In-Person School FAQs
HSD Health & Safety Protocols
Can the district guarantee protection from COVID-19?
No. Please understand that no school district can offer 100% protection from exposure to COVID-19. The CDC recommended mitigation techniques have been implemented in buildings and buses. Employees will continue to practice and preach the keys to the Help Hazelwood Get Healthy campaign – wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing - as well as COVID-19 vaccine education.
What safety protocols are in place?
Buildings and buses will be disinfected with hospital-grade electrostatic spray units daily/nightly. Also, alcohol-based hand sanitizing stations have been placed in buildings, classrooms, and school buses. Each building also has social distancing signage and specific hallway/bathroom procedures. Employees and substitute teachers are required to complete a Daily Health Screen form on the district’s website before entering any HSD building. Additionally, Parents are asked to monitor their student for symptoms each day before sending their student to school.
Are face masks required?
Yes. Masks will be required for all employees and students (Pre-K – 12 grade). Face masks and shields can be worn together, but wearing a shield alone is not allowed. Every person must wear a face mask. Parents who have concerns about their child following this requirement may want to reconsider their child’s instruction model or speak with their child’s principal. The district will provide extra PPE for students and employees who arrive without them.
Will the district install desk shields/sneezeguards?
Plexiglass desk shields/sneezeguards have been purchased for student and staff desks. Plexiglass desk shields/sneezeguards have also been installed in appropriate areas of offices, kitchens, clinics, and on/around cubicles.
Will students and employees be able to follow social distancing guidelines?
Social distancing (3-6 feet) techniques will be practiced when possible.
Will teachers be responsible for disinfecting their classrooms during lessons, before school, and after school?
Our facilities employees will disinfect all rooms on a daily/nightly basis. However, keeping our buildings clean and safe is a team effort, so teachers are encouraged to help keep areas clean. They will be given disinfectants, wipes, and paper towels.
Will children have their temperature taken by district employees before entering buildings or boarding buses?
No. Taking temperatures of students before they enter buildings or board buses is problematic for several reasons. First, it has the potential of causing bottlenecking at the school bus/building doors, which would impact our ability to practice social distancing. Additionally, asking employees to take temperatures before letting a child enter a bus/building would drastically impact classroom instruction time. Taking a child’s temperature in front of other children and subsequently refusing to let them board a bus/enter a building could result in bullying.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend this type of universal screening be used in the school setting as it does not provide additional value for mitigation and often increases risk by the sheer nature of the process. According to health officials, children with COVID-19 often do not have a fever. Temperature alone is not enough to determine if a child has COVID-19. Some children may have an elevated temperature due to an environmental situation, weather, pre-existing medical condition, or simply have a higher set point internally.
Will students and employees be able to use the public water fountains?
To limit individuals touching surfaces and contacting a virus, bottle fillers/touchless water dispensers have been installed at every building. There will be 1-2 at Early Childhood buildings and a minimum of three in all other buildings, with more for middle schools and high schools based on fountain locations. Disposable cups will be provided by Child Nutrition. Maintenance is working to shut off drinking fountains and cover those that cannot be shut off.
Will parents be allowed inside buildings?
No. To limit risk to exposure only individuals who absolutely need to enter a HSD building will be allowed inside.
What Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Systems will be used?
Individual HEPA units will be in all isolation rooms. Additionally, Bipolar Ionization devices will be installed in all district buildings.
Will the buildings be cleaned each day?
Yes. Each building has an electrostatic disinfectant Clorox 360 system and larger buildings have additional handheld systems.
Now, more than ever, the partnership between parents, drivers, and employees will be essential to keeping everyone safe. HSD Transportation Services Department has implemented a number of safety and health measures to keep students and employees as safe as possible while using district transportation. Bus ride requirements for boarding, seating, and school arrival are:
- All persons driving or riding in a school transportation vehicle must wear a face covering at all times. Additionally, bus drivers will also be wearing gloves. All buses will carry a box of disposable masks for students who do not have a mask at the time of boarding. Should a student continually come to the bus without a mask, the driver will notify the school office so that administration can follow up with the student.
