Return To School Plan 2021-2022
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Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities
2021-22 School Year COVID-19 Return to School Plan & Guidelines
Updated August 30, 2021
The Indiana Academy will continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in a manner that promotes the safety of employees, students, and campus visitors while furthering the school’s mission and values. The Academy’s policies and plans will also be aligned with guidance from Ball State University, the Indiana Department of Education, local public health officials, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The school’s policies and plans will be reviewed and appropriately updated, as necessary.
The Indiana Academy will not be offering virtual learning options this year. All courses will return to a traditional in-person format. Students who need to stay home due to illness or quarantine will receive class materials from teachers through Canvas or email.
II. 2021-2022 Calendar
The 2021-2022 calendar will return to a traditional format. Indiana Academy juniors will report Wednesday, August 11, 2021, and seniors will report Friday, August 13, 2021. The first day of class is Monday, August 16, 2021. The calendar will include traditional three and four-day weekends dispersed through each semester to allow opportunities for residential students to visit family.
III. Indiana Academy Mask Policy
The CDC now recommends that face masks be worn by all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, in K-12 schools due to increasing spread of COVID-19, including the Delta variant. In keeping with the updated CDC guidance, the Indiana Academy will require all students, faculty, and staff to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, while on school grounds.
IV. Physical Distancing
Efforts will be made by all faculty and students to physically distance from others whenever possible. We will continue to monitor CDC, local health department, and Ball State guidance in determining appropriate distancing. That said, when a fully vaccinated person meets with other fully vaccinated people indoors, physical distancing (and wearing a mask) is not required.
V. Health Considerations
- Daily Symptom Self-Check
Students must understand and be aware of COVID-19 symptoms. Students will continue to be expected to monitor their symptoms every day before coming to campus or leaving their residence halls. If a student experiences symptoms of COVID-19, the student should seek medical care, either through the Indiana Academy Nurses’ Office or a primary care provider.
- Higher-Risk Populations
Students who have a condition that places them in a higher-risk group as defined by the CDC, as well as those who are pregnant, should be particularly judicious in taking precautions to protect themselves, including observing the safety practices described further below.
- COVID-19 Vaccinations
Students are strongly encouraged to get a COVID-19 vaccination. All individuals in Indiana 12 years of age and older are currently eligible for the vaccine. There are many vaccine sites throughout Indiana, including one on our campus that is under the authority of the Delaware County Health Department (DCHD) and utilizes University personnel. To schedule an appointment, visit ourshot.in.gov or call 211. More information is available on this webpage.
Students are expected to abide by the CDC’s quarantine guidance. The CDC recommends a 14-day quarantine period as the safest strategy.
Note that people who have tested positive for COVID-19 do not need to quarantine (or get tested again) for up to 3 months as long as they do not develop symptoms again. In addition, consistent with CDC guidance related to vaccinations, fully vaccinated people are not expected to quarantine (or get tested) after exposure to someone with COVID-19 if they remain asymptomatic.
VI. Field Trips
Travel for field trips is currently suspended across Ball State University’s campus. Field trips will resume when travel restrictions on campus are lifted.
VII. Special Education Services
The Special Education team will collaborate with classroom teachers to support social/emotional and academic needs as they arise and will continue to follow all current IEP’s. Meetings will be available in-person and virtual.
VIII. Shadow Day (September 3, 2021)
The Indiana Academy’s Shadow Day is scheduled for Friday, September 3, 2021. We hope to hold this event to provide parents/guardians an opportunity to attend Academy classes with students, but a final decision will be made in August based on COVID-19 transmission rates and local health department guidelines.
IX. Parent/Teacher Conference (October 8, 2021)
The Indiana Academy’s Parent/Teacher conference is scheduled for Friday, October 8, 2021. We hope to hold this event to provide parents/guardians an opportunity to visit with teachers, but a final decision will be made in September based on COVID-19 transmission rates and local health department guidelines.
X. Residential Single Room Request Procedure
We understand that some students and families may want a single room due to remaining concerns over COVID-19 transmission. There are not enough rooms available for every student to have a single room. In July, an application process will begin for students desiring a single room. Priority will go to those with medical documentation recommending a single room.
XI. Personal Sanitation Measures
Students and employees should maintain good personal sanitation/hygiene, keeping the following in mind:
- Students and employees should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place, or after coughing, sneezing, blowing their nose, or touching their face. If soap and water are not readily available, students and employees should use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Students and employees are encouraged to carry hand sanitizer and keep some in their offices/rooms. A bottle of hand sanitizer will be provided to students and employees at the beginning of the school year.
