Health & Safety Measures
Space Utilization and Social Distancing within School Facilities
As recommended by the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD), ACPS will establish and maintain a six-foot social distance between all student desks.
Face Coverings and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
ACPS understands that those who are asymptomatic can still spread COVID-19; to this end, anyone riding an ACPS bus or van, attending/visiting an ACPS facility or participating in an ACPS-sponsored event will be required to wear a face covering unless medically exempt. CDC guidance states, Masks should not be worn by children under the age of two or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. If a parent believes their child is exempt, they should contact the school principal who will consult with the director of school health services. Face coverings will also be required when performing emergency drills. Staff who believe they may be exempt should consult with the Department of Human Resources.
ACPS will purchase reusable face coverings for all staff and students prior to a return to school (whether hybrid or traditional). Every student and staff member will be provided five (5) reusable face coverings. Reusable face coverings will have to be laundered regularly. Cloth face coverings or disposable masks will be available for students and staff who do not bring their own. A disposable mask will be provided to essential visitors who lose or forget their mask. Face coverings should be used in accordance with acceptable and effective practices as established by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html).
Staff, students and visitors should avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth when removing a mask, and wash their hands immediately before and after removal. The Department of School and Community Relations will create training campaigns to promote and instruct families, staff and community stakeholders on the use of face coverings. Reinforcement of face covering requirements will primarily be accomplished through signage, safety messaging and staff reinforcement. For additional clarification on proper mask usage, see CDC’s guidance (see link) How to Safely Wear and Take Off a Cloth Face Covering https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wear-cloth-face-coverings.html
Specialized Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Employee groups working in certain capacities will be provided specialized PPE by ACPS. Specialized PPE includes:
- Gloves: To be used by mechanics, custodial and maintenance personnel, bus drivers, school nutrition personnel, school health staff, and others working/instructing in a specialized capacity
- N95 Masks: May be used by specialized instruction citywide staff, mechanics, building engineers and licensed trade maintenance staff, school health staff (as needed- will require a successful fit test prior to issuance)
- Face Shields: For use by bus drivers, specialized instruction citywide staff, school health staff and others working/instructing in a specialized capacity
- Gowns: For use by bus drivers, specialized instruction citywide staff, school health staff and others working/instructing in a specialized capacity
- Sneeze Guards:
- Stationary sneeze guards will be provided to each school’s front office where there are open work spaces
- Portable sneeze guards will be provided to specific staff based on work program (i.e., specialized instruction staff)
- Additional considerations for sneeze guards will be reviewed for counseling, psychology and social work offices as deemed necessary
Cleaning Protocols and Disinfection of Spaces
The cleaning and disinfection of our facilities are a critical component of ACPS’ reopening plan. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) public facility cleaning and disinfecting guidelines (Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility), it is recommended to clean with EPA Certified disinfectant products (List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) | US EPA). ACPS custodial staff (internal and contracted) will implement daily enhanced cleaning of classrooms, offices, and common areas such as restrooms, hallways, cafeterias, libraries, gymnasiums, elevators, teachers’ workrooms, etc., throughout the school year. There may be a need for limited support from all staff, including teachers, nurses, bus drivers and school nutrition, to assist in cleaning efforts to help mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19 (supplies will be provided).
ACPS continues to adjust cleaning processes and will implement measures to ensure that classrooms, common areas and personal workspaces are regularly cleaned and disinfected to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19. In addition to these measures, ACPS will implement the following to maximize cleaning and disinfection efforts:
- Restroom Cleaning- ACPS custodial staff (internal and contracted) will clean and disinfect restrooms every 1.5 to two hours. The cleaning protocol will include thoroughly disinfecting hard surfaces, doors, toilets, handles, etc. and ensuring that all supplies are always fully stocked. Checklists will be utilized as part of the cleaning procedure.
- Increased Cleaning of Frequently-Touched Surfaces- ACPS custodial staff will clean frequently-touched surfaces/points thoroughly throughout the day, with limited support from all staff, (i.e., door handles, glass door, elevators, elevator buttons, doors, tables, chairs and light switches). Additional custodial coverage during the day will be provided where appropriate, depending on building occupancy and need.
- Cleaning between Meal Service: For snacks and/or meals served in the classroom, the classroom teacher will utilize surface disinfectant provided by the Office of Maintenance and Custodial Services to wipe down desks, chairs and ancillary surface areas around the desk before and after snacks and/or meals.
- Cleaning Between Classroom Changes: If the decision is made to allow transitions throughout the school day, desks will have to be wiped down in between transitions. This will be accomplished by custodial staff with required support from instructional staff as needed.
- Levels of Cleaning: The table below summarizes the levels of cleaning, types of products that are used for each cleaning level, applicability and the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting.
Includes all aspects of the Routine program with the addition of a daily disinfecting. Additional cleaning and disinfecting of frequently-touched surfaces such as desks, tables, doorknobs, handrails, light switches, elevator buttons and other frequently-touched surfaces. Soft surfaces will be treated and left to dry before use. Electronics are wiped down.
Commercial grade, EPA approved cleaning products, which support reducing the risk of the COVID-19 virus.
Use until risk of COVID-19 virus transmission is sufficiently mitigated
New Daily Routine Cleaning in response to COVID-19.
