COVID Information

Mask Related Questions

Last updated September 6, 2021

Will students and staff be required to wear masks in school?

Yes. On August 31, 2021, Pennsylvania’s Acting Secretary of Health announced an Order requiring face coverings to be worn in all school entities, including school districts, brick and mortar and cyber charter schools, private and parochial schools, career and technical centers, intermediate units, and early learning and other child care settings. The current DOH Order aligns with our approved Health & Safety Plan and the District will comply with the Order. Order of the Acting Secretary Directing Face Coverings in Schools

Staff – If a staff member believes he/she has a medical or mental health condition or disability that would inhibit him/her from wearing a face covering (i.e. a mask, face shield), please reach out to Ms. Andrea Bennett, Director of Human Resources, to begin the one-on-one process of determining if an accommodation is appropriate.

Students – If your child has a medical or mental health condition or disability that you believe would inhibit him/her from wearing a face covering (i.e. a mask, face shield), and it has not already been documented, please reach out to our school principal to discuss your child’s need for accommodation. Documentation provided must be in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or IDEA of such medical or mental health condition or disability.

Parents are encouraged to provide a well-fitting face covering for their child. Masks will be available at the school building in case of need.

Are there exemptions to the Order to wear a face covering (mask/shield)?

For both staff and students, it is important to note that a doctor’s note alone is not sufficient documentation to exempt an individual from wearing a mask or face shield. Approved medical exemptions from last year will be extended for those individuals who notify the administration in writing of the continued need for such accommodation. As a reminder, the current Order requiring masks does not include an exemption for religious reasons. Please refer to the bullets in the answer above for additional details on submitting an exemption.

What will occur if my child does not wear a mask?

Refusal to wear a mask will result in a student being sent home.

Where can I learn more about the mask Order?

Is DCTS requiring masks for students and staff on school-related transportation?
Staff and students will be required to wear a face mask while riding school transportation in alignment with the CDC Order regarding public transportation. If the mask mandate requirement placed on transportation is lifted, we will modify expectations accordingly.

Mitigation Related Questions

What are the mitigation efforts and safety protocols in place to ensure the health and well-being of our students, staff, and families?

Current CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics guidance recommends in-person learning and a layered approach to keeping students and staff safe.

Monitoring Student and Staff Health

The most important thing families can do to help limit the spread of COVID-19 is to check their children daily for any symptoms and keep them home from school if they are sick or have had close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19.

  • Students and staff are expected to complete the CDC’s daily home screening checklist each morning before leaving for school. Parents are asked to support school health by keeping children home if they are sick or symptomatic
  • Families and staff are asked to notify the school of a confirmed/presumed positive COVID-19 test result of an individual who was present in our schools
  • Posters around the school will remind students and staff to screen themselves before and after school

Cleaning and Ventilation Protocols

  • Occupied areas, such as offices, classrooms, meeting rooms, workrooms, and bathrooms, high-touch surfaces, such as water fountains, door handles, and light switches will be cleaned daily while students and/or staff are present
  • Safe cleaning products (ex. soap and water) for use on individual or shared learning spaces and materials will be provided for staff and student use throughout the day
  • Adjustments to HVAC systems and building procedures will continue to increase the amount of fresh air exchange. HVAC systems will run for a minimum of two hours prior to and following occupancy in all spaces per ASHRAE, EPA, and CDC guidance

Hygiene

  • Students and staff will be encouraged to wash hands frequently, using soap and water
  • Classrooms will be provided with hand sanitizer bottles. Hand sanitizing products will be readily available in common areas, and students may bring their own sanitizers to school as well
  • Posters around the school will remind students and staff to avoid touching their eyes, mouth and nose as much as possible, to avoid contact with people who are sick, to cover their coughs and sneezes with a tissue or into their upper sleeve or elbow, and to wash their hands after coughing and sneezing

Social Distancing

  • Our goal is to maintain distance to the greatest extent possible
  • Teachers will continue to limit ancillary furniture in classrooms, thereby increasing open spaces
  • Spacing will be considered when organizing small groups. Working in small groups is a best practice in teaching and learning and will be supported as we work to close learning gaps due to COVID
  • Hallways and classroom transitions will be monitored to encourage distancing
  • Students will be permitted to travel between different classrooms during the school day

Transportation

  • Students and staff are required to wear a mask while riding any school-related transportation such as a school bus or van

What will influence the DCTS’s decisions regarding delivery models, closures, or additional mitigation efforts?

  • Local context (number of school-related cases, number of COVID-19 related absences, most recent trend for community spread, etc.)
  • Input from local healthcare providers
  • Experience of other local, regional, and national schools
  • Updated guidance and recommendations
  • Decisions will be made in the safest and least disruptive manner in an effort to impact the least number of individuals, groups, teams, programs, classrooms, buildings, etc.

COVID-19 Related Questions

Last update September 6, 2021

What if someone is sick at school?
If a student or staff member is exhibiting COVID-like symptoms, they will be sent to the nurse’s office. It is important to remember that although students may be experiencing symptoms, they are not automatically presumed positive for COVID-19.

What if someone tests positive for COVID-19?

It is important that families and staff communicate with school officials. Any individual who tests positive for COVID-19 or who shows signs or symptoms of illness should stay home and contact their health care provider for further guidance.

Following the CDC’s guidance on what to do if a student becomes sick or reports a new COVID-19 diagnosis at school, ill students can return to school and end isolation once the following are met: 10 days out from the start of the symptoms, AND fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication, AND symptoms have improved.

Following any report of a positive case, health services staff will contact the PA DOH and follow any guidance to assist in contact tracing. Additionally, we will closely review any materials, equipment or areas of the building that may require additional cleaning or disinfecting prior to the next school day.

Will the District conduct contact tracing? When will a student need to quarantine/isolate?

We will assist the PA DOH with contact tracing to determine close contacts and recommended quarantine timeframes. Determinations of close contacts and individuals needing to quarantine/isolate will be guided by information from the CDC.

  • A close contact is defined as someone who was within 6 feet for 15 or more consecutive minutes within 2 days prior to illness onset
  • If a staff member or student was wearing a mask when deemed a close contact, as long as they are not exhibiting symptoms, they will not be required to quarantine; however, they shall also continue to wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days and get tested 3-5 days after exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms
  • If a fully vaccinated staff member or student is deemed a close contact, as long as they are not exhibiting symptoms, they will not be required to quarantine; however, they shall also wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days and get tested 3-5 days after exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms
  • Staff and students testing positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, will be expected to isolate

COVID Procedure Flow Chart

The PA DOH has provided a document to assist individuals in determining quarantine and isolation timeframes, click here to review the DOH document.

Will the DCTS utilize a COVID Tracker this school year?

We will provide a weekly summary of student and staff reported active cases and quarantine numbers. Click here to view the tracker, which will be updated weekly.

Will parents receive notification when a COVID-19 case is reported?

We will notify staff and families who have been determined to be a close contact. There will not be a building-wide notification of positive COVID-19 cases like last school year, unless reported cases warrant additional mitigation efforts, such as a requirement to pivot to remote learning.

Will the school district conduct COVID-19 testing in the schools for students and staff who have been exposed?

PDE/DOH have made resources and programs available to school districts to conduct COVID testing. The administration is currently gathering additional information about these resources.

General Questions

Will volunteers and visitors be permitted this school year?

Volunteers will be permitted in our buildings to support educational projects and initiatives (Guest Speakers, NOCTI Evaluators, Junior Interview and OAC Industry Partners, events, etc.).