Strong Start Guidance

The following are up-to-date guidelines for COVID-19 for Grant Parish School.

Grant Parish School Board 
Strong Start Guidance 
2021-2022 


This document reflects current CDC and LDH guidelines for best practices regarding school opening. The Governor has the authority to place educational systems in certain phases. While we are currently NOT in a phase, this guidance outlines procedures that will be implemented if we return to phase protocols. Grant Parish schools will continue to monitor and implement recommendations from LDH to provide a safe learning environment for faculty and students. 


The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) and Health (LDH) have worked collaboratively to develop public health guidelines and best practices to support school reopening. This guidance is relative to operating schools reopening and is subject to change based on current information. This guidance allows schools to determine their protocols. GPSB will review and update information as needed. 


Athletic activities are allowed to resume with the recommendations put forth in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association's Guidance for Opening Up High School Athletics and Activities. Band and Vocal music activities should be practiced outdoors to the greatest extent possible or in accordance with National Federation of State High School Associations and the National Associate for Music education Guidance. 
All events occurring outside of the instructional school day should follow the guidelines established by the governor and the State Fire Marshal’s office. 

Preventative Measures: In accordance with CDC strategies to curb the spread of the virus and promote good personal hygiene as well as recommendations from the Louisiana Department of Education and Louisiana Department of Health, the following standards are expected while at a Grant Parish facility. 


General Requirements
Face Masks
● All individuals on the school bus must wear a facial covering while using transportation, regardless of capacity as required by Presidential Executive Order No. 13999 on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel. 
● While inside the school facility, all unvaccinated adults and students in grades 3 through 12 are highly encouraged to wear a face covering to the greatest extent possible and practical within the local community context. 
● While inside the school facility, students in grades prekindergarten through grade 2 may wear a face covering. 
● Masks that are deemed vulgar or controversial in nature will not be allowed. Students will be provided a mask if they bring an excluded mask. 
● A face shield is not recommended by the CDC.


Facility Measures
● Intensified cleaning and disinfection measures will be implemented for physical spaces, equipment, and materials staff and students come into contact with to remain safe. 
● High-touch surfaces such as desks, handrails, light switches, doorknobs, technology, etc. are cleaned before and after each group's use. 
● Restrooms will be cleaned more frequently throughout the day. 
● Plexiglass barriers in various locations throughout the campuses, such as front office counters.

● Each classroom will have access to a thermal digital thermometer, hygienic supplies, including soap, hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray, paper towels, and tissues. Face coverings will be provided as needed. 
● Water fountains will be cleaned regularly. Students will be encouraged to bring water to school with bottled water provided in emergency situations. 
● Playground equipment and athletic equipment should be cleaned daily or as necessary, depending on frequency of use.
Entry and Exit Points 
● Maintain maximum group sizes and physical distance recommendations to the maximum extent possible. 
● Students should clean their hands as they begin the school day with frequent opportunities for handwashing throughout the day. 
● Limit number of entry points, if possible. 
● Establish entry and exit points that enable the flow of students to move in a single direction.

● During entry and exit times, and times of transitions doorways may be open. During school hours, schools will follow established safety protocols. 
School Visitors 
● Visitors (parents/volunteers) in the school building are limited. 
● Nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations that are not core to the development of the student in the instructional setting should refrain from entering the school building except under approved circumstances. 
● Visitors are encouraged to make an appointment to visit school offices. 
● Visitors may be subjected to simple screening questions and/or temperature checks upon entering the building. 
● Visitors should wash or sanitize their hands upon entering the building. 
● Visitors are encouraged to wear face masks at all times.
Personal Hygiene
● Students and teachers should have scheduled handwashing with soap and water or hand sanitizer every two hours as well as at times advised by the CDC including arrival to school, before and after eating, before and after using outdoor play equipment and upon exiting school. 
● Students should strive to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer after transitioning between classes. 
● Teachers in the classroom should strive to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer every time a new group of students enters the room. 
● Teachers and students should minimize sharing of materials between students.

