Weather Alert

Lincoln Public Schools Will Seek Normal Operations In Fall Term

Lincoln, NE (July 1, 2021)  It’s still over a month before the beginning of School, but Superintendent Steve Joel has released his plan for the Fall Semester, saying parents need to be able to plan and make decisions.  He did so, however, warning that changes might be needed.  (READ THE FULL PLAN AT THE END OF THIS STORY)

“We feel like we’ve got the best information today, to make the best decisions today, but understanding that conditions are going to change and we have to be very fluid.”

Joel said the Delta Variant of the Corona Virus is one factor that might cause major changes.  He said it’s likely to become more widespread in Lincoln, but added that right now it isn’t.

” We can’t make decisions on what might happen” he said.  “We have to make decisions based on what’s in front of us today.  That’s why if, in two weeks, the Delta Variant is running rampant in Lincoln we’re going to have to re-think this.”

The guidelines issued Thursday are as follows:

1.) Staff, students and visitors entering any LPS facility are expected to conduct a self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms every day prior to arriving.

2.)  Anyone who has Covid-19 symptoms or has been directly exposed is to stay away from school buildings, and a test is recommended.

3.) Students

For students who are fully vaccinated, face coverings are OPTIONAL. For students who are not fully vaccinated, face coverings are STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. (Please note the federal face covering requirement for anyone riding a school bus below.)

4.)  Staff

For staff who are fully vaccinated, face coverings are OPTIONAL. For staff who are not fully vaccinated, face coverings are REQUIRED. (Please note the federal face covering requirement for transportation staff and anyone riding a school bus below.)

5.)  Volunteers and Visitors – During the school day

Volunteers and visitors who are fully vaccinated, face coverings are OPTIONAL. Volunteers and visitors who are not fully vaccinated, face coverings are REQUIRED.

6.) Transportation – Buses

Following the CDC requirement for public transportation:

Drivers, paraprofessionals and passengers (students and staff) MUST wear face coverings on all school buses (this includes activity and athletic buses).  Drivers do not need to wear a face covering if they are the only person on the bus.

Joel asked parents and other interested members of the community to provide any feedback, suggestions or comments on the proposed 2021-22 Safe Return to School Plan by Friday, July 9.

The finalized LPS 2021-22 Safe Return to School Plan will be posted on July 15, 2021 and will go into effect on August 2, 2021.

READ THE COMPLETE LPS PLAN BELOW

We want to hear from you…

Please provide any feedback, suggestions or comments on the proposed 2021-22 Safe Return to School Plan by Friday, July 9. [LINK TO FEEDBACK FORM]

 

The finalized 2021-22 Safe Return to School Plan will be posted on July 15, 2021 and will go into effect on August 2, 2021.

 

Lincoln Public Schools continues to work collaboratively with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) to develop plans for school operations. We gather information from various sources including the local health department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Nebraska Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Education to draft our 2021-22 Safe Return to School Plan. Adjustments are made based on local community conditions and feedback received from various groups. This work will be ongoing as new research emerges and more guidance is provided to the school district.

 

We will continue to review and update this webpage and communicate any changes to our plan and protocols through this website, email and social media. Lincoln Public Schools will adjust protocols as necessary due to changes in conditions.  During the 2021-2022 school year, protocols may change for a specific school building, program, classroom or settings based on cases, contact tracing, community conditions and risk of spread.

 

The LPS 2021-22 Safe Return Plan was last revised July 1, 2021, and last reviewed July 1, 2021.

Protocols to Prevent Spread

Self-Screening

Staff, students and visitors entering any LPS facility are expected to conduct a self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms every day prior to arriving.

Every day ask yourself or your student the following screening questions PRIOR to entering an LPS building:

Do you have one of the following?

  • Fever of over 100.4
  • Onset of shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • New onset of dry cough
  • New onset of loss of taste or smell

Do you have two or more of the following? (lasting more than 24 hours without a known cause)

  • Chills longer than two hours
  • Congestion and/or runny nose
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain

Have you had contact with COVID-19?

  • Contact longer than a cumulative 15 minutes within 6 feet without a face covering, or residing with someone who is positive.

If you answered YES to ANY of the above questions, do NOT go into an LPS building. Instead:

  • Contact your doctor or seek medical care.
  • Get tested for COVID-19.
  • Self-isolate. Do not go to an LPS building until you have a negative COVID-19 test result or have been cleared by a medical professional.

