Elementary will return to classrooms in November

Here at U. City Schools, we have safe, gradual and kind plan for returning elementary students to classrooms beginning Nov. 9. We know you have lots of questions, so we have put as much information as we can into one place for you. Please visit the Elementary Re-Entry website and then fill out our Return to School Parent Survey by Friday, Oct. 23.

Safety & Well-Being Plan for 2020-2021

The School District of University City is currently educating our students in Phase 1 of our return to school plan with all online learning.

Our plan, called Health of a Lion, provides multiple phases that are safe, gradual and kind. Students who are not enrolled in our all online alternative called "Click Academy" are learning with U. City teachers through Zoom until we can safely return to the classrooms in a blended model.

While no solution is perfect, the plan builds safety, health, wellness and racial equity into all aspects of the student, staff and parent experience.

Here is the detailed reopenning plan including our guidelines for safety and instruction during the 2020-2021 year.

Find more details below. You will also find links to important information on this page including our COVID Dashboard, which has COVID statistics for our schools and community. We've also posted our procedures for when a staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19.

Re-entry Plan Updated.mp4

Watch a short video explaining our back to school plan called Health of a Lion. It presents an outline of our Brick Academy and Click Academy.

Meet Joe, our friendly lion who is here to ensure we maintain the Health of a Lion among our students, teachers and families.

From Superintendent Sharonica Hardin-Bartley

Supt 2021 Opening Message.mp4

“It is with grace and respect that District leaders ask the community to remember that things change rapidly regarding COVID-19. In that light, some details of this plan had to change at the last minute and may change again.

When the time is right, Brick Academy transitions staff and students into school buildings slowly and cautiously to ensure re-entry is safe, healthy and kind. In the meantime, please reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns."

What is a blended model?

Brick Academy, U City's blended model, is designed to allow students and teachers to pivot easily as the public health environment changes through the school year. While we will begin classes all online Aug. 24, we hope to return to in-person learning for the second quarter. Returning to school safely will require smaller class sizes, careful physical distancing of staff and students and a variety of other precautions.

Our plan, called Brick Academy, is to create separate groups (or cohorts) of students who will come to their school buildings on different days of the week and participate in blended distance learning with U. City Schools teachers on the other days they are not in school.

Brick Academy will have three phases that will change based on health and safety needs.

Click Academy is an alternative all-online learning platform provided by Launch. Students who signed up for Click Academy have committed for the semester.

Connect and Learn

Zoom with the Superintendent

Join Superintendent Sharonica Hardin-Bartley on Zoom to talk with families about distance learning, answer questions and address any concerns. She will specifically discuss plans for re-entry this fall, but will also take questions on any topic. The next meetings are at 9 am and 5 pm on Oct. 20.

To obtain access codes, please register online now.

Watch Archived Zoom with the Superintendent Meetings

Virtual Parent Café Series

Virtual Parent Cafés are a great way to connect with the District to learn more about the 2020-21 school year. U City District staff and other parents will be on to answer your questions and talk about scheduled topics. Register to join one or more of the following upcoming Zoom meetings. Each session will be offered at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

  • Thursday, Nov. 12 - Heavy is the Heart: The Intersectionality of the Head and Heart in Education - Superintendent Sharonica Hardin-Barley discusses relationships, student voice and racial equity.

Watch Archived Parent Café Sessions or Register for an Upcoming Café Session

Communications

A new school year in the midst of a pandemic brings challenges, opportunities and last-minute changes, requiring patience and flexibility. As changes arise, U City will communicate using its automated system for email and text. Please make sure your contact information is up to date in Sisk-12, as well as your emergency contacts, and watch for updates to ensure you stay informed. Updates can be made by contacting your child’s school office or email the District's Communications Office at communications@ucityschools.org.

What happens if a student or staff member tests postitive for COVID-19?

Learn more about our procedures for a positive test.

Stay Home if You are Sick

Students and staff must not come to school if they are sick, quarantining or waiting for COVID-19 test results. Do not come to school if you have a current respiratory illness and/or symptoms of COVD-19 or known exposure to a positive COVID-19 case within the past 14 days. If any of these apply, please notify your child’s building administrator or, for staff, your principal or supervisor.

COVID-19 SYMPTOMS*

  • Fever or chills (100ºF or greater)

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Headache

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Sore throat

  • Congestion or runny nose

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Diarrhea

*This list does not include all possible symptoms. The CDC continues to update this list as it learns more about COVID-19. Find out more at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV.

IMPORTANT: REPORT A POSITIVE COVID-19 TEST FOR YOU OR A MEMBER OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD.

Everyone must stay home if they are sick. Report normal absences and illnesses as usual. However, positive or suspected cases of COVID-19 need to be reported immediately to allow the schools to take appropriate action. Please report such cases as follows:

Students - Contact your building’s school nurse.

