Health & Safety
The healthy and safety of our students and staff is our top priority. The information listed on this webpage describes the work done by the Ferndale School District to plan for reopening school for in-person learning according to the guidelines established by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).
General information about COVID-19 can be found on our COVID-19 Information Webpage.
Click on a topic below to learn more:
- Daily Health Screening Plan
- Physical Distancing Plan
- Meal Distribution Plan
- Hand Hygiene Plan
- Face Covering Plan
- Bus Safety Plan
- Plan for Cleaning Facilities
- Plan for Reporting Suspected or Known Cases of COVID-19
- Flu Vaccine Now Available for Uninsured Adults at No Cost
We have developed daily health screening plans for students and/or staff who are, or will be, working/learning in our school facilities. Beginning last spring, we put in place protocols for staff and very limited parent and student access to our buildings. The protocol includes making a specific appointment with the building administrator, completing a health questionnaire, indicating specific location(s) to be visited, and signing in and out with times. We have entered into an agreement with Qualtrics, a third-party vendor, to provide a daily screening application that can be downloaded onto any smart phone. We plan to have this app up and running by the time we have begun to implement in-person learning for students.
The Qualtrics app referenced above will allow us to request a health attestation be completed by every student and staff member before they arrive at school. The Qualtrics app will import the screening data into our Skyward Information Management System, which will, in turn, deliver a daily report to the administrator at each site. This will allow the administrator or designee to flag those persons who have not completed the electronic screening at home and conduct an on-site screening at school.
In order to ensure physical distancing when students and/or staff return to school buildings for in-person learning, we have reviewed our indoor classrooms and common spaces to figure out how we can reconfigure them to ensure six feet of physical distance between all persons. Each classroom has been mapped according to the physical distancing requirements and to determine the optimum arrangement of desks. When in-person learning resumes, we will (1) provide seating templates to teachers; (2) create and train all building users on facility-specific movement patterns for minimizing exposure; and (3) post signage designating directional travel.
We have altered physical spaces, reconfigured schedules, and adopted necessary plans to provide meals to students in a manner that ensures six feet of physical distance between all persons. Our plan for mean distribution includes the following provisions: During full remote learning, students will be provided each week with a box containing five pre-packaged breakfasts and five pre-packaged lunches. Pick-up locations have been designed to meet all health requirements as well as accommodating the needs of families. Once students return to in-person learning, they will eat “grab-n-go” meals (everything prepackaged or wrapped) in their classrooms according to their designated, physically distanced spaces. For elementary students, we will deliver meals to the classroom. For secondary students, we will develop a schedule for them to pick up their food and then return to a classroom, where they can sit physically distanced from others to eat their meal. Cafeterias in secondary schools will have designated food lines with physically distanced markings to ensure students remain six feet apart while waiting in line to pick up their meal. Before in-person learning begins, food service personnel will work with secondary administrators to develop meal schedule that will accommodate this plan. They will also work with district facilities managers to determine the details of the food lines in cafeterias. Staff serving students and working the point-of-sale system will be distanced behind a table and/or point-of-sale station, wearing a mask and a face shield.
We have established clear expectations and procedures to ensure frequent hand washing in all of our facilities for students and staff. Before we return to in-person learning, we will ensure frequent hand washing by staff and students by (1) increasing the number of handwashing and sanitation stations; (2) training of staff and students on the importance of hand hygiene, (3) posting signage with reminders; and (4) building into the daily schedule regular intervals for handwashing/sanitizing.
We have established clear expectations with students, staff, and families that all persons who enter our facilities must wear face coverings consistent with DOH and L&I requirements, except for those fit one of the narrow categories of exceptions identified by DOH and L&I guidance. This expectation has been and will continue to be communicated through a variety of modes, including a training program on the science behind mask wearing. For anyone who shows up at one of our buildings without a mask, we will have a supply on hand.
- What type of mask should you choose?
- Wear a cloth face covering or mask to reduce the spread of COVID-19 - Whatcom County Health Department
- Do I need a face covering to work?
In order to make bus riding as safe as possible when students are allowed to return to school buildings for in-person learning, we have developed plans to maximize physical distancing on our buses as much as allowable on a given bus route. We anticipate the return to in-person learning will begin with small numbers of students who need specialized and/or additional services. The small numbers will make physical distancing on our buses feasible. When we are able to transition to a full hybrid model, we do not expect to exceed 50% of our bus seating capacity. When students ride the bus to school in the mornings, they will load from the rear to the front according to a seating chart with staggered and alternating seating assignments. Students from the same households will be seated together on the bus. When students ride the bus home in the afternoon, they will load based on assigned seats and be dropped off at their homes in the order of their seating, from the front of the bus to the rear of the bus. The driver will maintain records of who was on the bus in which seat each day in order to facilitate contract tracing efforts as needed.
We have developed a cleaning regimen for our facilities and buses consistent with DOH guidance and the Infection Control Handbook. Cleaning protocols are currently being updated under the direction of the District’s Director of Maintenance. The revised protocols will be consistent with the new guidelines from both the CDC and DOH.
Cleaning and disinfecting are key to limiting exposure to germs and maintaining a safe environment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reduce the spread of germs by keeping surfaces clean and reminding students of the importance of hand hygiene. Please find resources provided by the CDC at the links below to help reduce the spread of germs.
- Cleaning and Disinfecting in School Classrooms
- Six Steps for Properly Cleaning and Disinfecting Your School
We have coordinated with the Whatcom County Health Department to establish clear procedures for reporting any suspected or known cases of COVID-19. These procedures are not entirely new to us. They are the same ones we have routinely used to report other communicable diseases such as chicken pox. When a case of COVID-19 is suspected or know, the District’s official COVID-19 designee (our District nurse) will report directly to the Whatcom County Health Department. The District will then follow the directives and recommendations of the Whatcom County Health Department regarding information sharing, contact tracing, quarantine, and/or school closure. We will develop a flow chart as a visual for decision-making and communication processes. The chart will include school site, District and Health Department contacts for information sharing
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