Re-Opening at OLA
The following outlines the school's updated policies and procedures for when we can resume-in-person instruction from the county.
Last Updated: 10/23/2020
The following is a detailed list and description of policies and procedures that are being put into place at Our Lady of the Assumption School to adhere to the guidelines issued by the state and local county public health officials, as well as those put forth by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Department of Catholic Schools (DCS). The Department of Catholic Schools has issued guidelines to modify our school environment and procedures to meet the directive set forth by the state and local officials. We are currently working to make the necessary adjustment at our school by following the guidelines, so we are able to safely pursue on-campus instruction. We are currently planning to apply for the waiver to open for in-persons full-time instruction. Five days a week for our Kindergarten to 6th-grade students (resuming in-class instruction for grades 7 & 8 are subject to watch list removal.) Due to the fluidity of the pandemic situation, this is a living document. These policies and procedures will continually be assessed in action and modified as needed. Upon their return, teachers and staff will be trained on all our new procedures, as well as recognizing symptoms of student illness.
We believe the benefits of being in-person instruction at school support the social, emotional, physical, spiritual, and academic development of our students. We also understand the situation can change daily and will continue to monitor and make necessary adjustments for the safety and well-being of all students and our families. Please know that students and families who do not wish to return to in-person instruction at this time will still be able to participate in remote/distance learning.
It cannot be stressed enough that our ability to come back to in-person instruction at Our Lady of the Assumption School is dependent upon all our families being diligent and complying not only with these guidelines, but also with state and local mandates currently in effect while outside of school, including following social distancing restrictions, hand-washing, going out only for essential business, and wearing a face-covering when in public. We must continue to collaborate and help slow the spread of COVID-19. Parents must also closely monitor their students at home for any signs of illness and keep them home.
Grades 7 & Grade 8 Return to Campus
When the County allows for the return of Grades 7 & 8 to campus. These two groups will be governed by guidelines detailed in this waiver. These grades will be their own individual cohorts - they will learn, recess, and lunch together. We have specific lunch/recess areas for these two groups of students to have recess and lunch socially distanced at least 6 feet apart. They will be about to have lunch outside. In the classrooms their numbers allow their desks to be at least 6 feet apart. They have been added to our hygiene routine. They have already been incorporated into our Morning Drop Off Sign-Up Genius and pick-up routine. We foresee integrating our 7th and 8th-grade students seamlessly back into our school community.
- Our Lady of the Assumption School is a closed campus for everyone's safety. Visitors will only be allowed access through the front gate if they are wearing a mask and have a stated purpose to be on campus.
- We encourage parents to use email and phone to communicate with the school office. Visitors should only come into the school office if absolutely necessary.
- Faculty/staff/parents/school visitors are required to wear face coverings (masks) at all times on campus.
- Students in grades TK-8 will be required to use face coverings (shields & masks).
- Teachers will wear plastic face shields in addition to the face coverings (masks).
- Masks worn by both teaches and students shall be checked for proper fit each day during the health screenings and those whose masks are deemed to not be following the CDPH guidelines shall be offered a disposable mask to wear or shall be asked to leave campus if they do not wish to wear a mask provided by the school.
- Face coverings are most essential in settings where physical distancing cannot easily be maintained.
- To be clear, face coverings are not a replacement for physical distancing, but they should be used to mitigate virus spread when physical distancing is not feasible.
Morning Drop Off
- Morning drop-off all parents will enter the school off of Dunning.
- Families will use Sign-Up Genius to schedule their drop-off time. The scheduled times will be 7:30 am, 7:45 am, 8:00 am, and 8:15 am.
- When pulling up to the drop-off location, parents and students will be asked a few brief health screening questions by a school representative.
- Once questions are finished, students will step out of the car for a temperature check (must be below 99.5 degrees)
- Once students are cleared, they may then proceed into the school campus directly to their assigned classroom, and parents may continue to the parking lot exit.
- If a student does not pass the health screening questions or the temperature check, they are not permitted to enter campus and must return home to Distance Learning for the day.
Note: Staff and students will also be monitored throughout the day for signs of illness. Those that have a fever or show other symptoms will be sent home. The school has also created additional space to isolate students and/or staff who display potential symptoms for COVID-19.
