• HEALTH AND SAFETY

    What is a close contact? 

    A close contact is defined by the CDC as someone who was within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes, starting from two days before illness onset until the time the patient is isolated. This means the close contact has possibly been exposed to the virus and should quarantine to monitor for symptoms. 

    How will I know if my child is a close contact? How will I know if I have been exposed as a staff member? 

    Anyone determined to be a close contact will receive a personal phone call from their school administration and separate email notification with further instructions. If you are not directly contacted about you/your child being a close contact, then you/your child have not been identified as a close contact and will not need to quarantine. 

    If I/my child is sent home as a close contact, do other members of our family need to quarantine? 

    No. Anyone who has been near someone who is identified as a close contact is considered a “contact of a contact.” This person has not been exposed and may continue activities as normal. If the close contact individual begins experiencing symptoms or becomes lab-confirmed, the contact of a contact should begin quarantine and get tested. 

    How will I know if there is a COVID-positive case on campus? 

    When lab-confirmed cases are reported to the district, all staff and parents at the affected school will receive an emailed notification once contract tracing is complete. Due to state and federal privacy requirements, the name or details that may identify the individual cannot be released. The district also manages a site-by-site COVID tracking tool to provide our community with a summary of active case counts in our schools. This dashboard is updated each school day by 5 pm and represents the most accurate tracking of the COVID impact in EMS ISD.  

    How will campuses support student and staff health at school?

    • Hand sanitizer dispensers will be installed at all main entrances at all district facilities. Portable, stand-alone dispenser stations also will be delivered to each facility for use wherever campus administration deems necessary. 
    • Students, teachers, staff, and campus visitors will be encouraged to sanitize and/or wash hands frequently.
    • Schools will encourage students to engage in handwashing for at least 20 seconds at least two times each day, in addition to being encouraged to wash hands after using the restroom and before eating.
    • Schools will teach students good handwashing techniques.
    • Students, teachers, staff, and campus visitors will be encouraged to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and if not available, covered in their elbows. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash, hands should be washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or hand sanitizer should be used.
    • On the first day a student attends school on campus, EMS ISD will provide instruction to students on appropriate hygiene and other health safety practices adopted in the local school system.
    • Sneeze shields/guards will be installed to all locations for use in reception areas and/or other administrative areas as determined by campus leadership. Specific locations will be defined in each campus’ Safe Return to School Operational Procedures Plan.
    • Campuses have created health and safety plans.

    Campus Cleaning

    • Campuses will institute more frequent cleaning practices, including additional cleaning and sanitization by custodial staff, as well as provide the opportunity for children to clean their own spaces before and after they are used, in ways that are safe and developmentally appropriate.
    • Schools will arrange for cleaning and disinfecting of commonly touched surfaces in classrooms between different class groups, if the same room will be used by multiple class groups. This could include objects such as shared tables/desks, shared supplies such as art supplies, and at high school, touch-powered devices such as shared laptops or tablets.

    District custodial staff will implement the following measures within district facilities:

    • Access to, and regular use of, additional disinfectant resources including electrostatic sprayers.
    • More frequent cleaning and disinfecting of common areas and high-touch surfaces during the day and at the end of each day. This includes doorknobs, handrails, etc.
    • Disinfect all locations nightly utilizing cleaners approved by the EPA for use in treating COVID-19. The disinfectant meets or exceeds guidelines set by the CDC.
    • Adjust custodial schedules so more staff can be onsite during the day to provide timely cleaning and disinfecting when students and employees are present.
    • Per standard practice, ensure cleaning products are stored safely, including storing harmful products where children cannot access them, and ensuring that harmful cleaning products are not used near children.
    • EMS ISD custodial staff will be trained in best practices for sanitization on campuses and throughout district buildings. Custodial supervisors will monitor CDC guidelines to ensure district procedures align with the most current recommendations. Trainings will be documented, signed, and dated by each employee.

    How will the district screen students, staff, and visitors?

