Muscle Shoals City Schools

July 31, 2020

REVISIONS TO MSCS Reopening Plans 2020-2021

School Calendar Revised - NEW START DATE!

On July 28, the Muscle Shoals Board of Education met in a special-called meeting to revise the district's academic calendar.

New School Start Date
Thursday, August 20

How School Will Start
As of today, our plan is to begin school on August 20 with both an in-person option and the virtual option available. For the in-person students, we will begin with a "staggered scheduled" for all students, K-12. Each school principal will communicate the plan for which days students should expect to attend. On days that students do not attend in-person, it will be expected that those students will engage with their teachers/classes remotely.

For In-person Learners (Principals will communicate when students will attend)
Thur, August 20 - Staggered schedule

Fri, August 21 - Staggered schedule

Mon, August 24 - Staggered schedule

Tues, August 25 - Staggered schedule

Wed, August 26 - Staggered schedule

Thur, August 27 - Staggered schedule


No students will attend in-person on August 28.

As you see, our start will be a slow, cautious reopening with the hopes that things look more normal in September.

Our decision on when to return to more normal school operations will be determined by local factors related to COVID-19, such as the ADPH local risk indicator, community spread, and hospital capacity/availability.

Important Dates REVISED

July 31
New employee orientation

August 3
All employees report for Institute to their respective schools

August 4-19
Teacher work days and professional development

August 10-14

Connection & Orientation Week FOR VIRTUAL LEARNERS

Each school principal will communicate a plan for virtual students to

1) Receive a school-owned Chromebook
2) Receive an appropriate orientation to remote/virtual learning

*Teachers will use this week to connect with their students, orient them to the remote formats that will be used for instruction, and assist families with working through issues and concerns that they may have. No grades will be taken during this week, but virtual students WILL BE REQUIRED to log in and engage with their teachers for a proper orientation to remote learning.

August 20 (we will gradually begin in-person school with small groups)

Staggered start for all students, K-12

School principals will communicate the days on which students should expect to attend.

District Health Protocols (As of 7/30/2020)

Wherever you see **NEW** there is updated information from the Alabama Department of Public Health and we have updated our district health protocols accordingly.

These guidelines are consistent with the latest information from the Alabama Department of Public Health. Individual schools may have additional protocols above and beyond the ones noted here.


**NEW** Screening - The screening process begins at home with parents checking temperatures daily. A child with a temperature of 100.4 shall remain at home and will not be permitted to return to school for 24 hours after the temperature is back to normal. When students feel well enough to complete assignments at home, learning will continue using virtual/digital tools. Additionally, our staffs will be trained to identify the signs and symptoms of COVID19. We have purchased additional contactless thermometers and other nursing supplies and will increase screenings at school.

**NEW** Facial Coverings (Masks) - Per the order of Governor Kay Ivey and effective through August 31, all persons (staff and students in 2nd grade and above) will wear a mask or other facial covering that covers his or her nostrils and mouth at all times

when within six feet of a person from another household. The governor's order does allow exceptions for practical necessity, exercise, effective communication, and essential job function. Read the latest "Safer at Home" order from Governor Ivey here.

Social Distancing - The ideal distance to prevent/slow the spread of viruses is 6 feet. There is evidence to suggest that, in the absence of a 6 foot space barrier, distances as little as 3 feet provide a level of protection, particularly for children. From the ALSDE Roadmap to Reopening: "Maintaining physical distance between persons is another method that may be employed to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus according to both CDC and ADPH...Maintaining physical distance will not always be practical inside school settings and there is no expectation to do so. However, local school systems can refer to guidance from the CDC and ADPH to help craft best practices. For instance, space may not allow placing six feet between student desks, but it might be practical to place a little more space between desks and to face them all in one direction." (Explanation: this language from the Alabama Roadmap to Reopening just states the obvious that maintaining the ideal physical distance between persons "at all times" is an unreasonable expectation in a school environment.)

Personal Hygiene - Hand sanitizer will be available in each classroom and throughout the hallways of each campus. Staff will constantly encourage hand washing and proper ways to sneeze and cough to slow the spread of germs.

Water Fountains - staff and students should bring their own water to minimize use and touching of water fountains.

Isolation and Quarantine Procedures as recommended by ADPH

  • Positive COVID-19 without symptoms (Laboratory Confirmed) - Isolation can discontinue 10 days after first positive test date if person has remained asymptomatic.

  • Positive COVID-19 with symptoms (Laboratory Confirmed) - Isolation can end after the following criteria are met: 1) at least 10 days from onset of symptoms and 2) at least 24 hours since last fever using no fever-reduction medication and symptoms have improved.

