REOPENING SYCAMORE

LETTER FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL

Dear Sycamore Parents,
As you know, over the last several weeks, our Reopening Sycamore Task Force has been hard at work to plan for a safe and successful reopening of school on August 13, on our regular calendar and schedule. The members of our task force have considered every perspective as they have worked diligently to research best practices and developed resources through which to obtain expert advice. I am deeply indebted to this group for their dedication and thoughtfulness.

The plan represents our best judgement, based on the advice of national, state, and local health experts. Our goal is to offer our students an exemplary experience for gifted learners while ensuring the health and safety of all of our community members. We also realize our contribution to the broader community in terms of health and safety. Although this plan is thorough, it is not fixed and unalterable. We know the environment is constantly changing, and we could need to change our responses along the way. All of our efforts are aimed at risk mitigation. We know we cannot eliminate all risks. The plan has no assumed end date; it is in effect until further notice.

Just as your partnership in everything we do is important, you will play an important role in the implementation of this Reopening Plan. Your positive attitudes, along with ours, will set the tone for our kids and help lead us toward a productive year. We will be distributing some messages created especially for your kids. In the meantime, after you have digested this plan, please start discussions with your kids about what school will be like in the fall; practice the elements that you can at home, such as wearing face coverings. I think our optimism and “can-do” attitudes about the plan will transfer to our kids.

More detailed communications about aspects of the plan and about back-to-school events will be coming your way before school starts. I’m so excited to get our kids back at school and resume or begin our in-person relationships! Onward and upward!

Stay well,
Diane Borgmann


FACILITIES

• Completed facility upgrades include: HVAC upgrades to increase the amount of fresh air (complete air exchange every 10 minutes); touchless faucets and dispensers in K, PreK and PS classrooms; hand sanitizer stations at key locations; plexiglass partitions at entrances and in identified offices; placement of social distancing floor stickers; purchase of a Clorox 360 machine to electrostatically disinfect furniture and equipment; installation of open-top trash cans; touchless paper towel dispensers in all classrooms.
• Addition of staff to night cleaning crew
• Faculty cleaning of high-touch areas and materials throughout the day
• Students facing the same direction in classrooms; desks rearranged for social distancing
• Storage of extra furniture
• Closure of drinking fountains; bottle fillers active (Students should bring water bottles.)
• Social distancing and hygiene signage
• Creation of isolation areas for symptomatic students or staff

DAILY IN-SCHOOL PRACTICES

• Social distancing
• Proper and frequent handwashing; discouragement of face touching
• No handshaking or hugging
• Face coverings for all students and staff in the building; possible “mask breaks” outside (Families should provide multiple face coverings and can choose between a mask and a shield.)
• Little to no sharing of supplies and equipment; cleaning when necessary
• Outside instruction when possible
• Lunch in classrooms
(A box lunch option provided by Flik is being developed. Lunches brought from home will be peanut and tree nut free.)
• Limited student activity in communal spaces (hallways, lockers, Hagerman Commons)
• Assigned restrooms
• Availability of PPE, wipes, thermometers
• Elimination of non-essential volunteers; parents and visitors not allowed inside building
• Media Center and Hagerman Commons closed for before and after school drop-in
• Temporary cancellation of in-person after-school activities, clubs, and teams
• Quest before and after school care provided based on need (Students from single-parent or dual-working parent households will receive priority. Participants must be pre-registered; no drop-ins accepted. Quest staff will incorporate cohorting, distancing, health, and hygiene measures to provide a safe environment. Further details for Quest can be found here and will be shared with families.)

CALENDAR/SCHEDULE
• Sycamore’s current academic calendar remains in force.
• If school is open, students are expected to be present unless a documented medical need is provided to the school. We are not offering a 100% distance learning option. We will, however, accommodate temporary absences to keep students connected and up-to-date.
• Scheduled breaks, professional development days, or the end date of school will be flexible if necessary.
• Parent conference days remain as scheduled but will be conducted virtually.
• Evaluation of SSA and community events will occur on a case-by-case basis.

DISEASE
Families and staff will be required to perform a health screening before arriving at school each day; information will be reported to and monitored by Sycamore. If a child or staff member arrives at school without a completed screening, he/she will go to the School Nurse for screening. (Families and staff will receive information about MyMedBot, the app we will use.)