    Staff
    EMS ISD will require teachers and staff to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms before coming onto campus each day. The self-screening will include teachers and staff taking their own temperature. Teachers and staff must report to the school system if they themselves have COVID-19 symptoms or are lab confirmed with COVID-19, and, if so, they must remain off campus until they meet the criteria for re-entry. Additionally, they must report to the school system if they have had close contact with an individual who is lab-confirmed with COVID-19, and, if so, must remain off campus until the 14-day incubation period has passed.

    Screening Parents and Students
    EMS ISD may screen students and parents. Screening is accomplished by asking questions by phone or other electronic methods and/or in person. The screening questions should also be asked of a student’s parent/guardian if that parent/guardian will be dropping off or picking up their child from inside the school. Regularly performing a forehead temperature check of otherwise asymptomatic students in school is not recommended, but the practice is also not prohibited by TEA guidance.

    Visitors
    EMS ISD must screen all visitors before they are allowed onto campuses to determine if the visitors have COVID-19 symptoms or are lab-confirmed with COVID-19, and, if so, the visitor must remain off campus until they meet the criteria for re-entry.

    Additionally, EMS ISD must screen to determine if visitors have had close contact with an individual who is lab-confirmed with COVID-19, and, if so, the visitor must remain off campus until the 14-day incubation period has passed. When practical, screening questions could be supplemented with temperature checks of adults.

    Parents/guardians and other adults can visit schools IF it is critical to the academic success of the student and essential to school operations. During these visits, parents/guardians and other visitors must follow virus prevention and mitigation requirements of the school. To minimize potential exposure, parens/guardians and any other guests will not be allowed in the building for non-academic purposes (e.g., lunch, walking students to class, ect.). Review the Required Visitor Screening overview.

    Symptoms
    In evaluating whether an individual has symptoms consistent with COVID-19, consider the following question: Have they recently begun experiencing any of the following in a way that is not normal for them? 

    • Feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit 
    • Loss of taste or smell 
    • Cough 
    • Difficulty breathing 
    • Shortness of breath 
    • Fatigue o Headache 
    • Chills 
    • Sore throat 
    • Congestion or runny nose 
    • Shaking or exaggerated shivering 
    • Significant muscle pain or ache 
    • Diarrhea 
    • Nausea or vomiting 

    Close Contact
    This document refers to “close contact” with an individual who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19. The definition of close contact is evolving with our understanding of COVID-19, and individual 9 scenarios should be determined by an appropriate public health agency. In general, close contact is defined as: (a) being directly exposed to infectious secretions (e.g., being coughed on); or (b) being within 6 feet for a cumulative duration of 15 minutes; however, additional factors like case/contact masking (i.e., both the infectious individual and the potential close contact have been consistently and properly masked), ventilation, presence of dividers, and case symptomology may affect this determination. 

    Either (a) or (b) defines close contact if it occurred during the infectious period of the case, defined as two days prior to symptom onset to 10 days after symptom onset. In the case of asymptomatic individuals who are lab-confirmed with COVID-19, the infectious period is defined as two days prior to the confirming lab test and continuing for 10 days following the confirming lab test. 

    Screening Questionnaire Information
    1. When asking individuals if they have symptoms for COVID-19, school systems must only require the individual to provide a “Yes” or “No” to the overall statement that they are symptomatic for COVID-19, as opposed to asking the individual for specific symptom confirmation. School systems are not entitled to collect information during screening on the specific health information of an individual beyond that they are symptomatic. 

    2. Once it is determined that individuals who responded “Yes” to either of these questions have met the criteria for re-entry, school systems must destroy those individuals’ responses.

    Can I visit my child's school?

    Parents/guardians and other adults can visit schools IF it is critical to the academic success of the student and essential to school operations. During these visits, parents/guardians and other visitors must follow virus prevention and mitigation requirements of the school. To minimize potential exposure, parens/guardians and any other guests will not be allowed in the building for non-academic purposes (e.g., lunch, walking students to class, ect.). Review the Required Visitor Screening overview.

