May 3, 2021
Dear JTC Families:
Thank you for your patience as we have been working diligently to prepare for the safe return for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. JTC Academy’s teams of instructional staff, medical staff and administrators have worked to develop learning schedules that will safely provide students with high-quality, teacher-directed learning, both on-site and online. School days will feature a combination of live full-class instruction in-person, remote learning, small group work, and independent learning activities.
In this envelope are several important forms to assist you and us in getting prepared for the return of our students:
1. Re-entry Plan:
In this packet, there is JTC Academy’s Re-entry plan. It describes in detail, the stages that will be taken in order to eventually return fully to in person instruction at JTC Academy. On Monday, May 10, 2021, we will begin our Stage 2 Return. Grades K-8 will attend in person on A days and Grades 9-12 will attend on B Days. May 10th is an A day and then we will alternate between A and B going forward. See re-entry plan and calendar of A and B days included in this packet and also posted online.
2. State of Illinois Public Health Form:
All students must be up to date with physical examinations and immunization requirements and a completed form must be turned in to the school health office prior to the start of the first day of re-opening. Students who have not submitted this information will not be permitted to start. All students entering grade K, 6th and 9th are required to have a current physical examination completed on the approved State of Illinois Department of Public Health form. This form is attached and also can be downloaded from our website at jtcacademy.com. A sports physical does not meet the requirements. A current physical is identified as one that was completed within one year of August 2020. The parent portion on the upper back side of the form must be completed and signed. All students must be up to date with the State of Illinois Immunization requirements.
3. Self-Report Form:
JTC Academy is a school where the Coronavirus can spread quickly and in an exponential manner. Therefore, it is imperative that JTC take extra precautions to ensure the safety of our students, employees and visitors. JTC requires that all staff and youth answer the self-report questions below each day before leaving home to come to the school. If a student or a staff member has a fever or answers yes to any of these questions below, fill out the form completely and sign. Then contact the JTC School Nurse, Ms. Crystal Dill, immediately for further instructions. Do not attempt to come to JTC Academy until you have been given specific directions to do so.
4. Return to School Safely with Covid-19:
JTC Academy has worked very diligently to create plans, procedures and safety protocols for safe return of our students. Please read over this document.
Busses and vans will be ready to pick up student promptly. Therefore, we have enclosed the required permission form to be signed by you before transportation can begin for your child.
Again, we thank you for your patience and understanding during this unprecedented time. We assure you, the safety and well-being of our faculty, staff, students, and community are at the center of all decisions.
If you have any questions or concerns, you may contact the following staff at (618) 398-2524:
Transportation: Charlene Hogan or Mario Fennoy
Illinois Public Health Form or other health questions or concerns: Crystal Dill
Enrollment: Kendra Brooks
Issues and Concerns: Amy Polt, Executive Director
Please submit all signed documents prior to student’s arrival. We are in the building all week from 7:30-5:00 pm. We are looking forward to seeing all of our JTC Academy students and have many great activities planned for them. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me at any time.
Amy Polt, M.Ed
JTC Academy Executive Director
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Return to In Person Instruction During Covid-19 Pandemic
JTC Academy’s Covid-19 In Person Safety Plan
The following guidance provides public health standards to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 for social distancing, face coverings, hand hygiene, and cleaning and disinfecting in Pre-K to 12 school settings. This guidance reflects currently endorsed public health best practices from Illinois Department of Health and the CDC and is in response to requests from school leaders for state-level health guidance. This guidance serves as minimum standards for practices across all Pre-K to 12 schools with the understanding that more rigorous measures may be required in certain areas depending on community transmission of COVID-19.
The science and public health conditions surrounding COVID-19 are continually evolving. This guidance will be updated as necessary when new information becomes available. JTC Academy will quickly respond to implement stronger containment and mitigation strategies, such as remote learning, when necessary and in line with public health guidance.
Covid-19 Safety Training Daily
JTC Academy has created health and safety plans for our students prior to students to returning students to our school buildings and resuming in-person instruction. In developing these plans, we have considered the safety and health of all adult staff, in addition to students, as well as balance the educational imperative to open schools to in-person instruction with the public health imperative to mitigate COVID-19 infection and transmission rates. Students will be trained for the first 15-30 minutes daily. Each day teachers will remind students how to wash their hands, when to use sanitizer and how to use masks. This will take place in every classroom first thing in the morning, every day, no exceptions.
Given that children and adolescents may experience challenges in effectively adhering to recommendations, it is critical that we as staff set a good example for students by modeling behaviors around physical distancing, face coverings and hand hygiene. When these precautions are taken, disease transmission is likely to decrease and students and staff are in a much better position to safely resume in-person instruction.
