Dear Hilltop Families,
The spring of 2020 brought about unprecedented changes to our society and our education system which included private and public schools. As we look forward to the 2020-2021 school year at Hilltop, we anticipate that COVID-19 will continue to circulate. Students, teachers, and other school staff will be at risk for transmitting and acquiring infection. It is important that everyone in our school community take steps to reduce transmission, particularly to those at high risk, while balancing the need to maintain a strong educational experience that effectively supports staff, students, and our Hilltop families. Our school’s action plan will align with state or county guidelines, whichever is stricter.
This document was developed to provide our school with set policies, practices, and strategies that will be implemented as they come as recommendations from our local and state education and health departments. Our action plan has been approved by Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS), in addition to our local office of education. These safety measures will optimize education and promote health and safety, while mitigating risk throughout the school year.
We have made contingency plans for 4 possibilities for the 2020-2021 school year. We are currently preparing for PLAN A. We will only move to PLAN B, C, D if the state or county mandates all schools to do so.
5-day (Mon-Fr) site-based instruction with heightened precautions.
Students will be educated on 6 feet of social distancing, proper hand washing and disinfecting. All students will wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water before and after breaks, lunch.
Disinfecting stations will be strategically placed throughout the school.
Social distancing floor/seating markings in waiting and reception areas.
Classroom configuration will be reconfigured for maximum space between students, recognizing that it is not always feasible to have 4-6 feet of social distancing during primary instructional time in the classroom.
Water fountains will be turned-off however water bottle filling stations will remain on and additional water bottle filling stations will be installed. Students are encouraged to bring their own water bottles from home.
All teachers, staff, volunteers will be required to wear a face shield. Students in grades K-2 will not be required to wear a mask however it will be strongly encouraged each day for grades K-2. Students in grades 3-8 will be required to wear a mask and it can only be removed for eating and drinking. Face mask and shields will be provided to all students K-8 by the school.
Plexi-glass protective equipment will be installed in the cafeteria and school main office.
Temperature checks will be conducted at the start of each school day with all teachers, staff, and students. Temperatures that reach 100.4 parents will be notified to pick-up their child.
Parents are encouraged to take their child(ren) temperature each day prior to coming to school to monitor for any fever.
Marked 6 feet of spacing to remind students to always stay 6 feet apart in lines and at other times they may congregate (e.g., during lunch, arrival and dismissal, restrooms)
Staff monitor arrival and dismissal to curtail congregating and ensure students go straight from vehicle to their classroom, and vice versa.
Nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations will be restricted.
Any visitors, volunteers must report to the office upon arrival for a temperature check and health screening question.
Students will remain in their cohort groups (classes) to limit interactions among other classes.
Upon arrival for school each day, students will either go directly to their classroom designated entry area at 8:20am or morning care from 7:00am-8:20am. Kindergarten students will enter downstairs through gym entrance, 1/2 grade students will enter downstairs near 1/2 classrooms, 3/4 grade students will enter through main lobby entrance, 5-8 students will enter upstairs on the ramp near the 5th-8th grade classrooms.
There will be an after school care sign-up list. Unfortunately due to Covid-19 we have to limit students in after school care to 23 students. Priority will be given to families who have siblings at Hilltop and parents who are frontline workers.
All off-campus field trips for the fall 2020 have been cancelled. Off-campus field trips will be re-evaluated after the Winter break. In lieu of off-campus trips, teachers will coordinate on-campus visitors to bring these experiences to their students.
Seperate entrance points for arrival for grades K-2, 3-8
Discontinue self-service food or beverage distribution in the cafeteria. Food/beverage will be served directly to each student.
Lower grade students (K-2 will eat lunch in their classrooms), 3-8 grade students will eat in the cafeteria and outdoor eating areas with staggered lunch times. All students are encouraged to bring a cold lunch (does not require heating) or order a hot lunch from school to reduce microwave use in a classroom or cafeteria.
Staggered student breaks/recess and lunch times to minimize overcrowding of a common area.
Daily cleaning and disinfection of classrooms using disinfectant fogger in common areas following CDC guidelines for schools.
All school programs where there is a general assembly of people will be virtual or online “live” meetings.
