Practices and Procedures
FFC8 uses an online student information system for registration. Parents may complete the 2020-2021 online registration (OLR) process from home using the Infinite Campus (IC) parent portal.
Families without access to a personal computer or the Internet may use a computer at the school to complete OLR during Registration Week, July 27-31, 2020. Alternatively, families may request a paper registration packet from the school and complete the process over the phone.
Families who are new to the District, returning students requesting out-of-district or out-of-zone enrollment, or families using the paper packet may be required to submit documents to complete the registration process. Most documents, such as birth certificates and immunization records, contain personally identifiable information (PII) and cannot be submitted to the school via email. Families are encouraged to make an appointment to submit documents in-person at the school. While submitting documents by USPS mail is an option, this may delay the registration process for several days.
For in-person computer use or document exchange, parents and guardians will be required to wear face coverings and comply with the District’s social distancing and health/safety protocols while on campus.
Families are encouraged to make all school-related fee payments online to minimize the exchange of cash and checks. This includes fees for yearbooks, laptops and payments for lunch accounts.
When all schools in FFC8 can open for in-person learning, we will focus on supporting the health and safety of students and staff. To do this, common areas such as the front office, restrooms, libraries, cafeterias, gyms, hallways, etc., will be clearly marked with reminders to social distance and wear face coverings. Staff will ask students to separate if standing too close together and to put face coverings on if social distancing is not feasible. Additionally, some areas such as the library and cafeteria will be used on a limited basis to reduce congregating. Custodial staff will disinfect common areas throughout the day and will address high trafficked areas each night.
FFC8 has invested in a variety of resources to support reopening schools, including: installing additional water bottle filler stations to limit the need for water fountains; purchasing portable stations to support regular hand washing at elementary and middle schools; purchasing additional sanitizing and disinfecting tools that clean areas quickly; purchasing face coverings for students and staff; and purchasing thermometers for every classroom. Also, the role of the school nurse will be expanded with the district, including adding five nurses to the district nursing team.
Schools in FFC8 will limit outside guests, including volunteers, and families will be asked to make an appointment to meet with school staff to reduce the number of individuals in common spaces. Teleconferencing will be encouraged as a way to stay connected as well as increased email and phone communication. Large scale events, such as back to school nights, curriculum nights and school fundraisers will not be allowed during the first quarter. Virtual options for Back to School nights will be explored and communicated by schools. Families should also ensure all emergency contacts are up to date in case your student needs to be picked up. All of the above practices will be evaluated regularly and the district will communicate updates and changes to staff and families in a timely manner.
Creating positive learning environments is a high priority for FFC8. Some adjustments will be required because of the health safety practices necessary to keep staff and students safe. Social distancing remains one of the most important aspects of decreasing the spread of COVID-19. Children’s Hospital Colorado discussed the impact social distancing will have on reopening schools. Although 6 feet may not always be possible, achieving some distancing, 3-5 feet, is better than close contact. Teachers will strive to create as much space as feasible by arranging student desks and tables with as much distancing as possible. Even though schools support a large number of people, keeping students in cohorts (with the same peers throughout the day), will reduce the number of people who interact with each other. Cohort groups will be more easily accomplished at the preschool and elementary level. However, practices such as assigned seating and students facing the same direction rather than facing each other will be enforced at all levels.
Additionally, hand washing and hand sanitizing will be increased and included in scheduled activities. Preschool and elementary levels will focus on frequent hand washing, while middle and high school levels will use a combination of hand sanitizer and hand washing. Students will be allowed to bring in hand sanitizer for personal use only; however, hand sanitizer will be available in classrooms as well. Finally, students will be asked to leave all unnecessary items at home and only bring items required for learning. Teachers are expected to limit community items and ensure students do not share personal items. Also, teachers and students will be expected to sanitize work areas and supplies after use.