The procedure OLA will use for afternoon pickup will be our Rainy Day procedure. Student families will be called from their classrooms. The students will proceed from the school directly to their parent cars. Students that walk home will be dismissed first. No students will be allowed to wait in front of the Church for pick-up. Due to social distancing and no gathering in a public place.
Daily Temperature Checks
- Temperatures will be checked daily for staff and students.
- Each classroom will have a non-contact thermometer.
- Staff members must check their temperature at the beginning of their workday.
- Parent access to the school building will be limited. However, if a parent will be visiting a classroom, they must have their temperature checked in the school office and are required to wear a face covering.
- Anyone with a temperature of 99.5 or higher may not remain at school.
- Parents are highly encouraged to check their students' temperature before leaving home each morning.
On our website olaventrua.org there is a COVID-19 Health Screening Survey button. That parent, students, and staff are to use daily. Students and parents will also be questioned with the survey questions and temperature taken as they drop-off for school.
- Parents are required to monitor their children closely and not bring them to school if the answer to any of the following questions is yes:
- Do you live with anyone or have had close contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with Covid-19 within the past 14 days?
- Do you or anyone in your household have fever, chills, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, and or diarrhea?
- Do you or your children have any other signs of communicable illness such as a cold or flu?
- Has your child received any fever-reducing medications (Tylenol or Motrin) in the last 24 hours?
- Physical distance in the classroom between each student desk will be at least 6 ft apart. All extra tables, chairs, furniture, etc will be removed from the classroom so that desks can be spread out as much as possible. Barriers between desks will be installed as needed.
- All desks have been socially distanced based on both DCD and DCS recommended guidelines.
- Grade levels will be their own individual cohort. This will help with contact tracing and minimize contact.
- Middle School teachers will rotate classrooms instead of students.
- All students will remain in their designated class throughout the day with the teachers rotating among the classes. Students will remain with their class and will avoid contact with other groups.
- We will minimize contact at school between students, staff, families, and the community during morning drop off and afternoon pick up.
- All Staff meetings, professional development training, and education, and other activities involving staff, with physical distancing measures in place, or virtually, where physical distancing is a challenge.
Currently, the CDPH recommends that travel be limited to needed travel only and that individuals who travel monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days after returning from travel, they can return to school/work. At this time, CDPH does not require a quarantine unless the travel was to an area with a wide community spread. Please check the areas cases you are planning to travel to in the last 7 days. If the areas are high-risk areas, a plan to quarantine at home quarantine is required and your child(ren) will be able to Live Stream. As a school, I am asking our community to practice safety as you travel this holiday season.
During your trip, take steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19:
- Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when in public settings, including on public transportation and in transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
- Avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet apart (about 2 arms’ length) from anyone who is not from your household.
- Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
- Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Lunches and Recess Breaks
- Choice lunch has modified food distribution to reduce the touching of lunch items. Choice Lunch is available Monday through Friday (Not on noon dismissal days)
- The school has eliminated the Friday pizza lunch.
- Parents are strongly encouraged to either pack a lunch for their child and send it with them or order through Choice Lunch.
- Students will eat outside in their classroom cohorts. Each group of students will have designated areas for lunch and play.
- Students will have recess breaks in their classroom cohorts. Classroom aides will observe outside lunch and play to ensure cohorts remain intact. Teachers will take their classes out for their nutrition breaks. Each cohort has its own designated space.
- Lunches should only be dropped off in an emergency. The emergency lunch should be dropped off and placed on the cart outside the office door at least 15 minutes before the start of lunch. Parents may not wait around and hand the lunches to students.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
- Teachers and Staff will clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in their classrooms.
- Students will be taught to clean their desks in the classroom each day and teachers will supervise the daily cleaning protocols.
- Classrooms, restrooms will be cleaned each day with approved disinfectants.
- High touched surfaces such as doorknobs as well as shared objects will be disinfected throughout the day.
- Classroom desks and chairs will be disinfected at the end of the day.
- Classroom desks and countertops will be disinfected between grade-level use.
