Health and Safety Protocols
Last item for navigation

Northwest ISD Health and Safety Protocols
Updated: September 2, 2021

PLEASE NOTE: The details in this document are subject to change as NISD receives guidance from state and local authorities or as conditions change.


There are 4 key areas that focus on the general health and safety of our staff, students, and visitors. These areas are as follows and further defined throughout this document:

  1. Promoting Healthy Behaviors

  2. Maintaining Healthy Environments

  3. Maintaining Healthy Operations

  4.  Preparing for Illness

 


1. Promoting Healthy Behaviors

Health Pre-Screening for Staff & Students  

  • All students, staff, and visitors must screen themselves for COVID symptoms prior to entering a NISD facility. 

  • Anyone with a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher should not come to school or a NISD facility.

  • Students and staff should also prescreen themselves for any of the following symptoms prior to coming to school:

    • Feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.0 Fahrenheit

    • Loss of taste or smell

    • Cough

    • Difficulty breathing

    • Shortness of breath

    • Fatigue

    • Headache

    • Chills

    • Sore throat

    • Congestion or runny nose

    • Shaking or exaggerated shivering

    • Significant muscle pain or ache

    • Diarrhea

    • Nausea or vomiting

    • Please refer to ATTENDANCE GUIDELINES available here when deciding whether a student or staff member should attend school

    • For symptoms that persist for 72 hours, please consider having a COVID test

  • All staff will monitor students and refer them to the clinic if symptoms are present. According to the assessment of the clinic staff, a treatment plan will be determined. Parents will be contacted to pick up students who are unable to remain at school, and the students' return to school plan will be discussed. Students should be picked up within 30 minutes and no later than 1 hour from the time the campus contacted the student’s parent/guardian. Parents will have the option to have students tested for COVID if certain criteria are met.   


Arriving at School 

  • Students should not arrive at school any earlier than the times listed below. 

    • Elementary school is at 7:20 a.m.

    • Middle school is at  8:20 a.m. 

    • High school is at  8:00 a.m.

  • Students arriving at school early should social distance and follow campus protocols for arrival until school begins.


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) 

  • The district will provide each teacher, when requested, with their own clear desktop divider.

  • Masks

    • NISD strongly encourages the use of masks while inside the schools and district buildings. 

    • Staff, students, and visitors must respect the decisions of others regarding their personal choice on mask usage. Anyone not respecting others may be subject to disciplinary action or may be asked to leave. 

    • Masks designed to protect against the spread of COVID are optional for all students and staff. Per Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order, schools cannot require students or staff to wear masks.

    • Students who present to the clinic with symptoms that could be COVID or another influenza-like-illness may be offered a face covering or mask, if they cannot be isolated from others and for the health and safety of others, until a parent or guardian can take them home.


Handwashing & Hand Sanitizers 

  • Students and staff will be trained in proper hand washing protocols to aid in the prevention and spread of germs.

  • All students should wash their hands for 20 seconds at least two times each day. Additionally, all students will be encouraged to wash hands after using the restroom and before eating.

  • Handwashing stations are available in restrooms and some classrooms.

  • The following five steps are recommended hand washing practices:

    1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.

    2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

    3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.

    4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.

    5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

  • Hand sanitizer stations have been added in every classroom, playground, and common area throughout schools.

  • Staff and students are allowed to use their own hand sanitizer; this personal sanitizer should not be shared with other students or staff. 


Social Distancing Protocols 

  • Students and staff should practice social distancing when feasible.

  • Social distance processes are a personal responsibility of each individual attending school or coming to a NISD facility. 

 


2. Maintaining Healthy Environments

Classroom Environment

  • During the school day, schools will not conduct any large gatherings of the student body. This includes, but is not limited to the following:
    • Student Assemblies
    • Pep Rallies
    • Awards Ceremonies
  • Large student gatherings can still take place outdoors. • Campus faculty meetings are also considered a large gathering and should be conducted via Zoom.
  • “Large gatherings” is defined by an entire grade level or entire campus.

Playground Environment

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after being on the playground. 

  • Children should utilize the district-provided hand sanitizer while actively playing on playground equipment.  

 

Cleaning & Disinfectant Protocols 

  • Cleaning will occur nightly in every classroom, restroom and commons area. 

  • Disinfecting will occur multiple times weekly in every classroom, restroom, and common area. 

