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Back to JC Schools Re-Entry Plan

VIEW "BACK TO JC SCHOOLS 2021-2022 RE-ENTRY PLAN" w/UPDATED COVID-19 PROTOCOLS HERE: Changes take effect Friday, October 1st, 2021

(If you would like to share feedback regarding the re-entry plan, please email communications@jcschools.us)

Message below from Superintendent Dr. Larry Linthacum was shared with JC Schools Families on Thursday, September 30th, 2021

Hello JC Schools Families,

The Jefferson City School District has been closely monitoring any positive cases of COVID-19 that occur within the school environment since the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. 

Despite our initial concerns regarding how the Delta variant may impact the school environment, we are seeing a comparable number of positive cases and a significantly lower number of close contacts compared to last year at this time. We also have not seen any instances of close contacts from within the school environment becoming positive. 

District leaders meet regularly with representatives from the Cole County Health Department and other school leaders from across Cole County to stay informed about community level data. The health department has shared that case numbers and hospitalizations have been steadily trending downward for our community, and with their support we are able to lift some mitigation protocols schools have in place.

Effective tomorrow (Friday, October 1st), masks will no longer be required within the school setting for students and staff in instances when social distancing cannot be maintained:

  • Masks will be encouraged rather than required, particularly for those who are not vaccinated; 
  • Masks will still be required on the school bus, as required by a federal order issued by the CDC;
  • No one will be prohibited from wearing a mask;
  • The other key priorities of the COVID reentry plan are still critically important and will be enforced in all JC Schools buildings: students and staff should maintain social distance whenever possible, wash hands frequently, and stay home when sick.

Also effective tomorrow, students and staff members who are identified as a close contact of a positive case within the school environment will no longer be required to quarantine in most instances:

  • Staff members and parents of students who are identified as close contacts will still be notified so they can stay alert to any symptoms that may develop; 
  • Depending upon the severity of symptoms experienced by the positive case, the length of exposure, and the proximity to the positive case, there may be instances when quarantine is still required;
  • The primary approach will be to keep healthy students and staff members in school, but anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home;
  • Students and staff who are identified as a personal contact of a positive case outside of the school environment will still be required to quarantine or meet designated guidelines to return to school.

With these changes, the district will now be activating a COVID-19 rubric to constantly monitor the number of positive cases occurring within the school environment. This will allow us to watch closely for any emerging trends and make real-time changes to mitigation protocols:

  • Positive cases within the school environment will be assessed weekly, at a minimum, to evaluate the percentage of positive cases among students and staff based on the total population of the school;
  • Individual classrooms, grades, school buildings, school categories (elementary/middle/high) or the entire district can be moved into corresponding levels (green/yellow/red) at any given time based on the number of active cases within the school environment, or based on community trends;
  • If a school community is moved from a lower to higher level (from green to yellow or yellow to red), the corresponding mitigation protocols will remain in place for a minimum of 10 calendar days to allow active cases to complete required quarantine;
  • If after 10 calendar days the percentage of active positive cases within the school environment drops back into the range for a lower level, the school community will move back to the corresponding mitigation protocols;
  • The rubric for assessing positive cases within the school environment is included in the JC Schools COVID Reentry Plan, which was approved by the Board of Education at the September board meeting;
  • Based on current data, all schools will be moved into the green category as of Friday, October 1st;
  • Staff and parents will be notified of any changes to levels for their school community, and that information will also be posted on the district website along with the COVID case tracker.

The district is fully prepared to make necessary changes to our mitigation protocols if the data warrants doing so. We will be continually assessing and evaluating the effectiveness of these changes, and if we see any alarming changes to the number of cases within the school environment then we will move back to tighter protocols.

Thank you for your continued commitment to our COVID reentry protocols and your support to keep our schools open and our staff and students safe.


Superintendent Dr. Larry Linthacum
#WeAreJCSchools #JCStrongerTogether

 

Message below was shared with JC Schools Families on Monday, August 16th, 2021

Hello JC Schools Families,

In the past week since our “Back to JC Schools COVID-19 Reentry Plan” was released, district leaders have worked diligently to assess local conditions, evaluate the effectiveness of our COVID-19 protocols from last year, and finalize our decision regarding masks for the 2021-2022 school year.

At this time, masks will be required indoors for students and staff in any instances where social distancing cannot be maintained. Social distance is defined as a minimum of three feet within the school environment. This approach was recommended by the Cole County Health Department, aligns with the other schools in Cole County, and is effective beginning Tuesday, August 17th.

IMPORTANT DETAILS REGARDING MASK PROTOCOLS:

  • JC Schools students and staff members should bring a mask to school every day. 
  • Masks should be worn upon entering the school building, within common areas, during passing periods in the hallways, and during small groups, for example. 
  • Any time a distance of three feet cannot be maintained between students, or between staff and students, masks will be required. This includes on all school buses, as required by federal order issued by the CDC. 
  • When students are in the classroom seated three feet apart, masks can be removed, for example. Masks can also be removed if students are seated at a table or desk when plexiglass is present as a barrier. 
  • To go along with this guidance, masks will be required for all staff, parents, and students at this week’s Open House events (see schedule HERE).