One of FFC8’s priorities is the health and safety of students and staff charged with the responsibility of safe transport to and from school, as well as after school activities. Because of COVID-19, the District is implementing health safety protocols on all buses, including increased student and staff expectations and increased frequency of bus cleaning and sanitizing between routes. Also, the district will staff each bus with a health safety monitor in addition to the bus driver. The overall effectiveness of each of these protocols will require the cooperation of everyone involved, including reinforcement of expectations at home.
All students and staff will be required to wear a face covering while riding on the bus and use hand sanitizer prior to taking a seat. It is important to minimize contact; students must keep hands to themselves at all times and stay in their assigned seat. Furthermore, families are encouraged to transport students as much as possible. Due to increased traffic, drop off and pick up lines may increase. There may be adjustments to the above expectations based upon students with special needs, and reasonable accommodations will be made to address the specific individual needs. Additional transportation guidance is posted on the transportation website and will be provided to registered bus riders prior to school starting.
Breakfast and Lunch
FFC8 will continue to serve breakfast and lunch on-site when schools are open. Students enrolled in the District’s new Fountain-Fort Carson Virtual Academy may purchase meals daily at their designated home school.
For on-site food service, new health/safety protocols for students and food service staff will include hand washing or sanitizing before and after meals, wearing face coverings in the cafeteria when not eating, and social distancing in the serving line, cashier line and while seated. Buffet style stations, including salad bars, will not be available in the cafeterias. Students are discouraged from sharing food and/or drinks with others.
To expedite the checkout process and minimize time spent in the cashier line, students should have their ID cards ready when they enter the cafeteria. Families are encouraged to prepay lunch accounts online to reduce the exchange of cash, coins and checks in the cafeteria. Secure drop boxes will be added for contactless payment of lunch accounts.
Secondary students will continue to eat breakfast and lunch in the cafeteria, when appropriate, or designated indoor/outdoor areas. The number of students participating in each lunch period will be reduced through revisions to the daily lunch schedules. There will be a limited number of students allowed per table to maintain social distancing. If needed, additional seating will be added to cafeterias and outdoor spaces to accommodate social distancing. All secondary students will be required to use hand sanitizer before and after meals and to throw away their own trash before leaving the dining spaces.
Elementary students will eat breakfast and lunch in their classrooms. Students will be provided meal items and drinks in disposable containers with plastic cutlery and individual condiment packets. Students will be accompanied to retrieve their food by an adult and will carry their own food to the classroom and eat at their desks. After eating, elementary students will throw away their trash, clean their desk with a wipe, and wash their hands to prepare for instruction.
Specific information regarding breakfast and lunch schedules will be provided by schools prior to school starting.
Sick Staff and Child
FFC8 is prepared to support students or staff members who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19. However, most importantly, students, staff and families must be diligent in self-screening daily. If exhibiting symptoms, students and staff need to stay home and consult with their health care provider to determine if they need to be tested. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a Self-Checker to aide in this decision. (Located in Resources, pg. 20)
If a staff member or student becomes sick while at school or begins to exhibit symptoms:
- A face covering must be put on immediately.
- Isolation will take place in a designated area.
- Evaluation will be conducted by a nurse.
- Identification of individuals they have been in close physical contact with.
- Supervisors must notify Human Resources immediately if a staff member becomes ill with suspected COVID-19.
- Supervisors must notify the Deputy Superintendent if a student becomes ill with suspected COVID-19.
- Students sent home for exhibiting symptoms or awaiting test results will be provided remote learning opportunities while out.
- Staff or students will need to remain home until cleared to return to work or school by Human Resources.
If a student, staff member or family member within the household tests positive for COVID-19:
- Seek medical care from your healthcare provider in accordance with CDC and El Paso County Health Department Guidelines.
- Alert the school health office as quickly as possible to ensure the student can be provided with resources and to get started on remote learning.
- Do not come to school until cleared to do so by healthcare provider. Students must provide a note from a physician before returning to school.
- If a family member is the one who is sick, the staff or student must be tested after that family member is no longer showing symptoms to ensure the student or staff is not infected prior to returning to school.
