health, safety, and instruction Q&A
Universal Masking Order Updates
The secretary of health has directed that everyone should wear an appropriate face covering, both indoors and outdoors. The face covering procedures outlined within Central Bucks’ health and safety plan are already in compliance with the revised order. The order continues to allow for appropriate “mask breaks,” and for students to remove their mask during breakfast and lunch.
The order reinforces the necessity to mask, even when outdoors. During outdoor recess, students will be required to maintain sustained physical distance whenever they are unmasked. When participating in an outdoor activity that precludes physical distancing, or when participating in indoor recess, students will be required to wear a mask. Revisions to the commonwealth’s Order Requiring Universal Face Coverings also provide new guidance related to the wearing of face shields as an acceptable face covering in lieu of a cloth mask. While the commonwealth’s order allows for the wearing of a face shield, the secretary’s orders clearly state that a face shield should be considered only if the wearing of a cloth face covering is otherwise not possible. Please visit the commonwealth’s website for more detailed information.
Find the most recent updates pertaining to the wearing of a mask while engaged in district athletics on our website here.
What is the policy/procedure regarding face coverings for staff and students?
CBSD will follow the current Order Requiring Universal Face Coverings. All staff and students will be required to wear a face covering.
What is an acceptable face covering?
As defined by the commonwealth, "face covering" means a covering of the nose and mouth that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is wrapped around the lower face. A "face covering" can be made of a variety of synthetic or natural fabrics, including cotton, silk, or linen, and, for the purposes of the order, can include a plastic face shield that covers the nose and mouth. "Face coverings" may be factory-made, sewn by hand, or improvised from household items, including but not limited to, scarves, bandanas, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels. While procedural and surgical masks intended for health care providers and first responders, such as N95 respirators, would meet these requirements, these specialized masks should be reserved for appropriate occupational and health care settings. To read more, visit the health department website here.
Revisions to the commonwealth’s Order Requiring Universal Face Coverings also provide new guidance related to the wearing of face shields as an acceptable face covering in lieu of a cloth mask. While the commonwealth’s order allows for the wearing of a face shield, the secretary’s orders clearly state that a face shield should be considered only if the wearing of a cloth face covering is otherwise not possible. Please visit the commonwealth’s website for more detailed information.
Who is exempt from the universal face covering order?
Per the commonwealth's order, children two years and older are required to wear a face covering unless they have a medical or mental health condition or disability, documented in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or IDEA, that precludes the wearing of a face covering in school. Accommodations for such students should be made in partnership with the student's health care provider, school nurse, and IEP/504 team."
CONFIRMED POSITIVE CASE MANAGEMENT
Why doesn’t the district indicate where a student was infected, or whether or not the infection occurred in school?
The district does not perform the contact tracing, and cannot with certainty report this information. The Bucks County Health Department may release, at their discretion, details on the source of infections, especially as it pertains to instances of “community spread.” Families are encouraged to visit the BCHD website for the most recent county reports on COVID-19 infection rates, which in some cases includes a reporting from the health director on the circumstances of infection in the county. In the event that the district becomes aware of community spread within its schools, the district will work with state and local health authorities to determine what next steps should be taken in the best interests of the health and safety of students and staff.
Does the district conduct its own contact tracing?
No. CBSD administrators provide names of contacts to the Bucks County Health Department to aid the department in conducting the contact tracing process. The district identifies who to report as a "close personal contact" (individuals who come within 6 feet of an infected individual for 15 or more minutes) based upon the criteria outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. For more information about the contact tracing process, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website.
Does the district “quarantine” or “isolate” students or staff?
No. The Bucks County Health Department issues notice of quarantine or isolation. The district informs students and staff of the date on which they may return to in-person school and school-sponsored activities, or work. A quarantine or isolation would apply to an individual’s behavior and movements at all times, not just while in school or work. Read more about the difference between quarantine and isolation on the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website.
When are positive cases listed on the website?
When a student or staff member reports a positive COVID-19 diagnosis or test to the district administrators and nurses work to make the school setting safe, and complete the necessary contact paperwork required by the Bucks County Health Department in order to aid in contact tracing. Individuals who have come into close contact are then notified personally by building principals. Once this process is complete, the information is posted to the district’s website, and an email is issued notifying the affected school community. When cases are reported after school hours or over the weekend, the process timeline can take longer.
How will the district determine what is considered "close personal contact?"
When positive cases are reported to CBSD, the district will work quickly to provide information that will assist the Bucks County Health Department (BCHD) as they conduct contact tracing. The district will share with BCHD the names of any individuals who we believe have come into "close personal contact" as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (coming within approximately 6 feet of an infected individual for 15 or more minutes). For more information about the contact tracing process, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website.
