2021-22 School Restart Guidance and COVID-19 Protocols

Ohio Department of Health

COVID-19 Health & Prevention Guidance for Ohio K-12 Schools

Executive Summary

As schools get ready for the 2021-22 academic year, the ongoing health and safety of students, staff, and volunteers remains paramount. While great strides have been made in controlling the spread of COVID-19, the virus remains a health threat.

Although children are less likely to get severely ill from COVID-19 compared with adults, they are at risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, getting sick from COVID-19, spreading the virus to others, and having severe health outcomes.

Because children 11 and younger cannot be vaccinated and less than a third of children 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated, it is strongly recommended that schools implement masking for students layered with other prevention strategies to protect people who are not fully vaccinated.

The Delta variant is rapidly becoming dominant in Ohio. It is highly transmissible, increasing risk, especially for those who are unvaccinated. Because the Delta variant spreads so quickly, these strategies to reduce transmission in school are critically important to protect students, teachers, staff, and communities.

Our goal is to keep students back in school, in-person five days a week. Students benefit from in-person learning.

As students head back to school, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) recommends following the same layered prevention strategies that were remarkably effective at controlling COVID-19 last school year:

  • Strongly recommend vaccinations for staff and eligible students. Vaccines are our best tool to protect students and prevent the spread of the virus.

  • Wearing masks. Masks have been proven to be extremely effective in slowing the spread of the virus. Ohio researchers conducted an evaluation last year that showed that masking helped control the spread of the virus in Ohio schools. ODH strongly recommends that those who are unvaccinated wear masks while in school.

  • Additional measures including improving ventilation, maximizing distance between people, and practicing good hygiene, among others.

Consistent implementation of these core prevention measures helped limit the spread of COVID-19 in the classroom during the 2020-21 academic year. Continuing to follow these recommendations will protect students as much as possible.

Guidelines for Quarantine After Exposure

facemasks

2021 Metro Restart Protocols & Procedures

General Information

General Building Safety Protocols

Supplies Recommended for Students

Mask Policy

District Buses

  • Students should bring refillable water bottles. Water fountains are not in use, but there are water bottle refill stations available.

  • Students must wear a mask while on the bus and throughout the school day unless given express permission by an adult to take a “mask break.” See below for Mask Policy.

  • Visitors must have an appointment to enter the building.

  • Lunches must be packed and sent in with students or bought within the building.

  • Mask 

  • Headphones

  • Personal hand sanitizer

  • Personal water bottle

  • Standard school supplies including fully-charged iPad, pencils, notebooks/folders

  • School districts providing busing will communicate with each family about expectations, pick up, and drop off times. 

  • Students must follow any additional home district guidelines for wearing a mask while riding the bus.

Parents can use the following algorithm to determine whether a student should attend school:

Daily Procedure

Daily Procedures

Arrival Procedure

Breakfast

Classroom Structures

Restroom Usage

Lunch

Recess

Water Fountains

Visitors to the Building

Dismissal

AfterCare

  • Students may enter the building at 7:15am. 

  • Students who are car riders must enter using either the Kinnear Road or Kenny Road doors.

  • Students who are bus riders must enter using the back door.

  • Upon entering the building, all students must either wash their hands or use hand sanitizer.

  • Students eating breakfast in the building will pick up breakfast and move to their assigned spaces.

  • Students will use hand sanitizer or wash their hands before eating.

  • Students will carry their supplies, backpacks, lunch, outerwear, etc., with them throughout the day.

  • Shared materials will be sanitized after each use. 

  • At the end of each class period, students will help wipe down their workspace before they leave the classroom.

  • One student out of the classrooms at a time. 

  • If there are more than 2 students in the boy’s bathroom or 3 students in the girl’s bathroom, students will need to wait outside on the marking circles. 

  • Staff will assist in monitoring restrooms for social-distancing.

  • No physical bathroom passes will be used.

  • MS students will eat lunch in the open space and will use dividers and have assigned seats.

  • HS students will eat lunch at open tables with dividers and will follow protocols to record their lunch seat each day. 

  • Students must have their masks on in order to get up from their seats for any reason.

  • Students will use hand sanitizer before picking up and eating lunch.

  • Students will wear masks during recess.

  • Any recess equipment used will be properly cleaned/sanitized prior to the use by the next cohort.

  • Water fountains will not be in use.

