INSTRUCTION & LEARNING
How will the Department of Education's Guidelines for Temporary School Closure be Implemented?
The PA Department of Education issued guidance for schools based on community transmission level, building size, and the amount of positive COVID-19 cases. These factors are to be considered during a rolling 14-day period. The guidelines are intended to advise schools, with assistance from the Health Department, in determining the amount of time to temporarily close a school building for extensive cleaning . The DoE's guidelines for building size and the number of cases can be found at this link. In addition to the broad guidance, the District will work with the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) in determining if the COVID-19 cases are related, which would indicate the need for a more extended period of cleaning. The District carefully monitors all COVID-19 cases in students, faculty, and staff. The essential factor for tracking the rolling 14-day case numbers is that the individual was present in the buildings and required contact tracing.
What does school at Hampton Township School District look like as of December 10, 2020?
As of December 10, 2020, the Hampton Township School District is operating under the following instructional models.
Elementary School Instructional Model
Full Return to In-Person Instruction
Because of our elementary schools' small population sizes, students will be able to return to full in-person instruction on December 10. Original schedules will resume for our elementary students with no changes. The District has experienced considerable success with in-person instruction. Due to the smaller sizes of the school population and limited numbers of students eating lunch at one time, the District can provide the required social distance during lunchtime. Additionally, all aspects of the District's Health and Safety plan will remain in full effect.
Secondary Instructional Model
Enhanced Hybrid Model
The District is committed to adhering to safety protocols to keep our schools safely open. As a result of recent orders from the PA Department of Health, the District is required to separate students by 6 feet during lunch periods so they can remove their masks to eat.
To comply with this requirement in our high school and middle school cafeterias, the District must operate both schools in an Enhanced Hybrid Model, with Pod A and Pod B rotating their days of in-person instruction. Under the new Enhanced Hybrid Model, Learn At Home days will provide synchronous instruction. Also, Pods A and B will have alternating instructional days on Wednesdays. This schedule, shown below, will ensure that both Pod A and Pod B benefit from the same number of in-person instructional days.
The enhanced hybrid plan not only supports our students with more frequent in-person instruction it also provides students and parents with a consistent schedule. Students will attend school two to three days per week, in addition to eliminating the five-day break that occurred in the previous hybrid model. During a five-day week, Pod A students will report to school on Mondays and Thursdays. Pod B students will report to school on Tuesdays and Fridays. Both pods will alternate in-person instruction on Wednesdays.
Students will attend school following the specific schedules noted below for December and January. The District will extend this model and schedule, if necessary, into the second semester. However, should conditions improve in our county, we would explore all appropriate options to add additional in-person instruction time for our secondary students.
Enhanced Secondary Hybrid Instructional Model
The letters “A” and “B” represent the in-person instructional days that students will be attending school. Students will remain in the same pods, A or B, as in the previous hybrid schedule, unless notified differently by their building.
Why is the District transitioning to a different hybrid model for secondary?
Students will attend school two to three days per week, eliminating the five-day break that occurred in the previous hybrid model. Additionally, students will gain two extra in-person instructional days during the month.
Will my student be assigned to the same Pod as they had previously been assigned?
Most students will continue to be assigned to their same Pod; however, there may be some exceptions to this, namely students who attend Beattie. If your Pod assignment changes, you will be notified by your building.
During Learn at Home Days, what type of instruction will be provided?
Instruction for Learn at Home Days will be synchronous. During Learn at Home Days, students are expected to follow their building bell schedule and log in to Zoom for each period. Attendance will be taken at that time, and students are expected to participate and contribute to class appropriately.
Will there be some flexibility with attendance procedures due to illness and/or the need for quarantining in the Learn at Home/Learn at School Hybrid Model?
Yes. The District recognizes the need for flexibility with building attendance procedures to ensure students stay at home when they are sick and to also ensure students are able to quarantine if the situation warrants. Building administration will work with students on a case-by-case basis regarding attendance procedures as the need arises.
Will there be traditional grading during Learn at Home days for the duration of the Enhanced Hybrid Model?
Yes. Hampton Township School’s grading policy and procedures continue to be in effect for the 2020-2021 school year.
Why are athletics continuing?
