Grayson Co. Schools release comprehensive COVID-19 Operations Plan

Grayson County Schools has released its comprehensive COVID-19 Operations Plan.

On Tuesday, the Board of Education voted to implement a mask mandate for all students and teachers of Grayson County Schools, as well as visitors, after the Kentucky General Assembly placed the responsibility for masking decisions with local districts.

As of Thursday evening at 5:30, 82 percent (140) of Kentucky’s 171 school districts have voted to implement a mask mandate, according to the Kentucky School Boards Association.

The Grayson County Schools COVID-19 Operations Plan:

Grayson County Schools’ primary goal for the 2021-22 school year is to provide a full-week, in-person learning environment for all students and staff in the safest possible manner.

Face Masks

Face masks will be required for all students, staff, and visitors while in our buildings unless otherwise exempt (ex: cannot wear a mask due to disability, actively engaged in physical exercise, preschool naptime, etc.), regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.

This follows recommendations and guidance from the Kentucky Department of Public Health, CDC, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Face coverings are required on all school transportation by Public Health Order of the CDC.

The district will continue to monitor both the school and local community health climate and revisit this decision when safely feasible.

Quarantines

Universal masking, along with a multi-layered prevention approach may provide options to reduce quarantines for students within the classroom setting. The district will explore such options to the extent that they are safe and feasible for both students and staff, however, at this time:

  • Students will be required to quarantine only if they are deemed to have been less than 3 feet from an identified positive for the cumulative 15 minutes in a 24-hour period – OR – were unmasked during an exposure of 6 feet or less for the cumulative time of 15 minutes in a 24-hour period.
  • Students who have been 3 feet or greater in distance from an identified positive will not be quarantined IF both the positive individual and the student were wearing properly fitting masks.

Unvaccinated students, teachers, or staff who are identified as close contacts should be instructed to self-quarantine regardless of whether the exposure occurred within or outside of the school setting. Quarantine may be discontinued when the local public health department determines the individual is safe to be around others, or:

  • After day 7 – if the individual is symptom-free and receives a negative COVID-19 test on day 7 after the last date of exposure to the case, they may return on day 8.
  • After day 10 without testing if the individual is symptom-free.

Fully-vaccinated** persons do not need to quarantine following an exposure to a person diagnosed with COVID-19 if not experiencing symptoms, but are recommended to be tested 3-5 days after an exposure.

** >14 days have passed since receipt of the J&J vaccine or the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

Physical distancing will be practiced to the greatest extent feasible, to further reduce exposure and potential quarantines. In settings where distancing may not be possible, such as on a school bus, in a cafeteria, preschool classrooms, other common areas, or close contact activities such as extracurriculars, contact tracing with potential close contact quarantines will continue.

Students who are quarantined from school will participate in remote learning. These absences will be excused.

Students and staff should engage in daily symptom screening before leaving home. Any individual with a temperature greater than 100.4 and/or exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or living in a household with someone exhibiting symptoms needs to stay home and complete remote learning.

Test to Stay Program

The district is exploring a relationship with a testing provider to determine if a voluntary Test to Stay program is a viable option as an alternative to quarantines. This would offer students and staff the option of voluntarily taking a rapid antigen COVID-19 test each morning for five consecutive days in order to potentially eliminate the need to quarantine. Those who chose to participate in this voluntary program and test negative would be able to attend school/work that day.

The Kentucky Department of Public Health will provide the framework for this type of program. A district decision on implementation will be made following review of that plan.

Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) Days

The Kentucky General Assembly provides public school districts up to 10 NTI days annually. These days can only be utilized when the district closes all schools in the district, and prior to COVID-19 were primarily reserved for weather-related or other emergency days. NTI Days can be utilized for COVID-19 related reasons if the district needs to close all schools. An NTI decision will be communicated clearly to all students, parents/guardians, staff, and community members through a variety of channels

Remote Learning Days

The Kentucky General Assembly has provided public school districts up to 20 COVID-related remote learning days to be utilized during the 2021-22 school year at the classroom, grade, or school level. The superintendent may temporarily assign students to remote instruction in order to alleviate student and staff absences due to COVID-19. On designated remote learning days, students may utilize the Google Classroom platform to complete school work and may be asked to participate in Google Meets with teachers and classmates.

Amendments to Plan

The superintendent shall have the authority to amend this plan at any time based upon the health conditions that exist.

By Grayson County Schools and Ken Howlett, News Director