    What is the district's mask policy?

    For the purposes of the EMS ISD Reconnect 2020 learning plan, masks include non-medical grade disposable face masks or cloth face coverings to protect nose and mouth. Full-face shields may be used to supplement face coverings, but are generally not sufficient to be worn alone unless in an activity as described below. We are continuing to review and provide updates based on CDC and Texas Education Agency guidance. 

    • Students pre-K through grade 12 are asked to bring a face mask as part of basic school supplies. Masks or cloth face coverings will be required to be worn while at school and will be supplied by the campus if a student does not have them. Students may be allowed to wear face shields in addition to masks, but masks will be required as described below. 
    • All adults will be required to wear a face covering. When working alone with no one in the same room, adults may temporarily remove the face covering. If someone enters the room, employees should put on their face covering. For employees, face coverings must adhere to Board Policy DGA(LOCAL).
    • While transitioning to common areas and to classrooms, all adults and students will wear face coverings.  
    • Students and staff will use face shields and plastic desk dividers during small group guided reading and phonics lessons. Early reading skills are based on sounds combining to make syllables and words, and it is vital for beginning and developing readers to see the teacher’s mouth as he/she forms words and syllables. It is just as important for the teachers to see students' mouths to correct sound errors and formations.  For this reason, students and teachers will not wear masks during small group guided reading however, additional safety precautions will be put into place during these lessons.
    • Students and staff may use face shields during instruction that necessitates instructional modeling in areas other than guided reading. Students may need practice with articulation, fluency, and modeling on how to make proper sounds. Face shields provide staff and students the opportunity to more accurately demonstrate movement of the lips, mouth, and tongue to make sounds. This also may include delivery of specialized therapies such as speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and dyslexia. 
    • Students will not be required to wear face coverings at recess or when actively exercising in PE/athletics. Students will be encouraged to maintain social distancing when possible during these activities. Students will wear masks in transition to/from these areas.
    • Students will wear face coverings in Music/Art/Fine Arts unless otherwise specified by the teacher according to activity and distancing.
    • Lanyards will be provided for elementary students to attach masks when not in use.
    • Teachers and staff may wear face shields when outdoors and performing work that would be problematic to accomplish with a face mask, such as greeting students and families during morning drop-off and afternoon pickup. Staff should remain socially distanced from others and should put their mask on before going back inside the building.
    • Plastic desk partitions will be used in classrooms to provide additional separation of students. Where partitions are not feasible, additional precautions to maximize distancing will be made

    How will students eat on campus?

    Cafeteria meal services will continue at both elementary and secondary levels with additional safety and sanitization practices implemented:

    • Serving lines will be sanitized between each class or table, depending on how campus administration manages the release of students to the serving lines.
    • All staff will continue to wear gloves and face masks.
    • Shields will be placed at cash register stations to provide added protection for students and staff.
    • Sneeze guards will be in place and students will have no contact with food that is not theirs in the serving line.
    • All breakfast will be “grab-and-go” in a bag to reduce congregating.
    • Salad bars will not be open while enhanced health safety measures are in place.
    • “Grab-and-go” a la carte items will continue to be individually wrapped and all condiments will be prepackaged.
    • Service times will be adjusted as needed to meet the needs of each campus.
    • Meal service will move to a cashless system to limit handling of cash payments. Parents are requested to utilize the MySchoolBucks system to purchase meals for students. No change will be given; all cash or check payments will be deposited on student accounts. Refunds will be provided via check (no cash) upon request through the Child Nutrition office.
    • All Child Nutrition staff will participate in training in additional health safety protocols for meal service.

    What do I do if my student has COVID-19 symptoms or has been diagnosed through a lab-confirmed positive test result?

    Keep your student home and contact your campus nurse. If your student has symptoms, begin a 10-day quarantine from the time of your test or the onset of symptoms. If your student has been diagnosed with COVID-19 through a lab-confirmed positive test result, begin a 10-day quarantine from the time of the test or the onset of symptoms, whichever is earlier. 

