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2022-23 Pandemic Protocols

Updates as of August 31, 2022

RISD continues to implement a variety of precautions and protocols for the 2022-23 school year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to slow the spread of COVID-19. Some protocols may be subject to change based on updated guidance from the state of Texas, public health authorities, or changing conditions in Dallas County.

Health Precautions

  • All adults and students are expected to self-screen and screen their children for symptoms of illness before coming to campus each day.
  • Students and parents are expected to stay home and report to their campus nurse and RISD employees are expected to report to health services and their direct supervisor if they have symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19
  • Health Services will monitor positive cases within RISD schools, programs, and facilities and will collaborate with Dallas County Health Department in all decisions that could potentially require implementing a temporary mask requirement or temporarily shifting classrooms or schools to virtual only instruction.
  • Parents are encouraged to talk with their students about COVID-19, and reinforce basic safety measures and family expectations.
  • Bullying by any student directed towards a student related to any mitigation protocols will not be tolerated and will be addressed by the campus as part of the discipline procedures.

Environmental Protocols

  • Air purifier/filtration system provided in every classroom
  • Clear desk shields will be available for any student or teacher in school at their request.
  • Increased ventilation and HVAC air filtering where possible in classrooms, indoor common areas, and student transportation.
  • Cleaning of surfaces and high traffic common areas.
  • Additional time allocated for handwashing in elementary grades.
  • Beginning of year reminders for students about safety protocols, including demonstration of proper handwashing technique for elementary students.
  • Encourage frequent use of hand sanitizer.
  • Students and staff are encouraged to bring their own reusable water bottle for use throughout the day and take water bottles home to be cleaned on a daily basis.
  • Campuses will be encouraged to utilize outdoor learning spaces for lunch and other learning experiences when CDC community level is high and it can be done safely.
  • Teachers will be encouraged to keep doors and windows open to increase ventilation when CDC community level is high.
  • Limited visitors and volunteers are permitted on campus at the principal’s discretion, including for organized classroom activities/events. Principals should consider the current level of active cases on campus when exercising this discretion, and may consult with RISD Health Services and their learning community executive director for guidance as needed. All visitors are strongly encouraged to wear a mask when CDC COVID-19 Community Level of HIGH for Dallas County.

Face Coverings:

  • COVID-19 Community Levels are a new tool to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data. Levels can be low, medium, or high and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area.
  • CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels recommendations align precautions for educational settings with those for other community settings.
  • Students and staff will be provided with a mask upon request. RISD has an ample supply of mask (surgical/N95/KN95) available for students and staff.
  • Students and Staff who have been exposed to COVID-19 are recommended as a precaution to choose to wear a high quality mask indoors in public. CDC lists further precautions that individuals may consider following an exposure.

COVID-19 Vaccinations

  • Eligible students and staff are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated and boosted to protect themselves against COVID-19.
  • If a child has been vaccinated, parents are requested to send a copy of the vaccine card to the campus nurse so the information can be included with the student’s records.

COVID Exposure with No Symptoms

  • The CDC no longer recommends any form of quarantine for individuals potentially exposed to COVID-19 who have no symptoms.
  • If a parent chooses to keep their student home due to potential exposure, it will be a normal absence subject to attendance rules/regulations.
  • If a staff member chooses to remain home due to potential exposure, it will be a normal absence subject to HR guidelines.
  • Any parent or staff member who reports a COVID exposure is strongly encouraged to wear a high filtration mask and referred to the CDC for additional guidance.

Experiencing Symptoms

The presence of any of the symptoms below generally suggests a person has an infectious illness and should not attend school, regardless of whether the illness is COVID-19:

  • Temperature of 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
  • Sore throat (not caused by seasonal allergies)
  • Cough (for students with chronic cough due to allergies or asthma, a change in their cough from baseline)
  • Difficulty breathing (for students with asthma, a change from their baseline breathing)
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • New onset of severe headache, especially with a fever
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Congestion or runny nose

RISD staff and students should not attend school in-person if they or their parent identifies new development of any of the symptoms above. Parents should contact their child’s school and report that their child is sick. The school nurse may ask some additional questions to help determine when it is safe for the child to return to school.

Students with COVID-19 like symptoms will be excluded from school for 5 days unless they can provide a negative rapid antigen result, or a negative PCR result, a medical note clearing the student to return to school, or an alternative diagnosis by a Medical Provider that is submitted to Health Services. A negative home test will be accepted if a photo is emailed to the campus nurse that has the students name and date noted on the test. Staff will communicate with their direct supervisor and Health Services to determine next steps.