- The first row of seats on the bus will remain empty.
- Students are to board the bus and social distance a minimum of 3 feet between each other while boarding/loading.
- Students must be seated from back to front starting with the first stop. There should be no more than one student to a seat unless they are siblings.
- All students must sit by the window and will have assigned seats. The bus drivers will assign seats based on route order. Assigned seating will be essential to accurately contact trace should the need arise.
- Students are to be released by the driver in a row-by-row manner and should social distance a minimum of 3 feet between each other while unloading.
- Extra students will not be accommodated on bus routes due to limited load restrictions. Therefore, if a student misses a bus, the parent/guardian should contact the school office.
- Multiple schools will have routes that will double back (complete two back-to-back routes for the same school) and will likely have drop-offs at elementary schools at approximately 8:30 and 8:50. The bus schedules communicated to parents will depict the correct times for pick-up and drop-off based on the specific route assigned. Further information will be shared regarding middle schools and high schools.
Cleaning and disinfection will also be an important part of maintaining a safe transportation environment. Each bus will be disinfected in between individual school runs with Virex disinfectant and after each morning and afternoon set of routes with an electrostatic disinfectant sprayer.
Will students be able to ride home on buses with their friends?
No. Students can ride to and from school only on their assigned routes. This practice will limit exposure and allow us to track who is on the bus each day/route.
COVID-19 Notification and Quarantine Procedures
As parents begin to prepare for the possibility of in-person school, what should they know about the impact of a positive COVID-19 case on those determined to be close contacts?
Per St. Louis County Department of Public Health guidelines, when a student/employee is determined to be a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case, they will be immediately sent home from school and will not be able to return until cleared of any health concerns. Additionally, depending on whether they have symptoms and the extent of contact with a positive case, the St. Louis County Department of Public Health may also advise that the student/employee and everyone in their household quarantine. In other words, one positive COVID-19 case has the potential of resulting in multiple households being asked to quarantine. Positive cases and close contacts may also force the district to abruptly close classrooms and buildings. HSD families should be aware of this reality and prepared in case their household is impacted by a positive case.
How will I know how many positive COVID-19 cases and quarantines are in the district or a specific building for students and employees?
To keep the community informed, the district has created the HSD Community Health Dashboard, which will be updated weekly on Friday afternoons. This Dashboard lives on the district’s website and will include the following information:
- Total active employee positive cases
- Total active employees quarantined
- Total active student positive cases
- Total active students quarantined
- A breakdown by each HSD building’s employee and student positive cases and quarantines
Will the district send school or district-wide notifications each time there is a positive COVID-19 case?
No. Only those who are determined to be close-contacts through contact tracing will be contacted. Sending school or district-wide notifications is problematic for the following reasons: 1) It can result in parents and employees receiving excessive emails, calls, and texts. 2) It can cause distractions and create unnecessary panic. 3) It can lead to community members treating district emails like spam. If people want to keep track of COVID-19 metrics in each building, they can view the HSD Community Health Dashboard on the district’s website. Additional information about COVID-19 notifications, including examples of notification letters, can be found in the COVID-19 Communications Guide.
How do I report a positive COVID-19 test?
If a student tests positive for COVID-19, their parent/guardian should contact the school nurse. For additional support and resources, parents/guardians can contact Christian Bertel, Coordinator of Health Services.
If an employee at a school tests positive for COVID-19, they should contact the school nurse and their immediate supervisor. Employees who work at The Learning Center or don't have an assigned building should contact their immediate supervisor and Christian Bertel, Coordinator of Health Services.
Please see the school nurses’ contact information here.
What happens when a student or employee tests positive?
