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COVID-19-Related Protocols for Students and Parents - August 2020
Lea Hysom, RN, BSN, School Nurse

Dear Parents,

It has certainly been an unexpected spring and summer, and as we look forward to fall and begin to launch the school year, there are a number of new guidelines and procedures that we all need to follow to keep our Bear Creek community safe and healthy.

Please read this Update in its entirety, as there are many important details for you to know. 

Code of Conduct Expectations

The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, and school community is our top priority. With that in mind, I urge you to closely follow the Safe Start Washington guidelines for Phase 2.0 regarding social distancing, face coverings, and gatherings outside your household in the next few weeks, so we may restart school with confidence. These regulations may seem burdensome but following them is another way of showing our care and sacrificial love for one another as a school community.

COVID-19 Protocols

Daily Screening

Daily screening for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure, including daily temperature readings, of all students, faculty, and staff will be done online through our Magnus Health mobile app. The app plays a critical role in helping us monitor illness, trace contacts if necessary, and prevent the spread of the virus. You will receive an email later this week with instructions on how to download and use the Magnus Health app on your phone. Parents should answer all the questions each day, for each student. 

In order to answer the screening questions accurately, make sure you have a reliable thermometer at home and check your student’s temperature preferably no more than two hours before coming to school. Please do not give your child any fever-reducing medications prior to coming to school, as this interferes with the effectiveness of the screening. If you need guidance on how to choose a thermometer for home use, feel free to ask me.

When should parents use the Magnus Health mobile app screening questionnaire?

  • Every day before your child comes to a school campus
  • Every day your child stays home due to illness

When you answer Yes to any of the COVID-19 screening questions on the mobile app, it will show you a red STOP sign. Your child must stay home. Please seek guidance from your medical provider. This COVID-19 Symptom Decision Tree infographic is a reference if you are uncertain about what to do.

When you answer No to all the screening questions, the app will show you a green GO sign, and your child is permitted on campus. Parents need to take a screen shot of the green GO page on their phone, as this provides confirmation at drop-off that the student has been pre-screened for symptoms of illness. If you forget to complete the mobile app questionnaire prior to arrival, we ask that you remain in your car and pull aside to quickly do the online screening. Save the green GO page, show it to the greeter, and your child’s temperature will be taken with a no-touch thermometer. If within normal range, your child may enter the building.

Parents or legal guardians of students who drive themselves to school should complete the screening questions, take a photo of the green GO page, and send it to their child to show at the door. Students may not complete the screening questionnaire about themselves.

Additionally, visitors (including parents) will be limited to appointments only and emergencies. They will complete COVID-19 screening questions on a touch-free mobile kiosk at the front desk and have their temperature taken on a thermal scanner. A driver’s license or ID card will be required for this process. Please remember to wash hands or use sanitizer immediately upon entering and exiting the buildings.

Reporting and Contact Tracing

As with any health situation, our primary responsibility is protecting the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff, while safeguarding the privacy and confidentiality of individual health information. Per current school privacy policies, The Bear Creek School does not release personal or identifying information about an individual with a health issue to the school community. 

Faculty, staff, and parents may subscribe to Health Alerts (requires login) to be notified of communicable disease in the school community. See how-to documentation on signing up for text alerts.

When a positive test result occurs, your medical provider is required to report this information to King County Public Health (KCPH) by law. As part of our COVID-19 policies, if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our immediate school community, defined as a student, parent, faculty, or staff member, we will notify The Bear Creek School community members with a risk of exposure and follow the guidelines and protocols provided by the CDC and KCPH with regard to cleaning and disinfecting, contact tracing, recommending self-quarantine or isolation, and determining if a cohort quarantine or other measures are necessary. We will not release names nor specific medical information to members of the school community. Depending on the circumstances, the school may be required to provide additional information to KCPH to assist in effective contact tracing so as to limit possible infection of others. Please use the COVID-19 Symptom Decision Tree infographic as a reference if you are uncertain about what to do. 

If you or your household family member suspect you may have COVID-19, test positive for COVID-19, or have been exposed (close contact is within 6 feet of a positive case for 15 minutes or longer), please notify the school nurse as soon as possible

Returning to School

To protect our school community and to reduce the possibility of contagion, please review and carefully follow these guidelines for when students may return to school after having been ill. 

