COVID-19 CENTRAL

COVID-19 Protocols for 2021-2022 School Year

The Pulaski County Special School District is prepared to take the necessary steps to create a safe environment for students and staff in the upcoming school year. The District will follow guidelines and recommendations from the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) as well as CDC when it comes to COVID-19 concerns. On July 9, 2021, the CDC released updated guidance for K-12 schools in regards to the prevention of COVID-19. Click here to review the key takeaways from the CDC.

FACE COVERINGS

MASK MANDATE (APPROVED BY BOARD 8.10.21, 10.12.21, 11.9.21)

On November 9, 2021 PCSSD Board of Education held a special board meeting at the request of a petition signed by PCSSD residents. At the conclusion of the meeting, the board voted 4-3 in favor of making masks optional effective immediately.

On October 12, 2021 PCSSD Board of Education approved, by a vote of 4-2 (1 absent), the recommendation to extend the mask requirement for all students, staff and guests. After another 60 days, in consultation with the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), PCSSD will review the indoor mask requirement.

On August 10, 2021 PCSSD Board of Education unanimously approved recommendation that masks will be required for all students, staff and guests. After 60 days, in consultation with the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), PCSSD will review the indoor mask requirement.

On Friday, August 6, 2021 Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox issued a preliminary injunction against Act 1002 that Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed in April banning mask requirements by governmental entities. Fox ruled the law violates Arkansas’ constitution, saying it discriminates between public and private school students. He said it also infringes on the governor’s emergency powers, as well as the authority of county officials and the state Supreme Court.

Face coverings may be any of the following: medical masks, cloth masks (must be clean and dry) with two to three layers of fabric, or shields. Please refer the CDC guidelines for tips and instruction on proper ways to wear face coverings. PCSSD does not allow gaiters, bandanas or vented masks as approved face coverings per ADH guidelines.

mask-classroom

PHYSICAL DISTANCING
Updated October 19, 2021: To manage the negative impacts of excluding students from onsite education with the risk of spreading COVID-19, the close contact definition within a K-12 setting has been modified in effort to achieve the appropriate balance.  Close contact within a K-12 school setting that will require quarantine is defined as students or staff who have been within three (3) feet for 15 cumulative minutes or longer within a 24-hour period during the infectious period of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. This recommendation does NOT apply to Pre-K students, where the physical distance is still 6-feet.

TEMPERATURE CHECKS
Temperature checks will take place at every school for students and staff just as they did in the 2020-2021 school year. Staff will continue to complete building entry screening to monitor COVID-19 related symptoms upon entering the building each day. Temperature checks will also be required for any visitor who wishes to enter a PCSSD building at any point during the day.

HAND SANITIZING AND CLEANING
Hand sanitizing stations will continue to be present throughout the schools and district buildings. Hand washing and sanitizing will be encouraged for all students and staff throughout the day. The PCSSD custodial staff will continue with the intense cleaning measures that were implemented in the 2020-2021 school year. Part of those extensive cleaning measures include the dedicated deep-cleaning efforts every Wednesday by the custodial teams. All staff will be out of the building during this time on Wednesdays. Additionally, all PCSSD school buses will have the additional cleaning and sanitizing measures between bus routes.