Admittedly, the particular coronavirus affecting our world today will continue to be with us and cause issues – medical, education, economic, etc., for a time to come. Much conversation these days centers around medical treatments, a possible vaccine, or even a cure one day. What science has shown, is that a vaccine for another coronavirus affecting thousands of people every year is sometimes effective and sometimes not. The flu has a history of causing some of the same issues – spread concerns, serious complications, restrictions to visitors at hospitals and nursing homes, etc. However, never before has the educational system in the country been so affected. Never before has reopening a school caused so much heated debate. Emmanuel Lutheran Church and School (ELCS) will reopen for the 2020-2021 school year in modified ways. The return to school will look different and will be different for a time to come. ELCS students, families, and staff are asked to remain flexible as guidelines may need to be changed to protect the health and safety of our students and staff with little notice. We thank you for your patience and understanding.
The decision to open for in-person instruction has not been without thought, planning, and research. In construction of this plan, Emmanuel has used guidance from the Maryland Department of Education (MSDE) and the Maryland Department of Health (MDH). Emmanuel has worked, and will continue to work, with our County nurse, Melanie Long, email@example.com.
ELCS will abide by recommendations from the Department of Health and other knowledgeable governmental agencies. ELCS has prepared and planned as best as we possibly can, but we ask families to remember this is fluid situation and adjustments may need to be made with little notice. Communication is vital and we ask families to regularly check their email for up-dates.
ELCS remains committed to provide a quality, rigorous, and Christ centered education to all students however implemented. Our staff is dedicated to supporting students and families at this time and we thank you for choosing Emmanuel for your child(ren).
This plan was submitted to and reviewed by the Baltimore County Department of Health. Under the most recent COVID-19 Guidance (issued August 27, 2020 by both the MSDE and the MDH) the health department is no longer required to issue approval for school reopening plans. The three suggestions offered by Alexander Chen, MD FACP, Chief, Division of Communicable Diseases BCHD, concerning types of masks, carpooling, and vaccines, were incorporated into Emmanuel’s plan. The plan was also sent to Melanie Long, Emmanuel’s County Nurse Supervisor.
Following the published 2020-2021 school calendar, Emmanuel Lutheran School opened virtually for all students on August 31, 2020. Our intent is to open using a hybrid model on Monday, October 5, 2020 according to the following schedule:
- Grades 5-8: Mondays and Tuesdays in the building, rest of the week online
- Grades K-4: Wednesdays and Thursdays in the building, rest of the week online
- Online learning for families not comfortable returning or having to quarantine will continue
- BASS, Emmanuel’s before and after care service, will operate for students on their scheduled days of attendance
- If school should need to close, all learning will transition to back to all distance learning
Social Distancing Strategies
- Only Emmanuel Lutheran School staff will be allowed in the building. Parents will be admitted to the office after screening and for business purposes only. No visitors or volunteers will be allowed in the building. There will be no classroom observations or visits.
- Class schedules will be staggered to minimize overlap of students in common areas such as the hallway and bathrooms.
- Student desks will be spaced 6ft. apart to accommodate social distancing. Non-essential classroom materials and furniture will be stored to allow for distancing of desks.
- Each grade will be kept as separate as possible: Middle school students will stay in their morning class “pods” and afternoon classes will be in their respective homerooms; Grades 2, 3, 4, and 5 students will stay in their homeroom community; students in the K/1 class will at times remain together for lessons and at times separate for grade level instruction. Emmanuel will be able to separate the Grade K, 1, and 2 community from the rest of the building, including a separate entrance.
- Middle school students will move between homeroom and their morning learning groups twice per day: 9:15am and lunch time.
- When leaving the building for recess, classes will use the exit door closest to them to limit travel in common areas.
- General student movement throughout the building will be limited to emergencies only.
- Students’ temperatures will be taken, using a non-contact thermometer, upon arrival – BASS (7-8am) and School (8am) A student with a temperature of 100.4°or greater will not be allowed in the building and will need to return home.
- Staff temperatures will be taken upon arrival each day. A staff member with a temperature of 100.4° or greater will go home.
- Temperatures will be taken midday as needed.
- Student/Staff temperatures will be taken before entering BASS at 3pm.
- Any student or staff member with a temperature of 100.4° or greater during the day will need to go home immediately.
Parents will help the school and other families by being vigilant about their child’s health. Students must stay home when exhibiting signs of illness. Even if a child does not have a temperature but is showing signs of illness (cough, runny nose, sore throat, etc.) they must stay home. Carpooling between families is discouraged by the MDH. The principal reserves the right to deny a student’s attendance for that day or days after.
