COVID-19 Messages » 2021-22 COVID Precautions

2021-22 COVID Precautions

Those students with a medical condition, mental health condition, or religious beliefs that preclude them from wearing a face mask may request an exemption as required by law. Exemption forms will be available in the front office beginning Monday, August 30th.
Requiring face masks inside the school building will provide an additional layer of protection to our existing COVID mitigation strategies which include:   
Keeping Sick People Out of the Building
 
For 2021-22 GVA-DC will continue to ask that all students and staff complete a daily symptom check (including temperature check) at home before arriving to school. 
Temperature monitoring of students and staff will continue to occur upon arrival using thermal imaging technology. Individuals with elevated readings will be temperature-checked by the nurse or designee. Students or staff with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will be sent home. 
 
Quarantines 
Families will be informed if their child(ren) has been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID. Students or staff members who test positive for COVID, or show symptoms commonly associated with COVID, will be asked to isolate themselves for 10 days. When isolating at home, unvaccinated parents and siblings who are unable to distance themselves from the COVID positive individuals must also isolate themselves.  
 
Under the new guidelines, quarantines of healthy/non-symptomatic students and staff will be discontinued. Therefore, unless your student shows symptoms of COVID-19 they DO NOT need to isolate and can attend school as normal. 
 
Parents choosing to test their asymptomatic student for COVID-19 should do so 5-7 days after the possible exposure.   In addition to testing centers, medical offices, and authorized pharmacies accurate results can be obtained at home using the Binax At-Home rapid COVID-19 test.
 
 
Hand Hygiene
GVA-DC will continue to encourage good hand hygiene, such as reminding students to wash hands after using the restroom, before meals, etc., and provide access to handwashing stations and hand sanitizer.
 
Ventilation
Every classroom and office at GVA-DC is outfitted with a HEPA Filter Air Purifier with UV Light Sanitizer. In addition, GVA-DC’s HVAC system has been upgrading to increase its efficiency. HVAC filters are changed on a monthly basis.  
 
Cleaning and Disinfecting
Day Porters will clean and disinfect high-frequency touchpoints (door handles, stair railings, bottle filling stations…) and restrooms throughout the day. Teachers and staff will continue to have access to disinfectant supplies, including disinfecting spray, to clean high-touch areas within the classroom regularly as needed. Deeper cleaning and disinfecting will occur every evening and on the weekends.
 
Mask Protocols
 
Students will provide their own face coverings. Should students report to school without a face mask or if their face covering becomes wet or soiled, masks will be provided by GVA-DC.  
 
Mask Breaks
Mask breaks are a normal and necessary part of the day. Breaks will be scheduled throughout the day and will be followed by hand washing. Mask breaks will include:
  • When eating or drinking including snack time and lunch
  • During outdoor recess (2-3 x per day) 
  • During PE class (when held outdoors)
  • Other school activities conducted outdoors
 
How to Wear a Mask Correctly
  • Wash your hands before putting on your mask
  • Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
  • Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face
  • Make sure you can breathe easily
  • Do not touch your masks while wearing if the. If you do, they wash your hands before and after with soap and water or sanitize hands (using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol).
  • CDC does not recommend the use of masks or cloth masks for source control if they have an exhalation valve or vent
 
Additional Recommendations
Masks should not be worn if they are wet. A wet mask may make it difficult to breathe.
Students and staff should never share or swap masks.
Students’ masks should be clearly identified with their names or initials, to avoid confusion or swapping. Students’ masks may also be labeled to indicate top/bottom and front/back.
Masks should be washed after every day of use and/or before being used again, or if visibly soiled.
 
GVA-DC has additional masks available for students, teachers, and staff in case a backup mask is needed during the day and to facilitate every day washing of masks.
Once again, I am asking our community to support each other – and “honor different ways of being, acting and believing, even when we don’t agree with it”. Requiring face masks for students is not a simple or straightforward matter. There is significant data to support both sides of the issue. Please know as with all decisions, we made this decision in good faith, keeping the physical and emotional well-being of our kids at the forefront.
 
However, we also recognize that the implementation of this required policy is going to be imperfect. Parents may hear and/or observe students not wearing a mask. Please trust that these students have exemptions and reasons for not doing so.  
 
Thank you again for your support and for partnering with us to provide a world-class K-5 education in a safe, in-person environment that promotes children’s health and well–being.
 
Warmly,
 
Stacy Bush
Principal
Global Village Academy Douglas County
 
With support from the Global Village Academy Board of Directors
Mask Mandate Update
 
Following the email sent out Sunday morning regarding GVA-DC’s decision to opt-out of the Tri-County Health mask mandate, both the Board of Trustees and I have received an overwhelming number of emails on both sides of the issue. Mandating/not mandating masks is a contentious issue and it saddens me to see the division it has created in our community.
 
In response to the many responses we have received, we compiled some points of clarification as well as the data used to inform our decision to not mandate masks and continue to allow individual and parent choice when it comes to masking.
 