Social/Physical Distancing Measures
Social distancing, also called "physical distancing," means keeping a safe space between yourself and other people who are not from your household. Social distancing is fundamental to lowering the risk of spread of COVID-19, as the primary mode of transmission is through respiratory droplets by persons in close proximity. Students are required to be 6 feet apart at all times.
Classroom Distancing Measures
JTC Academy has implemented strategies that limit the number of individuals in classrooms and other learning spaces, and interactions between groups of students and staff, regardless as to whether or not individuals are vaccinated. JTC Academy is aligned with following distancing protocols with the recommendations for physical distancing outlined in the CDC's Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools which include:
At JTC Academy, students will still be 6 feet apart due to the high transmission rate of covid-19 currently reported in our area. Once this number goes down and the health department verifies that we are no longer at a high or moderate risk, we will go to 3 feet apart in classrooms but will continue to be 6 feet apart everywhere else.
Turn desks to face in the same direction, where possible. If desks or workstations cannot be moved, have students spaced apart and sitting on only one side of tables.
Classrooms will eat together in cafeteria, students will not cross others and cafeteria to be cleaned and sanitized between classes using JTC Academy’s 2 step cleaning process.
Separate students within common areas.
If possible, hold classes in gyms, auditoriums, other large spaces or outdoors, where physical distancing can be maintained.
Maintain 6 feet of distance to the maximum extent feasible in all settings outside of the classroom and other instructional spaces including:
Between adults in the school building (teachers and staff), and between adults and students. Several studies have found that transmission between staff is more common than transmission between students and staff, and among students, in schools.
When masks can't be worn, such as when eating.
During activities when increased exhalation occurs, such as singing, shouting, in the gym, or sports and exercise. Move these activities outdoors or to large, well-ventilated spaces. Open the gym doors when students are playing basketball.
Staggered scheduling: School arrival and drop-off times or locations by cohort, or put in place other protocols to limit contact between cohorts, as well as direct contact with parents.
Close Contact Definition:
Regardless of the distance between students in classrooms and instructional spaces, the definition of close contacts does not change. Close contacts are individuals who have been exposed (within 6 feet distance for at least 15 consecutive minutes) to someone who is a case during the infectious period. For example, students sitting less than 6 feet from a person diagnosed with COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more should quarantine at home and be referred for testing. Nurse Crystal will be the contact person to address all questions related to potential contact as she is our local health department contact.
Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other adults to the maximum extent feasible.
Maintain at least 6 feet from students, whenever possible and when not disruptive to the educational process.
We will hold group meetings such as parent-teacher conferences, staff meetings, and curriculum planning virtually as much as possible. All-Staff meetings and other meetings that are held, will be held in the gym or in a well-ventilated area where social distancing of 6 feet can be followed.
JTC Academy’s control center is our reception area which is now surrounded in plexiglass.
Congregating in shared spaces, such as staff lounge areas, in hallways, or in classrooms will not be permitted, even if fully vaccinated.
Bussing and Transportation
JTC bus drivers and passengers must wear face coverings while on the bus.
JTC Academy is to promote social distancing at bus stops.
Bus driver will load the bus by filling seats from back to front to limit students walking past students to find a seat.
Bus driver will avoid placing students in the front row of the bus.
JTC Academy will use 2 bus routes on both A and B days in order to minimize the number of people on the bus at one time within reason and to the greatest extent possible.
JTC Drivers will follow JTC Academy’s Transportation Plan (See Plan).
Create one-way traffic pattern in hallways.
Place physical guides, such as tape, on floors or sidewalks to create one-way routes.
Stagger class times to limit numbers of students in hallways at any time.
Assign lockers by cohort or eliminate lockers altogether.
When feasible, keep students in the classroom and rotate teachers instead.
Outdoor Playground Spaces
Same classroom students using the gym, basketball courts at West or outside at any one time.
Reinforce physical distancing during playground play to the extent feasible.
Have students and staff wash their hands or use hand-sanitizer before and after being on the playground.
Gatherings, events, and extracurricular activities will be limited for now until it can be done safely while maintaining physical distancing.
Instead, use virtual group events, gatherings, or meetings, and promote distancing of at least 6 feet between people if events are held.
School meals play an important part in providing food security for children and adolescents.
Meals are served in a cafeteria, one classroom at a time, sitting students at least 6 feet apart and having students wearing face coverings when walking to and from the cafeteria as well as when getting their food.
Students and staff are to wash hands or use hand sanitizer before and after eating.
Students to be seated in staggered arrangements to avoid "across-the-table" seating.
Serve individually plated meals/box lunches.
Open doors in gym or cafeteria when weather permits
Do not serve buffet style or self-serve meals.
Do not serve meals family style.
