Re-Opening Plan: Installment Five

Our 2020-2021 school year is off to a great start and promises to bring new opportunities to declare our confidence in the sovereignty of God, affirm our commitment to our mission, and creatively reimagine … and then reimagine again … how we do school!  

It was a summer of perspiration and inspiration as we invested significant time and resources planning for a year like no other – a year marked by preparations for both a safer reopening of in-person learning as well as a robust virtual learning program – and preparations for pivoting as needed between both instructional models (otherwise known as pivotability, a word that has punctuated many planning sessions!). 

Due to health mandates that required virtual instruction, we started our school year on September 1 by welcoming students to our Virtual Academy. Building on the success of last spring’s distance learning program, teachers are diligently working to provide students Biblical truth, engaging instruction, enrichment classes, and opportunities for relationship building as we begin to grow and learn together. 

Though we are committed to providing an exceptional virtual education, we affirm that children learn best when face to face, in community with teachers and friends! To that end, we applied for a waiver (TK – 6) on September 4, and submitted our Re-opening Plan and other required documentation in hopes of being able to bring students to campus as soon as possible. Wishing this occurrence could be a cause for celebration, the difficult reality is that we cannot implement California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) newly defined cohorting mandates in grades 1-6. Our instructional plan for grades 1- 6 employs grade-level teachers to rotate among all cohorts in a grade, and was specifically designed to meet the mandates regarding small cohorts and physical distancing. The new CDPH mandate now adds another layer of restriction which allows teachers to have physical proximity to ONLY one cohort of no more than 16 individuals, including the teacher, a requirement which can be met only with our youngest students. Since applying for the waiver, we have exhausted our efforts to appeal this new limitation, and have come to the painful conclusion that under this mandate, should the waiver be granted, NorthCreek will be able to open in-person instruction to only the students in our transitional kindergarten and kindergarten programs. While eager to do so, we grieve the limitations this places on our ability to open sooner to our other primary grade students and to 5th and 6th grade as well.   

Recent conversations with Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) suggest that as local conditions move from the current “purple” to “red,” we WILL soon be able to welcome all students back to campus – without the need for teachers to be restricted to ONLY one group of 16 individuals. CCHS believes this could be our reality in early October. We hope and pray it is so. 

Still, many parents will find the news of these current limitations disappointing, as do we. There is no denying we are deeply saddened, and as noted above, we have invested much time and effort this past week appealing this position. It simply is not to be. With that said, in this climate of constant change, we choose to trust in our unchanging God who remains firmly in control of this world and our school – HIS school, despite this disappointment. And as we consider the many changes detailed in our Re-opening Plan, we acknowledge that this new world of physical distancing, stable cohorts, face coverings, and limited campus access means that the school we love will look different during this time. Yet we also understand that our commitment to follow these protocols demonstrates love for our school community as we work together to protect our staff, students, and their respective families, in opening the school, and staying open.  

Our staff is blessed to partner with our school families in these unprecedented times, and we affirm our commitment to maintain the strength of our program, the warmth of our community, and the essence and heart of a NorthCreek education in 2020-2021. 

An interactive version of our waiver is below, but you can view and download a PDF here.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

Cleaning and Disinfecting Routines

  • Cleaning and disinfecting routines and schedules will be modified to enable more frequent and thorough cleaning.
  • Additional cleaning staff will be engaged.
  • Frequently touched surfaces in classrooms will be cleaned and disinfected at least daily and, as practicable, additionally during the day.
  • Frequently touched surfaces include, but are not limited to
    • Door handles
    • Light switches
    • Counter and tabletops
    • Sinks, fixtures, and handles
    • Student and teacher desktops
    • Telephone consoles
    • Computer keyboards
  • Frequently touched surfaces throughout the campus will be cleaned and disinfected at least daily and, as practicable, additionally during the day. Frequently touched surfaces include, but are not limited to
    • Playground gate latches
    • Handrails
    • Door handles
    • Elevator controls
  • Restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected at least once daily and, as practicable, high touch surfaces will be disinfected more frequently throughout the day. Supplies will be monitored.
  • Staff will be instructed to daily clean frequently touched surfaces in their workspace.
  • Routine cleaning of classrooms and offices will occur at the end of every school day.