Get tested for COVID-19

Face Coverings

The Lincoln Public Schools plan for face coverings is based on current community conditions and recommendations from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department. 

 

Please note: The requirement for face coverings may change if there is an identified high risk of spread within the community, school building, program or classroom.

 

Students

For students who are fully vaccinated, face coverings are OPTIONAL. For students who are not fully vaccinated, face coverings are STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. (Please note the federal face covering requirement for anyone riding a school bus below.)

 

Staff**

For staff who are fully vaccinated, face coverings are OPTIONAL. For staff who are not fully vaccinated, face coverings are REQUIRED. (Please note the federal face covering requirement for transportation staff and anyone riding a school bus below.)

 

Volunteers and Visitors** – During the school day

Volunteers and visitors who are fully vaccinated, face coverings are OPTIONAL. Volunteers and visitors who are not fully vaccinated, face coverings are REQUIRED.

 

** Vaccination status is based on a self-identified system. Proof of vaccination may be required in individual circumstances. According to the CDC, in general people are considered fully vaccinated:

  • Two weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • Two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

 

Transportation – Buses

 

Following the CDC requirement for public transportation:

Drivers, paraprofessionals and passengers (students and staff) MUST wear face coverings on all school buses (this includes activity and athletic buses).* 

 

*Drivers do not need to wear a face covering if they are the only person on the bus.

 

When wearing a face covering:

 

  • Face coverings must be multilayered.
  • Per our current school dress code, bandanas are not allowed.
  • Plastic face shields are not a suitable replacement for multilayer cloth face coverings.
  • LPS will have face coverings available for staff and students who do not provide their own.
  • Families are allowed to provide their own multilayer cloth face coverings. Please note: Gaiters are single layer and can only be used if doubled up and cover both the nose and the mouth.
  • Students and families are responsible for laundering and wearing their face coverings each day.
  • LPS will treat face coverings as a required part of dress code where applicable and discipline for not following dress code is outlined in our Important Information Handbook.

 

Face covering exemptions

If face coverings are required at any time, information about applying for face covering exemptions will be sent to families. Staff need to contact Risk Management in Human Resources.

Hand Hygiene

Students, staff and visitors will be encouraged to frequently wash their hands for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer will be available in classrooms and multiple locations throughout the building when hand washing isn’t easily accessible.

 

Custodial staff will clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in common areas and classrooms as needed and at the end of the day.

Physical Distancing

We will continue to keep everyone as physically distanced from others by maintaining three to six feet whenever possible. Any distance makes a difference and we will space out individuals as far as we can, where and when we can. Desks will be placed as far apart as possible.

Ventilation and Cleaning Efforts

Our Operations Department will continue with fresh air practices in alignment with  recommendations from ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers) and the CDC (Center for Disease Control).  

 

Custodial staff will clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in common areas and classrooms as needed and at the end of the day.

Drinking Fountains and Water Bottles

  • Drinking fountains will be available.
  • Classroom sinks will be available.
  • Water bottle fill stations will be accessible where available.
  • K-12 students may bring bottles full of water from home.
  • Paper disposable cups will be provided by schools for students who do not have water bottles.

Cafeterias

Elementary

  • Hand sanitizer will be provided for students as they enter the cafeteria.
  • Meals will be served in individual containers.
  • Students will be assigned to a table.

 

Secondary

  • Hand sanitizer will be provided for students as they enter the cafeteria. 
  • Meals will be served based on past practice. 
  • Any utensils for self-service will be replaced every one-half hour.   

Volunteers and Visitors

Volunteers and visitors are welcome in our school buildings*. All guests must perform the self-screening for symptoms prior to entering a building and adhere to the face covering protocols.

 

For volunteers and visitors who are fully vaccinated, face coverings are OPTIONAL. For volunteers and visitors during the school day who are not fully vaccinated, face coverings are REQUIRED

 

Please note: The requirement for face coverings may change if there is an identified high risk of spread within the community, school building, program or classroom. 

Vaccinations

Under Title 173 of the Nebraska Administrative Code, each school or school district in Nebraska is required to keep the immunization history of the students enrolled on file. If your child has received the COVID-19 vaccine, we ask that you please provide us a copy of the information by emailing a copy of the vaccination card to your school nurse. If your child has not received the COVID-19 vaccine, there is nothing you need to do.