 


Physical Distancing
● In elementary schools, CDC recommends all students remain at least 3 feet apart in classrooms where mask use is universal — regardless of whether community transmission is low, moderate, substantial, or high. 
● In middle and high schools, CDC also recommends students should be at least 3 feet apart in classrooms where mask use is universal and in communities where transmission is low, moderate, or substantial. 


● CDC continues to recommend at least 6 feet of distance: 
○ Between adults in the school building and between adults and students. 
○ In common areas, such as school lobbies and auditoriums. 
○ When masks can’t be worn, such as when eating. 
○ During activities when increased exhalation occurs, such as singing, shouting, band practice, sports, or exercise. These activities should be moved outdoors or to large, well-ventilated spaces whenever possible.


Student and Staff Screening Protocols 
● The student and/or staff should stay home if he/she is symptomatic, sick or has been in direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. 
● Each school must establish an area used to isolate anyone showing signs of being sick. The isolation area must be cleaned after it is occupied by any sick student or adult. 
● Parents and staff are strongly encouraged to notify the school principal if a student or someone they have been in direct contact with tests positive for COVID-19. 


Exposure Protocol 
● The definition of a close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of a person diagnosed with COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period. The definition of a close contact applies regardless of whether either person was wearing a mask. For schools that use less than 6 feet between students in classrooms, the definition of close contacts should not change. Students sitting less than 6 feet next to another student or person diagnosed with COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more should quarantine at home and be referred for testing. 
○ Close contacts who were previously diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 90 days and remain asymptomatic do not need to quarantine. 
○ Close contacts who are fully vaccinated at the time of exposure and remain asymptomatic do not need to quarantine. 


● Any student involved in high school athletics will adhere to LHSAA guidelines regarding COVID-19 protocols and quarantine. 
● All students with symptoms will be placed in a sick/isolation room and provided with the proper adult supervision until the student is able to return home. 
● It will be the responsibility of the parent/guardian to promptly pick up the student from school.

● Parents should monitor students for symptoms and consider contacting a healthcare provider.

● In the case of a student who tests positive for COVID-19, the parent/guardian is strongly encouraged to notify the school principal of the student’s health status.

 


Signage
● Display highly visible signage that promotes everyday protective measures and describes how to stop the spread of germs such as proper hand washing and wearing a mask. 

 

The Grant Parish School Board will be in close contact with the Louisiana Department of Health. The regional director’s office will give guidance for employee and student exposure to COVID-19. In the event a GPSB employee or student has been directly exposed to the virus, the first concern is for the health and safety of those who may be at risk for additional exposure. GPSB will notify parents if there is a positive case in their child’s class. The LDH may follow up with contact tracing.


Transporting Students

These standards are derived from school operating procedures and from the best practices given feasibility constraints. 

● Buses are allowed to operate at 100% capacity and as required by Presidential Executive Order No. 13999 on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel, all individuals on the school bus must wear a facial covering while using transportation, regardless of capacity. Windows should be kept open when it does not create a safety or health hazard. Seating charts should be created and consistently enforced. 
● To increase airflow, windows should be open to the maximum extent possible.

● Cleaning high-touch surfaces such as seats and handrails are cleaned after each group's use.

● Student seating charts should be established and maintained. 
● Due to social distancing, please expect an increase in the amount of time that routes may take to complete. 
● GPSB strongly encourages families to drop off their student(s) and pick them up from school to the maximum extent possible. 
● The possibility exists that a bus route could be cancelled or have the pickup/dropoff times extended if a driver shortage occurs.