Public Health Order in Douglas County
On Thursday, August 19th the Douglas County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution to opt Douglas County out of the Public Health Order (PHO) put in place by Tri-County Health. This means, effectively (according to the county attorney), that there is no enforceable PHO in Douglas County. Schools in Douglas County, including individual charter schools, will continue to have the ability to set their own policies when it comes to masking.
 
Why does GVA-DC not have a mask mandate?
In addition to the data referenced below, it has been our experience that many young children do not wear their masks properly (which can be counterproductive) and we have heard from countless GVA-DC parents that masks were having a significant adverse impact on their children. Last year we witnessed the deterioration of mental health in our children as they navigated masks, cohorts, quarantining, loss of extracurricular activities, and isolation.
 
What data is GVA-DC using to inform decision-making?
We rely on the following data, all of which is published on Tri-County Health’s COVID tracking page.
 
Hospitalization Rate for Children: The current hospitalization rate for children under 18 in Douglas County is 0.33 per 100,000 (this means one child in 300,000 is hospitalized). When the mandates were lifted last May this rate was 0.45.
 
 
We will be carefully monitoring our own COVID data and reporting positive cases to Tri-County Health.
 
We will watch all of this data and adjust our protocols as necessary. We will also continue to keep our community fully informed on the latest information and data, as we did last year. We will notify you if your child is exposed, and we will be keeping/sending sick children home. We will also continue to partner with Tri-County Health as we navigate individual situations.
 
We would like to encourage our community to support each other – and “honor different ways of being, acting and believing, even when we don’t agree with it”. This is not a simple or straightforward matter. We have heard heart-wrenching stories from families on both sides of this issue – from parents concerned about a medically vulnerable child to parents navigating terrifying anxiety and depression in their child. We have a well-educated community full of good people on both sides of this issue who are all trying to protect their children. We know some of you do not agree with this decision and we respect your dissent. However, please know that we made this decision in good faith, keeping the physical and emotional well-being of our kids at the forefront and honoring the rights of each parent to make decisions for their own child.
Thank you again for your support and for partnering with us to provide a world-class K-5 education in a safe, in-person environment that promotes children’s health and well–being.
 
Warmly,
 
Stacy Bush
 
Principal
GVA Douglas County
 
With support from the GVA-DC Board of Directors
 
For more information about masking in schools, check out the latest Frequently Asked Questions released by Tri-County Health

Dear Global Village Academy- Douglas County Families,

With the start of school less than two weeks away, I wanted to reach out regarding new information from the state and Tri-County Health Department and our return to learning plan for this fall.

 You may have seen in the news that the state and Tri-County Health just released COVID guidelines for schools. These recommendations differentiate between communities with high and low vaccination rates. Douglas County has one of the highest vaccination rates (70%) in the state, including among children 12-15 (50%). Additionally, based on the information given to us voluntarily this year, we know the majority of our staff is vaccinated.

 As of late, the state has focused on promoting local control (turning COVID protocols over to the local health departments). During the last DCSD Board of Education meeting, representatives from Tri-County Health discussed their approach, which also focuses on health department suggestions while honoring local control for individual schools.

 With all of that as context, I want to assure you the plan we previously shared and our focus on returning to normalcy this upcoming school year will remain unchanged (details below).

 Face Coverings 

  • Face coverings are not required for any student or staff member. However, masks may be worn by those who feel more comfortable doing so.
  • Face coverings will not be required in any educational space or activity with the exception of field trips requiring the use of buses. Face coverings must be worn by all staff and students (regardless of vaccination status) on buses in alignment with a federal CDC mandate which is currently still in place.
  • Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anyone utilizing public transportation must wear a face covering at all times. This includes school buses. 

 

COVID Immunizations

  • COVID Immunizations are not mandatory for GVA-DC staff or students.  We will continue to provide information to the community about COVID immunization opportunities as a courtesy for those who wish to access the vaccine.

 

Keeping Sick People Out of the Building

  • For 2021-22, GVA-DC will continue to ask that all students and staff complete a daily symptom check (including temperature check) at home before arriving at school. 
  • Temperature monitoring of students and staff will continue to occur upon arrival using thermal imaging technology. Individuals with elevated readings will be temperature-checked by the nurse or designee. Students or staff with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will be sent home. 

 

Quarantines 

  • Families will be informed if their child(ren) has been exposed to someone with COVID.  However, quarantining will not be required for healthy/non-symptomatic students and staff
  • Should a student or staff member test positive for COVID, or show symptoms commonly associated with COVID, they will be asked to isolate for 10 days (including those who are fully vaccinated). The person in isolation may return if they receive a negative COVID test after day 5 of isolation.
  • When isolating at home, unvaccinated parents and siblings who are unable to distance themselves from the COVID positive individual must also isolate themselves.  Contact your primary health provider for additional guidance. 
  • To ensure accurate results, COVID tests must be completed using an approved diagnostic COVID-19 including  PCR, rapid molecular, and antigen tests. Serology tests can check for evidence of past infection or vaccination, but cannot reliably tell if a person currently has COVID-19 so are not considered diagnostic tests.  Testing types are explained further here.

