Ysleta Independent School District will comply with any Local Health Authority Orders, so long as such orders are lawfully in effect and enforceable.
We will continue to utilize the 10-day isolation period for students recovering from a COVID-19 infection as recommended by the Texas Education Agency and Texas Department of State Health Services. YISD employees will follow the 5-day isolation period as recommended by the Texas Education Agency and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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 the Executive Cabinet. Final approval will be obtained from the district’s Chief Financial and Operational Officer. Once approved, the Health and Safety Plan and any updates will be posted on the YISD website.
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, unless directed otherwise by a higher authority of the state or federal government, the ultimate approval authority for this plan lies with either the Texas Education Agency (TEA) or the local school board, as provided in Education Code 11.151. Any immediate changes made by governing authorities will be posted on the district’s home page of the website while pending update to this plan document.
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 community conditions changed and the district has been able to return to normal operations, most campus-based screening processes have been removed from this plan. A timely notice was given to parents and employees of this change in screening change.
Community & Stakeholder Input
Our Safe Return to In-Person Instruction Plan was devised with school officials and guidance from our local health officials. Throughout the late spring and early summer, the plan was shared with various stakeholders to include our District Educational Improvement Committee, Parent Advisory Committee, Student Advisory Committee, and District Safety Committee for their consideration. Members of these various committees included employees, special program directors, school principals, school administrators, teachers, school staff, students, parents, advocates, employees with mental health backgrounds, school board members, and civil rights organizations. The input was also received through Citizens’ Input in our monthly Board of Trustees meetings. Consultation with continue throughout the school year as the RICIPS Plan adapts to the current state of the pandemic in our community.
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 has provided or will provide PPE as described in this plan. Hand sanitizer will be available in every classroom as well as in other meetings and common areas. Desk dividers will not be used unless specifically requested by a parent.
As of this update, Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-38 states that mask mandates may not be imposed by any local authorities. A contrary order issued by the Local Health Authority requiring masks was approved by County Court at Law #2, but that local mask mandate has been temporarily lifted by the City of El Paso pending an appeal of that ruling. Anyone who wants to continue wearing 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.
COVID-19 Testing for Staff Members and Students
At the start of the 2021-22 school year, due to community conditions and testing availability, the district conducted regular weekly rapid testing of students under the age of 12, with parental consent. Such surveillance testing has been suspended indefinitely at this time.
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 vaccinated 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 disinfection, 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
The district’s goal is to reduce the spread of communicable disease in schools 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, he or she needs 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 until he or she has 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. Cafeterias 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. Elementary students should remain in their classroom groups whenever possible.
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 during lunch or school-day activities.
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, although students who are sick with COVID-19 or are quarantining may receive remote conferencing support subject to TEA guidelines.
Social distancing will be maximized to the extent possible. Desks will be set up to maximize classroom space. Desk dividers will not be used unless specifically requested by a 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.
At elementary campuses, carpet time will not be allowed. Students should remain in their table groups to the extent possible.
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 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.
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. 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. 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.
TEA Public Health Guidance for Students or Staff with COVID-19
The district will comply with TEA’s guidance for positive cases, quarantine, isolation, and return to school or work. This guidance can be found at on TEA’s site under: Public Health Guidance.
Pandemic Planning & Campus COVID-19 Response Teams
Each campus should designate a team who 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?
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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