  • Students must bring water bottles for use throughout the school day.

  • Water bottles may be filled at bottle-filling stations.

  • Students will be directed to sanitize before and after using the bottle-filling station.

  • Visitors to the building must wear masks upon entering the building.

  • Visitors are expected to comply with all COVID-19 safety protocols within the building.

  • Students will wipe down their desks and divider and place the divider in the class period storage area.

  • During AfterCare, students and staff will follow the same expectations that are being used throughout the school day.

COVID-19 at School

Exhibiting COVID-19 Symptoms While at School

Notifying Families of a Positive COVID Case within School Community - Staff or Student

Reporting Protocol for Positive Cases

Cleaning / Sanitizing Protocols

  • If a student starts to exhibit COVID-19 symptoms during the school day, parents/guardians will be called immediately for pick-up. 

  • Students will wait in the quarantine in the nurse's office until a parent arrives. 

  • In order to return to school, families must provide documentation from a medical provider of a negative COVID-19 test OR remain out of school, isolate for 14 days and be symptom free for the previous 48 hours.

If there is a confirmed COVID case among in-person students/staff, email correspondence will be sent out to all affected, as identified by Franklin County Public Health Department protocols for COVID-19 contact tracing.

Infected students or staff must follow the guidelines below:

  • Quarantine is not necessary for students and adults possibly exposed to COVID-19 in K-12 school settings, regardless of vaccination status, if ALL the following prevention measures have been in place:

    • Masking for students and staff (regardless of vaccination status).

    • Physical distancing is maximized (at least 3 feet between desks).

    • Documented COVID-19 prevention policies (e.g., identification of individuals experiencing symptoms, protocols for cleaning, etc.)

  • If not all prevention measures listed above were in place, quarantine is not necessary for fully vaccinated students and adults provided they adhere to the following precautions: Wear a mask indoors, as much as possible, either for 14 days or until a viral (PCR or antigen) test performed three to five days after exposure has come back as negative. In addition:

    • Self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days following exposure; unless symptoms develop, individuals can continue attending in-person class and participating in sports and extra-curricular activities.

    • Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should isolate away from others and be evaluated for COVID-19. Testing for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) may be recommended in coordination with the local health department, school, healthcare provider, or parents/guardians.

    • If they test positive, they should isolate for at least 10 days from the date symptoms started (or the date of the positive test if they have no symptoms).

    • Note: A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of a two-dose vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer vaccine) or two weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson vaccine).

  • If not all prevention measures listed above were in place, quarantine is not necessary for students and adults who are not fully vaccinated if the person who was exposed was wearing a face mask consistently and correctly and physical distancing was maintained. However, they should take the following precautions:

    • Wear a mask indoors, as much as possible, either for 14 days or until a viral (PCR or antigen) test performed at least five days after exposure has come back as negative. While this negative result would allow them to discontinue masking in school after day seven, we encourage them to continue masking.

    • Self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days following exposure; unless symptoms develop, individuals can continue attending in-person class and participating in sports and extra-curricular activities.

    • Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should isolate away from others and be evaluated for COVID-19. Testing for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) may be recommended in coordination with the local health department, school, healthcare provider, or parents/guardians.

    • If they test positive, they should isolate for at least 10 days from the date symptoms started (or the date of the positive test if they have no symptoms).

  • Quarantine should be required if the student or teacher is not fully vaccinated, and layers of prevention were not in place as described above.

    • If quarantine is necessary because layers of prevention were not in place as described above, it should last for at least seven days since the last exposure, and the contact should have a negative viral (PCR or antigen) test collected on or after day five. Individuals should watch for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days.

    • During quarantine, contacts should be advised to stay home and away from others as much as possible.

    • If they become symptomatic at any point, they should receive clinical evaluation or testing for COVID-19.

  • The above guidelines for students and adults only apply to exposures occurring in classroom settings. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated and exposed to COVID-19 outside of the school setting should refrain from attending in-person school and participating in organized sports or extracurriculars throughout their quarantine period.

  • Confirmed COVID-19 test results for students and staff must be shared with the building leader.  Positive test results will be shared with the Franklin County Board of Health.

  • Students will clean their dividers, desks, and chairs at the end of each period prior to attending the next class.

  • Students will receive direct instruction on how to clean their dividers, desks, and chairs.

  • Professional cleaning will be conducted daily with frequent cleaning / sanitizing of high contact surface areas.