Commerce school leaders recently released detailed protocols that could be implemented if the district sees an increase in COVID cases within its schools. At the Commerce Board of Education’s Sept. 9 work session, superintendent Joy Tolbert presented the tiered protocol guidance, which is based on a certain threshold of active cases between students and staff at each individual school.
Tolbert said that when the number of cases were increasing in the district’s schools, some staff members requested more structured guidance on protocols.
Those totals have been falling recently, down from 42 cases two weeks ago, to 27 cases on Friday, Sept. 10. Tolbert said they hope that trend continues.
“Hopefully, if the numbers stay where they are, we can hover right around Level 1,” she said. “But we would have this in place in case we did need to add additional steps.”
Each of the three levels still maintains in-person learning for students.
“We are in-person,” Tolbert said. “…That’s best for everybody, students, teachers and parents.”
Details from the guidance include:
Level 1 threshold (least severe): 2% or less of students and staff with an active case. Close contacts can attend school and wear a mask during quarantine if they don’t present any symptoms; or remain at home during the quarantine. Students/staff who are exposed outside of the school are required to follow standard quarantine rules. Those who can separate from the positive case can return to in-person under modified quarantine.
(In Levels 1 and 2, close contact includes someone who wasn’t wearing a mask properly, hasn’t tested positive for COVID in 90 days, is not fully vaccinated and was within 3-feet of a positive case during the contagious period. That increases from 3-feet to 6-feet in Level 3.)
Level 2 threshold (middle level): Between 2%-5% of students and staff with an active case. Additional protocols would include: Limiting number of students in cafeteria; changes in arrival procedures to limit student gathering; limiting outside organizations in the buildings after school; changes in the format of meetings to allow smaller groups; limited field trips; virtual parent meetings; and masks strongly encouraged in cases when social distancing isn’t possible.
Level 3 (most severe): Over 5% of students and staff with an active case. Additional protocols would include: No visitors in buildings; alternative classrooms spaces (gyms, media centers and other larger areas) as applicable; seating charts; recess and breaks in smaller groups when possible; and no field trips. The district would also review quarantine procedures and could make changes.