To learn more, read about "Public Health Guidance for School Communities" on the Pennsylvania Department of Education's website.
Will those individuals who have come into contact with a positive case receive a letter?
Working with the BCHD, students and staff whom the district identifies as having come into close personal contact with a positive individual will receive notification from the building principal about the contact, along with communication regarding modified quarantine, or direction for when they may return to in-person instruction or work if they are not eligible for modified quarantine. They may also be contacted by a representative of the BCHD as part of the contact tracing process. During the time when they are unable to attend school in-person, if they are able and well enough, students will participate in online learning.
Students who are determined to be ineligible for modified quarantine must remain at home for 10 days—7 days with evidence of a negative COVID-19 test—from the date of last close personal contact with a positive individual. The COVID-19 test must have been administered at least 5 days after the exposure, as per the protocols outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No other criteria will be applied when identifying a date on which they may return.
Will everyone who has come into contact with a positive individual be restricted from school or work?
No. Only those who have come into “close personal contact,” as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (coming within approximately 6 feet of an infected individual for 15 or more minutes) may be restricted from attending in-person school or school-sponsored activities. During the time when they are unable to attend school in-person, if they are able and well enough, students will participate in online learning.
What constitues a "low-level" exposure?
A “low-level” exposure as one that does not result in ongoing exposure (i.e. household exposure). It would be a single exposure, in or out of school, whereby an individual came into close personal contact with an someone who is positive for COVID-19. Close personal contact is defines as having been within six feet for a period of 15 minutes or more.
If a person is positive for COVID-19, but asymptomatic, are they eligible for modified quarantine?
No. A person with COVID-19 is NOT ELIGIBLE for modified quarantine, whether or not they are asymptomatic. A person who has symptoms consistent with COVID-19 is NOT ELIGIBLE for modified quarantine.
What are the rules for modified quarantine?
The individual must wear a mask at ALL times, except when eating/drinking. When eating or drinking, they may remove their mask so long as they are at least 6 feet away from others. If at any point they develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, they must stay home and alert the school health office. The BCHD confirms a person’s eligibility for modified quarantine.
If someone experiences ongoing exposure (i.e. someone with whom they live, or a family member) to someone who is positive or presumed positive for COVID-19, are they eligible for modified quarantine?
No. A person who has high-exposure (i.e., household exposure) is NOT ELIGIBLE for modified quarantine.
If you are on modified quarantine, can you participate in sports and school-sponsored activities?
Yes. However, the individual must wear a mask at ALL times, except when eating/drinking. When eating or drinking, they may remove their mask so long as they are at least 6 feet away from others.
What happens if someone cannot or does not follow the rules for modified quarantine?
A student who does not follow the rules of modified quarantine will be assigned virtual learning for a period of 10 days post last day of known exposure (7 days with a negative test no less than 5 days following exposure). The BCHD may also rescind modified quarantine and order another mode of quarantine or isolation for an individual.
What if you have already had COVID-19 or if you have been vaccinated, do you still need to be assigned a mode of quarantine if you are identified as a close personal contact?
If a student/staff member has been exposed to COVID-19, and they have been “fully vaccinated” or immune due to having had COVID-19 in 90 days prior to most recent exposure, no quarantine is required. According the CDC, a person is “fully vaccinated” ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine.
GENERAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
How was the health and safety plan created?
The district created six action plan committees comprised of teachers and staff from a variety of stakeholder groups, including teachers, nurses, facilities, building administration, district office personnel, and representatives from all departments in central office. In addition to committee work, surveys were sent to parents and staff to gather feedback on safety and curricular decisions as well as the different options for reopening schools. The plan was reviewed by Doylestown Hospital and our district medical doctor.
How will the district enforce social distancing for students and staff?
Staff will be distanced from students by a minimum of six feet. Students will be distanced by a minimum of three feet (more where feasible) or six feet, depending on the model selected.
- All desks will be spaced three to six feet apart depending on the model, were feasible
- Students will be assigned seating in the classrooms, cafeteria, and on busses
- All desks will face the instructor
- All other furniture will be removed from the classroom except for the teacher desk
- Alternate instructional spaces may be utilized when class size exceeds the maximum number of desks
How will the district limit student movement in the building?
At both the elementary and secondary levels, strict traffic patterns will be enforced within the hallways and stairwells to limit contact among individuals. Signage promoting social distancing will be provided in the classrooms, restrooms, hallways, sanitizing stations, cafeteria, food court, and communal spaces for both staff and students to remind individuals to limit clustering.