If Emmanuel learns that a staff member or student has tested positive for Covid-19, we will contact the county health department to discuss appropriate management of potentially exposed staff and students
***K-2 Students will enter using the RED DOORS; 3-8 Students will enter using the GLASS DOORS.
- Masks are to be worn during arrival time by students and adults.
- Cars are to enter the campus by turning right from Craftswood into the driveway, bearing to the right and forming a line beginning at the glass doors. Students are to remain in the car.
- When the 8:00am bell rings, and at the direction of the staff member on duty, a student, or students, may exit the car and approach their entrance door waiting on the social distancing lines as directed.
- A staff member will take the student’s temperature. If the student has a temperature of 100.4° or greater, the student will need to go home. Students or parents may be asked all or some of the questions below:
- Have you or an immediate family member been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?
- Do you have a cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, or difficulty breathing?
- Do you have a headache?
- Have you had a fever in the last 48 hours?
- Have you had muscle pains or chills?
- Do you have any stomach discomfort?
- Do you have a recent loss of taste or smell?
- Any student traveling to school with a student who needs to go home will need to go home as well.
- Students who are good to go will be given the sticker for the day and proceed to their homeroom. Their homeroom teacher will check for the sticker.
- For the safety of all, and to keep traffic moving smoothly, parents are to remain in their car and not park in other areas of the campus.
- Parents will not to walk their child to the school doors.
- Cars are to exit the campus by moving through the circle and turning onto Craigmont Road.
- During the day, any student who exhibits two or more of the following symptoms: headache, sore throat, muscle pain, chills, stomach discomfort, recent loss of taste and smell, will need to go home immediately. Any student who road to school with the symptomatic student will also need to leave.
- Students who are tardy to school are to wait in their car. Parents are asked to call the office (410-744-0015) letting the office know they are outside. A staff member will come to the door. (Red Doors – K-2; Glass Doors – 3-8)
- The student will follow the same screening procedures described above. If good to go, the student will be given a tardy slip and the sticker for the day and must go directly to their classroom. The homeroom teacher will collect the tardy slip and check for the sticker.
Travel Advisory (MDH July 29th)
- Any Marylander who travels to a state with a COVID-19 test positivity rate above 10% should get tested and self-quarantine at home until the test result is received. The District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Virginia are exempt from this recommendation.
- A list of state COVID-19 test positivity rates can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/index.html#testing
- Essential workers are exempt from the quarantine recommendation if they are retuning or traveling to Maryland to preform essential work, as well as employee commuters who leave/enter the state on a daily basis and have work-based COVID-19 screening procedures.
Students Who Become Sick at School
**Families are required to have a timely pick-up plan for their child in place.
- Any student that becomes ill during the school day will be put in isolation to rest while waiting for the arrival of a parent or guardian.
- The school will contact the parent for pick-up. Students must be picked up within one hour of phone call.
- A staff member in PPE will monitor the student till pick-up.
- The room will be disinfected once the student leaves.
- Sick students may not return to school until they have met the criteria (see below) for home isolation or proof of wellness with a doctor’s release.
- Students at home will move to online learning.
Home Isolation and School Policies for Symptomatic and Exposed Persons
Parents of children or staff members who test positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to a person with confirmed COVID-19 must notify the principal that they have tested positive or have been exposed to a person who tested positive. The school will notify and collaborate with the local health department
to assist with contact tracing.
- Symptomatic individual/child with positive test: exclude for 10 days from symptom onset AND at least 3 days after fever resolution (if present) AND improved respiratory symptoms
- Symptomatic individual/child not tested: exclude for 10 days from symptom onset AND at least 3 days after fever resolution (if present) AND improved respiratory symptoms
- Symptomatic individual/child determined to have an alternate cause or illness by their primary medical doctor: exclude until symptoms resolve or health care provider provides written documentation of a specific alternative diagnosis AND that the child may return to school
- Symptomatic individual/child with negative test: exclude until fever free for 24 hours (if fever is present) AND improved respiratory symptoms
- Exposed and asymptomatic: exclude for 14 days from last exposure if remains asymptomatic; exclude until meets criteria for # 1 or 2 if becomes symptomatic
Hand Washing, Sanitizing, and Hygiene
- Hand washing posters are placed near all sinks in the building
- Teachers will instruct and reinforce hand washing
- Students and staff are encouraged to use hand sanitizer at stations around the building
- All classrooms will have adequate supplies of soap, sanitizer, and paper towels
- Students will sneeze into their elbow area
- Students will have a bag taped to their desks for trash (tissues etc.) to limit movement around the room
- Students will be asked to wash their hands at the following times:
- After breaks/recess
- After using the restroom
- After handling trash
- After sneezing
- Before and after eating
- Announcements from the office will be made periodically through the day to remind students and staff on distancing and hygiene policies
Drinking Fountains/Water Bottles
- All water fountains in the building remain shut off
- Students are to bring water from home to use during the day
- Bottles are to contain water ONLY
- Students will be permitted to refill during the day
- Emmanuel will have bottled water available for students who forget to bring theirs
- Masks are to be worn by all adults and students upon entering the building.
