RSU 14 Windham Raymond Schools
Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Plan
(Last updated: June, 2020)
228 Windham Center Road
Windham, Maine 04062
OUTLINE OF PLAN
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has outlined goals for school planning:
II. INVENTORY OF SCHOOLS IN RSU #14 WINDHAM/RAYMOND SCHOOL DISTRICT
III. DIRECTION AND CONTROL
The National Incident Management System (NIMS), provides the framework for organizations to work together to prepare for, protect against, respond to, and recover from the entire spectrum of all-hazard events. NIMS will be used to identify the Incident Command staff within the district and within each school during a pandemic. NIMS charts will be critical for determining clear roles and responsibilities during a pandemic.
Implementation of Pandemic Influenza Plans by RSU 14 will begin upon instruction by the County Incident Commander, and will likely occur during World Health Organization phases 5 and 6. The school district will establish an internal Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in an emergency.
In addition, RSU 14 will send a representative to the County Emergency Operations Center, who will serve as a liaison between the county and the School EOC. RSU 14 Incident Commander will communicate with all individual school administrators regarding implementation of their plans, and will instruct each individual school to assemble their Emergency Planning Teams/School Crisis Teams for responses within each school.
The school district will remain in daily contact with school administrators via telephone if available, school website (rsu14.org), and/or school department list serve e-mail.
IV. ROLE OF THE SCHOOL NURSE IN PANDEMIC INFLUENZA PLANNING
School nurses play an integral role as the Leader of the Medical Response Team within each school. Individual schools should ensure medical team members have CPR and first-aid training, and that teams are updated annually. School nurses are encouraged to participate in school-level planning and training for pandemic influenza.
During the pre-pandemic phase, the school nurse will be responsible for the following tasks:
Early in a pandemic, the school nurse will be responsible for the following tasks:
V. DISEASE SURVEILLANCE
During World Health Organization (WHO) Phases 5 and 6 of a pandemic, it will be important to monitor the number of staff and students who are absent due to influenza-like illness (ILI). Surveillance will be important in order to make operational decisions, and will help public health professionals and county officials determine if the novel pandemic virus is present in our community.
A. Influenza Case Definition: Influenza-like illness is defined by the Centers for Disease as fever 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher AND one of the following symptoms: cough, headache, sore throat, muscle aches.
B. Baseline Absenteeism Data: Primary, Manchester, Middle, and High Schools in RSU 14 currently collects absenteeism data.
C. Protocol for School Surveillance: Individual schools will all be asked to designate a staff member or volunteer to collect absenteeism data. Student and staff absenteeism will be categorized by student ILI illness, student non-ILI illness, staff ILI illness, staff non-ILI illness. Parents and staff may also report absenteeism data via email. Parents will be notified of changes to the data collection process via the district website and a parent letter. Staff members or volunteers collecting absenteeism data via phone will be provided with instructions and a scripted message.
D. Once clusters of human-to-human transmission of a pandemic influenza virus reaches the United States, RSU 14 will be asked to begin performing heightened surveillance for Influenza-like illness. All schools will be asked to log staff and student absences due to ILI, and to send weekly reports to the Superintendent of Schools (Incident Commander) at the district to be forwarded to the Maine Center for Disease Control (Me CDC).
E. Once clusters of human-to-human transmission are identified in New England; all schools will be required to perform Intensive Surveillance on a daily basis. Forms should be sent to the Superintendent of Schools (Incident Commander) at the district and the Maine Center for Disease Control (Me CDC).
VI. INFECTION CONTROL AND SCHOOL CLOSURES
Infection control in school settings will be particularly important in preventing the spread of pandemic influenza to the community. School children have high attack rates for seasonal influenza, and would likely serve as a significant reservoir to transmit a novel virus to family members and community residents.
A. Before a Pandemic
Schools, with the assistance of the school nurse, should implement the following infection control practices.
B. During a Pandemic
Once clusters of human-to-human transmission of a pandemic influenza virus are identified in the U.S., schools should implement the following infection control practices.
1. Avoid unnecessary travel, and cancel any unnecessary workshops, conferences, etc.
2. Ensure systems are in place with vendors to pre-order or to request services and supplies via e-mail or fax.
3. Publish procedures for school surveillance and reporting absences during a pandemic.
4. Provide timely staff in-services and classroom education on hand-washing and cough etiquette.
Once clusters of human-to-human transmission of pandemic influenza virus are identified in the New England region, schools should implement the following infection control practices.
C. School Closures
Early closure of schools will likely be an important mechanism to help prevent transmission of the disease. During a pandemic, the Maine CDC will establish a system to provide daily closure directives for schools. Guidance will be based on the progressive nature of the pandemic, and factors such as regional epidemiology and attack rates in the U.S. The Maine CDC will collaborate with the U.S. CDC in making a decision to close schools.
