DENISON ISD 2021-2022
RETURN TO SCHOOL PLAN
& ESSER USE OF FUNDS PLAN

 

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Denison ISD 2021-2022 Safe Return to School Plan

The Denison ISD District Plan was developed by a variety of stakeholders including administrators, teachers, nurses, counselors, and custodial, maintenance and transportation staff.  We wish to thank all of the individuals who contributed time and perspective to the development of this school year's plan. To view the Safe Return to School plan, CLICK HERE.

ESSER Funding for Texas School Districts

The U.S. Congress has provided financial support for districts and schools through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund to address the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Texas received $1.3 billion in ESSER I funding, an additional $5.5 billion in ESSER II, and $12.4 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds (also referred to as ESSER III). To view the Denison ISD ESSER Use of Funds Plan, CLICK HERE.

2021-2022 SAFE RETURN
TO SCHOOL PLAN

 

Disclaimer:

The conditions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic are continually evolving, and Denison Independent School District’s Safe Return to School Plan will be regularly evaluated to adapt to the continuing trends of the COVID-19 virus, especially in Denison and Grayson County. The details in this document are subject to change as directives are provided by governing authorities and/or health officials or as transmission levels increase.

Current Denison ISD Plan: Updated 9-8-21

Denison ISD is committed to ensuring that all students, staff, and community members remain healthy and safe by adhering to best practices in the following areas:

  • Virus Prevention Strategies

  • Virus Response Protocols

  • Virus Mitigation Tactics

VIRUS PREVENTION STRATEGIES

NOTE: Student and Staff Exclusion and Re-Entry Criteria is listed at the conclusion of this section.

Employee, Student, and Visitor Screening Procedures:

  • Denison ISD will require all employees to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms before coming to school each day. Staff must ensure they do not come to campus if they have symptoms causing suspicion that they are infected with COVID-19. Staff members must remain off campus until he/she meets the criteria for re-entry.

 

  • Parents/guardians are expected to screen their students for COVID-19 symptoms each day prior to sending their student to school. Parents must ensure they do not send a child to school if they suspect the student is infected with COVID-19. Student must remain off campus until he/she meets the criteria for re-entry.

 

  • All essential visitors will be screened for COVID-19 (symptoms and close contact). Visitors that fail the screening must remain off-campus until the criteria for re-entry is met.

 

  • The list below details possible symptoms of COVID-19:

    • Feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit

    • Loss of taste or smell

    • Cough

    • Difficulty breathing

    • Shortness of breath

    • Headache

    • Chills

    • Sore throat

    • Shaking or exaggerated shivering

    • Significant muscle pain or ache

    • Nausea

    • Vomiting

    • Diarrhea

 

Students or Staff Displaying COVID-19 Symptoms:

  • When a student has displayed symptoms of COVID-19, the school nurse will provide a clinical assessment.

 

  • Students who are ill will be separated from their peers and should be picked up within 30 minutes of the parents being contacted. Student must remain off campus until the criteria for re-entry is met.

 

  • Staff members suspected of being infected with COVID-19 will follow district protocols including isolation from students and other staff members. Staff member must remain off campus until the criteria for re-entry is met.

 

  • Any employee or student that is test-confirmed with COVID-19, must remain off campus until the criteria for re-entry is met.

 

 Close Contact for Students or Staff:

  • Denison ISD staff will not conduct close contact investigations. However, parents will be notified if the district has been made aware that their student has had potential exposure to COVID-19.

  • Denison ISD will require household-based close contact (see definition below) students to remain off campus until the criteria for re-entry is met. This applies specifically to students who are close contacts because an individual who lives in the same household is COVID-19 positive.

  • Denison ISD will not require student exclusion for close contact exposure that occurs outside of the student’s household. However, any student who has had close contact with an individual who is test-confirmed with COVID-19 may report this information to the school system, and may remain off campus until he/she meets the criteria for re-entry. Students who choose to remain on campus will be encouraged to wear a mask and closely monitor for symptoms for 14 days from exposure.  Additionally, per CDC guidance, it is recommended individuals be tested 3-5 days after potential exposure.​​

  • COVID-19 close contact must be reported by all staff members, regardless of vaccination status, and the staff member must remain off campus until the criteria for re-entry is met.

