Updated: January 6, 2022 (Reporting Positive Staff and Student Cases; COVID-19 Case Notifications and Online Dashboard; Isolation & Quarantining)
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 has welcomed 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 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: 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. 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:
- sore throat
- congestion or runny nose
- fever or chills
- new uncontrolled cough
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- muscle or body aches
- new loss of taste or smell
- nausea, vomiting
- abdominal pain
Unvaccinated Individuals: Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals should stay home if someone in their household is awaiting a COVID-19 test appointment or results.
Any unvaccinated student or staff member that is in close contact with a person who has tested positive should adhere to the Quarantine & Isolation section of these guidelines. Please note that quarantine guidelines vary based upon where the individual has been exposed. 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
Families and staff should report student and staff COVID-19 cases through the COVID-19 Case Reporting Google Form. When possible, all cases should be reported by 4 p.m. on days when schools and/or offices are open.
Please note, families must still report any student absences to your building's office or attendance line. Please mention that you filled out the COVID-19 case reporting form.
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. Those identified as close contacts will also be notified individually by a separate email.
The District will conduct contact tracing and notify families and staff of positive cases of COVID-19 in their same classroom, bus or extra-curricular activity if the student or staff member was contagious when onsite. Emails will be sent to individuals identified as close contacts to notify them and share next steps relevant to where and when the individual was exposed.
- 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.
Isolation & Quarantining
All quarantining and isolation practices for staff and students will follow Ohio Department of Health (ODH) / Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH) recommendations. Please note that quarantine guidance will vary based upon the vaccination status of each individual as well as the location of exposure.
Isolation Guidance: COVID-19 Diagnosis
Vaccinated and unvaccinated students and staff diagnosed with COVID-19 should isolate for 5 days
(click link for additional details). The CDC recommends that individuals in isolation with a COVID-19 diagnosis should stay in a separate “sick room” or area and use a separate bathroom if available.
If the individual is asymptomatic or their symptoms have improved and they have been fever-free for 24 hours (without fever-reducing medication), students and staff can follow the 5-day isolation period with 5 days of wearing a mask when around others to minimize the risk of infecting other people (Day 0 is the first day of symptoms or the date of the day of the positive viral test for asymptomatic persons). If the individual is unable to wear a mask when around others, the CDC advises continuing to isolate for a full 10 days.
Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 while asymptomatic but subsequently develop symptoms should contact their school nurse (families) or the Human Resources Department (for staff) for additional isolation guidance.
Quarantine Guidance: Exposure in the Community/Home
The CDC and ODH have also revised quarantine guidance
for when individuals are exposed to COVID-19 in the community or in the home. The new quarantine guidance shortens the number of days of quarantine and clarifies the definition for what it means to be fully vaccinated under the quarantine guidance.
- All individuals who have been exposed are advised to test 5 days following the exposure regardless of vaccination status. The date of exposure is considered day 0.
- Individuals who are less than 6 months out from the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or within 2 months of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or who have received a booster dose are not required to quarantine but must wear a mask for 10 days and monitor carefully for symptoms.
- Individuals who do not meet the revised definition of fully vaccinated now have the option of a 5-day quarantine period, returning to school on the sixth day. They must wear a mask for the next 5 days and continue to carefully monitor for symptoms.
Quarantine Guidance: School-Related Exposure
At this time, the District will continue to follow Ohio’s Mask to Stay/Test to Play quarantine guidance
for K-12 school settings. This guidance outlines that unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals identified as close contacts to a school-related exposure may continue to come to school if they do the following:
An unvaccinated or partially vaccinated student or staff member who has been identified as a close contact of a case through an exposure at school may continue to come to school if they do the following:
- Wear a mask for 10 days after their last date of exposure.
- Self-monitor, or parent-monitor, for symptoms of COVID-19.
- Isolate and get tested if they start to experience any symptoms associated with COVID-19 regardless of level of severity.
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.