    What do I do if my student has had direct exposure to someone with COVID-19?

    This is considered a "close contact." Keep your student home and contact your campus nurse. If your student has had direct exposure through close contact to someone with COVID-19, begin a 14-day isolation from the last-known contact with the lab-confirmed individual and monitor for symptoms.

    What do I do if someone in our household is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19?

    This is considered a "close contact." Keep your student home and contact your campus nurse. If someone in your household is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, begin a 14-day isolation from the last-known contact with the lab-confirmed individual and monitor for symptoms.

    What do I do if someone in our household has been exposed to someone with COVID-19? 

    This is considered a "contact of a contact." If a member of your household has been exposed to COVID-19 but is not experiencing symptoms and the student was not in close contact with the positive COVID-19 individual, then your student may continue attending school on campus. Continue to monitor for symptoms and follow CDC guidelines by:

    • Maintaining good hygiene
    • Practicing social distancing
    • Wearing a mask
    • Washing hands frequently

    What do I do if my child is ready to return to school after having COVID-19 or its symptoms?

    Your student can return to school when all three of the following criteria have been met:

    • At least one day (24 hours) has passed since with no fever without the use of fever reducing medications and
    • Ten (10) days have passed since the symptoms first appeared and
    • Symptoms are improved

    You also may submit a medical professional's note indicating an alternative diagnosis or obtain an acute infection test that comes back negative for COVID-19 to gain clearance to return to school. Students must check-in with the school nurse before being allowed to return to classes.

    What do I do if I need to report a lab-confirmed COVID-19 case during non-school hours?

    Visit Let's Talk on the district website and complete the COVID-19 After-Hours Reporting Form. Someone from the campus or district will follow up with additional instructions.

    What happens if someone infected with COVID-19 is on campus?

    • Schools must immediately separate any student who shows COVID-19 symptoms while at school until the student can be picked up by a parent or guardian.  The parent or guardian is expected to come pick up the student immediately.
    • Schools will clean and sanitize the areas used by the individual who shows COVID-19 symptoms while at school (student, teacher, or staff) as soon as is feasible.
    • Students who report feeling feverish will be given an immediate temperature check to determine if they are symptomatic for COVID-19.
    • Additionally, the district is tracking reported cases and recoveries via the COVID-19 Dashboard. The site will be updated every week day by 5 pm.

    Required Actions if Individuals with Lab-Confirmed Cases Have Been in a School

    • If an individual who has been in a school is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19, EMS ISD must notify its local health department, in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, including confidentiality requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
    • Schools must close off areas that are heavily used by the individual with the lab-confirmed case (student, teacher, or staff) until the non-porous surfaces in those areas can be disinfected, unless more than seven (7) days have already passed since that person was on campus.
    • Consistent with school notification requirements for other communicable diseases, and consistent with legal confidentiality requirements, EMS ISD must notify all teachers, staff, and families of all students in a school if a lab-confirmed COVID-19 case is identified among students, teachers or staff who participate on any on-campus activities.

    IN-PERSON LEARNING

    I'm concerned about my student being in close proximity to others. Will social distancing be encouraged?

    Where feasible without disrupting the educational experience, schools will encourage students to practice social distancing of six feet or more.

    • In classrooms where students are regularly within six feet of one another, schools should plan for more frequent hand washing and/or hand sanitizing.
    • Where social distancing is not feasible, EMS ISD may require the use of masks or face shields for adults or students for whom it is developmentally appropriate.     
    • When feasible and appropriate (for example, in physical education classes as weather permits), it is preferable for students to gather outside, rather than inside, because of likely reduced risk of virus spread outdoors.
    • Campuses will develop building-specific plans for entry, exit, and transition procedures (such as passing periods) that reduce large group gatherings of students and/or adults in close proximity.
    • Depending on local conditions, schools will reduce or eliminate assemblies and other activities that bring large groupings of students and/or teachers and staff together.
    • Restrooms will be monitored throughout the day to ensure they are clean and disinfected, and are supplied with soap and other necessary supplies.
    • Campuses will encourage students to practice social distancing of six feet or more when using common spaces such as cafeterias, libraries, etc. Masks will be required in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order except when eating or where feasible and developmentally appropriate. Enhanced cleaning and sanitization of common areas will be conducted more frequently as feasible.