Each building has a trained contact tracing team that will conduct building-level contact tracing and will attempt to notify the close contacts via phone numbers and/or email addresses on file after a thorough investigation. Building principals/assistant principals will send a follow-up letter to close contacts through SIS. A COVID-19 positive student or staff can end home isolation after meeting all of the following: at least 10 days since symptoms appeared, at least 24 hours with no fever-reducing medication, symptoms have improved, and a release letter has been received by the school nurse or site health personnel.
What happens if a student or employee displays symptoms of COVID-19 in an HSD building?
Students who display symptoms will be taken to a special isolation room. Their emergency contact will be notified and instructed to pick them up immediately and depending on the number and type of symptom(s), they will be asked to stay home for 24 hours, contact their pediatrician, and with multiple or high-risk symptoms, seek a COVID-19 test. Employees who display COVID-19 symptoms will be sent home immediately and instructed to get a COVID-19 test and/or contact their primary care physician for the next steps if the symptoms are determined to be a diagnosis other than COVID-19.
How should I handle a positive test for COVID-19 versus a regular illness?
Everyone must stay home if they are sick. Report normal absences and illnesses as usual. However, positive or suspected cases of COVID-19 need to be reported immediately to allow the schools to take appropriate action. Please report such cases as follows: Parents should contact their child’s school nurse. Employees should contact their building administrator or supervisor.
A student or staff when testing positive for COVID-19 can end home isolation after meeting all of the following: at least 10 days since symptoms appeared, at least 24 hours with no fever-reducing medication, symptoms have improved, and a release letter has been received by the school nurse or site health personnel.
What if my child’s classroom is closed due to COVID-19?
The class would switch to 100% virtual. Instruction would continue.
Is it possible a school could close temporarily due to illness or employee shortages?
Yes, we may need to close a school for a short period. A school closure could be triggered by:
- A significant volume of employee quarantines or illness without adequate substitute coverage
- A closure for deep cleaning or as recommended by the St. Louis County Health Department
- Significant illness in a school community
Individual school closures have happened recently at public and private schools statewide due to a large number of employees in quarantine at the same time.
What does learning look like if my child is quarantined at home?
If a student is quarantined at home, teachers will work with the parents/guardians to ensure their student can stay caught up, access learning, and complete assignments at home.
If a student is ill and quarantined at home for an extended period, the school principal and teacher(s) will work with parents/guardians to determine how their child can make up work when they are feeling well.
How will the district address asymptomatic people with COVID-19 who may enter buildings?
HSD will continue to follow all CDC and St. Louis County Department of Public Health guidelines to mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19.
Beginning March 15, 2021, all HSD employees across all grade levels, departments, and positions will return to in-person work. Employees will work in-person five days a week. Employees should contact their department or campus supervisor/principal for additional details. All buildings and offices will be open.
What options do employees who are high risk have?
Employees with valid, authorized, and district-approved medical exemptions on file with the Human Resources Department may be allowed to continue to work virtually. If an employee believes he/she may have additional considerations (such as medical or other reasons) that cause the employee to fall into one of the below categories, the employee should complete the appropriate leave application located on the district’s website at www.hazelwoodschools.org/page/1605. Questions regarding the forms should be sent to the benefits team at email@example.com.
- Family and Medical Leave Act - if an employee is requesting to utilize their leave for purposes of serious illness for themselves or caring for an immediate family member
- Americans with Disabilities Act - if an employee suffers from a disability that interferes with a major life function and believes they require accommodations to continue to perform their essential job functions
- General Leave of Absence - if an employee is requesting unpaid leave per an employee group’s Articles of Agreement
- Sick Leave Bank - for some employee groups per their Articles of Agreement
- COVID Leave
- Emergency 10-day sick leave paid at 100% of the employee salary with restrictions. This benefit is available to all employees, in addition to any regular district-provided sick leave.
- Up to 10 weeks, COVID Family and Medical Leave paid at 2/3 of the employee’s salary. This benefit is only available to employees whose child’s school is closed or is 100% virtual
Will the district have enough substitute teachers?
The district is working with Kelly Services to address this issue.