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COVID-Related Information

COVID TESTING CONSENT FORM

 

Henry County Public Schools COVID-19 Operations Plan

After receiving the Guidance for K-12 School Operations for In-Person Learning released by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and Kentucky Public Health on Friday July 16, 2021, and in consideration of the recommendations it contained, Henry County Public Schools has revised its Operations Plan for the 2021-22 school year. All initiatives of this plan, which has been reviewed by our local health department, will be implemented in order to create a safe and healthy in-person learning environment in which our students can be successful.

This plan contains prevention strategies that can be modified and/or strengthened as the situation evolves. All decisions regarding our COVID protocols are SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT ANY TIME based on community positivity rates and new or additional requirements from the state or other governing organizations. HCPS will rely on data provided by Kentucky Public Health to track COVID incidence rates and community transmission rates by county (https://govstatus.egov.com/kycovid19) and use the color scheme of county incidence rates (green, yellow, orange and red) to determine an appropriate level of response. We will also track all instances of positive cases, exposures and resulting quarantines among our staff and students, also using that information to adjust our prevention strategies as needed.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE, if rates increase to alarming levels pushing us into the “red” category or if we experience an increase in the number of cases among students and staff, we may move from these initial protocols into more stringent mitigation efforts which could include but are not limited to: discontinue group work; discontinue use of tables in classrooms and lunchrooms; cancel and/or restrict attendance at extra-curricular activities and athletics; postpone large gatherings like awards programs, prom, dances, etc.; move to a hybrid schedule; temporarily close specific classrooms or schools; or initiate full school closures with at-home learning. Families should also be aware that governing agencies may issue mandates of this same nature at any time, and that we will be required to implement those mandates.

IT IS ALSO IMPORTANT TO NOTE, that revisions to this plan can be made by our Board of Education to reduce our level of mitigation strategies should our community spread and internal case incidences and quarantines show a significant decrease to more allowable/safer levels.

Masks

Staff and students will be required to wear a mask inside Henry County Public Schools buildings and on buses. It is strongly recommended that staff and students who are not fully vaccinated and those with underlying medical conditions continue to wear masks while outdoors when social distancing cannot be accomplished.  

Social Distancing

Students and staff should observe social distancing of a minimum of three feet when and where appropriate and feasible. However we understand that this is not feasible in all situations. Examples include, but are not limited to meals in the cafeteria, center time, group work, some classrooms and on buses.

Attendance

If a student is sent home or stays home for general illness, it is not automatically excused unless they provide a parent note (5 days) or doctor's note (10 days before use of a Medical Excuse form) for clearance for return as was our policy prior to the 2020 school year amidst the COVID pandemic. Periods of COVID-related quarantine will count as absences for the student, but will be excused with proper documentation and will not count against the student’s doctor’s note or parent’s note limits. Parents should consult the district’s Attendance Policy for more detailed information.

Transportation

Bus passes will not be allowed this year, as bus routes are incredibly full and exact, and because districts are still asked to maintain contact tracing in the event of an exposure. Students will be allowed to ride up to two buses each day, with pickup at one location and drop-off at another, if needed and if consistent.

Prevention Efforts

  • School personnel will teach and promote handwashing and infection control measures with students.
  • Water fountains will not be in use; students and staff will instead use water bottles and utilize filling stations.
  • We will continue to limit non-essential visitors into our buildings due to the continued need for contact tracing.
  • We encourage teachers, staff and all eligible students and their family members to get vaccinated and will provide and promote opportunities to receive the vaccine.