 

Phase Protocols (as required by CDC) 

Maximum Bus Capacity 

Phase 1:   ● 25 percent

Phase 2:  ● 50% capacity for 71 (35 Passengers)

Phase 3:  ● 75% capacity for 71  (53 Passengers)

Field Trips  

Group Sizes & Gatherings: According to CDC guidelines, a gathering refers to a planned or spontaneous event, indoors or outdoors, with a small number of people participating or a large number of attendees such as a community event or gathering. 
General Group Size and Gathering Requirements
● Assemblies are limited to building capacity with appropriate physical distancing in place.

● All unvaccinated attendees are encouraged to wear a face mask. 
● Students and teachers should wash hands before and after events.
Group Sizes will be determined by the Phase.

 

Child Nutrition: We will maintain a healthy environment and continue to offer healthy school meals to our students whether they receive instruction virtually or in person. 
General Child Nutrition Guidance
● All regulations and guidelines from the CDC, USDA, LDOE, CNP and LDHH, will continue to be followed in all processes of meal service, including delivery, storage, preparation, serving and cleaning. 
● Students will wash their hands upon entering the cafeteria. Students should use hand sanitizer before and after meals in other locations. 
● Meals will be served in disposable containers. 
● All meals will be prepared and offered to students by the cafeteria staff. 
● Students and faculty will not be allowed to share food tables, food, or beverages. ● Extra sale items will be limited but will be offered on certain days and in certain phases. ● Adults still have the option to purchase meals. 
● Meal time will be staggered and occupancy based on building capacity. 
○ Teachers may take student groups to eat in other designated areas of the campus as determined by the principal. 
○ Students will be directed to their assigned location, maintaining 3-6 ft of social distancing to the greatest extent possible. 

 

Special Education Services: Schools must ensure that students with disabilities receive all services listed in their IEP to the greatest extent possible. This means that every attempt possible will be made to ensure equitable access for students with disabilities. 
 

Technology: The school system will maintain a 1:1 student ratio for devices (laptop or tablet) and internet connectivity for every student. If Internet access is unavailable, the school system will provide alternatives to the greatest extent possible. 
General Technology Guidelines

 

● Each student in the parish will have access to a chromebook. 
● Each school will develop a plan to assign chromebooks. 
● Each school will distribute code of conduct, technology agreement form for students.

● Elementary age students will be supplied with a Clever badge. 
● Secondary students will be supplied with Clever usernames/passwords. 
● Students who need special accommodations may have access to a Clever badge.

● GPSB Virtual Code of Conduct acknowledgement is required for students participating in online learning. 
● GPSB technology equipment contract is required to be signed by student and parent. The contract will list technology devices, books, and materials checked out by the family. A copy will be kept at the school level. 
● Parents and students may opt to purchase Technology Repair/Replacement plan. This plan must be opted in at time of equipment pickup. Stolen technology must be reported by the student/parent to the police and provide a copy of the police report. Parents must reimburse GPSB for any damages to devices if they do not purchase Technology Repair/Replacement plan.

● Chromebooks will be checked out from the student’s school of record. 
● Households demonstrating need may be provided with MIFI equipment. Devices will be filtered with an access control list so that only educational sites can be accessed. Only one MIFI will be issued per household. MIFI privileges may be revoked and usage will be monitored. MIFI equipment requests must be made to the school administration. 
● WIFI is available at all schools, libraries, and certain other areas.

 

Grant Parish Teaching and Learning Plans for School Reopening 
It is our goal to provide learning opportunities for our students while continuing to follow all CDC-recommended safety precautions. The recommendations below may change or be adjusted as situations change or develop during the current health emergency. 
Distance Learning

 

The district’s approved distance learning platform will be available to families who do not wish for their student(s) to attend school face-to-face. This option is available for students in grades prekindergarten through 12 grade. 


Administrators will consider requests to participate in distance learning, and, through consultation with parents or guardians, determine the best learning environment for their student. Attendance will be verified and students will receive a grade for all assignments in accordance with Board policy. 


