While the information below comes from the Back to School Plan, our goal is to narrow this information down to information that our community needs at various stages, beginning with Remote Learning and eventually moving towards Hybrid / In-Person Learing Models.
Training on Physical Distancing and Safety Protocols
Prior returning to an In-Person or Hybrid Learning Model, all students and staff will be provided with age appropriate instruction and training on COVID-19 related physical distancing expectations and hygiene practices. Such training will include clear guidelines for school routines including but not limited to school entry and dismissal, riding the school bus, movement through the hallways, school meals, and accessing the bathroom. The school community will be reminded frequently of these routines and expectations; signage in multiple languages will be used to support and reinforce physical distancing and personal hygiene practices that help reduce the spread of COVID and other infectious diseases.
Visitors and Volunteers
Visitors to the schools, including volunteers, will be minimized as much as possible. Each school in the district will develop a “Visitor Protocol”, specific to their school needs which includes a process for, specifically, nurse/COVID pickups, tardies/early dismissals, FPS staff from other buildings, and in-person Individual Education Program (IEP) meetings. According to the District’s Staff Plan for COVID-19 for Fall 2020, at the time of this writing, FPS will limit any nonessential visitors or volunteers - especially individuals who are not from the local geographic area.
- Visitors to schools must make an appointment in advance.
- Visitors will be held to the same standards as staff and will be required to wear masks/face coverings (which may be provided by FPS) and follow hand sanitizing and physical distancing requirements.
- Visitors will be encouraged to leave personal belongings in the car or to keep such items with them during their visit.
- Visitors will not share pens when logging their presence into a site.
Substitute teachers will be assigned to a designated building whenever possible to prevent exposure to multiple sites. Itinerant staff who travel between buildings will be expected to wash their hands upon leaving and arriving at any school. The proper use of masks/face coverings and physical distancing protocols will be followed at all times. Itinerant staff will be required to sign in and out of any building they visit.
Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality
Prior to the reopening of schools, the District will ensure that ventilation systems in each school operate properly and air exchange is effective. For building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC systems) that have been shut down or on setback, the District will review new construction start-up guidance provided in ASHRAE Standard 180-2018, Standard Practice for the Inspection and Maintenance of Commercial Building HVAC Systems
The District has contracted with Fitzmeyer and Tocci HVAC Engineers, (F&T) to perform an evaluation of all school building HVAC systems. Upon completion of that evaluation, the District will consider the implementation of those recommendations made by F&T to improve indoor air quality at each respective school building. This may include the installation of ionization systems and/or other types of HVAC equipment.
The Buildings and Grounds Department will also be upgrading air filter types from MERV 8 to MERV 13 in air distribution systems in the school buildings where existing systems can receive the upgrade to Merv 13. All filters will be changed a minimum of three times per year, or more frequently if required. Portable air purifiers will be placed prior to the start of school in all classrooms, offices, and other areas as deemed necessary to increase air purification.
While schools are in use, staff will increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible by opening windows (screens will be installed if needed) and doors, using fans, and other methods. Staff will be reminded not to open windows and doors if doing so poses a safety or health risk for current or subsequent occupants, including children (e.g., allowing outdoor environmental contaminants including carbon monoxide, molds, or pollens into the building).
All high touch surfaces (door knobs, handrails, light switches, etc.) will be cleaned and sanitized regularly according to the Staff Plan for COVID-19 for Fall 2020. To further minimize the spread of COVID-19, doors will be left open whenever possible. Other such measures will be taken as they are identified and include such steps as keyless entry to buildings, 1:1 Chromebook access, and providing students with supply “kits” to prevent sharing of materials, etc.
Portable air purifiers will be provided for each classroom; plexiglass barriers and touchless paper towels dispensers will be considered as needed on a case by case basis.
