Health and Safety
Health and Safety
As we begin the school year, either fully in-person or hybrid, the following health and safety measures will be in place in accordance with the American Academy of Pediatrics, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Milwaukee Health Department.
Staying Home When Sick or After Exposure
The most important thing that we can do to prevent virus transmission among our school community, is to not bring it onto campus in the first place. Students and employees will be expected and asked to stay home in the following situations:
- When exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19. Everyone should become familiar with these symptoms, and we will establish a daily self-screening protocol for every student and employee (see below).
- After close contact with persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are symptomatic.
- After returning from travel to certain locations, as guided by CDC or local public health officials.
- If any students or employees have been exposed to COVID-19, the school will require medical clearance by physicians before they re-enter the school.
All students and employees will be required to complete a daily self-screening protocol before they enter the building. The school requests parent/guardian support of this process. This must be completed before leaving the house each morning. Our screening tool will provide guiding questions which give daily reminders of symptoms to be looking for, and other situations in which students and employees should stay home. The information gathered by the school will be treated with the proper privacy and confidentiality restrictions which apply to all student health information required by the school.
At this time, we will perform daily temperature checks for every student and employee upon building entry, as this is part of the self-screening process. We will have temperature screening tools in the building for in-school screening. Parents are instructed to keep their sons at home if they are ill. Any student or staff member with a fever of 100.4 degrees or greater or symptoms of possible COVID-19 virus infection should not be present in school.
When students or employees who are already at school report symptoms of COVID-19, they will report to a health room (room 114). Once students arrive at this location, their parents will be contacted. Students may be picked up from that location, and parents will receive guidance on steps to take with health professionals prior to returning to school.
Participation in class from home (Hilltopper@Home)
When a student needs to stay home for COVID-related reasons as described above, but is feeling well enough to continue to participate in class, MUHS established home learning technology, Swivl, which will allow them to keep pace with the learning activities and assignments of their classes. In most cases, our goal will be for students to remain fully engaged in all of their classes, and keep up with their classwork throughout the time they need to be at home, as long as they are well enough to do so. They will still participate along with their classmates and teachers who are in the building, through the Swivl technology.
It is important that students stay home when needed, whether they are feeling sick, are self-monitoring due to possible exposure, or simply don’t feel comfortable with the risk of being in a group setting.
Return to school
For students who need to stay home for any of the reasons listed above, their parents will receive instructions on what they need to do in order to return to school and when. These instructions will take place automatically through our screening tool, or in communication with school personnel. In some cases, this may include a student getting a COVID test or seeing a physician. In other cases, it may include staying home in quarantine for a defined time period. We will rely upon guidelines from medical professionals and public health officials to make these determinations.
Preventative Steps to Reduce Transmission Risk in the Building
Masks and other PPE
Beginning on July 1, 2020 and until further notice, all employees, students, and visitors are required to wear face masks while in the building. See CDC Face Covering Recommendations. Masks may be removed to eat meals or drink water. Masks do not need to be worn in outdoor spaces provided there is proper social distancing (at least six feet) among the occupants of these spaces. Masks are not required in private offices or classrooms occupied by individual employees.
Students and employees will be given two masks at the beginning of the school year. Students should plan to bring their masks every day, to keep them clean, and to follow other proper use guidelines throughout the day. Extra masks will be available for students who arrive at school and have forgotten them. Students will be required to wear school-issued masks.
Protective shields will be installed in areas or offices that require direct personal contact and close interaction between students, parents and staff.
Physical distancing at school
MUHS will make a number of adaptations to provide an environment where students, faculty and staff are able and encouraged to maintain appropriate physical distance from one another throughout the course of the school day. It should be noted that we cannot guarantee that 6 feet of distance from others will always be able to be maintained within our building. Current scientific evidence and the advice of our Medical Task Force gives us confidence that when we put into place all of the rest of these procedures such as staying home when sick or exposed, consistent PPE, and regular hygiene practices, we will provide sufficient risk mitigation for our population within our building, even if students are sometimes closer together than 6 feet. Still, we will take a number of steps for physical distancing of students, faculty, and staff, including:
- Classroom spacing and arrangement of desks for maximum distance
- Desks facing the front of the room
- Designated teacher-only spaces in the classrooms
- Assigned seating in the classroom (this is needed for contact tracing, see below)
- Adapting group work assignments to provide more physical distance among groups of students than usual in the classroom
- Adapting activities, locations, and delivery methods for courses such as visual arts, and performing arts, to maximize distance and avoid activities which have shown greater risk of virus transmission
- Reducing and eliminating shared classroom materials whenever possible
- Increased use of outdoor campus space for various classes and activities as weather allows
- Enforcing reduced capacity in common gathering areas such as the Cannon Commons, Blue & Gold Room, and the Atrium Spaces
- Reminding students of distancing guidelines
- Lengthening passing periods to allow for better distancing through halls, accommodate changes in student traffic patterns, and decrease students use of restrooms at one time
- Designating one-way stairways and hallways when necessary. Doors will be propped open to minimize surface contamination.
