• COVID-19 Health and Safety

    Starting April 4, 2022, the District will transition to a mask-recommended environment for all K-12 students, staff and visitors in our buildings. All buildings will remain mask-recommended as long as the COVID-19 positivity rate (of total students and staff in a given school/building) remains below 1.5 percent. 

    • Pre-K/Early Childhood Programs Excluded - Students and staff at the Family Center (including the Blue/Orange rooms at CHS) will continue to wear face coverings indoors until our early childhood students have access to the COVID-19 vaccine and have had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated. Starting April 4 we will allow our early childhood students and staff to remove their masks when they are outdoors.
    • Building-Specific Thresholds for Mask-Recommended - In order to maintain a mask-recommended environment, the percentage of students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 in a school/building must be less than 1.5 percent of that building’s total student/staff population. If a building’s positivity rate exceeds 1.5 percent for three consecutive days, they will return to universal masking for a period of two weeks. Buildings will regain mask-recommended status when their total positivity rate drops below 1.5 percent for three consecutive days. Thresholds for each school are as follows:

    • Masks Still Mandatory Following Quarantine/Exclusion - Under the current guidelines, students and staff returning from quarantine after five days will be required to wear a mask until their quarantine period is complete. Our school nurses will help schools monitor anyone in this specific situation. 
    • Masks may still be required in certain classrooms or areas of a building depending upon the health and safety needs of individual students or staff members. The District will communicate with any affected students or staff should there be any specific instances where we need to maintain universal masking.
    • Visitors or vendors will follow the same mask-recommended guidance for each school/building. See below for additional visitor/vendor requirements. 
    • Per the Feb. 2022 CDC guidance, students and staff will no longer be required to wear a mask 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

    • District Employees - On 10/27/2021, the Board of Education approved a resolution that requires all District staff to provide documentation that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or participate in a weekly testing program. Unvaccinated staff will have the option to be tested weekly at their building by a member of the District’s Health Services staff or to provide, on a weekly basis, a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test administered by a healthcare professional of their choice within the last 48 hours.
    • 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.

    Social Distancing
    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. 

    Lunch/Food Service
    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 - Positive cases will be logged and tracked (by school) on the District’s data dashboard. 
    • 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.

    Exclusion from School
    Guidance has changed and will continue to evolve over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Current guidelines are as follows:

    • Positive COVID-19 Cases - A student (K-12 students only) or staff member who tests positive will need to stay at home for a minimum of five days. PK (Family Center) students will remain under the original 10-day period for isolation or exclusion. On day 6 (or thereafter), if they have NO symptoms or their symptoms are resolving, they can return to school if all of the following apply:
      • They have been fever-free for at least 24 hours without using any fever-reducing medication. If they have a fever, they must continue to stay home until the fever resolves.
      • They do not have a runny nose.
      • They have no more than a minimal, non-productive cough (i.e., not disruptive; not coughing up phlegm).
      • Students and staff should continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in school/public through day 10, regardless of when they end their 5-day isolation period. As testing remains a key mitigation strategy, we encourage antigen (rapid test) testing on day 5 or shortly thereafter. 

    • Close Contacts/Exposure to COVID-19 Cases - In certain situations, close contacts who are not fully vaccinated will be excluded from school/work for a minimum of five days. This only applies to students in grades K-12. PK (Family Center) students will remain under the original 10-day period for isolation or exclusion. The following applies to K-12 students who are excluded from school for exposure to COVID-19:
      • If they develop symptoms:
        • They should get tested immediately and isolate at home until they receive their test results. (If you are exposed and symptomatic, health officials recommend getting a PCR test instead of a rapid test.) 
        • If they test positive, they must follow isolation recommendations listed above. 
      • If they do not develop symptoms, they may return to school on day 6. 
        • Students and staff should continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in school/public for five additional days (day 6 through day 10) after the end of their five-day exclusion period. As testing remains a key mitigation strategy, we encourage testing on day 5 or shortly thereafter. 
      • In most cases, students and staff who are close contacts with someone during the school day, but do not have symptoms, will be allowed to remain at school under our current guidelines.

    Data Dashboard
    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 vaccination 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 and students ages five and up. 

    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.

    Protective Supplies
    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.

    Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette
    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. See related health protocol video.

    Students will also be taught and encouraged to use appropriate respiratory etiquette, such as:

    • Covering a cough or sneeze by coughing and sneezing into a tissue or elbow;
    • Disposing of tissue immediately in a nearby receptacle; and
    • Washing/cleaning of hands and nearby surfaces.

    Health Checks
    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.

    Sick Students
    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. 

    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. 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.