  • Routine checks will occur daily to refill hand sanitizing supplies. 

  • Tissues will be provided in classrooms and common areas to encourage students and staff to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and if not available, to cover with their elbows. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash and hands washed immediately with soap and water or hand sanitizer should be used.

 

Food Service Safety 

  • Cafeteria staff are trained in safety protocols.

  • Seats, tables, door handles, and high-touch areas will be cleaned between lunch periods/use.

  • Middle school and high school students will be given a pre-order option to minimize face-to-face contact in the cafeteria line. 

  • When possible, food items will be pre-packed and boxed to minimize face-to-face contact in the cafeteria line.

  • Elementary campuses will have 2 choices and be directed to either line to help expedite and space out students while in line. 

  • Hand sanitizer will be available for use upon entry into the Cafeteria line.

  • When possible, cafeterias will set aside room for students who wish to social distance while eating lunch. 

 

Campus, Class, and Program Closures

  • District-wide Closures
    • Northwest ISD should only close down school under only the most extreme circumstances. Unless the state, county, or a local executive order requires the district to close, Northwest ISD has outlined the circumstances that could be considered for a school or district closure. Understanding that things can change rapidly, decisions may be adjusted as needed in response to the health, safety, and welfare of our students and staff. If cases are isolated to a specific grade level or cohort a more localized approach may be considered.
    • In addition to COVID positive cases, increased absences related to COVID-like symptoms may also be assessed for widespread transmission control.
  • Campus and Grade Level Closures
    • Elementary Schools
      • Northwest ISD will consider a closure of an elementary grade level or campus when the active test-confirmed cases are at or above 3% of the student and staff population at any given campus.
      •  If this percentage is met, then an investigation will begin to determine if a closure is needed.
    • Secondary Schools
      • Students ages 12 and older are eligible to receive a vaccination to help protect themselves and others from the spread of COVID. For this reason, Northwest ISD will consider a closure of a secondary campus when the active test-confirmed cases are at or above 10% of the student and staff population at any given campus.
      • If this percentage is met, then an investigation will begin to determine if a closure is needed.
      • This follows the recommendations of both Tarrant County and Denton County Public Health Departments, in addition to the percentages put in place by the CDC for transmission risk.

       

  • Elementary Cohort Closure (i.e. classrooms, programs, clubs, etc.)
    • Northwest ISD will consider a closure of cohort group(s) experiencing confirmed cases above 3% and/or any of the other conditions listed below:
      • Three or more linked cases in a cohort group.
      • Increasing number of cases identified within a 14-day period.
      •  Increasing number of teachers/staff that are out due to COVID cases, without a sufficient number of viable guest educators or staff available.
  • Secondary Cohort Closure (i.e. classrooms, programs, clubs, etc.)
    • Students ages 12 and older are eligible to receive a vaccination to help protect themselves and others from the spread of COVID. For this reason, Northwest ISD will consider a closure of cohort group(s) on a case by case basis. Northwest ISD will continue to monitor case counts at these grade levels and will investigate based on any of the following criteria:
    • 10% positive cases.
    • Five or more linked cases in a cohort group.
    • Increasing number of cases identified within a 14-day period.
    • Increasing number of teachers/staff that are out due to COVID cases, without a sufficient number of viable guest educators or staff available.
    • Athletic teams, Fine Arts Programs, and other UIL team competitions can continue to compete/perform so long as a viable number of participants are available.

     

  •  Bus Route Closures
  •  Northwest ISD will consider a closure of a bus route on a case-by-case basis. Northwest ISD will continue to monitor case counts on bus routes and will investigate based on any of the following criteria:
    • 10% positive cases.
    • Five or more linked cases on a bus route.
    • Increasing number of cases identified within a 14-day period.
    •  Increasing number of bus drivers that are out due to COVID. cases, without a sufficient number of substitute bus drivers.

 


3. Maintaining Healthy Operations

Staff Training 

  • Campus staff will be trained in safety protocols and students will engage in lessons focused on hand washing.

  • Students, teachers, and staff will be encouraged to sanitize and/or wash hands frequently following proper practices. 

  • Teachers will encourage students to wash their hands at a minimum of twice a day while on campus. For the classrooms that have access to sinks within their room, students may utilize these sinks for handwashing. If a teaching space does not have a sink within the classroom then the teacher will need to encourage students to wash their hands at the restrooms or other areas with sinks. 