• Students and employees will be trained to recognize the following COVID-19 related symptoms:
- Fever of 100.4 degrees or higher
- Cough
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Chills - Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain - Headache - Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell

• If a student or staff member becomes ill at school they will be taken to the School Nurse, who will determine if isolation is needed. The School Nurse will also determine if the student’s parents need to be notified.
• Students who do not display symptoms of COVID-19 can be seen and treated in the Clinic. This would include students who have chronic health conditions, those requiring medical treatments, and those with individual health plans.
• Students who display symptoms of COVID-19 will be isolated in an area for evaluation or to await pick-up. Only official staff assigned to the room will be allowed to enter. Records will be kept of all persons who entered the room, and it will be disinfected several times throughout the day.
• Upon notification from Sycamore that a child is sick, a parent or caregiver should immediately pick the child up from school. Students will be isolated until their parent or caregiver arrives and then will be walked out of the building by school staff.
• If a student or staff member exhibits COVID-19 related symptoms, the school strongly suggests testing. The following are resources for locating testing sites: LHI.CARE and ISDH. Families and staff members are asked to communicate results to the School Nurse, Ryan Kandel (kandel.ryan@sycamoreschool.org) as soon as available, so appropriate. action can be taken.This information will be treated confidentially by Sycamore.
• If a student comes into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is symptomatic, parents should follow the current CDC guidelines.
• If a student tests positive for COVID-19 or is symptomatic, parents must notify the school through the School Nurse.
• If a student or staff member has been tested for COVID-19, he/she should not return to school while waiting for results, regardless of symptoms.
• Once a student or employee is excluded from school, he/she may return if CDC recommendations are satisfied. Currently, those guidelines are:

Untested
Students and staff who have not received a test proving or disproving the presence of COVID-19 but experience symptoms may return if the following conditions are met:
- They have not had a fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers); and
- Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath has improved); and - At least 10 calendar days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.

Tested Positive - Symptomatic
Students and staff who experienced symptoms and have been tested for COVID-19 may return to school if the following conditions are met:
- The individual no longer has a fever (without the use medicine that reduces fevers); and
- Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath has improved); and
- At least 10 calendar days have passed since symptoms first appeared; or
- The individual has received two negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Tested Positive - Asymptomatic
- Students and staff who have not had symptoms but test positive for COVID-19 may return when they have experienced no symptoms 10 calendar days after the test and have been released by a healthcare provider; or
- The individual has received two negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Tested Negative - Symptomatic:
- Students and staff who have tested negative for COVID-19 but are symptomatic may return to school after 72 hours of being fever free without the use of fever-reducing medication.

• When Sycamore has a confirmed case of COVID-19, the school will notify and work with the ISDH and follow their recommendations in working with CDC guidance. (See: “When a confirmed case has entered a school, regardless of community transmission” found here.) The school will communicate plans with stakeholders as appropriate.
• We request that staff and families complete travel plans 14 days prior to beginning school.
• During the school year, the school highly recommends that students and staff members who travel to locations with high COVID rates self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to school. “High COVID rates” is currently defined as an area with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average. An interactive US map with this information can be found here. High COVID rate locations are indicated in orange and red.

FAMILY RESPONSIBILITIES
• Sign a waiver, which will be included in the electronic summer mailing.
• Provide face coverings for children.
• Complete daily health screenings.
• Thoughtfully consider travel.
• Communicate with Sycamore.
• Keep sick kids at home!

INSTRUCTION, EDUCATION, AND DISTANCE LEARNING PLAN
Cohorting by grade levels in most instances
• Extra spaces assigned to grade levels for small groups
• Students in a specific classroom most of the week; teachers rotating
• Modified PE: outside or employing social distancing in the Gym
• Band: modified into smaller groups; no sharing of instruments, music, or equipment; social distancing
• Choir: no indoor group of ensemble singing until mitigation techniques have proven effective
• Recess: designated areas; staggered times; frequent cleaning of equipment
• Elimination of field trips and assemblies
• Athletics: Outdoor fall athletics (tennis, soccer, cross country) may be held, depending upon decisions of our league schools and depending upon interest from Sycamore students. Fall volleyball will be cancelled. You will receive updates on athletics as decisions become final.
• Guest speakers evaluated individually

• Social emotional learning and mental health priorities: - Possible regression in kids’ social, emotional, and behavioral skills - Establishment of a sense of physical and psychological safety (consistency)
- Importance of relationship building
- Wide range of experiences and reactions to COVID-19 and return to school - Adoption of a trauma-informed lens to re-entry
- Frequent check-ins to screen for social, emotional, and behavioral distress
- Proactive opportunities for students to process experiences with COVID-19 and school closings
- Special considerations for 2e student regarding learning accommodations

• In the event of a school or grade level closure do to COVID-19, we will pivot to our revised Distance Learning Plan.