Minimizing Resources and Shared Items

  • Site resources and campus routines that necessitate sharing or touching items will be suspended or modified, as practicable.
    • Play structures will be cleaned and disinfected between cohorts.
    • We will suspend the use of all drinking fountains and will encourage the use of reusable and/or refillable water bottles which may be refilled at a touch-less filler station.
    • The staff lounge/kitchen will be closed.
    • Staff will be instructed to clean and disinfect shared objects such as copy machines, pens, telephones, and paper cutters between uses.
    • As much as practicable, doors will be propped open to minimize communal contact of surfaces and maximize outdoor air.
    • Items needing to be picked up or dropped off from the campus may be retrieved or dropped off at the Information Center or at a designated location outside the office door.
    • Staff will be encouraged to handle office business virtually or by phone, as practicable, and to limit staff and student office traffic to necessary activities.
    • Business with families and the community will be handled virtually or by phone, as practicable.
    • Staff and students will not share food, cups, water bottles, or utensils.
  • Sharing of classroom equipment and supplies will be limited, as practicable. When sharing occurs, items will be cleaned and disinfected between cohorts, at the end of the day, or between uses, as practicable.
    • To avoid sharing common supplies, each student will use supplies designated for his/her use only. Such supplies will be provided by parents or the school.
    • Each students’ belongings will be kept separate.
    • Sharing of classroom supplies such as electronic devices, learning aids, toys, and other supplies will be minimized and will be cleaned and disinfected between uses, as practicable.
    • Classroom items that cannot be easily cleaned will be minimized.
    • Each cohort will have designated playground equipment which will be cleaned and disinfected at the end of each day.
    • Teachers will develop procedures for turning in assignments in ways that minimize contact.

Cleaning Products

  • The school has acquired cleaning products that are on the EPA’s List N for use against SARS-CoV-2.
  • The school has purchased an electrostatic sprayer which will be used by cleaning staff for efficient cleaning.
  • Classrooms will be provided with disinfectant, paper towels, hand sanitizer, and baby wipes. Classrooms with sinks will have soap.

Safety/Training

  • Staff will be provided recommended protective equipment when applying cleaning and disinfecting chemicals including gloves, eye protection, and other appropriate protective equipment as required by the product instructions.
  • Chemicals will be kept out of reach of children.
Cohorting
  • All students will be assigned to a stable cohort.
  • Each cohort will be limited to no more than 14 students and two teachers/teacher assistants assigned only to that cohort.
  • Each student cohort will have its own dedicated classroom on the days the cohort is on campus.
  • Additional campus locations will be designated as classrooms to allow smaller cohort sizes.
  • Each student cohort will be supervised by their assigned teachers/teacher assistants except in limited situations such as necessary teacher breaks. Such instances will be supervised by designated support staff and will, to the extent possible, occur outdoors.
  • Cohorts will not be mixed for recess or lunch.
  • Each student cohort will remain separate from other cohorts except for necessary and limited situations such as entrance and egress.
  • In-person communal activities such as Chapel will be virtual or suspended.
  • Students will follow the same schedule whether attending virtually or in-person.
  • Virtual instruction will be available on all days for students at risk, students who are ill or must quarantine, and students whose families prefer virtual learning.
  • Instruction will be delivered virtually every Wednesday for all students until circumstances allow for a complete return to in-person learning.
Entrance, Egress, and Movement within the School

General Information

  • Arrival times and departure times will be staggered.
    • Transitional kindergarten and kindergarten students arrive at 9:00 a.m. and depart at 12:30 p.m. Students attend school on campus M/T/TH/F and virtually Wednesday.
    • 1st – 6th Grades:
      • NORTH students arrive at 9:00 a.m. and depart at 2:30 p.m.
      • CREEK students arrive at 10:00 a.m. and depart at 3:30 p.m.
  • Parents will be required to use carline for student drop-off and pick-up at all arrival and departure times.
    • Designated routes and procedures will be communicated. Carline placards will aid in managing traffic flow.
    • Drivers and other passengers will remain in the car.
    • Parents will be asked to prepare their students to exit and enter the car without staff assistance.
    • Staff will greet families and facilitate safety by
      • Monitoring the flow of traffic
      • Educating families and ensuring adherence to safety protocols
      • Maintaining 6 feet of distance from others, as practicable.

Entrance

  • Upon exiting the car, students will proceed directly to their designated classrooms.
  • Staff will monitor students as they travel from carline to their classrooms to welcome students, encourage physical distancing, and ensure safety.
  • Strategically placed signs and ground markers will serve as reminders to maintain physical distancing.
  • Floor/ground markers outside classrooms and other designated locations will help students maintain physical distancing while waiting to enter the classroom.

Egress

  • Students will remain in grade-level cohorts and will maintain physical distancing as practicable as they await dismissal through carline.
  • Weather permitting, students will await dismissal in designated outdoor locations.

Visitors/Information Center

  • The school will operate as a closed campus.
  • Family use of the school campus before, during, and after school hours will be suspended.
  • The school will encourage business to be handled virtually or over the phone or, if needed, at the Information Center.
  • Nonessential visitors and volunteers, including parents, will be limited and must receive prior authorization to enter campus.
  • When business requires campus access, visitors must proceed first to the Information Center to check in, pass a health screening, and receive permission and instructions to enter campus.
  • A staffed outdoor Information Center will minimize unnecessary entrance to the campus, including classrooms and school office.
    • Activities handled at the Information Center include, but are not limited to, accepting students who arrive late, releasing students who leave early, facilitating deliveries to and from parents and others, and facilitating necessary health screening for visitors and for staff and students who do not complete screening before arrival.
    • Parents and others will be directed to park at the curb and remain in their vehicles while delivering or picking up students or conducting other business with Information Center staff, as practicable.
    • Signs and ground markers will serve as reminders of important safety measures such as maintaining physical distance, wearing a face covering, and staying home if sick.

