This information shared below is what was submitted to the federal government as our safe return to school plan. It is for documentation purposes only. The safety protocols may have been updated and can be found on the Covid-19 Information page.
Safe Return to School Plan
Universal and correct wearing of masks
In the summer of 2020, the Board of Education voted for a policy mandating face coverings be worn by all individuals on any Omaha Public Schools campuses. Signage was posted in various languages throughout Omaha Public Schools campuses with pictures on the proper way to wear a face covering, which included covering the nose and mouth. Information and instructions on proper use of face coverings was also posted using multiple social media platforms including Facebook, school websites, newsletters, Twitter, etc. Face coverings are required for students, staff and visitors. Signage has been created for schools and facilities to educate staff and visitors. This information will also be shared using the various social media platforms listed previously.
Modifying facilities to allow for physical distancing
The district has installed sneeze guards at various locations. Physical distancing signage has been placed along walls, floors doors, busses. Some of this signage was backed with an adhesive, while others were mechanically fastened where necessary. Placement of charcoal style filter media in the return air plenums of the ‘Cares’ rooms at building locations.
Handwashing and respiratory etiquette
In the past (pre-covid) and moving forward, Omaha Public Schools will continue to have handwashing and respiratory etiquette pictorial and instructional signage in multiple languages posted throughout schools. Students, parents/guardians, and staff are educated on handwashing and respiratory etiquette using various platforms (social media, school websites, school newsletters, etc.)
Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation
The protocols for cleaning and disinfecting were enhanced to allow for greater frequency when caring for high touch areas and restrooms within our facilities. The allowed for the introduction of more innovative cleaning resources and equipment to improve efficiency. OPS invested in additional filtration media for the various types of mechanical systems. This filter media is more restrictive to airflow and allows for smaller debris and particulates to be captured.
Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine
Since March of 2020 and moving forward, Omaha Public Schools will continue to collaborate with Douglas County Health Department on recommendations for contact tracing, including when to isolate and quarantine potentially infectious individuals. The Omaha Public Schools trained Building Covid Contact Designees, school nurses and district Covid contact tracers on appropriate steps for contact tracing to include positives, exposures and symptoms. Training took place in August 2020, December 2020, February 2021 and June 2021. Moving forward, Omaha Public Schools will work with the Douglas County Health Department on evidence-based practice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to guide Omaha Public Schools in contact tracing strategies to keep students, staff, and families safe.
Diagnostic and screening testing
A pilot program consisting of weekly saliva PCR testing of staff and students as well as wastewater, air, and surface samples were collected weekly and tested for SARS-coV-2 (from November 2020 – March 2021) to determine surrogacy for case detection, interrogate transmission risk of in-building activities, and discover expansion feasibility.
Efforts to provide vaccinations to school communities
Working with the vaccination coordinator from Douglas County Health Department, Omaha Public Schools has and will continue to offer vaccination clinics at the high schools, School Based Health Centers, and mobile pop-up clinics at middle and high schools during the summer of 2021 and each middle and high schools planned back-to-school activities. In addition, partnership with the Federally Qualified Health Centers (OneWorld Community Health Center and Charles Drew Health Center) have hosted vaccination clinics in each of their sites beyond the School Based Health Centers.
Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to health and safety policies
Students with the most significant disabilities returned to in person learning first and also had the option to attend five days per week while non-disabled students attended 3-2. We created face covering accommodation guidelines to ensure that students would not be excluded based on their inability to wear a face covering. Additional PPE was provided to staff members working with students who could not wear face coverings and required personal care needs to be met to ensure staff were safe. For students with disabilities learning remotely we provided assistive technology and in person nursing services to assist with students being able to access remote services.
For the upcoming school year we have created a process for families to use to assist them in accessing virtual services and homebound if students are still medically unable to leave the home. In the spring we held meetings with families of students with disabilities to determine how many hours of compensatory education services were owed to each student with a disability due to missed learning due to Covid. We have begun to provide those compensatory services this summer and will continue that throughout the 21-22 school year. These are services that are above and beyond a student's already scheduled IEP services.
Coordination with State and local health officials for support and technical assistance to implement strategies consistent with the CDC
The Omaha Public Schools has collaborated and will continue to collaborate regularly with Douglas County Health Department and the University of Nebraska Medical Center infectious disease experts to review current trends in the community and elicit recommendations on effective mitigation strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Ensuring continuity of services including but not limited to services to address students' academic needs and students' and staff socio-emotional needs
Elementary time allotments were adjusted for 2021-22 to include a Class Meeting daily to provide team building, relationship building, and social-emotional focused time each day with the classroom teacher. We adjusted and prioritized time for students for blended learning using the following adaptive tools: Amira, iRead, Lexia, Zearn, and NWEA Map Accelerator. Personalized Learning Plans have been created for every student. The PLP will outline specific data for each student and help teachers plan for acceleration as well as remediation. The Elementary Network plan of support for schools is being adjusted to provide regular and consistent data review (i.e. monthly) with CIS teams and school leadership to help target support and needs.
We have designed small group intervention during the school day in collaboration with schools to occur during advisement time. Determination of students selected will occur during team or plan time. Tutoring time structure along with recommended intervention tools will be provided. The use of GoFormative, a virtual and in-person teaching and assessment tool, is being developed. Middle level will continue to access and utilize the middle-level planner as a communication tool between student, teacher, and family. OPS pages of the middle-level planner provide space for goal setting, attendance tracking, career education reflection, and social-emotional supports.
The Freshman Seminar will begin the process of creating a student portfolio, which will include goal setting and badges for each of the Portrait of a Graduate skills. We are collaborating with School Counseling, Research, and IMS on the development of this product and how to integrate communication platforms for input and reflection. We are creating a 10-year personalized learning plan embedded with a 10-year college & career plan beginning in the 6th grade and taking the student through post-secondary as well as developing a course for the middle level to begin this work. Student support for their PLP will be embedded in the 6th-grade course, middle-level advisement, Freshman Seminar, and high school advisement. We will continue implementation of Khan Academy within math courses. Each content area will develop a continuous improvement plan. This plan will have determined outcomes, success criteria, monitoring processes, and professional learning.