GPS Covid-19 Athletic Guidelines (last updated 7/28/2020)

All Sports Guidelines:

 

Athletics are scheduled to reopen on July 9th. This document was prepared in conjunction with other Greater South Shore Conference AD’s and AT’s. This is what we believe to be the best course of action in accordance with governor’s plan, IN-CLASS, NFHS, IHSAA and IIAAA. These are our guidelines. These are not recommendations.  We must also be ready at a moment’s notice to adjust or evolve as situations change daily. First and foremost, the health and safety of our student-athletes, their families, our workers, and spectators is our number one priority. We must remember that we are educational based athletics, and our mission is that The Griffith Middle/High School Athletic Department will create and foster an environment that provides opportunities for student athletes to enrich their middle/high school experience through participation in athletics. We are dedicated to providing opportunities that will enhance the development of the intellectual, physical, social, moral and cultural skills of our student athletes. Participation in athletics is a privilege which carries degrees of commitment and responsibility. Athletes represent their school, their student body, their families, and their community.

 

Griffith 3 PHASE PLAN FOR RE-OPENING EXTRA CURRICULLAR ACTIVITIES

The following document was created by the Griffith School Athletic Department utilizing the following resources:

  • Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) “Consideration for Learning and Safe-Schools Re-Entry” guidance document
  • National Federation of High School Sports (NFHS) “Guidance for Opening Up Athletics Activities” guidance document
  • Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) guidance.

 

SPORTS PARTICIPATION

All guidelines listed below are meant to be an extension of the guidance put out previously by the NFHS, State of Indiana, IDOE, and IHSAA.  NFHS, State of Indiana and IDOE has recommended phased return to school sports which will gradually increase risk of exposure for student athletes to Covid-19.

 

CONSISTENT GUIDELINES FOR ALL 3 PHASES AND COMPETITION

 

  • All State and Griffith Public Schools guidelines for group size limitations must be followed, including every effort to social distance.
  • Any student who prefers to wear a face covering for activities while participating will be allowed, if doing so does not appear to cause a health risk.
  • Students, when not engaging in vigorous activity and when practical, (i.e., social distancing is difficult) should wear face coverings.
  • Non-students, including coaches, medical-related staff, directors, security staff, supervisors, etc. will wear face coverings at all times, unless under rigorous activity or poses a health risk.
  • Only essential student athletes, student participants, coaches, medical staff, related supervisors, directors, and security should will be in attendance at scheduled practices or meetings.
  • An alternate command structure for coaching staff will be established in case of illness.
  • Prior to participation, all first-time student athletes are required to have an IHSAA pre-participation physical for the upcoming school year. Returning student athletes are not required to obtain a new IHSAA pre-participation physical but should complete a 2020-21 IHSAA Health History Update Questionnaire and Consent & Release Certificate prior to participation.
  • All students will be trained to identify signs and symptoms of the Covid-19 virus along with the coaching staff ​prior to participating in workouts, rehearsals, or practices.
  • All students and staff will be pre-screened for signs/symptoms of Covid-19 prior to participating in workouts, rehearsals, or practices by answering questions and temperatures will be checked by athletic trainer or school personnel once per day at school prior to starting practice. The use of an infrared forehead scanning thermometer will be used for all screenings.  Each coach and athlete’s daily screening will be documented.
    • If athlete is found to be practicing without receiving daily screening, the athlete should be suspended from rest of that practice.
  • Any person with Covid-19-related symptoms should not be allowed to take part in workouts, rehearsals, or practices and should contact his or her primary care provider or other appropriate healthcare professional.
  • Coaches must track Covid-19 impacted attendance and report to Griffith Public School district/school administration. Follow specific return to school protocol in reference to participation for student athletes or staff members who no longer test positive and/or no longer display symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Individuals should wash their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with warm water and soap before touching any surfaces or participating. If this is not possible, hand sanitizer will be plentiful and available to individuals as they transfer from place to place.
  • Group sizes will be reduced as much as possible to reduce risk. Workouts will be conducted in defined, smaller groups of students with the intention that the same students are always together. Group sizes will be reduced by half capacity in large areas (weight room, band rooms, wrestling rooms, etc.).
  • The goal of social distancing is defined by the ​CDC​. If it is not possible to follow these guidelines indoors or outdoors, supervisors will work to create as much distance as possible.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting will be scheduled prior to and after usage following ​CDC, EPA​, and ​OSHA​ guidelines. This schedule will be created and implemented for all facilities and equipment to mitigate any communicable diseases. The plan will be clear on who cleans and appropriate training and what PPE is provided for such.
  • Appropriate clothing/shoes will be worn at all times to minimize transmission.
  • No sharing of clothing, shoes, towels, or water bottles.
  • Sports equipment and balls should be cleaned with CDC-approved anti-viral cleaner at the end of each practice/workout session.
  • Sports equipment can be used by multiple individuals. If equipment is shared, including sports balls, weight room facilities, non-wind instruments, etc., this equipment will be cleaned prior to use and immediately following usage. Responsibility for cleaning will be clearly outlined and appropriate training on how to accomplish this task along with and PPE will be provided.
  • Equipment such as weight benches, athletic pads, etc. having holes with exposed foam will be covered or discarded.
  • Hand sanitizer should be readily available to student athletes and coaches during practice.
  • Students must be expected to shower at home and wash workout clothing immediately upon returning to their home. If a student does not have a laundered uniform, he/she may not be allowed to participate in practice or competition.
  • If (GHS) launders student gear or uniforms, PPE will be available for the person in charge of laundering.
  • Athletes should have no celebratory contact (high five, fist bump, elbow bump, etc.) between athlete-athlete, athlete-coach, or athlete-medical staff.

