Reconnecting. Rebuilding. Responding
The Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) has developed a Health and Safety Plan which will serve as the baseline directive for how each school will reopen for on-campus, in-person instruction. Recognizing that the needs of every school and facility are different, the Health and Safety Plan will be tailored to reflect individual adaptations that address the unique characteristics of each campus. If a school requires any significant deviations from the plan’s implementation details or the addition of any special provisions, these changes will be developed in consultation with a select group of campus principals, directors, and Executive Cabinet. Final approval will be obtained from the district’s Chief Financial and Operational Officer. Once approved, the Health and Safety Plan will be posted on the YISD website prior to reopening.
Limitations are influencers that either positively or negatively impact the safety plan. The plan should consider all local, state, and federal directives, which includes the following governing agencies: Texas Education Agency, Local Health Department, Office of Emergency Management, Texas Division of Emergency Management, Department of State Health Services, Texas School Safety Center, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the ultimate approval authority for this plan lies with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the local school board. Consequently, please be aware that some items are subject to review as we anticipate certain changes in operations will take place in the near future.
The Ysleta Independent School District Health and Safety Plan was developed based on the most current, evidence-based guidelines available. The Ysleta Independent School District monitors the following community-wide indicators to inform this plan.
- Average number of new daily cases for the prior week.
- Average percent of positive tests from all tests administered in one week.
- Change in 7-day rolling average of new cases over the prior two weeks.
- COVID hospitalizations out of total hospital capacity in Trauma Service Area I.(Source)
Another factor to consider is reaching herd immunity, which will be attained once 60-70% of the population is immune to the virus. (Source) Immunity can be achieved through full vaccination or natural infection. (Source) As we return to normal operations, we expect to be able to safely remove all campus-based screening processes for the 2021-2022 school year. If this occurs, screening, exposure, quarantine, and response team protocols will be removed. A timely notice will be given to parents and employees if screening changes occur.
YISD Health and Safety Guiding Principles
- Safely transition to a post-pandemic environment through the de-escalation of COVID-19 Health Protocols and Procedures as directed by health and government entities.
- Continue to maintain and promote proper hand hygiene and wellness practices throughout the district.
- Provide a safe environment for students and employees by continuing district sanitization and disinfecting practices of our buildings and classrooms.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Subject to any updated guidance from TEA, YISD will provide PPE as described in this plan. In accordance with the governor’s Executive Order #36, YISD will not require face masks to be worn. Anyone who wants to wear a mask may do so. Further, CDC recommends the use of masks for individuals who are not immune to COVID-19, either through vaccination or recovery from the virus. (Source) Hand sanitizer will be available in every classroom as well as in other meeting and common areas. Desk dividers will not be used unless specifically requested by parent.
COVID-19 Testing for Staff Members and Students
Testing for employees and students who are symptomatic is available through the city testing sites or private health care provider. YISD will make testing available for individuals showing symptoms based on nurse’s assessment.
Disinfection will continue pursuant to CDC guidelines. In most situations, cleaning surfaces using soap or detergent, and not disinfecting, is enough to reduce risk. Disinfection is recommended in indoor community settings where there has been a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the last 24 hours. (Source)
YISD Sick Day Guidelines
Our goal is to reduce the spread of communicable disease at school and to promote a healthy environment for all students attending school. Proper handwashing and cough etiquette can help reduce the spread of disease.
Deciding when to keep a sick child at home from school is not always easy. It is important for children to attend school; however, when a child is sick, they need to stay home in the care of an adult to get well and prevent spreading illness to others.
The following information will help parents decide when to keep their child at home. This information does not take the place of consulting a medical provider. Parents may be required to provide a doctor’s note stating the child is able to return to school for certain conditions. A doctor’s note must be from a health care provider licensed to practice in the state of Texas.
INFLUENZA-LIKE ILLNESS (ILI): A non-specified respiratory illness accompanied by a fever of 100.0°F or higher, cough, and/or sore throat may be due to the flu virus or any other infectious organism that causes similar symptoms. Students with these symptoms should be evaluated by a healthcare provider for a definitive diagnosis and proper treatment.
When to keep a child home: A child with a cough and a fever of 100.0°F or higher should not attend school until the cough becomes mild and they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.
Please read the information from the following link for complete details: YISD Sick Day Guidelines.
Area Specific Procedures
Each campus should designate a room or an area to be utilized to isolate students and/or staff who become ill during the school day. If no designated isolation room exists, a designated area with closable doors may serve as a temporary isolation room until the potentially sick individual can depart.
Administrators should restrict the number of persons entering the isolation area. The isolation room should be properly sanitized and disinfected regularly per EPA Guidance on Disinfectants. (Source) Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be utilized in conjunction with universal precautions and proper hand hygiene. When applicable, the isolation room should be located near the nurse’s clinic to provide the nurse the flexibility to tend to students throughout the day while maintaining their day-to-day duties. Individuals working in the isolation room should wear appropriate PPE.