After school student pick-up will be by car line at the designated dismissal times (K-2 2:00PM, 3-8 2:50PM)
After school enrichment classes will continue with limited enrollment and social distancing in place. Enrichment teachers will be required to check-in at the office for temperature check and screening questions.
The state or county limits student numbers on campus, (hybrid model).
Students will attend 5-consecutive days on alternating weeks. (K-4 students week, 5-8 students week). On weeks students are not on campus teachers will continue to provide instruction via distance learning. During “off-campus” weeks, each classroom will be cleaned and disinfected. All supplies, books and work will be sent home on the Friday before a distance learning week. All on-campus extracurricular programs will be cancelled.
State or county health department mandates distance learning.
If distance learning is mandated by the state or county, Hilltop will provide distance learning 5 days a week. Student Chromebooks will be deployed for student use in the homes. Grab & Go bags will be prepared weekly for students which contain supplies, books, and work needed to carry out lesson plans for each week. Grab & Go bags will be made available throughout the week for parents to pick-up. The first two weeks of distance learning will be paper/pencil type work, school work will be provided by the classroom teacher. Additionally, the first two weeks will be devoted to getting families set-up and ensuring students know how to login and work out any technical issues prior to online instruction. After week two, regular classroom instruction and additional online assignments will be given to students. This will increase in increments of time as outlined below. All on-campus extracurricular activities will be cancelled.
Daily instruction time requirements: Teachers will provide daily instruction, checking in with students, working with students individually/small groups and making personal connections. The time requirements listed below follow California distance learning weekly minutes.
Time requirements are as follows:
K: 3 hours daily, Mon-Fri
1/2 : 3 hours and 40 minutes daily, Mon-Fri
3-8 : 4 hrs daily, Mon-Fri
On-Campus with Distance Learning Option
If the county grants our school reopening for on campus instruction, distance learning will still be available live each day for families choosing to keep their child(ren) home.
Visual and audio equipment will be installed in each classroom for distance learners to follow daily live instruction. Daily instruction will primarily be given via Zoom. It is the expectation that if a student(s) remains home for distance learning, there will be an adult available to assist with connectivity issues, and general assistance for school work.
For distance learners: classwork, homework, communication will be sent via student/parent email and google classroom as necessary. Alternatively, parents can pick-up student(s) work on a weekly basis. Pick-up and drop-off of work will need to be arranged and coordinated with the child(s) teacher(s).
If at any point a family chooses to have their distance learner return to on-campus learning, a TWO-WEEK NOTICE will need to be given to the school and classroom teacher so preparations can be made for a safe return. Once a student returns for on-campus learning it is the expectation that the student will remain an on-campus learner for the remainder of the school year unless there is a shelter-in-place order mandated by the state or county or an increase in confirmed Covid-19 cases on campus.
1. Local Conditions to Guide Reopening
This guidance is in accordance with current health orders from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) as of June 8, 2020. It is important to note that there will undoubtedly be continued community spread of COVID-19 well into the fall. The goal is to have practical recommendations in place to minimize risk while still allowing for in-class learning to resume.
2. Plan to COVID-19 Symptoms While at School
Students, who develop symptoms of illness while at school will be separated from others right away in a designated quarantine room in the school office. If more than one student is in the quarantine room, physical distancing with facemask will be enforced. Any students or staff exhibiting symptoms will need to keep their face covering on and wait in an isolation area in the school office until they can be transported home or to a healthcare facility. Isolated students will receive continued supervision and care until picked up by an authorized adult. There is no need for others who had contact with the sick person to quarantine themselves while waiting for results of the test. Students who have any symptoms must remain at home for 72 hours and must consult with their child's pediatrician as to next steps per CCHS guidelines. A student can only return to on-campus classes if they have been symptom free for 72 hours.
3. Injury and Illness Prevention Plan
The updated plan will be presented at staff pre-session in August, 2020.
The updated plan will also be presented to our parents at our virtual Back-to-School Night the first week of school.
4. Campus Access
Minimized contact at school between students, staff, families, and the community at the beginning and end of the school day.
Minimized movement of students and teachers or staff as much as practicable. Students should remain in the same space and in groups as small and consistent as practicable.
Maximize space between seating and desks (at least four to six feet).
Mechanical barriers will be used when physical distancing is not possible.