  • Close contact is defined as:

    • Being directly exposed to infectious secretions, or

    • Being within 6-feet for a cumulative duration of 15 minutes to an individual who is test confirmed to have COVID-19. Factors like social distancing, masks (i.e., both the infectious individual and the potential close contact have been consistently and properly masked), ventilation, presence of dividers, and case symptomology may affect this determination.

    •  Either scenario above defines close contact if it occurred during the infectious period of the case, defined as two days prior to symptom onset to 10 days after symptom onset. In the case of asymptomatic individuals who are test confirmed with COVID-19, the infectious period is defined as two days prior to the confirming test and continuing for 10 days following the test.

STUDENT AND STAFF
EXCLUSION PROTOCOLS

REQUIRED EXCLUSION AND RE-ENTRY CRITERIA

SCENARIO

Positive COVID-19 test (symptomatic or asymptomatic)

Students – contact campus nurse

Staff – contact campus administrator and complete Employee Health Reporting Form.

EXCLUSION AND RE-ENTRY CRITERIA

Exclude for 10 days. May return at the end of 10-day period if there is improvement of symptoms and individual has been fever free for 24 hours. (No option to return sooner)

COVID-like symptom(s) (experienced in a way that is not normal)

Students – contact campus nurse

Staff – contact campus administrator and complete Employee Health Reporting Form.

Exclude for 10 days. May return at the end of 10-day period if there is improvement of symptoms and individual has been fever free for 24 hours.

OR

To return to school before completing the above stay at home period, the individual must either (a) obtain a medical professional’s note clearing the individual for return based on an alternative diagnosis, or (b) obtain an acute infection test that comes back negative for COVID-19.

COVID-19 Household Close Contact Exposure – STUDENTS

Students – contact campus nurse

Exclude during entire exposure period and for 10 days’ post-exposure. May return at the end of 10-day post-exposure period if symptoms have not developed.

COVID-19 close contact exposure –

Staff only

Staff – contact campus administrator and complete Employee Health Reporting Form.

** In general, people are considered fully vaccinated: 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series or 2 weeks after a single dose vaccine

Unvaccinated Staff

Exclude during entire exposure period and for 10 days’ post-exposure. May return at the end of 10-day post-exposure period if symptoms have not developed.

 

Fully Vaccinated Staff

Exclude during entire exposure period and for 10 days’ post-exposure. May return at the end of 10-day post-exposure period if symptoms have not developed.

OR

To return to work before completing the above stay at home period, the individual must:

No longer be in close contact and provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 rapid test, that must be performed prior to the start of the work day, at least once every other day until the end of day 10. The option to test is subject to the discretion of the school district. Dependent upon circumstances, testing may not be offered as an option.

OPTIONAL EXCLUSION

AND RE-ENTRY CRITERIA

COVID-19 close contact exposure that occurs outside of the household

- Students only

Students –  may contact campus nurse

Staff – may contact campus administrator and complete Employee Health Reporting Form.

WITHOUT TESTING for COVID-19:

Exclude for 10 days (return on day 11). Notify school if COVID-like symptoms develop during 10-day exclusion period and continue to monitor for symptoms through day 14.

 

WITH TESTING for COVID-19:

Exclude until after the close contact exposure ends and a negative result from a PCR acute infection test is obtained. 

VIRUS RESPONSE PROTOCOLS

Denison ISD Action Protocols:

  • Upon identifying a possible COVID-19 case on campus, Denison ISD will:

    • Perform an immediate temperature check of the individual.

    • Immediately separate the individual while at school until the individual can leave campus. 

    • Clean the areas used by the individual as soon as is possible.

    • Provide the individual with information regarding exclusion and re-entry protocols as defined in the previous section.

 

  • Upon learning that a test-confirmed case (teacher, staff member, student, or visitor) has been in a school, Denison ISD will:

    • Notify its local health department, in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations, including confidentiality requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

    • Submit a report to the Texas Department of State Health Services via an online form. The report must be submitted each Monday for the prior seven days (Monday-Sunday).

    • Notify all Denison ISD community members by posting the positive case to the Denison ISD web-page.

