Safe Return to In Person Learning
July 16, 2021
Greetings Tri-Point Families,
After a challenging school year, I hope your summer is off to a wonderful and relaxing start! We would like to share some reminders and updates for Tri-Point Schools regarding the summer months and beyond.
Current Plans for Return to School in August
The first day of school for students is Wednesday, August 18 for Tri-Point students in kindergarten through 12th grade. On August 18th, Pre-K students have an Open House and can visit their classrooms throughout the day. The first day of Pre-K attendance is Thursday, August 19.
The Illinois State Board of Education has announced that beginning with the 2021-22 school year, all schools must resume fully in-person learning for all student attendance days, with the exception that remote instruction be made available for students who are not eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine and are under a quarantine order by a local public health department or the Illinois Department of Public Health.
At this time, the Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Public Health will recommend that students and staff wear masks in schools in the fall, unless they are fully vaccinated. Masks are not required while outside during the school day. However, the CDC has indicated that if local school administrators decide to remove any of the prevention strategies for their school based on local conditions, they should remove them one at a time and monitor closely (with adequate testing through the school and/or community) for any increases in COVID-19 cases. The CDC indicates that schools should work with local public health officials to determine the prevention strategies needed in their area by monitoring levels of community transmission (i.e., low, moderate, substantial, or high) and local vaccine coverage, and use of screening testing to detect cases in K-12 schools.
In essence, this means that Tri-Point Schools could start the school year with masks optional, even for those unvaccinated. We would be required to continue all of our other mitigation strategies including social distancing, symptom checking, contact tracing, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, and cleaning and sanitation protocols. We would be able to maintain a mask optional school unless we experience a Covid-19 outbreak.
14- day period
If we experience an outbreak, then we would be required to wear masks until the outbreak has subsided.
Tri-Point is not requiring students or staff to receive the vaccination, but we are encouraging eligible individuals to receive the vaccine to strengthen the health of our schools and community.
Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan
Maintaining Health and Safety
Section A – Universal and Correct Wearing of Masks
The district will follow the current guidance in place, either through Executive Order or directives from the Illinois Department of Public Health or the Illinois State Board of Education, with regard to the wearing of masks in school by staff and students. Currently that guidance allows local school administrators to remove mitigations layer-by-layer while monitoring local conditions. Making masks optional would be the first layer of mitigation to be removed, therefore, we would start the school year with masks optional. Masks will be required in the event of a local outbreak of Covid-19 and would remain in place until the outbreak has subsided. Masks continue to be required for all modes of school transportation including school buses.
Section B – Physical Distancing
The district will follow the current guidelines for physical distancing as provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Physical distancing of 3 feet will be observed in all classrooms to the extent that it is practicable. Physical distancing of 6 feet is recommended when masks are removed for eating and will be observed to the extent practicable. Desks and table partitions will also be employed to supplement social distancing as needed. In those situations where physical distancing needs to be supplemented, the use of desk shields can provide an additional mitigation strategy
Section C – Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette
Hand sanitizer is provided at the entrance to each classroom. Students are recommended to frequently wash/sanitize their hands. Students and staff are reminded to use proper etiquette when they sneeze or cough
Section D – Cleaning and Maintaining Healthy Facilities, Including Improving Ventilation
Tri-Point School District recently installed upgraded HVAC in Piper City and Cullom classrooms for the 2020-2021 school year that have provided improved ventilation. Cleaning protocols in place during the 2020-2021 school year will continue. School buses will be cleaned and disinfected daily.
Section E – Contact Tracing in Combination with Isolation and Quarantine, in Collaboration with State and Local Health Departments
Tri-Point School District will facilitate the work of the Ford and Livingston County Health Departments with regard to contact tracing. Current guidelines provided by the Illinois Department of Health with regard to isolation and quarantine will be followed. If a parent receives notification over the weekend of close contact of their child with a positive case, the child should not be sent to school until the parent confers with school administration. Fully vaccinated students and staff will follow the guidance issued by the IDPH (will not need to quarantine) following close contact with a positive case.
Section F – Diagnostic and Screening Testing
All parents will be asked to perform a screening of their child for symptoms daily. Staff members will do a self–screening. The district will not require that the screening results be reported unless a student is called in absent because of the presence of symptoms. Anyone exhibiting symptoms should not attend school and should seek an appointment for COVID-19 testing at their earliest convenience. Universal temperature checks will not be performed on a daily basis but may be administered on a case-by-case basis.
Section G – Efforts to Provide Vaccinations to School Communities
The district will continue to work with the State, County, or other local providers to facilitate access to vaccinations for staff and students as necessary.
Section H – Appropriate Accommodations for Children with Disabilities with Respect to Health and Safety Policies
The district will work to ensure that the specific needs of students with disabilities are addressed with regard to any necessary health accommodations in the classroom with regard to in-person instruction. For the 2021-2022 school year, only those students who have a documented medical condition which prevents them from attending school in person will be exempt from attending school in person. For those students, home instruction will be provided in accordance with District Policy Number 6:150.
Ensuring Continuity of Services
Section A – How will the LEA (Local Education Agency) ensure continuity of services, including but not limited to students’ academic needs.
The district has been fully open for in-person instruction since January of 2021. The district will continue to offer all the academic programs it did prior to the onset of the pandemic. The district continues to evaluate students’ progress and provide academic interventions during the school day to those students in need. In addition, the district has offered After-School Study Table and Summer School for selected students during the Spring and Summer of 2021. Supplemental after school programs in English Language Arts and Mathematics and all High School Academic Classes will again be offered during After School Study Table in 2021-2022.
Section B – How will the LEA (Local Education Agency) ensure continuity of services, including students’ and staffs’ social, emotional, mental health needs
The district remains focused on mental health concerns and will coordinate programs through the School Counseling and Social Work Programs.
Section C – How will the LEA (Local Education Agency) ensure continuity of services including students’ health and food services.
The district has, during times of remote instruction, provided meals to all students and also has provided meals during summer school under the SFSP program. Tri-Point will continue to offer free meals to all students utilizing the USDA waiver allowing the SSO program for the 2021-2022 school year.
Section D – How will the LEA (Local Education Agency) ensure continuity of services including any other student needs.
Tri-Point School District will remain vigilant in the efforts to identify other student needs as they emerge and respond to them in a timely fashion.
Section A – How did the district seek public comment on its plan?
As part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) the Tri-Point School District annually holds a school/community engagement meeting with representatives from the district’s various stakeholder groups. This virtual meeting took place in May of 2021. Public comment was also welcomed at the July 21st Board of Education meeting and during all Board Meetings in the Public Comment portion of the meeting.
Section B – How will the district ensure the plan is understandable for parents?
The district has adopted the basic plan template provided by the Illinois State Board of Education. Following local Board approval, the plan will be posted on the district website. The plan will be posted in English but copies in other languages will be made available upon request to the Superintendent. Accommodations will also be made to provide the information in alternate forms to address the needs of parents with disabilities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.