched surfaces and shared objects.  
  • Custodial training will also be provided by the OSHA Compliance Manager throughout the year.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched (e.g., doorknobs, light switches, classroom sink handles, countertops). Using an appropriate disinfectant, wipe down items (e.g., desks, chairs) and equipment.
  • Students will use alcohol wipes to wipe down keyboards and computer mouse after using the computer lab.
  • Ensure heating, ventilation, and air conditioning settings are maximizing ventilation.
  • Filter and /or clean the air in the school by improving the level of filtration as much as possible.
  • Use exhaust fans in restrooms and kitchens.

Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine

  • BCSD will follow the SC DHEC requirements when reporting positive cases and contact tracing.
  • Students exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will wait in a protective isolation area until picked up by a parent/guardian (within the hour). While in the isolation area the student will be asked to wear a mask covering nose and mouth per the SC DHEC guidelines.
  • BCSD will follow the most up to date quarantine and isolation guidelines as recommended by SC DHEC.
  • The principal and/or the school nurse will report all positive cases to the BCSD COVID-19 Dashboard/Database.  The  Nursing Services Coordinator will compile information from the COVID-19 Dashboard/Database and will forward to SC DHEC.
  • Students and staff will not be required to quarantine if they provide verification of vaccination. 

EXPOSURE & QUARANTINE GUIDELINES


Diagnostic and screening testing

  • All positive results will be reported as directed.


Efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students, if eligible

 

BCSD is partnering with Fetter HealthCare Clinics and MUSC and has scheduled voluntary vaccination clinics at various school locations to provide the COVID-19 vaccines to students, educators, other staff, and community members who elect to receive it.


Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to health and 
safety policies and practices

  • All plans will continue to be followed for Individual Health Plans, 504 Plans, and Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).
  • Students will continue to receive their specialized instruction and related services (if applicable) through special education teachers and related service providers. 
  • School teams will follow district guidelines and safety precautions.
  • In addition, schools will ensure entry and exit points are accessible to all students.
  • All medical procedures must be conducted in the nurse’s clinic, unless the student has a one on one nurse. Toileting may be conducted in designated restrooms for students with high support needs.

 


Coordination with state and local health officials

  • BCSD will continue to work closely with state and local health officials to ensure the most up to date guidelines and recommendations are implemented.
  • BCSD will continue to follow the School and Childcare Exclusion Lists as recommended by SC DHEC.


Continuity of Services

Academic
For the 2021-2022 school year, Berkeley County School District will be face-to-face, five days a week, for all students grades K-12. BCSD will address Learning Loss among students and implement evidence based activities through a balanced assessment system that personalizes individual learning pathways for students.

SEL 
BCSD will be responsive to Social and Emotional needs of students, staff and families by providing increased access to personnel such as social workers to respond to high risk needs identified through a SEL screener and protocol. Pearson 360 Social Emotional Screener of grades PK-12 and other SEL support materials may be used as needed.  

Other 
We have provided meals to all students without interruption since the beginning of Covid-19. We will continue to provide hot meals to our students at no cost.

District response on ensuring periodic updates to its plan

Berkeley County School District will review its "Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services" plan, in accordance with federal guidelines set forth in ESSER III legislation, and will update that plan, following public input from stakeholders, every six months.

Public Input

Overview of ESSER Requirements  

The ARP Act requires that school districts make their Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan available to the public online and that the plans be in an understandable and uniform format; to the extent practicable, are written in a language that parents can understand or, if not practicable, orally translated; and upon request by a parent who is an individual with a disability, provided in an alternative format accessible to that parent. Before making its plan publicly available, school districts must seek public comment on the plan and develop the plan after taking into account public comment.  

District response on public input in the development of its plan 

Berkeley County School District will, in accordance with ESSER III guidelines, seek public input on its "Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services" plan from all district stakeholders every six months. This input will be gathered in a combination of methods, including but not limited to a public survey posted on Berkeley County School District's website (https://www.bcsdschools.net/).

Click here to submit your comment(s) on the plan