Elementary - At the elementary level, specials will be held in home classrooms to reduce the use of shared spaces and to minimize transitioning in the hallways. The use of cubbies will be prohibited. The master schedule will be designed to reduce the intermixing of students and staff, to promote social distancing, and to allow for movement breaks. All restroom use will be limited to one student out of class at a time and classrooms will be assigned to use specific restrooms.
Secondary – Students will be offered a grab and go lunch at dismissal. Bell schedules may be staggered at the secondary level and strict traffic patterns will be enforced in the hallways and stairwell. Visuals may include a middle divider, arrows directing traffic, and one-way hallways and stairwells where possible. Locker use will be prohibited. Congregating in common areas will also be prohibited. Students are permitted to use the restroom at any point. All restroom use will be limited to one student out of class at a time and classrooms will be assigned to use specific restrooms.
What conditions will a staff or student confirmed to have COVID-19 need to meet to return safely to school?
An individual may return once isolation restrictions dictated by the Bucks County Department of Health are lifted, AND 10 days have passed since their symptoms first appeared, OR if asymptomatic, since the date of their last positive test, AND they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication. These criteria may be modified based on current PADOH guidelines.
What will the decision-making process look like for a school closure or other significant change?
The decision-making process to make modifications will be based on guidelines and recommendations set forth from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Bucks County Department of Health, the CDC, and/or the criteria contained within the district's attestation agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The superintendent and the pandemic coordinator will communicate with the school board, CBSD staff, and the community to share specific plans regarding a closure or modifications. Factors would include, but would not be limited to:
- Recommendation of Bucks County Health Department based on cases in local community
- Number of reported cases to individual schools or district entity
- Number of professional and support staff unavailable due to variety of factors
- Circumstances that necessitate a closure as defined by the the district's attestation agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Education
When and how will families be notified of confirmed staff or student illness or exposure and resulting changes to the local Health and Safety Plan?
In consultation with the Bucks County Health Department, the district will provide clear, consistent communication to notify families of COVID-19 case management that aligns to PA DOH/CDC Resources and Guidelines. The district will continue to use the communication media that the community is used to, including website communication, text message blasts, email blasts, etc.
What about students with complex health needs or vulnerabilities?
For students with complex needs or vulnerabilities, a student-specific plan will be created in order to facilitate their safe return to school. This may include increasing social distancing, limiting interactions with other students/staff, varying arrival and dismissal time, staggering the end of class periods, varying or limiting transitions from classroom to other areas in the school.
Will students have access to water fountains?
Water fountains will not be in use for students and staff. Students will have access to water bottle filling stations, where available. We recommend students bring a water bottle to school daily.
How will the district ensure students and staff are washing/sanitizing their hands regularly?
Staff and students will wash or sanitize hands before/after lunch, before/after recess, and before/after other transitional times. Signage promoting proper hygiene will be visible in locations such as classrooms, restrooms, hallways, sanitizing stations, communal spaces for both staff and students, etc.
Hand sanitizer dispensers will be installed in all classrooms. Other large spaces will have hand sanitizer dispensers installed for use by visitors, employees, and students as they move throughout the facility. The district will ensure ALL hand sanitizer and soap dispensers are full daily, and disinfected multiple times daily.
How will the buildings be cleaned during regular operations?
The Facilities & Energy Management Operations Department (FEMO) is responsible for the daily cleaning and disinfection of all district buildings. Custodial staff have been trained on CDC approved guidelines. FEMO custodial staff will complete daily cleaning, sanitation, and disinfecting. This process includes daily cleaning/disinfection of all high touch surfaces (water fillers, door handles/knobs, faucet/toilet handles, railings, etc.) twice daily using an EPA approved cleaning/disinfection process.
How will social distancing be managed on buses?
Standard buses will allow for two students per seat, with students required to wear a mask. Family members will be requested to sit in the same seat. Drivers will wear a face covering when students are entering and exiting the bus. Whenever possible, windows will be opened to increase ventilation.
Distancing on buses and vans providing transportation for special education students will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
How will buses be cleaned and disinfected?
Buses will be disinfected through electrostatic sprayers with Vital Oxide on a regular basis. Vital Oxide will be run through heater vents on all vehicles. All “high touch” surfaces in buses will be cleaned with sanitizing wipes.
How will student and staff health be monitored?
Staff and parents will be given guidelines about sign and symptoms of COVID19. It will be expected that staff and parents will self-monitor prior to arrival at school based on the best practices provided by the Bucks County Department of Health, Pennsylvania Department of Health and the CDC. Students and staff will also complete a self-check upon arrival to school. Students or staff that exhibit signs or symptoms during the school day will report to the health office to be assessed by the school nurse.