Students who are feeling ill during the school day will be evaluated by the campus nurse who will consult the parent/guardian to determine if they need to be seen by a medical provider.

COVID Positive

RISD students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 will not be able to attend in-person school activities and are encouraged to stay home in isolation under TEA and CDC guidelines. Students who test positive should complete 5 days of isolation counted from the day their symptoms began or 5 days after they tested positive, if they did not experience any symptoms. Students may choose to return on Day 6, if their symptoms are improving and they have been fever free without fever reducing medication for 24 hours. Students who choose to return prior to day 11 are strongly encouraged to wear a mask until day 11. Staff members who test positive should email their supervisor and the COVID reporting line to determine when it’s safe to return to campus.

Based on severity of symptoms, students participating in UIL athletics who test positive for COVID-19 may need to receive clearance from a physician or a physician-approved delegate in order to return to UIL athletic competition. Symptomatic student athletes may need to complete a series of return to play activities before being cleared for full activities or athletic competition.

Missing School

  • Students or staff who are symptomatic and/or positive may not participate in face-to-face school activities until cleared to return under TEA and CDC guidelines for K-12 schools. The campus nurse for students and RISD Health Services for employees will evaluate each situation and provide a return to school or work date.
  • Students who miss school due to illness will be able to keep up with assignments and make up work upon their return, as with any other excused absence due to illness, utilizing tutoring times if necessary.
  • Students in grades PK-2 can keep up with assignments through their teacher or through the classroom’s SeeSaw platform.
  • Students in grades 3-12 can keep up with assignments through their teacher’s Google Classroom platform.
  • Students who do not have their school-issued chromebook or iPad at home at the time of illness or absence may contact the school to arrange a pickup time by the parent/guardian, if desired.
  • Any student or family needing internet access can notify their school to check out an RISD hotspot.
  • Teachers do not ‘co-teach’ lessons simultaneously to students in the classroom and students watching via a video conference.
  • During COVID-related absences, bilingual students enrolled in Grades PK-4 will receive assignments from their homeroom teacher. Parents of bilingual students should contact their home campus for additional information.
  • All absences count toward the state’s compulsory attendance laws. Please review the Compulsory Attendance information listed in the RISD Parent and Student Handbook for additional information.

Positive Case Processing and Protocols

RISD Health Services will process positive case reports during regular school days/business days from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Any information submitted after 2 p.m. or during the weekend will be processed the following business day. 

  • When a student or staff member has tested positive, the parent or staff member will be asked to provide a copy of the PCR or antigen test results to Health Services.
  • Under federal privacy law governing school districts (FERPA), no RISD employee may share information about the identity of any student who is positive or symptomatic. Student health information is private, and RISD discourages speculation or attempts to gather information about individual student health situations.
  • Students in athletics/fine arts may have additional UIL guidelines to follow and may receive further instructions from their coach and campus nurse.
  • A student with a positive rapid test can be overturned by a negative PCR that is taken within 48 hours of the original rapid test.

Thresholds for Additional Protocols

RISD monitors positive cases and total absences at each campus on an ongoing basis, including whether cases have a high likelihood of being linked within specific classroom, grade level, or activities. For example, if there is a high likelihood that a number of cases within a classroom are linked, and potentially exposed students in the class are becoming symptomatic or positive, Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) may advise RISD to temporarily require masks at a campus or temporarily shift a classroom to virtual instruction in order to mitigate further spread.

District Mask Decisions

  • Temporary Districtwide Mask Requirement – based on overall positive active cases, trend of new daily cases reported, trend of teacher and staff cases reported, trend of substitute teacher availability. A CDC COVID-19 Community Level of High for Dallas County is necessary for RISD to consider this option.
  • Temporary Campus Mask Requirement – Initially considered by RISD when total percent of active positive cases on a campus reaches 5% of all students and staff, and positive cases are present across grade levels. Campus outbreaks concentrated in specific classrooms that temporarily shift to virtual may preclude consideration of a temporary campuswide mask requirement.

The district consults with DCHHS about classes and schools that experience increasing cases or absences. RISD utilizes the following DCHHS-approved thresholds as a guide for taking a targeted approach in determining the need for additional pandemic protocols.

