Trinity’s Blueprint for Reopening response plan to the COVID-19 pandemic was developed with considerations from the Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and various other public resources. The goal of this plan is to inform the community of the steps Trinity is taking to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Because information about the virus changes rapidly, and because we cannot plan for all scenarios, this plan is subject to regular review and change as new data becomes available. In other words, Trinity leadership will actively monitor and respond to incidents and issues if they arise. The following points should be considered ahead of reviewing this plan:
- Parents and families must make the best decisions for the safety and well-being of their children; this includes participation in private education.
- The use of masks is only required during specific mass gatherings (chapel, assemblies, etc.) or when distancing is not possible.
- Trinity will commit considerable time at the beginning of the year to the education of proper hygienic practices (hand-washing, mask-wearing, etc.) along with intentional time spent on social/emotional wellness as we welcome students back as a community for the first time in months.
- No school can fully prevent the spread of communicable disease, including COVID-19.
- The virus disproportionately impacts seniors; children are not considered high risk.
- Risk of transmission via surfaces is not the ‘main way’ the virus is transferred; associated risk remains low.
- The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s (DPI) Education Forward document is not a mandate or list of requirements school’s must follow. “Education Forward provides considerations for district and school leaders to plan and implement a safe, efficient, and equitable return to school” (p.3).
- Local Education Agencies (LEAs) are responsible for their own reopening plans and will likely be different (but similar) to others in nearby areas. Trinity’s plan is unique to Trinity, but made with certain LEA and state recommendations in mind.
- Trinity leadership has actively monitored and analyzed available data and research towards the production of this document; it is subject to change.
- Policies should be practical, feasible, and appropriate for child and adolescent’s developmental stage, and must be flexible and nimble in responding to new information, and administrators must be willing to refine approaches when specific policies are not working.
- Wellness of the whole child includes physical health, but also social-emotional and spiritual health as well. Relationship building, student voice, teacher engagement, and our core values of family and love would be harmed by excessive restrictions put on student movement and face-to-face interaction.
Our Core Values and Vision Statement
- Christ Centered. Jesus is the most important part of our school; everything we do and everything we are, takes root in the cross of Christ and his salvation. Colossians 3:17, And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
- Love. We love our students, our families, our staff, and our community; we exemplify joy, passion, and a welcoming atmosphere. 1 John 4:7-8, Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
- Excellence. Whatever we do, we do it to the best of our ability and with the highest standards in mind. Colossians 3:23-24, Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
- Family. We are inviting, welcoming, diverse, and inclusive; we seek to grow His kingdom with effective outreach and communication. Romans 12:4-5, For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
- Heritage. Since 1839, we have preached the Gospel to all of God’s children; we honor those who have gone before us, who have worked to preserve our school, and we work to continue a legacy of kingdom work for generations to come. Hebrews 13:8, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Trinity Lutheran School of Freistadt will be the leader in primary Christian education in the state of Wisconsin by making disciples who make disciples, delivering the highest quality education, maintaining a balanced and diverse student body, and by relentlessly pursuing excellence in the development of our faculty, staff, and support personnel.
Reviewing Trinity’s Initial Closure and Response
In-person instruction was suspended on March 13, 2020; virtual instruction planning began Monday, March 16. The following is a partial list of our actions during the time face-to-face instruction was halted (hereinafter referred to as “closure”):
- Virtual instruction included weekly, summative emails from teachers with homework assignments, teacher-created videos, links to additional resources, and a check-in mechanism for attendance.
- Content was offered in both a virtual and physical format with parents having the option to choose;
- Chapel videos were produced in the principal’s office and released each Wednesday at 9am;
- Teacher “check-in” videos were produced on a weekly basis and included fun ways for our students to “see” their teachers. These videos included sing-a-longs, a virtual game of catch, classroom pop-in visits, and a Teacher Appreciation Week video for parents.
