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Health & Safety Protocols

Last Updated: 3/17/2021 6:08 PM

Multi Layerd Approach Graphic A multi-layered approach utilizes many different recommended safety strategies to prevent infection from a virus. Each strategy or layer on its own will not necessarily stop the virus from spreading, but by using each layer in conjunction with one another, the chance of being exposed is much reduced.

Changes in Quarantine Procedures for Exposed Students, Employees (3/15/2021)
On March 15, 2021, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) revised orders related to student and employee quarantine procedures. See below for both current and updated orders. 

CURRENT (Remains in Place)
Students and adults in K-12 schools may continue to attend in-person school and extracurricular activities IF the following conditions are met:

  1. The school documented and implemented COVID-19 prevention policies that include universal masking, physical distancing, handwashing, monitoring students with COVID-19 symptoms, and cleaning and disinfecting protocols. 
  2. Exposure occurs within a classroom environment, with above procedures in place. (If an individual is exposed outside of the classroom setting, he/she is not permitted to attend school or participate in extracurricular activities during the quarantine period).
  3. The individual with COVID-19 and any associated contacts were wearing face masks that covered his/her nose and mouth at all times.
    a.  During lunch (when masks are off) students must have been at least six feet apart.

If an individual was exposed in the classroom with the above precautions in place, he/she is permitted to continue to attend school AND participate in extracurricular activities.

Students who are not required to quarantine due to exposure occurring in a classroom setting, under the school-based exposure guidance, are now permitted to participate in organized sports activities and extracurricular activities, as long as they remain symptom free and follow applicable guidance.

Students or employees who have been placed in quarantine may consider the following to end quarantine:

  • 10 days without testing; OR
  • 7 days after receiving a negative test result (test results MUST occur on Day 5 or later). 

Please note, the timeline changes if an individual develops COVID-19 symptoms OR tests positive for COVID-19. 

New Guidance on Quarantining (1/7/2021)
On January 7, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) issued new guidance to school districts regarding student and staff quarantine protocols. The change in guidance was supported by recent studies and pilot evaluations from Ohio schools where data indicated, “… the risk of COVID-19 transmission in school was limited, with strict adherence to prevention measures in a monitored environment.” The evidence suggested that while thousands of students/staff were quarantined as a result of possible COVID-19 exposure in the classroom, very few of those individuals ultimately tested positive from that same classroom exposure. 

As a result, updated guidance now specifies that students and staff (who were exposed in a classroom or school bus setting) may continue to attend school in-person during the quarantine period, if they remain symptom free. However, during this modified quarantine period, students and staff are required to remain in quarantine for everything else outside of school, including extracurricular activities and athletics. The following conditions must also be met:  

  1. The school has documented and implemented COVID-19 prevention policies that include: universal mask wearing; physical distancing of at least 3 ft.; frequent hand-washing procedures; identification and management of students exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms; and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection protocols.
  2. The exposure occurred within a classroom environment (or school bus) with adherence to the above prevention steps. [*Note: Students or staff exposed outside of the classroom or school bus setting will result in a 10-day, out-of-school quarantine and a 14-day quarantine from athletic participation for student athletes, per OHSAA].
  3. The person with COVID-19 and any associated contacts were wearing face masks that covered their nose and mouth at all times and physical distancing of at least 3 ft. was maintained in the classroom/school bus. [*Note: Students and staff must maintain at least 6 ft. of physical distancing during lunch when masks are off].

The above guidance applies to CLASSROOM/SCHOOL BUS exposures only. Students may not attend school if they are exposed to COVID-19 outside the classroom/school bus. [Exposure during interactions with family and friends, parties, sleepovers, or sports/ extracurricular activities, regardless of mask use during those activities].

In Conclusion
If your student was exposed in a classroom/school bus setting (and the above prevention steps were in place), he/she will be permitted to continue to attend school; however, your child will not be permitted to participate in/attend any extracurricular activities until the quarantine period has ended.

  • If your student’s classroom exposure was 6 ft. or beyond: No restrictions.
  • If your student’s classroom exposure was within 3-6 ft.: May attend class, should closely monitor for symptoms but no extracurricular activity participation for 14 days. 
  • If your student’s classroom exposure was less than 3 ft.: At-home quarantine for 10 days and must be symptom-free to return to school. 

The district will continue to conduct contact tracing, reporting and notifying parents and staff of positive cases and close contacts. A positive case may return to in-person instruction after 10 days from symptom onset, if they are symptom free.

Thank you for your patience, flexibility and understanding as we continue to adjust our processes to align with the most recent information from the Ohio Department of Health and the Medina County Health Department. Please contact your child’s school office with any questions you may have.

MCHD COVID-19 Protocols
The Medina County Health Department released its return to school COVID-19 guidance and protocols on August 20, 2020. The Highland Schools has prepared a list of frequently asked questions for your review.  FAQ on Health Protocols

The district has received several questions as it relates to COVID-19 protocols. In an effort to answer some of these questions, we offer the following information.