Do not allow snacks to be shared for classroom activities or events.
Avoid sharing of food and utensils.
Face Coverings and Masks
Face coverings/masks must be worn at all times.
"Face covering" means covering of the nose and mouth with material that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is wrapped around the lower face. A JTC Academy "face covering" will be provided for students to bring daily and washed at home. Disposable masks will cost youth 5 points of store money if they forget their mask. All students, whether indoors or outdoors, must wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth while at school and at school-sponsored events, and when they are traveling in school buses and school-provided transportation. All people, including employees, teachers, students, and visitors, to wear a face covering and enforce the requirement;
Schools may allow students to remove face coverings when students are:
Eating or drinking when spaced at least 6 feet apart, or
When wearing a face covering creates an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task, or
At least 6 feet apart during “face-covering breaks” to last no longer than 10 minutes.
Transparent face coverings provide the opportunity for more visual cues and may be considered as an alternative for younger students, students who are deaf and hard of hearing, and their teachers.
School Staff and Visitors
Face coverings must be worn by all non-students, both staff and visitors (including parents and guardians), while on school property (indoors and outdoors), including during student drop-off and pickup.
Reasonable accommodations should be provided to a visitor or staff member who states they have a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that makes it unreasonable for the person to maintain a face covering. Accommodations could include providing an alternative to a face covering, such as a face shield, or service options that do not require the individual to enter the school, such as curbside pick-up.
Individuals must wear a face covering unless they have a medical or mental health condition or disability, documented in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, that precludes the wearing of a face covering in school. However, all alternatives to wearing a face covering, including the use of a face shield, should be exhausted before an individual is granted an exception to wearing a face covering.
The use of face coverings should be taught and reinforced among all staff.
Face coverings may be removed to eat or drink; however, at those times, social distancing must be practiced.
Transparent face coverings provide the opportunity for more visual cues and should be considered as an alternative for younger students, students who are deaf and hard of hearing, and their teachers. Individuals who are communicating or seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing impaired or who has another disability, where the ability to see the mouth is essential to communication, should consider using an alternative face covering such as a plastic face shield and increase physical distancing.
An adequate supply of face coverings and other personal protective equipment (PPE) should be available at each school building and the inventory carefully monitored.
Children two years and older are required to wear a face covering unless they have a medical or mental health condition or disability, documented in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or IDEA, that precludes the wearing of a face covering in school.
Students and families should be taught how to properly wear a face covering (cover nose and mouth), to maintain hand hygiene when removing the face covering for meals and physical activity, and how to replace and maintain (washing regularly) a cloth face covering.
Hand Hygiene, Cleaning, and Disinfection
COVID-19 may survive on certain surfaces for some time, which means it is possible to be infected after touching a contaminated surface and then touching the mouth, eyes, or nose. Frequent handwashing, along with cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting, and ventilating learning spaces and any other areas used by students (i.e., restrooms, hallways, and transportation), decreases transmission.
When handwashing, individuals should use soap and water to wash all surfaces of their hands for at least 20 seconds, wait for visible lather, rinse thoroughly, and dry with a disposable towel.
Hand sanitizer is available in common areas, hallways and in classrooms, or in all three, where sinks for handwashing are not available.
Cleaning and Disinfection
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects within the school and on school buses at several times daily, including door handles, sink handles, and drinking fountains (See JTC Academy’s Cleaning Plan).
Disinfect buses after each run. Thoroughly clean and disinfect buses daily.
Clean spaces when used by different groups or cohorts of students.
Clean and disinfect bathrooms frequently throughout the day.
Disinfect shared equipment such as computers, keyboards, art supplies, tools and play/gym equipment frequently, and promote hand washing before and after sharing equipment. Consider obtaining extra supplies and materials to limit the need for sharing. Limit the use of shared equipment when possible.
Have students and staff wash hands (or use hand sanitizer) before and after touching shared equipment.
Limit or prohibit the use of communal drinking fountains and provide safe alternatives for providing water, when possible.
If possible, eliminate high-touch surfaces (i.e., remove cabinet doors so that students and staff can easily access supplies without touching a door or handle.)
Use routine cleaning practices
Do not have students present when disinfectants are being used or have students participate in disinfecting activities.
Ensure ventilation systems operate properly and increase circulation of outdoor air by opening windows and doors when possible.
JTC Academy’s Health and Safety Plan and updates will be mailed to each student’s home and also posted on JTC Academy’s website. JTC Academy will communicate to everyone in the education community that staff and children should not come to school and to notify school officials if they become sick with COVID-19 (See Self Check policy and form).
Signs are in highly visible locations (e.g., school entrances, restrooms) that promote everyday protective measures and describe how to stop the spread of germs (such as by properly washing hands and properly wearing a face covering).
