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Salem-Keizer School District
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Safe Return to In-Person Learning
Teacher with three students at school

Safe In-Person Learning

Salem-Keizer Public Schools is working to develop plans despite rapidly evolving data and shifting circumstances. We understand these plans will impact all of you, and we are committed to a thoughtful approach that is inclusive of students, parents, staff and the community.

COVID-19 Dashboard

Families need to know

Safe & healthy schools

District Health Authority & COVID-19 Response Team

Did you know SKPS has its own District Health Authority?

The district health authority includes RN’s and LPN’s who investigate communicable disease, assesses student health needs, create individualized health plans for students, evaluates overall student health, obtains medical orders, and provides staff training and education. The DHA is the consistent liaison between SKPS and the Local Public Health Authority for all health and medical needs.

The district also has an established COVID-19 Response Team to consistently monitor and track presumptive and positive cases of COVID-19 in the district, and oversees all processes and protocols for responding to cases of COVID-19.

Vaccination

For students, the COVID-19 vaccination is not required, but it is encouraged for those who are eligible. Per state mandate, the COVID-19 vaccination is required for staff and volunteers.

School buses

Bus transportation is an important part of ensuring our students are able to get to and from school safely. SKPS school buses will have a number of layers of protection to reduce the spread of COVID-19 including face coverings for all individuals, increased airflow with windows, hand sanitation, and physical distancing to the extent possible.

Ventilation/HVAC

The district’s approach is to optimize HVAC system performance at each building. System optimization entails fresh air intake, air handling (mixing fresh with recirculated air), filtration, air changing (number of times per hour that air is changed in a room) and temperature control. Optimizing system performance reduces build up in the air of smaller particles such as COVID-19, particularly in an aerosolized state. Our systems provide a baseline of three to five air changes per hour.

What adjustments for COVID-19 have been made?

The district has adjusted the HVAC systems to maximize fresh air intake, use higher MERV rated filters, extend the hours of operation and provide a minimum of two hours of purging before and after normal occupied hours.

School Lunches

Breakfast and lunch will be provided for free to all SKPS students or students may bring lunch from home for the 2021-22 school year. Face coverings will be worn until students are sitting with food and ready to eat. All students and staff must wash hands or use hand sanitizer upon entering and exiting cafeteria spaces.

Schools plan to use cafeterias, classrooms and outside areas to the extent possible to maximize spaces. In all situations, physical distancing of three feet will be maintained to the greatest extent possible. EDGE students may pick up breakfast and lunch at their resident school.

Face Coverings & Physical Distancing

Face coverings are required for all staff, students and visitors while indoors in all school facilities and on school buses. Face coverings are not required outdoors during school-day activities such as recess. In all situations, physical distancing of three feet will be maintained to the greatest extent possible.

Enforcement

Students may not enter a school and/or classroom without a face covering or having an exception or accommodation on file. Schools will provide face coverings for any student who needs one. Face coverings must cover the nose and mouth. If a student isn’t wearing a face covering correctly, school staff will give the student a gentle hand gesture or verbal reminder.

If a student needs to remove the face covering, the student should communicate this to the teacher who will manage this on an as-needed basis. There is no designated time to remove face coverings during class.

COVID-19 Testing & Quarantining

Should a student or staff member develop symptoms while at school, a nasal swab self-test will be available with consent from a guardian in collaboration with the district’s COVID-19 response team.

In all cases of exposures within high-risk environments, individuals will be notified of an exposure through ParentSquare with information about quarantine requirements.

COVID-19 impacts us all daily and it’s important that we follow all recommended health and safety protocols such as vaccination, wearing a face covering, hand washing and maintaining physical distance. Our kids are counting on us all to work together to keep them in school, safely!

safe and healthy schools

Safe & Healthy Schools PDF:
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Lunchrooms

Will students eat in classrooms or cafeterias? If cafeterias, what about physical distancing?

Cafeterias will be used with as much space as possible between students. Schools are planning to use cafeterias, classrooms and outside areas to the extent possible to maximize spaces. Cafeterias sill be cleaned between uses.

All meals must be served in the cafeteria by a food services provider. All students and staff must wash hands or use hand sanitizer upon entering and exiting the cafeteria. Face coverings are to be worn until students are sitting with food and ready to eat.

Self-serve options such as salad bars will not be available. Disposable items will be used for serving to the extent possible.

Students may bring their own lunch if they wish.