  • Q.  Who is considered a direct contact/close contact to someone with COVID-19?
  • A.  A direct contact/close contact is anyone who was within 6 ft. of an infected person for 15 minutes or longer. *An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting 48 hours (2 days) before the person has any symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19.
  • Q.  When will the school district contact you?
  • A.  There are three types of contacts the district may make with a family.
  1. Close Contact Call: This will be a direct call from the school that notifies a parent that their student meets the definition of being a close contact to a person with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. The call will confirm that your student may have been exposed; we have submitted their name to the health department for contact tracing; your student will most likely be required to quarantine; and your student may not return to school until released from quarantine.
  2. General Classroom Notification: Parents will receive an email from the school that states their student is in the same classroom as a student or staff member who has tested positive, but was not determined to be a close contact based on the district’s contact tracing.
  3. District Notification: The district will send a notification (Eblast) to all Highland parents when there is a positive case in any of our schools.
  • Q.  Can I test out of quarantine?
  • A.  No. Test results, whether negative viral test or positive antibody test, cannot shorten the 14-day quarantine period. This is important, because symptoms can appear up to 14 days after exposure.

We Need Your Continued Assistance
In order to keep all of our students and staff as safe as possible, we ask families to do the following:

  • If your child or anyone in your household has a confirmed positive COVID-19 test result, please do not send your child to school.
  • If your child or anyone in your household is awaiting COVID-19 test results, please do not send your child to school.
  • If your child is experiencing any COVID-like symptoms, please err on the side of caution and do not send your child to school.
  • If your child has been quarantined by the school district or the Medina County Health Department, please do not send your child to school prior to being released from quarantine.

Please note: To return to school after testing positive, a student must be transported to school by a parent and must be confirmed fever-free by the school nurse before eligible for school and transportation.

Health Check ImageHealth Screening Protocols / Clinics
Every day before leaving home all students and staff are required to check for the following symptoms as part of a health screening. If individuals present any of these symptoms, they are required to stay home: 

  • Take temperature (100.0 or higher)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Muscle Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose

Each of our school buildings will have divided health clinic locations.

  • One clinic or location will be designated for student medication distribution, chronic health condition services and injuries
  • A second clinic or location will be designated for students displaying COVID symptoms (cough, fever, etc.)
  • Additional nursing services will be contracted through PSI

Download Flyer: Helpful Checklist For Parents

Facemasks (Cloth Covering)
Mounting scientific evidence shows that facemasks play an important role in reducing COVID-19 virus transmission by preventing an infected person from emitting infectious virus particles. Wearing a mask may also offer an additional barrier of protection for those not infected or asymptomatic and ultimately impedes virus movement. Our goal must be to take steps that are protective of each other while reducing risk of infection to the extent possible within our school setting. Face coverings will help protect the vulnerable and may help to keep our schools open.

Therefore, the Highland Schools will require facemasks for students and staff.

  • Masks will be worn on buses, entering and exiting the buildings, in hallways and classrooms
  • Mask breaks will be scheduled throughout the day
  • Masks will not be worn during lunch or outdoor recess
  • Exceptions regarding facemasks for medical reasons will be reviewed by the Office of Pupil Services

Cloth face coverings/masks should:

  • Fully cover the mouth, nose and chin;
  • Fit snugly against the side of the face so there are no gaps;
  • Be held securely through either a tie or elastic ear loops to prevent slipping.

Full or partial face shields, gaiters, open-chin triangle bandanas, mesh material, masks with valves and masks designed to be worn for costume purposes are not acceptable.

AAP GraphicPhysical Distancing
The Ohio Department of Health’s guidance to schools is to provide 6 feet of distance when possible and encourage added layers of protection, such as facemasks, when 6 feet is not possible. This is the standard all schools are being held to within Medina County and the same requirement of businesses.

Additionally, the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics, suggests that spacing as close as 3 feet may approach the benefits of 6 feet of space, particularly if students are wearing face coverings and are asymptomatic. Highland can accommodate 3 feet physical distancing in classrooms and will follow the 6 feet recommendation outside of the classroom to the extent possible.

  • Student desks will be separated in classrooms
    • A minimum of 3 feet physical distancing, to the extent possible
    • All desks facing same direction

Additional District Protocols

  • Increased hand washing and sanitizing
    • Additional portable hand washing stations have been ordered for each school to assist with more frequent hand washing
    • Hand sanitizer stations at all entrances, hallways throughout buildings and each classroom
  • Enhanced disinfecting of schools and high touch surfaces throughout the day (Classrooms, common areas, restrooms)
  • Sharing of classroom materials will be minimized
  • Installation of water bottle filling stations in lieu of water fountains
  • Physical distancing reminder signage in all buildings
  • Specific school entrances/exits may be assigned
  • One-way hallways/stairwells where possible
  • Cafeteria “zoning” and staggered arrival to lunch
    • Students consistently assigned to a particular area to assist with contact tracing, if necessary
    • Use of gyms, auxiliary spaces and outdoor spaces to provide additional spacing at lunchtime
    • Staggered times help to avoid standing in long lines
    • Lunches designed and available as “grab and go”
  • Use of lockers restricted/unavailable
  • Visitors restricted to the main office area; facemasks required
  • No indoor assemblies/large group gatherings until further notice
  • Increased use of outdoor learning spaces (weather permitting)
  • No extended or overnight trips until further notice
  • Latchkey programs will operate following all building health and safety protocols during in-person and hybrid learning
  • Athletic participation and contests held in accordance with OHSAA guidelines

Transportation Safety

  • Facemasks required for students and staff
  • Two students per seat on buses, when possible (3 family members may be assigned together)
  • Use of assigned seats will assist with contact tracing, if necessary
  • Students will load from back to front and exit front to back
  • Open windows (weather permitting) to increase ventilation
  • Buses will be disinfected daily
  • Parents who are willing to drive their students to school will assist in lowering the overall number of student riders, thereby increasing physical distancing