Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Springfield Public Schools has focused on creating environments that protect the safety and well-being of students and staff. During the 2020-2021 school year, this included offering students the option to choose in-person or virtual learning.
The focus for the 2021-2022 school year will be for all SPS students to participate in in-person learning five days a week. Throughout the school year, SPS will monitor COVID-19 exposure levels in the community and, in consultation with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, make modifications to the learning plan if necessary.
Continuity of Services
- SPS has been providing in-person instruction five days a week since March 22, 2021 and has no current plans to deviate from that. However, if, in consultation with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, modifications are determined to be necessary, modes of instruction would be adapted, as needed, based on current health conditions.
- SPS is positioned to provide quality instruction through its online learning program and to equip students with district-provided devices and internet service in the event modifications are needed.
SPS will review this plan at least every six months and make modifications deemed necessary to ensure that it best meets the needs of our students, parents, employees and the community.
- Development of the initial re-entry plan for 2020-2021 included participation and feedback from a variety of stakeholders. SPS created four work groups focused on Health, Safety, Social/Emotional Learning Supports and Operations; Learning Development and Support; Equity and Diversity; and Communications and Partnerships. In total, 75 teachers, principals, administrators and community representatives contributed to the plan to safely re-open schools.
- SPS works in close consultation with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department to ensure that its plan is up-to-date with current guidance by the Centers for Disease Control, state and local agencies.
- SPS worked closely with the Centers for Disease Control, which visited SPS several times to study the district’s successful mitigation efforts.
- Regular updates on the plan are provided to the Board of Education and opportunities for public comment are offered at every board meeting.
- Ongoing surveys and other engagement tools offer parents, staff and other members of the public the opportunity to provide input as modifications to the plan are necessary.
- Updates may also be provided through existing forums administrators have with teachers, parents, high school students and senior citizens.
- This SRCSP takes into consideration all feedback and experiences obtained through processes deployed during the 2020-2021 school year. SPS will move forward in 2021-2022, building upon these successful strategies and lessons learned.
- SPS provides a wide variety of programs and resources to support the social, emotional and mental health of students. By collaborating with Burrell Behavioral Health, SPS can refer students for on-site counseling and other mental health services. Counselors at each school provide other supports and are accessible to families via the online learning platform or through direct personal contact.
- Additional resources are available for students who may need more specific interventions like English language learners, under-represented and under-resourced students or special education students.
- The Human Resources team connects staff with available supports and communicates frequently about modifications to absence and leave procedures.
- Nutrition Services team ensures students have access to meals. Grab and go meals will be available for families to pick up and take home to ensure students have nutritious food when learning from home.
- Health Services staff coordinate with school nurses at each site to monitor student wellness and connect families with needed resources.
- SPS collaborates with community partner agencies to ensure that before- and after-school care is offered to support families.
Mitigation and Prevention Strategies
The following is a summary of mitigation and prevention strategies SPS uses to ensure the safety and well-being of students and staff while at school.
Universal and correct wearing of masks
- Face coverings at school are required.
- Masks are provided by school if needed.
- Strategies are consistent with CDC guidance.
- Appropriate PPE is provided for staff as needed.
- Signage in buildings encourages compliance.
Handwashing and respiratory etiquette
- Handwashing and infection prevention instruction is taught to students.
- Signage in buildings encourages compliance.
- Staff frequently remind students to wash hands and use hand sanitizer.
Daily monitoring/checking for signs and symptoms of illness or contact with COVID-positive individuals
- Parents are asked to monitor children for symptoms.
- Students exhibiting symptoms must stay home until symptoms resolve.
- School nurses and staff regularly monitor students for symptoms during the school day.
Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities including improving ventilation
- Schools and supplies are cleaned regularly, with special attention paid to high-touch surfaces.
- The 2021-2022 budget allocates $7.5 million for HVAC improvements to improve air quality.
Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the state, local, territorial or Tribal health departments
- Contact tracing is done by SPS staff in consultation with the local health department.
- Additional contact tracers have been hired to support this work.
- Quarantine procedures and communications have been developed for use in the event of exposure.
Diagnostic and screening testing
- Free testing provided to symptomatic students and staff at a centralized location.
- SPS may add testing at school sites for 2021-2022.
Efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff and students if eligible
- Vaccination events hosted at schools for eligible students.
- Information shared with staff about vaccination clinic opportunities and leave from work.
Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to the health and safety policies
- Accommodations provided as needed or dictated by Individual Education Plan.
Communication of Plan
- The SRCSP will be accessible to the public via the district’s website. It will be posted at www.sps.org/SRCSP.
- By viewing the plan on the website, stakeholders may translate the content into more than 90 languages using the translate function embedded in the website. Individuals who need further assistance with translation may contact their child’s school.
- Download PDF of SRCSP here.