Staff Members - Contact the HR Department.

GENERAL SAFETY MEASURES

Below is a list of general health and safety measures we are putting into place at U. City schools to safeguard students and staff when they return to the building.

Health checks

  • Students will self-screen via the app Tyler SIS 360 before entering a school building on their designated days of in-person instruction. Staff will utilize the self-screening app every day prior to entering a District building. Download a guide to the app.

  • Parents/guardians will be that do not complete the home health screening will receive a follow-up call from a school nurse.

  • Spot digital temperature checks will be taken on children and staff.


Enhanced cleaning

  • A regular cleaning schedule will be used with an emphasis on high touch surfaces, including sinks, bathrooms and water bottle filling stations.

  • Efforts will be made to reduce the need to touch objects/ doors (no-touch waste containers, prop doors open).

  • Staff will reinforce “no sharing” of food, water bottles, utensils, pens and pencils and art equipment.

  • All toys and equipment will be made of materials that can be cleaned and disinfected. Soft toys will be stored for now and children will leave them at home. Rugs have been removed.

Sick students

  • Students who come to the nurse’s office feeling sick will be sent home.

  • Those with symptoms of COVID-19 will be cared for separately from other students/ staff using health department protocols. An emergency contact will be called to pick them up.

  • Nurses will have protective gear to use when working with students and the health rooms will be cleaned frequently.

Physical Distancing

  • Providing families the option of virtual, online learning in the new school year will help reduce the number of students in our schools, enabling more effective physical distancing strategies.

  • Schools will use strategies and a cohort system to minimize movement in the buildings and reduce intermingling of students from different classes.

  • Classroom furniture, including desks, chairs, tables, etc., will be set up arranged to maximize physical distancing to the extent possible in the classroom.

Protective supplies

  • Staff will be provided with masks, gloves, sanitizers and other protective gear according to their needs and job duties.

  • Students in middle and high school must wear face masks. Most elementary students will also wear masks (grade levels TBD).

  • Students who need masks will be provided one.

  • Plexiglass barriers have been placed in certain offices and areas of high interaction.

Wipes, sanitizers, fountains & sinks

  • Hand sanitizing stations have been added throughout all U. City buildings.

  • Classrooms and offices will have hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes readily available for use on a regular basis throughout the day.

  • Restroom sinks have been retrofitted to be hands-free.

  • Most water fountains have been retrofitted with water bottle fillers. Those without them will be closed.

Visitor limits

  • Most visitors, including parents/guardians, will not be allowed to enter U City schools. Those who do, will be screened and given limited access. Please call ahead.

Signage

  • Age-appropriate signage is being placed throughout all buildings to remind individuals of hand hygiene, proper hand washing, symptoms the importance of staying home when sick.

  • Other signs will serve as physical distancing reminders. Click here to see a sample of our signs.

Physical, Emotional and Academic Wellness

  • The District will offer comprehensive assessments of a student's academic and emotional standing and then provide support that meet each child's needs.

  • The District will be gentle, kind and age-appropriate with students to ensure they are not overwhelmed nor bored in the school or virtual setting - as these can trigger behavioral and mental health issues.

  • Extra support through counselors, social workers and psychologists will provide support via in-person, phone, or virtual interaction.

  • Consistent teacher phone or virtual contact will be made with all families to better understand their needs.

  • A day in the life of every student will include positive social emotional support and communication such as structured fun time, music, movement, circle time, restorative practices, breaks, outdoor time, treats and more.

  • Communication with parents and caregivers will be consistent, persistent and helpful and will encourage community engagement.

  • The District will partner with an organization to provide child care for students in Brick Academy on days they are not in school.

The Peace Place

Parenting, teaching, working, learning, daily life, sudden change and even positive growth can sometimes be stressful. The Peace Place gives you tools for relaxation, mindfulness and calm. We hope you find these resources helpful as you take time for important self care.

Community Resources

The safety and well-being of our students, staff and families is always a top priority, especially in this stressful time. Our Student Services Office has put together a list of resources and contact information if you need help. Please use them when you need them.

Contact Tracing

U. City has assembled a team of contact tracers to support the health department in managing instances when a possible case of COVID-19 arises in the district. Team members completed a COVID-19 contact tracing course from John Hopkins University to learn best practices.

An example of the type of work the contact tracing team will engage in when there is a positive case includes:

  • Developing a timeline to determine when the person who tested positive for COVID-19 started experiencing symptoms to accurately calculate the 48-hour period before the person began to experience COVID-19 symptoms.

  • Identifying students and staff who meet the CDC definition of having “close contact” with a person testing positive for COVID-19 based on class schedules and assignments.

  • Supporting the school and district administration in developing and implementing a communication plan (phone calls, letters, emails, etc.).

  • Informing the teaching and learning department of students who are under quarantine so their educational programming can be determined.