Health Services

  • No student or staff member should be asked if they are vaccinated. Whether an individual has been vaccinated is a personal decision that each student and staff will make on their own.
  • Families are responsible for screening their students DAILY to determine if he or she has any COVID-related symptoms. If symptoms exist, that student should NOT be sent to school, and families are encouraged to have their student seen by a healthcare provider.
  • Assigned seating should be expected in many settings as the district is still responsible for contact tracing following a report of a positive COVID test result.
  • HCPS will follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Department of Public Health (DPH) guidelines for reported positive COVID cases and any incidences of exposure in regards to required quarantine periods. Students and staff will be asked to stay home pending COVID test results.
  • All individuals that test positive for COVID-19 will be required to be quarantined for 10 days after the start of their illness or testing date, or when released back to school or work by the local health department.
  • Vaccinated individuals are NOT required to quarantine after an exposure if he or she is not experiencing symptoms.
  • Unvaccinated individuals will be required to quarantine following an exposure for 10 days without testing and symptom-free OR after day seven if symptom-free and a negative COVID-19 test five days or later after the last date of exposure.
  • HCPS will return to the 24-hour rule (fever and/or symptom free for 24 hours without the use of medication prior to return) for students and staff that stay home or are sent home due to illness. Symptoms of COVID-19 include: fever or feeling feverish (chills, sweating), new cough that causes shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, sore throat, muscle aches or body aches, vomiting or diarrhea and new loss of taste or smell.
  • A detailed updated COVID Decision Tree will be provided to all schools and families.

Custodial

Routine cleaning, deep cleaning and disinfecting strategies will continue to be followed in all school buildings and on buses.

 

HCPS will continue to require masks, Sept. 13, 2021

Senate Bill 1 (SB1) removed the Kentucky Board of Education’s universal mask mandate for all Kentucky’s schools, meaning the decision to “mask or not” now falls to each district. At this time and in light of the high incidence rate in our community (103.6 as of Sept. 10), the Henry County Public Schools Board of Education has decided to continue to require students, staff and visitors to wear masks in our facilities and on our buses.

Since school began, we have routinely had between 150 to 200 students in quarantine on any given day, and currently have 30 positive cases among our students. We also currently have five staff members in quarantine with three positive cases. It is not prudent at this time to remove one of our primary mitigation strategies in this fight against the spread of COVID.

Because the state has handed this choice back to the districts, it means that moving forward we now also have increased flexibility to make the best decision possible for our students based on our own localized community spread and internal COVID cases and quarantines. We can choose to lift the mask requirement once our numbers have reached safer levels. We routinely review the number of positive cases and quarantines, and we believe the preventative measures we are taking, including our mask requirement and the newly implemented test-to-stay strategy, will work to reduce the spread of COVID in our district.

Thank you for partnering with us as we do all we can to keep our staff and students safe and to maintain in-person learning.

 

September 7, 2021

Dear HCPS Families, 

Thank you for all of your support in helping Henry County Public Schools (HCPS) keep students healthy during this time. We appreciate your willingness to work with our school nurses and health assistants in following our COVID protocols.

While we know that nothing we implement alone will be 100% effective in stopping the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, we are striving to implement as many strategies as we can. We continue to encourage handwashing, vaccination to those eligible, social distancing whenever possible, disinfecting of surfaces, appropriate mask wearing and keeping your students home if they have any COVID symptoms. When layered together, each of those practices becomes more effective in reducing the spread of this virus and keeping our kids healthy and in school. 

Proactive COVID Testing: Strategies to KEEP STUDENTS in SCHOOL

Today, HCPS is introducing another strategy toward this effort. Beginning next week, Wild Health Laboratories will be providing free COVID-19 testing to our district. Please note that this testing is by parental consent only and is NOT mandatory or required. Testing will always be optional and can be refused by the student at any time, for any reason.

The COVID-19 tests will be administered using an anterior nasal swab - this means the swab would be inserted just inside the nose and will not be invasive or painful in any way. There will be two types of testing offered, rapid testing (results in about 15 minutes) and PCR (polymerase chain reaction, which has a turnaround time of 24 hours). All testing requires a signed parental consent form. Testing strategies include:

  • District-Wide Bi-Weekly Testing: This strategy is to test a group of staff and students (with signed consent forms) twice per month to identify early positive cases that are contagious but may not be showing symptoms. Research has shown that using this method in large group settings can reduce the number of overall cases within that group. 
  • Test-to-Stay Strategic Testing: This strategy, for staff members and students, would offer parents the option of having their student tested every 48 hours instead of quarantining when exposed AT SCHOOL (not community or household exposure). As long as the student or staff member continues to test negative and remains symptom-free, the student or staff member can remain at school through the duration of what would have been the quarantine period. This strategy will use a rapid testing device with an 84% accuracy rating.
  • Symptomatic Testing: Testing can be offered if a staff member or student presents to the health services assistant or nurse with symptoms of COVID-19. If the rapid test is positive, a PCR test that detects the genetic makeup of the COVID-19 virus will be sent out to a Wild Health Laboratory facility and those results will take 24 hours to return. The PCR test has a 98% accuracy rating.

