COVID-19 Protocols in GPS

Decision Tree from GPS website: Scenarios begin with a school nurse.
​*updated 12/2/20 

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Greenwich Public Schools - COVID Questions and Answers 
Submitted from GEA - September 2021

​SOURCE

Please note that information will continue to be updated as new Executive Orders or health related mandates are issued. 

​When and where is testing? Staff must go to their provider of choice. The CT Department of Health may provide more information in the future. The tests are offered at many CVS pharmacies, medical clinics, and locally through Family Centers and Greenwich Hospital. The first testing must be submitted on or before Sunday, September 26.

Testing is not free? The individual should go on the website 211.ct.org.  The CSDE has not provided free testing at this time beyond providing optional testing for unvaccinated students in Grades K-6 (recently announced).   If a person is testing because they have been put in a health-related quarantine, their insurance will pay for testing. If a person is on a weekly monitoring program (versus choosing to take the vaccine), it is unlikely that insurance will cover it. This information can change over time, but this is what we have been told to-date. 

Weekly Screening and testing are available, where? The individual should go on the website 211.ct.org. Tests are given at a variety of places from Walgreens, CVS, clinics, etc.  

When are weekly results due? The Sunday before the school week begins. The first submission should be on or before Sunday, September 26. 

What type of weekly monitoring can be provided to the nurse? Both PCR and Antigen testing meet the standard. 

Quarantine Days are in contract_ in sick leave clause. Why are you telling teachers they have to use sick leave? There is no federal leave provided this year. If a teacher has a child in quarantine, they would need to use their family sick days. If the teacher is quarantined by the district they fall under, GEA contract language Article 13 A-3 says they do not utilize sick days.

Jonathan Supranowitz’s email regarding proof of vaccination for staff (email to GPS_VaccinationStaff)- Are these emails subject to FOI? No, it’s personal medical information. Information should be provided on or before September 26. 

Who’s managing these records? Mary Keller, Head of Nursing

Can proof be photocopied and given to school nurses/interoffice? Yes

Fully vaccinated- do not need to quarantine-if remain symptom free - do they need to test? Yes, if a fully vaccinated person has been exposed, they test between days 3-5, wear a mask for 14 days, and remain asymptomatic. They do go to work if they are asymptomatic. The testing is covered by medical insurance because the testing is needed due to an exposure

Fully vaccinated but sent home with Covid, can teachers teach remotely?  Yes, if the district sends the teacher home and the principal is in agreement with the remote from home. This is only for the teacher. If a teacher has a child care issue, they cannot teach remotely because they are utilizing the leave policy.   Remote is only allowed in CT for health-related quarantines and isolations related to COVID. Remote is not allowed by law for parent choice, teacher choice, or inclement weather days (i.e. snow days). We remain hopeful that they may at least allow us to be remote for snow days when they run consecutively. 

Spacing 3 feet- students do not need to quarantine-if spacing and masked- when stationary in the classroom?  That’s correct. 3 feet or greater. The contact tracing will determine if a classroom was considered stationary. 

Students in quarantine streaming into classrooms/dual teaching & consistency throughout the district. Who has access to our classrooms?  If a student is at home, there should be an assumption that anybody could be listening. Access to the classroom is only for those students who are in a district-issued quarantine. Students cannot choose to be remote this year as a mitigation strategy. A student who stays home and is not in a quarantine is counted absent.

What is the ask for each grade level? Need very specific parameters around any protocols for students streaming in.  For all grade levels, it is similar to last year. K-5 teaches online if the full class is put into quarantine. If the K-5 teacher has a few students, he or she provides work via the Google Classroom on a daily basis.  In grades 6-12, the biggest difference this year is that the students at home must be in a district-ordered quarantine, and cannot elect just to stay home. Students who are sick should not be logging, but focus on recovery. Their attendance is marked as absent. The Google Meet link should be set up just as it was last year. Students who are quarantined will access the information. If a student shows up online who was not marked in Aspen as quarantined should still be marked absent and the teacher should make sure the student understands that the student cannot choose to be remote. 

What is your definition of “ streaming in” Students watch while the teacher is teaching the class only?  Yes, they are streaming in the classroom. Teachers will have the majority of the students in their live classroom. Some teachers had students Facetime when doing group work and that seemed very successful. It took some of the burden off the teacher. In terms of evaluation, the District has been very reasonable for the past two years, so there is no reason to expect that we will change.

Asynchronous learning should be the main avenue utilized.   No, we would not go back to pre-COVID when we have a higher level of technology access available, which is the best instruction for our students. Also, the Town of Greenwich has invested heavily to support the use of technology for our school district. 

State said no remote teaching? Please clarify?  A student and/or family cannot choose to be fully remote this year. A K-5 Remote School, or 6-12 Fully Remote option is not allowed. We are also not allowed to have a remote day for Snow Days, or non-COVID related days off (i.e. week after Spring Break or school holidays). If a student is in quarantine, we are allowed because it’s a district-required health or medical reason (isolation or quarantine).   If an entire class and teacher are put into quarantine, then full remote should occur this year just like it did last year. 

What happens when a student refuses to wear a mask?  If the student does not have an exemption, they are referred to the administrator as a behavioral issue. Every effort will be made to gain an exemption if appropriate.   Wearing a mask is mandated right now by the Governor’s Executive Order. If a student is not complying, the teacher should report that student to the administrator after asking respectfully. The teachers should avoid confrontation.  The student may choose to put a mask on, or the parent will be called to come and pick up the student. Currently, there are only approximately 10-15 students out of 8,700 across the  district who are exempt. 

Vaccinations: Some teachers still think there are religious exemptions.  There are religious exemptions for teachers, which must go through Human Resources to be approved.   There are medical exemptions for teachers, which must go through Human Resources to be approved.   All exemptions require weekly testing to be submitted on or   before each Sunday evening. The first test must be provided on or before September 26 to be prepared for Monday, September 27 Executive Order deadline. 

How does attendance count in terms of a student logging in to the classroom? A student must be in attendance for the duration of the class to be counted present. Only students who are quarantined in 6-12 log in to view the class webstream. 

What if a student in Grades 6-12 logs on and the teacher is not aware the student is in quarantine or isolation?  The teacher should continue with the lesson, and then follow up with the principal after class. The teacher should not confront the student in class. The principal will call home, or check the quarantine status and let the teacher know what the circumstances are for that student. 

What are the rules for teachers wearing masks in schools?  Teachers and students are required under the Executive Order to wear a mask when inside the school building. Masks should be worn by GPS staff at all times when in common spaces (halls, cafeterias, etc.). Masks may be removed if in an office space and stationary, socially distanced to 6-12 feet from colleagues, and no symptoms which could be perceived as COVID symptoms (sneezing, runny nose, etc.).   While the CT DPH explanation document states that teachers may take a mask off in the classroom when direct teaching from the front of the classroom when socially distanced 6 feet, and necessary for instructional purposes, GPS and GEA are in agreement that we do not advise that teachers role model this behavior. It is highly likely that if a teacher starts removing his or her mask, the students will follow their lead.

More updates about COVID Numbers?