Movement within the School

  • The school has adopted “Safer at Six” as a simple, memorable saying that emphasizes the importance of physical distancing.
  • Physical distancing reminders such as “Safer at Six” signs and ground/floor markers will be posted in various campus locations, including the Information Center, classrooms, office spaces, restrooms, hallways, stairways, and locations where students or adults may line up or congregate.
  • Traffic flow lines on the floor/ground will mark the walking direction in order to maintain physical distancing and minimize face-to-face contact, as practicable.
  • Congregate movement through hallways will be minimized.
    • Staff will lead younger students to and from activities, distancing from other cohorts and reminding students to practice physical distancing.
    • Staff will develop protocols to facilitate physical distancing as older students transition and as they enter and exit classrooms.
    • The use of lockers has been suspended.
  • Staff supervision in common areas such as hallways and recess/break areas will encourage students to maintain physical distancing.
  • Designated routes for entry and exit will be marked, including in the school office and in the Worship Center lobby; as practicable, classrooms will designate a separate entrance door and exit door.
  • Doors will be propped open, as practicable.
  • Signs at elevators will designate use by one person or members of one household at a time.
  • Schedules will be designed to allow students and staff to remain in the same space to minimize movement on campus, as practicable. See “Cohorting.”
Face Coverings and Other Essential Protective Gear

General Information

  • Face coverings are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto others (source control). Wearing a face covering is an important layer of protection that will help protect others if a person is unknowingly infected with COVID-19.
  • Face coverings are to be used in addition to physical distancing. Face coverings do not replace the need for physical distancing and frequent handwashing.
  • Face coverings are required to be used in accordance with CDPH Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings.

Types of Face Coverings

  • “Face covering” means a covering made of cloth, fabric, or other soft or permeable material, without holes, that covers the nose and mouth, but does not hide or obscure the wearer’s eyes or forehead.
  • Acceptable
    • Cloth Face Coverings: Factory or handmade, securable with straps, ties, or ear loops, or wrapped around the lower face. Made of multiple layers of tightly woven fabric which can be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to the shape. Solid colors only.
    • Disposable face coverings: Disposable face coverings are acceptable for students and employees. Disposable face coverings will be available at the Information Center for staff, students, or visitors on campus who forget their face covering or do not have an acceptable face covering.
  • Not Acceptable
    • Any face covering with a one-way valve/exhalation valves or vents is not a face covering, and should not be worn for source control.
    • Neck gaiters/buffs/bandanas

Use of Face Coverings

  • Students
    • Families will provide their students’ face coverings.
    • Grades
      • TK – 2nd
        • Per the CDPH recommendations, students are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings.
        • All students will need to have face coverings while at school. All students will be required to wear face coverings during designated times of the day. The school will make judicious allowances when face coverings may be removed.
      • 3rd – 6th
        • All students must wear face coverings in accordance with CDPH Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings and CCHS guidelines.
        • In accordance with CDPH guidelines, students without a face covering will not be allowed on campus. Families who forget their student’s face covering should contact the office and remain in their car upon arrival; the school will provide a disposable face covering.
        • Students who refuse to wear face coverings and who are without an exemption approved by the school nurse will participate in Virtual Academy only.
  • Staff
    • All staff will be required to wear face coverings in accordance with CDPH Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings
      and CCHS guidelines unless Cal/OSHA standards require respiratory protection. Clear face coverings may be worn.
    • Face shields may be worn in addition to face coverings. For pedagogical reasons and with prior approval from the school nurse, face shields may be worn instead of face coverings in limited instructional situations.
    • Employees may provide their own face coverings or may contact the school office if they do not have a face covering available.
  • Visitors
    • Visitors, including parents and siblings, who exit their vehicles on campus will be required to wear face coverings in accordance with CDPH Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings.
    • Disposable face coverings will be available in the Information Center.

Face Covering Exemptions

  • In accordance with CDPH Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings, certain individuals are exempt from wearing a face covering.
    • Children younger than 2 years of age
    • Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance.
  • Staff and parents of students who are exempt from wearing a face covering should contact the school nurse to make advance arrangements, which may require consultation with additional healthcare providers. Adaptations and alternatives will be considered whenever possible to increase the feasibility of wearing a face covering or to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading if it is not possible to wear a face covering.

Face Covering Education

Families and staff will be provided education in accordance with CDC guidance for Use of Masks to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19. Parents will be asked to review face covering protocols and safety measures with their students.

Wearing Face Coverings

  • Face coverings should be comfortable so the wearer does not have to adjust it frequently, so as to avoid touching the face.
  • Face coverings must be worn correctly for maximum protection.
    • Wash or sanitize your hands before putting on your face covering.
    • Holding the ear loops only, put the face covering over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
    • Try to fit it snugly against the bridge of your nose and the sides of your face.
    • Secure it with ties or ear loops.
    • Make sure you can breathe easily without restriction.
    • Wash your hands after putting on your face covering.
  • Don’t put the face covering around your neck or up on your forehead.
  • Don’t touch the face covering, and, if you do, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before and after touching the face covering.
  • Don’t share or swap face coverings.