Students will maintain at least three feet of physical distance. Face coverings stay on until students are eating.

Can EDGE students participate in school meals?

EDGE students may pick up breakfast and lunch at their resident school. Contact your resident school for more information.

graphic of lunch tray with faqs

Lunch FAQ PDF:
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Face coverings

Are face coverings required? Are face coverings required outdoors?

Indoors

Face coverings are required for all staff, students (5 years and up) and visitors while indoors in all school facilities.

Face coverings optional outdoors effective Monday, Dec. 6

The Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Department of Education recently released updated guidance on outdoor face covering requirements for schools. Effective on Monday, Dec. 6, all students, staff, volunteers and visitors are no longer required to wear face coverings while outdoors.

Includes but is not limited to

  • athletic events
  • outdoor PE
  • outdoor music
  • recess
  • arrival and dismissal

Until additional updates are provided, all physical distancing and other related safety protocols still apply. People who feel more comfortable wearing a face covering while outdoors may continue to do so.

Are face coverings provided?

Each building will have face coverings available. Please check with the school office if you are in need of a face covering.

What opportunities for “mask breaks” will students have?

If a student is in need of a mask break, they should communicate this with their teacher. Teachers will manage this on an as-needed basis. There will not be designated mask breaks during class time.

How will wearing face coverings be enforced?

What we noticed during hybrid learning and our summer programs is that our students do a great job of wearing face coverings. When reminders are needed, staff just provide a gentle hand gesture or verbal reminder. We will also provide face coverings for any student who needs one. Students will not be allowed in class if they refuse to wear a face covering and do not have an accommodation.

What accomodations are allowed for a student to not wear a face covering?

Exceptions to face coverings are only made through a 504 plan or an IEP team decision.

How about face coverings on school buses and activity vans?

Required for students and staff as per federal regulations. This is required for students 2 years of age and older.

mom putting mask on boy
Visitors and volunteers

Visitors

Through the end of December, visitors will have limited access to building facilities. Visits will only be granted for required meetings (IEP, behavioral, 504, etc.) and visitors must maintain 6 feet of distance and wear face coverings. Virtual meetings should be used whenever possible. The district will re-evaluate this guidance and provide more information about bringing in volunteers after the first of the year.

Check-in/check-out protocols will remain in effect for all visitors and itinerant staff who remain in the building for longer than 15 minutes.

Volunteers

No volunteers are permitted during the school day, and in the school building, through the end of December. There are a few instances where vaccinated volunteers who are considered industry experts may be needed to assist in direct delivery of curriculum (particularly in career and technical education and music classrooms), or to adequately support athletics (such as volunteer coaches, referees, game support personnel, etc.).

The district will re-evaluate this decision and work on guidance for a safe return of volunteers after the first of the year.

Volunteer Vaccinations

Volunteers who are approved by school/district personnel (see above) must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18, as defined in OAR 333-019-103, which is 14 days AFTER their last dose depending on vaccine manufacturer.

Vaccination exceptions will not be accepted for volunteers.

Approved volunteers must present proof of vaccination to their school site and will maintain the following protocols while in SKPS facilities:

  • Correctly wear a face covering
  • Maintain physical distancing as much as possible
  • Utilize the check-in/check-out system
  • Practice safe hand washing/sanitizing as needed

School offices open

School offices are open for regular business. Visitors maintain six feet of distance and wear face coverings. Virtual meetings will be offered to parents/guardians as an option.

dad high-fives daughter outside, wearing masks
Quarantining

Isolation guidance

Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 should isolate for five days after their symptoms started (or, if they have no symptoms, for five days after the test date) and 24 hours after any fever has resolved without the use of fever-reducing medicine and other symptoms are improving; follow all instructions from the local public health authority.

Quarantine guidance

Close contacts of confirmed and presumptive cases who are not up to date with their ACIP recommended COVID-19 vaccinations should quarantine for the five days following exposure and remain masked when around others for an additional five days.

Close contacts who are up to date with their ACIP-recommended COVID-19 vaccinations do not need to quarantine but must wear a mask around others for 10 days following their exposure.

Close contacts who tested positive for COVID-19 with an antigen test or NAAT in the previous 90 days do not need to quarantine.

Up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination include

  • Individuals 18 or older who have received all recommended vaccine doses, including boosters and additional primary shots for some immunocompromised people.
  • Youth 5–17 years who have completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines.