If the situation warrants, the nurse will isolate the patient within the health suite and contact a parent/guardian to arrange for transportation off-site. The nurse will clean and sanitize the area between each student/staff member.
When students return to school, these health and safety protocols and procedures will be new to them, how will schools help students be successful in learning and practicing this?
This is an important focus of our planning at all levels. At the secondary level, principals and classroom teachers will spend time communicating and discussing these new protocols with students early in the year. Students will be encouraged to ask questions and share their concerns, just as they would with any new process.
At the elementary level, a similar process will take place. Principals and teachers will model and demonstrate expectations that will help keep students and staff safe and healthy - visuals and demonstrations are just a few examples of this. Students who struggle will be supported – and the necessary time will be afforded to help children and families understand expectations.
Resources will be provided for families to help prepare students for these expectations and help them spend time discussing concerns with students. Flexibility is key – and our teachers are expert in helping students become comfortable with change and establishing norms.
When revisions to the health and safety plan are approved by the board, do they require the approval of the Pennsylvania Department of Education?
The requirement dictated that the plan must be submitted to the commonwealth. Additional approval is not required.
What is the maximum/minimum number of students in a given classroom?
This will depend greatly on the balancing effort that will follow the program enrollment process, however, social distancing measures will apply in all cases, as outlined within the health and safety plan.
What type of tolerance will the district and its employees permit to those students who are not following directives? Has the district developed any consequences for students who break protocols?
We will communicate expectations and group norms at the start of the year, and handle issues that arise in a confidential, case-by-case manner.
Instructional Program Questions
Will early dismissal times be changed while schools are operating according to the changed hours?
No. Scheduled early dismissal times will remain unchanged, and are as follows: Elementary Schools: (A)11:55 AM (B)12:10 PM (C)12:25 PM, Middle Schools: 10:45 AM, High Schools: 10:40 AM
Will students be able to bring backpacks to school?
- Elementary - We are asking that students use the blue drawstring bags that were provided to all elementary students. The transport of supplies from home to school will be minimal. Students will not bring all workbooks home each day. Rather, they will likely only bring a water bottle, a lunch, and a book or two. Devices will be transported in bags provided to students expressly for this purpose. (Those who did not receive a bag will receive one in the coming weeks.) If a student must bring a backpack, families are asked to ensure that it is no larger than the drawstring bag, as it will have to hang on the back of the student's chair for the duration of the school day.
- Secondary - Yes, secondary students may bring backpacks to school.
Will students have the opportunity to eat at school during the day?
When students return to in-person instruction, meals will be made available.
- Elementary - A meal consisting of an entrée meeting grain and protein requirements, fresh fruit, fresh vegetable, and a milk will be offered at no cost at this time. Other items will be available for purchase. Grab-and-go breakfast will be also available to all students at no cost at this time.
- Secondary - All grab-and-go meals (a meal consisting of an entrée meeting grain and protein requirements, fresh fruit, fresh vegetable, and a milk) will be offered at no cost at this time. A free breakfast will be provided for all students at each school each morning. Additional food will be available in the morning if students need it for their snack times. (A snack and wellness break will take place at 10:35 a.m. at the middle schools, and at 10:09 a.m. at the high schools.). A free grab-and-go lunch will be provided upon dismissal at a location determined by each school. Students ae asked to wait to consume lunch until they return home and wash hands.
What educational options are available for our children?
All families will choose between traditional or online models of instruction.
- Students will receive in-person instruction five days per week and will have a minimum of three feet (more where feasible). This option will only be offered in elementary schools.
- Online Only
- Students will participate in 100% online instruction five days per week.
Will students be permitted to use the restroom?
Students are permitted to use the restroom. All restroom use will be limited to one student out of class at a time and classrooms will be assigned to use specific restrooms. For restrooms with more than one stall, use of the restroom is not limited to one person at a time - however, students will be reminded of the necessity to practice social distancing when using the restroom.
How will exams and tests be handled virtually?
All exams will be leveraged through the district’s learning management system, Canvas.
Will students share materials?
The district will reduce the amount of student tools and resources needed to lessen materials transitioning between home and school. Students will bring their district issued devices nightly. If a backpack is necessary, it will be hung on the back of the student’s chair to avoid congregating at shared spaces. Drawstring bags to hold materials will be provided for each elementary student and hung on the back of the chair during the day. Cubbies and hooks will not be accessible. Additionally, the district will minimize the sharing of materials in the classroom and on the playground.
Why was the elementary recess period shortened?