Changing Face Coverings

  • At least after every day of use and/or before being used again
  • If dirty/soiled
  • If wet (makes breathing difficult)
  • After assisting or being in close contact with someone with symptoms of COVID-19
  • Any other time necessary to prevent the spread of illness

Removing Face Coverings

  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer.
  • Remove face covering carefully – do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing face covering.
  • Untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops.
  • Handle face covering only by the ear loops or ties.
  • Fold outside corners together.
  • Place face covering in a clean bag or container if removing the face covering only temporarily, in a sealed bag if removing at school or to discard, or directly in the washing machine if ready to wash.
  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer immediately after removing.

Washing Face Coverings

  • Wash cloth face coverings frequently, ideally after each use, or at least daily.
  • Place used face coverings in a bag or container until they can be laundered.
  • You can include your face covering in your regular laundry. Use regular laundry detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth used to make the mask.
  • Dry in the dryer using the highest heat setting. Leave face covering in the dryer until completely dry.
  • If you must re-wear your cloth face covering before washing, wash your hands immediately after putting it back on and avoid touching your face.
    * Discard disposable face coverings after each use, at least daily.

Discarding Face Coverings

Cloth Face Coverings – Discard face coverings that:

  • No longer cover the nose and mouth
  • Have stretched out or damaged ties or straps
  • Cannot stay on the face
  • Have holes or tears in the fabric
    * Discard disposable face coverings at least after every day of use and/or before being used again.

Other Essential Protective Gear
Employees will be provided face coverings, gloves, disposable gowns, N95 respirators, and other protective equipment as appropriate for their work assignments.

Symptoms, Health Screenings, and Illness

Symptoms of Illness

  • NCA will educate families and staff regarding the symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Fever 100° F or greater (Though COVID-19 symptoms include fever of 100.4° or greater, the NCA sick policy states that anyone with a fever of 100° F or greater may not be in school.)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • New loss of taste or smell

Health Screening

  • Staff, students, parents, caregivers, and visitors showing symptoms of COVID-19 are not to enter campus. Any exception for symptoms caused by chronic and/or non-contagious illness must be approved by the school nurse before the individual enters campus. Written clearance from the individual’s medical provider may be required.
  • The school will educate staff and families on the importance of staying home if they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, if they have tested positive for COVID-19, and if within the past 14 days they have been in close contact (6 feet or closer for at least 15 minutes) with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 or with anyone who has any COVID-19 symptoms – including anyone in their home.
  • Students and staff will complete an online self-screening health questionnaire within 2 hours prior to arrival on campus each day. They will report their temperature and will answer self-screening questions.
  • Students and staff who do not pass the self-screening will be instructed to remain off campus unless they have received clearance from the school nurse.
  • Staff members and parents of students with symptoms caused by chronic and/or non-contagious illness are to consult with the school nurse regarding health screenings. Written clearance from the student’s or staff member’s medical provider may be required.
  • Students and staff who are unable to complete their self-screening prior to arrival must pass the self-screening at the Information Center before entering campus. Parents of students who complete self-screening at the Information Center may not leave campus until their student has passed the screening.
  • The school will review the student and staff self-screening data, including reports of COVID-19 symptoms, exposure, and diagnosis, and will work with families and staff to determine the timeline for returning to school/work in accordance with CDC, CDPH, and CCHS guidance.
  • Students who cannot attend school for reasons such as illness, exposure, or medical conditions that place them at higher risk for severe illness may participate in the Virtual Academy.
  • The school will operate as a closed campus. Per guidelines, nonessential visitors and volunteers, including parents, will be limited and must receive prior authorization to enter campus. When business requires visitors to enter campus access, they must first proceed to the Information Center to check in, pass a health screening, and receive permission and instructions.