We hope you will consider participating in the testing strategies as outlined above. Our goal is to utilize the testing to reduce the spread of COVID and minimize the necessity of student and staff quarantines, while saving our families and staff time and money. If you would like to participate, please complete and return a consent form for each of your students (attached in hard copy or by clicking on this link: COVID Testing Consent Form. Copies of the consent form are also available at your student’s school. If you do not wish to complete this form, you are not required to.

Thank you again for being a partner with Henry County Public Schools as we work together to make this a great school year!

 

Notice of Enforcement of Mask Mandate

Henry County Public Schools is complying with the executive order issued by Governor Andy Beshear on August 10, mandating universal masking regardless of vaccination status, in Kentucky schools. All students, staff and visitors will be required to wear a mask in all HCPS buildings and on our buses for the duration of the mandate, which is currently 30 days.

In addition, the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) has passed a legally binding parallel regulation that mandates universal masking in school buildings and on buses for up to 270 days or unless the Department of Public Health or CDC recommend a lifting of these mandates. We are legally required to follow this as well.

It was important to us to welcome all students into our schools to begin the year. We were respectful to students who did not wear masks the first few days of school and did not make this a disciplinary issue for those students.

Beginning Monday, August 16, we do expect all students entering our schools or riding our buses to fully comply with the mask mandate, excluding those with a medical exemption. We want all students in our community to be in school and working with our caring adults, but we will no longer be able to allow students, parents or visitors to enter the buildings or buses without a mask. This is not negotiable at this point. If a student refuses to wear a mask in our school buildings, we hope to respectfully conference with the student to resolve the situation, provide them with a mask and allow the school day to continue for that individual. If a student refuses to comply with the mandate, he or she will be sent home. The student can return the next day with compliance.

If a parent refuses to send an enrolled student to Henry County Public Schools based on the mask mandate, that student and parent face truancy issues. There is not a virtual option at this time beyond home hospital exemptions or quarantined students working virtually for a specified time.

Henry County Public Schools and its Board of Education had hoped to respect family choice in regard to their students wearing masks at school. However, as long as the governor’s Executive Order and KBE orders remain in effect, they have the force of law. According to legal counsel, a district’s refusal to comply creates the potential for loss of insurance coverage, loss of governmental and official qualified immunity, and possible litigation to require compliance. In addition, individual board members and administrators could face arrest and criminal charges for failure to enforce the mandate.

While we are ready and hopeful to teach all of our students, we understand that some parents have difficult choices to make for their children, and we want you to have an opportunity to process this expectation prior to Monday, August 16. 

The overwhelming majority of our students and families have been flexible and resilient, and we greatly appreciate your support, collaboration and cooperation. We look forward to a productive and successful school year!

 

COVID Decision Tree August 2021

 

Henry County Public Schools Opening Plan 2021-22

After receiving the Guidance for K-12 School Operations for In-Person Learning released by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and Kentucky Public Health on Friday July 16, 2021, and in consideration of the recommendations it contained, Henry County Public Schools has developed its Safety Plan for the opening of the coming school year. All initiatives of this plan will be implemented in order to create a safe and healthy in-person learning environment in which our students can be successful.

This plan contains prevention strategies that can be modified and/or strengthened as the situation evolves. All decisions regarding our COVID protocols are SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT ANY TIME based on community positivity rates and new or additional requirements from the state or other governing organizations. HCPS will rely on data provided by Kentucky Public Health to track COVID incidence rates and community transmission rates by county (https://govstatus.egov.com/kycovid19) and use the color scheme of county incidence rates (green, yellow, orange and red) to determine an appropriate level of response. We will also track all instances of positive cases and exposures among our staff and students, also using that information to adjust our prevention strategies as needed.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE, if rates increase to alarming levels pushing us into the “red” category or if we experience an increase in the number of cases among students and staff, we may move from these initial protocols into more stringent mitigation efforts which could include but are not limited to: discontinue group work; discontinue use of tables in classrooms and lunchrooms; require masks, cancel and/or restrict attendance at extra-curricular activities and athletics; postpone large gatherings like awards programs, prom, dances, etc.; move to a hybrid schedule; or full school closures with at-home learning. Families should also be aware that governing agencies may issue mandates of this same nature at any time, and that we will be required to implement those mandates.

