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Pulaski County Public Schools changes tiered reopening plan to start school year with more restrictions

Coronavirus

PULASKI COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Due to the requirements of Virginia SB 1303 and the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pulaski County Public Schools has changed the draft of the tiered reopening plan that will be presented at next week’s school board meeting. The new draft proposes starting the school year with more restrictions than originally planned.

The school district released the following statement on Facebook on Friday, Aug. 6:

“The Pulaski County School Board will now be asked to consider the following revision to its reopening plan. The highlighted changes are necessary to be in compliance with VA Senate Bill 1303 which which states “The bill requires each school board to provide such in-person instruction in a manner in which it adheres, to the maximum extent practicable, to any currently applicable mitigation strategies for early childhood care and education programs and elementary and secondary schools to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 that have been provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention”. This provision was cited as a the legal requirement for universal masking in schools by Governor Northam on August 5, 2021. We apologize for any confusion that this change might cause.”

Pulaski County Public Schools

According to Friday’s announcement, the school district will open in Tier II of the reopening plan rather than Tier I. However, once the applicable requirements are removed, school officials say they will make adjustments between the three tiers on an individual school basis in consultation with the New River Health District.

In addition, the hours of the school day will return to their regular times while all bus routes return to their regular schedules for the 2021-2022 school year.

Here is a breakdown of the updated draft for the Pulaski County Public Schools Tiered Reopening Plan that will be presented to the school board on Tuesday, Aug. 10:

Tier I (zero to low verified transmission within a school building):

  • Masks required on school transportation
  • Masks optional inside school buildings at all school events for vaccinated adults and all students. Unvaccinated employees will need to continue wearing face coverings while indoors. Employees who request an N95 will be supplied the mask by school nurses.
  • Outside visitors permitted inside of schools
  • Field trips are permitted in conjunction with regular field trip guidelines
  • Meals eaten in the cafeteria
  • Three feet of social distancing is the goal, but not a requirement
  • Cleaning and sanitizing on a regular schedule
  • Students or staff who are symptomatic should stay home until they are symptom-free for more than 24 hours and if unvaccinated, follow isolation/test/quarantine protocols for COVID-19 exposure

Tier II (moderate verified transmission within a school building):

  • Masks required on school transportation
  • Masks are required inside of all school buildings (this is a change from the previous draft)
  • Limited outside visitors permitted into the school with health checks and verification of vaccination
  • Field trips reevaluated by principal and decided on a case by case basis
  • Meals eaten in the cafeteria with increased social distancing
  • Three feet of social distancing (or as close as possible) will be the standard in classrooms
  • Cleaning and sanitizing on a regular schedule with increased emphasis on commonly used areas
  • Students or staff who are symptomatic should stay home until they are symptom-free for more than 24 hours and if unvaccinated, follow isolation/test/quarantine protocols for COVID-19 exposure

Tier III (high verified transmission within a school building):

  • Masks required on school transportation
  • Masks required inside school buildings and at all school events
  • No outside visitors permitted inside of schools
  • No field trips
  • Six feet of social distancing required while eating meals
  • Three feet of social distancing required in the classroom (the school may be placed on a 50 percent attendance schedule to ensure proper distancing)
  • Increased cleaning and sanitizing in all areas
  • Students or staff who are symptomatic should stay home until they are symptom-free for more than 24 hours and if unvaccinated, follow isolation/test/quarantine protocols for COVID-19 exposure
  • Implement remote learning protocols if needed to limit exposure and prevent infection spread

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