Physical Distancing

  • Physical distancing will no longer be required at GVA-DC including in classrooms, in the cafeteria, and on the playground.

 

Cohorting students

  • Students will no longer be isolated by cohorts throughout the day including in the cafeteria and on the playground.

 

Hand Hygiene

  • GVA-DC will continue to encourage good hand hygiene, such as reminding students to wash hands after using the restroom, before meals, etc., and provide access to handwashing stations and hand sanitizer.

 

Ventilation

  • Every classroom and office at GVA-DC is outfitted with a HEPA Filter Air Purifier with UV Light Sanitizer. In addition, GVA-DC’s HVAC system has been upgrading to increase its efficiency. HVAC filters are changed on a monthly basis.  

 

Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • Day Porters will clean and disinfect high-frequency touchpoints (door handles, stair railings, bottle filling stations…) and restrooms throughout the day. 
  • Teachers and staff will continue to have access to disinfectant supplies, including disinfecting spray, to clean high-touch areas within the classroom regularly as needed. Deeper cleaning and disinfecting will occur every evening and on the weekends.

 

Fridays

  • Fridays will be regular, full days of class with the exception of International Days and other special events. See the school calendar for more information.  

 

In-person Events

  • All in-person events including Meet the Teacher, Back-to-School Night, International Days, Conferences, etc…will be in-person. Face coverings will not be required during these events.

 

Visitors and Volunteers

  • Volunteers and visitors will be permitted in schools as they were pre-COVID. Face coverings will not be required for visitors, however, they may wear one if they are more comfortable doing so.

At GVA-DC we are committed to providing world-class K-5 education in a safe, in-person environment that promotes children’s health and well–being.

 

Following are revisions to our COVID-related policies based on the most recent recommendations from Douglas County School District and Tri-County Health.

 
Health and Safety
 
Face Coverings
Face coverings are not required for any student or staff member. However, masks may be worn by those who feel more comfortable doing so.
 
Face coverings will not be required in any educational space or activity with the exception of field trips requiring the use of buses. Face coverings must be worn by all staff and students (regardless of vaccination status) on buses in alignment with a federal CDC mandate which is currently still in place.
COVID Immunizations
COVID Immunizations are not mandatory for GVA-DC staff or students.  We will continue to provide information to the community about COVID immunization opportunities as a courtesy for those who wish to access the vaccine.
 
Keeping Sick People Out of the Building
For 2021-22 GVA-DC will continue to ask that all students and staff complete a daily symptom check (including temperature check) at home before arriving to school. Symptoms of COVID-19 include:
  • Fever of 100*f or higher
  • Cough, chest tightness, difficulty breathing
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Fatigue
Temperature monitoring of students and staff will continue to occur upon arrival using thermal imaging technology. Individuals with elevated readings will be temperature-checked by the nurse or designee. Students or staff with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will be sent home.
 

Quarantines

  • Quarantines of healthy/non-symptomatic students and staff will be discontinued following a routine classroom exposure to a COVID-positive student/staff.
  • Quarantines of exposed staff/students will be required if the school has an identified COVID outbreak or if a COVID-positive staff/student participated in an activity outside of the typical classroom setting.

Isolation

  • Should a student or staff member test positive for COVID, or show symptoms commonly associated with COVID after known exposure to someone with COVID, they will be asked to isolate for 10 days.
 
Physical Distancing
  • Physical distancing will no longer be required at GVA-DC including in classrooms, in the cafeteria, and on the playground.
Cohorting Students
  • Students will no longer be isolated by cohorts throughout the day including in the cafeteria and on the playground.
Hand Hygiene
  • GVA-DC will continue to encourage good hand hygiene, such as reminding students to wash hands after using the restroom, before meals, etc., and provide access to handwashing stations and hand sanitizer.
Ventilation
  • Every classroom and office at GVA-DC is outfitted with a HEPA Filter Air Purifier with UV Light Sanitizer. 
  • In addition, GVA-DC’s HVAC system has been upgrading to increase its efficiency. HVAC filters are changed on a monthly basis. 
Cleaning and Disinfecting
  • Day Porters will clean and disinfect high-frequency touchpoints (door handles, stair railings, bottle filling stations…) and restrooms throughout the day. 
  • Teachers and staff will continue to have access to disinfectant supplies, including disinfecting spray, to clean high-touch areas within the classroom regularly as needed. 
  • Deeper cleaning and disinfecting will occur every evening and on the weekends.
Fridays
  • Fridays will be regular, full days of class with the exception of International Days and other special events. See the school calendar for more information. 
In-person Events
  • All in-person events including Meet the Teacher, Back-to-School Night, International Days, Conferences, etc…will be in-person. 
  • Face coverings will not be required during these events.
Visitors and Volunteers
  • Volunteers and visitors will be permitted in schools as they were pre-COVID.
  • Face coverings will not be required for visitors, however, they may wear one if they are more comfortable doing so.