Revised Routines and Guidelines

Attendance Reporting

Please note the email address to report attendance has changed. Be sure to report any absence to attendance@tbcs.org and specifically indicate if your student will not be at school (either on campus or remotely) due to illness. Remember to also complete the daily screening questionnaire on your mobile app to specify any and all symptoms.

In this time of heightened precautions, I urge you to be extra vigilant about any symptoms of illness (even those not related to COVID-19) and do not send your child to school if he/she is feeling sick in any way. 

Late Arrivals

Students who arrive late to school will need to enter through the front entrance of the building and show the green GO screenshot from the screening questionnaire. Students in preschool through grade 6 must be accompanied by a parent. Middle School and Upper School students will be issued a student ID card to assist in this touch-free process and must also show the parent-completed screening questionnaire green GO page from the mobile app.

Health Room Visits

We are developing a new process and procedure for when and how students may be sent to the Health Room in order to maintain social distancing and reduce exposure to those who may be ill. The Health Room has been expanded to allow for an isolation room. Administering first aid, dispensing medication, and addressing other non-illness related concerns will be attended to in the front part of the Health Room, while students experiencing symptoms will be cared for separately. Social distancing guidelines will be maintained whenever possible within the Health Room, and we will implement a new online check-in procedure from the classroom to reduce exposure while waiting to see the nurse. 

Food From Home

While we have previously been a "nut-aware" school, we are temporarily shifting to a "no-nut" school with the necessity of having to eat snacks and lunch in the classroom because of COVID-19 distancing regulations. In order to maintain the safest possible environment for all of our students, please do not send children to school with any food containing nuts, even if just for a child’s personal consumption. Peanut butter, many types of granola bars, trail mix, cookies or candy with nuts, dips or sauces that contain nuts, or “protein packs” that include nuts are examples of foods to avoid sending to school. 

Any food brought onto campus to share with others (birthday celebrations, room parties, Advisory snacks, finals treats, food blessings, etc.) should be store-bought or commercially produced items in individually wrapped servings, including fresh fruit. Those items that include ingredient lists are highly recommended.

Students will be reminded to not share food from their own lunches and provided an opportunity to wash hands before and after eating.

These guidelines are also available on our Food Services page. 

Face Coverings 

In accordance with state mandates, all employees, visitors, and students age 5 – grade 12, will wear face coverings while inside school buildings. Please note that our policies have been updated based on recent medical research. Neck gaiters/buffs and face shields do not provide as much protection against respiratory droplets but are allowed when medically necessary with documentation from a health care provider and prior approval from the school nurse. Preschool students under the age of five are not required to wear face coverings but are strongly encouraged to do so. Face coverings are not required when outside and at least six feet physically distanced. Please familiarize yourself with and follow the guidelines for face coverings.

Cleaning and Distancing

We are following CDC, state, and county guidelines regarding cleaning protocols and have invested in a variety of health and safety upgrades. A description of school cleaning protocols may be found on our Health and Safety section of our Learning Together Fall 2020 plan.

Signage will clearly mark direction flow for buildings and hallways, restroom use, room capacity, and reminders about physical distancing, wearing masks, and proper hygiene for students and employees. There will be “paw prints” throughout the campuses to help with social distancing.

A few last reminders:

  • Drinking fountains have been replaced with no-touch water refilling stations, so your child will need to bring a refillable water bottle to school.
  • I strongly encourage your entire household to get a flu shot this year! Make sure your child is up-to-date with all recommended vaccines, including for flu. All school-aged children should get an influenza flu vaccine every season, with rare exceptions. This is especially important this year because we do not yet know if being sick with COVID-19 at the same time as the flu will result in more severe illness.

Thank you for taking the time to read through these important, albeit lengthy, guidelines. Much has changed in just a few short months. Our new normal feels more like a new weird. In these times of constant uncertainty, I am thankful that Almighty God, our El Roi, sees all of this and He offers us renewed hope. 

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped."
Psalm 28:7

In the words of Apostle Paul…Hupomeno (Perseverance)!

Lea Hysom, RN, BSN
lea.hysom@tbcs.org

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