Cleaning and disinfecting frequently-touched surfaces will occur (1.5 to 2 hours a day), which will result in multiple times a day, most specifically:
- Prior to school beginning
- Between classroom transitions
- Before and after meals and snacks are served in the classroom (teacher)
- After school dismisses
Includes all aspects of the Enhanced program. In addition, this includes disinfecting walls, lamps, hard and soft surfaces and flooring. Electronics are wiped.
The area should be cordoned off for the first 24 to 36 hours, or as long as possible to safeguard cleaning crews and others..
After 36 hours, work is to be performed.
Commercial grade, EPA approved cleaning products, which support reducing the risk of the COVID-19 virus.
Use in response to founded building-level concerns and/or confirmed case of C
As required, due to building-level concerns and/or potential or confirmed positive cases of COVID-19.
Impacted space(s) will be closed for 24-36 hours PRIOR to cleaning and disinfection. Once properly cleaned and disinfected, space can be reopened and occupied
Mitigating the potential spread of COVID-19 will take support from all within our schools and facilities; to this end, staff will be asked to do their part and wipe down personal items and work surfaces throughout the day. Staff will be requested to wipe down their personal work space(s) and items at the start and end of the workday. Disinfectant wipes and/or spray bottles filled with disinfectant will be provided by the Office of Maintenance and Custodial Services. If additional supplies are needed, please contact the Office of Maintenance and Custodial Services via our work order request system (SchoolDude). Staff are encouraged to submit requests prior to running out of supplies, with the expectation of a 48 hour turnaround time.
Meal Service Plan for Citywide Special Education Students
School Nutrition Services (SNS) will maintain safety protocols while preparing and serving meals. A clean reusable mask and apron will be required daily of all SNS staff who are preparing meals. The use of disposable gloves will also be required for meal prep and at our meal distribution locations. In order to ensure that food allergens are minimized, handwashing with soap and water will need to occur before and after meals served in classrooms.
○ AM shift - Breakfast at 8:30 a.m., Lunch to be taken home; SPED will provide a breakdown of students in each teacher’s classroom. Meals will be prepared and cafeteria hostesses will support in distributing meals to the hallways for Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC). Students pick up lunch meals as they are leaving school.
○ PM shift - Lunch at 12:30 p.m., snack to be taken home: Lunch and snack meals are provided based on a meal count provided daily to SNS. Cafeteria hostesses help with delivery to the classrooms. Snacks are shelf-stable.
Transportation of Students
The Office of Pupil Transportation will implement the following for transporting students to school:
- District wide route planning
- Create routes to meet school school bell schedule
- Identify each student enrolled
- Assign Monitors based on historical data or provided data for newly registered student needs
- Assign properly equipped PTFM Bus or Van
- Drivers will be provided with assigned route sheets and seating charts. These seating charts will be followed.
- Copies of these seating charts will be given to drivers and/or monitors. Each day the bus drivers or monitors should check off each student’s name as they enter the bus. This will be done on the morning and/or afternoon (when applicable) routes. Drivers and/or monitors will be required to return these seating charts to their dispatch on a daily basis. This will allow us to track which students rode the buses on specific days in the event that a student develops COVID-19 symptoms, is exposed to an individual who develops COVID-19 symptoms or is diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Students will be seated as far away from each other as possible on the school bus. We will assign seats based on the one student per every other row model. Siblings may be seated together.
- Seating may change to one student per row if health data around COVID-19 supports moving to this less-restrictive social distancing practice
- Students will wear masks while entering, riding and exiting the bus.
- Bus drivers and bus monitors will be issued proper PPE supplies and an assigned protective face shield for additional safety precautions.
- Bus monitors will have access to hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes for use as necessary.
- The bus will be loaded from the back to the front in order to alleviate unnecessary contact between the students as they enter the bus. The bus will be unloaded from front to back in order to alleviate unnecessary contact between the students as they enter the bus.
Bus Cleaning Procedures
- Buses will be cleaned between each run by PTFM and/or custodial staff.
- All high touch/contact surfaces will be wiped down with disinfectant/sanitizer wipes after each run.
- Buses will be cleaned again at the end of each school day
- All high touch/contact surfaces will be wiped down with disinfectant/sanitizer wipes upon return to the transportation center.
- Any collected trash will be removed and properly disposed of.
- If there is an identified case of COVID-19 with a student who rides a bus, that bus will be cleaned utilizing an EPA-approved cleaning solution through an electrostatic sprayer
Procedures in the Event of a Positive COVID-19 Case
ACPS has procedures and processes in place in the event of a positive case.
When ACPS becomes aware of a newly positive COVID-19 staff member or student in a school, we work closely with the Alexandria Health Department (AHD). The AHD recommends the following procedures:
A pre-designated ACPS Liaison, in partnership with the assigned School COVID-19 team, locates the relevant pre-signed Authorization to Exchange Information forms (Appendix C), and if pre-authorized, gathers preliminary information about the exposure for AHD’s assessments (Appendix D). If not pre-authorized, seeks family and/or staff authorization to exchange information.
The ACPS liaison notifies the AHD School Response Team at 703-795-7362 and submits the Preliminary Questionnaire (Appendix D) to AHD via a pre-determined secure messaging platform.
AHD provides consultation on infection control measures (e.g. isolation, quarantine, closing area(s), disinfecting, etc) measures to prevent the spread of illness; AHD provides consultation on appropriate notification processes to ensure various parties receive pertinent information on a need-to-know basis, assuring confidentiality of personal information and protected health information.