  • Classroom linked case parent awareness message – at least three active cases within a classroom that are believed to be linked. Linked cases means that there is a high likelihood of transmission believed to be occurring among people in the classroom setting and not from exposure outside of school.
  • Temporary classroom shift to virtual instruction  – 25% or more of active cases within a classroom are believed to be linked, in consultation with DCHHS.
  • Temporary school closure – consult with DCHHS for guidance when overall campus absentee rate exceeds 15% or a lack of available healthy staff impacts RISD’s ability to conduct school safely and effectively.

Clinic Considerations

  • In an effort to minimize exposure, clinic traffic will be divided between students that are feeling ill and students that are not.
  • All teachers will be provided with a basic first-aid kit, and teachers will assist and direct students to handle minor injuries in the classroom or front office.
  • Nurses will determine processes for medication administration, keeping healthy students separate from those complaining of illness. Medication administration may occur (where confidentiality permits) in the classroom, in another room within the school or in the clinic. Medication administration may be delegated to other staff designated by the principal.
  • RISD staff will only administer those medications that must be given during the school day. If the therapeutic use of the medication can be accomplished by dosage outside of the school day, the medication should not be administered at school.
  • Nurses will determine processes for performing medical procedures to maintain a clean area where the student will not be exposed to others. Medical procedures may take place in the classroom (where confidentiality permits), in another room within the school, or in the clinic. Nursing procedures may not be delegated to other staff; however, clinic coverage may be needed if the nurse must leave the clinic in order to perform a procedure.
  • An isolation area will be determined for students exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 while they are waiting for pick up. Isolation areas should be located such that staff can visually monitor the child while still maintaining social distancing.
  • Clinics can no longer be used for rest, cool down, or an emotional safe place for anxiety. Principals should identify an alternate space for students in these situations.
  • Clinics can no longer be used for incontinence issues, which is not a medical issue. Students may bring spare clothing in their backpack and use a designated restroom for cleanup. Front office staff may call home for spare clothing if necessary.
  • Clinic restrooms will be for student use while in the clinic. Staff may not use the clinic restroom and should use designated staff restrooms.
  • It is recommended that teachers call before sending a student to the clinic so that the nurse can prepare the clinic if the student is symptomatic, relocating any healthy students, and allowing the nurse to don proper PPE.

Asthma, Anaphylaxis, Allergies

  • Students with asthma, anaphylaxis, or other life threatening conditions will be encouraged to carry and/or self-administer medication prescribed for these conditions provided the physician and the parent/ guardian provide permission for the student to do so on the medication administration paperwork. All students who self-carry medication at school are still required to complete and provide the appropriate paperwork to their campus nurse.
  • Students with symptoms of COVID-19 should not attend school. Symptoms of asthma and COVID-19 may overlap, including cough and shortness of breath. Parents should collaborate with the campus nurse and personal healthcare provider to determine the best option for what to do when their child experiences an acute asthma attack.
  • According to the CDC, during this COVID-19 pandemic, asthma treatments using inhalers with spacers are preferred over nebulizer treatments whenever possible. Aerosols generated by nebulizer treatments are potentially infectious. If students require a nebulizer at school, a physician note will be required explaining why that student cannot use an inhaler with spacer. A separate room must be used for nebulizers. If the nurse must enter the room, she must wear full PPE. After use, the room must be closed for 2 hours.
  • Students with seasonal allergies will be permitted in school. Students that have significant sneezing and coughing may be referred to the clinic so that the campus nurse can work with that parent to achieve better control.

RISD Travel Protocols 2022-2023

Parents should consider the following expectations while considering permission for their student to travel, especially to non-local destinations. Parents should likewise consider the unpredictable nature of the pandemic when considering permission for student travel, especially if a non-refundable deposit is required.

  • Trip insurance is strongly encouraged for all students, as trips may be postponed or canceled on short notice.
  • If a student becomes sick with Covid-19 and cannot travel, the parent will coordinate with the sponsor and choose one of the following:
    • Make arrangements to come pick up/stay with their child.
    • Make arrangements for a sponsor/administrator/chaperone to stay with their child until travel is permissible or until the parent can get there. Added travel expenses for all parties are at the expense of the parents.
    • Parents should be able to authorize a chaperone to stay with their child if they are comfortable with that. If there’s only one sponsor they need to travel back with the large group.
  • All local guidelines will be followed in accordance with that state/region/country

Resources

Some documents may contain content that is not accessible to all readers. To obtain assistance accessing these documents, please contact Health Services at 469-593-7445.