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    For updated COVID-19 Policy as of 10/5/2021, please see the COVID-19 2021-22 page of our website.

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COVID-19 2021-22

Last Updated: 10/5/2021 7:09 PM
October 5, 2021

 

Updated Mask Policy

Effective October 18, 2021

 

Executive Order 21-27, currently in effect through October 31, 2021, states that local school boards are responsible for implementing local measures and restrictions to address the impact and spread of COVID-19. The Executive Order also states that these restrictions and measures may no be less restrictive than directives of the Indiana Department of Health. 

The Indiana State Department of Health has issued COVID-19 Control Measures (IC 16-41-2-1) for K-12 schools with regard to quarantine and isolation. Washington Community Schools has been strongly advised by our legal council to follow any directives from Governor Holcomb, the Indiana State Department of Health, and the Daviess County Health Department.

The Control Measures include the following directives regarding contact tracing and quarantine procedures:

● District-Wide Mask requirement in a classroom setting - close contacts (within 3 ft.) are not required to quarantine and may continue to attend school as long as they are asymptomatic.

● District-Wide Masks optional in a classroom setting - close contacts (within 6 ft.) must quarantine.

 


 

Our schools continue to work collaboratively to implement data-based measures that will afford a safe learning environment. School-based data regarding the spread of COVID-19, while recognizing the level of community spread, can provide meaningful information that can aid in decisions regarding school operations.

On Friday, October 1st, the Daviess County Health Department approved Washington Community Schools protocols. Beginning Monday, October 18, 2021, the district will utilize the matrix below to determine operational protocols. Based on the current Daviess County ISDH color designation (orange) and school level data, masks will be Strongly Recommended (Optional) beginning Monday, October 18, 2021.

 

County Color Active Cases Mask Status Contact Tracing
Blue Less than 4% in a school Strongly Recommended (optional) in classroom setting

Within 3 ft.

Must quarantine

Yellow Less than 4% in a school Strongly Recommended (optional) in classroom setting

Within 6 ft.

Must quarantine

Orange 

Less than 4% in a school

 

Strongly Recommended (optional) in
classroom setting

Within 6 ft.

Must quarantine

Greater than 4% in a school Required for 2 weeks Within 3 ft.
No quarantine
Red

Less than 4% in a school

 

Strongly Recommended (optional) in classroom setting

Within 6 ft.

Must quarantine

Greater than 4% in a school Required for 2 weeks

Within 3 ft.
No quarantine

In addition, if the number of COVID-19-related student absences in a school building exceeds 10%, masks will be required for that school building for a 2 week period.

 

Exposures in outdoor settings during the day do not require contact tracing such as recess, physical education, outdoor learning labs, etc.

Exposures during indoor activities where masks cannot be worn, such as breakfast and lunch, choir, band, and physical education will require contact tracing within 6 ft. and quarantine.

 

Quarantine Guidance

Students exposed to COVID-19 and identified as a close contact will be required to comply with quarantine time periods and may return to school:

● On day 11 - no testing required.

● On day 8 - with an approved negative COVID-19 test given on day 5,6, or 7.

Exceptions to quarantine include:

● Proof of vaccination (2 weeks after 1 dose or 2nd dose in a series)

● Proof of approved positive COVID-19 test within the last 90 days.

 

K-12 Extra-Curricular Activities

An outbreak of COVID-19 in an Extra-Curricular setting is defined as two (2) or more laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases that are epidemiologically linked, with onset of illness within a 48-hour period. The cases may be linked by affiliation or attendance at the same school, facility, or workplace. To reach the outbreak threshold, the cases must reside in at least two (2) different households.

The following outbreak control measures will be utilized:

● Confirmed cases will be required to isolate for 10 calendar days from the date of the positive test.

● Close contacts will quarantine for 10 days and return on day 11, OR quarantine for 7 days and return on day 8 IF they present the nurse with an approved PCR or BinaxNOW negative COVID-19 test taken on days 5-7.

