Dear Ferguson-Florissant Families,
At the Dec. 20, 2021, special meeting, the Ferguson-Florissant School District Board of Education approved the District’s mitigation plan, which will continue the requirement for universal masking to remain in all FFSD buildings and on buses, test to stay program for students, and randomized/pool testing for vaccinated staff. Universal masking will remain in effect when students return on January 3, 2022 until further notice.
Discussion about changes in our protocols has been ongoing throughout the year, especially as we continue to monitor information about the new variants of the COVID-19 virus and its effects in our community.
Through the course of this pandemic, we have learned a great deal and our current guidance and procedures reflect the most updated recommendations from our local health officials. We are finalizing details on a test to stay program for unvaccinated students who are close contacts. The test to stay program is a promising strategy that can minimize exclusion from school and keep students safely in the classroom when used with layered preventative measures such as universal masking, physical distancing, handwashing and staying home when sick.
This health and safety plan was based on stakeholder feedback to keep everyone safe and healthy in our school community while continuing to keep in-person learning as a top priority. Here is a link to the updated Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan.
The key points to know:
- Masks will continue to be required for all students (ages 2+), staff, and visitors in all FFSD buildings and on buses until further notice.
- Universal masking continues to be a strong mitigation strategy for limiting the transmission of the virus in our schools.
- Test to Stay – Students who are not fully vaccinated and are identified as a close contact from exposure to a positive COVID-19 case in school may utilize the test to stay testing program with parental consent. All parents/guardians can expect to receive details for providing parental consent through the parent portal that would permit testing rather than automatic quarantining.
- Test to stay allows students who have had school-related close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 to remain in school if the student is not showing symptoms. Instead of needing to quarantine and miss class, these students will take frequent repeat testing while they remain in school as long as they are not symptomatic. The frequent repeat testing will enable prompt identification and isolation of close contacts who become infected to prevent further spread of the virus. More detailed information will be provided in January.
- The District will provide randomized/pool weekly COVID-19 testing for fully vaccinated staff members. Ten percent of fully vaccinated employees will be randomly selected and required to participate in surveillance testing each week starting Jan. 18, 2022. Unvaccinated staff will still be required to test weekly.
We will continue to use layered mitigation strategies to minimize transmission spread in our schools and our community. We will continue to wear masks, physically distance ourselves from others, encourage hand washing, and continue our sanitation procedures across the District.
As always, Ferguson-Florissant School District strives to share any changes made to our COVID-19 mitigation strategies openly and in a timely manner. As has been done throughout the course of the pandemic, the Board will continue to monitor COVID-19 in our community and will make data-driven adjustments to our mitigation protocols if necessary.
Thank you for your continued patience and support as we move forward together.
Dec. 22, 2021
Greetings Ferguson-Florissant Family,
Welcome back! I am excited to welcome each and every student back into our classrooms when school begins on Monday, Aug. 23. Last year was a year unlike any other, but the strength of our students, families, staff, and community helped us finish the year stronger than ever before. In preparation for the 2021-2022 school year, the District Reentry Task Force made preparations to ensure our classrooms are as safe as possible to provide five (5) day in-person instruction.
We have been monitoring transmission in our community. We will continue to review our protocols based on updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), St. Louis County Department of Public Health, and Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. There are still many health and safety protocols we need to follow to keep our students and staff healthy and in school. We will start the school year with the following mitigation measures in place for the support of in-person learning:
Universal masks: Masks are required indoors and on buses for all students (ages 2 +) and staff until further notice. Wearing masks will ensure we can keep the largest number of students in the classroom for in-person instruction while maintaining a safe environment for students and staff. This is based on recommendations from the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and St. Louis County Department of Public Health.
Employee vaccination requirement: All Ferguson-Florissant School District employees will be required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Any employee who is not vaccinated will be required to test for COVID-19 weekly.
Physical distancing: Social distancing will be implemented to the greatest extent possible of three (3) feet in classrooms and learning spaces.
Continue successful mitigation strategies: We will continue to encourage good handwashing hygiene practices and emphasize the importance of students and staff to self-monitor their health through daily screenings and stay home if they develop symptoms.
Quarantines: We will follow St. Louis County Department of Public Health’s guidelines on isolation for positive cases and quarantining of close contacts. Additionally, following new guidance from the CDC, asymptomatic, fully vaccinated individuals will not be required to quarantine if deemed a close contact.
Contact tracing and vaccine records: In an effort to assist with contact tracing, we are asking parents/guardians to inform us if their child has been vaccinated. We are also asking the same of District staff. This is voluntary for students, but it will help with the contact tracing process and may reduce the need for quarantine or modified quarantine even if an individual comes into direct contact with a positive exposure. More information will be coming soon with instructions on how to notify the District that your child has been vaccinated.
Ferguson-Florissant School District’s full Return to In-Person Instruction & Continuity of Services Plan is available on the District website. It provides thorough details about the procedures and mitigation requirements that have been created for the health and safety of students, staff, and our school community for the upcoming school year.
We will continue to monitor transmission in our community and review updated guidance from local and state health officials.
Thank you for your resilience and understanding as we have navigated this pandemic together. Even during these uncertain times, rest assured that our focus will always remain on doing what is best for our students, staff, and school community.
Dr. Joseph Davis
August 17, 2021