Orientation of desks so students are not facing each other.
Limit nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving other groups.
The use of non-classroom space for instruction, including regular use of outdoor space.
We will minimize congregate movement through hallways as much as practicable.
Hilltop will teach and reinforce – to both students and staff – healthy hygiene practices such as washing hands; avoiding contact with one’s eyes, nose and mouth; and covering coughs and sneezes. Other methods to promote healthy hygiene include the following:
HCS Staff will model and practice hand washing.
Portable hand washing station will be placed near playground.
Teach and reinforce the proper use of cloth face coverings, masks, or face shields. Cloth face coverings are most essential in settings where physical distancing is not practicable.
Students and staff will be frequently reminded not to touch their face covering and to wash their hands frequently.
Information will be provided to staff, students, and students’ families on the proper use, removal, and washing of cloth face coverings.
Adequate supplies to support healthy hygiene behaviors, including soap, tissues, no-touch trash cans, face coverings, and hand sanitizer throughout our campus.
6. Protective Equipment
All sinks will have soap.
Hand washing stations with soap and/or fragrance-free 60% ethyl alcohol hand sanitizer will be made available in or near classrooms.
Face coverings will be made available to students and staff.
Plexiglass installed in office and cafeteria
7. Physical Distancing
Minimize contact at school between students, staff, families, and the community at the beginning and end of the school day.
Minimize the movement of students and teachers or staff as much as practicable.
Maximize space between seating and desks (at least four to six feet).
Mechanical barriers should be used when physical distancing is not possible.
Orient desks so students are not facing each other.
Limit nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving other groups.
Consider the use of non-classroom space for instruction, including regular use of outdoor space.
Minimize congregate movement through hallways as much as practicable.
Serve meals in classrooms or outdoors instead of cafeteria
Avoid sharing of foods and utensils
Staggered lunches, recesses, and other breaks to maintain smaller groups of students in shared spaces and/or holding recess activities in separate areas designated by class.
Limited communal activities where practicable.
Procedures will be implemented in the classroom for turning in assignments in ways that minimize contact.
8. Cleaning and Disinfecting
Classrooms and common areas will be disinfected daily following the CDC guidelines for cleaning and sanitizing in schools.
Limit use of shared playground equipment.
Limit the sharing of objects and equipment, such as toys, games, and art supplies, to the extent practicable. But where allowed, clean and disinfect between uses.
Establish a cleaning and disinfecting schedule.
Proper ventilation during cleaning and disinfecting.
9. Employee Issues
Pre-session staff training will be done with all employees.
Training will include:
* Disinfecting Frequency, tools and chemicals to be used
* Physical distancing implementation
* Symptom screening implementation, including temperature check
*Use of protective equipment
*Cough and sneeze etiquette/ Hands away from face
* Frequent handwashing and proper technique
* Confidentiality around health recording and reporting.
* The Administration will be the liaison(s) responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns.
10. Communication with Students, Parents, Employees, Public Health Officials and the Community
HCS will educate students/parents/employees on the importance of healthy hygiene practices, understanding and monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19, physical distancing, and available mental health resources. If there is a confirmed case of Covid-19 on campus, HCS administration will notify the local health department as well as the families of the students who were exposed.
FAQ: From Contra Costa County Office of Education
Q: If a student or teacher tests positive, with or without symptoms, will we need to close a class or an entire school?
A: Not necessarily. Next steps are determined on a case-by-case basis. Contra County Health Services (CCHS) will conduct contact tracing to determine who, if anyone, may have had close contact with the person who tested positive and will provide guidance to the school, including whether a school or class closure is recommended. Whenever a positive case is confirmed on campus, the school should perform a thorough cleaning of areas where the person spent time, especially high-contact surfaces.
Q: Does a student or staff member need to have a negative Covid-19 test completed if they had a symptom(s) prior to returning to school?
A: No, it is not required. Families must consult with their physician or pediatrician as to next steps however a negative Covid-19 test is not required to return to school. Students and staff must be symptom free for 72 hours.
Q: If a parent is diagnosed with COVID-19, will their student need to self-isolate 14 days before returning to school?
A: If a student or staff has a household member that tests positive for COVID-19, the student will be ordered to quarantine at home for 14 days.