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. The focus for the 2023-2024 school year is for all SPS students to participate in in-person learning five days a week. Throughout the school year, SPS will monitor COVID-19 transmission levels in the community and, in consultation with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department (SGCHD), make modifications to the learning plan if necessary. The plan was most recently reviewed in June 2023.
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 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.
- At the required six-month review date (December 23, 2021), SPS engaged with members of the work groups, PTA Council, student representatives, and legal counsel to review modifications to the plan.
- At the required 12-month review in July 2022, SPS once again engaged with members of the work groups, PTA Council, student representatives, and legal counsel to review modifications to the plan.
- Additional reviews were conducted in December 2022 and June 2023 and feedback was sought from stakeholder groups. Minor revisions were necessary.
- During the early stages of the pandemic, SPS worked closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which visited SPS several times to study the district’s successful mitigation efforts.
- Ongoing engagement tools offer parents, staff and other members of the public the opportunity to provide input if modifications to the plan are necessary.
- Updates may also be provided through existing forums hosted by administrators with teachers, parents, high school students and other community patrons.
- 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.
- Health Services staff coordinate with school nurses at each site to monitor student wellness and connect families with needed resources.
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. These strategies are effective July 2023.
Wearing of masks
- Face coverings at school or in district facilities are optional for students, staff and/or visitors.
- Supplies of masks and appropriate PPE are available as needed.
Handwashing and respiratory etiquette
- Handwashing and infection prevention strategies are taught to students and staff.
- Signage in buildings encourages compliance.
- Staff frequently remind students to wash hands and use hand sanitizer.
- To help stop the spread of germs:
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Throw used tissues in the trash.
- If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
- Wash or sanitize your hands after coughing/sneezing.
Daily monitoring/checking for signs and symptoms of illness
- SPS responses are guided by Board of Education policy EBB: Communicable Diseases and information from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
- People who have symptoms of respiratory or gastrointestinal infections, such as cough, fever, sore throat, vomiting, or diarrhea, should stay home.
- Parents are asked to continue to monitor children for symptoms of illness.
- Staff members are also asked to continue to monitor for symptoms of illness.
- Students exhibiting symptoms must stay home until symptoms resolve and/or are cleared by a medical provider to return.
- School nurses and staff regularly monitor students for symptoms of illness 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.
Contact tracing, 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 only during surge periods or a declared public health emergency.
- Communications have been developed for use in the event of a surge in cases or a declared public health emergency.
- Additional staff will continue to support this work as needed.
Diagnostic and screening testing
Efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff and students if eligible
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 is accessible to the public via the district’s website and is 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 through the website. Individuals who need further assistance with translation may contact their child’s school.
Updated: June 30, 2023