COVID-19 Preparedness

  • COVID-19 Preparedness header

    Winchester Public Schools continues to evolve and refine our initiatives in support of continuity of education for students. While Virginia moves into Phase 3 of its reopening plan, we will follow the guidance provided by the state and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  Our first priority is the health and well-being of our students and staff as we prepare for the safe reopening of schools. Please review the highlights of the WPS Safety Protocols.

  • The 3 Ws Physical Distancing

    • Maintain 6 feet of separation between people whenever possible. A minimum of 3 feet of distance will be required in the classroom.
    • Display markings on the floor and​ signs throughout the building​ to help people maintain appropriate distance from one another.
    • Generally speaking, assign space to students in classrooms that provides the potential for 6 feet of physical distance.​
    • Establish meal schedules, serving locations (classrooms and/or cafeteria), protective practices for students with food allergies, and other practices that support public health.
    • Respect the state’s large-group gathering restrictions, including the 250-person limit on large gatherings, such as assemblies and recess, during Phase III.

    Face Coverings and PPE

    • Face coverings will be required for all staff, students and visitors.
    • Require the use of cloth face coverings for students, unless a medical condition documented by a medical professional requires otherwise. (Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] guidance, cloth face coverings should not be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.)
    • Equip health office staff with medical-grade Personal Protective Equipment (​PPE) to include masks, gloves, gowns, and face shields/goggles.
    • Procure disposable face coverings to provide to students who are required to wear a face covering but do not have one.
    • Provide PPE to full-time and part-time employees as appropriate to their area of responsibility.

    Daily Symptom Check Questionnaire and Temperature Checks

    • Parents/guardians will complete a symptom check questionnaire​ for their children at home prior to sending/bringing them to school. If the answer to any question is “yes”, the student must stay home.
    • Upon arrival at school, staff will conduct a daily health screening for each student. If a student answers yes to any of the questions, the student will be escorted to the designated care room.
    • Staff will complete a symptom check and temperature check at home prior to reporting to work. If the answer to any question is “yes” or even if the employee has a fever of 100.4°F or higher, the employee will stay home.
    • In order to provide the safest environment possible, it is very important sick children are picked up within the hour of notification by school staff. Up-to-date emergency contact information will be required of all families.

    Care and Testing for People with Symptoms

    • The school health office staff will care for any student or staff member reporting or exhibiting symptoms related to COVID-19 in a space separate from the general health office. The parent/ guardian will be requested to come to school to pick up the student as the student will not be permitted to ride the bus home. The employee will be asked to go home and seek care from their physician.
    • Information regarding testing facilities will be provided to students and staff who report symptoms related to COVID-19.

    Contact Tracing and Self- Quarantining

    • If a staff member or a student tests positive for COVID-19, a contact investigation will be conducted by the Virginia Department of Health in coordination with the Winchester Public Schools dedicated nurse for COVID-19 response. WPS will notify close contacts of positive cases urge them to stay at home, and require them to complete the CDC/VDH recommended isolation period before returning to the school.
    • WPS, based on consultation with VDH, could determine that self-quarantining is required among groups of students and staff who are exposed to a positive case. The volume of close contacts of positive cases would determine the extent to which in-person learning/work would be paused. In-person learning/work may be paused for students/staff who are close contacts of positive cases, as determined by VDH. The self-quarantine would not involve pausing virtual learning or work for these individuals.
    • WPS will work collaboratively with the VDH to report positive COVID-19 cases and potential close contacts, and communicate accordingly with the affected community members. 

    Enhanced Hygiene, Cleaning and Disinfecting Practices

    • Encourage and provide opportunities for frequent handwashing.
    • Implement Legionella prevention per CDC guidance, including use of flushing water systems.
    • Maintain increased supplies of soap and hand sanitizer to support an increased use of soap and hand sanitizer stations. Limit use of supplies and equipment by one group of children at a time and clean and disinfect between use.
    • Schools and worksites will be provided the appropriate signage and Virginia Department of Health/CDC posters related to mitigation strategies that include face coverings, respiratory etiquette, physical distancing, and signs/symptoms of COVID-19.
    • Implement enhanced cleaning procedures including more frequent cleaning of high-touch areas. Clean buses after morning, midday and afternoon runs.
    • Follow CDC guidance regarding cleaning of facilities that have been used by people who have tested positive. Three levels of enhanced cleaning will occur: enhanced; enhanced plus targeting cleaning in particular areas of the building; enhanced plus intensive school-wide cleaning, including a full disinfecting of the entire school with use of Electrostatic Spraying Systems.

    Physical Distancing on Buses

    • WPS will seek to create physical distance between students on buses.
    • WPS will seat children one per seat, with one student by the window and the next student by the aisle, which is approximately 26 students per bus.
    • Bus monitors will be used to monitor face coverings.
    • Children living together, such as siblings, may sit together.
    • WPS will implement modified practices for students entering and leaving buses.

    School Nutrition

    • Breakfast and lunch will be available at school for students on the days they are present for in-person learning.
    • Meals will be mostly served in the classroom.
    • Accommodations for students with allergies will be managed on a student by student basis as appropriate.
    • Packages with 3 days of non-perishable meals will be available at community distribution points for students on Wednesdays.