While the length of day has been shortened, CBSD is still required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to meet minimum hourly requirements for instruction at each level. For elementary school students, this is 900 hours of instruction during the school year. In order to meet this requirement, it was decided to remove some minutes from the recess period. With that said, teachers will still use their professional judgement in determining appropriate times for additional movement and "screen-free" times throughout the school day.
If you are moved to another school, are you still considered a student in your normal catchment school even if your assigned teacher is from another school? Meaning, are communication and principal/guidance counselor oversight from your catchment school?
Yes, students would still be considered as part of their “home school,” just assigned to a different placement.
How will the PEN program work?
Once the district knows the final numbers, more decisions can be made regarding your child’s PEN teacher and case manager. Gifted curriculum will be the same in each model, however the delivery of the instruction will vary depending on which scenario you choose for your child. Our intention at this time, is to pull PEN students in small groups in the traditional model and offer online PEN instruction for the students who choose online only.
If I choose online only, can I be guaranteed that my elementry school student will be taught by teachers from their home school?
No, there is no guarantee. Meeting the needs of students attending classes in school and online in the most efficient, appropriate, and effective manner will require a balanced deployment of staff. Administrators will have to consider the needs of the students, the skill level of the teachers in delivering online instruction, and other personnel considerations.
How will early release and late arrival requests be handled in 2020-2021?
Similar to previous years, keeping in mind that ER/LA is a privilege, and not a guarantee.
How is CBSD coordinating with MBIT?
MBIT will communicate schedule details with families.
My student's device needs repair. What should we do?
We are offering “drive-thru” tech support for any broken devices. You may submit a support ticket and someone will reach out to you via email to get you started.
How can parents learn more about the Canvas learning management system (LMS)?
The district's technology and innovation department has prepared a number of training modules for families to help them navigate the technology resources students will use. Families will find modules for Canvas, Office 365, Microsoft Teams, and more. Visit www.cbsd.org/1to1 and click the orientation links to choose a training.
Can a student use their own personal computer instead of the district issued device?
Students may use their own devices but must do so in concert with a district provided device as they are equipped with the necessary software and other resources.
On days that a child is at home, can they still “raise their hand” and participate in the lessons? Or will they be silent observers through the live streaming?
Students, when logged on for direct instruction, will have the opportunity to participate in the discussion. The live streaming setup will have students logged on through Microsoft TEAMS where they can add chat and raise their hands.
Information for Families of Students with IEPs, GIEPs, 504 Service Agreements
What about programs and more information for families of students with IEPs?
On the morning of August 10, the office of special education issued an email to families of students with IEPs and families of students who participate in the PASA exam. Each was accompanied by a related list of questions and answers. Find this, and other information pertinent to families of students with special needs, on the special education web page. To visit the special education page directly, visit www.cbsd.org/specialeducation.
How will the district accommodate students that have an IEP?
CBSD will ensure that students are provided FAPE and continue to receive access to related services while in the school.
Environmental (e.g. smaller class size) and classroom supports will be provided for those children who may need assistance.
How will the district plan for students with 504 service agreements?
The majority of accommodations in 504 service agreements can implemented in any of the three models. Any necessary changes to the plan will be individual and specific to the identified disability on the service agreement.
How will GIEPs be handled?
GIEPs will still be implemented in whatever format is chosen. Your child's GIEP case manager will be in touch closer to school starting to explain any differences in course expectations.
Will paper be “quarantined” when students return to in-person instruction?
No. The exchange of paper will be minimal when students return to in-person instruction. When paper is exchanged, it will not be necessary to “quarantine” paper, instead, any potential risk will be mitigated through proper hand washing and sanitization, etc. as outlined within the health and safety plan.
How will the district address afterschool sports, activities, clubs?
Athletics will follow the district athletic health and safety plan and guidance from the PIAA. All students who participate in afterschool sports, activities, or clubs who cannot get a return ride to school to participate will have the option to remain at school in an appropriately social distanced location until the activity begins. On days when students who participate in extracurriculars are learning from home, these students will need to arrange their own transportation back to school.
Will the district restrict visitors from entering the school?
Only essential visitors will be allowed to enter the school building. All essential visitors will be required to follow the same safety guidelines as all other school personnel. The district will offer virtual meetings whenever possible.
Will before and after care be available?
Why can’t the district consider modular classrooms in order to create additional space for students?
The approval of, permitting, securing of materials for, and installation of modular classrooms is an extensive and lengthy process. In addition, there is limited availability of necessary materials on the market, as colleges and universities secured much of the inventory in the spring to accommodate temporary living space. The fluid nature of the pandemic, coupled with changing guidance from the state, also adds significant risk to the expenditure.