Safety Requirements for Students While on Mount Baker Campuses

Key Principles for Reducing Potential COVID-19 Exposure

In response to COVID-19, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH), the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) outlined various safety and health requirements for students and staff during the 2020-2021 school year. School districts must comply with safety practices as outlined in the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Proclamation 20-25. Mount Baker School District intends to put safety first for everyone, and wants to share with you some of the expectations for your returning student(s). Teachers and staff will be following safety guidelines and will be wearing masks. Teachers and staff may also be wearing additional personal protective equipment (PPE) depending on job duties.

We are excited to see students in the classrooms again and want you to have the opportunity to review the classroom expectations with your child prior to the proposed start date of November 16th, 2020. If you have any questions, you may contact your school or the District Office for clarification.

Keep ill persons out of school / stay home when sick

No students, staff, parents, guardians, or visitors are allowed on campus if they:

  •  are showing signs or symptoms of COVID-19;
  • have been in close contact (meaning within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes) with someone who has confirmed COVID-19 in the last 14 days; and/or
  • have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days.

Please use the COVID-19 DOH  Return to School Guidance flowsheets to identify signs and symptoms when your child is ill. These flowsheets will direct you to make a safe decision to keep your child home, get tested, and/or see their healthcare provider.

Health Screening at Entry

Parents/guardians are required to complete a Health Attestation Form for students in Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12 before students are allowed into classrooms. Parents are expected to screen their students for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 every day prior to arriving at school. The Whatcom County Health Department, DOH, and OSPI require schools to have a health attestation for every student on campus; this attestation will be completed quarterly and kept on file as evidence of your agreement to the requirement.

One quarterly health attestation is required for each student that you have in the District who will be at school for any reason (e.g., hybrid, study session, meeting with teachers, instructional support, sports, and/or extra-curricular activities).

If your child has any of the listed COVID-19 symptoms, do not allow boarding of the bus or arrival at school. Be sure to let the school know of your child’s absence; let the school know if your child will be attending school remotely that day if your child is in a hybrid program (if the illness does not interfere with learning).

Should a student become ill at school

The parent/guardian will be notified immediately and is expected to make arrangements to pick up the student as soon as possible. It is critical during this time that the parent/guardian be available for pick-up as early as possible. Please double check your contact information with the school.

By staying on campus for an extended period, an ill student puts others at risk

An ill student will be removed from the classroom and kept in a monitoring room until the parent/guardian or an approved contact picks up the student.

  • An ill student may not ride the bus home.
  • Other parents/guardians will not be notified if a student (or staff member) in your child’s classroom is sent home ill.
  • Other parents/guardians may be notified if there is a positive COVID-19 case in the school depending on how the school is directed by the Whatcom County Health Department. This notification may be for only one class or for the entire school.

If your student is sent home from school, Mount Baker School District will follow the DOH COVID-19 flowsheet. Your student may be required to return to remote learning for a period of 10 days and after symptoms have resolved for 24 hours. You may also choose to have your student tested for COVID-19, or see your child’s healthcare provider for a diagnosis explaining the condition and when the student may return to school.

Cohort of students

Mount Baker will keep students in small groups and prevent mixing of groups to decrease COVID-19 exposure. Students will have their own supplies to avoid sharing, and will have staggered schedules for activities to prevent mixing of groups. Any shared learning materials will be cleaned and disinfected. Children’s books and other paper-based materials are not a high risk for spreading COVID-19. If students take home a book, it will be placed in a sealed bin for 24 hours upon return before another student may take it home.

Maintain physical distancing

Staff and students will maintain a minimum 6-feet separation from others to the maximum extent feasible. We understand that in the learning environment there may be times when the 6-foot minimum distancing needs to be broken, (e.g., helping a student with a math problem), but teachers and staff will do our best to keep this time period to a minimum. Staff will also remind students of physical distancing. Desks are placed at least 6 feet apart in the classroom, and there are markings on the floor to help remind staff and students to maintain physical distancing.

Perform frequent hand washing

Teachers, staff, and students will have hand-washing times built into schedules. Examples may include any or all of the following: upon arrival at school, before eating, after bathroom use, after blowing one’s nose, and at the end of the day. Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and drying with a paper towel offers the greatest protection against COVID-19 and other germs. The use of a hand sanitizer (which is at least 60 percent alcohol) will be used when soap and water is not available. Small children should not use hand sanitizer due to putting fingers in mouths and the possible exposure to toxins.

Protective Equipment

All teachers, staff, and students in grades K-12 will wear at least a 2-ply cloth face masks while on school grounds. Wear the mask appropriately by covering both the mouth and nose.

  • Masks Requirements for Mount Baker Students coming onto school campuses – All students coming onto campus are required to wear a facemask while riding the bus and for the time that they are in class.
    • Masks need to cover both the nose and the mouth.
    • When eating, masks will be removed and students will be spaced at least 6 feet apart.
    • Should a student’s mask become wet or dirty, a cloth facemask will be provided to complete the day and wear home.
    • Mask sizes: the small size is black, and the medium/large size is white.
    • Should you need a cloth face mask for your child, the school has these available, please contact the school prior to November 16th, 2020 for a pick-up appointment.
    • If the weather is nice, students may have an opportunity for a mask break outside if they can remain at least 6 feet apart; this will be dependent upon student needs and teacher direction.
    • Students will not do strenuous activity while wearing a mask. They may do some stretches or general low exertion movement exercises during the day.
    • To provide good safety practices, staff may provide students educational direction in wearing masks.
  • Types of masks allowed:
    • All facemasks must be at least 2-ply cloth that does not let very much light through the fabric layers when held up to a light, or a non-medical 2-ply disposable mask.
    • A cotton layer near the face is usually most comfortable. Both mask types should have either ear loops or two ties. Small children should wear ear loops and not ties for safety reasons.

  • Types of masks not allowed:
    • Currently there is not enough research for neck gaiters, ski gaiters, or face shields around protection from the spread of COVID-19, so these are not allowed on campus.
    • Masks that have air valves are not allowed on campus because the valve allows respiratory droplets to spread from the person wearing the air valve mask.

Guidelines from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to help your child wear a mask correctly:

Environmental cleaning/custodial

Students will not assist with cleaning in the schools. Our custodial team is the recognized experts in cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting classrooms, offices, common workspaces, restrooms, and other locations on school grounds. Routine cleaning, sanitization, and disinfecting are conducted at least daily and all school buildings will have deep cleanings on Wednesday between cohorts.

Improve indoor ventilation

The District maintenance team worked with experts on determining which classrooms and buildings have appropriate ventilation and filtration. The rooms that have been determined to lack proper ventilation or filtration are closed for student use and are in-process for HVAC upgrades. A map of which classrooms are open/closed is available at the District Office and with school principals.

Low risk spaces

Outdoor spaces are safer than indoor spaces, so teachers may spend more time outdoors with students when the weather is nice.

Bus transportation

Drivers have specific protocols for seating, loading, and unloading buses. Students will be loaded as efficiently and safely as possible, and adjustments will be made when necessary to provide as strong a social distance as available. Students from the same family will be seated near each other. Appropriate windows and vents will be left partially open to help with ventilation. All students and staff will be required to and must wear facial masks on the bus. Buses are cleaned daily and between each route, and deep cleaning is done between cohorts.