2021-2022 COVID-19 Precautions
Posted August 10, 2021
Washington County Public Schools (WCPS) is excited to begin the 2021-2022 school year on Monday, August 30 with the opportunity for all students to attend school in person five days a week. We remain committed to the following priorities:
- Meeting the needs of all students in recovering from the pandemic and school closures
- Promoting a safe and healthy learning environment for students and staff
- Preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our schools and the Washington County community
As COVID-19 continues to be a concern around the world, WCPS is prepared to respond to any changes with the pandemic in our community so that students can remain engaged in learning throughout the school year. To do this, WCPS needs everyone in our learning community to be flexible and supportive.
In this update, you will find information about:
- Safety measures for students and staff
While WCPS was successful with limiting the spread of COVID-19 during the 2020-2021 school year, quarantining was extremely disruptive to the learning environment and restricted many extracurricular activities.
People who are close contacts to a COVID-positive person may be required to quarantine for up to 14 days. The CDC defines a “close contact” as an individual who is within six (6) feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (masked or unmasked).
The CDC has defined an exception for determining student close contacts in the classroom setting. Students who are three (3) feet or more from a student who tests positive for COVID-19 are NOT considered close contacts if both the infected student and the exposed student(s) correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time.
Individuals who are identified as close contacts during the school day will have more specific information provided by a member of the WCPS COVID-19 Response Team.
WCPS recognizes our stakeholders have differing opinions about face masks. In addition, there are conflicting reports and studies about the effectiveness of face coverings in preventing the spread of COVID-19 as well as potential harm in wearing masks. Regardless of individual beliefs, WCPS will follow established orders and quarantine rules. At some point it may be necessary to require masks to avoid mass quarantines, thereby providing students a more stable and consistent in-person learning experience.
REMINDER: WCPS tracks reported positive COVID-19 cases in our schools on the COVID-19 Dashboard.
Safety Measures for Students and Staff
WCPS is continuing health and safety protocols that proved effective in limiting the spread of COVID-19 over the last school year. Those measures include, but are not limited to:
Physical distancing. Staff will maximize space between students to the greatest extent possible. This will range from three to six feet or more, depending on the number of students in the class and the size of the room. Unnecessary furniture has been removed to create more space between seating.
Enhanced cleaning protocols. High touch surfaces will be cleaned throughout the day. Staff will thoroughly clean and disinfect classrooms with state-of-the-art equipment and cleaning solutions. Each classroom has air purifiers that clean and disinfect circulated air.
Encouraging healthy habits. All schools are equipped with a supply of hand soap and hand sanitizer, which will be available in multiple locations. Students will be encouraged to wash their hands throughout the day. Students and staff who are sick should stay home.
WCPS is prepared for what is anticipated to be another unprecedented school year through the COVID-19 pandemic. Circumstances with the virus will likely continue to change, and the school system will respond to support students and keep them engaged in learning. Likewise, WCPS asks everyone in our learning community to be flexible and prepared for changes. Together, we will make 2021-2022 another successful school year!
To view more details about how Washington County Public Schools is planning the reopening of schools, please see the Accelerate Learning at WCPS Plan linked here.