Planning for School Year 2020-2021
As part of our planning for the fall semester, we have approached our return to in-person instruction with a bias toward caution for everyone who will be on campus. While there is no plan that will reduce our risk level to ‘zero’, we do want our approach to be balanced in order to care for all of our stakeholders. Our focus in light of the current health crises is to provide the safest and most healthy on-campus environment for our students and staff, in order to facilitate the education of our students. Without one, we won’t have the other. If we can create an optimal environment where our teachers and staff members are able to remain healthy, and where they feel confident in returning to the classrooms, we can create an educational opportunity for our students that is second to none!
We continue to receive updates from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and public health officials that will mandate how we respond to the novel Coronavirus on campus. We will then update our information as soon as possible and provide it to our parents. Some of the concerns that we are currently discussing will manifest into operational challenges:
While these are not all of our concerns, we are keeping these foremost in our minds to ensure our students are prepared for whatever this year holds for us. Some of the topics we have had feedback on pertaining to the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and how remote instruction will be conducted this fall. Please know that we as educators, do not categorize the spring semester as analogous with the fall semester. We are planning a robust inquiry-based learning environment for students and will provide you with this plan in the coming days. We will be spending some of our back-to-school planning days with our teaching staff reviewing our online delivery methods and how we can use technology to best educate our students. As to the use of PPE equipment, we are requiring the use of a face covering for everyone on campus. This decision is based on a variety of factors including student/staff safety, our ability to keep the campus open for in-person instruction, our limited ability to obtain substitute teachers should our teaching staff become infected, quarantine and campus closure requirements should we have an outbreak of the virus, the K-12 composition of the student body, the increasing transmission rate of the virus among children, the overall size of the Academy, and discussions we have had with our teaching staff.
In social media posts and calls, we have been a part of this summer with superintendents and principals across the state, the primary concern of teachers is how school systems will mitigate their exposure to the virus while on campus. Rather than risk our teachers, we have made this choice to practice social distancing where possible and ‘wear the mask’ to promote everyone’s safety. We will be building breaks into the day for both students and staff to remove their masks and we will be reviewing medical exemptions on a case-by-case basis. We appreciate your continued support.
As part of our recommended plan to the Board of Trustees, we will be outlining a layered approach to health and wellness this fall. This plan will require the cooperation of everyone who has a stake in Westlake Academy and supports our overall success. The factors associated with a shut-down of the campus should we have a spread of the virus among our students and staff and/or the quarantine and mitigation protocols we are required to follow would have a significant impact on us from both a personal and educational standpoint. The fact that we are a K-G12 campus, with limited abilities to social distance due to our building configurations, requires a unique approach for our school. We all have a critical role in helping to reduce the risk to our community.
August 3, 2020 Board of Trustees virtual meeting at 5:00 p.m.
August 24, 2020 Remote Learning to begin for SY 20/21
September 21, 2020 Earliest date for on-campus instruction (per current public health order)
General Health and Safety Protocols (DRAFT)
Health Pre-Screening for Students, Teachers and Staff (DRAFT)
Students (or Parents), Teachers, and Staff are expected to take their own temperatures daily before arriving at school. Anyone with a fever of 100 or higher must NOT come to school. The following protocols also apply:
Health Office Procedures (DRAFT)
Protocols for Individuals Confirmed, Suspected or Exposed to COVID-19 (DRAFT)
Any individual (including teachers, staff, students, or other campus visitors/volunteers) who are lab-confirmed to have COVID-19 or experience symptoms of COVID-19 must stay home throughout the duration of the infection period. They cannot return to the campus until Westlake Academy screens the individual to determine if conditions for campus re-entry (shown below) have been met:
In the case of an individual who was diagnosed with COVID-19, the individual may return to school when all three of the following criteria are met:
1) at least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications);
2) the individual has improvement in symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath); and
3) at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
In the case of an individual who has symptoms that could be COVID-19 and who is not evaluated by a medical professional or tested for COVID-19, such individual is assumed to have COVID-19, and the individual may not return to the campus until the individual has completed the same three-step set of criteria listed above.
If the individual has symptoms that could be COVID-19 and wants to return to school before completing the above stay-at-home period, the individual must either:
Individuals - including students, teachers, staff, or other campus visitors/volunteers - who have had close contact with someone who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19, as narrowly defined below should stay at home through the 14-day incubation period and should not be allowed on campus.
Any student or staff member who displays symptoms of the virus will be isolated from those in the classroom or work environment. For students, the school nurse will provide a clinical assessment to determine if the student should be sent home. Any student who receives a recommendation to go home must be picked up within one hour from the time the school contacts the student’s parent/guardian.
Staff members who display symptoms will isolate themselves from students and staff and immediately remove themselves from campus until they can either be evaluated by a medical professional or meet the criteria for returning to campus.
Westlake Academy registered school nurses will screen individuals after the incubation period has concluded, and if the individual did not experience COVID-19 symptoms during that period, the individual can be allowed back on campus. If the individual experienced symptoms, they must stay at home until the conditions outlined above have been met.
Close Contact Definition
The Texas Education Agency defines ‘close contact’ as:
mask or face shield); or
or face shield;
if either occurred at any time in the last 14 days at the same time the infected individual was infectious.
Individuals are presumed infectious at least two days prior to symptom onset or, in the case of asymptomatic individuals who are lab-confirmed with COVID-19, two days prior to the confirming lab test. (Source: TEA SY 20-21 Public Health Planning Guidance document)
Personal Protective Equipment and Masks (PPE) - DRAFT
As part of our planning for the fall, we have approached our return to in-person instruction with a bias toward caution for everyone who will be on campus. There is no plan that will reduce our risk level to ‘zero’; however, we believe our approach is a balanced option to care for all of our stakeholders. We acknowledge that there are differing medical and personal views toward the use of face coverings and that this portion of our plan will not appeal to every family.
With that said, it is important to know that we will be utilizing a layered approach to promote health and wellness on our campus. This plan will require the cooperation of everyone who has a stake in Westlake Academy and supports our overall success. The factors associated with a shut-down of the campus should we have a spread of the virus among our students and staff and/or the quarantine and mitigation protocols we are required to follow would have a significant impact on us from both a personal and educational standpoint. The fact that we are a K-G12 campus, with limited abilities to social distance due to our building configurations, requires a unique approach for our school. We all have a critical role in helping to reduce the risk to our community.
The following guidelines are either paraphrased or directly excerpted from the TEA SY 20-21 Public Health Planning Guidance of July 17, 2020.
Westlake Academy Campus Requirements
Handwashing/Hand Sanitizing (DRAFT)
Social Distancing Protocols
In reference to the section ‘Protocols for Individuals Confirmed, Suspected, or Exposed to COVID-19’ if the assumption by the school nurse that an individual has COVID-19 and sent home, contact tracing will be implemented by administration and the immediate classroom, grade area, building or office(s) will be vacated, cleaned, and disinfected.