Illness at School – Symptoms of COVID-19

  • Staff members and parents of students with symptoms caused by chronic and/or non-contagious illness are to consult with the school nurse regarding symptoms of illness. Written clearance from the student’s or staff member’s medical provider may be required.
  • Students who sustain injuries at school or develop symptoms of illness not on the COVID-19 symptom list will be provided care separate from persons exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
  • The school has identified strategically located isolation areas for individuals with symptoms of COVID-19. Persons with symptoms will be located in separate isolation areas if possible; if it is necessary for more than one sick person to occupy an isolation area, physical distancing will be maintained.
  • Staff members are to inform the school nurse if they develop symptoms at school or if they note students who develop symptoms at school. Students will be encouraged to report symptoms to staff.
  • A student who develops symptoms of COVID-19 at school will be promptly separated from others, must don a face covering (if without one), and will be relocated to the nurse’s station or another designated isolation area for assessment, where the student will remain until picked up by an authorized adult. Parents will be promptly called and asked to pick up the student immediately and transport the student home or to a health care facility.
  • Staff who develop symptoms of COVID-19 at school are to promptly separate from others and don a face covering (if without one). They will leave campus as soon as practicable to go home or to a healthcare facility.
  • A 911 call will be placed if symptoms become severe.
  • The school will advise staff and parents of students with symptoms of COVID-19 to return home (or stay home), contact their healthcare provider, schedule a COVID-19 test as soon as possible and within 24 hours, and report the results to the school nurse. See “Instructions for Persons with Symptoms of COVID-19.”
  • Others who had contact with the sick person will not need to quarantine while waiting for the sick person’s test results.
  • The school will work with families and staff to determine the timeline for returning to school/work in accordance with CDC, CDPH, and CCHS guidance.
  • Students who cannot attend school for reasons such as illness, exposure, or medical conditions that place them at higher risk for severe illness may participate in the Virtual Academy.
Healthy Hygiene Practices
  • The school will teach and reinforce frequent handwashing for both students and staff.
    • Students and staff will be instructed on proper handwashing procedures:
      • Wet hands with clean, running water.
      • Apply soap and lather by rubbing hands together with soap. Lather backs of hands, between fingers, and under nails.
      • Scrub hands for at least 20 seconds. (Hum “Happy Birthday” twice.)
      • Rinse hands well under running water.
      • Dry hands with a clean paper towel or air dry them.
    • Staff will monitor handwashing for younger students, as practicable.
    • Visual reminders of healthy hygiene practices, including handwashing protocols, will be posted in restrooms and other key areas as a reminder to students and staff.
    • Students and staff will be reminded to wash their hands (or use hand sanitizer if handwashing is not practicable) frequently throughout the day, including:
      • Upon entering campus
      • Before and after eating
      • After playing outside
      • After using the restroom
      • After coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose
      • Before and after putting on, taking off, or touching a face covering
      • Before and after touching your face
      • When hands are visibly soiled
      • After touching garbage
      • After handling shared objects or after classes in which students handle shared items, although sharing will be discouraged, as practicable.
      • Before and after preparing food (staff)
      • Before and after caring for someone who is sick or treating a cut or wound; after assisting a child in the restroom (staff)
    • Though handwashing is more effective than hand sanitizers, when handwashing is not practicable, students and staff may use fragrance-free hand sanitizer with at least 60% ethyl alcohol.
      • Classrooms and workspaces will be supplied with hand sanitizer.
      • Touchless hand sanitizer stations will be stationed on campus in strategic locations.
    • The Information Center will be stocked with hand sanitizer for visitors and others entering campus though this access point.
    • Sinks with soap are available in all CMC classrooms (TK-4th grades). Restrooms are located near Worship Center classrooms (5th – 8th grades). Sinks with soap and/or restrooms will be available in or near offices and common indoor areas. Additional portable handwashing stations will be strategically placed on campus.
    • Adequate supplies will be in place to support healthy hygiene behaviors, including soap, hand sanitizer, tissues, and paper towels.
  • Students and staff will be reminded to avoid touching their face, especially their eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible.
  • The school will teach and reinforce respiratory etiquette:
    • Use a tissue to wipe your nose.
    • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow, not your hands.
    • Throw used tissues in the trash.
    • Immediately wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If unable to wash your hands, use hand sanitizer.
Identification and Tracing of Contacts and Communication Plans

Confirmed Case of COVID-19

If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 and has exposed others at school, the school will notify Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) immediately. The school will notify all families and staff, and will notify exposed families and staff as relevant. Communication to students, parents, and staff will be in accordance with privacy requirements such as FERPA, HIPAA, and state law related to privacy of educational records.

Notification of School

  • Families and staff are to inform the school if they test positive for COVID-19.
  • In addition, the school will review the student and staff self-screening data, including reports of COVID-19 symptoms, exposure, and diagnosis.

Identification and Tracing of Contacts

  • The school will engage in contact tracing, which involves identifying COVID-19 cases and their close contacts – asking cases to isolate, and close contacts to quarantine at home voluntarily. Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more.
  • The school nurse will promptly notify CCHS of a positive case of COVID-19.
  • Trained staff members will work with CCHS to support contact tracing, including such measures as creating and submitting lists of exposed students and staff, and notifying exposed persons.
  • The school has two staff members, including the school nurse, who have completed the Johns Hopkins University Contact Tracing course.
  • The school has designated Gena Howarter, school nurse, as the contact person for CCHS regarding COVID-19. Gena can be reached at ghowarter@ncapschool.org.

Cleaning and Disinfection

  • In consultation with CCHS, the classroom or office where the COVID-19 positive individual was based will be closed pending cleaning and disinfection.
  • Additional areas of the school visited by the COVID-19 positive individual may also need to be cleaned and disinfected.

