American Rescue Plan ESSER Funds Required Language

BACKGROUND
 

Francis Howell School District will receive a one-time allocation of COVID-relief money from the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds. To receive funds allocated under the ARP, school districts must publish information on their website that addresses mitigation and prevention strategies, continuity of services during interruptions to in-person learning, and periodic review and revision of the District’s plan.

It should be noted that FHSD successfully offered both in-person and virtual learning for the entire 2020-21 school year, with about 12,000 students opting for in-person instruction in August and 4,500 opting for virtual instruction. (Virtual enrollment grew smaller as the year progressed, and we ended the school year with approximately 81% of students in physical classrooms). See the District’s original Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan (SRCSP), also known as the Return to School Plan. Some of the health and safety protocols in place last year continue this school year. Current mitigation and prevention strategies are below.


MITIGATION AND PREVENTION STRATEGIES

Revised 12/16/21

  • Universal and correct wearing of masks - Beginning December 23, 2021 face masks are optional for all students and staff. Masks continue to be required on school buses, pursuant to a federal mandate. FHSD administration will continue to monitor district COVID-19 data and make recommendations to the Board of Education as necessary. This could include temporarily reinstating mask mandates in specific classrooms or buildings based on the number of positive cases. Any such changes would require Board of Education approval.
  • Physical distancing – Students and desks in classrooms will be spaced apart to the extent possible, with a goal of at least 3 feet when possible.
  • Handwashing and respiratory etiquetteGood hand hygiene, consistent with CDC guidance, will be encouraged for all students and staff. Hand sanitizer will be provided in classrooms and common areas. Staff also practices and works to teach students respiratory etiquette, turning your face away from others and covering your nose and mouth with your elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities – Custodial staff follow a daily cleaning protocol in all classrooms and school buildings, including frequent disinfection of high-touch surfaces, including handrails, doorknobs, sinks and water fountains.
  • Contact tracing, isolation and quarantine – All known positive cases of COVID-19 among FHSD students and staff are placed in isolation by the St. Charles County Department of Public Health. Positive individuals are not allowed to attend school or participate in activities until released from isolation. FHSD will cease District contact tracing and exclusion of close contacts from school because of exposure to COVID-19. Parents/guardians/staff will receive an email notification if there is a positive case in their child’s classroom(s). The FHSD COVID-19 Dashboard will be updated to reflect only current and cumulative positive cases of FHSD students and staff, and only that information will be updated moving forward.
  • Diagnostic and screening testing – The District offered COVID-19 testing for students and staff from November 2020 to April 2021. At this time, students and staff are referred to the local health department or medical provider for testing.
  • Efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff and eligible students –The District encourages eligible staff and students to receive vaccinations and boosters against COVID-19. While the District has on occasion shared vaccination opportunities with those eligible, there are no plans at this time to coordinate or provide additional vaccination opportunities for staff or students, given the wide availability of vaccination appointments in our area.
  • Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities – The District will continue to provide accommodations as necessary or as mandated by a student’s IEP.


CONTINUITY OF SERVICES - The District tended to students’ social, emotional, and mental health needs during the 2020-21 school year by teaching positive coping skills and referring students to the counseling or care teams as necessary. Technology resources such as the Canvas learning management system and Google Classroom were utilized to provide continuity of learning during quarantines. Many teachers provided links for quarantined students to participate in classroom instruction, and students were able to access lessons and assignments via their grade-level learning management system. All of these same supports and services have continued for the 2021-22 school year.

PERIODIC REVISION – The District will periodically review and revise, if necessary, its plan, no less than every six months. Revisions will be made in consideration of current pandemic conditions, FHSD COVID data and consultation with the St. Charles County Department of Public Health. The task forces convened in 2020 to work on re-opening plans will reconvene as necessary to consider revisions. The task forces included representatives from many stakeholder groups, including teachers, support staff, principals and District leaders.

PUBLIC INPUT - Guidance provided by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) states that return-to-school plans adopted as part of a public board meeting satisfy the ARP’s initial public input requirement. The Francis Howell School District successfully offered both in-person and virtual learning for the 2020-21 school year. The District’s original Return to School plan can be found on the District website and was adopted by the Board of Education on July 19, 2020. The District continues to hear from patrons at monthly Board meetings and other forums regarding COVID mitigation measures for the 2021-22 school year.

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