 

 

 

 

PHASE 1: JULY 13 – JULY 19

*Remember that all Summer Activities are Voluntary*

*Special Priority will be given to Fall sports during phase 1*

 

  • Summer activities are not mandatory.
  • Student athletes will be limited to 15 hours per week on campus. The IHSAA no Contact Sunday Rule will be enforced.
  • Prior to participation student athletes and parents/guardians must complete final forms profile, including background information.
  • School contact activity will include conditioning and sport-specific activities.
  • Sport-specific activities will include Fall sports only.
  • No contact is allowed for contact sports and no physical contact between student athletes should occur with any conditioning activities or drills.
  • No competition with other schools is allowed.
  • Groups for sport-specific work outs will be limited to no more than 20 athletes at a time in one location/facility for outdoor and indoor activities based on available space to allow appropriate social distancing principles.
  • Conditioning work outs can be of a larger size if able to follow social distancing principles.
    • Workouts should be individually focused initially and move to small group focused. Athletes should maintain 6-foot distance between individuals whenever possible. Focus should be on conditioning and allowing student athletes to become comfortable in current sports environment.
  • No sport may have more than two activity days per calendar week. A schedule will be provided to follow by Griffith Athletic Department. Schedules must be provided 10 days prior to activity.
  • Sport-specific activity days are limited to three hours per day. (Six hours per calendar week.)
  • Conditioning is limited to four days per week. Conditioning sessions may be held multiple times each day, each session limited to two hours. Student athletes may attend only one conditioning session per day.
  • Conditioning must be to improve strength and cardiovascular well-being.
  • Locker rooms will not be utilized in Phase 1. Students should report to their activity in proper gear and immediately return home to shower at the conclusion. Restrooms will remain available for student athletes and athletic staff; however social distancing will be encouraged.
  • Free weight exercises requiring a spotter will not be conducted. Safety measures in all forms will be strictly enforced in the weight room.
  • School will not provide any transportation to and from activities.
  • Restroom facilities will be available, but only a single athlete at a time.
  • Pool usage is acceptable without locker rooms
  • All head coaches must at all times while on campus have their athletic department issued radio on their person, on all-call, and active
  • Any student with underlying condition which deem the student higher risk or in needing medical preventative situation must have medically prescribed equipment available (I.E asthma-rescue inhaler).

 

 

Phase 1 example week

Students arrive ready to go. Students leave directly after session. Students provide own form of hydration. Coaches will need to have one-time use hydration (water bottles) available incase athletes forget form of hydration.

