School board to review policy to handle a COVID-19 outbreak

MONROE, CT — If a Monroe school has a COVID-19 outbreak this year, the school district will have a policy in place to limit the spread, protecting the health and welfare of students, staff and the community.

The Policy Committee approved a draft proposal for an emergency preparedness policy at a special meeting Tuesday night. It will come before the entire Board of Education at its meeting tonight, Monday, Aug. 17, at 7:30 p.m.

According to the proposal, the superintendent would designate the school nurse, or another appropriate staff member, who, with the school medical advisor, would serve as a liaison between the school district and state health officials.

The rest of the draft proposal reads:

This designee and/or the School Medical Advisor are responsible for connecting with health officials to identify local hazards, determine what crisis plans exist in the school district and community, and to establish procedures to account for student well-being and safety during such a crisis.

The designee shall work with local health officials and shall keep the Superintendent advised when the risk of a pandemic or an epidemic of a serious illness has materially increased.

The Principals and/or school nurse or other designee shall develop a curriculum component that is designed to teach students about preventing or limiting the spread of communicable diseases.

The district shall purchase and store supplies necessary for an epidemic/pandemic outbreak.

The Superintendent shall develop procedures and plans in the event anyone within the school is discovered or suspected to have a communicable disease that may result in an epidemic/pandemic, that person shall be immediately quarantined pending further medical examination, as recommended by state and national protocols.

Local and state health officials shall be notified immediately. In conjunction with local and state health officials, the Superintendent shall ascertain whether an evacuation (school closing), lockdown, or shelter-in-place needs to be established. As soon as such a decision has been made, the school district shall notify the parents/guardians of all students.

In the event of an evacuation (school closing), the Superintendent is charged with determining when District schools shall re-open. In the event of a lockdown or shelter-in-place, the Superintendent shall notify all proper authorities and relief agencies to seek their assistance for the duration of the lockdown or shelter-in-place.

Preventative measures

The Department of Health and CDC Guidelines will be followed to prevent the spread of influenza and other respiratory virius. This includes the use of recommended PPE, including, but not limited to face masks, hand sanitizer, face shields, gowns, etc.

All students and staff are expected to comply with recommendations made by the schools’ Heath and Safety Committee unless a documented conditions exsists preventing the student or staff from safely complying.

Infection Control

Any student or staff member found to be infected with a communicable disease that bears risk of pandemic/epidemic will not be allowed to attend school until medical clearance is provided by that individual’s primary care physician or other medical personnel indicating that that person does not bear the risk of transmitting the communicable disease.

Students with excessive absences due to a communicable disease shall be given a reprieve from other Board policies relative to excessive student absences. Efforts will be made by the staff to determine what, if any, school work the student can complete while absent.

Staff members who are forced to miss excessive days of work shall first use any leave entitled to them through the Family and Medical Leave Act and/or accrued sick leave. If a staff member has still not received medical clearance to resume his/her work duties, absences in excess of a staff member’s allotted leave be managed through current labor laws or executive orders.

Continuance of Education

The Superintendent, in consultation with staff shall develop a plan of alternate means of educating students in the event of prolonged school closings and/or extended absences, utilizing technological, digital and print resources.

The Superintendent, in consultation with the Board of Education, may amend the traditional class schedule and schedule of days. Such a plan may include extending the school day, having school days held on Saturdays if Connecticut statute changes, the use of previously scheduled vacation days, and/or extend the school year beyond the previously established end of school year, within applicable statutory requirements.

The Superintendent, with Board of Education approval, may make procedural changes that may alter current Board of Education policy. At the conclusion of the emergency all modifications that effected Board of Education policies will end to the greatest extent possible.

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