Communication Plans

  • The school’s communication practices related to COVID-19 exposure and cases will be in coordination with CCHS and will be informed by CCHS and CDPH guidance.
  • The administrator will notify all staff and families of a positive case of COVID-19 among the students or employees.
  • The school will advise staff and parents of students with symptoms of COVID-19 to stay home (or return home if at school), contact their healthcare provider, schedule a COVID-19 test as soon as possible and within 24 hours, and report the results to the school nurse. See “Instructions for Persons with Symptoms of COVID-19.”
  • The school (or CCHS) will notify those who have had
    close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19. The school will advise close contacts to stay home (or return home if at school), contact their healthcare provider, schedule a COVID-19 test as soon as possible and within 24 hours, and report the results to the school nurse. See “Instructions for Persons Exposed to Someone with COVID-19.”
  • In consultation with CCHS, the administrator will determine if any additional intervention is necessary, including partial or full closure of in-person instruction, and will inform families and staff of any necessary closure. In accordance with standard guidance for isolation at home after close contact, the classroom or office where the COVID-19 positive individual was based will typically need to close temporarily as students and/or staff isolate/ quarantine.
  • The school will provide guidance to families and staff reminding them of the importance of community physical distancing measures if the school needs to close to in-person instruction, including discouraging students and staff from gathering elsewhere.
  • The school will maintain regular communication with CCHS.
  • School communication with families and staff may include individual or group emails, individual phone calls, and/or group Parent Alert text or phone messages.

Continuity of Education

  • Students who must remain home due to illness or exposure will be supported via the Virtual Academy. The school will be flexible in academic expectations.
  • In accordance with current health guidance and CCHS, the school will work with students and staff who are awaiting test results, who are ill, who are close contacts of a person diagnosed with COVID-19, or who are diagnosed with COVID-19 to determine when it is safe to return to work/school. The student or staff member must receive approval from the school nurse prior to returning, and may require a written clearance from the student’s or staff member’s medical provider.
  • The school will maintain the continuity of a robust and engaging education by pivoting to the Virtual Academy if partial or full closure of in-person instruction is necessary.

The following chart provides an overview of responses for a potential or confirmed COVID-19 case.

 Student or Staff with:ActionCommunication
1COVID-19 Symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, loss of taste or smell, difficulty breathing)
Symptom Screening:
Per CA School Sector Specific Guidelines
-Send home
-Recommend testing (If positive, see #3, if negative, see #4)
-School/classroom remain open
No action needed
2Close contact (†) with a confirmed COVID- 19 case-Send home
-Quarantine for 14 days from last exposure
-Recommend testing (but will not shorten 14- day quarantine)
-School/classroom remain open
Consider school community notification of a known contact
3Confirmed COVID-19 case infection-Notify the local public health department
-Isolate case and exclude from school for 10 days from symptom onset or test date
-Identify contacts (†), quarantine & exclude exposed contacts (likely entire cohort) for 14 days after the last date the case was present at school while infectious
-Recommend testing of contacts, prioritize symptomatic contacts (but will not shorten 14- day quarantine)
-Disinfection and cleaning of classroom and primary spaces where case spent significant time
-School remains open
-School community notification of a known case
-Notification of contacts/cohort
4Tests negative after symptoms-May return to school 3 days after symptoms resolve
-School/classroom remain open
Consider school community notification if prior awareness of testing

(†) A contact is defined as a person who is <6 feet of a case >15 minutes. In some school situations, it may be difficult to determine whether individuals have met this criterion, and an entire cohort, classroom, or other group may need to be considered exposed, particularly if people have spent time together indoors.

Physical Distancing

General Principles

  • Physical distancing protocols (at least 6 feet between adults and between adults and students; at least 4-6 feet between students) will be maintained both indoors and outdoors and in all classrooms, work spaces, and public spaces. Exceptions to these protocols will be infrequent and temporary.
  • Adaptations such as staggered start and end times, student cohorts, additional classroom spaces and use of outdoor spaces, and hybrid learning (5th – 6th) will result in campus and classroom de-densification and will support physical distancing protocols.
  • Physical distancing reminders such as “Safer at 6” signs, ground/floor markers, and traffic flow lines will be strategically placed indoors and outdoors throughout the campus.
  • Unnecessary congregating will be avoided for students and staff.
  • See “Entrance, Egress, and Movement within the School.”

Classroom Space

  • Space will be maximized between students, between staff, and between students and staff.
    • Staff will remain six feet from students and other adults, as practicable.
    • Where space constraints do not allow 6 feet of distance between staff and student seating, a clear physical barrier will be placed between the staff desk and nearby student desks/seating.
    • Students will be seated at least 4-6 feet apart.
    • Student seating will be arranged to minimize face-to-face contact.
  • Each student cohort will remain in its dedicated classroom for instruction. See “Cohorting.”
  • Furniture and play spaces will be arranged and rooms de-densified to allow for physical distancing.
  • Staff will develop ways to minimize movement and maximize spacing in the classroom and will develop age-appropriate instructions that help students understand and follow class protocols.
  • Staff will develop procedures for turning in assignments in ways that minimize contact.
  • Activities that involve the potential of person-to-person physical contact will be avoided.
  • Virtual instruction will be available on all days for students at risk, students who are ill or must quarantine, and students whose families prefer virtual learning.