 

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Conditioning

8-10 am

Activity

8-11 am

Conditioning

8-10am

 Conditioning

8-10am

Activity

3-6pm

Conditioning

3-5 pm

No

Contact

 

 

 

PHASE 2: July 20 – August 15

Fall sports have priority during phase 2*

*Winter/Spring sports will need to wait until limited contact period*

Football 1st practice: Monday – 8/3/2020

B/G Soccer 1st practice: Monday – 8/3/2020

G Golf 1st practice: Friday – 7/31/2020

B/G Cross Country 1st practice – Monday, 8/3/2020

All Middle School Sports first practice will be August 11th – Middle school sports may condition, but they are restricted to phase 1 guidelines all summer.

When start date is reached, you may have consecutive activities days.

  • Contact is allowed as ​defined by Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA)​.
  • No competition with other schools is allowed, with the exception of girl’s golf.
  • Locker rooms will not be used prior to August 3rd. See Locker Room Guidelines below.
  • School activities using off-site, non-school owned facilities and equipment for related activities should work with the off-site facility provider to ensure the associated and relevant safety measures are in place. If transporting to-and-from workouts, rehearsals, or practices, transportation safety measures and cleaning regarding team transportation must be followed.
  • Free weight exercises requiring a spotter can be conducted. Safety measures in all forms must be strictly enforced in the weight room. See Weight Room Guidelines below.
  • Sports may advance activities to include intra-squad scrimmages.
  • No competition with other schools is allowed, with the exception of girl’s golf.
  • Indoor groups may be restricted to a smaller group size due to limited space available.
  • Workouts should be based on small groups within each team. Teams may use position and grade to help determine smaller groups. Small group activities within team should still be used as much as possible. Full team activities will increase possible Covid-19 exposure and could increase number of student athletes quarantined if positive Covid-19 test occurs on team.
  • School will not provide any transportation to and from activities until after August 3. All trips must be approved by Griffith administration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PHASE 3: AUGUST 15

 

  • Teams can return to full team practices. Small group activities within team should still be used as much as possible. Full team activities will increase possible Covid-19 exposure and could increase number of student athletes quarantined if positive Covid-19 test occurs on team.
  • IHSAA contest competition may begin for remaining Fall Sports.
  • Locker Rooms: See Locker Room Guidelines below.
  • Consider dressing or traveling only necessary athletes and personnel for and to events.
  • Cleaning processes regarding transportation must be followed. See Transportation Guidelines below.
  • Contact should be limited to only contact necessary to compete as ​defined by IHSAA​.
  • Spectators, media, and vendors can be present but should implement social distancing and follow established mass gathering guidelines. Reference Griffith spectator guidance.
  • Coaches must take attendance daily via final forms.
  • Athletes must have assigned seating on busing and film days.

 

 

COMPETITION

 

  • Any student who prefers to wear a face covering while sitting on the bench or sideline for indoor or outside competition and not participating in competition or warm up will be allowed, if doing so does not appear to cause a health risk.
  • Non-students, including coaches, medical-related staff, directors, security staff, supervisors, etc. will wear face coverings at all times unless under rigorous activity or poses a health risk.
  • All school officials working all competitions such as score keepers, timers, event managers will wear face coverings at all times unless under rigorous activity or poses a health risk.
  • IHSAA officials should be given the option to wear face coverings during competition.
  • Hospitality rooms for officials should not include shared food service and should allow space for social distancing. Individual waters and pre-packaged snacks may be made available.
  • Concessions may be sold if food handlers and cashiers use appropriate PPE and only prepared, prepackaged food is available.

 

 

 

 

BUS TRANSPORTATION

 

  • No transportation will be provided by GHS until August 3. All trips must be approved by Griffith administration.
  • It is acknowledged that social distancing principles should be followed as much as possible for bus transportation.
  • Student athletes and coaches should sit no more than 1 person to a seat. If possible, allow an empty row between persons sitting on same side of bus.
  • Coaches should prioritize the bus riders to each away event.
  • Travel Consent forms will be signed and turned in for athletes traveling with parents or a teammates parents to away events.
  • All student athletes and coaches will wear face coverings at all times while on the bus.
  • Each seat should be cleaned with CDC-approved sanitizer before initial use for a trip, during the competition, and following return from the trip.