 

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department provides the following information about the COVID-19 vaccine:

 

Everyone 12 years old and up is eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Sign up and schedule an appointment online at COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov. For registration and scheduling assistance call 402-441-8006.

 

For more information about safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines and answers to common questions, please see the helpful resources below:

Learn more on the LLCHD website at: https://app.lincoln.ne.gov/city/covid19/vaccine.htm.

 

School buildings will be considered for vaccination clinics based on recommendations from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department. Information about vaccination clinics held at school will be shared with families ahead of time via email.

Transportation – Buses

Following the CDC requirement for public transportation:

Drivers, paraprofessionals and passengers (students and staff) MUST wear face coverings on all school buses (this includes activity and athletic buses).* 

 

*Drivers do not need to wear a face covering if they are the only person on the bus.

 

Hand sanitizer and cleaner will be provided for each bus. Transportation staff will clean high touch surfaces on the bus at the end of each day.

Contact Tracing – Close Contact

A close contact is someone who has been within 6 feet of the positive case for a cumulative 15 minutes or more and one or both persons were not wearing a face covering. A positive COVID-19 case begins 48 hours prior to onset of symptoms, or test date if the positive case is asymptomatic. 

Quarantine and Exclusion

Quarantine and Exclusion requirements are established in consultation and at the direction of the Lincoln Lancaster Health Department.

 

Vaccinated individuals identified as a close contact WITHOUT symptoms will need to self-monitor for symptoms and are not required to quarantine as long as they remain symptom free.

 

Unvaccinated individuals identified as close contacts WITHOUT symptoms can return to work or school:

  • After day 10 without testing,
  • After day 7 after receiving a negative test result (test must occur on day 5 or later),

 

All close contacts WITH symptoms still need to quarantine for the full 14 days, even with a negative test result.

 

The Remote Learning Program will not be an option for quarantined students or students with an extended absence. Extended absences from in-person school will be handled as they were prior to the pandemic. It is the responsibility of the student to contact their teachers and make up work which has been missed because of any absence. The school staff will support the student’s initiative to make up work missed.

Communication About Positive Cases

Students and staff with direct exposure and identified as a close contact with a positive COVID-19 case that needs to self-monitor or self-quarantine will be contacted directly. 

 

The community can view positive case numbers across Lincoln Public Schools with the dashboard provided online.

Special Education

Homebound Services 

If a student has a medical need that prevents them from attending school in person, the parent should contact the special education administrator at their child’s school to request more information about Homebound Services.

 

Accommodations

If a parent wants special COVID accommodations to be implemented, the parent should contact the school’s special education administrator to set up a meeting to discuss options.

Early Childhood

 

Prekindergarten Classrooms

Prekindergarten classrooms will follow pre-pandemic protocols. During the 2021-2022 school year, protocols may change for a specific school building, program, classroom or settings based on cases, contact tracing, community conditions and risk of spread.

 

All Home Visits

When there is a confirmed positive COVID-19 case in a home, LPS staff are not permitted to return to the home until:

  • 24 days from the last confirmed positive case;
  • Household members are fever-free for at least 24-hours; and
  • The family passes the LPS self-screen.

 

Early Intervention Services

Parental preference to continue virtual service delivery due to ease and convenience is no longer allowable due to federal requirements to provide Early Intervention Services within natural environments. A family can only choose to utilize virtual service delivery during the COVID-19 Pandemic Emergency Status if the child’s fragile/serious medical condition requires additional health protections. Because the  COVID-19 Public Health Emergency in Nebraska has ended, Early Intervention Services must return to in-person service provision for all children/families. Your child’s Services Coordinator will contact you about returning to in-person services.  Please contact the Early Childhood Office at 402-436-1995 with additional questions.

Remote Learning Program

Learn more about the 2021-22 Remote Learning Program here.

 

Note: The Remote Learning Program will not be an option for quarantined students or students with an extended absence. Extended absences from in-person school will be handled as they were prior to the pandemic. It is the responsibility of the student to contact their teachers and make up work which has been missed because of any absence. The school staff will support the student’s initiative to make up work missed.

Food distribution for Remote Learners

We will communicate with Remote Learning Program families directly about meal needs and distribution. 

 


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