The information below is for ZPS employees and third party contractors working in the district.  It is based on what we know regarding COVID-19 as of December 10th, 2020.  This document WILL be updated as we learn more about living safely during a global pandemic.

As we begin the process of returning to work, we want to place special emphasis on the word “safe” in our motto “safe, valued, loved and learning.”  It is important that all staff, students, visitors and contractors to our buildings play their part in trying to keep everyone as healthy as possible throughout the district.

No plan will completely eliminate the possibility of exposure to COVID-19 or other disease.  Our goal is to minimize risk for all involved.  The plan below was developed based on guidelines from the CDC and OSHA, as well as in consultation with both legal counsel and our neighboring districts.

All directors, administrators and employees must be familiar with this plan.  If employees, students, visitors, or contractors have questions about the plan, they can ask the building administration, department directors, or contact the Zeeland Public Schools COVID-19 Workplace Coordinator, Jon Voss, who also serves as the Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services.  A copy of this plan will be available on our website at: https://www.zps.org/covid/.

Our goal is to work with everyone at Zeeland Public Schools to both mitigate risk of infection, while still allowing them to do what they came to school to do – whether that is learn, teach, or work with students and staff in some other way.  This will take a coordinated, focused effort by all to follow the guidelines below.

Finally, as we have all learned since school was closed on March 13th, there is a lot more that we don’t know than what we do know about COVID-19.  New information comes to light daily.    We expect this plan will have to be updated over time.  We will be sure we communicate any and all changes to all stakeholders impacted by the plan.

POTENTIAL RISK ASSESSMENT

The first step in creating a safe work environment is to identify potential sources of exposure to COVID-19 as well as the level of risk to exposure in our workplace.  We have identified the following potential sources to spread COVID-19 in our schools:

To help employees understand the level of risk exposure in their work environment, OSHA created an “Occupational Risk Pyramid for COVID-19,” which includes five levels of risk:

 

Our employees fall into the following categories:

RISK CATEGORIES FOR JOB TASKS AND PROCEDURES (updated on 10/19/2020)

As required by Emergency Rules issued by MIOSHA on October 14th, 2020, the district defines more specific risk categories for employees below:

The following job tasks and procedures fall within the low category of risk:

The following job tasks and procedures fall within the medium category of risk:

The following job tasks and procedures fall within the high category of risk:

The following job tasks and procedures fall within the very high category of risk:

BEFORE COMING TO WORK

The first thing every one of us can do to reduce the possibility of exposure is to be mindful of our own health.  If you do not feel well, stay home.   In some cases, employees will have the opportunity to work from home.  This is determined by your supervisor and whether or not your work is considered essential at that time.  In other cases, you may need to use sick time, personal time, other paid time off or possibly even time off without pay.  We will work with all members of the ZPS family to allow staff to stay home to the extent that it is possible and fiscally responsible.  Each situation is unique.  Open communication will be key.

If anyone develops symptoms of COVID-19, which currently include a fever and/or other symptoms of respiratory illness, such as an atypical, dry cough or shortness of breath, they must not come to school.  Symptoms of COVID-19 may also include new loss of taste or smell, chills, body aches, sore throat, headache, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting or a runny nose.  For employees, if you believe you may be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please notify your direct supervisor and contact your healthcare provider.

If an employee comes into close contact with someone diagnosed with or showing symptoms of COVID-19, they must notify their supervisor and also consult their healthcare provider.  “Close contact” is not brief or incidental contact.  Instead the CDC defines “close contact” as either:

When it comes to COVID-19 exposure, there is a difference between primary and secondary exposure.  Primary exposure means you were in close contact, as defined above, with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is showing symptoms of the disease.  If you experience primary exposure, you will likely need to self-quarantine.  See “Return to Work” below for more information.

Secondary exposure means you had close contact, as defined above, with someone who may have been in primary exposure with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, or is showing symptoms of the disease.  If you experience secondary exposure, you do NOT need to self-quarantine unless the person you had secondary exposure with tests positive or starts to show symptoms of COVID-19.

COMING TO WORK

NOTE -- This section will take effect starting Monday, June 8th, 2020

Before you return to work for the first time since the shutdown, you are responsible for watching this training video on COVID-19 that will cover our infection-control practices, the proper use of personal protective equipment; steps you should take to notify us if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19; and how to report any concerns you have about the safety of your working conditions.  You only need to watch the video once.  After watching the video, please use this link to submit confirmation that you watched the important training video.  If the link doesn’t work, the URL is https://forms.gle/iQYdCkDqKBtDPMos6.