Fall 2020 School-Day Operations and Learning
Trinity cannot fully prevent the spread of COVID-19 or other communicable diseases; however, resuming face-to-face instruction will include some considerations towards mitigating transmission. The following areas include new and/or adjusted procedures to be implemented at the start of SY20-21:
- Pick-Up and Drop-Off Procedures. Trinity places great worth in our core value of Family, and as such has often encouraged parents to walk their child to class. That said, our Pick-Up and Drop-Off procedures will be slightly modified:
- Trinity will not screen each student upon entry (this includes family members who are dropping off students). Families are encouraged to monitor signs of illness and check their child’s wellness against existing CDC identified symptoms. Families are responsible for ensuring their child comes to school healthy and ready to learn.
- Parents of Early Childhood Wing students (3K, 4K, and Kindergarten) are still encouraged to walk their child to class, but should stop short of entering the classroom. Because many students in this wing have staggered arrival/departure times, interaction between adults is already limited.
- Parents of Primary (grades 1-4) and Middle School (grades 5-8) students are permitted to walk with their child up to the security/lobby doors in the main entrance, but should go no further. Parents are always welcome into these wings with an arranged appointment with the teacher, or especially if there are extra items to carry in. This procedure should begin after the first week of school to allow for new-student/family familiarity.
- Parents picking up their students at the end of the day will notice additional distancing procedures in place for waiting students. Our carline procedure will otherwise function the same as years past.
- Classroom Instruction. Often considered a standard by which students learn and work best, the Four Cs of 21st Century Learning include many interpersonal, interactive, and face-to-face components. Trinity intends to maintain a commitment to this approach while offering a modicum of mitigation where possible, without disrupting the effective pedagogical approach from our teachers:
- Classroom desks will face the same direction (not towards each other in groups); group work and discussion will continue, but within a modified arrangement;
- Desks will be set back from the main projection or whiteboard area, allowing for appropriate spacing between the teacher and students;
- Class sizes remain low and will allow for appropriately distanced seating (3-6ft apart) arrangements (Trinity closes classrooms at 25 students);
- With general distancing measures in place (see above) masks for teachers and teacher’s aids are recommended but not required during general instruction but are required when distancing is not feasible or in small group instruction (ie, centers/breakouts). Trinity will always honor arrangements and/or accommodations needed from each individual staff member’s health care provider;
- Physical education (PE) classes will be encouraged to go outside whenever possible and limit interaction between students where possible;
- During general instruction (see above), masks for all students are recommended but not required and will be available upon request;
- Middle school students are required to wear masks during passing periods.
- Recess, Chapel, and Assemblies. Wellness of the whole child includes physical health, but also social-emotional and spiritual health. All mass gatherings of students (chapel, assemblies, and indoor recess) will require the use of a mask.
- Recess: Trinity will not prevent the gathering-of and interaction-between students as part of their play during planned recess. Instead, students will receive instruction and guidance on limiting touching and physical interaction while at play. A hand-sanitizing station will be placed just inside the entrance to the 1927 (Primary) building for students to utilize upon returning from recess. Students will be encouraged to make use of this station and others throughout the building;
- Chapel: Classes will be separated by one row during chapel where available, masks are required of all students during chapel.
- Assemblies: Classes will be spaced as much as possible during assemblies; games on Fridays will be tailored to limit physical interaction between players; and masks are required of all students during assemblies.
- All 3K, 4K, and 5K classes will eat lunch in their classrooms (lunch will be delivered to each room);
- Primary and Middle School lunch periods will include distanced tables, making use of the “bump out” extension area in the gym. Lunch tables will feature staggered seating with marks on tables.
Trinity’s infrastructure team and summer work crew have worked tirelessly to prepare the building for regular traffic as worship has resumed and ahead of students returning to class. The following is a partial list of some of the initiatives taken since closure:
- Campus-wide scrubbing: all surfaces (light switches, lockers, tables, chairs, desks, etc.) disinfected using 60% alcohol wipes and hospital-grade electric sprayers.
- All floors refinished.
- Six (6) portable, touch-less hand-sanitizer stations have been acquired and will be placed at strategic spots throughout the campus, movable based on events and traffic.
- Our campus has 4 industrial blowers used to circulate air. To date, we have had the standard, industrial-grade MERV-4 air filters; these filters have been replaced annually, per recommended guidelines. Moving forward, Trinity is acquiring MERV-7 filters; we are also replacing them twice a year instead of once. The improved filters target not only common allergens, but also work to trap bacteria in airborne particles.