Signs on how to stop the spread of COVID-19, such as screening symptoms and staying at home when sick, properly washing hands, everyday protective measures, and how to properly wear a face covering.
Provide regular update information on school websites and in parent flyers/letters.
Home to School Safety
JTC Academy requires that students and parents/guardians/caregivers perform a self-check symptom screening prior to arriving at school or the bus stop each day (See JTC’s Self-Check Screening Form).
Instruct parents to keep children at home if they are ill.
Any student or staff with a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher or the symptoms of possible COVID-19 infection should not be in school.
Sick Student at School/ Report of student exposure to Covid-19
Any student who shows signs of infectious illness consistent with Covid-19 (fever, headache, chills, cough, nasal congestion, runny nose, loss of taste or smell, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, vomiting, stomachache, nausea, muscle ache, or fatigue), the teacher must immediately notify the school nurse and remove the student from the classroom or any other area of the school, and place the student in the school designated isolation area at JTC East and West Academy. The student will be placed in the designated isolation room and supervised by staff until the parent/guardian arrives. If multiple students are sick and must be placed in the same isolation room, the 6 feet apart rule must be ensured along with facial mask covering protocol that states the mask must be worn over the nose and mouth area at all times. The parent/guardian will be given written instructions by the nurse to contact their health care provider for evaluation and possible covid-19 testing. Note: A doctor’s note will be required before any student can return. Once the student has left the isolation room, the room must be cleaned and disinfected according to JTC Academy’s Cleaning Plan.
Any student identified as a close contact of someone identified as diagnosed with Covid-19, will be immediately sent home by the nurse to isolate. Close contact is defined as someone who was been within 6 feet for a total of 15 cumulative minutes or more within 2 days prior to illness onset regardless of whether the contact was wearing a mask or not. A list of contacts of the student who were exposed to the potential case will be obtained and the parent/guardian of those students identified will be contacted by the school nurse. The school nurse will work with the local health department for all guidance. Parent/guardians of any student expected of Covid-19 exposure will be advised by the nurse to keep their student home for a 14-day quarantine and to consult with the student’s health care provider for further evaluation.
Ill students shall only be permitted to return to school with a doctor’s statement and Covid-19 testing will be determined by their Physician if it is deemed warranted.
Students who are ill and have been diagnosed with Covid-19 can return to school after 10 days from the onset of their symptoms and must be fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication and have no shortness of breath. All other symptoms should be reported as showing signs of improvement by the parent/guardian.
JTC Academy has check in screening procedures for all students and staff daily. These procedures include taking temperatures, asking questions and placing a bracelet on individuals that may proceed into the building.
JTC schools are required to contact local health department before acting in response to a known or suspected communicable disease to provide guidance to schools regarding disease information, appropriate letters and communications, identification of high-risk individuals, appropriate action and treatment, and on-going support and assistance. Nurse Crystal will provide the only contact.
Responding to Confirmed or Probable Cases
If the person is present on school property when notified that they are a positive case, the person should immediately, but discreetly, be taken to the COVID-19 related isolation space for pick up (if student) or asked to return home (if staff).
JTC Academy has procedures for safely transporting home sick individuals in our transportation plan.
The entire building does not need to be evacuated.
Nurse Crystal and our local health department has a communication system for notifying staff and families of exposures and closures. JTC Academy, however, will take every measure to maintain the confidentiality of the affected individual.
Robust surveillance, case investigation, contact tracing and isolation of positive cases or quarantine of close contacts can slow and stop the transmission of COVID-19.
The following measures will allow for exposed individuals to be more easily traced:
1. JTC Academy uses assigned seating for each class to assist with tracing.
2. Attendance is also taken for every class and include all individuals (staff and contractors) who were in the classroom.
3. Sign-in sheets for in-person meetings to document staff attendees are always kept
4. Accurate records are kept of any persons other than students and staff that enter the building, their reason for being there, the locations in the building they visit, and the names of close contacts they visit in the building if possible.
Attendance Policies and Reporting
Current quarantine guidance for close contacts of persons with COVID-19 may present attendance challenges for students who are quarantined because of a household contact with a case. A "close contact" is defined as either being within approximately 6 feet of a COVID-19 case for 15 or more minutes (close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a health care waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case), or having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on).
Our school nurse will refer symptomatic individuals or those who have a known exposure to a confirmed case to an appropriate health care provider or testing site.
Staff and students are to self-report all symptoms or temperatures prior to arriving to school to the school nurse.
The Departments of Health and Education have issued guidance related to targeted school closures. Additionally, the Department of Health will continue to monitor community transmission rates and other surveillance metrics across the commonwealth, including school specific outbreaks of COVID-19.