- The school will have a cleaning and disinfecting schedule for classrooms and work areas daily; as well as multiple times a day for high use items and areas.
- Hand Sanitizers are in each classroom. There are free-standing hand sanitizers located at the entryways to the school.
- Students will keep their supplies in personal designated supply boxes. Shared supplies will be kept to a minimum and will be cleaned and disinfected between uses.
- Our Lady of the Assumption will use products approved for use against COVID-19 on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)- approved “N” list and train workers of appropriate use, safety guidelines, and protocols.
- Our Lady will provide proper PPE to custodial staff and other employees who clean and disinfect.
- Teachers will model and reinforce healthy habits and social skills including physical distancing, frequent hand washing, and containing coughs and sneezes.
- Signs are posted in highly visible locations (i.e., at entrances and in restrooms) that promote proper handwashing and other protective measures that describe how to stop the spread of germs.
- Additional handwashing stations are being added to the exterior school site.
- All students will use hand sanitizer or wash their hands when they first come to school.
- Students will have access and be encouraged to wash hands or use hand sanitizer frequently. Teachers will discuss proper handwashing with all students.
- Hand sanitizer will be readily available throughout each building and in each classroom.
- The outside drinking fountains are no longer in service. All staff and students should bring a full water bottle to school each day. Staff and students must not drink directly out of the water fountains.
Identification and Tracing of Contacts
The individuals who will communicate directly with VCPH with questions, concerns, etc. will be the following:
Principal Karen Fussell and Vice-Principal Megan McReynolds will be responsible for contract tracing.
In the Event of an Illness
- If a student feels ill or exhibits symptoms throughout the school day, they will be isolated from the classroom and will stay in the office health room until they are picked up by their parents. The student who is sick will not be allowed back in the classroom. Parents must pick up students as soon as possible, but no longer than 30 minutes after they have been notified. If the student is complaining of or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, the school will provide resources for the family to take a COVID-19 test and consult with their physician. If a student becomes ill during after school care, the same protocol will occur. The student will be isolated away from other students. Parents must pick the student up immediately. If a teacher feels ill or exhibits symptoms throughout the day, he or she will go home immediately, and a member of the office staff will substitute.
- As recommended by the CDC: The area that was visited by the ill person will be closed off. We will open outside doors and windows and use ventilating fans to increase air circulation in the area. We will wait 24 hours or as long as practical before beginning cleaning and disinfection.
Procedure for Symptoms/Exposure/Positive Cases
- Staff, students, or other adults on campus that display potential symptoms of COVID-19 will be isolated and sent home.
- According to the CDC, the key symptoms to look for are a temperature of 99.5 degrees or higher, sore throat, new uncontrolled coughing that causes difficulty breathing, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or new onset of severe headache, especially with a fever. School staff screening individuals who show any of these symptoms will also recommend these individuals get testing for COVID-19.
- Students, staff, and volunteers/visitors who test negative can return to school 3 days after symptoms resolve.
- If a student or staff member has been exposed to someone outside of school who has tested positive for COVID-19, the student or staff member must quarantine at home for two weeks, shifting to distance learning during that time.
- It is expected that if a student or staff member has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, the administration must be informed immediately.
- If someone in the school (staff or student) test positive for COVID-19, their entire cohort must quarantine at home for two weeks, shifting to a whole class distance learning plan.
- All guidelines for informing DCS ( Department of Catholic Schools) and any health department officials will be followed.
- Parents will receive a letter informing them that someone in their child’s cohort has tested positive for COVID-19, however, due to HIPAA regulations, families will not be informed of the identity of that person.
- Students and / or staff members who test positive for COVID-19 will not be able to return to school until they have met CDC criteria to discontinue home isolation, including at least 24 hours with no fever, symptoms have improved and at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared.