The PIAA and the WPIAL, which govern district athletics, have recommended that winter sports begin with adherence to all mitigation and face-covering requirements. Universal masking is required at all times. Fan participation is permitted; however, it is limited due to the more stringent capacity limitations. There will be limited fan attendance at athletic events.
COVID-19 MITIGATION MEASURES
What types of face coverings will be used in the school?
The District will be adhering to Governor Wolf’s mandatory face-covering order as long as it remains in effect. Acceptable coverings are outlined in the order issued by the Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine. "Face covering” means covering the nose and mouth with material that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is wrapped around the lower face. A “face covering” can be made of a variety of synthetic or natural fabrics, including cotton, silk, or linen. A “face covering” may be factory-made, sewn by hand, or be improvised from household items, including, but not limited to, scarfs, bandanas, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels.
Children two years and older are required to wear a face-covering unless they have a medical or mental health condition or disability, documented in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or IDEA, that precludes the wearing of a face covering in school. Accommodations for such students should be made in partnership with the student's health care provider, school nurse, and IEP/504 team.
The District will be providing a face shield and a pack of cotton face masks for students and staff as an option. Additionally, desk shields will be provided. All adults and students are required to wear masks when on school grounds, with the exception of time for eating or other designated “mask break.” Face coverings will also be required for students riding the bus to/from school.
Will the District be following the revised CDC guidelines for quarantine?
Yes. The Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DoH) and the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) have adopted the revised CDC guidelines. This includes the following:
Quarantine: Avoid people outside your household. Only leave your house for medical care.
Monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. Quarantining for 14 days after your last possible exposure is the best way to limit the spread of COVID-19. Quarantine may be ended early if the following conditions are met:
1) After 10 days if a person does not develop any symptoms with careful monitoring.
2) If there are sufficient local testing resources, quarantine can end after 7 days if the person does not develop symptoms with careful daily monitoring and tests negative for the virus. The test should be performed on the fifth day after the exposure or later. Quarantine cannot end before day 7. The Health Department prefers that a PCR test be used to determine if a person can leave quarantine after 7 days.
Will the District be implementing travel restrictions?
On March 1, 2021, Governor Wolf rescinded the November 25, 2020, Department of Health updated travel order. The current downward trend of cases nationwide and implementation of testing requirements and universal face covering on public transportation and transportation hubs are reducing the risk that interstate travel is a vector of disease transmission.
What procedures will be in place for handwashing/sanitizing?
Students will participate in observed handwashing/sanitizing at regular intervals. Schools will have supplies of hand sanitizer and soap to allow for frequent handwashing and classrooms and school facilities will be disinfected regularly.
How will social distancing be attained in a classroom?
Classrooms will be set up to follow the health and safety guidelines in our approved plan. Classroom seating will be revised to maximize distancing between students as much as possible. Community desks may be removed to accomplish adequate social distancing. Desk shields have also been provided to all students and will assist with mitigation efforts.
Will Personal Protective Equipment be provided to students and staff?
Hampton Township School District has acquired face masks, face shields, touchless thermometers, gloves, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes to help maintain a safe environment and prepare for the return to school. The District has also acquired Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) specific to the school nurses including medical gowns, goggles, and equipment such as pulse oximeters.
If a student or staff member is confirmed positive, what are the steps to follow?
The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) will be notified immediately. As part of all COVID-19 case investigations that will be directed by the Allegheny County Health Department, the information will be quickly obtained from the student or staff member as to their close contacts since the onset of their symptoms. The actual nature of the contacts will be explored in detail, and multiple variables (i.e., was the case actually symptomatic during school or did the case only develop the illness at home) will be considered by the Health Services Staff and the ACHD. Once the information is gathered, students and staff considered close contacts to the case (if any) will be notified of their exposure. Any mitigation steps in the school will then be directed by the ACHD. The student or teacher would then need to isolate for 10 days after symptoms appeared or after a positive test if asymptomatic. A return to work/school is possible if the individual remains symptom-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.
Who is a “close contact”?
The CDC defines a close contact as someone who:
- was within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
- provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
- had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
- shared eating or drinking utensils
- was sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on them
You are still considered a close contact even if you were wearing a mask while you were around someone with COVID-19.
What will the daily symptom screening process look like?