- Staff must remain in contact with Human Resources for guidance on returning to work.
- FFC8 will coordinate with Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment regarding suspected and confirmed cases to determine course of action on a case by case basis.
- Staff and students who have had direct contact with an employee or student who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be notified.
- Only staff or students who were in close physical contact with a positive case or who exhibit symptoms will be monitored. Being in the room with someone who was ill does not constitute close physical contact.
School Closure/Remote Learning
FFC8 is committed to in-person learning; however, contingency plans are in place for closing classrooms or schools based on El Paso County Health Department guidelines. These plans will involve multi-faceted communication that focuses on informing all staff, families and community members of closures. In the event of a school or district closure, remote learning will be initiated. Remote instruction will be facilitated by the same teacher(s) the student is assigned to in-person. Teachers and students will utilize instructional platforms and supports that are familiar and can be easily transferred from in-person learning to remote learning. In addition, classroom grading practices and assignment expectations will mirror expectations of in-person learning as much as possible and where appropriate.
FFC8 has invested in devices for all students, kindergarten through 12th grade. Therefore, in the event that remote learning is necessary, students will be provided with an assigned device. Additionally, for those without Internet access, a mobile hot-spot can be requested by families. FFC8 will continue to make meals available, will ensure mental health staff are available as a resource, and will communicate consistently during remote learning. Also, a comprehensive re-entry plan, including health screening of students and staff, will be necessary to ease the transition back to in-person learning. Finally, El Paso County Health Department has provided practical guidance regarding reopening schools and general procedures in the event of an outbreak. FFC8 will work within these parameters to determine school closures.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends screening for COVID-19 symptoms for all children and staff. The most important protective practice schools can take is to require students and staff stay home when ill. Screening upon entry to school will be required for all students, staff, and visitors. Schools will screen for the following symptoms on a daily basis: fever greater than 100.4, chills, new onset cough, shortness of breath, body/muscle aches, fatigue, loss of taste/smell, vomiting, diarrhea, new onset runny nose, and sore throat.
Children’s Hospital Colorado reported wearing face coverings to cover the nose and mouth is important to reduce the release of air particles from a person’s face, such as when someone speaks, coughs or sneezes. Most students and staff can use a cloth face covering to achieve a high level of transmission reduction. When students are unable to physically social distance, face coverings become much more important. FFC8 will require face coverings to be worn by students, K-12; however, scheduled breaks from face coverings will be provided for students when in classrooms.
Hand Washing/Hand Sanitizing
Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, students will use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Five steps to effective hand washing:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or an automatic hand dryer.
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment states that maintaining social distancing helps limit the spread of COVID-19. Schools will practice social distancing to the extent possible throughout the school day and will intentionally increase physical space between individuals. Students and staff should respect social distancing for as much of the day as possible, including individual learning spaces.
Providing access to drinking water is important to increase students’ overall water consumption and maintain hydration. Adequate hydration is important to maintain overall health and to improve cognitive function in children and adolescents. To support hydration at school, families are encouraged to send students to school with a personal water bottle. FFC8 has increased access to drinking water by installing additional water bottle filling stations in every school.
Water Fountain Use
As FFC8 has added water bottle fillers across the district, some water fountains have been removed or will be out of service. Remaining water fountains should only be used for filling water bottles or cups.
- Wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer before and after filling
- Use water bottle filler when available
- Use a water bottle or cup when possible
- Do not place mouth on the spout of the fountain or allow water bottle or cup to contact the spout when filling
Middle School/High School
Custodial Staff Expectations at All Schools
- Disinfect “high touch” surfaces: door handles, push bars, light switches, handrails and restrooms at varying intervals throughout the day
- Complete cleaning and disinfecting of all restrooms nightly
- Ensure all classrooms have enough disinfecting spray/wipes available for the next day
- Keep room or area secure after it has been cleaned and disinfected for the night
- Remove trash daily, at a minimum