Cafeteria and Food Service
All students are eligible for free meals under the USDA/TDA waiver for the 2021-2022 school year. Elementary students will be served breakfast in their classrooms, as they have in the past. Cafeteria may be used for lunch at normal capacity limits. Social distancing will be maximized to the extent possible.
At the secondary level, campuses who opted to have an “open campus” will be allowed to return to normal operating procedures, and students may leave campus for lunch. Cafeterias may be used for lunch at normal capacity limits while maximizing social distance to the extent possible.
Common areas such as teacher’s lounge, work rooms, and learning areas will be open at full capacity. Social distancing will be maximized to the extent possible.
Hallway traffic flow will return to normal. Campuses should ensure an orderly transition period.
Playgrounds will be open to full capacity for P.E. and recess. Safety protocols remain in place. Ensure proper hand hygiene after using the playground.
Normal restroom procedures will resume at full capacity. Ensure proper handwashing. Restroom disinfection will occur daily.
Elevators will operate at normal capacity.
Water fountains will be available for student use. Refill stations where applicable will be available for students to refill their water bottles.
Volunteers are welcomed back to the campuses. Volunteers must be cleared on a daily basis through the campus’s Hall Pass System and must be registered as an active volunteer through the District Affairs office.
Parents and Visitors
Parents will be allowed to visit schools. Visitors must have a valid ID, and background screening will be conducted through the campus’s Hall Pass System prior to entering the campus. Visitors will not be allowed into the cafeteria.
Safety drills will continue to be conducted in accordance with state law.
Bus transportation will be provided to and from school based on current eligibility rules. Student social distancing will not be required on the bus. Buses will be used at full capacity. Assigned seating is no longer required. All bus drivers will be provided with hand sanitizer. Buses will be thoroughly cleaned daily.
Instruction will be delivered face to face; virtual learning will not be an option. Students will not be required to wear masks. They may wear a mask if they choose to do so.
Social distancing will be maximized to the extent possible. Desks will be setup to maximize classroom space. Desk dividers will not be used unless specifically requested by parent. Blankets, pillows, rugs, and other shared non-essential items may return to the classroom. Student supplies will be provided. Students should avoid or limit sharing of supplies.
Multiple locations of hand sanitizer, tissues, and trash cans will be available to ensure proper hand hygiene and cough etiquette.
Special Education Classrooms
Recommended procedures will be applied to all classroom settings, including special education service locations when possible and appropriate. Students’ individual needs will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Career and Technical Education Classes
CTE will resume normal operation. Students participating in work-based learning at locations off YISD campuses will comply with the procedures current to the policy of that location. If YISD procedures are more restrictive or protective than the policy and procedures of the non-YISD work-based learning location, the more protective procedures will be implemented for YISD staff and students.
Dual Credit and Early College High School Classes
Classes for students enrolled in an Early College High School, which normally take place in-person at an El Paso Community College Campus (EPCC), will follow EPCC procedures for the delivery of instructional content.
Extracurricular, Co-Curricular, and UIL Activities
Extra-curricular, co-curricular, and UIL activities will resume normal operation. Social distancing and wearing masks will not be required. Students may wear masks if they desire. Any UIL-regulated activity must comply with UIL directives. Student clubs will be allowed to meet in person.
Pre-Participation Physical Exams
The policy related to pre-participation physical exams (PPPE) for students participating in UIL athletic and marching band activities has been updated for 2021-2022 as outlined below.
- All students in athletics or marching band activities who are required to receive a PPPE prior to participation in the coming school year must receive a PPPE for the 2021-2022 school year.
- Any student who was required by rule to receive a PPPE prior to participation during the 2020-2021 school year but did not receive one due to the exception granted for this school year, will also be required to receive a PPE for the 2021-2022 school year.
Fine Arts Classes
All Fine Arts classes will be offered on-campus. Social distancing and wearing masks will not be required though students may wear masks if they desire.
The district is following all UIL and TEA guidelines/recommendations regarding group performances. Music, dance, theater, and other similar performances may resume as performances are scheduled. As UIL has approved a competitive marching season, all YISD band programs will resume pre-COVID practice schedules and regimen. The expectation is all marching band programs will perform at football games and compete as they had prior to the pandemic.
Physical Education (P.E.) and Health Classes
Physical education and health classes will resume normal operation. Social distancing and wearing masks will not be required. Students may wear a mask if they choose to do so.