● On day 8 - with an approved negative COVID-19 test given on day 5,6, or 7.

 

The COVID-19 Dashboard will be updated with the most current positivity rate every Friday at noon. The updated positivity rate on Friday will determine our mask policy for the following week.

Please remember to keep your children home from school when they are sick and monitor your child daily for symptoms.

Governor Holcomb’s Executive Order, mandates from the Indiana Department of Health, and the Daviess County Health Department will supersede Washington Community Schools’ COVID-19 policy.

 


 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What does this mean?

If the district moves to Masks Strongly Recommended (Optional), the district will follow the ISDH Control Measures. Quarantined students will have the opportunity to complete assignments virtually.

 

If masks are optional, but my child chooses to wear a mask, will they be exempt from quarantine?

No. While we strongly recommend that students wear a mask to avoid getting sick and spreading the disease to others, wearing a mask does not exempt you from quarantine. 

 

  • Example: Emma wears a mask every day, but Sam does not. Emma and Sam sit next to each other in class. They are within 6 ft of each other for longer than 15 minutes. If Sam tests positive, Emma will be required to quarantine.

 

Per the ISDH mandates, the only exclusion from quarantine is as follows:

  •   Students who are completely vaccinated.

  •   Proof of approved positive COVID-19 test within the last 90 days.

 

What can my child(ren) and I do to avoid getting sick?

To help keep our students and staff healthy, we recommend that families:

  • Wear a mask whenever possible.

  • Monitor daily for symptoms. 

  • Stay home when you are sick. 

  • Stay at least 6 ft. from others who do not live in your household whenever possible. 

  • Wash your hands frequently.  

  • Avoid large group gatherings outside of school.   

 

 

September 30, 2021

 

On Thursday, September 30, 2021, Governor Holcomb signed Executive Order 21-27, which includes new mandates for K-12 public schools. Executive Order 21-27 states that K-12 public schools are required by law to comply with the legal authority of the Indiana Department of Health (IC 16-41-2-1) Communicable Disease Laws and the ISDH COVID-19 Control Measures.

In order to comply with Governor Holcomb’s executive order and maintain a focus of keeping students in school, the mask requirement for all Washington Community Schools staff and students will be extended until Executive Order 21-27 ends on October 31, 2021.

Our schools continue to work collaboratively to implement data-based measures that will afford a safe learning environment. School-based data regarding the spread of COVID-19, while recognizing the level of community spread, can provide meaningful information that can aid in decisions regarding school operations.

Beginning November 1, 2021, WCS will implement the following policy based on the spread of COVID-19 in Daviess County and in our schools. Please keep in mind that Governor Holcomb's Executive Order, mandates from the Indiana Department of Health, and  the Davies County Health Department will supersede Washington Community Schools' COVID-19 policy

 

WCS COVID-19 POLICY effective November 1, 2021

 

 

September 8, 2021

 

Updated COVID-19 Control Measures 9/7/2021

 

Updated 9/7/2021 from the ISDH         DOWNLOAD 

wear a mask, stay in school

 

September 7, 2021

 

Updated COVID-19 Return from Quarantine Procedures

 

When masks are not worn, such as while eating, during gym or music class, etc. The following contact tracing procedures will be utilized.   

  • Confirmed cases will be required to isolate for 10 calendar days from the date of the positive test.

  • Close contacts (unmasked within 6 feet for longer than 15 minutes) will quarantine for 10 days and return on day 11, OR quarantine for 7 days and return on day 8 IF they present the nurse with an approved PCR or BinaxNOW negative COVID-19 test taken on days 5-7. 

 

COVID-19 Mandates for K-12 Extra-Curricular Activities

Outbreak Control Measures 

An outbreak of COVID-19 in an Extra-Curricular setting is defined as two (2) or more laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases that are epidemiologically linked, with onset of illness within a 48-hour period. The cases may be linked by affiliation or attendance at the same school, facility, or workplace. To reach the outbreak threshold, the cases must reside in at least two (2) different households.

