Updated: August 10, 2021
Pinellas County Schools is committed to providing high-quality instruction and enrichment opportunities for all students, while also maintaining wellness protocols for students and staff. Any updates will be communicated to all stakeholders.
The following, updated protocols incorporate the rules issued by the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) and the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) on August 6, 2021.
- FDOE Emergency Rule 6AER21-01: Pupil Attendance Records for COVID-19
- FDOE Emergency Rule 6AER21-02: COVID-19 Hope Scholarship Transfer Procedures
- FDOH Emergency Rule 64DER21-12: Protocols for Controlling COVID-19 in School Settings
Accelerating Learning through Student and Family Engagement
- All 2021-22 school year programming will be delivered via in-person instruction for all students.
- Simultaneous teaching, which served a valuable purpose in the 2020-21 school year, will not be required during the 2021-22 school year.
- Academic growth will be accelerated for every student through in-person instruction, high-quality teaching practices, programs and targeted enrichment and intervention opportunities matched to student needs.
- All students will be engaged in rigorous, collaborative and inclusive educational practices which include whole class, small group and individual instruction across all grade levels and content courses. This includes the sharing of materials in classrooms and in physical education.
- The Florida Department of Education has indicated that funding will not continue in the 2021-22 school year for innovative, online programming such as MyPCS Online. Pinellas County Schools offers a robust full- and part-time Pinellas Virtual School (PVS). To learn more about PVS, including an updated model for elementary instruction, or to schedule a meeting to discuss the supports available, go to www.pcsb.org/virtual.
- In compliance with FDOE Emergency Rule 6AER21-01 an Instructional Continuity Plan has been developed to address partial and full classroom quarantines.
- Schools and teachers will leverage the PCS Connects Initiative, Level Up activities and digital platforms to extend learning both within classrooms and beyond the school day. One-to-one student devices will expand to include students in grades 3 to 10.
- The district, schools and teachers will continue the use of digital learning applications and platforms within classrooms including, but not limited to, the use of: Canvas, Nearpod, IXL, iStation, etc.
- Extracurricular, performing arts and athletic activities for the 2021-22 school year will resume to regular operations to support student engagement and will follow district and/or organization (e.g. Florida High School Athletic Association- FHSAA) guidelines, review, permission and wellness protocols.
- Activities and/or field trips will resume and follow the regular district review, permission and wellness protocols. Any field trip to a non-district location must follow the wellness practices of both the district and the field trip location.
Family Engagement and Campus Visitors/Volunteer
- In-person family engagement meetings will resume and, in some cases, virtual meetings may also occur.
- Opportunities for on-campus visitors and volunteers should be assessed on a case-by-case basis. All visitors and volunteers must follow district wellness practices and approval processes (e.g. check-in procedures, Level II clearance, etc.).
- Schools will review their drop-off and pick-up protocols and communicate any changes directly to families.
Pinellas County Schools will follow the wellness protocols outlined in the Florida Department of Health Emergency Rule 64DER21-12, issued August 6, 2021, by Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees. This applies to all students, staff and visitors.
64DER21-12 Protocols for Controlling COVID-19 in School Settings
(1) GENERAL PROTOCOLS AND DEFINITION. The following procedures should be instituted to govern the control of COVID-19 in public schools:
- Schools should encourage routine cleaning of classrooms and high-traffic areas.
- Students should be encouraged to practice routine handwashing throughout the day.
- Students should stay home if they are sick.
- Students may wear masks or facial coverings as a mitigation measure; however, the school must allow for a parent or legal guardian of the student to opt-out the student from wearing a face covering or mask.
- For purposes of this rule, “direct contact” means cumulative exposure for at least 15 minutes, within six feet.
(2) PROTOCOLS FOR SYMPTOMATIC OR COVID-19 POSITIVE STUDENTS. Students experiencing any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or who have received a positive diagnostic test for COVID-19 should not attend school, school-sponsored activities, or be on school property until:
- The student receives a negative diagnostic COVID-19 test and is asymptomatic; or
- Ten days have passed since the onset of symptoms or positive test result, the student has had no fever for 24 hours and the student’s other symptoms are improving; or
- The student receives written permission to return to school from a medical doctor licensed under chapter 458, an osteopathic physician licensed under chapter 459 or an advanced registered nurse practitioner licensed under chapter 464.
