Health and Safety for In-Person Learing FAQs
Are Ferguson-Florissant School District employees required to be vaccinated or take weekly COVID-19 tests if unvaccinated?
Yes. During the August 2021 meeting, the Ferguson-Florissant School District Board of Education approved the requirement that all staff get vaccinated against COVID-19 or participate in weekly COVID-19 testing for the 2021-22 school year. The health and safety of the school community is the District's top priority. Widespread vaccination is one of the best mitigation tools in providing safer schools and working environments for students and staff. Requiring all staff to be vaccinated will also help the District support the collective goal of providing students with 5-day in-person learning with the least amount of disruption during the school year in the safest way possible.
What happens when a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 or a student or staff member has had potential exposure?
Students and staff who become sick with COVID-19 symptoms should notify their school nurse or staff, their supervisor, about their situation. Sick students or staff should contact their health care provider about being tested and keep the school informed of any outcome. Students and staff must follow their health care provider instructions and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines regarding when it is safe to return to school.
How will contact tracing be accomplished?
All members of the Ferguson-Florissant School District contact tracing team have successfully completed the Johns Hopkins contact tracing program. All District contact tracers on staff in each building are able to ensure proper protocols are followed when an individual tests positive for COVID-19. In all cases, we will follow St. Louis County Department of Public Health guidelines.
What happens if my child is a close contact with a positive COVID-19 case?
If the District is notified of a positive case, Ferguson-Florissant School District’s contact tracing team works with the health department and school administrators to determine guidance to students and staff on the potential need to quarantine, isolate, or if a modified quarantine is needed.
Quarantine or Isolation: What's the difference?
- Quarantine keeps someone who might have been exposed to the virus away from others.
- Isolation keeps someone who is infected with the virus away from others, even in their home.
Please note that quarantines may be required if additional cases develop at school as a result of the initial positive case. Quarantines may vary based on length of exposure to the positive case and are at the direction and in consultation with St. Louis County Health Department.
Who will quarantine? Just those in close contact, whole classes, whole grades, whole schools?
Ferguson-Florissant School District’s contact tracing team will work with the health department and follow local health officials’ recommendations for the scope (e.g., a small group, a single classroom or school, multiple schools, the full district) and duration of school closures. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis using the most up-to-date information about COVID-19, guidance from the health department, and the specific cases in the community.
If my child is out of school due to isolation or quarantine for COVID-19, how will they keep up with assignments?
The school and/or the student’s teacher will work with the family on the student’s needs. Students in grades K-12 will have access to a Chromebook and the capability to access Canvas for learning materials.
How will the District communicate with the community on COVID-19 cases?
Ferguson-Florissant School District will communicate directly with families and staff about positive cases among students and staff in its schools.
- The school nurse or principal will make immediate calls to staff and students who must quarantine.
- A follow-up email will be sent to parents of students who are identified as being a close contact. Staff will be notified if there is a newly active case in their building.
Due to laws protecting student and staff privacy, no identifying information about the student or staff member who tested positive will be released to the public. However, students or staff who are identified as having been in close contact (as defined by the CDC) with the individual will be notified as part of the contact tracing process and instructed on what steps to take.
Will there be enough cleaning supplies for classrooms, and who will provide these?
Yes, we have supplies for all schools and classrooms. We will provide wipes for classrooms and hand sanitizer with the recent installation of over 600 wall-mounted hand sanitizer dispensers in the main entry/exit, hallways, cafeteria, gym, and main offices. In addition, free-standing hand sanitizer dispensers are available in each classroom.
What will bus transportation look like for in-person learners?
For safety updates from our FFSD Transporation Department, please view the bus safety video here.
How will the schools be kept sanitized during the school day?
Custodians will be cleaning/disinfecting high-touch areas, including restrooms, and restocking items throughout the school multiple times a day using electrostatic spray units daily and nightly. Disinfecting wipes and disinfecting spray will be available for staff as needed.
Will there be deeper cleaning of the buildings and rooms?
Each evening after students and staff leave the buildings; school buildings will be cleaned and disinfected. In addition, we have purchased disinfectant electrostatic sprayers to assist us with disinfecting larger areas in a shorter period of time. Classrooms will be cleaned nightly as we always have and includes disinfecting. In addition, during the day, custodians will be cleaning high-touch areas and restrooms throughout the day.
What is being done about air quality and ventilation in our schools with the older systems that we have?
We regularly update and maintain our HVAC systems throughout the year. All HVAC systems (including ventilation) have been inspected and tested, and we have made adjustments, as we do every year, to ensure proper airflow, temperature, and air quality. For example, this year, due to COVID-19 recommendations from the manufacturer and CDC, we have adjusted the outside airflow from 10% to 20%. However, it is also important to note that our recirculated air is sent through a filtration system that uses MERV 8 rated filters. This high rating works well without restricting proper airflow and temperature.
Our filtration/airflow systems have four air changes every hour. In other words, the air is removed and filtered every 15 minutes, which is required. This is far above what most business and home systems can provide.
We have recently cleaned and disinfected indoor heating/cooling coils using a product specifically for eliminating bacterial and viral contaminants to assure there are no bacterial or viral contaminants in our systems.
District buildings have had third-party air quality testing performed each year based on any concerns. The results have shown every time that our indoor air quality was far superior to the outdoor air quality immediately outside the building and based on the St. Louis County Department of Health air quality daily testing. Our buildings have ranged from 100 – 1,200 parts per million (ppm), while outdoor ranged from 12,000 to 54,000 aeroallergen ppm. The air quality in our buildings is better than outdoor air due to our HVAC systems, filtration systems, and the change of air every 15 min.
How will staff be screened before entering the building?
Before entering a district building, staff will be asked to complete a COVID-19 Employee Screening Questionnaire. This should be done every day prior to reporting to work.
How will students be screened before entering the building?
Parents are asked to screen their child and complete a daily check before sending their child to school. A COVID-19 Student Screening tool can be found here.
Will students and employees be able to use the water fountains?
Drinking fountains will be used to fill water bottles only. Students are encouraged to bring their own water bottles to school.
Are visitors, parents/guardians allowed in school buildings?
No. Due to the ongoing widespread community transmission of COVID-19, it is recommended that visitors are only permitted in schools and buildings for essential business. In general, our goal is to limit the number of visitors entering a school building daily.
As we head back into a year of learning, this is the perfect time to remind our students, staff, and school community of the safety protocols in place to help keep our buildings safe. We all play a part in this effort of keeping #FFSDSafe.
- Self-screen for symptoms every morning
- Bring a well-fitted face mask to school every day
- Wash hands often
- Maintain physical distancing of 3 feet or more when possible
All Ferguson-Florissant School District staff are required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or submit to weekly testing. The CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccination for all who are eligible for ages 12+.
Ferguson-Florissant School District has partnered with Washington University on a research project that offers FREE COVID-19 saliva testing to all students, staff, and the community. Please call 314-454-4269. For a list of drive-thru testing locations, click here.
For our full 2021-22 Return to In-Person Learning Plan, click here.