Staff Training & Parent Education
The reopening plan for Our Lady of the Assumption School was first published and shared with parents in August 2020 and shared with faculty and parents. The faculty and staff continue to be trained in the details of these reopening plans as we plan for the school year and re-opening for in-person instruction in September 2020. As this plan is updated and modified, all members of the community will be notified and trained accordingly. This plan is a living document and updates appear on our website olaventura.org. The most recent update on September 29, 2020, will be posted on our website and communicated in our weekly newsletter which is emailed to all of our community members. Upon confirmation of a reopening date, a Parent Meeting will be held via zoom in a webinar format the week prior to in-person instruction. In this parent meeting, we will emphasize the role they play in keeping their students safe and our school community safe. The meeting will be held no less than 48 hours prior to instruction beginning. We will go over details of the plan, hear feedback and input as well as answer questions of the school community. We will continue to share all information for our families to ensure we can help to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Before reopening for in-person instruction, we will close school for two to three days for teacher refresher training/training, schedule updates, the transition from Distance Learning to in-person, and classroom set up to reflect current enrollment and current safety guidelines. This training will include site walkthroughs, mock health screenings to prepare for opening, and an overall reviewing of opening procedures. Teacher training will consist of but not limited to actually walking through morning drop off procedures, best practices for safe social distancing while students are in the classroom, procedures for recess and lunch, procedures for washing hands, and what to do if a child or teacher displays symptoms. Teachers and Staff will review and practice the questions to ask anyone coming on campus. These are the questions the CDC has recommended. We will also review the common symptoms to be on the watch for and the procedure for reporting symptoms and confirmed illness.
Parents' education will include emphasizing the importance of the role that parents play in keeping their child safe and our school community safe. We will strongly encourage our Parents/Guardians and caregivers to monitor their children for signs of infectious illness every day. We will emphasize the importance of symptom screening at home can be helpful to determine if a student:
- currently has an infectious illness that could impair their ability to learn, or
- is at risk of transmitting an infectious illness to other students or to school staff.
Specifically, we will address:
- Parents role in modeling wearing masks correctly for their children
- The importance of communicating honestly about the possibility of exposures- emphasis will be put on using the COVID-19 Survey on our website,
- The new procedures for coming on campus
- Morning dropoff
- After school pickup
- Lunch and Recess
- The importance of reporting and the procedure for doing so
- What to do in the case of a possible illness or exposure in their household.
Once open, we will continue to communicate regularly with our families with updates and reminders of health and safety best practices and expectations.
Testing of Staff and Students:
- To ensure the safety of students and staff, surveillance testing will be implemented. The school will facilitate staff testing periodically, as testing capacity permits and is practicable.
- All staff will be tested within 7 days of the first day of school on campus
- The staff will be given a list of local test sites and the administration will follow up with staff to document testing information
- Each staff member will be tested every 2 months.
- When a student or staff exhibits COVID-19 symptoms, the student or staff member will be sent home and testing will be recommended. School employees and students who need testing should either go to their health care provider or a state-operated, or community testing site. The State of California requires all health plans to pay for COVID-19 testing for all essential workers, including school staff.
Triggers for Switching to Distance Learning:
- OLA School shall check State and local order and health department notices daily about transmission in our area or closures and shall adjust operation accordingly.
- When a student, teacher, or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 and has exposed other at the school, the school shall refer to the CDPH Framework for K-12 schools, as well as contact the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Department of Catholic Schools consult with the VCPH Liaison to determine whether to close the school or to clean and quarantine exposed persons, based on the risk level within the community; close off the classroom or office where the patient was based and to no use the areas until cleaned and disinfected; communicate with students, parents, teachers, staff and the community; inform staff regarding labor laws and leave time; remind parents, teachers, and staff to use physical distancing in the community and discourage them from gathering.
- If 5% of our students and staff test positive for COVID-19, all staff and students will be sent home to quarantine. If 2 of the members of a cohort from different families test positive, the cohort will be sent home to quarantine.
OLA uses the Gradelink system to send text, voice, and email messages to any group of parents or all of the parents. Staff is sent emails directly from the principal, usually, just before parent emails are sent. The Principal and the Vice-Principal will be the two-point persons for the contact between the school, parents, and health agencies.
If a child or teacher tests positive for COVID-19, the parents of the other students in that cohort will receive an email sharing the positive case, but not the name of the infected person. Any communication with students will be calm and child-friendly in a way that is comforting, not threatening.
Student Symptom Decision Tree