(3) PROTOCOLS FOR STUDENTS WITH EXPOSURE TO COVID-19. Students who are known to have been in direct contact with an individual who received a positive diagnostic test for COVID-19 should not attend school, school-sponsored activities, or be on school property until:
- The student is asymptomatic and receives a negative diagnostic COVID-19 test after four days from the date of last exposure to the COVID-19 positive individual; or
- The student is asymptomatic and seven days have passed since the date of last exposure to the COVID-19 positive individual; or
- If a student becomes symptomatic following exposure to an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, the student should follow the procedures set forth in subsection (2), above.
(4) PROTOCOLS FOR STUDENTS WITH PRIOR COVID-19 INFECTION. A student who has received a positive diagnostic test for COVID-19 in the previous 90 days and who is known to have been in contact with an individual who has received a positive diagnostic test for COVID-19 is not subject to the protocols set forth in subsection (3), so long as the student remains asymptomatic. If a student with a previous COVID-19 infection becomes symptomatic, the student should follow the procedures set forth in subsection (2), above. This subsection applies equally to students who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19
(5) TESTING. Any COVID-19 testing of minors at school requires informed written consent from a parent or legal guardian.
(6) NON-DISCRIMINATION. Students whose parents or legal guardian have opted them out of a mask or face covering requirement shall not be subject to any harassment or discriminatory treatment, including but not limited to:
- Relegation to certain physical locations;
- Isolation during school activities; or
- Exclusion from any school-sponsored events or activities.
Pinellas County Schools will operationalize wellness protocols by:
- Strongly recommending that face coverings be worn when indoors by staff, students and visitors/volunteers and by continuing to have them available at schools and district facilities and on buses for students, staff and visitors.
- Teachers will have access to a supply of masks for any student in need, and an announcement will be made by the principal during the opening period during the first week of school to make sure all students know that they can request a mask.
- Families who opt not to have their student utilize a mask will not have to complete any form.
- The individual choices of all families will be respected.
- Parents are encouraged to reach out to their principal or teacher if they have a concern regarding adherence to their choice.
- Maintaining enhanced district mitigation practices for COVID-19 regarding: air filtration, cleaning and disinfecting within all district buildings, schools and buses.
- Keeping only the most essential furniture in classrooms to allow for additional space for learning and movement.
- Ensuring a high focus on personal wellness practices for students and staff such as hand washing and only attending school/work when feeling well. Hand sanitizer and classroom disinfectant supplies will be available in every classroom.
- Leveraging the use of outdoor spaces for learning and/or student lunches is encouraged through planning and collaboration between administrators and instructional staff.
- Continuing to keep all water fountain closed.
- Assigning a school nurse to every school.
- In accordance with government-issued guidance regarding public health, maintaining a separate space at school sites for individuals exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. Students sent home through the isolation room will be allowed to return to school using the protocols outlined by the Florida Department of Health Rule 64DER21-12 (noted above).
- Updating the district dashboard of confirmed COVID-19 cases each school day. The district dashboard can be accessed by going to: www.pcsb.org/COVID19Cases.
Staff Specific Updates
- In-person staff meetings, professional development and trainings will resume, keeping in mind the COVID-19 safety protocols. District and schools may still leverage virtual opportunities, if it best meets the needs, goals and outcomes of the opportunity.
- The use of meeting spaces, including those not fully utilized during the 2020-21 school year, will reopen to facilitate collaborative meetings, trainings and development opportunities. Staff members who used these locations as workspaces will work with their supervisor, as appropriate.
- Staff may use plexiglass at their workstations, as needed.
- At this time seating charts for classrooms, lunchrooms and buses will not be required in Focus but may be requested if there is a positive case at a school site to support contact tracing under the direction of the Department of Health-Pinellas (DOH-Pinellas).
- Principals and supervisors will continue utilizing the COVID Dashboard for:
- Employees exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19;
- Confirmed cases of employees and/or students; and
- Confirmed household cases of employees and/or students.
- Only members of the district COVID Team, working in conjunction with the DOH-Pinellas, should inquire into vaccination status.
- The district will maintain the COVID Team to ensure staff and student cases are addressed in a timely manner. Schools should use the current COVID-19 Dashboard to report positive cases and positive household members.
- Staff members who are absent for a COVID-19-related illness, isolation or quarantine will be eligible for the one-time Emergency Paid Sick Leave option which expires September 30, 2021.