Bus Transportation Protocols 

  • Hand sanitizer will be available on all buses to be used by students when entering or exiting a bus.

  • Seats, handles, and high-touch areas will be disinfected routinely through the use of electrostatic disinfectant sprayers. 

  • When possible, bus windows will be opened to allow outside air to circulate in the bus.

Visitors

  • All Campuses
    • No visitors will be permitted on campus, during the school day, for the first 9 weeks of school.
    • Northwest ISD is developing a tiered system for visitors in our buildings based on the community spread level as reported by the local public health departments. Once this has been developed, it will be shared with all staff, students, parents and community members.
    • All visitors must screen themselves for COVID symptoms prior to entering a NISD facility.
    • NISD strongly encourages all visitors to wear a mask and socially distance when on district property.
    • Main school entrances will be locked immediately after arrival times and remain that way throughout the day to help ensure effective management of visitors. Visitors will continue to utilize the outdoor buzzer system located at the entry of every school building. Hand sanitizer will be available upon entering the building.
    • The number of volunteers may be limited to essential needs and approved by school personnel prior to arriving at the school.
  •  Elementary Campuses
    • No visitors will be permitted on campus before, during, and after the school day.
    • No events that allow visitors inside the school will be allowed. This includes, but is not limited to:
      • PTA meetings
      • Special recognition lunches
      • Carnivals/Festivals
      • Curriculum Night
  • Secondary Campuses
    •  Students ages 12 and older are eligible to receive a vaccination to help protect themselves and others from the spread of COVID. For this reason, events taking place outside of the school day will be allowed. This includes, but is not limited to:
      •  Athletic events
      • Fine Arts events
      • CTE events

 


4. Preparing for Illness

School Health Clinic Procedures 

  • Temperature and symptoms will be checked in the clinic to determine whether isolation is indicated. A student’s medical history will be considered when determining whether a student should be excluded.

  • When indicated, a student will be isolated from others until picked up by a parent or guardian in the campus clinic and should be picked up within 30 minutes and no later than 1 hour from the time the campus contacted the student’s parent or guardian.

  • Parents of students who are sent to the clinic for COVID symptoms will have the option to have their student screened for COVID.  Parent permission is required and the Consent for COVID Testing form must be completed.

  • Students who present to the clinic with symptoms that could be COVID or another influenza-like-illness may be offered a face covering or mask, if they cannot be isolated from others and for the health and safety of others, until a parent or guardian can take them home.

  • Clinic staff and substitute clinic staff will receive updated 2021-2022 COVID safety protocols.

  • School Health Clinics will be cleaned and disinfected regularly.

 

Protocols for Lab-Confirmed Case of COVID-19 at School 

Responding to a Lab-Confirmed Case

  • If an individual who has been in a school is test-confirmed to have COVID, the school will notify the local health department, in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations, including confidentiality requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. 

Notification of a Lab-Confirmed Case

  • Consistent with school notification requirements for other communicable diseases, and consistent with legal confidentiality requirements, NISD will notify all teachers, staff, and families of all students in a school if a lab-confirmed COVID case is identified among students, teachers or staff who participate in any on-campus activities. These notifications will be issued as follows:

    • All campus and building notifications will be posted on the district webpage with a dashboard reflecting the date of the most recently confirmed COVID case and total number of active cases at each NISD facility. 

    • Upon confirmation of a lab-confirmed COVID case, communication will be sent out to all teachers, staff, and families of students, who are enrolled in any class with the individual who has the lab-confirmed COVID case. Teachers, staff and students sharing a room with the lab-confirmed COVID case may meet the definition of having close contact with the case. Those receiving this letter will be required to monitor themselves and if they begin to have any COVID symptoms should visit with their doctor and get a COVID test. 

Returning to Campus after Recovering from a Lab-Confirmed Case

  • Any individual – including teachers, staff, students, or other campus visitors/volunteers – who themselves have reported a test-confirmed COVID diagnosis:

    • Parents of test-confirmed COVID students will receive a letter outlining the student’s return to school instructions. 

    • Must stay at home throughout the infectious period.

    • May return to school when all three of the following criteria are met:

  1. At least one day (24 hours) has passed since recovery (no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications) 

  2. The individual has improvement in symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath) 

  3. At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared

Helpful Resources

Consent for COVID Testing Form