Recess/Breaks

  • Students will be encouraged to maintain physical distancing of 6 feet.
  • Contact sports and activities that encourage close contact will be avoided.

Lunch

  • Staff and students will be reminded to maintain physical distancing (at least 6 feet between staff and between students and staff, and at least 4-6 feet between students) to the greatest extent possible while eating and drinking, particularly because they will not be wearing a face covering.
  • Each student cohort will remain in its own dedicated classroom for lunch, with each student eating at his/her own desk/workspace, seated at least 4-6 feet apart.
  • Should outdoor lunch areas be available for student use, each cohort will eat together, with students seated at least 6 feet apart. Cohorts will not mix.
  • Lunches purchased from the outside vendor will be individually packaged and will be delivered to the eating area by staff wearing face coverings and gloves.

Restrooms

  • In high occupancy Worship Center restrooms, alternate stalls and sinks will be closed to encourage physical distancing.
  • In other school restrooms, signs at the entrance will designate a maximum occupancy no more than the number of stalls and calculated to encourage 6 feet of physical distancing.
  • Cohort/class use of restrooms will be staggered when practicable to reduce congregating. Students waiting for a turn will practice physical distancing of 6 feet, as practicable.
  • Staff will provide supervision for younger students when practicable to encourage physical distancing and proper handwashing.

School Office

  • Office access will be limited, as practicable.
    • Nonessential visitors and volunteers, including parents, will be limited. When business requires office access, visitors must first check in at the Information Center, pass a health screening, and receive permission and instructions.
    • Business with families and the community will be handled virtually or by phone, as practicable.
    • Staff will be encouraged to handle office business virtually or by phone, as practicable, and to limit staff and student office traffic to necessary activities.
    • Items may be picked up or retrieved at the Information Center or at a designated location outside the office door.
  • Work areas will be de-densified and arranged so staff can maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet. If physical distancing is not possible, physical barriers will be added.
  • Clear plexiglass barriers at front office counters will provide additional protection.
  • Staff use of the lounge and kitchen facilities will be suspended.

Other

  • Outdoor space will be used for instructional or other activities as practicable.
  • Assemblies, field trips, outdoor and indoor sporting events, and other activities that require close contact or that would promote congregating are suspended.
  • Meetings will be held virtually or with physical distancing protocols.
Staff Training and Family Education
  • Families and staff will be provided the NCA Reopening Plan and instructed to review and follow school protocol to provide for a safer reopening of the campus. We will enlist their cooperation in protecting our community and doing their part in helping us achieve our goal to “open and stay open.”
  • Staff training and family education will be provided on a variety of COVID-19 prevention topics including physical distancing; face covering use, removal, and washing; cohorting; healthy hygiene practices such as proper handwashing; enhanced sanitation practices; campus operational protocols; COVID-19 health screening, symptom identification, and testing; protocol for individuals who become ill at school and/or have symptoms of COVID-19; and protocol for a case of COVID-19 or exposure to someone with COVID-19.
    • Students will be provided age-appropriate training on topics including physical distancing, face coverings, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and classroom and campus protocols.
    • Strategically placed signs and ground/floor markers will serve as reminders of preventive practices such as physical distancing, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and visitor and office protocols.
    • Staff will provide real-time modeling, education, and reminders to facilitate implementation of the NCA Reopening Plan with students, parents, and visitors.
    • Staff training has been provided on a number of topics prior to staff orientation, with additional training planned prior to the return of in-person learning. Family education will occur prior to the return of in-person learning.
    • In accordance with their roles and responsibilities, staff will be provided training on topics such as health care protocols and cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
    • The school will use a variety of educational methods, including emails, training documents, videos, virtual meetings, and in-person training. Information will be prepared by school staff, including the school nurse, in accordance with current local, state, and CDC health guidance.
    • The school will monitor school operations and will provide further student, parent, and staff education, communication, and support as needed.
Testing of Students and Staff

The school will advise staff and parents of students with symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 to stay home (or return home if at school), contact their healthcare provider, schedule a COVID-19 test as soon as possible and within 24 hours, and report the results to the school nurse.

In accordance with current health guidance and CCHS, the school will work with staff and with parents of students who are awaiting test results, who are ill, who are close contacts of a person diagnosed with COVID-19, or who are diagnosed with COVID-19 to determine when it is safe to return to work/school. The student or staff member must receive approval from the school nurse prior to returning, and may require a written clearance from the student’s or staff member’s medical provider.

Instructions for Persons with Symptoms of COVID-19

In accordance with current health guidance and Contra Costa Health Services, the school will work with you to determine when it is safe to return to work/school. Students or staff with symptoms of COVID-19 must receive approval from the school nurse prior to returning to school/work, and may require a written clearance from the student’s or staff member’s medical provider.