 

 

LOCKER ROOMS

 

  • It is acknowledged that social distancing principles will be a challenge for locker room use.
  • Locker rooms should not be used for summer (up to August 3rd) except for restroom purposes.
  • During the summer (Phase 1 and part of Phase 2), athletes will be expected to come to practice in appropriate practice attire and return home following practice. During the summer (up to August 3rd), all practice clothing will be washed at home.
  • When possible, flow patterns should be developed for locker rooms creating separate entrance and exit doors.
  • Locker selection should spread student athletes among available lockers with as much distance as possible.
  • Student athletes and coaches will use face masks whenever in locker rooms.
  • Different teams should not share locker rooms if possible. If teams do share a locker room, a schedule will be developed by the athletic department, so members of different teams are not in locker room at same time.
  • During all entry phases and the school year, athletes will be required to take home all practice clothes and shoes each night for cleaning. Only sport specific equipment will be allowed in lockers overnight.
  • All competition uniforms will be washed by school and distributed on game day.
  • Athletes will shower at home after all practices and competition.
  • All locker room and shower floors will be cleaned with CDC-approved anti-viral cleaner by school custodian.
  • All lockers should be completely emptied and cleaned periodically throughout the season.

 

STUDENT CONTACT

 

  • Athletes should have no celebratory contact (high five, fist bump, elbow bump, etc.) between athlete-athlete, athlete-coach, or athlete-medical staff.
  • Any student who prefers to wear a face covering while participating in activities will be allowed, if doing so does not appear to cause a health risk.
  • Any student who prefers to wear a face covering while sitting on the bench or sideline for indoor or outside competition and not participating in competition or warm up will be allowed, if doing so does not appear to cause a health risk.
  • Students, when not engaging in vigorous activity and when practical, (i.e., social distancing is difficult) should wear face coverings.
  • Non-students, including coaches, medical-related staff, directors, security staff, supervisors, etc. will wear face coverings at all times unless under rigorous activity or poses a health risk.
  • Coaches will wear face coverings at all times when interacting with athletes indoors & outdoors.
  • Coaches will limit any physical contact with athletes at all times unless appropriately needed.
  • Medical staff will limit physical contact with student athletes to only medically appropriate and needed activities.

 

EQUIPEMENT HYGIENE

 

  • All sports balls (basketball, footballs, etc.) will be cleaned with CDC-approved cleaner or appropriate cleaning method at the end of each practice/workout session. See attached.
  • All personal sports equipment (braces, headgear, shoulder pads, etc.) should be cleaned daily by coaches prior to practice or competition. Head coach will sign and date equipment cleansing daily and submit record for Athletic Director.
  • All athletes will wear appropriate clean clothes for practices and competition.

 

 

HYDRATION

 

  • Hydration for athletes is a vitally important aspect of healthy, safe competition. However, hydration can also be considered another higher risk activity for spread of Covid-19. All hydration guidelines should be adhered to in order maintain isolation of an individual student or coach’s source of hydration.
  • All athletes will have their own individual water bottle. Each water bottle will be clearly marked with athlete’s first and last name in permanent marker.
  • Athletes will also be able to use appropriately marked plastic bottles or other school approved containers for their source of hydration.
  • Athletes will be responsible for keeping their own water bottle. Managers will not transport individual water bottles for athletes. Carrying racks for multiple water bottles will not be used.
  • Managers should be responsible for dispensing water/hydration from coolers. Managers will use gloves at all times and will frequently use hand sanitizer on gloves for hygiene. Athletes will be responsible to remove their own water bottle’s lid when refilling.
  • All athletes will be responsible to maintain a clean water bottle. Water bottles will not be stored in athletic lockers overnight and will be taken home for cleaning each day.
  • All coolers will be sanitized daily before and after use with CDC-approved or appropriate manner.
  • All coolers that will be used each day will be taken out of the athletic training facility prior to athletes being seen in the athletic training facility each day.
  • No athletes will share water bottle or other source of hydration at any time.
  • Hydration stations (water cows, water trough, water fountains) are not recommended.