The following protocols represent the first layer of prevention strategies that HCPS will implement at all our facilities as we begin the 2021-22 school year. (July 27, 2021)

Masks

Staff and students will not be required to wear a mask indoors or outdoors at Henry County Public Schools buildings, properties and on buses. It is strongly recommended that staff and students who are not fully vaccinated and those with underlying medical conditions continue to wear masks while indoors. All staff and students who wish to wear masks may do so. Also, no student or staff member should be harassed, belittled or teased for wearing or not wearing a mask while on school grounds.

Social Distancing

Students and staff should observe social distancing of a minimum of three feet when and where appropriate and feasible. However we understand that this is not feasible in all situations. Examples include, but are not limited to meals in the cafeteria, center time, group work, some classrooms and on buses.

Attendance

If a student is sent home or stays home for general illness, it is not automatically excused unless they provide a parent note (5 days) or doctor's note (10 days before use of a Medical Excuse form) for clearance for return as was our policy prior to the 2020 school year amidst the COVID pandemic. Periods of COVID-related quarantine will count as absences for the student, but will be excused with proper documentation and will not count against the student’s doctor’s note or parent’s note limits. Parents should consult the district’s Attendance Policy for more detailed information.

Transportation

Bus passes will not be allowed this year, as bus routes are incredibly full and exact, and because districts are still asked to maintain contact tracing in the event of an exposure. Students will be allowed to ride up to two buses each day, with pickup at one location and drop-off at another, if needed and if consistent.

Prevention Efforts

  • School personnel will teach and promote handwashing and infection control measures with students.
  • Water fountains will not be in use; students and staff will instead use water bottles and utilize filling stations.
  • We will continue to limit non-essential visitors into our buildings due to the continued need for contact tracing.
  • We encourage teachers, staff and all eligible students and their family members to get vaccinated and will provide and promote opportunities to receive the vaccine.

Health Services

  • No student or staff member should be asked if they are vaccinated. Whether an individual has been vaccinated is a personal decision that each student and staff will make on their own.
  • Families are responsible for screening their students DAILY to determine if he or she has any COVID-related symptoms. If symptoms exist, that student should NOT be sent to school, and families are encouraged to have their student seen by a healthcare provider.
  • Assigned seating should be expected in many settings as the district is still responsible for contact tracing following a report of a positive COVID test result.
  • HCPS will follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Department of Public Health (DPH) guidelines for reported positive COVID cases and any incidences of exposure in regards to required quarantine periods. Students and staff will be asked to stay home pending COVID test results.
  • All individuals that test positive for COVID-19 will be required to quarantine for 10 days after the start of their illness or testing date, or when released back to school or work by the local health department.
  • Vaccinated individuals are NOT required to quarantine after an exposure if he or she is not experiencing symptoms.
  • Unvaccinated individuals will be required to quarantine following an exposure for 10 days without testing and symptom-free OR after day seven if symptom-free and a negative COVID-19 test five days or later after the last date of exposure.
  • HCPS will return to the 24-hour rule (fever and/or symptom free for 24 hours without the use of medication prior to return) for students and staff that stay home or are sent home due to illness. Symptoms of COVID-19 include: fever or feeling feverish (chills, sweating), new cough that causes shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, sore throat, muscle aches or body aches, vomiting or diarrhea and new loss of taste or smell.
  • A detailed updated COVID Decision Tree will be provided to all schools and families.

Custodial

Routine cleaning, deep cleaning and disinfecting strategies will continue to be followed in all school buildings and on buses.

Again, all our efforts are intended to provide a safe environment so that our students and staff can remain healthy and so we can keep our schools open to in-person learning. If additional mitigation strategies are necessary or mandated, we will notify our families. We appreciate the community’s support of these efforts, and we thank you in advance for collaborating with us to establish a firm foundation for a successful school year.