Dear Hickman County Schools Community,
In just a few short weeks, the 2021-2022 school year will begin. Our staff has been working diligently to prepare for the seeming endless possibilities of how that will look when we return. The plan we have developed has both daily operational and instructional strategies that are subject to change as the school year proceeds. These plans have incorporated the state and regional health officials as well as our local board of education. Nonetheless, we are all driven to provide the best educational experiences for our students this fall.
The Hickman County School District will open on August 11th for regular classes. Our main focus is always providing a safe & secure return for all our students and staff members. Hickman County Schools will use every available health and safety measure to make sure that students and staff are safe in all school activities. In order to have in-person class again, HCS must follow the Kentucky plan for “Healthy at School” and the safety recommendations that exist within it. We will keep you updated on the evolving plan if changes are required. Within this plan, the CDC and the Kentucky Department of Public Health have provided safety recommendations that schools must follow (Social Distancing, Cloth Face Coverings, Screening/School Exclusion, Sanitation/Environmental Factors, and Contact Tracing).
Safety Recommendations that should be implemented by schools as determined by the CDC and the Kentucky Department of Public Health
- Social Distancing
- Schools will make every attempt to increase space between students to in classrooms, cafeterias, etc.
- Reasonable attempts will be made at the school to reduce congestion in the classroom and in common areas.
- Food service will utilize the cafeteria, outdoor areas and the occasional classroom to provide meals to the students in a safe environment. Alternating schedules will be developed to provide opportunities in each of these areas throughout the school year.
- Some limits to non-essential visitors on school property.
2. Cloth Face Coverings, Personal Protective Equipment and School Health Policies
Face masks prohibit spread of the virus even when the infected person is without symptoms:
- It is recommended that everyone two years old and above wear a cloth face covering, unless medically waivered. It will not be mandatory that masks be worn on school premises at this time.
- According to health officials in general, people do not need wear masks outdoors.
3. Screening and School Exclusion
- Parents should make sure that student(s) have no signs or symptoms of illness prior to sending them to school. If student(s) rides the school bus.
- If a student shows at least one symptom (fever, chills, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, new cough, new loss of taste or smell or gastrointestinal symptoms), the student may be isolated immediately until the parent can pick up the child. The parents will be encouraged to notify their health care provider for further guidance and possible testing for COVID-19.
- A student sent home with COVID-19 symptoms who has a negative COVID-19 test or the symptoms have subsided may return to school once they are fever-free (without fever reducing medication) for 48 hours and have no other COVID-19 related symptoms(fever, chills, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, new cough, new loss of taste or smell or gastrointestinal symptoms). Examples of student exclusion criteria are included in the following website. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools-faq.html
4. Sanitation and Environmental Standards
- As always, proper hand washing and respiratory hygiene practices (covering coughs and sneezes) will be taught and emphasized to students. Hand sanitizer will also be encouraged throughout the school day.
- Daily cleaning and disinfection of school facilities will follow KDE and the Kentucky Department of Public Heath guidance.
5. Contact Tracing
- Hickman County Schools will be notified by the local health department of any positive cases of COVID-19 and be prepared to cooperate with the contact tracing investigation with manifests of bus transportation, classroom cohorts, cafeteria setting charts, etc., that will allow quick identification of those at high risk of infection from the positive COVID-19 student/staff. Quickly initiating a 10 day quarantine of these at risk individuals is our best defense against further spread of the viral illness. The Kentucky Department of Public Health will determine if students/staff are quarantined and for how long the quarantine will last.
6. Transportation Plan (includes sanitation, screening & social distancing)
- Parents will be asked to check students for COVID symptoms before leaving for school each day.
- Per the CDC and the Kentucky Department of Public Heath, wearing a mask while riding the bus is a requirement unless medically waivered. It is recommended that all passengers comply.
- The bus will load back to front—unload front to back
- Assign seating for all passengers/ Seat students from same household together/ Preschool will sit at front.
- Students with medical concerns, allergies, asthma should be assigned seating at front of bus with windows up.
- Maintain social distancing (6 feet apart) at bus stops.
- Parents are encouraged to limit the number of pick up/drop off locations that students will need through the school year.
- Parent and bus pickup will be located in the same places as last year at the elementary. Parent drop off at the high school will be done in front of the school. Parents please do not exit your vehicle during drop off.
- If you have to pick up a child early from school or drop off late due to an appointment, please call the respective school and someone will escort your child out to you or come outside and accept the child from you when returning to school.
We have missed our students this summer and are ready to get back to normal this school year. Students will have new resources and opportunities for learning like never before. We are excited to get this school year going and I hope you families are too.
Casey Henderson, Superintendent
Hickman County Schools