Not up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination defined by CDC as:

  • Ages 18 years or older and completed the primary series of a two dose recommended vaccine more than 5 months ago but have not received a recommended booster shot.
  • Those who have received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine (completing the primary series) over 2 months ago and have not received a recommended booster shot.
  • Those who are not fully vaccinated or have not completed a primary vaccine series.
two kids by window wearing face coverings
Schools and classrooms

At what point would the district consider switching to hybrid or distance learning?

Salem-Keizer Public Schools is committed to the safe return to in-person instruction, five days a week for the 2021-22 school year. If cases begin to rise again in the community and impact schools, the district, in collaboration with the local public health authorities, will determine the appropriate health and safety measures to mitigate and manage outbreaks.

Can families transfer to EDGE?

Last spring, the district held an enrollment period for families who were interested in enrolling their children in the EDGE online learning program. Registration closed on May 14, 2021, but because of space availability, we allowed enrollment over the summer.

The EDGE program is currently at capacity for all grades and is working through a wait list. If a family is interested in EDGE they can ask to be on the waitlist.

If my child has to quarantine, how will they get to participate in class?

If a student is required to quarantine, they can access assignments and other classwork via Canvas or Seesaw and connect with their teacher through email on a work plan.

Will there be any changes to class sizes?

No, classrooms have been fitted to accommodate three feet of physical distancing to the extent possible for students.

What before/after school opportunities are available?

The district is planning to provide extracurricular activities at the secondary level as well as before and after school programs at the elementary level. We partner with Salem Childhood Development Center, Champions, and YMCA for our before and after school programs. Please contact your school office for the opportunities available at your school.

Will there be physical distancing?

Physical distancing of three feet will be maintained to the greatest extent possible.

What happens if my child is exposed? What are the notification protocols?

If a child is determined to be a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case, the family will be notified of the exposure through ParentSquare.

kids with mask in classroom social distancing
Ventilation

The district is committed to proper and optimized HVAC systems. In regard to mitigation efforts against COVID-19, the district’s HVAC systems meet or exceed guidance from the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Health Authority: Ready Schools, Safe Learners Resiliency Framework.

The district’s approach is to optimize HVAC system performance at each building. System optimization entails fresh air intake, air handling (mixing fresh with recirculated air), filtration, air changing (number of times per hour that air is changed in a room) and temperature control. Optimizing system performance reduces build up in the air of smaller particles such as COVID-19, particularly in an aerosolized state. Our systems provide a baseline of three to five air changes per hour (ACH).

What adjustments for COVID-19 have been made?

Our systems have been adjusted to maximize fresh air intake, use higher MERV-rated filters, extend the hours of operation and provide a minimum of two hours of purging before and after normal occupied hours.

Can windows be opened during the operational day?

Yes. Windows may be opened during the day. Air flow will be monitored to maintain adequate internal temperature and safety.

What types of air filters does the district use?

Most of our systems are currently optimized using MERV 8 and MERV 10 filtration.

Does the district provide portable HEPA air filtration units?

We have deployed district approved portable HEPA filtration systems in rooms that required additional mitigation measures such as:

  • Limited ability for staff and/or students to consistently maintain 3 – 6 feet of distance
  • Health and isolation rooms
  • Staff break rooms
  • Areas with a high frequency of visitors or traffic (front offices and reception areas)
  • Other areas as assessed by the district
hvac faqs

Ventilation FAQ PDF:
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Athletics

Spectator capacity limits

Due to the increased risk of transmission for COVID-19 during athletic events, we will be implementing capacity limits at all SKPS athletic events beginning on Tuesday, Jan. 11. Details for each type of event/facility is below:

  • Basketball: Four (4) spectators per participant including basketball and cheer athletes, and pep band participants. This four spectator limit is subject to change depending on the event venue capacity limits. Team coaches will communicate with participants on final event spectator limits. Pep bands will be set in an area to allow proper distancing.
  • Wrestling: Four (4) spectators per participant.
  • Swimming: Spectator limits will depend on venue capacity at the KROC center (to be determined). More details on final capacity numbers will be shared with families once finalized.