 

ATHLETIC TRAINING FACILITIES AND ATHLETIC TRAINER

 

Athletic training facilities are recognized as heavily used areas by student athletes that in the past have created spaces with poor social distancing, thus, creating a current possible source of spread of Covid-19.

  • All student athletes and athletic training student aides (ATSAs) should use hand sanitizer before entering training room.
  • Only students seeking treatment from an athletic trainer will be allowed into the athletic training facility.
  • Athletic trainers will use and demonstrate appropriate hand hygiene, by thorough hand washing or the use of approved hand sanitizer, before and after contact with each athlete.
  • Athletic trainers will use gloves for contact with all athletes in training room, except when performing tasks which are made much more difficult or ineffectual by glove use. (i.e., taping).
  • All student athletes, ATSAs, coaches, athletic trainer, and team physicians will wear face masks at all times while in the training room.
  • All exposed surfaces (desks, counter tops, treatment tables, and chairs) will be cleaned with CDC-approved anti-viral and anti-bacterial cleaner at start and end of each day.
  • All treatment surfaces will be cleaned with CDC approved anti-viral and anti-bacterial cleaner after any athlete has been treated on that surface.
  • All access to the ice machine should be limited to athletic trainers or ATSAs, if possible. Ice bags ready for use by athletes should be available to limit athlete access to ice machine and over-all time in the athletic training facility.
  • Athletic Training facility will be limited to no more than three student athletes and one ATSA at one time. The athletic trainer will create floor spots both inside the athletic training facility and in adjacent hallway where athletes will stand while waiting to be treated. No athlete will touch treatment surfaces unless instructed by the athletic trainer.
  • Before practice: Athletic training facility will be used by only one athletic team at a time. The athletic trainer or AD will develop schedule for each team to use athletic training facility for pre-practice treatments. Once team has finished their pre-practice activities, all treatment surfaces will be cleaned prior to next team entering athletic training facility.
  • Injuries: If possible, athletes from only 1 team should be allowed in athletic training facility at any one time.
  • Athletic training facility should be closed to student athletes when the athletic trainer are not present in athletic training facility.
  • Athletic training facility floor will be cleaned at end of each day with CDC-approved anti-viral cleaner by school custodial staff.
  • Each team should be thought of as a cohort regarding the athletic training facility. Larger teams should be divided into smaller cohort groups based on position or grade or other appropriate means. Cohort groups should remain approximately 10-20 students in size. Athletes from only the same team should be allowed in the athletic training facility at any one time. Larger teams should try to limit mixing of cohort groups if possible.  Athletes from different teams should not be mixing in the athletic training facility. If cohort idea is followed, possible Covid-19 outbreaks will have better chance of being contained to one group.
  • Athletic trainers should have daily temperature check and self-screening with records maintained by the athletic trainer.
  • Administration should be aware of these responsibilities and allow appropriate time from end of school day until start of competition to allow the athletic trainer time to finish daily responsibilities before competition. This timeline should be determined in open communication between the athletic trainer and AD.
  • Athletic trainers will continue to provide multiple competition coverage, as done previously.
  • We understand that ATSAs could be considered a non-essential aspect to school sports. We also understand that ATSAs will increase their risk of Covid-19 exposure as part of the school medical team. However, we recognize the positive role the ATSAs play as they help the athletic trainer/medical staff with care of athletes. We also recognize the importance of an athletic training experience for the high school students who are contemplating a career in athletic training.
  • ATSAs must show parental permission to participate.
  • ATSAs should use cloth masks at all times with interactions with athletes and coaches.
  • ATSAs will use gloves at all interactions with athletes or coaches unless instructed by the athletic trainer.
  • Each ATSA will be assigned to one team. Each ATSA will interact only with members of their assigned team. ATSAs will not be in athletic training facility when members of other teams are being treated.