- Masks are to be worn by all adults and students in the hallways and common areas.
- Masks (students) and masks and/or face shields (teachers) will be worn in the classrooms.
- Students are to bring a back-up mask with them each day.
- Masks with vents or ‘gater’ masks are not permitted. (BCDH regulation)
- Masks must be plain navy, kaki, white, or black only. NO patterns or graphics permitted.
- Mask breaks will take place multiple times per day.
- Masks may be removed to eat.
- Emmanuel will have a supply of masks on hand for students and staff who need one.
All students will eat in their classrooms until further notice. Emmanuel will not be using Graul’s Market, or any other lunch service, this year. Students are to bring their lunch and anything needed to eat it such as, but not limited to, spoons, forks, condiments, etc. Emmanuel will continue to sell juice, cookies, and chips.
PE and Playground
- Face masks should not be worn while engaging in physical activity
- Physical distancing will be encouraged with non-contact sports and activities
- Sharing of equipment will be minimized as much as possible and disinfected between use
- No cross playing with other classes while at recess
- Students will wear masks when in the hallway or bathroom
- There are signs in the bathrooms instructing on proper hand washing
- Doors that cannot remain open will have a trash container placed by the door so a student can use a paper towel to open the door and dispose of it correctly
Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Ventilation
- Emmanuel has worked with our cleaning company to provide enhanced cleaning to the school each day
- High touch surface areas will be cleaned throughout the day: door handles, railings, light switches, bathroom fixtures, phones, etc.
- Emmanuel has purchased 2 disinfectant foggers that can disinfect a bathroom or classroom in about 5 minutes. The cleaning company is also using a steaming unit to disinfect the bathrooms and other areas.
- A janitor will be on staff during the day to clean high touch areas
- Bathrooms will be disinfected during the day
- Teachers will wipe down high touch surfaces throughout the day in their classrooms
- Enhanced cleaning of the building will begin at dismissal and will include, but not limited to, entry areas, hallways, school offices, classrooms, bathrooms, etc.
- Students will not be allowed back in the building to obtain forgotten materials due to cleaning
- Soft materials such as rugs, pillows, soft toys, etc., will have been removed from the classroom
- Toys and manipulatives that cannot be easily cleaned will be removed from the classroom
- Staff will not share manipulatives and toys between classrooms
- Children’s books and other paper-based materials are not considered a high risk for transmission and do not need additional cleaning or disinfecting
- Windows have been replaced in the 5th and 7th grade homerooms to ensure proper ventilation
- Classrooms will use windows or air conditioning to make sure of proper air circulation
- All filters in the classrooms have been cleaned.
- Students are to bring their own materials to school to minimize sharing of school supplies
- All students are to avoid sharing food and utensils
- Sharing of electronic devices, toys, and books should be avoided
- At this time, birthday celebrations with cupcakes etc. will not be allowed
- Because it is an aerosol generating procedure, there will be no nebulizer treatments in school.
- The MDH strongly encourages flu vaccinations for students and their families.
- Masks are to be worn during dismissal by students and adults.
- Cars are to enter the campus by turning right into the driveway from Craftswood Road.
- Students will wait in homerooms and will be called for dismissal as parent arrives. K-2 students will exit by the red doors; 3-8 students will exit by the glass doors.
- For the safety of all, parents will remain in their cars and not park in other areas of the campus.
- For the safety of all, parents will not walk up to the school for their student.
- Cars are to exit the campus by moving through the circle and turning onto Craigmont Road.
- Students not picked up by 3:30 will wait in the hall by the elevator – appropriately distant from each other.
- Once dismissed, students and/or parents will not be allowed back in the building to retrieve any forgotten items. Important items, such as glasses or a book needed for homework, may be retrieved by a staff member and brought outside to waiting families. Other items will need to wait till the next time the student is in the building.
Emmanuel Lutheran Church and School has planned as carefully as possible for the return of staff and students to the building for the coming school year. Parents are required to sign the attached form, and return it to school, for their child to return to the school building. We will continue to work with families throughout the year to provide the same rigorous and Christ centered education we have in the past. We ask families to work with us as things change and up-dates to policies need to be put in place. The education of our students and the safety of both students and staff are both priorities for the church and school. With God’s help and grace, we will come through these difficult times together.