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FES SY21-22 Family Q&A

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Masks & Distancing QuestionsMasks & Distancing Answers
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What is the requirement for masks?Masks will be required in school buildings for all students, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status. Masks regardless of vaccination status and the additional precautions of increased ventilation, continued hand-washing and use of hand sanitizer, and use of plexi-glass where appropriate. Masking is also required on school buses for everyone, regardless of age or vaccination status, in accordance with state and federal mandates. Masks are not required outdoors, but are still recommended for unvaccinated individuals. Additionally, when engaging in drills where students are in close proximity to one another for an extended period of time (e.g., fire drill)- masks are required.
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What social distancing protocols will be implemented by FES?
In order for all of our students to be able to come back into the building to receive instruction in a more normalized manner, social distancing will not be able to be followed. It is for this reason that masks are mandated for all students and staff, as well as assigned seats for all locations throughout the students day, including the bus.
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What new steps has the County taken to mitigate the risk of Covid 19?Howard County Public School System will require all employees to provide proof of full vaccination or undergo regular COVID-19 testing. We will be providing more information soon.
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Students and Staff that may be ill QuestionsStudents and Staff that may be ill Answers
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What happens if a student or staff displays symptoms?Our Health Team, Ms. Christina Toler and Ms. Kathleen Wurstner, will continue to provide diagnostic testing to students (with parent consent) and staff who display COVID-19 symptoms during the school day. These tests consist of rapid antigen testing with results in under 15 minutes and a confirmatory PCR test for those that test negative on the rapid test. Any students demonstrating symptoms will also be quarantined, and contact tracing will be conducted to determine if other students have been exposed and to determine next steps for those students.
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Quarantine QuestionsQuarantine Answers
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Community Feedback 9.8.21- Regarding Covid communications. There is alot of angst, questions, and confusion with the auto generated communications around Positive Covid Cases. Is there more direction or action that parents/families can take. Can any information be disclosed around the grade so that families with multiple children/different grades can take necessary action?Due to privacy of students/staff members, we are not allowed to share more specific information. For any student/staff considered a close contact of a student/staff member who is positive or exhibiting COVID-like sypmtoms, the parent/guardian will receive communication from our a member of our Health Team and/or administration. In addition to this communication, we also send out a school-wide communication making our community aware that we have a positive case.
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How is it determined that a student and/or staff member would need to quaratine?

Contact tracing is handled by the Howard County Health Department (HCHD), with support from and in coordination with the HCPSS Office of Health Services. Only unvaccinated students and adults who are identified as close contacts must quarantine. Vaccinated students and staff will not be required to quarantine unless they receive a positive test or are displaying symptoms, however they will be expected to monitor their symptoms closely for the 14 days.

Details on quarantining requirements for unvaccinated students and staff can be found online.
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If my child has to quaratine, how does he/she access instruction?
Students in quarantine will be able to connect with teachers through Google Meet, using the Google Meet nickname naming conventions (Ex: ​​FES-tburks-gr5). Teachers will post these designated times and meet codes on their Canvas teacher homepage to use when students are quarantining.

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Meal QuestionsMeal Answers
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What are the expectations for the cafeteria?Students will be required to wear masks unless they are eating. FES staff members will be monitoring this requirement closely and prompting students to pull their masks up when not eating. We will maximize the space available in the cafeteria with as many tables being used as possible and all students will have assigned cafeteria seating, which will facilitate close contact identification if contact tracing becomes necessary. We will maintain an area for students who have nut allergies.
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How will breakfast be handled this year?All students will be have the opportunity to get FREE breakfast from our cafeteria. When they arrive, they will grab their breakfast from our outside cafeteria door, and proceed to follow their route to their class. Once there, students will eat their breakfast in the classroom.
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When will students eat lunch outside?We will offer an outdoor option for students, weather permitting (50°- 90° or air quality being in the red). If weather does not permit, then all students will eat lunch in the cafeteria and there will be tables placed on the stage to make up the spacing difference.

Due to the number of lunch shifts and the arrival of buses, on early dismissal and late arrival days, we will be eating inside the cafeteria due to the schedule.

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What is the outdoor lunch Process?Please click here to review our Outdoor lunch Process
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What is the expectation for snacks?Please contact your child's teacher regarding if his/her class will be having snack and the time. If there is a student in your child's class who has nut allergies, your child's teacher will send a letter home to make you aware and we will ask that you do not send snacks in that contain nuts. Snack will occur in classrooms for any grade levels implementing snack.
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Why can't more students sit outside for lunch?In terms of outdoor seating, we have thought about a myriad of possibilities to increase the number of students eating outside. At this time, we are able to have 2 primary classes outside and 1 intermediate class outside per lunch block. We have staffing to support these efforts, to include our tent and tables. In addition to staffing, there are other variables we are taking into consideration to ensure our students are safe and comfortable eating outside. For example, one day during the first week of school we brought students inside because there were bees that were impacting students from finishing their lunch. This occurred the first day; however, the number of bees and flies increased by the end of the week. As such, we have recently ordered mosquito nets to secure around our tent in the hopes to rectify this concern for our students and allow them to feel safe while eating outside. If students were eating picnic style, on blankets, towels or buckets, it would decrease our effectiveness of efforts such as these. We are also in the process of teaching students to keep their food items and trash inside their lunch box while they are not eating, to help prevent their lighter items and litter from blowing away. Additionally, we will continue to remind students and families to send their child in layers if they are eating outside; this past week with the change in weather many of our students complained of being chilly during lunch and wanted to eat inside.
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Bus QuestionsBus Answers
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What are the expectations on the bus?Buses will be back to more normalized capacity with students seated 3 to a seat at times. Windows and roof hatches will be open for ventilation when possible and students and drivers will be wearing masks at all times.
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Water Fountain QuestionsWater Fountain Answers
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Can my student drink from the water fountain?We encourage students to bring a water bottle with them on a daily basis and use our water fountains to fill up their water bottle. If a student forgets his/her water bottle, we will have cups for them to get water throughout the day. Please remember to label your child's water bottle.
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