 

WAIVER

 

  • School district will need to have further discussion regarding need and use of waiver for athletes and coaches regarding current healthcare crisis with COVID-19
  • Waiver should recognize the high likelihood that any athlete or coach involved in any school sponsored sports activity will be exposed to COVID-19.
  • Waiver should recognize the high likelihood that school athletes or coaches will expose their own households to COVID-19.
  • Waiver should recognize the possible consequences of COVID-19 exposure including extreme illness and death.
  • Waiver should recognize that the school district has attempted to place guidelines for school sponsored sports to the best of their current knowledge to try to mitigate exposure to COVID-19.
  • Waiver should recognize that the innate aspects of competitive sports may prevent the recommended social distancing principles for COVID-19 mitigation.
  • Waiver should recognize athletes and coaches’ families will be responsible for costs related to COVID-19 testing and possible medical treatment.

 

COVID TESTING PROCESS AND PROCEDURES

 

  • Any student or coach with positive findings on daily screening or temperature >100.3 will be immediately sent home by the athletic trainer. Student’s parents/guardians will be directly contacted by the athletic trainer. Appropriate coach, AD, school nurse, and team physician will also be notified by the athletic trainer. Student or coach with symptoms will be held out of all practices or completion until cleared by primary care physician (PCP). The student or coach must provide a written form signed by PCP indicating student or coach has been cleared to return to play after evaluation for Covid-19. Student or coach must also be cleared by school athletic trainer or team physician prior to return to practice or competition.
  • Any student or coach with positive screening findings for Covid-19 symptoms is recommended to have Covid-19 testing. If no testing or PCP clearance is completed, then the student or coach will be assumed to be positive for covid-19 and will undergo management as noted below. Team physician or school athletic trainer can hold students from returning to sports and activity even with PCP clearance, if medical staff believes athlete or coach warrants further Covid-19 testing.
  • If student or coach tests positive for Covid-19 through any testing, that student or coach will be held out of all practices and competition until at least 10-14 days from start of symptoms and must have improvement of symptoms and must have at least 3 days of no fever without fever-reducing medicine. The student or coach must provide copy of original positive test results for documentation by school. In addition, the student must have written clearance from PCP stating student or coach can return to athletics after Covid-19 diagnosis. Finally, student or coach must also be cleared by the athletic trainer or team physician prior to return to practice or competition.
  • If student or coach tests positive for Covid-19 and has NO symptoms during entire quarantine, student or coach will be held out of all practices and competition until 10-14 days from date of positive Covid-19 test. The student or coach must provide copy of original positive test results for documentation by school. In addition, the student must have written clearance from PCP stating student or coach can return from Covid-19. If a student/employee tests negative, with possible direct exposure that student must remain out for 72 hours and return with a up to two negative test result. Finally, student or coach must also be cleared by the athletic trainer or team physician prior to return to practice or competition.
  • If student or coach is considered to be at high risk of Covid-19 exposure based on team physician or contact tracing recommendation, student or coach must quarantine for 14 days with no symptoms and have negative Covid-19 testing. Covid-19 PCR testing cannot occur prior to 5 days after last exposure. Covid-19 antigen testing cannot occur prior to 7 days from last exposure. Student or coach will not be allowed to practice or compete during waiting time for Covid-19 testing and are recommended to quarantine during that time. When a student or coach receives a test, a copy of the test report of a negative test must be provided to team physician, or athletic director, before student, coach, or employee. can return to team activities. Student or coach must be cleared by school athletic trainer or team physician prior to return to practice or competition.
  • All positive Covid-19 test results will be reported to county health department. All positive Covid-19 test results will be reported to AD and school nurse. Guardians/Family of all students or coaches who are deemed to be high risk for Covid-19 exposure will be directly contacted by county health department as per contact tracing protocols. Names of students or coaches deemed at high risk of documented Covid-19 exposure will be reported to county health department/state health department by team physician or appropriate health care system representative.
  • Athletic trainers will follow appropriate use of PPE when interacting with students. By following appropriate use of PPE, athletic trainers should have less risk for significant exposure to covid-19 from student athletes. Athletic trainers should follow current CDC guidelines for health care professionals with possible Covid-19 exposure. The current guidelines indicate that athletic trainers will only be quarantined if they present with symptoms consistent with Covid-19.

 

 

 

Health Protocol for Schools

It is essential for the school community to work together to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in the school environment and in the community while still providing a quality education program.