You are also responsible for  completing a self-screening DAILY to ensure you are not suffering from any symptoms of COVID-19.  Please click on this link to complete a short survey or you can also type https://forms.gle/auPX8CU5P9VDdmTd6 into your web browser.  You will be asked five simple questions that will tell you whether you might be experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 or not.  If you are found to have possible symptoms, you will be asked to contact your local healthcare provider.  You should also report the results to your supervisor and stay home from work.  Any possible symptoms you might disclose will remain confidential beyond your supervisor and the ZPS COVID-19 Workplace Coordinator, Jon Voss.  If you do not show any symptoms in the screener, you are clear to head to work.  No touch thermometers will be available in all buildings and departments if you do not have access to this kind of device to check your temperature.

The survey will automatically save your results, as required by executive order.  It will also send you a copy of your answers to your email.  You should set up a folder to save these emails in case they are needed in the future.

If you do not have the ability to go online and complete the screener before heading to work, we would ask that report immediately to a computer designated by your supervisor when you arrive at work and complete the survey there.

WHILE AT WORK

Once we are healthy and at school, we still have things we need to do in order to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for both ourselves and for others.  First and foremost, if you begin to show signs or symptoms of COVID-19 while at school, as defined above, you need to go home.  In addition, the following are the current best practices from the CDC and need to be followed to minimize exposure and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our buildings:

When you return to work, things will look a little different, as we have implemented a number of additional processes and safeguards to keep everyone safe.  This list will continue to evolve, but currently includes the following:

 

RETURNING TO WORK AFTER SYMPTOMS, DIAGNOSIS OR EXPOSURE  TO COVID-19

When looking at the question of when someone can return to school, the answer depends on whether or not they have been officially diagnosed with COVID-19, have been exposed to someone officially diagnosed with COVID-19, or are simply experiencing possible symptoms of COVID-19.  These are based on current recommendations from the CDC.  This document from the Ottawa County Health Department is an effective tool, but keep in mind, the rules regarding quarantine are currently different for employees than what is in place for students.

If someone has been officially diagnosed with COVID-19, they will not be able to return to school until cleared by their health care provider, with a note from a doctor.  If someone has been subject to an isolation or quarantine order by the local health department, they will not be allowed to return until that order has been lifted.

If someone has had close contact with someone officially diagnosed with COVID-19, they should self-quarantine for 10 days.  Remember “close contact” is not brief or incidental.  It occurs most commonly with members of the same household, intimate partners, health care providers, or individuals who have had close contact (less than six feet) for a prolonged period of time (generally defined as 15 minutes or more).  If you simply have incidental contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, you may work, but are asked to monitor your symptoms closely and take all necessary precautions.

If someone is experiencing possible symptoms of COVID-19, but has not tested positive, they can return to school after three days (72 hours) being symptom-free and at least ten days after the onset of initial symptoms.  If testing is available, he or she can return to school with a negative test, assuming they were not also a close contact to someone with COVID.

If we have an employee, student, visitor, or contractor in one of our schools who tests positive for COVID-19, Zeeland Public Schools will:

     

POSITIONS REQUIRED TO WORK IN PERSON VS. THOSE WITH THE OPTION OF WORKING REMOTELY (updated 1/4/2021)

According to Executive Rule 5(8), Zeeland Public Schools must designate which positions are required to report to work, even when we are 100% remote, either as an entire district, or building-by-building, and which positions have the option of working from home or in person.  

The lists below have changed as of Monday, January 4th, 2021, as all levels of the district are once again open for in-person instruction.  If we return to 100% remote learning, either in a building, level or as a district, we will update this list.

The following positions MUST work in person, when they are working:

The following positions may work from home most of the time, but have a handful of specific job functions that must be done in person.  Please consult with your supervisor for specific details:

For the following positions, the assumption is that you should be working from home.  However, if the employee chooses, they may work in person.  If you are choosing to work in person, we would ask that you complete this survey one time, to document the reason(s) why working from home is not the right choice for you:

CONCLUSION

Everyone is looking forward to when we can safely return to school.  The reality is that we will not be able to wait until the point where there is zero risk of exposure to re-open our buildings.  We believe that if everyone follows the guidelines above, this will allow us to maintain our focus of safe, valued, loved and learning.