All adults and students will receive a temperature check at the start of the day. Parents, faculty, and staff will be asked to complete a symptom pre-screening at home. Students/staff with a temperature of 100 degrees or above will not be able to remain at school. Students and staff should stay home if they are known to be ill (fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, abdominal pain, fatigue, muscle aches, headache).
What if my child has allergies or another chronic medical condition that often causes some of these same symptoms?
Parents should communicate ahead of time (if possible) with the school nurse and alert them to these conditions so that a plan is in place in the event symptoms develop during school. For example, in order to differentiate between asthma and COVID-19 related shortness of breath, when a student uses his/her inhaler, the symptoms should improve as expected. Or a student with chronic allergies having a mild cough and runny nose whose symptoms may be explained through clear improvement with an antihistamine.
What happens if a student or teacher becomes symptomatic during school hours?
First, the student or teacher will leave the classroom immediately and report to the nurse’s office. The nurse will assess the student/teacher, including a temperature check and questions about any pre-existing conditions that may explain the symptoms. As the situation warrants, the nurse will contact a parent/guardian to arrange for transportation off-site. Staff and students with elevated temperatures will leave the building regardless of cause. The student or teacher’s desk area will be sanitized prior to further usage. The student or teacher would then need to either get a COVID-19 test or medical clearance to return to school. The school will continue to operate as normally as possible until additional information becomes available on the student or teacher’s status. There are many common reasons other than COVID-19 that could explain someone not feeling well at any particular time. Notifications would not be warranted in the absence of further details.
What if a student or teacher is diagnosed with COVID-19?
Staff and students that are sick will not be permitted to return to school until they are healthy. We want to minimize the spread of infection and we will continue to follow the guidelines put forth by the health department.
How is the District taking steps to improve ventilation and airflow in schools?
Proper ventilation and improved airflow are important to diluting virus particles indoors. Our HVAC systems have been adjusted to maximize outdoor airflow and bipolar ionization systems were added to most units. Classroom doors will remain propped open and locked in case we need to lock down classrooms quickly. All exterior doors in buildings will remain closed, locked, and monitored. Also, filters for our HVAC systems will be changed quarterly for cleanliness and also improve airflow in our buildings. Teachers will be encouraged to use outdoor areas to conduct classes; as examples, physical education classes, music, social studies, or science activities can be conducted outside ensuring better social distancing for our students and staff.
How can students and staff help to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
Bottled hand sanitizers will be available for student/staff use and an emphasis will be placed on handwashing with soap and water. Scheduled time to allow for hand washing will be allotted throughout the day - either in the bathrooms or at classroom sinks. Each of our elementary classrooms have sinks in the classroom.
Water bottle filling stations will be available in secondary schools and sinks are available in elementary classrooms (water fountains will not be used). Students and staff will be encouraged to bring their own water bottles to school. Water bottles should be labeled. Signs will be posted throughout our buildings obtained through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Department of Health (DOH) to remind students and staff of ways to protect themselves, like regular hand washing and social distancing. Students who are taking regular medications will do so in a “well check” area or entrance in our nurses’ offices to minimize any risk or exposure to students who may be ill and waiting to be picked up by parents/guardians.
What are the typical symptoms of COVID-19 that parents/guardians should be screening for BEFORE sending their child to school?
This information, taken from the most recent publication sent out by the Allegheny County Department of Health lists the most common signs and symptoms as follows: fever greater than 100 degrees, cough, shortness of breath, headaches, body aches, fatigue, loss/altered sense of taste or smell, diarrhea, and runny nose/congestion. Students will be reminded of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, with a prompt to go to the nurse immediately if feeling symptomatic.
Here is a link to the CDC’s website with more information and a “symptom checker” tool that may be helpful to you: Symptoms of COVID-19
Will Hampton Online Academy still be available?
Hampton Online Academy K-12
Yes. In HOA the students are able to learn from home, asynchronously, at his/her own pace and schedule, via Waterfront Learning in partnership with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit. Elementary students are assigned to a Hampton Township School District teacher to direct their learning experience. Elementary students have synchronous opportunities to interact with their assigned teacher.
Can my child move from one option to another throughout the school year?
Yes. Students will be able to migrate in and out of options on a quarterly basis. Please contact your building principal if you wish to request a change prior to the end of the nine weeks.