Cleaning and Disinfecting Procedures
FPS has developed a Staff Plan for COVID-19 for Fall 2020 that outlines clear and explicit housekeeping practices for schools and workplaces, including frequency of cleaning and disinfecting and supplies to be used.
Frequent hand washing is the best defense against transmission of COVID from contaminated surfaces. That said, frequent cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces will take place following directions on product labels. Adequate training and personal protective equipment will be provided to protect custodial staff. In addition, special attention must be paid to the most highly touched surfaces, such as door handles, light switches, sink handles, and any elevator buttons multiple times per day in between uses. In addition to cleaning and disinfecting carried out by custodial staff, teachers and classroom staff will be provided with safe cleaning products as well as training to disinfect items in their classrooms between uses.
The District recognizes the important role bus transportation plays in providing students with access to their learning and will work to provide this service to as many students as possible. FPS will follow all physical distancing requirements on school buses in accordance with DESE / DPH guidelines which will significantly limit the number of students that we can reasonably and safely transport to school each day when we return to any In-Person Learning Models. FPS will prioritize bus transportation for all eligible riders (students in Grades K-6 living more than two miles from their assigned school) who request a seat. For ineligible students (students in Grades K-6 living under two miles from their assigned school and all Grades 7-12 students) who request bus transportation and are provided transportation based on available space, FPS will offer a seat, for a fee to be determined. FPS is also designing a plan that will address special circumstances such as daycare drop-offs, multiple residences, and hardship waivers.
- Steps will be taken to minimize contact and potential spread of COVID-19 while students are boarding, riding, or disembarking the school bus. Bus drivers are a critical link in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19. Drivers will receive direct instruction in the proper use of masks/face coverings, hand sanitizer, physical distancing, cleaning products, as well as COVID-related policies and procedures (such as a student showing symptoms on a bus) and student behavioral expectations.
- Drivers are required to wear masks/face coverings while students are on the bus. In addition, drivers will be provided with extra masks for students who may meet the bus without a mask/face covering. Students are required to wear face coverings, practice physical distancing and to use hand sanitizer regularly.
- Precautions will be taken while on the bus including physical distancing through assigned seating, requiring students to remain in their seat for the duration of the ride, required use of face coverings by the bus driver and all passengers, prescribed boarding and disembarking procedures, and explicit behavior expectations.
- School buses will be disinfected twice per day (once after the AM route and again after the PM route). Cleaning and disinfecting supplies will be provided to drivers to enable them to spot-clean any surface as needed. If a driver or passenger on a bus has tested positive for the virus, the particular vehicle will be taken out of service for a minimum of 24 hours prior to disinfecting it and putting it back into service. To increase ventilation, windows will remain open whenever possible while buses are in use.
Providing breakfast and lunch is an essential role of the Framingham Public Schools. The District will develop a plan that aligns with guidelines as set forth by the Department of Public Health and the DESE. Considerations include, but are not limited to:
- Where food is served, potentially in classrooms
- How food is served, which may be boxed and/or delivered to the student
- Accommodating students with food allergies
- Physical distancing and other considerations during meals, specifically maintaining 6 feet of distance between all individuals while face coverings are removed
- Student supervision during lunch
- Vending machines
- Staff lunch room protocols
- The banning of food delivery (e.g. pizza and other takeout meals) to schools from non-FPS food vendors
- Providing meals for students during remote learning
- Proper cleaning and trash removal
Students will be instructed on changes to the meal time routines at their school as part of their training upon their return to school.
Before and After School Programming/Out of School Time Plan
The District recognizes the significant need to provide programming for our students before and after school. Careful consideration and planning will take place to provide programming that we feel we are able to offer that ensures the health and safety of all students and staff. Areas that need to be addressed before any programming can be offered include staffing and supervision, transportation, attendance, and scheduling. All before and after school programming, at all levels, will follow the same physical distancing and personal hygiene protocols that exist during the school day.
Additionally, the District will convene a group of community stakeholders to further discuss and align programming for all students.