2021-22 Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan
Comal ISD has developed the following guidance to address the health and safety of our students, teachers and staff participating in classroom instruction as well as extracurricular activities during the 2021-22 School Year. Please review the following guidelines.
Note, the below protocols may be adjusted as needed based on local conditions, state mandates, or change in recommendations by local, state or national government entities. Additional protocols may be temporarily implemented on an individual campus to address an increase in cases.
Attendance and Absence Coding: Effective Sept 1, 2021
Parents are responsible for notifying their child’s campus nurse if they have received a positive test result. When the parent provides documentation from a medical provider to the campus attendance office the student will be coded “Q”-District Excused. If parents report a positive result without a note from a medical provider (i.e. through use of a home test) the absence will be coded as “A” – Excused Absence. Should a medical provider follow up with a positive test these are changed to “Q”- District Excused.
If the nurse sends home a student with symptoms it will be coded as an “N”-Nurse Excused for the days missed (up to 4 days). After four days a medical provider note is required for “Q” – District Excused. If the parent does not provide a medical provider note the absence will be an “A” – Excused Absence.
If parents opt to keep their student(s) home, if they are determined to be a close contact to a household exposure, they will need to contact the campus office of each student for their absences to be excused. These absences are coded “A”-Excused Absence until a note from a medical provider is provided. These absences would then change to “Q” – District Excused
Elementary Cafeteria: Effective Oct. 1, 2021
Lunch periods and seating may be adjusted based on campus caseloads to allow for more spacing between students in the cafeteria. In addition, some classes may eat outdoors (weather permitting), or rotate eating in their classrooms or other locations that allow for more distance between students. Visitors during lunch will be allowed based on capacity. Please check with your child’s campus as to specific times and procedures for lunch visitation. Students will be required to wash or sanitize hands upon entering the cafeteria.
Campus Events, Assemblies, Field Trips, etc: Effective Sept 20, 2021
On campus events and assemblies may resume this school year. Procedures for on-campus events will be at the discretion of the campus administration. Field trips and student travel will return to pre-pandemic approval processes through each department at the District level, including in-state and out-of-state travel.
Campuses will plan for appropriate spacing during on campus event and will stagger arrival / dismissal times, or participation in events when possible (i.e. Open House by grade level). Campus events may be cancelled based on the current level of positive cases; campus administrators will communicate cancellation information as soon as possible.
Case Management and Contact Tracing: Updated Jan 3, 2022
The District will continue reporting lab-confirmed positive test results to local health authorities and the Texas Department of State Health Services each week, as required. Exclusion time for individuals with a positive test result will be 5 days from the onset of symptoms or test date unless otherwise determined by medical provider documentation. Contact tracing will be conducted by local health authorities and exclusion for identified close contacts will be according to their instructions.
Classroom Setup and Materials: Effective Oct. 1, 2021
Classroom setups may be adjusted based on grade level or campus caseloads to allow for the maximum amount of space between desks in each classroom. When possible, teachers will minimize shared materials, manipulatives and instructional materials that cannot be sanitized between use.
Classrooms will continue to be supplied with hand sanitizer and cleaning materials to ensure frequently touched items can be sanitized between classes / during transition times. In addition, regular cleaning and sanitization of all classrooms will continue.
Stable student cohorts will be maintained whenever possible during group activities such as athletics, extra-curricular activities, and student travel. In addition, elementary campuses may temporarily suspend classroom rotations, if needed.
Cleaning: Effective Oct. 1, 2021
All common areas will be cleaned on a daily basis, with frequent cleaning of commonly-touched surfaces throughout the day. Regular cleaning and sanitization of all classrooms will continue. Deep cleaning by an outside company will occur on each campus on a scheduled basis throughout the school year. In addition, campuses with large caseloads will be sanitized on an as-needed basis.
Common Areas on Campus: Effective Oct. 1, 2021
Capacity limits have been lifted from all event venues (gym, PAC, stadium, etc.). In addition, hallway traffic flow can return to two-way flow patterns. Water fountains will remain out of use as the district continues to replace water fountains with water bottle filling stations.