Health Monitoring and Screening for COVID-19 Symptoms
Staff and student screenings will no longer be required upon entry to a school or facility. However, all staff and students should screen for symptoms at home before coming to school or work. YISD will closely monitor community indicators as well as overall student and staff attendance for any spike in absences. Parents are urged not to send students to school if they are sick or show signs of COVID-19 as listed in the symptoms below. Parents and staff are urged to closely monitor for any COVID-19 symptoms. These symptoms include:
COVID-19 Symptoms (As of 4/22/2021)
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Before a child leaves home at the start of each day, a parent should answer the self-screening questions for each child.
- Has the child recently begun experiencing any of the COVID-19 symptoms in a way that is not normal for them? (Check website for the current symptom list)
- Has the child had close contact in the past 14 days with an individual who is test-confirmed to have COVID-19? This would include someone living in the same household as the child or who regularly provides childcare.
By sending a child to school, the parent is attesting that the parent confidently answered “NO” to ALL of the COVID-19 screening questions for the child.
A child who is sick with a fever, sore throat, or other COVID-19 symptoms must stay home from school and report the absence to the attendance clerk. A child who is found to have symptoms at school will be isolated; a parent or guardian will be notified to pick up their student within one hour.
A child who lives with or has close contact with someone who has tested positive or has symptoms and is presumed positive for COVID-19 will need to quarantine at home as instructed by the school subject to the exception below. YISD follows the CDC guidance on considering close contact to mean contact within six feet for 15 cumulative minutes or longer. Because of the high likelihood of a false negative test, if a student is tested before the full incubation period for the virus, the required self-quarantine period is 10 days from the date of last exposure to a test-confirmed case.
Exception to quarantine
Please note that fully vaccinated students and those who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past, and elementary students who remain asymptomatic are not required to quarantine.
Teacher and Staff Screening
Teachers and staff must self-screen daily and stay home if sick. A staff member who lives with or has close contact with someone who has tested positive will need to quarantine at home as instructed by the school. YISD follows the CDC guidance on considering close contact to mean contact within six feet for 15 cumulative minutes or longer. Because of the high likelihood of a false negative test, if a staff member is tested before the full incubation period for the virus, the required self-quarantine period is 10 days from the date of last exposure to a test-confirmed case.
Exception to quarantine
Please note that fully vaccinated staff members and those who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past and elementary students who remain asymptomatic are not required to quarantine. Symptomatic individuals will follow sick-day guidelines.
Positive Case Identified at a Campus or Facility
If a student or staff member at a school is diagnosed with COVID-19, TEA requires the district to send notice of this occurrence to every parent of a student at the campus, regardless of whether close contact occurred. Contact tracing will occur when required. Campus personnel will follow the YISD Positive COVID-19 Standard Operating Guidelines. The diagnosed student or staff member will be required to stay at home until all the following criteria are met:
- In the case of a student or staff member who was diagnosed with COVID-19, the individual may return to work when all three of the following criteria are met:
- Symptom-based method (no severe illness or severe immunocompromised)
- Maintain isolation until:
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared; AND
- At least 1 day (24 hours) has passed WITHOUT fever and without the use of fever-reducing medications); AND,
- Improvement in symptoms
- Symptom-based method (severe illness or severe immunocompromised)
- Maintain isolation until:
- At least 20 days have passed since symptoms first appeared; AND
- Improvement in symptoms
- In the case of a student or staff member who has symptoms that could be COVID-19 and does not get evaluated by a medical professional or tested for COVID-19, the individual is assumed to have COVID-19, and the individual may not return to work until the individual has completed the same three-step criteria listed above.
- If the individual tested positive but had no symptoms the individual may return to work when the following criteria are met:
- Time-based method (tested positive without symptoms)
- Maintain isolation until:
- At least 10 days have passed since the date of their most recent positive COVID-19 diagnostic test; AND
- Have continuously been without symptoms (assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test.)
- If a case has a severe immunocompromising condition without symptoms, at least 20 days should have passed since the date of the first positive specimen collected.
NOTE: If they develop symptoms, then the symptom-based strategy should be used based on the date of symptom onset.
4. If the student or staff member has symptoms that could be COVID-19 and wants to return to work before completing the above self-quarantine period, they must obtain a medical professional’s note clearing the individual for return based on an alternative diagnosis OR obtain an acute infection test that comes back negative for COVID-19, be fever-free for 24 hours, and have improvement of symptoms.
Exposure to COVID-19
A student or staff member with known High-Risk Close Contact to a person who is test-confirmed to have COVID-19 must be assessed for vaccination status and history of COVID-19 infection. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated or who have never had COVID-19 cannot return to work until the end of the 10-day self-quarantine period from the last day of exposure. Students and staff members should be screened after the quarantine period. If the student or staff member did not experience COVID-19 symptoms during the quarantine period, they may return to school or work. If the student or staff member experienced symptoms, they must stay at home until the conditions outlined above for symptomatic individuals have been met.