    •  Notify all teachers, staff, and families of all students in a classroom, extracurricular activity, or after-school program cohort if a test-confirmed COVID-19 case is identified among students, teachers, or staff who participated in those classrooms or cohorts.

VIRUS MITIGATION TACTICS

Health and Hygiene Practices - General

  • Denison ISD will have hand sanitizer stations at the entrance of each campus and in every classroom.

 

  • Employees and students will be encouraged to sanitize hands frequently.

 

  • Teachers will instruct students regarding good handwashing techniques and other mitigation practices on the first day of enrollment.  Students will wash hands for at least 20 seconds before eating and after using the restroom.

 

  • Students will be taught to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue.  Used tissues will be thrown in the trash, and hands will be washed immediately, or hand sanitizer will be used.

 

  • Denison ISD will employ cleaning staff who will be responsible for frequent cleaning practices to disinfect high-touch surfaces throughout the day.

Health and Hygiene Practice – Face Coverings

  • In compliance with Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-36, students, staff, and visitors may wear face coverings if they choose, but they are not required while on campus or at school activities.

 

  • The CDC encourages universal use of face masks for all teachers, staff, and students regardless of vaccination status.

 

  • Face masks will be provided upon request to individuals who choose to wear a mask.

 

Promoting Vaccination

  • CDC guidance states (Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools) that vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are at low risk of symptomatic or severe infection (Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools).​

 

  • People 12 years and older are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. Denison ISD will promote vaccination among teachers, staff, families, and eligible students by providing information about COVID-19 vaccination.

 

  • When possible, Denison ISD will partner with local health authorities and providers to offer vaccination opportunities.

 

Social Distancing Practices

  • Denison ISD will encourage individuals to practice social distancing. 

 

  • To the greatest extent possible, desks will be arranged to allow for social distancing.

 

  • In classrooms where students are regularly within three feet of one another, teachers will plan for more frequent hand sanitizing.

 

  • Whenever feasible, physical education and other classes may gather outside to reduce the risk of virus spread.

 

Denison ISD Staggered Start/End Times

  • In an effort to maintain safer transportation for our bus students, Denison ISD is implementing staggered start and end times.  The following chart outlines campus start and end times for the 2021-22 school year:​

CAMPUS:
FIRST BELL:
START TIME:
END TIME:
All Elementary Campuses
7:45 a.m.
8:15 a.m.
3:15 p.m.
B. McDaniel Intermediate
7:45 a.m.
8:15 a.m.
3:15 p.m.
Scott Middle School
8:25 a.m.
8:30 a.m.
4:00 p.m.
Denison High School
8:20 a.m.
8:30 a.m.
4:00 p.m.
  • All campuses will still accept students beginning at 7:30 a.m. for Kindergarten – 12th Grade.

  • Pre-Kindergarten/Head Start will accept students at 7:45 a.m

 

Transportation Procedures

  • For those using bus transportation, students and staff will be encouraged to use hand sanitizer upon boarding the bus.

 

  • Students who use bus transportation will be encouraged to wear a face covering.

 

  • Whenever possible, the driver will open bus windows to allow for greater air circulation.

 

  • Buses will be thoroughly cleaned after each bus trip.  Great attention will be given to cleaning high-touch surfaces such as seats, steering wheels, knobs, and door handles.

 

Entry, Exit, Transition, Breakfast, and Lunch Procedures

  • To account for individual differences in school configuration and age of attending students, each campus will be charged with developing entry, exit, transition, breakfast, and lunch procedures. 

 

Off-Campus Student Activities

  • Student participation in extracurricular practices/events/games will be allowed. Fans will also be permitted to attend these events with no limitations unless District, UIL, or TEA guidelines state otherwise.

 

  • Field trips will be limited and will require approval from the Assistant Superintendent.

 

On-Campus Activities

  • School wide events (pep rallies, assemblies, informational meetings, etc…) will be limited and will require social distancing. Only visitors deemed as essential will be permitted at these events.

 

Teaching and Learning

  • In-Person learning will be the only mode of instruction delivered in Denison ISD for the 2021-2022 school year.

 

  • Remote learning will not be available.

 

  • Students who have been excluded due to COVID-19 will receive their assignments through Schoology.