Exposure - A student or staff member will be considered exposed to COVID-19 if the individual has had close contact (less than 6 feet) for an extended time (greater than or equal to 15 minutes). This is the 6/15 rule that is used as an operational definition of COVID-19 exposure by the Center for Disease Control. For general and practical purposes, MSCS will not consider an entire class "exposed" if a student or staff member in that class tests positive for COVID-19. Exposures will be determined through public health contact tracing protocols. An individual with an exposure by CDC definition will quarantine according to the following protocols:

  • Exposed person who exhibits symptoms (exposed in household or by close contact) - follow the same protocols as a person positive for COVID-19 with symptoms.

  • Exposed person with or without symptoms who tests negative or does not test at all (exposed in household or by close contact) - must quarantine; may discontinue isolation 14 days after last exposure to a positive case. It is important to note that a negative test does not necessarily mean the person is negative or will remain negative. The individual must finish out the full 14-day quarantine period. If the individual tests positive during the 14-day quarantine period, refer to Laboratory-Confirmed Case guidance.


  • Exposed person with positive contacts who share a room/living quarters (have on-going contact with a positive case) - must quarantine throughout the isolation period of the positive individual plus an additional 14 days. For example, if a parent has to care for a child with COVID-19 and maintain close contact throughout a 10 day isolation period for the child, the parent must isolate himself/herself 14 additional days.

Contact Tracing - operationally defined as, "warning contacts of exposure in order to stop chains of transmission." Contact tracing is primarily a function of the Alabama Department of Public Health. From the ADPH website, "If you have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, an employee from the health department (contact tracer) may call to inform you that you’ve been exposed. They will ask you to stay at home and self-quarantine. Close contact means you were within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes. Self-quarantine helps slow the spread of COVID-19 and can help keep your friends and neighbors healthy."

School Response - Students who are identified as having a fever and/or symptoms of COVID-19 will be placed in an isolation area to be reviewed by a nurse or another trained staff member. The school nurse will provide an assessment to check for COVID-19 symptoms. If symptoms are present, the parent will be called for student pick up and recommended to report to their personal health care provider, urgent care facility, or the Colbert County Health Department for further instructions. The parent/guardian of a student who tests positive should notify their school nurse and/or school administrators upon their knowledge of this positive result (student/staff identification will remain confidential as required by law). The Lead Nurse is required to report and verify all positive COVID-19 results with the Alabama Department of Public Health.

School Communication - If school personnel has knowledge of an exposure as defined by the 6/15 rule (within 6 feet for greater than or equal to 15 minutes), personnel will make appropriate contacts while respecting the confidentiality of student/staff identities. Personnel will not, however, speculate on exposures nor communicate regarding an individual who is being tested or waiting on test results. The school district will not make a public statement every time a positive COVID-19 test is confirmed among our students and staff. Administration and nursing staff will monitor all cases of COVID-19 that arise among students/staff and determine if and when changes in school protocols or operations are necessary.

Athletic Contests Suspended Until First Week of September

MSCS has suspended all athletic contests involving our student-athletes until the first week of September. By September 1, the administrative team will confer and decide how our school district will proceed with extracurricular activities in the month of September.

Emergency 50% Plan

In the event that MSCS is forced to operate at 50% capacity, a blended approach with an A-day/B-day schedule will be instituted. Students will be divided into two groups, likely alphabetically. Students will alternate between in-person and remote learning with A-day students attending in-person on Mondays and Wednesday and B-day students attending in-person on Tuesday and Thursdays. Fridays will remain reserved for specialized instruction while most students work remotely. If an Emergency 50% Plan is instituted, all employees will continue to report to work at the school buildings unless otherwise directed by the superintendent. Decisions on this will be made in consultation with the administrative team, nursing staff, the local health department, and in consideration of COVID-19 cases/exposures and daily attendance rates. Alternate scheduling plans may impact the entire district or individual schools/classrooms.

Emergency Remote Learning Plan

All in-person courses will have virtual components to ease in the transition of MSCS being forced to operate with remote learning for ALL students. In this scenario, all students will shift to the expectations of remote learning as outlined above. If an Emergency Remote Learning Plan is instituted, all employees will continue to report to work at the school buildings unless otherwise directed by the superintendent. Decisions on this will be made in consultation with the administrative team, nursing staff, the local health department, and in consideration of COVID-19 cases/exposures and daily attendance rates. Alternate scheduling plans may impact the entire district or individual schools/classrooms.


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