A fully vaccinated student or staff member, and those with a history of a COVID-19 infection, and elementary students who are symptomatic and identified as a high-risk contact will be required to stay at home until all the following criteria are met:
- Fully Vaccinated Individuals with Symptoms: will be assessed on a case-by-case basis:
- Individuals showing symptoms of known etiology (i.e. allergies, migraines) follow sick day guidelines OR
- Individuals presenting with fever, new loss of taste and smell, or symptoms of unknown cause consistent with COVID must meet one of the following:
- Obtain a note from their healthcare provider indicating an alternative diagnosis OR
- Obtain a COVID-19 test that comes back negative, must be fever-free for 24 hours, and have improvement of symptoms.
Individuals showing symptoms with fever, new loss of taste and smell, or symptoms of unknown cause consistent with COVID and do not test/refuse to test (Presumed positive). Must follow the criteria for a Positive Test with Symptoms protocol.
- Previously Positive Individuals with Symptoms (less than 90 days): Individuals who present symptoms within 90 days of testing positive for COVID shall not be tested and will follow sick day guidelines.
- Must be fever free for 24 hours and
- Have improvement of symptoms
- Previously Positive Individuals with Symptoms (more than 90 days): Will be assessed on a case-by-case basis:
- Individuals presenting with fever, new loss of taste and smell or symptoms of unknown cause consistent with COVID must meet one of the following:
- Obtain a note from their healthcare provider indicating an alternative diagnosis OR
- Fully Vaccinated, Previously Positive Individuals,and Asymptomatic Elementary Students Individuals who had High-Risk Close Contact to a test-confirmed positive COVID-19 case are not considered High-risk Close Contacts and DO NOT need to be quarantined for 10 days as long as they remain asymptomatic.
- If an individual develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19, follow symptom guidelines in previous columns.
High-Risk Close Contact
This guidance refers to High-Risk Close Contact with an individual who is test-confirmed to have COVID-19. High-Risk Close Contact is determined by an appropriate public health agency. For clarity, High-Risk Close Contact is defined as:
Someone who was < 6 feet of a test-confirmed positive case for ≥ 15 cumulative minutes starting from 2 days (48 hours) before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated. (Source)
Factors to consider when determining if someone was in High-Risk Close Contact, resulting in exposure to a test-confirmed case of COVID-19 include proximity (< 6 feet) and duration (≥ 15 cumulative minutes). If both factors were present when an individual was exposed to a test-confirmed case, the individual should remain in self-quarantine for a period of 10 days unless the individual has been fully vaccinated (2 doses of Moderna, 2 doses of Pfizer, or 1 dose of Johnson & Johnson) or has tested positive for COVID-19 regardless of how long it has been. For both instances, the person must remain asymptomatic in order to meet the criteria.
Apart from the diagnosed student, parents do not need to keep their own children at home unless they are separately contacted by school officials after contact tracing.
Students may be temporarily moved out of their classroom pending thorough cleaning and disinfecting. Approved EPA Disinfectants will be used to disinfect classrooms and other campus areas. Custodial staff will disinfect classrooms, restrooms, indoor athletic areas, and cafeterias as well as common areas in school buildings.
The district will make every effort to avoid unplanned school closures. If a school must close temporarily for extensive quarantining or cleaning, school officials will determine on a case-by-case basis how the instructional minutes will be recovered in accordance with published TEA guidance.
Pandemic Planning & Campus COVID-19 Response Teams
Each campus should designate a team that will be responsible for developing, overseeing, and implementing the Health and Safety Plan at the campus. Ideally, the team should include an administrator, the school nurse, a teacher/coach, and the head custodian. The Safe Schools Team, which is already established at each campus, may also serve as the Campus COVID-19 Response Team. The Campus COVID-19 Response Team will ensure the actions within this document are followed and will be responsible for communicating with Campus and Central Office Administration when a test-confirmed COVID-19 case is identified, so the appropriate notification steps may be completed.
Can a student’s parents request to have their child use a divider? If yes, is there a process for documentation?
What if a parent does not feel comfortable sending their child to school?
Will symptomatic students be tested before they are sent home?
When will students be tested if they will no longer be screened? Only when they are presenting overt symptoms (coughing)?
If a student tests positive for COVID-19 and misses a certain amount of days, will this affect their attendance?
If a child has to stay home for 10-day isolation/quarantine period, can they do virtual learning, so they don’t get too far behind?
Will homecoming dances/parades be allowed?
Will outside food and vending machines be allowed during breakfast and lunch?
Will microwaves be available for students who take their lunch?
Will parents be required to provide hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes for the classrooms as part of their supply list?
Will concessions be allowed?
Can parents bring cupcakes or food items to school?
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