 

The following outbreak control measures will be utilized:

  • Confirmed cases will be required to isolate for 10 calendar days from the date of the positive test.

  • Close contacts will quarantine for 10 days and return on day 11, OR quarantine for 7 days and return on day 8 IF they present the nurse with an approved PCR or BinaxNOW negative COVID-19 test taken on days 5-7. 

 

September 3, 2021

State of Indiana Releases New COVID-19 Mandates for K-12 Schools

 

On Wednesday, September 1, 2021, Governor Holcomb signed Executive Order 21-24, which includes new mandates for K-12 public schools (see 6 a. and b.). Executive Order 21-24 states that K-12 public schools are required by law to comply with the legal authority of the Indiana Department of Health (IC 16-41-2-1) Communicable Disease Laws and the ISDH COVID-19 Control Measures.

School districts must consider the following procedures outlined in the ISDH COVID-19 Control Measures as decisions are made regarding masks:

  • IF masks are consistently and correctly worn, close contacts (within 3 feet for 15 minutes or longer in the classroom setting) will not need to be quarantined and may continue to stay in school as long as they have no symptoms.
     

  • When masks are not worn, close contacts (within 6 ft. for 15 minutes or longer) will need to quarantine for 10 days.

In order to comply with Governor Holcomb’s executive order and maintain a focus of keeping students in school, the mask requirement for all Washington Community Schools staff and students will be extended until Executive Order 24-21 ends on September 30, 2021. This will reduce the number of students who are missing classroom instruction and extra-curricular activities due to being quarantined. In the interim, the district will continue to review COVID-19 data to best meet the needs of our students and staff moving forward.

Ultimately, the district’s priority is the safety and education of our students. The collective efforts of everyone will allow the continuation of in-person instruction while complying with Indiana Statute and Governor Holcomb’s Executive Orders.

 

DOWNLOAD 

wear a mask, stay in school

 

 

August 24, 2021

 

Covid-19 Vaccine Clinic

 

The Daviess County Health Department in partnership with Washington Community Schools will be holding a free COVID-19 vaccine clinic for anyone 12 years of age or older.    

 

WhenSeptember 8, 2021

             1:00 pm – 3:20 pm, for students and staff.

             3:30 pm – 7:00 pm, open to public.

 

Where: Washington Jr. High School Gym

             210 NE 6th Street

             Washington, IN 47501

             Enter doors off of 6th Street

             Parking is in lot across from entrance.

 

What:  Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine – 2 dose series

             Anyone younger than 18 can only receive Pfizer.

             Second dose will be scheduled for 21-28 days after, to be administered at this location.

 

The COVID-19 shot is free to everyone in Indiana. You do NOT need insurance to get it. However, providers can bill insurance a fee, at no cost to you, we ask that you bring your insurance card if you have one.  Your personal information is confidential.  

 

Please print and complete the Patient Intake Form and bring with you to the Vaccine Clinic. Individuals under the age of 18 will require a parent or guardian's permission.

 

August 21, 2021

 

Mask & Contact Tracing Procedures


 

With school absences due to COVID-19 rising rapidly this year, Washington Community Schools is following guidance from the CDC and the Indiana State Department of Health to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our schools. We want to do what we can to avoid a shutdown, as we all believe that what is best for our students is to receive quality instruction from their teachers and staff and be with their friends learning and growing.  

Washington Community Schools are making changes to our Contact Tracing Policy to reduce the number of students who must quarantine from close contact tracing by following updated guidance from the CDC. 

Individuals who are in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 will not need to quarantine if both the infected person and the close contact both correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time. This determination will be made by our school personnel.  Please encourage your child to wear their mask correctly. Everyone working together allows our students to stay in school safely.

For the next two weeks, masks will be required for all students and staff.  Masks will not need to be worn while eating, while social distancing is in place, on the playground while social distancing, or while participating in strenuous athletic activities. After two weeks, we will reevaluate this policy. Hopefully, we can slow the spread of the virus and remain in person, keeping our extra-curricular activities moving forward.  Our students and staff did a great job with mask-wearing last year, and we expect the same this year.  It is our hope that this brief period will help slow the rapid spread we have seen in our schools.