As an added layer of protection, the district has developed a rubric for tracing all positive cases that occur within the school environment. The rubric includes three levels: green, yellow and red. 

If the number of positive cases within the school environment exceeds the designated percentage allowable within a school community, then an individual building may be moved to a level with additional mitigation protocols for a minimum of 10 days (until the active cases fall out of quarantine). This could also apply to an individual classroom, grade level, school categories (elementary/middle/high), or the entire district. 

Positive cases within the school environment will be monitored constantly throughout the school day to watch for trends and determine whether any immediate changes are needed to mitigation protocols. Positive cases within the school environment will be assessed weekly, at a minimum, to evaluate the percentage of positive cases among students and staff based on the total population of the school. Staff and parents will be notified of any changes to levels for their school community.

To learn more about the district’s rubric for tracking positive cases within the school environment, and which mitigation protocols will apply for each level, go to pages 12 & 13 of the district’s “Back to JC Schools COVID-19 Re-Entry Plan” HERE.

As a reminder, it will be critically important that we all remain committed to the key priorities of our COVID-19 reentry plan:

  • Social Distancing: maintain a distance of at least three feet from others in the classroom and avoid direct contact such as handshaking, hugging, sharing drinks, etc;
  • Handwashing: wash hands with soap and water for at least 30 seconds, avoid touching your face, cough or sneeze into your elbow, and disinfect frequently touched objects;
  • Staying Home When Sick: students and staff who experience symptoms related to COVID-19 or come into close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 should not come to school. As a reminder, CDC guidelines regarding contact tracing define a close contact within the school environment as any individual less than three feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more in the classroom;
  • Keeping Yourself Safe: wearing a mask and getting a COVID-19 vaccine are proven methods to protect against the spread of COVID-19 virus. In most cases, individuals who are wearing a mask properly or are vaccinated will not be required to quarantine if they come in contact with a positive case as long as they are not experiencing symptoms.

We were incredibly blessed to be able to provide in-seat education last year, and that remains one of our highest priorities, along with ensuring a safe and healthy learning environment for our students and staff.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic continues to present challenges which change frequently, JC Schools is committed to making real-time decisions to protect the learning environment and help our students achieve success. We will monitor school and community data closely, and tighten or loosen our mitigation strategies accordingly to help us keep our schools open and our students in-seat.

Thank you for your continued support to have a safe & healthy school year!

Superintendent Dr. Larry Linthacum
#WeAreJCSchools #JCStrongerTogether

 

Message below was shared with JC Schools Families on Friday, August 6th, 2021

Hello JC Schools Families,

The Jefferson City School District was proud to be one of the largest districts in the State of Missouri to remain in-seat last year, and we are looking forward to again welcoming students back for in-seat education on Monday, August 23rd.

Many of us were hopeful that COVID-19 would be in the rearview mirror by now. While that is unfortunately not the case, our district’s COVID-19 reentry plan has proven to work extremely effectively as designed, by minimizing the exposure to any positive cases that do enter the school environment and allowing us to keep our schools open. For that reason, we will be keeping a majority of the same protocols in place for the 2021-2022 school year. 

We have assessed the COVID-19 protocols that were in place last year, and we were able to successfully implement several changes during summer school that we will be keeping in place for the fall. Those changes are outlined in our full 2021-2022 reentry plan.

District leaders remain in frequent communication with the local health department and area schools. We are closely monitoring local conditions and guidance from health experts, which change frequently. A decision on whether masks will be required for staff and students will be made no later than Monday, August 16th.

The mask requirement for staff and students was lifted for the last two weeks of summer school and we were hopeful we would be able to begin the school year without a mask requirement. However, with the recent trend of new positive cases in our community and everything we are learning about the transmissibility of the Delta variant, we do not feel comfortable making a final decision on masks at this time.

As we prepare to come back to school, it will be critically important that we all remain committed to the key priorities of our COVID-19 reentry plan. Please remind your student of the importance of:

  • Social Distancing: maintain a distance of at least three feet from others in the classroom and avoid direct contact such as handshaking, hugging, sharing drinks, etc;
  • Handwashing: wash hands with soap and water for at least 30 seconds, avoid touching your face, cough or sneeze into your elbow, and disinfect frequently touched objects;
  • Staying Home When Sick: students and staff who experience symptoms related to COVID-19 or come into close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 should not come to school;
  • Keeping Yourself Safe: wearing a mask and getting a COVID-19 vaccine are proven methods to protect against the spread of COVID-19 virus. In most cases, individuals who are wearing a mask properly or are vaccinated will not be required to quarantine if they come in contact with a positive case as long as they are not experiencing symptoms.

Despite the many challenges we faced last year, we had a very successful school year, and we are excited to welcome your student back! Our guiding principle throughout the entire COVID-19 pandemic has been, and will continue to be, our commitment to ensuring success for all of our students.

We sincerely appreciate your continued support and thank you for standing stronger together with JC Schools!

Superintendent Dr. Larry Linthacum
#WeAreJCSchools #JCStrongerTogether