- Additional student restroom spaces may be provided to avoid overcrowding.
Students at MUHS will receive regular instruction in and visual reminders of personal hygiene procedures which are shown to reduce the risk of virus transmission. These include:
- Frequent handwashing
- Hand sanitizing - MUHS will provide additional sanitizing stations in common areas, entrances, and classrooms and students are encouraged to carry and use their own hand sanitizer throughout the day
- Avoiding touching your face
Our housekeeping staff will be implementing regular cleaning and sanitizing procedures throughout the building, which are much more intensive than normal. The school purchased sanitizing spray machines to disinfect all surfaces in the classrooms on a nightly basis. In addition, faculty and staff will observe protocols for cleaning each classroom and meeting room after use, before the next group enters.
The school has upgraded its HVAC filters from Merv 8 to Merv 13 and will replace filters on a more frequent basis.
Serving and consuming food and beverages presents challenges in our current environment. Changes to these procedures will include the following:
- Water fountains will be accessible for bottle-filling only. Students will continue to be encouraged to bring their own reusable water containers and rely on them throughout the school days.
- Cafeteria service will be adapted to minimize or eliminate self-service and close proximity in lines. New “grab and go” options will be the norm.
- Students will be encouraged to bring their own lunches and to not share items.
- Eating locations will be designated, and eating in other locations will not be permitted. These eating locations will be set up to provide for physical distancing between students.
Student Entrance and Exit
Students should only use the Henke Entrance or Wisconsin Ave. Entrance in the morning. Drop off and pick up locations and procedures will be similar to usual, with the line of cars forming in the east and west drop-off/pick up lanes. Students who are waiting for pickup immediately after school will be asked to wait outside, weather permitting, and with physical distancing, rather than inside the Henke Entrance. In addition to the Henke Center Entrance, students may leave the building through the Wisconsin Avenue entrance.
Class field trips will not occur until further notice. School vans may be used by employees only if physical distance is maintained by van occupants.
Assemblies and other large gatherings
Inside school-wide assemblies will not take place as usual until further notice. Instead, we will attempt to deliver these community-wide events in different formats. For example, we may stream events to students in their classes, rather than everyone gathering in the auditorium.
All school visitors are asked to check in at the security desk. Visitors will need to have an appointment, be met and guided by an employee, and will need to follow all building procedures such as wearing a mask and have a health screening.
Positive cases of COVID-19 in the community
If a student, or a member of the student’s household, is confirmed positive for COVID-19, we ask that the family inform the school immediately. Please contact Mr. Kowalewski, Dean of Students, at 414-933-7220 or email@example.com.
Cooperation with local health officials
According to public health guidance, upon learning of a positive case of COVID-19 in our community, the school will work with the Milwaukee County Health and Human Services Department (MCHHD). We will provide this notification, and expect to remain in communication with these officials about their procedures and guidance as we care for our students and families.
We expect that local health officials will carry out their own contact tracing procedures. It will also be possible and helpful for the school to carry out its own procedures as well. If a student, employee, or other person who has been in the building tests positive for COVID-19:
- School staff will conduct a brief interview to help determine close contacts among the school community.
- The student or community member’s close groupings will be considered, such as teams, classroom seating arrangements, etc.
- Families of students who have been in close contact with the COVID-19 positive individual, will be contacted by the school, and asked to self-monitor and follow CDC guidelines. This may include a requirement to stay home from school for a period of time.
If a student or employee is living with someone who has COVID-19 or is quarantined because of COVID-19, the student or employee in the household should also stay home for a minimum of two weeks.
Communication and privacy
In the case of a member of our community testing positive for COVID-19, school officials will communicate to the broader community depending on the specifics of the situation. Privacy considerations, as well as the health safety of the entire school community, will always be respected. Depending on the situation, we may need to inform the entire community that there has been a positive case, but we also may not. We will make these decisions in consultation with local health officials and with our Medical Task Force.
Depending upon the situation, upon learning of positive COVID-19 cases, it may be necessary to temporarily close the school for cleaning. In addition, we will closely monitor community transmission rates, our own school absentee rate, and the guidance of local health officials, in making these decisions. In decisions of school closing, we will communicate the need to the school community, and launch Hilltopper@Home (scenario C) plans for continuous learning for all students during the closure.
- Will masks be mandatory for students and staff? Will masks be provided? Why or why not?
- What strategies will you be using to minimize transfer of COVID-19 virus through the air?
- What strategies will you be using to minimize transfer of virus through surface contact?
- What are all the precautionary measures that will be taken during in-person school days?
- Will each classroom desk be cleaned after each class?
- How will you address deep cleaning the building and how often?
- How will lunch be handled (hand sanitizing, food service, social distancing)?
- What types of screenings will take place? How will screenings be used?
- What happens if a student tests positive for COVID-19?
- Will students need to be quarantined after returning from travel out of state?
- What can parents do to support all the efforts put forth?
- What authorities must MUHS follow in decision making related to the pandemic?
- My son is high risk for illness. What options do I have to ensure his safety?