Washington Community Schools was able to be in-person for almost all of last year, unlike many schools across the country. This is in no small part to the COVID-19 policies we implemented, such as masks, limiting large group gatherings, and social distancing. Even though these restrictions were difficult, we came together as a school community because we knew students do better in school, learning and doing the activities students are passionate about.

We are being asked once again to come together as a community to keep our students safe and in school. Thank you for your continued support, patience, and understanding during these difficult times. 

 

August 20, 2021

 

 

Two-Week Mask Mandate Beginning August 23, 2021

 

As you may know,  Daviess County has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases. Washington Community Schools has also seen an increase in the number of staff and student absences related to COVID-19 in these first few weeks of school. 

In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 with a focus on keeping children in school, Washington Community Schools will begin a two week mask mandate for all students and staff beginning Monday, August 23, 2021. After Labor Day, we will reevaluate this policy.

CDC Guidelines will be utilized in an effort to reduce the number of quarantined students who are missing instruction through contact tracing. An individual may not need to quarantine IF masks are properly worn and social distancing is properly followed while in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Our school nurses have been working closely with the Daviess County Health Department and will continue to determine whether an individual may remain at school or must quarantine. The decision of our school healthcare professionals will be upheld by administration.

Our priority is and will continue to be the health and safety of our students and staff. We appreciate your patience and understanding during these challenging times. 

 

August 13, 2021

 

Daviess County Health Department COVID-19 Protocol

 

Washington Community Schools is working closely with the Daviess County Health Department to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 cases in our schools. The following Contact Tracing protocols will be in place for the 2021-22 school year until we receive further guidance from the DCHD or state officials. 

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for 10 days following the onset of symptoms or a positive test result. 

An individual is considered to be a Close Contact if they have been within 3-6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for longer than 15 minutes.

Close Contacts who are unvaccinated must quarantine for 10 days. 

Close Contacts who are vaccinated can continue to go to school, however, they must wear a mask at all times. Vaccinated individuals can choose to get a free COVID-19 test taken at the DCHD within 3-5 days after contact. If the test is negative, vaccinated individuals with documentation can come to school unmasked.

 

July 15, 2021

 

As of July 1, 2021, local school boards of public K-12 education institutions will be responsible for implementing whatever measures and restrictions deemed necessary and prudent to address the impact and spread of Covid-19 for their buildings, facilities and grounds, to include transportation.  Educational governing bodies are encouraged to follow CDC guidance that may be issued by the Indiana Departments of Health and Education.

 

Masks and Contact Tracing

Masks will not be required for students or staff unless there is a significant increase of positive Covid-19 cases within a specific school building.  

  • Students and staff may wear masks if so desired.
  • Determine contact tracing requirements in conjunction with the Indiana State Health Department and the Daviess County Health Department.
  • Follow IDOE attendance guidelines for students who are absent due to a Covid-19 related reason.

 

School Day

In-person instruction will be provided 5 days a week.

  • Virtual learning will be an option on a limited basis if approved by administration and have medical reasons for doing so.  (Physician consultation and documentation will be required.)

 

Practicing Prevention

 

  • Teach and reinforce good hygiene measures such as handwashing, covering coughs, and face coverings/masks.
  • Provide hand soap and hand sanitizer, paper towels, and no touch trash cans in all restrooms, classrooms and frequently trafficked areas.
  • Post signage to communicate how to stop the spread.  Include Covid-19 symptoms, preventative measures (including staying home when sick), good hygiene, and specific protocols.
  • Clean/disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least daily and shared objects after each use.
  • Take steps to make sure all water filling stations and features are safe.
  • Turn off the water fountains except for water filling stations and encourage students and staff to bring water bottles from home.
  • Ensure ventilation systems operate properly.
  • Student seating should remain at least 3 feet apart, when feasible.

