Face Coverings (UPDATAED 08/04/21 BASED ON CURRENT CDC AND AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS RECOMMENDATIONS)
Guidance for face coverings for the 2021-2022 school year was finalized in early August 2021 and will be revised as needed. Current guidelines for face-coverings include (REVISED 09/29/2021):
- Indoors - All students and staff are required to wear a face covering indoors regardless of vaccination status.
- Outdoors - PK-5 students will wear face coverings while outdoors, including for PE and recess. Students in grades 6-12 may remove face coverings when outdoors. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are strongly encouraged to wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact with other people.
- Any essential visitors or vendors in the building will be required to wear a face covering on campus.
- All students (regardless of age or vaccination status) will be required to wear a face covering when riding the bus.
- The following do not comply with the requirement for face coverings:
- Halloween or plastic masks.
- Ski masks with holes for the nose or mouth.
- Masks that have a one-way valve designed for easier breathing (the valves are often a raised plastic disk about the size of a quarter, on the front or side of the mask). Holes or one-way valves allow droplets out of the mask, putting others nearby at risk.
Students will be provided with a cloth face covering but may also bring their own. A limited supply of disposable masks will be available. School nurses will work with the parents of students that have a health condition which prevents them from wearing a face covering. In addition, we understand that some students with disabilities may not be able to wear face coverings for disability-related reasons. With that in mind, IEP teams, parents, and school nurses will work together to determine reasonable accommodations. Students should not share their face coverings with others, and all face coverings should be appropriate and meet behavior guidelines for dress code.
Vaccinations or Negative Tests for Visitors, Vendors and Volunteers
Any visitors, vendors or volunteers who will be interacting with Clayton students in our schools will be required to show printed or digital proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test administered by a healthcare professional within the last 48 hours.
Schools will work to maximize the physical distance between students throughout the school day. The CDC recommends a minimum distance of three feet in a PK-12 education setting. When three feet is not possible, additional layers of prevention such as face coverings and/or plexiglass barriers will be used to minimize risk of exposure.
For the start of the school year, lunch will be approached differently at the elementary and secondary levels. During lunch times, students will be asked to wear face coverings when not actively eating or drinking.
- PK-5 Students will continue to eat lunch in their classrooms (similar to last school year); pre-packaged, individual items will be available from the cafeteria
- WMS and CHS Students will return to normal lunch service in their respective areas (the commons at CHS and Main Street at WMS); Lunch options/choice items will be available in each cafeteria.
Another school year in the midst of a pandemic brings challenges, opportunities and last-minute changes, requiring patience and flexibility. As changes arise, Clayton will communicate using its automated system for phone calls, emails and texts. Please make sure your contact information is up to date in PowerSchool, as well as your emergency contacts, and watch for updates to ensure you stay informed.
- Positive Cases - (revised as of 09/17/2021) Positive cases will be logged and tracked (by school) on the District’s data dashboard. When an elementary or Family Center student has been at school during their infectious period, we will send an all-school email to parents and staff.
- Identified Close Contacts - Students and staff who are identified as close contacts (even if they are not required to quarantine) will be notified via email and phone call of the need to quarantine and/or monitor for symptoms.
Quarantine guidance has changed and will continue to evolve over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Current guidelines are as follows:
- Vaccinated Individuals - Vaccinated individuals who have no symptoms do not need to quarantine when identified as a close contact and must instead monitor for symptoms and take appropriate actions if they develop any symptoms of COVID-19.
- Unvaccinated Students - If both students (the positive individual and the close contact) are fully and correctly masked, and other mitigation strategies are in place, identified close contacts will not have to quarantine and must instead monitor for symptoms and take appropriate actions if they develop any symptoms of COVID-19.
- Unvaccinated Staff - Unvaccinated staff identified as a close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period; with or without a mask) will be required to quarantine for 10 days.
The District maintains a COVID-19 Data Dashboard on its website. The Dashboard, which is updated on Friday mornings, tracks active and cumulative cases of COVID-19 by building as well as vaccinations rates in the District and school-aged case rates in St. Louis County.
Continuity of Instruction
The District will work to support the learning of students who are quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19. With the expansion of eligibility for vaccines, we expect the number of students who actually need to be quarantined to continue to decline throughout the 2021-2022 school year.
Vaccinations for Students and Staff
Through a partnership with Medley Pharmacy, the District has held first and second-dose vaccination clinics for all staff, students ages 16 and up and students ages 12-15. The District plans to offer additional vaccination clinics (which will also be open to all eligible students and staff) for students 12 and under as soon as they are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Cleaning/Maintenance/Indoor Air Quality
Schools will follow cleaning procedures recommended by the CDC, using EPA-registered disinfectants. Electrostatic sprayers are used to spread disinfectant on surfaces and in hard-to-reach spaces. Frequently touched surfaces are being cleaned multiple times during the day.
The HVAC systems in each of the District’s schools are designed to maximize outdoor air intake (fresh air) in each building while also managing temperature and humidity as too much of either one can promote the growth of mold and mildew and make the building and its occupants uncomfortable.
In addition to the filtering systems already in place, the District has installed Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization systems at each school which will further enhance air purification in each building. In addition to significantly reducing the spread of viruses like the flu or common cold, testing has shown this system reduces the airborne amounts of SARS-CoV-2 by more than 99 percent.
Staff will be provided with face coverings and may be provided with other PPE according to their needs and job duties.
Wipes & Sanitizers
Hand sanitizing stations have been added throughout all buildings. Classrooms and offices will have hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes readily available for use on a regular basis throughout the day.
Students will be encouraged to wash their hands often, including when entering classrooms, before lunch, after recess and after any activity outside of the classroom. We will take extra care to give students these opportunities to wash their hands during the school day. In locations where access to soap and water is limited, alcohol-based hand sanitizer will be available. A limited number of students will be allowed in the bathroom at the same time.
Staff and students/families must use self-check measures to monitor their health closely for symptoms of COVID-19. Adults or children who are sick or display symptoms of COVID-19 must stay home to prevent the spread of illness. They must also keep their school office informed.
Students who come to the nurse’s office feeling sick will be sent home. Those with symptoms of COVID-19 will be cared for in a health isolation room separated from other students/staff, using health department protocols and an emergency contact will be called to pick them up immediately. Nurses will have protective gear to use when working with students and the health rooms will be cleaned frequently.
Visitor In Schools
The District will allow visitors during the school day. Visitors must be free from any symptoms of COVID-19 and follow sign-in procedures at each school. All visitors will be required to wear a face covering regardless of their vaccination status.
Signage has been placed throughout the buildings to remind individuals of hand hygiene, proper hand washing, symptoms of COVID-19 and the importance of staying home when sick. Other signs will serve as physical distancing reminders.
Adjusting Events and Activities
Large gatherings such as school assemblies, dances and events may be restructured, rescheduled or canceled, as needed, in order to maintain social distancing guidelines, reduce the risk of exposure and meet capacity limits set by public health orders. Face coverings will be required for all indoor events and strongly encouraged for all outdoor events. Athletics and activities may be adjusted or canceled to comply with changing public health guidance. Field trips will be postponed until further notice.
Social Emotional Learning
The social emotional learning of staff and students is critical during school entry. Some students and staff will return with signs of trauma related to their experiences during this global pandemic. The Office of Student Services will be working with counseling teams, district social workers, and building teams to prepare resources and activities to deepen the social and emotional competencies of our community and create space where staff and students can process, heal, and ultimately build healthy, meaningful connections.