Although school closure will be critical to prevent transmission of disease, early closures will also have negative impacts in the community. Important implications of school closure include loss of community workforce due to the need to provide childcare, and negative financial implications for households in the community due to loss of earning potential. In addition, marginalized families with children would be impacted due to loss of school services, such as breakfast and lunch programs, and after-school programs.
VII. CONTINUITY OF LEARNING
During a pandemic, schools will likely be closed for a period of time ranging in length from 4-12 weeks. In addition, the pandemic may impact our community in several waves, each lasting 6-8 weeks, with a recovery period in between waves. During the recovery period schools should be prepared to re-open. However, the number of staff available to return to work likely will be less than 100% due to morbidity and mortality during each wave.
In the event of school closure during a pandemic, RSU 14 will make every effort to provide continuous learning opportunities by implementing any of the following strategies:
Once schools re-open during the recovery phase(s), RSU 14 may implement any of the following strategies:
RSU 14 may fill teacher and paraprofessional deficits using the following strategies:
Before schools are closed, schools should prepare for limited transportation and provision of essential supplies and equipment due to the impacts of a pandemic nationwide. After schools are reopened, during the recovery phase, essential supplies may still be limited due to the impacts of the pandemic on the workforce. Schools should therefore stockpile essential supplies for a 6-8 week period.
Before schools are reopened during the recovery phase the superintendent or designee shall perform an evaluation of essential positions, as well as staff members that are available to return to work, to assess whether or not the school can provide essential services. During the pre-pandemic phase schools should identify essential positions, and plan to back-fill positions or cross-train staff to ensure essential services can be provided. During the pre-pandemic phase the district may develop protocols and expectations to address the unique circumstances that may arise during a pandemic.
IX. COMMUNICATION DURING A PANDEMIC
During the pre-pandemic phase, RSU 14 will designate and train at least 2 individuals to serve as the public information officer (PIO). The PIO will be the primary individual responsible for coordinating and implementing communication with school employees, parents, students, and the media. The PIO will have direct communication with the liaison between the city, county and state public health officers.
B. The superintendent will designate persons to develop communication plans to address the need for information with the following groups:
X. MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS AND STAFF DURING A PANDEMIC
During a pandemic, there will be significant disruption of social services and other support systems. The superintendent will designate a Liaison Officer to evaluate support systems available and identify resources for students and staff that may include:
XI. ONLINE RESOURCES & INFORMATION
In the event of a prolonged school closure in response to a pandemic, the following policies (or portions/language therein) could be suspended or amended so that the district can align with Maine DOE and CDC guidelines.
XIII. COVID-19 CONTINUITY OF LEARNING PLAN
COVID-19 CONTINUITY OF LEARNING PLAN
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Background for Distance Learning
Student Learning & Parent/Guardian Roles
Special Education Services: Individualized Remote Learning Plan
Community Outreach/Maintaining Connections Examples
Approved by RSU 14 Board of Directors: April 8, 2020
Note: This plan is subject to change in response to staff, student, and/or community needs throughout the prolonged school closure.
In an effort to keep our students, staff, and community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, RSU 14 Windham Raymond Schools has moved to a distance learning model. It is anticipated that this model will be in place from March 18 until May 1. In the event of a longer closure, this plan will allow the district to complete the current school year. The plan is based on the foundational belief that not all students will have access to the same resources while our buildings are shut down. As a school district, we will use all possible resources to support the students who reside in our communities while maintaining a focus on equity and access for all.
The purpose of this document is to outline how RSU 14 will continue to offer a blended learning model, which includes both an Asynchronous Learning Environment, as well as Synchronous, real-time engagements. An Asynchronous Learning Environment does not require participants, teachers, and students to be online at the same time. Synchronous, real-time engagements are opportunities for students to participate in engagements with their teachers and classmates at an established time..
The RSU 14 Continuity of Learning Plan is designed to address the following scenarios:
We are committed to monitoring the Continuity of Learning Plan and student/family engagement. The tools used for monitoring may include, but are not limited to:
BACKGROUND FOR DISTANCE LEARNING
The planning for a possible school closure due to a pandemic started in late February. This was done at the advice of the Maine DOE, Maine CDC, and our own school health officials. During this initial planning phase, the following action steps were completed:
Windham Raymond Schools were officially closed for a two week period on March 14, 2020. The closure was in response to the recent disclosure of COVID-19 patients within Cumberland County. The announcement that all schools in Cumberland County were closing was made at 8:00 PM on Saturday, March 14.
