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 2022-2023 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 December 2022.
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 6 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.
- An additional review was conducted in December 2022 and feedback was sought from stakeholder groups. No 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 December 2022.
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 instruction is taught to students.
- 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.
Daily monitoring/checking for signs and symptoms of illness or contact with COVID-positive individuals
- SPS responses are guided by Board of Education policy EBB: Communicable Diseases and statewide orders issued by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
- Parents are asked to continue to monitor children for symptoms.
- Staff members are also asked to continue to monitor for symptoms.
- 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 during the school day.
- Guidelines are in place for students and staff returning to school after a COVID-19 diagnosis/exposure to ensure they are ready to resume in-person learning.
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.
- Communications have been developed for use in the event of a surge in cases.
- Additional staff will continue to support this work as needed.
Diagnostic and screening testing
- Symptomatic staff and students are asked to contact their provider or access diagnostic testing through the SGCHD.
Efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff and students if eligible
- Vaccination events hosted at schools/community events for eligible students.
- Information shared with staff about vaccination clinic opportunities.
- For updated vaccination opportunities, visit www.vaccine417.com
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 here.
- 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: December 15, 2022