State statute gives public school districts the authority to exclude students who have a contagious disease such as COVID-19 or are liable to transmit it after exposure (IC 20-34-3-9). In addition, the local health department has the authority to exclude students from school and may order students and others to isolate or quarantine (IC 16-41-9-1.6). As such, districts/schools are encouraged to work closely with their local health departments.

Symptoms Impacting Consideration for Exclusion from School

Students and employees ​should be trained​ to recognize the following COVID-19-related symptoms:

  • A fever of 100.4​° F​ or greater
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Students and employees should be excluded from school if they test positive for COVID-19 or exhibit one or more of the symptoms of COVID-19 based on ​CDC Guidance​ ​that is not otherwise explained. Student temperatures will be taken twice. Upon second irregular temperature the student will be sent home and covid-19 protocols initiated.

Return to School After Exclusion

Once a student or employee is excluded from the school environment, they may return if they satisfy the recommendations of the CDC. Currently those guidelines are:

Untested

Persons who have not received a test proving or disproving the presence of COVID-19 but experience symptoms may return if the following three conditions are met:

  • They have not had a fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers); and
  • Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved); and
  • At least 10 calendar days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.
  • The state ​website​ has a list of over 200 testing facilities, their location, and hours of operation. This list is updated frequently.

Tested Positive- Symptomatic
Persons who experienced symptoms and have been tested for COVID-19 may return to school if the following conditions are met:

  • The individual no longer has a fever (without the use medicine that reduces fevers); and
  • Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved); and
  • At least 10 calendar days have passed since symptoms first appeared; or
  • The individual has received two negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Tested Positive- Asymptomatic

Persons who have not had symptoms but test positive for COVID-19 may return when they have gone ten calendar days without symptoms and have been released by a healthcare provider. Students may also return if they are approved to do so in writing by the student’s health care provider.

Tested Positive- Impact on School Operations

Establish predetermined thresholds for mitigation strategies by following ISDH’s recommendation to work with your local health department in following the CDC guidance which can be found ​here​. Reference page three, “When a confirmed case has entered a school, regardless of community transmission.”

Screening

The current ​CDC guidelines​ recommend screening all students and employees for COVID-19 symptoms and history of exposure. Screening can consist of self-screening, school-based screening, and/or medical inquiries. The type and extent of screening is at the discretion of the district/school.

  • Self-Screening
    At a minimum, districts/schools are strongly encouraged to communicate information to parents and employees about the symptoms of COVID-19 and require them to self-screen before coming to school. Students and employees exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 (See Appendix A-Symptoms Impacting Consideration for Exclusion from School) without being otherwise explained, are prohibited from coming to school, and if they do come to school, they should be sent home immediately.
  • School-Based Screening

Temperature Screening

Using temperature checks for screening purposes can present challenges. Most districts/schools do not have enough staff and equipment to screen temperatures as students and staff are entering the building and/or

Medical Inquiries

Federal law typically limits the type of medical inquiries that can be made, but given the nature of the pandemic more leeway has been given to districts/schools in this circumstance to make additional medical inquiries of staff and students than would otherwise be allowed.

  • If a parent tells the district/school that a student is ill, the district/school may ask the parent whether the student is exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If an employee calls in sick or appears ill, the district/school can inquire as to whether the employee is experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
  • If a person is obviously ill, the district/school may make additional inquiries and may exclude the person from school property.

Even without symptoms, if a student or employee has recently had contact with a person with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, has someone in their home being tested for COVID-19, or has recently traveled from somewhere considered to be a “hot spot” by the CDC, the district/school may exclude the student or employee from the school building and recommend that they self-quarantine for 14 calendar days.

Observational/Self-Reported Screening

Districts/schools are encouraged to provide professional development regarding the recognition of COVID-19 symptoms and screening. (See page seven – Review and Revise Districts Professional; Development Plan) Students and employees exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 (See Appendix A-Symptoms Impacting Consideration for Exclusion from School) without being otherwise explained, are prohibited from coming to school, and if they do come to school, they should be sent home immediately.

Federal law typically limits the type of medical inquiries that can be made, but given the nature of the pandemic more leeway has been given to districts/schools in this circumstance to make additional medical inquiries of staff and students than would otherwise be allowed.