    I don’t want to send my child to school because he is at high risk for catching COVID-19. What are my options? 

    If you choose remote learning for your child, here is what to expect: 

    • All learning and activities will occur online. 
    • Students will not come to campus for any instruction. 
    • Students will be asked to remain in remote learning for a full grading period. 
    • Students can return to on-campus learning after one full grading period. 
    • Courses will be taught by highly qualified, certified teachers. 
    • Resources supporting students’ social and emotional needs will be available. 

    What happens if campuses need to close again? 

    If campuses are required to close again for any reason, all students would transition to remote learning. 

    Do I need to buy a mask for my child if she attends school in-person?

    It is recommended that students bring a face mask if they begin in-person learning September 8*.  Please check with your child's campus for details.

    *For the purposes of the EMS ISD Reconnect 2020 learning plan, masks include non-medical grade disposable face masks or cloth face coverings to protect nose and mouth. Full-face shields may be used to supplement face coverings, but are generally not sufficient to be worn alone unless in an activity as described on the Reconnect 2020 website under In-Person Learning > Health and Safety Measures. We are continuing to review and provide updates based on CDC and Texas Education Agency guidance. 

    My child must begin as a choice remote learner September 8 but does not want to remain that way. What are his options?

    Students who attend in-person but must begin Choice Remote Learning for a limited time (less than three weeks)

    Students will remain with their current schedule and assigned teachers. Assignments will be provided through the online platform (TEAMS/CANVAS). Daily engagement is required for the student to be counted present. 

    Students who attend in-person but must begin Choice Remote Learning for an extended time (more than three weeks)

    Students will be assigned to a remote learning teacher and may possibly change their schedule if they are attending any courses that must be done in-person. Campus counselors will determine the best schedule for the student in partnership with the student and parent, so the student remains on track to be promoted to the next grade level or to graduate. Assignments will be given through the online platform (TEAMS/CANVAS).  Daily engagement is required for the student to be counted present.

    What's the difference between Spring 2020 Distance Learning and 2020-2021 Remote Learning?

    EMS ISD developed the Spring 2020 Distance Learning plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a crisis response that had to be implemented quickly and efficiently. The district determined it was critical to continue providing the best learning opportunity for every student.  Teachers followed the standard curriculum so that students did not lose their learning from the year and were prepared for the 2020-2021 school year with little deficit. Due to trying to provide equity for all students with technology, devices, and access to internet, a Pass (PL)/Fail (FL) option was implemented and the Spring 2020 semester did not count towards a student’s grade point average (GPA).

    The 2020-2021 Remote Learning plan will not be the same model as the spring distance learning. EMS ISD will follow a defined asynchronous instructional model, which is far more self-guided student instruction. Asynchronous instruction is a curricular experience where students engage daily in the learning materials, interacting intermittently with the teacher via the computer or other electronic devices or over the phone. Asynchronous instruction does not require having the teacher/instructor and student engaged at the same time every day, all day; however, students will be expected to engage in their coursework during regular school hours. In this method, students learn from instruction that may be delivered in-person or in real time, as well as through various forms of digital and online learning such as prerecorded video lessons or learning tasks that students complete on their own, and pre-assigned work and formative assessments made available to students on paper. Per state requirements, districts must follow the TEKS-based curriculum (TEC, §28.002) and school grading policies for remote student work must be consistent with on campus assignments. 

    Under Texas Education Agency regulations, homeschool or private school students who were not enrolled in a Texas public school in 2019-2020 and enroll in EMS ISD for 2020-2021 will only be allowed to participate in on-campus instruction.

    Is there an application?