If at any time during the 2021-2022 school year the governor’s office declares that we must enter Phase 1, Grant Parish schools will continue to provide educational services and all students will transition to distance learning. If at any time, it is determined that a school should practice stricter guidelines, students may revert to a hybrid learning environment or at home learning environment. Instruction in these environments will be done using take home packets, Google Classroom, Edgenuity, and/or additional district purchased online programs. Students will continue to have access to high quality instruction and will be required to login regularly, submit graded assignments, and complete tests. 

 

Distance Learning:

● Set aside a specific time during the day. 
● Engage in remote 
learning 
● Communicate with 
teacher for concerns or additional support
● Monitor school and teacher 
● Offer options for delivery, 
communication information 
format, and due dates 
● Support student in setting up 
● Offer alternatives to online 
time management system 
resources if requested 
● Communicate with teacher for 
● Provide office hours to 
concerns or additional support 
connect with students and 
parents

 


Hybrid Learning

 

If at any time, it is determined that a school should practice stricter guidelines, students may revert to a hybrid learning environment or at home learning environment. 


All students/employees will be socially distanced to the maximum extent possible with an ideal of six feet. Static groups will be defined and groups of students will stay together to the maximum extent possible throughout the day, including breakfast, lunch, recess, and dismissal. Movement will be minimized as much as possible. Schools will plan for scheduled transitions during arrival, lunch, between class periods (as necessary), and dismissal. Schools will limit the number of students in the hallway at one time, and students will move in the same direction when possible. Playground use will be scheduled. Student belongings will be separated from others. The sharing of electronic devices, toys, books, and other games or learning aids shall be avoided when possible and cleaned/disinfected between users. 


Families with more than one student, who may attend different schools, will be grouped together to attend on the same days to the greatest extent possible. 


In Hybrid Learning:


● Attend 2 of 4 days Face to Face instruction: teacher led new concepts & grade-level curriculum 
● Complete 3 days of distance learning assignments and tasks 
● Communicate with teacher for concerns or additional support 
● Monitor school and teacher communication for up to date information 
● Support student in setting up calendar/time management system 
● Communicate with teacher for concerns or additional support 
● Prepare lessons and facilitate learning and discussion 
● Provide additional learning time to address unfinished learning based on diagnostics 
● Provide distance learning assignments and tasks with instructions 
● Hold office hours to answer questions and provide support 

Communication: GPSB will implement a strategic communications plan to connect with every student daily, provide feedback on student work at least weekly, and help families understand their role in supporting their child’s continuous learning. Schools should be the first point of contact. ■ Teacher and/or parent email 
■ Google Classroom/Google Meet 
■ Parent Command Center 
■ JText and/or other communication apps 
■ Grant Parish School Board and school website: www.gpsb.org 
■ Grant Parish School Board Facebook Group 
■ Grant Parish School Board email: parents@gpsb.org 

Parents/guardians must ensure that the school has current contact phone numbers to receive JTexts. This will also help to communicate with families in case their child becomes sick at school or if the parent/guardian needs to be notified of a COVID-19 positive case at the school. 
Attendance: Attendance will be monitored whether students are on campus or at home as prescribed by the Louisiana Department of Education during the 2021-2022 school year. 

To receive credit and attendance for courses during this school year, students are expected to complete assignments provided by the teacher. At this time, current laws and policies relative to compulsory attendance, instructional minutes, and state assessments remain in place. 
Keeping our students and staff safe is our top priority. Although attendance will be taken each day by your students’ teacher regardless of the delivery method for instruction chosen, we will be encouraging parents to strictly adhere to the safety precautions regarding Covid-19 symptoms and keeping your student(s) home when any symptoms are present. 


Students will be excused for days missed without presenting a doctor verification at any time when a parent/guardian (1) determines their student may be symptomatic; (2) if they have been exposed to the virus; (3) when they are sent home from school symptomatic. Since distance learning will be available, students should continue to complete assignments and check in with teachers. It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to communicate absences with the school. Although official medical excuses are preferred, parent notes will be accepted for all COVID-19 related absences.