LPS STAFF: Preview of 2020 LPS Pandemic Plan and Procedures

LPS Staff,

Today, Lincoln Public Schools will be releasing more details on our Pandemic Plans and Procedures for the 2020-2021 school year. First details of the plan for the 2020-21 school year were released to the public on June 16.

To preview all of our Pandemic Plans and Procedures documents, you can click here. These documents are for internal use only. We will be publishing the public website at 2 p.m. today. You are also invited to join us for a Virtual Town Hall at 5:30. Go to https://lps.zoom.us/j/94587813528 to view the presentation and ask questions through the chat, or view it on our LPS Facebook page.

We will also record the session and post it on our website here: lps.org/covid19staff.

LPS has made the decision for the first quarter of the 2020-21 school year, to allow any staff member to attend any meeting and/or professional learning session via Zoom. While a majority of your meetings will still be held face-to-face, any staff member who wishes to remain in their classroom or in a secluded space in the school can Zoom into the meeting and participate remotely. Anyone wishing to Zoom-in to meetings from home, rather than school, would need to have that approved as a work accommodation through HR/HCRT process.

We hope that for many of your meetings, such as PLCs, committees, and team meetings, the use of distancing and face coverings will be sufficient. However, if you are uncomfortable with the proximity of yourself to other staff during any meeting, you are welcome to attend via Zoom from an area of the school where you feel more comfortable. It will be important for you to let the facilitator of the meeting or session know in advance so they may properly plan for how many staff will be attending in-person versus remotely.

This also applies for back to school meetings. If you plan to attend your district or building contractual session via Zoom you must let your principal know by July 31. If you also plan to attend your district contractual session via Zoom, please copy your curriculum specialist or session facilitator.

LPS continues to work collaboratively with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD). The process includes gathering information from various sources for discussion with LLCHD as it tackles every topic and question related to operating the school district. The joint team meets routinely and communicates constantly by sharing documents, questions and clarifications between meetings. LLCHD gives feedback and LPS adjusts plans throughout the process. This work will be ongoing as new research emerges and LLCHD has further guidance to provide LPS.

We are grateful to Interim Health Director Pat Lopez and her team for their continued support and guidance. In creating this comprehensive school reopening plan, we have grounded our decisions in research and best practices while balancing the importance of the social and emotional needs of our 42,000-plus students and meeting our community’s high expectations for quality education.

LLCHD and LPS believe there are four main actions that are proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Self-Screening – Staff and students are expected to conduct a self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms every day prior to entering an LPS building or program. People with COVID-19 self-isolating at home will reduce the spread.
  • Face Coverings – Staff and students are required to wear a multilayer face covering in the school setting. Face coverings are the strategy to accommodate the school setting where six feet of physical distance is not practical.
  • Hand Hygiene – Washing your hands or using sanitizer, along with cleaning and disinfecting surfaces frequently touched, will reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • Physical Distancing – Maintaining at least three to six feet from others whenever possible makes a difference. Spacing out as far as you can, where and when you can, will reduce the spread of COVID-19.

If a staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19, the health department will lead all contact tracing while working closely with LPS staff. Those students and staff with direct exposure who need to self-isolate will be contacted directly. All families and staff of the school where there is a positive case will be notified and given instructions for next steps as directed by the LLCHD. It will be vital that all families update their contact information with their child’s school.

Families can update their student’s information, including contact information, by completing the online verification process starting July 21. This is a process families are required to complete every school year. Families can log-on to ParentVue and select the Online Registration button in the upper right corner. Any parent or guardian who needs help accessing their ParentVue account should contact their school. More information can be found on the LPS website (lps.org) by clicking on the red “Enroll or Verify” button.

LPS will conduct classes and operate within the framework of the four risk color statuses of the COVID-19 Risk Dial as designated by LLCHD and the City of Lincoln.

If the risk dial is Yellow or Orange, students in grades kindergarten through 12 can participate either in-person at school, or by utilizing remote learning via Zoom. More information about school procedures in the Yellow and Orange can be found on the LPS website – lps.org/coronavirus. When the risk status is Red – Severe COVID-19 Risk, all LPS buildings will be closed and all students will participate in remote learning from home. When the risk status is Green – Low COVID-19 Risk, all students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12 will attend school in person. There may be some modification based on recommendations by the LLCHD.

Remote learning for the 2020-21 school year will look significantly different than the 2020 spring semester. Students will Zoom-in with their class and observe lessons from their teacher during class time. Based on lessons, students may not be on Zoom the entire class time. Students will be required to complete work independently outside scheduled class Zoom sessions, and student engagement will be the responsibility of students and their parents or guardians. There are some classes, courses and services that cannot be offered through remote learning.

Families who are interested in choosing the remote learning via Zoom option for their student while the risk dial is at Yellow or Orange will be required to complete the Remote Learning Request Form found on the LPS website (lps.org). To begin the school year in remote learning, families will need to complete the form prior to July 31. After July 31, families will need to contact their school to make arrangements. If circumstances change, a parent or guardian can transition their child to in-person or remote learning by contacting their school.

Updates and more information will continue to be shared as the beginning of the school year approaches. More information specific to your school and department will be shared by your supervisor or administrator as we approach the beginning of the school year.

We are a large school district and we understand that there are many voices. You may not agree with all of the decisions in this plan or as we move through the year. This is hard and nothing we – you, our students, our families, and our community – has ever experienced. We are a strong school district capable of doing hard things. We’ve proven it time and again. Together, we can!

We thank you for your continued patience and understanding.