COVID-19 INFORMATION

STAY INFORMED

In an effort to keep students, staff, parents, and the entire community aware of how COVID-19 is impacting our district, we plan to share as much information as possible, while protecting the privacy of those affected. Please know that these efforts will be a work in progress and our district will make adjustments and improvements as we learn more during this pandemic and keep our schools open.

VSCSD will continue to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Benton County Public Health (BCPH), and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) regarding COVID-19 safety protocols. While we are very excited to return to a more normal school environment for the 2021-22 school year, we recognize that we are still operating in a pandemic. Find the most recent information by clicking the COVID-19 Dashboard button below.

Additional precautions remain in place and are summarized below.

FACE MASKS

Per Iowa House File 847, face masks will be optional in all VS buildings for visitors, staff, and students in grades PreK-12. Masks are, however, an important tool in mitigating the spread of the virus and will be available at all buildings for those who wish to use them.

It is an individual and family choice for masking. This choice is to be respected by everyone in and out of the building. It is the expectation that no one should be confronted on their personal choices in this matter.

SOCIAL DISTANCING

To reduce the risk of transmission, the CDC recommends schools maintain at least three feet of physical distance between students within classrooms. The district will make efforts to implement student seating with a physical distance of at least three feet in elementary schools where students are not yet able to receive the COVID vaccination. This social distancing effort will not always be possible, so families are encouraged to have their students wear face masks at school if they have concerns about social distancing while in the classrooms.

HOME SCHOOLING

Our homeschool program is available to families who wish not to have their children at school during the pandemic. The option of the virtual edgenuity courses will be available through our homeschool program.

Every student will be assigned a district-owned learning device. Kindergarten-1st grade students will be assigned an iPad. Grades 2-5 will be assigned a Chromebook which will stay at school.  Grade 6-12 will be assigned a Macbook, which students have the option of taking home. Additional information regarding device pick up will be provided to families by the individual schools. If a family is in need of support to access internet services at home, they are encouraged to contact our technology director, Brandon Farmer.

Meals will be free to all students this year due to special federal funding. Students will eat lunch and breakfast in the school cafeterias. Upon request, additional areas can be made available to address social distancing needs during lunch. Water bottles will be encouraged for drinks throughout the school day.

Current Centers for Disease Control states that face masks be worn on public transportation. This is outlined by the Iowa Department of Public Health. Disposable masks will be made available on the bus. Additional protocols will include the disinfecting of buses after each route, windows and vents opened to allow for air circulation whenever possible, and the availability of hand sanitizing.

All extracurricular activities will return to normal operations with no limitations on spectators.

Frequent hand washing and/or hand sanitizing is encouraged when transitions occur. Hand sanitizer stations will be available in all school facilities.

All buildings will have signs clearly posted regarding handwashing practices, COVID-19 symptoms, visitor policies, and lunchroom procedures.

Increased emphasis regarding cleaning and disinfecting schools on a daily and weekly basis will occur. Additional cleaning and sanitizing procedures will be followed throughout the school year. Examples include, but are not limited to, hand sanitizing stations, disinfecting wipes, and increased time for student handwashing.

The district will resume the practice of opening facilities to use by outside groups for the 2021-22 school year.

We will be allowing volunteers to support the schools during the school day and for extracurricular activities. Any visit to the school should have a purpose and have prior approval from the principal. All volunteers and visitors will need to check in at the school’s main office and sign into the Keepn’ Track program. This is a new program for our schools to keep detailed information of who was in the buildings and for what purpose. Any volunteers or visitors who are ill should not come into the building.

The district will follow guidelines specified by the Iowa Department of Public Health: Students who are exhibiting COVID symptoms or are diagnosed positive must notify the school nurse and/or health assistant immediately. Students and staff members who test positive for COVID-19 and are exhibiting symptoms will be required to self-isolate at home for 10 days since their symptoms first appeared, are fever-free for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medications), and until other COVID-19 symptoms have improved.

Students and staff members who test positive for COVID-19 but are not exhibiting symptoms will be required to self-isolate until 10 days have passed since the date of their positive test.

Reminder: All persons who are experiencing an illness should stay home while they are ill, even if they test negative for COVID-19 or receive an alternative diagnosis.

COMMUNICATION PROCEDURES:

When there is a positive COVID-19 case reported in a classroom, the district will communicate this to all families within the classroom. Per Iowa Department of Public Health guidelines, student exposures in the classroom will not require quarantine.

IDPH, BCPH, and CDC best practice recommendations is to quarantine if you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. You quarantine when you might have been exposed to the virus. You isolate yourself when you have been infected with the virus (positive test result), even if you don’t have symptoms.

To help further reduce risk of spreading the virus, unvaccinated persons who are exposed but remain healthy (no symptoms) are advised to stay home to monitor for symptoms. This approach can help to reduce the risk of spread to other people, especially vulnerable populations.

DATA COLLECTION:

The district will collect data on the number of positive COVID-19 cases for both students and staff during the 2021-22 school year. An online, district-wide dashboard will not be provided. For questions, students/staff should contact their individual building’s health office.

 

Even though attendance is a priority for students and staff, we do encourage everyone to stay home if they are not feeling well:

  • Fever of 100.1 degrees or above with signs and symptoms such as sore throat, rash, vomiting or diarrhea,
  • The illness prevents the student from participating comfortably in activities and/or academics as observed by the school staff, and
  • Exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms:
    • High risk symptoms include a fever/chills, new cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or a loss of taste or smell.
    • Other symptoms include sore throat, headache, body aches, fatigue, runny nose, congestion, rash, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
    • Students with COVID-19 symptoms should contact their healthcare provider for further evaluation and testing.
    • Individuals exposed to COVID-19 may develop symptoms from 2-14 days after exposure. However, exposed individuals can reduce the length of time they are recommended to stay home from 14 days via the following options:
  • Stay home through Day 10 if no symptoms have developed.
  • Stay home through Day 7 if the exposed person tests negative and no symptoms have developed. The specimen must be collected within 48 hours before leaving the home (i.e. not earlier than Day 5).

Contact Benton County Public Health at 319-472-6460 for further information.

If school is interrupted due to challenges resulting from COVID-19, the district will continue to provide educational services to ensure that student learning continues in a safe manner.

Any decisions regarding the potential interruption of school services will be made in accordance with the Iowa Department of Public Health, Benton County Public Health, and the Iowa Department of Education.

  • ACADEMICS: In the event school is interrupted due to COVID-19, the district will ensure continued learning by utilizing one of the following methods:
    • If school is not able to be held on a daily basis, the district will move to an A/B hybrid model of learning. In the A/B hybrid model, students will attend school every other day with the same cohort of students. This model will allow for smaller class sizes and better social distancing. On days that students are not engaged through in-person learning, they will complete work assignments via their school-assigned devices to ensure continued learning.
    • If COVID reaches a point that school cannot be held in-person, the district will move to a fully online model of learning. Students will access learning through their school-assigned devices. If school is not able to be held in-person, designated meal pickup locations will be available for families to access.
  • SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL HEALTH – Students will continue to have access to school counselors and at-risk support staff, in addition to classroom teachers. These supports will continue regardless of which learning model the district is utilizing.