- Students and employees are encouraged to carry water and use the hands-free, bottle filling stations where available.
- Students and employees should follow proper cleaning standards when sharing personal items and work supplies with others.
XII. Cleaning and Disinfecting Protocols
As it relates to cleaning and disinfecting the campus, the Ball State University has implemented the following protocols.
- Deep cleaning has occurred in all academic buildings as well as other facilities around campus. It will also occur at regular intervals once areas open based on occupancy and use.
- Open buildings are cleaned and disinfected daily at regular intervals, and as necessary based on occupancy and use.
- Cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surface areas (such as controls, door handles, elevator panels, railings, copy machines, etc.) occurs regularly.
- An electrostatic disinfecting sprayer is utilized where appropriate, such as locker rooms, shower areas, shuttle buses, etc.
- Additional cleaning measures will be taken if the University is notified that an individual is/was on campus with a positive diagnosis of COVID-19.
XIII. Dining Services
The Indiana Academy will follow all Ball State University dining guidelines. More information is available on the Dining Services Webpage and in the Dining Services Plan.
XIV. Mental Health Services
Scheduled appointments will take place in person, but a change to telehealth may occur based on local health department recommendations. We will follow all guidelines from the school and counseling psychology programs regarding training needs for the practicum students who will be working in the office.
The Indiana Academy will continue to provide transportation to Quick Clinic appointments and athletic practices.
Burris works with Ball State University and the IHSAA to establish athletic safety protocols. The updated Return to Athletics plan will be shared with the community as soon as the IHSAA releases new guidance.
All visitors to the Indiana Academy are expected to abide by all requirements listed in the return to school plan.
XVIII. Health Services: COVID-19 Symptomatic
- The school has a designated space, separate from the Health Clinic, where students or employees who are feeling ill are evaluated or waiting for pick up.
- Only essential staff assigned to the room may enter.
- A record will be kept of all persons who entered the room and the room will be disinfected throughout the day.
- Strict physical distancing is required and health clinic staff must wear appropriate PPE.
- If a student or staff member has a fever, for any reason, they must be fever-free, without the use of fever-reducing medications, for 72 hours before returning to school. Additionally, all staff and students with fevers or symptoms associated with COVID-19 should be encouraged to seek medical attention for further evaluation and instructions. Students and staff may return before the 72-hour window has elapsed if they are approved to do so in writing by their healthcare provider.
XIX. Health Services: Non-Covid-19 Related
Students who do not display symptoms of COVID-19 can be seen and treated in the nurse’s office. These would include students who are injured during the school day or students with special health care needs such as those with chronic health conditions (i.e. – diabetes or seizures), those requiring medical treatments (i.e. – suctioning, tube feeding, or nebulizers), and those with individual health plans.
XX. Health Screening Process Considerations – Students:
The school community must work together to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in the school environment and the community while still providing a quality education program.
State statute gives public school districts the authority to exclude students who have a contagious disease, such as COVID-19, or those liable to transmit such diseases after exposure (IC 20-34-3-9). In addition, the local health department has the authority to exclude students from school and may order students and others to isolate or quarantine (IC 16-41-9-1.6). The Indiana Academy will work closely with the local health department and the Ball State University Public Health Specialist to respond to these situations.
Employees, parents, and students should be familiar with and recognize COVID-19-related symptoms. The current CDC guidelines recommend screening all students for COVID-19 symptoms and history of exposure. Screening can consist of self- screening, school-based screening, and/or medical inquiries.
Self-Screening: Students and families should continue to monitor their symptoms daily, before coming to school. If a student experiences symptoms of COVID-19, without a separate diagnosed cause, that student should seek medical care and clearance before returning to school.
School Screening: The school may take the temperature of students, employees, and visitors on school property on a random basis or in situations where there is reason to believe that the person may be ill. Touch-free thermometers will be used.
Medical Inquiries: Federal law typically limits the type of medical inquiries that can be made, but given the nature of the pandemic, more leeway has been given to make additional medical inquiries of staff and students than would otherwise be allowed.
If a parent tells the school that a student is ill, the school may ask the parent whether the student is exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19.
If an employee calls in sick or appears ill, the school can inquire as to whether the employee is experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
If a person is obviously ill, the school may make additional inquiries and may exclude the person from school property.
XXI. Personal Vacations
Indiana Academy students and employees must abide by CDC travel recommendations for all travel. This may include quarantining at home depending on travel location and COVID-19 transmission rates.