There were three goals that we wanted to accomplish during the first two weeks of school closure. The first was to develop opportunities for online communication between staff members and families. The second goal was to provide content to students and parents to allow for continuation of learning. Our third goal was to increase staff capacity through professional development for electronic meeting platforms.
A district website was created on March 15 and 16 to support goal two of our plan. The website, entitled RSU 14 School Closure Website, provided a menu of content in core areas for students and families. School professional staff were introduced to and provided input into the site during a district in-service on March 16. The site was officially launched to the community that afternoon. In addition, the expectation of regular, daily communication was communicated to all staff by administrators.
After the first week of school closure, it became increasingly evident that the district would be shut down for a longer period of time. On Friday, March 20, district and school administrators started making plans for a longer period of time. Planning focused on three important aspects for the extended closure. The first was to develop clarity about staff expectations for each position within the district while the district was closed. The second was to provide intense professional development in technology for those staff members who had not already implemented this practice into their classroom. The third was to develop a set of academic expectations and resources that could be used by staff.
A Staff Expectations During School Closure Document and accompanying letter were shared with staff on Monday, March 23. The document clarified what each and every job classification should be completing for work during the closure.
The technology integrators, Tammy McNulty and Richey Vickers, completed intensive professional development on how to use Google Classroom and Google Meet in classrooms during the week of March 23. Professional development opportunities are ongoing for staff and staff are able to earn contact hours for all new learning.
District administrators, building administrators, classroom teachers, and instructional coaches collaborated on March 23 and 24 to develop a guide for instruction during the extended closure. The RSU 14 Distance Learning Academic Framework document addresses the following aspects of our long term plan:
The RSU 14 Closure & Distance Learning Information Center was updated by the end of the day on Thursday, March 26. Families were able to access the link as soon as it was shared.
STUDENT LEARNING & PARENT/GUARDIAN ROLES
Students will participate in educational opportunities and complete assignments using a combination of technology and at home activities. Educational opportunities will be designed in a manner that allows for students to complete work asynchronously. Where appropriate, synchronous, real-time opportunities will be provided through Google Meet.
Student attendance will be taken daily during the time that we are operating through a distance learning model.
SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES
For each student who receives special education and/or related services, we are creating Remote Learning Plans that are intended to provide distance access to the general curriculum at the same levels that he/she was receiving while schools were open, but with supports that align with the distance learning model given your child’s unique needs. Special Education case managers will be working directly with families on developing individual plans for students. Drummond Woodsum has provided legal guidance on how we should approach and document individual plans during the pandemic.
All RSU 14 buildings and outdoor facilities will be closed to the public for the entire length of our school closure. Staff will be able to access the buildings for short periods of time to retrieve instructional materials. Building principals will work with families to coordinate times for students to pick up technology devices, educational materials, and personal items.
Our plan to feed the children in our community will be an extension of our already existing Backpack Food Program. We will be assembling bags of easy to prepare foods, including cartons of milk, vegetables, fruit, and individual containers of yogurt. ANY family may pick up a bag, 2x per week, during this closure. Our planned pick up times are as follows:
Additionally, there are neighboring districts that are operating under the Summer School Food Service Program. Any child, age 18 & under, regardless of where they live may come for a meal any school day. The meals will be available to go. There is no congregate feeding. Nearby locations are as follows:
● Westbrook School Department - Meals available from 11am – 1pm
● Westbrook Regional Vocational Center - 125 Stroudwater St., Westbrook, ME
● MSAD#15 - Gray New Gloucester School Department Sites: Open Daily 10am-1pm
● Gray-New Gloucester High School - 10 Libby Hill Road, Gray, ME
● Russell School - 8 Gray Park, Gray, ME
● Memorial School - 86 Intervale Rd., New Gloucester, ME
DISTRICT COMMUNICATION WITH FAMILIES
COMMUNITY OUTREACH / MAINTAINING CONNECTIONS
Backpack Program: Food Distribution Model
COMMUNITY OUTREACH / MAINTAINING CONNECTIONS
Books & School Supplies Program: Book and School Supply Distribution Model
In response to multiple requests for additional books and materials to support elementary families with the distance learning model, district employees are preparing and distributing resources on Tuesdays at Windham Middle School from 2:00-4:00pm and Raymond Elementary School from 1:30-3:00pm. Below is a sample flyer used to communicate this resource to families:
COMMUNITY OUTREACH / MAINTAINING CONNECTIONS
Storytime w/ Staff: Closure Information Center Storytime
COMMUNITY OUTREACH / MAINTAINING CONNECTIONS
Website Updates (Videos, Stories, Pictures): We are gathering stories and examples from staff and families in order to celebrate the positive moments occurring through a distance learning model in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some Examples:
(One student, Sophey Potter, giving back to her community.)