School Health and Safety Plan

    1. Collaboration between FCPS and the Lord Fairfax Health District (LFHD), Virginia Department of Health (VDH)

      Frederick County Public Schools has developed a strong working relationship with the Lord Fairfax Health District (LFHD) of the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). We have worked collaboratively with LFHD during the pandemic and will continue to do so. This Health and Safety Plan reflects the preventive measures advised by Dr. Colin M. Greene, Director, Lord Fairfax Health District. The information contained in the School Health and Safety Plan is subject to any directive issued by the Governor's Office, the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia Department of Education and any state agency which has authority over the local school division. The LFHD has assigned a member of its team to work directly with the school division’s key communicator.

    2. Immunizations

      School entrance physicals and immunization requirements for admission to school remain unchanged for the 2021-22 school year. It is vital that all students receive required immunizations, including those which have been delayed as a result of the pandemic. FCPS will work with the Lord Fairfax Health District to create a collaborative approach to support the increased demand for vaccinations. Additionally, eligible students, staff, and their families are encouraged to consider receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

    3. Daily Health Screenings

      Staff and students are to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms daily and are required to stay home if exhibiting any symptoms. Schools may conduct temperature checks for students upon arrival. School nurses have developed a protocol for clinic visits to limit the exposure to students who are sick. The daily symptom checklist includes the following questions:

      • Fever or chills

      • Cough

      • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

      • Fatigue

      • Muscle or body aches

      • Headache

      • New loss of taste or smell

      • Sore throat

      • Congestion or runny nose

      • Nausea or vomiting

      • Diarrhea

    4. Student Transportation

      Whenever possible, physical distancing shall be practiced on buses following current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, due to space limitations, there will be times when it is not possible to adhere to the current guidance regarding physical distancing on buses. Under a federal order, students and drivers are required to wear a face covering when riding in a school bus. Additional mitigation efforts specific to student transportation include:

      • Encouraging parents to transport students in private vehicles.

      • Increasing arrival and dismissal times to accommodate parents electing to transport their students in private vehicles (traffic flashing caution signs adjusted accordingly).

    5. Isolation Area/Room

      Each principal or building administrator shall identify an area within their facility to comfortably accommodate students or staff who are exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19 and are waiting to be picked up by a parent/ guardian or family member. The following precautions shall be taken:

      • The designated space should accommodate physical distancing of at least 6 feet for multiple individuals if needed;

      • Ensure that symptomatic students who are waiting to be picked up remain under the visual supervision of a staff member who is at least 6 feet away;

      • Both the symptomatic student and the supervising adults shall wear a cloth face covering unless there is another health condition that prevents it;

      • Do not place cloth face coverings or surgical masks on anyone who is unconscious or has trouble breathing, anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance, or anyone who cannot tolerate a cloth face covering due to developmental, medical, or behavioral health needs;

      • Schools should clean the areas used by the individual who shows COVID-19 symptoms as soon as the areas of the school have been identified.

    6. COVID-19 Isolation or Quarantine

      Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 or have been in “close contact” with someone with a COVID-19 positive case are to quarantine and/or isolate following current guidance from the Virginia Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Parents/students are to consult with the school nurse regarding isolation/quarantine requirements. Staff are to consult with the Human Resources Department regarding isolation/quarantine requirements and the use of sick leave or other accrued leave.

    7. Instructional Support for Students in Quarantine

      In the event individual students are required to isolate or quarantine and/or the number of COVID-19 cases/exposures results in the need for classrooms or schools to be closed for a period of time, the students impacted will be provided with information by their school about how instruction will continue during the specified quarantine/isolation period with the focus being on the continuity of high-quality instruction. 

    8. Physical Distancing

      Whenever possible, physical distancing shall be practiced in accordance with current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Due to limited space in classrooms, schools and on buses, there will be times when it is not possible to adhere to the current guidance regarding physical distancing.

    9. Playground Use and Recess

      Recess and the use of playgrounds play an important role in a student’s overall well-being. The use of playgrounds falls under the physical distancing and the disinfection guidelines established by the CDC.

    10. School Nutrition

      The CDC has indicated that there is no evidence to suggest that handling food or consuming food is associated with spreading COVID-19. School nutrition staff will follow protocols for physical distancing, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and food safety/sanitation during the preparation and serving of school meals.

    11. Face Coverings

      Pursuant to the Public Health Emergency Order issued by the Virginia State Health Commissioner on August 12, 2021, all individuals aged two and older are required to wear face coverings when indoors at any Frederick County Public Schools’ facility unless one of the exceptions to the face covering requirement cited in the Public Health Emergency Order applies.  Employees are required to wear face coverings except when in a private office, physically distant and not in common areas.  Under a federal order, students and drivers are required to wear a face covering when riding a school bus or in an FCPS vehicle. 

      Students who have difficulty breathing or a medical condition may request an alternative to the face covering requirement from their school principal. Appeals of the school principal’s denial of a request for an alternative to the face covering requirement may be submitted in writing to the School Board Office Administrator. Protocols to safely provide students and staff members with the opportunity to have breaks from wearing a face covering during the school day will be developed and implemented by each school.