 

Transporting Students

 

  • Implement standard operating procedures while taking preventative measures such as:
    • Require bus drivers to wear face masks/coverings per the duration of the federal transportation mask mandate.
    • Students wear face masks/coverings per the duration of the federal transportation mask mandate.
    • Bus drivers may ask for students to sit in assigned seats to allow for tracing if necessary.
    • No guest riders unless pre-approved.
    • Inspecting buses prior to students returning and as a part of regular rotation.
    • Increased cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces on buses.
    • Airing out buses when not in use.
  • Scrutinize field trips to determine the educational gain versus risk.
    • Offer alternative options for students who do not feel comfortable attending.
    • Consider virtual field trips if they are an option.

 

Entering School Buildings
 

  • Implement standard operating procedures while taking preventative measures such as:
    • Provide hand sanitizer for students and staff.
    • Limit unnecessary congregations of students and staff.
    • Post signage to communicate how to stop the spread.  Include Covid-19 symptoms, preventative measures (including staying home when sick), good hygiene, and specific protocols.
    • Continue established Covid-19 protocol for students/staff who feel ill/experience symptoms when they come to school.
    • Limit visitors and volunteers when students are present.  Screen prior to interactions with students or staff.
       

Serving Meals

 

  • Implement standard operating procedures while taking preventative measures such as:
    • Encourage student hand washing before and after meal service.
    • Providing hand sanitizer for students and staff.
    • Conducting cleaning of cafeterias and high-touch surfaces throughout the school day.
    • Consider single/serve/pre-wrapped items and utensils when appropriate.

 

 

Transitioning
 

  • Implementing standard operating procedures while taking preventative measures such as:
    • Encourage students to avoid congregating during passing periods or by lockers.
    • Conducting cleaning of hallways and high-touch surfaces throughout the school day.
    • Providing hand sanitizer for students and staff at entrances to classrooms.

 

Conducting Large Group Gatherings

 

  • Implement standard operating procedures while taking preventative measures such as:
    • Providing hand sanitizer for students and staff.
    • Limiting unnecessary congregations of students and staff.
    • Follow any Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA), Indiana State School Music Association (ISSMA), or other extra-curricular/co-curricular governing bodies guidelines for performances and practices.
    • Submit plans to the local health department for recurring and special events when requested.

 

Supporting Teaching and Learning

 

  • Implement standard operating procedures while taking preventative measures such as:
    • Providing hand sanitizer for students and staff.
    • Conducting cleaning of classrooms and high touch surfaces daily.
  • Establish an academic baseline:
    • Use formative assessments.  (ie IREADY, Dibels, ESGI, Educlastic, etc.)
    • Conduct meetings with teachers to analyze data and see where students are academically.
  • Discuss the shared experience
    • Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources
  • Targeted interventions and supports:
    • Provide additional instructional supports to:
      • Students at-risk of not graduating on time.
      • Students with disabilities. (recovery services)
      • Students who had poor attendance in the 2020-2021 school year due to Covid-19 related reasons.
      • Other students identified as being behind academically by teachers and parents.

 

Vaccinations
 

  • Follow Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) guidance if Covid-19 becomes a required or recommended vaccine.  Currently, the Covid-19 vaccine is not listed as either a required or recommended vaccine.  Should that change, religious and medical exemptions will be followed as with all other vaccines.  
  • Provide parents/guardians with ISDH Covid-19 vaccination information for students of the district when age group becomes available.

 

Protecting Vulnerable Populations

 

  • All federal, state, and local guidelines will be followed as well as adherence to FERPA and HIPAA requirements.  In addition, adherence to state and federal employment law and extended leave allowances and offerings of an Employee Assistance Program to all staff members.

 

Terms:
 

  • In-School Learning - students present in the school building.
  • Virtual Learning - students completing lessons and activities remotely through technology.
  • Vulnerable populations - elderly individuals and/or individuals with serious underlying health conditions including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and those whose immune system is compromised such as by chemotherapy for cancer and other conditions requiring such therapy as identified by national health organizations.