Staggered release and arrival times may be utilized by campuses during the pick-up and dismissal processes to minimize congestion in the hallways and outside the building in designated areas.
COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination:
A COVID-19 vaccine is not required to receive on-campus instruction and proof of vaccination will not be asked for related to any restrictions listed in this document. While testing is not currently provided by Comal ISD, campus nurses may provide information regarding testing based on symptoms if a student is evaluated in the clinic setting. Students 5 years and over are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.
Hand Hygiene: Effective Sept 20, 2021
Proper hand washing techniques will be taught at the elementary level, modeled by staff and supervised when possible. Students will be required to wash hands before and after eating, after exercise or Athletics/PE classes, after restroom use and when returning indoors from recess. In addition, hand sanitizer stations will continue to be maintained and filled throughout each campus, and inside each classroom.
Health Screener: Effective Oct. 1, 2021
Comal ISD highly encourages each student and staff member to self-evaluate their health each day utilizing the digital health screener and to remain at home if they are not feeling well.
Visitors and Volunteers will be required to show proof of completing the health screener before being admitted to campus. Paper copies will be provided in the front office in addition to the digital version being available for use on personal devices.
Mask / Face Covering:
The wearing of face coverings is up to the discretion of staff members, students and visitors. While masks are optional, staff and students, particularly those who have not been vaccinated, are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering indoors. Disposable masks will be provided at all campuses and on all buses if requested.
Method of Instruction:
Instruction for all students will occur in-person. Teachers may continue to utilize appropriate web-based platforms dependent on the class. Grading and Attendance guidelines can be found in the Parent-Student Handbook.
Positive Case Notification:
In an effort to keep our parents, students, staff members and the community informed, Comal ISD will maintain a Positive Case Notification dashboard. The dashboard will be updated each weekday to reflect active positive cases on each campus. In addition, when a positive test result is reported the campus will notify the parents of any student in the same grade level as the positive individual with a class designation for elementary campuses.
At the secondary level, all parents will receive notification of positive individuals with a grade level designation of the positive case. Unlike an elementary campus where students are generally with the same cohort of students during the day, at a secondary campus, students are in multiple classes each day with students not just at their grade level, but with students at other grade levels as well. In addition, students intermingle during lunch and in the hallways during class changes. We believe that by notifying all parents of the grade level where a positive case is reported better informs you of the current level of cases on your campus.
Student/Staff Illness: Updated Jan 19, 2022
Exclusion time for individuals with a positive test result or who have been identified as a close contact will be determined by medical provider documentation and/or the local health authority. Exclusionary criteria for student and staff illness, other than a positive COVID-19 test result, will follow protocols established by the Texas Administrative Code, which include being fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication to return to campus and the requirement to provide a doctor’s note if the student/staff member is absent for more than four days. Symptom evaluation for on-campus students will continue to be managed by the campus nurse based on guidance from the Comal ISD Health Consultant with regards to COVID-related symptom management. Isolation rooms may be utilized at the discretion of the nurse if multiple students with COVID-like symptoms are in the clinic or waiting for parent pick up. For students who participate in UIL athletics, return to play protocols will be handled on a case-by-case basis based on a number of factors including the severity and duration of symptoms. The athletic trainer at each campus will determine return to play guidelines for each individual.
Student Support Services:
Student Support Services will continue to provide opportunities for campuses to support student social, emotional, mental health and other needs through the Comal Student Action Team referral process, partnerships with community agencies and by providing space for in-person providers to meet with students on campus. Opportunities will be available for staff members to receive training in trauma-informed care practices, identifying and addressing concerning behaviors, and how to refer students for additional support.
Buses will return to operating at full capacity. Hand sanitizer will continue to be available on every bus and drivers will continue to wipe down frequently touched surfaces regularly.
Visitors on Campus: Effective Oct. 1, 2021
Volunteers (PTA, Hallway Heroes, etc.) are welcome to return to campus provided that they follow all visitor protocols for checking into campus. Visitors and volunteers may be limited to certain areas of the building, depending on current case loads at that campus.
In addition, visitors and volunteers will be required to complete the digital health screener before entering the campus. Paper copies will be provided in the front office in addition to the digital version being available for use on personal devices.