ACPS Site Safety Frequently Asked Questions
When ACPS closed all school buildings on March 13, what safety measures were put in place for staff, students and families?
Even before schools buildings closed on March 13, ACPS was working closely with the Alexandria Health Department and following the Center for Disease Control guidelines around health and safety. When schools closed, we continued to work with the Alexandria Health Department and have implemented all their recommendations along with Center for Disease Control guidance throughout the closure. As the crisis has ramped up, so have our safety precautions.
Initially, we closed school buildings to students and the majority of staff. Then on March 27, we closed all our facilities to everyone except essential workers and in limited cases, to construction activity. This was to help promote physical distancing while continuing to provide the services our families needed, to protect our assets and critical funded work-in-progress.
When did ACPS begin food distribution for students?
ACPS started with one site for food distribution service in order to respond to the emergency condition. Initially, we used T.C. Williams King Street for the week of Monday, March 16 as this location is ACPS’ base for all food operations. The following week, we expanded the service to four other schools. Since then, in response to increasing our outreach and access to ACPS students and families, we have added pop-up mobile sites with food distributed from school buses at six locations in densely populated Alexandria neighborhoods.
What safety measures did ACPS initially put in place for food distribution?
ACPS has followed all the Center for Disease Control and Alexandria Health Department guidelines:
- Prior to starting work, staff and/or volunteers were required to report if they felt unwell or had been in contact with anyone who felt unwell, or experienced a fever within the past three days, or had symptoms similar to those listed for COVID-19 within the previous seven days.
- Staff and/or volunteers were required to wear gloves and follow strict food safety rules.
- Staff and/or volunteers were required to stay six feet apart and avoid opportunities for people to congregate or stand too close in line.
- Since the operation was initiated, all food service employees and volunteers are now required to wear additional personal protection equipment (PPE) including face coverings. Meals are placed directly into the trunks of vehicles to avoid person to person contact, whenever possible.
What additional steps are being taken as of April 27?
Beginning Monday, April 27, ACPS will conduct temperature screening for ACPS staff, volunteers and contractors working on or in ACPS sites and buildings, including those working on meal distribution.
Why did ACPS establish temperature screening operations?
ACPS is committed to maintaining food distribution and continuing other critical ACPS work during the COVID-19 closure. To be able to continue to provide this service at a time when the coronavirus is present in Alexandria, ACPS needs to provide protective support to our workforce in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Therefore, ACPS has introduced additional screening to ensure its sites remain safe for staff, volunteers and families collecting food.
One way we will do this is by identifying staff or others who report to work at ACPS with an elevated temperature - one of the major indicators of the Coronavirus.
Who Gets Screened?
Any and all ACPS personnel requiring access to any ACPS school or facility must be screened every work day, including:
- Maintenance staff & Building Engineers
- Custodial staff
- Nutrition Services staff
- Construction and related contractors
- Transportation staff
- Security staff
- Anyone supporting ACPS-approved operations during the COVID-19 crisis
Where do they get screened?
There are seven screening locations, at or close to ACPS meal distribution sites, and locations where major summer construction will take place, including:
- John Adams Elementary School (associated with William Ramsay meal sites and summer construction)
- Patrick Henry K-8 School (associated with construction for Douglas MacArthur)
- George Washington Middle School (associated w/construction)
- Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and
- Jefferson Houston PreK-8 IB School
- Francis C. Hammond Middle School
- T.C. Williams High School, King Street Campus
How long does the screening process take?
The screening will typically take 2 to 3 minutes per individual.
What is the screening process?
- Individuals will drive or walk up to the screening tent.
- People will be greeted by an ACPS screener.
- They will be asked to provide their name, ID, company name, ACPS worksite.
- The screener will verify that the person is on a checklist.
- The screener will then explain the process, take the temperature of the person with a clinical forehead thermometer. They will show the temperature screen to the person.
- If the temperature is less than 100 degrees (per Alexandria Health Department) the screener clears the person to report to their ACPS worksite.
- The person will be given a wristband indicating that they have been checked and cleared for the day.
- They will be asked if they are in possession of their Personal Protection Equipment (i.e. masks and gloves).
What happens when someone’s temperature is 100 degrees or greater?
The screener tells the person that they cannot report to work at an ACPS worksite. They are then advised to call their supervisor and notify them that they were not cleared due to an elevated temperature. The supervisor will refer the person to contact their health care provider.
Is ACPS providing Personal Protection Equipment?
ACPS is securing face coverings/masks for all employees working in an ACPS facility. Contractors and volunteers will be required to provide and wear their own or company-provided PPE during their working time at ACPS. Personnel manning the screening sites will be outfitted with additional PPE potentially to include face shields, goggles and clothing coverage.
Who makes and distributes the food for the free meal program?
Seventy-five percent of the food is prepackaged. Some food is prepared by ACPS staff. A combination of ACPS staff and volunteers distribute the food.
What are the safety requirements for Kitchen Staff?
In addition to new temperature checks, staff continue to be asked to wear fresh uniforms, masks and gloves each day. ACPS provides detailed instructions and oversight on the sanitization of preparation areas, before and after each task, and at the end of the day. Staff is expected to frequently change gloves and work in teams that maintain a six-foot distance from coworkers.
Do staff and volunteers use gloves when working with food?
Yes. We have been using the Centers for Disease Control guidelines the entire time. Nutrition staff is required to wear gloves and change them often whether they are cooking or distributing the food items.
Do staff and volunteers on the meal program use masks?
Yes. We have been following the Centers for Disease Control guidance throughout this closure. Since masks became a recommendation, we are requiring staff and volunteers to comply. In addition, we have provided our staff and volunteers with information about how to properly wear and clean face masks.
What are the safety requirements for curbside delivery?
In addition to temperature checks before each shift and PPE requirements, ACPS requires that exposure to car passengers be limited. Food is to be placed in the trunk of the car, and if that is not possible then it should be placed in an unoccupied seat through a car window. ACPS also asks that gloves be changed immediately if there is contact with any person(s).
Sometimes families walk up to pick up meals, what safety measures are in place?
ACPS sanitizes the table prior to where meal boxes will be placed. A family member steps up, takes a meal(s) and then the area is sanitized again. At all times, staff and volunteers must practice social distancing.
What safety requirements are in place for those delivering meals to people?
Those delivering meals are expected to adhere to all the same safety requirements as anyone working with food distribution. This includes wearing gloves - and changing them frequently. It also includes wearing masks.
ACPS will now also require recipients of delivered food to wear face coverings/masks during the delivery exchange at the curb. Door-to-door service has been cancelled.
What are the cleaning procedures for the buses used to deliver meals?
The ACPS school buses and vans being used to deliver meals have undergone deep cleaning by the ACPS custodial staff. High touch surfaces are wiped down frequently during the day. Also, every vehicle used for delivery or pop up service is swept out and wiped down with hospital grade cleaners every day. Any member of the staff or volunteer meal distribution team entering an ACPS vehicle must use Personal Protective Equipment.
Where can I get more details about the safety precautions ACPS is taking at this time?
Read the Board Brief.
Read the final screening plan.
Are school grounds still open to the public, such as paved black tops and fields?
No, they are not currently open for public use. Both the City and ACPS’ playgrounds, public sports courts, fenced fields, fenced basketball and tennis courts, fenced dog parks, outdoor fitness stations and parking lots are closed to slow the spread of COVID-19. You can read more about this on the City’s website under recreation.