Dear West Branch Families,
As we return to school this fall, West Branch Community Schools in conjunction with Cedar County Public Health would like to inform families what public health mitigation measures we are taking and what our expectations regarding COVID-19 will be. Guidelines set forth by the CDC and the Iowa Dept. of Public Health will be followed as appropriate and feasible. During the pandemic, illness will be considered COVID-19, until proven differently by a different diagnosis from a medical doctor.
-Discuss your expectations with your student before they return to school. PLEASE KNOW THAT IF YOU ARE SENDING YOUR CHILD OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOME, WHETHER IT BE TO SCHOOL, SPORTS, OR OTHER FUNCTIONS, THEY ARE AT RISK OF CONTRACTING COVID-19. West Branch Community School District will be putting mitigation measures in place that may make the school day “look” a bit different this year.
-REVIEW PROPER HAND WASHING, COVERING COUGH, AND SOCIAL DISTANCING WITH YOUR STUDENT. This will be a large part of the school day routine.
-Masks and face coverings will be required of staff and students when social distancing is not possible. This includes any area outside of the regular classroom including hallways, buses, lunchrooms, etc... Please send your child with a mask. The district will have masks available for students when and if they need it. A shield may be worn with a mask but there must be a mask on with the shield. It is also important for families to discuss the need for social distancing and to limit gatherings outside of school to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
-If your child is showing symptoms of Covid-19, the nurse will place a mask on them to prevent the possibility of spreading germs. If your child has health issues that prevent them from wearing a mask, please see your healthcare provider prior to the start of school. A medical exemption on the doctor’s letterhead will be accepted and should be brought to the school nurse. The exemption must include the reason for the inability to wear a mask and be signed by the MD, AP, DO or ARNP.
-Please do not send your child to school if they are ill. Temperature screenings will not be done at the arrival at school. We ask that parents take temperatures of students prior to sending them to school as well. If the student has a temperature of 100 degrees or higher, please keep them home. They must be fever free for 24 hours without medication before returning to school. Please do not send your student to school if he or she has already taken Tylenol or Ibuprofen without letting the school nurse know ahead of time.
-Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 and wish to return to sports must be cleared by a MD, DO, AP or ARNP and bring a letter stating they may return to play.
-Drinking fountains will be turned off, but students will have access to the bottle filling stations. If you wish to send a labeled personal water bottle with your student, it must have a twist off cap for filling that is separate from the drinking or straw opening. They must be able to drink from the straw vs unscrewing the cap and drinking from the bottle itself. This will keep the spread of germs lower at the water bottle filling stations.
-Seating charts will aim at social distancing. Desks will be 6 feet or more apart.
-Students or staff with fever of 100.0 or any other signs and symptoms of COVID-19 will be asked to go home. Please be prepared for your student to be excluded from school until they are symptom free or for a minimum of 24 hours and no other symptoms have developed.
-If you are called to pick up your student due to illness, it will be expected that he or she be picked up as soon as possible but no longer than 45 minutes. Please make arrangements for this to happen. School staff MUST be able to reach a parent or another family contact when needed,and they must be picked up in a timely manner to reduce contact exposure.
-Parents and visitors will not be allowed to enter the building unless it is a scheduled meeting with school personnel. Please be sure you’ve arranged an appointment with school staff before entering the building.
-If a positive COVID-19 case is identified at school, the school nurse will assist Cedar County Public Health or Johnson County Public Health to complete a case investigation and to determine possible close contacts of the positive case. ANY CLOSE CONTACTS IDENTIFIED WILL BE QUARANTINED AT HOME FROM 14 DAYS FROM THE LAST EXPOSURE TO THE POSITIVE CASE. Please be prepared for your student to be excluded from on-site school for that 14 day quarantine. Please see the attached graphic, which reviews symptoms of COVID-19 and the process for case investigation and contact tracing.
-The district has purchased cloth masks for every student and staff member. They will be dispersed between buildings and given out as needed should a student forget to bring their mask or the mask gets soiled. In some cases a disposable one time use mask may be given.
Should you have any questions, please contact your building principal or the school nurse. We want to thank you for your support in making this year successful for our students and staff.
The West Branch Community School District