Health & Safety Measures
The safety of our students and staff is paramount. Precautions are designed around layers of protection, recognizing that multiple layers will mitigate risks in a way that using only one or two measures cannot. Safety measures listed below are based on recommendations of the Kirkwood School District Health Advisory Group and the most updated guidance from the Center for Disease Control, St. Louis County Health Department, and American Academy of Pediatrics. These layers of protection will be in place for any back-to-school scenario that puts students and/or staff on our campuses.
Employees and students who are sick, displaying COVID-19 symptoms, or who have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19 should stay home. We therefore believe it’s important to conduct daily health screenings and temperature checks with all staff before they have contact with others in our schools.
- Students and/or their families will receive daily notices via email or text, asking for temperature and screening information prior to coming to school.
- All staff members, including substitute teachers, will also receive notices and be required to submit screening information prior to coming to work. Staff members will also have their temperature checked each morning as they arrive on campus.
Handwashing & Hand Sanitizers
Regular handwashing and use of hand sanitizers will be essential to our mitigation plan. Wall-mounted sanitizer dispensers will be added to each classroom, with sanitizer stands being added to common areas and near entrance/exit doors.
Use of Masks
All staff and students (K-12) will be expected to wear masks throughout the day. Options for intentional breaks or “mask-free” times will be explored and defined, at times when additional mitigation strategies are not necessary. It will be essential that students wear masks in hallways, on buses, and when physical distancing is difficult.
- KSD will provide all staff members with two cloth masks, with the option for staff to bring/wear their own mask, as well. The District will also purchase a face shield for each staff member.
- KSD will provide two cloth masks to all students (K-12), with the option to bring/wear their own mask. A face shield is also being purchased for every student.
- Surgical masks will be available, on an as-needed basis, if anyone needs additional layers of protection.
- Additional protective resources will be available to school nurses and staff charged with working in close proximity to students with more significant needs.
Gaiters, bandanas, and balaclavas are not acceptable.
Cohorting of Students, When Feasible
The CDC recommends student and staff groupings be as static as possible, with limited commingling across classroom groups. Recommendations suggest cohorting all day for young children - the same class with the same teacher - and as much as possible for older children. Cohorting students will also assist with contact tracing, in the event of a positive test, and help minimize or contain the need for mandatory quarantines.
Elementary students will remain in their classroom and with their class cohort group as much as possible. Art, music, and library lessons will be provided by these teachers in students’ classrooms, minimizing the need for cohorts to travel. Elementary students will eat in their classrooms, with grab-n-go meals typically brought to those who purchase school breakfast and/or lunch. Students will go outside for recess and physical education, when possible. Efforts to keep students in cohort groups are important to minimize possible transmission and aid in possible contract tracing, if needed.
Middle and high school students will change courses and follow a regular or blocked school schedule. Solutions for lunch are still being considered. Physical distancing, to the best extent possible, will still be necessary at lunch.
Physical distancing will be encouraged throughout the day, with classrooms engineered to allow for as much spacing and protection between students as possible. Furniture will be limited in classrooms to provide for additional spacing, where necessary. Teachers will also be encouraged to take students outside for learning, when possible, while still following appropriate distancing guidelines.
As an added layer of protection, the District is purchasing barrier shields to assist students with distancing and provide protection if temporary "mask breaks" are needed. Because these shields are mobile, they can be transported to other classrooms, as appropriate, and will provide valuable protection during lunch when masks are not possible.
Guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics and World Health Organization suggest that physical distancing of three feet will approach the benefits of six feet of spacing, if individuals are wearing masks and are asymptomatic. This recommendation was supported by members of KSD’s Health Advisory Group and a recent study published by The Lancet (2020).
Cleaning & Disinfection
Custodial staff will work closely with district leadership to adhere to the most current CDC/EPA cleaning and disinfecting guidelines. Cleaning protocols require the use of disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting. Custodians will clean surfaces using soap and water, followed by use of a disinfectant. Frequently touched surfaces will be scheduled for routine cleaning. These high-touch surfaces and objects in public places include but are not limited to tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.