CAFETERIA AND RECESS
How will meals be served?
Breakfast and lunch have been altered to grab-and-go options to reduce the chance of contamination. Students will receive packaged meal(s) and dine in the cafeteria and additional designated areas, such as the auxiliary gym, stage, or outside, to accommodate social distancing. Desk shields will be used for lunch in the elementary cafeterias, and plexiglass dividers have been installed on cafeteria tables in the secondary levels.
Will free and reduced lunches still be provided during Learn at Home days?
Yes. The District is finalizing plans with Metz for breakfast/lunch pickup for free and reduced lunch during Learn at Home days.
How will recess be facilitated?
Scheduled recess will be facilitated by recess monitors. Students will be positively reinforced for maintaining physical distancing during playground time. Students and staff will have to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before and after being on the playground.
What procedures will be in place for bus transportation?
Students will be required to wear face-covering while using District-provided transportation. Drivers will also wear masks while on the bus. Students will be seated at a maximum of two students per seat or less; siblings or other family members who reside in the same household will be seated together when possible. Students will have the same assigned seats for the entire school year and will load the bus from back to front. Many buses will have fewer students traveling this way as the District is strongly encouraging parent transportation to and from school. Licensed high school students (11th and 12th grade) will be permitted to drive themselves. Personal protection equipment and hygiene products, such as hand sanitizer, will be provided to all bus drivers. Buses will be cleaned thoroughly as indicated by the District’s Health & Safety Reopening Plan.
Will parents need to drop off their student(s) to ensure social distancing on the bus?
District transportation will be provided. To assist the District with increased social distancing on our buses, parents/guardians who are able to drive their child(ren) to school are encouraged to do so. Safe carpools with families are also encouraged.
If I choose to transport my child(ren), can I have them ride the bus at a later time?
Yes, but please give as much notice as possible so the District can plan accordingly.
CLEANING & DISINFECTION
How has the District updated its cleaning procedures & protocols?
The District has developed a detailed and extensive schedule of cleaning procedures to be implemented in all buildings. High touch and high traffic areas will receive additional attention throughout the school day and before and after school is in session. When an individual in the building is found to be positive for COVID-19, the custodial staff will be alerted and directed to those specific areas for thorough cleaning following the
Will water fountains be accessible?
The District will continue to operate zero-touch bottle refill stations where students can bring their personal container to fill and hydrate as needed. The elementary buildings have sinks in the classrooms where students can fill personal containers. Conventional water fountains will be locked.
What will hallway traffic look like?
Students will be instructed on how to maintain social distance in the hallways, and transitions/locker use will be staggered to reduce the number of people in the halls at one time. Hallway posters will remind students and faculty of traffic flow and social distancing. Additional hallway options have been added at the High School to reduce congestion during class changes.
What happens if someone tests positive for COVID-19 who is in my child’s school?
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, a notification will be sent to families and staff who may have had contact with that individual. The Allegheny County Department of Health will, through contact tracing, work with the school district to determine with whom that individual had contact. In order to assist in the contact tracing investigation, students will be assigned seats on buses and in classrooms. If a student drives non-family members to school, the driver will also need to know who they drove to school each day.
We will not be permitted to identify the individual in our communications, and the individual who tested positive may be permitted to return to school only after the Department of Health has provided affirmation to the school nurse and administration that they may do so. Our counselors and administrators will work with affected families and students to promote a positive return to school following quarantine.
What mental health supports are in place for students and staff?
In addition to the expanded services provided by the school-based mental health provider, Family Behavioral Resources (FBR), our teachers, school counselors, administrators, and other staff have participated in a number of professional development opportunities over the past few years in areas of mental health. Most recently, our team has participated in trauma-informed training facilitated by the University of Pittsburgh. The District also works in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh to offer our Student Assistance Program (SAP). This program is designed to identify students with potential mental health needs and refer them to appropriate health providers.
Also, because our staff members may need support as well, our District offers an employee assistance program for our staff and their family to contact as we gear up to deliver instruction during the upcoming school year.
How can I view the District’s Health and Safety Plan?
The District’s Health and Safety Plan was approved by the board of directors and will be sent to the PA Department of Education. The plan can be accessed here.