 

  • Parents, and/or students, may schedule a conference with the student’s teacher during their designated conference period for questions and support regarding assignments.

 

  • Denison ISD has developed plans to mitigate learning loss for all students. This Return to School Plan will work in conjunction with district and campus improvement plans for this school year.

 

COVID-19 Risk Levels

  • This Return to School Plan will be evaluated on a continual basis and adjustments to the plan will be made based upon current COVID-19 transmission levels within the county and community.

 

  • Denison ISD will continue to keep all stakeholders updated with the latest guidelines necessary to keep our students and staff safe.

 

Parent Communication

  • Communication throughout the COVID-19 pandemic will be extremely important.  Denison ISD will use the following channels for parent communication:

 

  • District Website

  • Parent letters/notes

  • Schoology

  • Class Dojo

 

  • Email

 

  • Campus Newsletters

 

  • Social Media – District Twitter Account (@denisonisd) and Campus Facebook Pages

 

  • All Calls

 

2021-2022 ESSER
USE OF FUNDS PLAN

The intent and purpose of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) ESSER Federal Grant of 2021, is to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on students.  Denison ISD applied for the 2020-2023 ARP ESSER III Federal Grant in the amount of $5,512,868.00 and the 2020-2022 CRRSA ESSER II Federal Grant in the amount of $3,682,024.00.  A survey of needs was conducted in June, 2021, with responses from students, family members of a student, school personnel, and community members to determine the priorities for expenditures of these funds. 

Denison ISD ensures that the ARP Funds meet all the required elements and are spent in an allowable manner.

Academic Interventions

To respond to the academic needs to address the impact of the coronavirus on students’ loss of instructional time, Denison ISD will purchase the AMIRA reading program for students in grades K-4, the ALEK math program for grades 6-8, and the Reading Plus Program for special education classes.  Additional tutoring will be provided.  Math Interventionist will be employed for two years to provide additional math remediation.  Summer school programs will be expanded for the next three summers.  The Schoology contract for all campuses will be included in school years 2021-2023, since it will be the primary method of lesson delivery for future quarantined students.

Mental Health

To address the social and emotional needs of students, particularly those students disproportionately impacted by the COVID pandemic, Denison ISD will contract for two social workers to provide services to seventy-five to a hundred students at each campus, Denison High School and Scott Middle School.  These individuals will be employed by Communities In Schools Dallas Region, Inc.  The mission of this organization is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.  Working with school administrators and counselors, the six components of their activities include counseling/supportive guidance, health and human services, parent and family engagement, college and career readiness, enrichment and academic support.

Computers

Educational technology for students was one of the highest needs reported. A three-year proposal has been submitted from the technology department to purchase iPads, Chromebooks, licenses, and Hot Spots to support the goal of one-to-one technology access.

Safe Operation of Schools for In-Person Learning

Per CDC and ASHRAE Guidelines, a study was conducted to determine the air quality and air purifications needs of each building.  HVAC improvements are being proposed over the next three years to insure the safety of teachers and students. The purchase of additional school buses with upgraded ventilation systems to reduce student capacity and improve exposure to the COVID virus, is planned.

Retention Bonuses

To maintain our continuity of services and address the learning loss of students, retention bonuses are being proposed to insure the highest quality of staff.  The reimbursement for the 2020-21 retention bonus, plus future allocations, are being proposed. 

The district has developed and posted a plan for the safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services.  This plan will be reviewed a minimum of every six months, or as appropriate due to changes in virus conditions, and CDC or Health Department guidelines.

Assurances

In addition, Denison ISD provides the following assurances:

  • The District engaged in meaningful consultation with students, families, school and district administrators, teachers, and other school staff.

  • The District has created its plan in an understandable and uniform format.

  • The District’s plan is, to the extent practicable, written in a language that parents can understand, or if not practicable, orally translated.

  • The District will, upon request by a parent who is an individual with a disability, provide the plan in an alternative format accessible to that parent.

  • The District ensures that interventions to address the academic impact of lost instructional time, will respond to the academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs of all students, and particularly those students disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including students from low-income families, students of color, English learners, children with disabilities, students experiencing homelessness, children in foster care, and migratory students.

  • The district provided the public an opportunity to provide input on its plan and took such input into account.