Updated: September 24, 2021 (Updated Sections: When to Stay Home, Quarantining & Isolation)
The Shaker Heights City School District has developed the following health and safety guidelines based on guidance from local, state and national agencies. Please keep in mind that health and safety protocols may change based on new information. The District continuously reviews these guidelines in response to changing guidance and will notify families and staff members accordingly.
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In-Person Learning for the 2021-22 School Year
The District will welcome back all students to full school days, five days a week.
Face masks that cover the nose and mouth are universally required indoors (except when eating) and on buses regardless of individuals’ vaccination status. This is in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s July 27 universal policy recommendation for schools. Masks will be available at all buildings/offices if an individual does not have one. The face mask may not have a valve or respirator, and single-layer gaiters are not permitted.
Face Mask Exemptions
Students: Unvaccinated students may be exempt from wearing a mask if:
- The student is unable to remove the face covering without assistance
- The student has a significant behavioral/physiological issue undergoing treatment that is exacerbated by a facial covering
- The student is living with severe autism or with extreme developmental delay who may become agitated by a mask
- The student has a facial obstruction that causes airway obstruction
Families who wish to request a face mask exemption for their student based on the criteria above should contact their principal.
Staff: Staff members who are unable to wear a mask due to medical reasons should complete the Face Covering Exemption Request Form and provide documentation from your health care provider and return both to Human Resources.
Physical Distancing / Social Distancing
The District will follow CDC guidance on social distancing in schools and implement strategies to maximize physical distancing to the greatest degree possible. Current guidance advises to maintain at least 3 feet of space between students, but when that is not possible, ensure additional prevention strategies, such as masking, are in place.
Cleaning & Ventilation
The District’s cleaning and disinfecting measures will continue to be aligned with public health guidelines. The District continues to maintain safe ventilation practices including air purifiers and fans. Air purifiers remain in place where needed, and HVAC systems, filters and windows have received regular summer maintenance.
Hand Washing & Sanitization
The District will continue to encourage students, staff and visitors to wash their hands and sanitize them frequently.
The Shaker Heights City School District asks all staff and families of students to continue to assess for symptoms prior to each school day, however, the District will no longer utilize the COVID-19 Daily Assessment tool within the Shaker Heights Schools app as a part of this process. Any individual exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID must remain home and contact their healthcare provider or MetroHealth’s COVID-19 Hotline. The CDC also has a Coronavirus symptom Self-Checker available.
When to Stay Home
Vaccinated & Unvaccinated Individuals: Regardless of vaccination status, students and staff members should stay home if they are experiencing any of the following: fever or chills, new uncontrolled cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, new onset of severe headache, especially with fever.
Unvaccinated Individuals: Unvaccinated individuals should stay home if someone in their household is awaiting a COVID test or COVID test results.
Any unvaccinated student or staff member that is in close contact with a person who has tested positive should adhere to the standard quarantine guidelines provided by the CDC (also see the Quarantine & Isolation section of these guidelines). Vaccinated individuals who have been exposed do NOT need to quarantine unless exhibiting symptoms mentioned above.
Becoming Symptomatic While in a School/District Building
Students: Students who become symptomatic while at school should report to the school nurse and a parent/guardian will need to pick up their student.
Staff: If a staff member starts to feel ill at work, they should remain isolated and notify their building principal or direct supervisor.
Reporting Positive Staff and Student Cases
When possible, all cases should be reported by 4 p.m. on days when schools and/or offices are open.
Students: All positive COVID-19 cases among students should be reported to the student’s building principal.
Staff: All positive COVID-19 cases among staff members should be reported to the Human Resources department.
The District will conduct contact tracing and notify families and staff of positive cases of COVID-19 in their same classroom, bus or extra-curriculuar activity if the student or staff member was contagious when onsite. Phone calls also will be made to individuals identified as close contacts to notify them and share specific quarantine information.
- If a case is reported to the District before 4 p.m. on a school day, the District will begin contact tracing that same day. Every effort will be made to complete contact tracing for close contacts and general class, bus, etc., notifications before the next school day.
- For cases reported after business hours or on holidays, the District will conduct contact tracing the following school day.
- On weekends, the District will make every effort to notify individuals who are considered to be close contacts prior to the next school day. All general class, bus, etc., notifications will be sent the following school day.
If the District notifies a family during the school day that their student is required to quarantine, the parent/guardian must pick up the student immediately.
Quarantining & Isolation
When identified as a close contact in or out of school, the quarantine period for unvaccinated individuals is:
- Ten days from last exposure
- Seven days from last exposure with a negative COVID test on day five or after. The individual would return on the eighth day.
Proof of Vaccination
At this time, the District is not collecting proof of COVID-19 vaccination from families or faculty and staff.
COVID-19 Case Notifications and Online Dashboard
The District's online COVID-19 Dashboard will continue to be updated weekday evenings when new cases are reported or when cases are removed. The District will continue to notify families and staff of positive cases of COVID-19 in their same classroom, bus or extra-curricular activity if the individual who tested positive was contagious when onsite. Phone calls also will be made to individuals identified as close contacts.
Lunch periods will be structured at each building to maintain physical distancing when possible, to minimize the amount of time students are without masks and with seating arranged to facilitate contact tracing if it becomes necessary. PreK-4 students will eat in the classrooms. Students in Grades 5-12 will eat in cafeterias.
Outdoor tents will continue to be provided to serve as outdoor learning and/or eating spaces as weather permits.
Movement in the Buildings
Students will be expected to physically distance themselves in the hallways. Students will move in between classes (including specials) in accordance with their school day schedule.
Water Fountains & Bottle Fillers
Water fountains will remain off. Bottle fillers will be operational, and students are encouraged to bring water bottles from home to refill as needed.
Students will participate in outdoor recess with their classmates and teachers will monitor which students are together to facilitate accurate contact tracing.
Singing and playing of instruments are permitted as long as individuals maintain social distancing and wear masks when possible.
Indoor Physical Education
Indoor physical education classes will take place. Students and staff should maintain social distancing when possible and wear masks at all times.
Sharing of Classroom Items/Materials
Students will be permitted to share classroom items and materials. The District will continue to use cleaning and disinfecting measures aligned with public health guidelines. Staff members also will continue to encourage hand sanitization frequently.
This year, the District will allow visitors and volunteers back into school buildings. All visitors and volunteers are required to follow the District’s health and safety guidelines, including mask protocols and health self assessments.
Extra-curricular clubs and activities, including athletics, will take place. Participants and attendees are required to follow the District’s health and safety guidelines, including mask protocols. Additional information will be provided by the club advisor, coach or athletic director.
Event planners for school- or District-related events should consider a virtual or outdoor alternative for indoor events when possible. In-person indoor events should be planned to allow maximum social distancing. The number of attendees for indoor events may be limited based on the space being used.
Event planners for indoor events should also implement protocols (such as sign-in, ticketing, etc.) to facilitate COVID case notifications, if necessary. Food at indoor events should be avoided when possible. If provided, food should be supplied to attendees in a grab-and-go format.
Vaccination remains the best protection against COVID-19, and the District strongly urges all eligible members of our school community to get vaccinated. For assistance in finding a vaccine provider, please click here.
Students Medically Unable to Attend School
Students who are unable to attend school in person for medical reasons must submit a completed Home Instruction Request form to the Department of Exceptional Children. Please note that medical documentation must be kept up to date, particularly as vaccine eligibility and availability becomes more widespread. To reach the Department of Exceptional Children, call (216) 295-4314. For students who are unable to attend school in person, the District will work with families individually to provide appropriate educational services.