Face coverings and Physical distancing requirements

All requirements for physical distancing and face coverings will continue to be maintained for participants, coaches and spectators. Requirements include:

  • Face coverings are required for all spectators.
  • Athletes are not required to wear a face covering indoors while actively practicing or playing a competitive sport at any level, including cheerleading and dance/drill.
  • Students not actively participating (i.e., on the sideline/bench during an indoor competition.) are required to wear a face covering.
  • Coaches and support staff are required to wear a face covering during indoor practices and competitions. This includes weight training regardless of location.
  • All individuals should maintain physical distance to the extent possible.
  • Face coverings are optional in outdoor settings

Concessions, trips and other activities

For all athletic activities, all overnight trips, extra team functions (ex. team meals) and concession stands will NOT be allowed.

Working together to maintain health and safety

As a reminder, families should be aware of the increased risk of transmission of COVID-19 during athletic events, which could result in students needing to quarantine. Individuals from other households should consistently maintain physical distance.

These protocols are crucial to maintain safe and healthy athletic events for our students, families and community. Our protocols are reviewed regularly and any additional changes or adjustments to our protocols for students and/or spectators will be shared with families as needed.

Working together to closely follow all safety protocols will support our students in maintaining time in play, and in the classroom.

soccer ball on a grass field
Music & theater arts

Updated January 14, 2022

As the district continues to prioritize COVID-19 protocols and safety measures, we know the importance of providing students with all of the necessary opportunities to continue in activities that include performances in front of live audiences.

Immediate adjustments

After reviewing current protocols and safety measures, there have been a few adjustments that will be effective immediately:

Audiences at performances are now limited to 50% of house capacity to allow for greater physical distancing between audience members.

The number of seats available will vary based on the performance venue.
Schools will determine this number of seats available and will communicate to their families as performances approach in the calendar.

Continuing protocols for all events

As these changes are implemented, the following protocols and safety measures will continue for all events:

  • Spectators (5 years or older) are required to wear a face covering indoors regardless of vaccination status.
  • Face coverings are required except for wind instrumentalists when in the act of playing their instrument in the classroom setting. Additionally, wind instruments will be covered at the bell. Face coverings and bell coverings may be removed for performance.
  • Choir participants may remove face coverings during concert performance, but must wear face coverings in classroom settings.
  • Theater participants may remove face coverings while on stage in performance, but must wear face coverings in classroom settings, including the auditorium.
  • Staff are required to wear a face covering during indoor practices, competitions and performances.

These safety measures are crucial to maintaining safe and healthy events

As a district, we have prioritized maintaining live performance opportunities for our students and ensuring these events remain on schedule. These safety measures are crucial to maintaining safe and healthy events for our students, families and community. Our protocols are reviewed regularly and any additional changes or adjustments to our protocols for students and/or spectators will be shared with families as needed.

Working together to closely follow all safety protocols will support our students in continuing to stay on stage and in the classroom.

cello
COVID-19 response & investigation

Salem-Keizer Public Schools considers the health and well-being of our students and staff a priority.

When a positive case of COVID-19 is identified within the school setting, we work closely with the local public health authority to ensure that the person diagnosed with COVID-19 follows instructions for isolation and remains away from others until they can safely return to school.

The Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Department of Education are recommending that schools concentrate contact tracing and notification resources on exposures that occur during mealtimes (when students are necessarily unmasked) and on exposures during indoor unmasked learning or extracurricular activities (such as band, welding, wrestling).

In all cases of exposures within high-risk environments, individuals will be notified of an exposure through ParentSquare. This notification will include directions to the family on next steps. In unique circumstances, families may receive a call from a Salem-Keizer staff member.

In addition, only close contacts who are identified within five days of their date of exposure (the current quarantine requirement) will be notified.

Families will continue to receive a weekly notification about COVID-19 cases in schools with a link to the data dashboard on Saturdays.

covid vaccine
COVID testing

Is COVID testing available for students at school?

Yes. Symptomatic self-tests (BinaxNOW nasal swab) are available with consent from the guardian in collaboration with the COVID-19 response team.

We are currently working on a plan with the Oregon Health Authority for COVID-19 screening options for students; however, this process is still in development and is not currently available at SKPS schools.

using covid self-test
Vaccinations

Are staff required to be vaccinated?

The governor announced the state will require mandatory vaccines for all school staff. We have received the temporary rule and are committed to working to implement it prior to the October 18, 2021 deadline.

Are students required to be vaccinated?

Students are not required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The CDC recommends vaccination for children ages 12 and up. Vaccination should be done in coordination with a guardian and medical provider.

Can vaccinated students remove face coverings?

Regardless of vaccination status, students and staff are currently required to wear face coverings.

covid vaccine

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