  • If a parent tells the district/school that a student is ill, the district/school may ask the parent whether the student is exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If an employee calls in sick or appears ill, the district/school can inquire as to whether the employee is experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
  • If a person is obviously ill, the district/school may make additional inquiries and may exclude the person from school property.

Even without symptoms, if a student or employee has recently had contact with a person with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, has someone in their home being tested for COVID-19, or has recently traveled from somewhere considered to be a “hot spot” by the CDC, the district/school may exclude the student or employee from the school building and recommend that they self-quarantine for 14 calendar days.

Wearing Masks and Other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – Non-students

Mask-wearing requirements or recommendations in schools should be consistent with state and local guidelines​. ​The current ​CDC guidelines​ recommend that all employees wear cloth face coverings.

  • Some non-students may be required to wear additional PPE (i.e. health-related, custodial staff, specialized positions, etc.) when directed to do so by district/school protocol or the employee’s supervisor.
  • It may be necessary for schools to provide masks.
  • Additional accommodations may need to be made for staff based on their individual health plan.
  • If districts are unable to provide masks and/or additional necessary PPE, administration will work with non-students to meet the requirements.

Wearing Masks and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – Students

Mask-wearing requirements or recommendations in schools should be consistent with state and local guidelines​. ​The current ​CDC guidelines​ recommend that all students wear cloth face coverings.

  • Some students may be required to wear additional PPE (i.e. health-related,special conditions, etc.) when directed to do so by student health plans.
  • It may be necessary for schools to provide masks for those students.
  • Additional accommodations may need to be made for students based on their individual health plan.

Clinical Space COVID -19 Symptomatic

It is recommended that each school have a room or space separate from the nurse’s clinic where students or employees who are feeling ill are evaluated or wait for pick up. All waiting staff and students should wear a cloth face covering. Only essential staff assigned to the room may enter. A record will be kept of all persons who entered the room and the room will be disinfected several times throughout the day. Strict social distancing is required and staff must wear appropriate PPE. Students who are ill will be walked out of the building to their parents. If a student or staff member has a fever, for any reason, it is recommended that the district/school adjust their school policy to require staff and students to be fever-free, without the use of fever-reducing medications, for 72 hours before returning to school. Additionally, all staff and students with fevers or symptoms associated with COVID-19 should be encouraged to seek medical attention for further evaluation and instructions. Students and staff may return before the 72 hour window has elapsed if they are approved to do so in writing by their healthcare provider.

Clinic Space Non-COVID-19 Related

Students who do not display symptoms of COVID-19 can be seen and treated in the nurse’s clinic. These would include students who are injured during the school day or students with special health care needs such as those with chronic health conditions (i.e. – diabetes or seizures), those requiring medical treatments (i.e. – suctioning, tube feeding, or nebulizers), and those with individual health plans.

Confirmed Case of COVID-19 on School Property

When there is confirmation that a person infected with COVID-19 was on school property, the district/school will contact the local health department immediately. It is important to also notify the ​Indiana Department of Education​. Unless extenuating circumstances exist, the district/school will work with the local health department to assess factors such as the likelihood of exposure to employees and students in the building, the number of cases in the community, and other factors that will determine building closure.

It is the responsibility of the local health department to contact the person confirmed with COVID-19, inform direct contacts of their possible exposure, and give instructions to those

involved with the confirmed case, including siblings and other household members regarding self-quarantine and exclusions. The individual who tested positive will not be identified in communications to the school community at large but may need to be selectively identified for contact tracing by the local health department.

If a closure is determined necessary, schools should consult with their local health department to determine the status of school activities including extracurricular activities, co-curricular activities, and before and after-school programs.

As soon as the district/school becomes aware of a student or employee who has been exposed to or has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the custodial staff will be informed, so that impacted building or bus areas, furnishings, and equipment are thoroughly disinfected. If possible, based upon student and staff presence, the custodial staff will wait 24 hours or as long as possible prior to disinfecting. However, if that is not possible or school is in session, the cleaning will occur immediately.

Immunizations

Immunization requirements should remain. Assistance through local health departments and health systems will be provided.

Printable Guidelines “Return to Play GPS”