Education

This playbook provides guidelines for public and private K-12 schools, community colleges and universities in Ottumwa and Wapello County. Specific university departments are encouraged to consult the playbooks for other industries that are closely related to their own core services as appropriate.

In-Person Instruction At Schools:

Under Iowa Law, "In-person instruction is the presumed method of instruction" for all school districts, and accredited nonpublic schools during the 2020-2021 school year. The Governor continues to direct alll state agencies, scjhool districts, and other local governmental bodies and agencies shall take all efforts to continue to safely provide in-person educational instruction throughout the year. These efforts shall also ensure that schools have the flexibility to continue providing education remotley if it becomes necessary and that parentshave the option to select a learning model for their children that best meets the needs of their family. But the best interests of students and families requires that our schools are prepared to provide a structured, safe, and enriching academic environment. 

Recommended Practices

Health & Sanitation

  • Conduct a health screening with all employees before their shifts in accordance with the most up-to-date recommendations from the local public health department.
  • Screen children upon arrival. See detailed CDC screening methods for childcare providers.
  • Have a plan if someone becomes sick and require sick children and staff to stay home.
  • Train all employees on appropriate cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
  • When feasible, staff members and older children should wear face coverings within the facility.
  • Encourage vulnerable staff to talk to their healthcare provider to assess their risk and determine if they should stay at home.
  • Universities should prepare to have quarantine spaces available for students who become infected with COVID-19. These should not be shared dormitory rooms with community bathrooms.

Space & Process

  • Limit number of people in each room according to updated public guidelines.
  • If possible, classes should include the same group each day, and the same instructors should remain with the same group each day.
  • Limit the mixing of children, such as staggering lunch times and keeping groups separate for other class activities.
  • Set up hand hygiene stations at the entrance of the facility, so that children can clean their hands before they enter. If possible, place sign-in stations outside, and provide sanitary wipes for cleaning pens between each use.
  • Consider staggering arrival and drop off times and plan to limit contact with parents as much as possible.
  • Ideally, the same parent or designated person should drop off and pick up the child every day. If possible, older people such as grandparents or those with serious underlying medical conditions should not pick up children, because they are more at risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Develop a schedule for cleaning and disinfecting. Routinely clean, sanitize and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched, like doorknobs, light switches, bathroom facilities, countertops, desks, chairs and lockers.
  • If a cafeteria or group dining room is used for meals, serve meals in a classroom instead. Plate each child's meal to serve so that multiple children are not using the same utensils.
  • For now, all athletic events, large lectures and other large gatherings will have to remain online or be canceled.
  • Universities should adopt contact tracing apps to protect student health if a COVID-19 case emerges on campus.

Communication

  • Communicate to parents the importance of keeping children home when they are sick.
  • Communicate to staff the importance of being vigilant for symptoms and staying in touch with facility management if or when they start to feel sick.
  • Place posters describing handwashing steps near sinks.
  • Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns to the employer.
  • Develop a communications plan for sharing announcements and news with students, faculty, staff, school boards, government officials, communities served by the school, associations and any accreditation bodies.

Additional Resources