    Parents who wish for their child(ren) to attend remote learning for the 2020-2021 school year must virtually attend an orientation, commit to their child’s engagement daily with the teacher and/or the learning platform (TEAMS for elementary and CANVAS for secondary), and to complete all assignments and timelines for grading. Parents will submit the application online. Once received, it will be reviewed by an EMS ISD placement committee. Once the approval is finalized, the campus will contact the parent and students of the admission status. Click on the Application icon under Choice Remote Learning on this page.

    Will my student receive the same services as an in-person learner?

    Social/Emotional Well-being

    Students in need of counseling supports will have virtual access to their home campus counselor, social worker, and intervention counselor. Parents may work with their home campus counseling team to determine the best needs of supports and resources. 

    Instructional Technologist Supports

    Students, parents, and remote learning teachers will have access to our technology and instructional technology supports. For assistance with device care and software understanding, please call the Help Desk at 817-847-2990. Teachers in need of remote learning support will have direct access to the campus instructional technical specialist and can contact the IT department throughout the day for instructional assistance.

    Interventionists Supports

    Students who have been identified for academic intervention support will be contacted by a campus interventionist to determine the specific times to receive the additional instruction during normal school hours. Remote learners who will receive their supports with other students will be expected to participate virtually at a time designated by the campus. 

    Will the traditional attendance policy be followed this year?

    Per standard attendance requirements, students must be present for 90% of the required days of learning to be promoted to the next grade level or receive credit towards graduation, if in high school. The truancy process will be followed in accordance with state law (TEC, §25.092) if a student is not present for 90% of the days. Students are expected to engage each day and participate in the learning.  It is required by the state that the district follow the curriculum (TEC, §28.002) and district grading policies will be enforced.

    We are choosing in-person learning for my student(s). What can we expect?

    Students who attend in-person learning (come into the school building) will participate in a traditional academic, extracurricular, and co-curricular schedule following the bell schedule for that campus. Students will be expected to follow all health and safety protocols in place at the campus.

    Are certain CTE courses designated as in-person only?

    Yes, CTE courses designated as in-person only must be completed in-person, on-campus during the school day. This is due to the specialized equipment, direct supervision of hands-on activities, and/or specific materials and technology needed for these courses. Additionally, many of these classes serve as the capstone to a program of study, centered on a specific field, that spans at least three courses and are needed for certification, licensure, or dual credit. Transportation must be provided by the parent or student. For a list of courses, click on the Career and Technology icon under Choice Remote Learning on this page.

    Can my remote learner participate in athletics and fine arts?
    Students enrolled in Remote Learning will be allowed to participate in person, on campus in athletics and cheerleading. This could be during the school day and/or before or after school. The student must work with his/her coach/director when the remote learner attends in-person class, practices, games or events. Transportation must be provided by the parent or student.

    Students enrolled in Remote Learning may participate in a performing fine arts course (Band, Choir, Dance, & Theatre Arts).This could be during the school day and/or before or after school. The student must work with his/her teacher/director when the remote learner attends in-person class, practices, games or events.Transportation must be provided by the parent or student.

    Non-performing arts (Visual Arts courses in middle school and high school) will be conducted all remotely for the remote learner.

    My child will participate in choice remote learning. Will she still be able to participate in clubs or organizations?

    Students enrolled in Choice Remote Learning may participate in student clubs or organizations virtually and may attend before/after-school meetings and events in person. The student must work with his/her sponsor to determine times for attendance and must provide their own transportation.

    Who can we call if we have technology issues during choice remote learning?

    Contact the EMS ISD Help Desk at 817-847-2990. The Help Desk will take calls from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm weekdays.

    How often will the district communicate with families and staff?

    The district aims to provide relevant and accurate information to the EMS community as often as possible. We are in a season where we are overwhelmed with new and sometimes conflicting information. It's our responsibility to make informed, deliberate decisions in the best interest of our students, familes, and staff. 

    I want to express my opinion to the district. How do I do that? 

    We want to hear from you! Submit a response on the district's Let's Talk page.