  • Stay home (or return home if at school) or go to a healthcare facility depending on the severity of your symptoms.
  • Contact your healthcare provider.
    • Isolate until it is safe to be with others.
    • Schedule a COVID-19 test as soon as possible and within 24 hours, and report results to the school nurse.
  • Follow CDC recommendations. See CDC guidance on If You Are Sick or Caring for Someone and What to Do if You are Sick.
  • Sick individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or are not tested may not return to school until they have met CDC criteria to discontinue home isolation, including the following: at least 24 hours have passed with no fever (without use of fever-reducing medications) AND other symptoms of COVID-19 have improved AND at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
  • Sick individuals who receive a negative COVID-19 test may return to school 3 days after symptoms resolve.
  • Sick individuals who are diagnosed with a different communicable disease or illness (strep throat, norovirus, etc.) that explains the symptoms, and for whom COVID-19 is ruled out with a negative PCR test, must stay home until:
    • They are fever free (below 100 degrees) for 24 hours without fever reducing medication, and symptoms have improved.
    • A doctor’s note identifies the disease and clears them to return to school.
    • Siblings and household members do not need to stay home.
  • Staff members and parents of students with symptoms caused by chronic and/or non-contagious illness are to consult with the school nurse regarding symptoms of illness. Written clearance from the student’s or staff member’s medical provider may be required.

Instructions for Persons Exposed to Someone with COVID-19

In accordance with current health guidance and Contra Costa Health Services, the school will work with you to determine when it is safe to return to work/school. Students or staff who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 must receive approval from the school nurse prior to returning to school/work, and may require a written clearance from the student’s or staff member’s medical provider.

  • Stay home (or return home if at school) and quarantine until it is safe to be with others.
  • Contact your healthcare provider.
  • Schedule a COVID-19 test as soon as possible and within 24 hours, and report results to the school nurse.
  • Follow CDC guidance. See Public Health Guidance for Community-Related Exposure.
    • Stay home for 14 days after your last exposure to that person.
    • Maintain physical distance (at least 6 feet) from others at all times.
    • Self-monitor for symptoms: check temperature twice a day; watch for fever, cough, or shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
    • Avoid contact with people at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop. See also CDC guidance on If You Are Sick or Caring for Someone.
  • Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 may not return to school until they have met CDC criteria to discontinue home isolation, including the following: at least 24 hours have passed with no fever (without use of fever-reducing medications) AND other symptoms of COVID-19 have improved AND at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 but have no symptoms may return to school after 10 days have passed since they had a positive PCR test for COVID-19.
  • Even if they continue to feel healthy, exposed individuals (close contacts of someone with COVID-19) who test negative for COVID-19 must continue to follow quarantine instructions until 14 days after their last exposure to the person with COVID-19. Continued quarantine is necessary because symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
Surveillance Testing of Staff
  • To detect asymptomatic infections, school staff will undergo surveillance COVID-19 PCR testing in accordance with current mandates.
  • The school has secured a testing agreement with Arch Staffing and Consulting (PMH Laboratory, a CalREDIE lab) which will provide surveillance PCR testing of staff on campus. Test results will be provided within 72 hours.
  • In accordance with the CDPH’s guidance, 100% of staff who may have contact with students or other staff will be tested every two months. To accomplish this rotation of staff, approximately 25% of staff who may have contact with students or other staff will be tested approximately every two weeks.
Pivoting to the NorthCreek Virtual Academy Instructional Model (Closure of In-Person Instruction)

Partial Closure

  • When a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 and has exposed others at school, CCHS will be notified. The sick individual and close contacts will stay home until cleared to return to school/work.
  • In consultation with CCHS, the administrator will determine any necessary closure of in-person instruction.
  • In accordance with standard guidance for isolation at home after close contact, the classroom or office where the COVID-19 positive individual was based will typically need to close temporarily as students and/or staff isolate/quarantine.

Full Closure

  • Individual school closure of NCA’s in-person instruction will be determined based on the number of confirmed student/staff cases of COVID-19 and the percentage of students/staff that are positive for COVID-19. Determinations will be made in consultation with CCHS.
    • Closure may be appropriate when there are multiple cases in multiple cohorts at the school or when at least 5% of the total number of students/employees are confirmed cases within a 14-day period.
    • The school nurse will report all positive student and staff cases to CCHS and will track whether the school approaches the 5% threshold during a 14-day period.
    • If the school is closed for in-person instruction under these circumstances, it may typically reopen after 14 days and the following have occurred: cleaning and disinfection, public health investigation, and consultation with CCHS.
  • CCHS may also determine school closure of in-person instruction is warranted for other reasons, including results from public health investigation or other local epidemiological data.

Continuity of Education

  • Students who must remain home due to illness or exposure will be supported via the Virtual Academy. In addition, virtual instruction will be available on all days for students whose families prefer it.
  • In accordance with current health guidance and CCHS, the school will work with students and staff who are awaiting test results, are close contacts of a person diagnosed with COVID-19, or are diagnosed with COVID-19 to determine when it is safe to return to work/school.
  • The school will maintain the continuity of a robust and engaging education by pivoting to the Virtual Academy if partial or full closure of in-person instruction is necessary.


Next Steps

We hope you prayerfully consider NorthCreek and encourage you to take the proper steps in applying for our school.