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Guidelines for healthy and safe learning continue to change in the public school system

It may seem like the CDC is constantly revising COVID-19 recommendations in regards to how often one should get tested and then quarantine if one has contracted the virus. Unfortunately, pandemic guidelines within the school system are also constantly changing – requiring parents and children to stay up to date with recommendations as in-person learning remains in effect across the city, starting this week.

During the Jan. 10 Zoom meeting of the School District 18 Community Education Council (CEC), Superintendent Celeste Douglas updated everyone on the recent guidelines established by the Department of Education (DOE).

As of January 3, the following was put into effect, among other stipulations according to Douglas’ presentation:

-The DOE and Situation Room will no longer request close contact or implement a partial class quarantine.

– Full classroom closures still apply to 3-K and Pre-K classes. Students affected by classroom closures due to COVID-19 can test out of quarantine by taking a test on Day 5 or later and, if negative, return to school on Day 8.

– A student exhibiting COVID-like symptoms at school should be isolated and have the guardian called to pick them up. The school must give the tutor a home test (two tests) accompanied by a personalized letter.

-A staff member with COVID-like symptoms at school should receive a home test kit (two tests) and leave work immediately.

There are also a host of new guidelines around the use of home testing kits to determine when a child or teacher can return to class. The symptomatic person should stay home until two negative rapid home test results have been received. Fully vaccinated staff can return to work if they are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms.

-At work, from day 6 to day 10, the positive teacher/school staff member must consistently and correctly wear a well-fitting, next-level face covering, such as a KN95 mask, which will be provided to staff if required. they don’t have one, and they have to distance themselves from others when they have to remove their mask to eat or drink.

It was also noted, “School staff working under this policy should continue to stay home from work, take precautions to avoid household transmission, and observe other required elements of isolation when not working. is not at work until the end of the 10 day period. .”

Parents are encouraged to keep up to date with the endless changes of the pandemic by checking with their children’s school or visiting for up-to-date alerts and information.

During another presentation, Zeeshan Ott of the School Construction Authority (SCA) shared the status of ongoing structural improvements in District 18. Flood removal and exterior masonry.

“We deal with most of the emergency repairs that are reviewed by school custodians – some are pop-up issues and some are projects we need to undertake to keep the building running safely. “Ott said.

However, Ott made it clear that some upgrades such as modernizing libraries and improving technology fall under what the DOE classifies as A-resolution projects.

“Reso A projects are funded by elected officials who allocate discretionary funds from their budget,” Ott said. He also noted in his presentation that SCA only does major renovations. For CEC Board members wishing to submit a project application, the improvement must meet certain capital project guidelines. “Daily repairs should be assessed by the keepers.”

One of the CEC board members asked if district superintendents are doing building tours like they did years ago to assess repairs, but Ott said repairs and Project evaluations were done by gatekeepers, not superintendents.

For details of the next Zoom meeting hosted by District 18 CEC, call their office at 718-566-6037/6011 or email
[email protected]

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