B. Physical distancing (e.g., including use of cohorts/podding)

WPRSD Protocols for Physical Distancing/Cohorts:  Board of Education Policy #1648 Critical Areas of Operation 2 and 6:

Schools in the district will allow for social distancing within the classroom to the maximum extent practicable.  Students and staff will be kept in cohorts, with corresponding records readily available for contact tracing purposes.

Philosophy:

The WPRSD acknowledges that since people can spread illnesses before they know they are sick it is important to stay six feet away from others when possible. Therefore, physical distancing, when possible, is required throughout our schools.  The WPRSD will adhere to the most conservative elements of local, state, and federal guidelines regarding our protocols for physical distancing. The CDC reports that “COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact (within about six feet) for a period of more than 15 minutes.”

Classroom/Lab/Non-Instructional/Therapy Room Set-up:

Foundational premises when designing a safe classroom/lab/non-instructional/therapy room environment are the concepts of maintaining cohorts and social distancing. The use of cohorts is recommended by the CDC and other health agencies to help control the spread of any viruses and to manage any possible outbreaks.

The organization of the classroom/lab/non-instructional/therapy room is important in supporting the academic progress of students. Classroom/lab/non-instructional/therapy room space should provide an environment that allows teachers and students to interact safely and upholding social distancing. Careful consideration has been given to the strategic placement of furniture, learning centers, and materials to optimize student learning, reduce distractions and keep children safe.

Process:

  • Desks that are used should be marked with signage as appropriate
  • Schools will maximize distancing of desks
  • Desks should all face in the same direction
  • Students/desks utilized will maintain 6 feet distance, from the center of each desk to the center of the next desk when possible
  • No soft materials are permitted

More Information:

  • Facilities have been measured and configured so that classes and meetings can take place with physical distancing when possible
  • Classroom/lab/non-instructional/therapy room spaces have been reconfigured to maintain physical distancing among students and to establish a “teaching zone” to ensure that the instructor remains distanced as well
  • Use of WHS elevator is limited to individuals with mobility needs only
  • All tables, desks, and seating in the classroom/lab/non-instructional/therapy room must be maintained to ensure physical distancing configurations and to avoid having students facing one another
  • Students cannot rearrange classroom furniture once it has been moved to meet physical distancing requirements
  • Large gatherings outside of classroom/lab/non-instructional/therapy room settings will be avoided until CDC guidelines specify otherwise. It also is recommended that large gatherings be avoided when off campus
  • When it is not possible to control ingress and egress in certain school areas, students and faculty will be directed to maintain social distancing and wear masks when leaving or entering classes
  • Visual cues, including signage, colored tape, floor markings, and other indicators, will be placed throughout our school buildings to help people maintain appropriate distancing and to remind them of other key safety measures
  • Nurses offices will be split into a respiratory side and a non-respiratory side
  • HVAC filter changes will be monitored according to schedule 

Shared Materials:

The use of a variety of materials is essential for learning.  This includes books, writing instruments and materials for special area subjects.

Philosophy:  

Foundational premises when designing a safe classroom/lab/non-instructional/therapy room environment are the concepts of maintaining cohorts, social distancing and frequent cleaning of shared materials. The use of these practices is recommended by the CDC and other health agencies to help control the spread of any viruses and also manage any possible outbreaks.

Process:

  • Eliminate, when possible, the use of shared materials
  • Set up areas where students can store personal items that keep them isolated from use by others
  • When materials must be shared, cleaning between use is essential
  • Establish procedures to wipe down before and after every use
  • Remind children to wash their hands after using a shared item
  • If students travel to a room, an area and place should be established for the traveling student to store items away from items being used by others