Madison County students will be strongly encouraged but no longer required to wear masks while in class, but face coverings will still be required while changing classes.

The county school board voted 5-0 Oct. 29 to approve “Phase II in-person instruction guidelines” for safety protocol regarding COVID-19. The policy change is effective immediately.

NEW MASK GUIDELINES

Here is the new policy regarding masks:

•Masks will be provided when needed at no cost to students, however students and staff may bring their own mask from home.

•Students and staff are strongly encouraged to wear a mask or face shield when social distancing is not possible when students are seated at their desk, however, they are not required to wear them.

•Masks or face shields should be worn while transitioning from one class to another, during class change, and until seated in class.

•Masks/face shields should be worn when working in groups or in a lab setting when working with a partner.

•Students do not have to wear masks or face shields during physical education classes while participating in activities or exercises. Students in weight lifting classes are expected to wear a mask or face shield when spotting.

•Masks or face shields do not have to be worn by students or staff when outside.

•Students and staff do not have to wear masks when seated behind plexiglass or other barriers.

•Harassing, intimidation, or bullying in any form regarding the wearing or not wearing of masks/face shields will not be tolerated. Students and staff should report such incidents to school administrators.

GENERAL PRECAUTIONS

Other general precautions from the board are as follows:

•All students and employees must stay home if they have COVID-19 symptoms, have tested positive for COVID-19, or have had close contact with a person with COVID 19 within the last 14 days. Local health officials will be immediately notified for guidance on next steps.

•Employees and parents/guardians (on behalf of students) will be asked to self report to the school nurse or principal if they have COVID-19 symptoms. Employees and students with temperatures at or above the CDC recommendations (100.4) will be immediately isolated and not allowed to remain at school.

•The school nurse at every school will be designated as the building's COVID-19 point of contact to assist with operations, communications, and health-related issues within the school.

•Staff, students, and parents are agreeing that by virtue of coming to school, they do not have a fever above 100.3 and do not have any symptoms of illness. Temperatures will be taken on a as needed basis.

•Those who become sick, exhibit symptoms and have a fever of 100.4 or higher at school or work will be sent home. In this case, any student or employee needing isolation while on campus will be required to wear a mask. If symptoms improve and there is a medical note from a doctor, the student may return the next day.

•All schools will have a room to isolate symptomatic persons.

•Social distancing (more than 6 feet apart) will be practiced when possible.

•School buildings will contain specific signage, and classroom spaces will be reconfigured to help with social distancing as allowable.

•Recess and other non-structured student events will be staggered to reduce the number of individuals in an area as necessary.

•Staff will work with students who may be at higher risk in regards to seating arrangements and/or mask breaks during class.

•Visitors including mentors will be allowed to visit students, with screening procedures in place and will be required to wear a mask when in the building.

•Whole school assemblies or large gatherings will still not take place inside the building. Grade level or classroom assemblies will be limited.

•Field trips will be permitted with administrative approval.

•Athletic events will be permitted with specific guidelines in place in coordination with GHSA and Region 8-AAAA school systems.

•Quarantined students will have access to their education through our digital learning platform “CANVAS” to access virtual learning. Students will not be penalized for being quarantined and will have ample time to complete assignments. Assessments will not be given to students upon the day of

•All attendance rewards (perfect attendance, attendance field trip, and any other attendance incentives) will be placed on hold for the 2020-21 school year.

•If a Madison County Charter School System employee or student has a confirmed case of COVID-19, the district will follow the Georgia Department of Public Health's guidelines for returning to work/school safely. The district will also work to notify those who may have been in close contact with the individual in a timely manner.

CLEANING AND DISINFECTION

•School buildings and facilities will be thoroughly cleaned on a daily basis.

•Traditional water fountains will be closed. Students and staff are encouraged to bring water from home and will be allowed to refill them periodically throughout the day.

•High-touch surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected more frequently throughout the day.

•Approved sanitation cleaners will be available in classrooms.

HAND HYGIENE

•Frequent hand washing will be encouraged and scheduled throughout the day.

•School employees will teach and reinforce healthy hygiene practices. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout each building and in each classroom.

•Students are encouraged to bring their own personal size hand sanitizer for use on the bus and during the school day.

TRANSPORTATION

•Buses will be cleaned and disinfected daily and as needed between routes.

•Bus drivers will have hand sanitizer available.

•Students and staff are expected to wear a mask or face shield on the bus when social distancing is not possible.

MORE INFORMATION

•Curriculum nights, Annual Title I information nights, and other school activities will be held virtually if it is not safe to do so in person.

•Parent/guardian/teacher conferences could be held virtually.

•Georgia High School Association (GHSA) guidelines will be followed for school athletics.

Madison County Charter School System will continue to monitor, assess, and evaluate how we can safely implement

In-person Instruction. All of the above information is fluid and is dependent upon the spread of the virus in our community. As new data emerges throughout the school year, the structure of schooling may change rapidly and differ from current guidelines. The Madison County Charter School System community will be informed if any changes become necessary.

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