- Students are encouraged to bring their own water bottle to fill up throughout the day; water fountains will be turned off, but the bottle fill feature will be left on.
- Crews will now utilize wipes and electric sprayers to conduct cleaning every day, ensuring that areas are always ready for students in the morning no matter what activities are hosted in the evenings. Crews will also thoroughly clean the health suite each time it is used by a student.
All guests and volunteers (non-delivery personnel) seeking access to the building will be screened and documented at the reception desk in the main school lobby and will be required to use PPE (available at the reception desk). Screening procedures include the following:
- Temporal scan (temperature must be less than 99.5 degrees fahrenheit)
- Simple questionnaire (self-reporting)
- Shortness of breath?
- New or worsening cough?
- Have you or anyone in your family been exposed to someone known to have COVID-19?
Health and Safety
Included in this section are efforts made by school personnel and human resources (policy) towards the mitigation of disease transmission, along with policies for students.
- Staff Self-Check. All staff and volunteer personnel must conduct a self-check each day, along with a temperature of less than 99.5 degrees fahrenheit, this simple questionnaire should be answered:
- Shortness of breath?
- New or worsening cough?
- Have you or anyone in your family been exposed to someone known to have COVID-19?
- Staff With Symptoms. If members of the Trinity staff are sick, they should stay home. It is fully possible that staff can be sick with the common cold or flu-like symptoms and NOT have contracted COVID-19. As such, it is critical that determination for work is made between each employee and their health care provider, not between Trinity and the employee. As a general rule, staff must be fever-free for 24 hours before returning to work.
- Should a staff member contract COVID-19, Trinity will follow CDC guidelines for returning to work (staff are permitted back 10 days post-positive test).
- Students Exhibiting Symptoms At School. It is fully possible that students can be sick with the common cold or flu-like symptoms and NOT have contracted COVID-19. Per normal procedures, students with ailments are sent to the office and health suite to receive initial care. Upon receiving students exhibiting ailments:
- Office or administrative personnel will don PPE and attend to the student;
- If the student’s ailment is temporary or fleeting, and the student does not exhibit mild to severe symptoms or a temperature above 99.5, the student may be permitted back to class;
- If the student’s ailment is not temporary, office or administrative personnel will contact the student’s family to be sent home;
- Students are not required to receive COVID-19 testing to return to school; COVID-19 testing should be determined by the student’s family and their health care provider.
- Students Returning to School: It is fully possible that students can be sick with the common cold or flu-like symptoms and NOT have contracted COVID-19. As such, it is critical that determination for returning to school is made between each student and their family’s health care provider.
- Per the Parent Handbook, students must be fever-free (general illness) for 24 hours before returning to school;
- Per CDC guidelines, students who have tested positive for COVID-19 must remain home for 10 days following a positive test. Students are not penalized for late work during an illness.
- Students and siblings who have “close contact” with a family member who has tested positive for COVID-19 should be out 14 calendar days from the positive test.
- However, anyone who has had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and who: 1) developed COVID-19 illness within the previous 3 months and; 2) has recovered and; 3) remains without COVID-19 symptoms (for example, cough, shortness of breath) does not need to stay home.
- Families in classrooms with a confirmed case will be notified that a confirmed case has happened in their child’s classroom. Student names will be kept private.
THIS PLAN IS SUBJECT TO REGULAR REVIEW AND CHANGE
- American Academy of Pediatrics – COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Guidance for School Re-entry https://services.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/clinical-guidance/covid-19-planning-considerations-return-to-in-person-education-in-schools/
- Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department – Blueprint for Reopening http://www.washozwi.gov/Portals/WashOzHealthDept/BlueprintFAQ_v_14_521.pdf
- Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction – Education Forward https://dpi.wi.gov/sites/default/files/imce/sspw/pdf/Education_Forward_web.pdf
- Center for Disease Control – Considerations for Schools https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools.html
- Wisconsin Department of Health Services COVID-19 Data https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/cases.htm