    12. Student and Staff Personal Hygiene Protocols

      Hand washing is a proven strategy to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. Students, staff, and volunteers will be encouraged, and at times required, to wash hands with soap and water. Hand sanitizing dispensers will be located throughout the building where sinks and other hand washing facilities are not readily available. Hand washing or sanitizing should be done:

      • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing;

      • After using the restroom;

      • Before eating or preparing food;

      • Before and after touching your face;

      • After contact with animals or pets and playing outside;

      • Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g., a child);

      • Before putting on and after removing gloves;

      • After touching frequently touched areas (e.g., doorknobs, handrails, shared computers);

      • Individuals providing health care services should perform hand hygiene before and after contact with each patient, contact with potentially infectious material, and before putting on and after removing PPE, including gloves. Hand hygiene after removing PPE is particularly important to remove any pathogens that might have been transferred to bare hands during the removal process.

      Students and staff are asked to:

      • Encourage individuals to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze, place the used tissue in the opened-top wastebasket, and then wash their hands;

      • If tissues are unavailable, encourage individuals to cough or sneeze into the upper sleeve or elbow, not onto their hands; then they should wash their hands;

      • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol alcohol content and rub until the contents are dry;

      • Encourage individuals to avoid touching their face with their hands as much as possible;

      • Encourage individuals to avoid close contact with people who are sick;

    13. Visitors to Schools or Administrative Support Facilities

      Frederick County Public Schools encourages parents and community members to become involved in our educational programs. All visitors are expected to comply with the FCS Health and Safety Plan as well as Policy 609P, Community Relations - School Visitors.

      Effective January 11, 2022, school visitors are prohibited from eating lunch with students and/or staff due to the high COVID-19 transmission rates being experienced within the community and the fact that individuals do not wear face coverings while actively eating and drinking.
    14. Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

      The World Health Organization (WHO) has withdrawn its previously held position that COVID-19 virus could not be spread by airborne particles. The virus is spread by droplets that usually travel less than a meter; however, there is a general concern that it could be spread by particles of .01 microns in size lingering in the air for short periods. The most effective measures are wearing a face covering, practicing good personal hygiene with frequent handwashing for 20 seconds or more, and good house cleaning with disinfecting.

      Air Flow Management is designed into HVAC systems often using a ceiling plenum for return air. Three specific air management guidelines have emerged from the HVAC industry based on early studies; they are:

      • encouraging a vertical laminar (travels smoothly or in regular paths) rather than turbulent airflow;

      • ensuring a slow, steady air speed;

      • directing potentially contaminated air out of rooms and away from people where possible.

      Additional steps will be taken to operate the school division’s HVAC systems 24 hours a day during the school week, increase fresh air intake without creating turbulent air flow where possible, and replacing air filters on an accelerated schedule. Procedures as outlined and required by the Virginia Department of Industry and Labor 16VAC25-220-60 Requirement for hazards or job tasks classified at medium exposure risk shall be maintained.

    15. COVID-19 Health Planning Team

      Vernon Bock, Assistant Superintendent for Administration
      Jennifer Rydholm, Executive Director of Human Resources
      Kristen Campbell, Assistant Director of Human Resources
      Teresa Ritenour, Director of Student Support Services
      Pamela Unhoch, Coordinator of School Health Services
      Michele Williams-Sandy, Ed.D., Director of Special Instructional Services
      Maria Neidrick, Assistant Director of Special Instructional Services
      Timothy Crisman, Director of Facilities Services
      Steve Edwards, Director of Policy and Public Communications
      Jean Harper-Smith, Records/Facilities Coordinator
      Bill Daniel, Central Administration Building

    16. Contact Person by School or Support Facility

      Megan Dodd, Apple Pie Ridge Elementary School
      Heather Miller, Armel Elementary School
      Darren Thomas, Bass-Hoover Elementary School
      Michael Daddario, Ed.D., Evendale Elementary School
      Patricia Black, Gainesboro Elementary School
      Jennifer Muldowney, Greenwood Mill Elementary School
      Sharon Cooley, Indian Hollow Elementary School
      Justin Raymond, Jordan Springs Elementary School
      Kristi Diminuco, Middletown Elementary School
      Rachel Rinker, Orchard View Elementary School
      Joseph Strong, Redbud Run Elementary School
      Mark Weisbrod, Stonewall Elementary School
      Jessica Nail, Ed.D., Admiral Richard E. Byrd Middle School
      Jerry Putt, Frederick County Middle School
      Grant Javersak, James Wood Middle School
      David Rudy, Robert E. Aylor Middle School
      Samuel Gross, James Wood High School
      Joanne Altendorf, Millbrook High School
      John Nelson, Sherando High School
      Janelle Ball-Brooks, Dowell J. Howard Center
      Ralph Reese, Northwestern Regional Educational Programs
      Timothy Crisman, Facilities Services Department
      John Grubbs, Transportation Department
      Bill Daniel, Central Administration Building