School Opening Information

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Dear Pirate Family,

As we begin to return face to face, we would like to remind you that we will continue to follow the requirements of TEA Public Health Planning Guidance that was shared with you on July 22, 2020.  This document has been updated in accordance to the TEA guidelines posted on August 27, 2020.

While it is not possible to eliminate all risk of furthering the spread of COVID-19, the current science suggests there are many steps schools can take to reduce the risks to students, teachers, staff, and their families significantly.  


1. Teachers and staff must self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms before coming onto campus each day. Symptoms are listed at the end of this document. The self-screening should include teachers and staff taking their own temperature. Teachers and staff must report to the school system if they themselves have COVID-19 symptoms or are lab confirmed with COVID-19, and, if so, they must remain off campus until they meet the criteria for re-entry as noted below. Additionally, they must report to the school system if they have had close contact with an individual who is lab-confirmed with COVID-19, as defined at the end of this document, and, if so, must remain off campus until the 14-day incubation period has passed.

 2. Parents must ensure they do not send a child to school on campus if the child has COVID-19 symptoms (as listed in this document) or is lab-confirmed with COVID-19, and instead should opt to receive remote instruction until the below conditions for re-entry are met. Parents may also opt to have their students receive remote instruction if their child has had close contact with an individual who is lab-confirmed with COVID-19 until the 14-day incubation period has passed. School systems may consider screening students for COVID-19 as well. Screening is accomplished by asking questions by phone or other electronic methods and/or in person. The screening questions should also be asked of a student’s parent if that parent will be dropping off or picking up their child from inside the school. Regularly performing a forehead temperature check of otherwise asymptomatic students in school is not recommended, but the practice is also not prohibited by this guidance. 

3. Excluding parental drop-off and pick-up as discussed above, before visitors are allowed on campuses, school systems must screen all visitors to determine if the visitors have COVID-19 symptoms (as listed in this document) or are lab-confirmed with COVID-19, and, if so, they must remain off campus until they meet the criteria for re-entry as noted below. 

4. Additionally, school systems must screen to determine if visitors have had close contact with an individual who is lab-confirmed with COVID-19, and, if so, they must remain off campus until the 14-day incubation period has passed. When practical, screening questions could be supplemented with temperature checks of adults.

COVID Symptoms:

In evaluating whether an individual has symptoms consistent with COVID-19, consider the following questions: Have they recently begun experiencing any of the following in a way that is not normal for them? 

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

  • Loss of taste or smell

  • Cough

  • Sore throat

  • Runny nose or congestion

  • Difficulty breathing 

  • Shortness of breath

  • Headache 

  • Chills

  • Shaking or exaggerated shivering

  • Significant muscle pain or ache 

  • Diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain

  • Known close contact with a person who is lab confirmed to have COVID-19

  • Fatigue

Confirmed or Suspected Case of COVID-19

 1. Any individuals who themselves either: (a) are lab-confirmed to have COVID-19; or (b) experience the symptoms of COVID-19 (listed below) must stay at home throughout the infection period, and cannot return to campus until the school system screens the individual to determine any of the below conditions for campus re-entry have been met: In the case of an individual who was diagnosed with COVID-19, the individual may return to school when all three of the following criteria are met: 

i. at least 1 day (24 hours) has passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications); 

ii. the individual has improvement in symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and 

iii. at least ten days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

  In the case of an individual who has symptoms that could be COVID-19 and who is not evaluated by a medical professional or tested for COVID-19, such individual is assumed to have COVID-19, and the individual may not return to the campus until the individual has completed the same three-step set of criteria listed above. 

 If the individual has symptoms that could be COVID-19 and wants to return to school before completing the above stay at home period, the individual must either (a) obtain a medical professional’s note clearing the individual for return based on an alternative diagnosis or (b) obtain an acute infection test (at a physician’s office, or other site that comes back negative for COVID-19.


Identifying Possible COVID-19 Cases on Campus 

  • SISD will immediately separate any student who shows COVID-19 symptoms while at school until the student can be picked up by a parent or guardian. 

  • SISD will clean the areas used by the individual who shows COVID-19 symptoms while at school (student, teacher, or staff) as soon as is feasible. 

  • Students who report feeling feverish should be given an immediate temperature check to determine if they are symptomatic for COVID-19.

Response to Lab-Confirmed Case in the School

Required Actions if Individuals with Lab-Confirmed Cases Have Been in a School 

1. If an individual who has been in a school is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19, the school must notify its local health department, in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations, including confidentiality requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). 

 2. Schools must close off areas that are heavily used by the individual with the lab-confirmed case (student, teacher, or staff) until the non-porous surfaces in those areas can be disinfected, unless more than 7 days have already passed since that person was on campus.

 3. Consistent with school notification requirements for other communicable diseases, and consistent with legal confidentiality requirements, schools must notify all teachers, staff, and families of all students in a school if a lab-confirmed COVID-19 case is identified among students, teachers or staff who participate in any on campus activities. 

Operational Guidelines

Health and Hygiene Practices: General 

1. Hand sanitizer will be available at each entrance. Hand sanitizer and/or hand washing stations with soap and water in every classroom.


2. Students, teachers, staff, and campus visitors will be encouraged to sanitize and/or wash hands frequently. 

  • SISD will encourage students to wash hands for at least 20 seconds at least two times each day, in addition to being encouraged to wash hands after using the restroom and before eating. 

  • Spurger ISD will continue to teach students good handwashing techniques. 

  • Students, teachers, staff, and campus visitors should be encouraged to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and if not available, covered in their elbows. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash, hands should be washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or hand sanitizer should be used. 

3. Spurger ISD will continue to clean items touched in common throughout the day. This would include objects such as door handles, common tables/desks, shared supplies such as art supplies, and high touch devices such as shared laptops or tablets. 

4. Whenever possible, SISD will open windows or otherwise work to improve air flow by allowing outside air to circulate in the building. 

5. On the first day a student attends SISD will provide instruction to students on appropriate hygiene practices and other mitigation practices adopted in the local school system.

 Health and Hygiene Practices:


1. For the purposes of this document, masks include non-medical grade disposable face masks, cloth face coverings (over the nose and mouth), or full-face shields to protect eyes, nose, and mouth. 

 2. Spurger ISD is required to comply with the governor’s executive order regarding the wearing of masks for adults and students for whom it is developmentally appropriate.  If Tyler County reaches the 20 case mark, everyone who enters a building will be required to wear a mask.

3. Any staff member or student is always permitted to wear a mask regardless of whether an order is in place or not.

 4. Coaches or PE Teachers will provide guidance to students for masks during physical activity.

Student-Teacher Groupings 

Where feasible without disrupting the educational experience, encourage students to practice social distancing. 

1. In classroom spaces that allow it, consider placing student desks a minimum of six feet apart when possible.

 2. In classrooms where students are regularly within six feet of one another, SISD will  plan for more frequent hand washing and/or hand sanitizing and increase airflow from the outdoors if possible. 


  • Ridership will remain at typical district capacity. To support contact tracing, students will be assigned seats, and a seating chart will be maintained by the bus driver. 

  • The bus driver and students will be highly recommended and encouraged to wear face coverings and use hand sanitizer provided when boarding and exiting the bus.  Spurger ISD will comply with all health and safety recommendations established by the Governor, the health department, and the Texas Education Agency. 

  • Students are required to remain seated at all times and keep their hands and arms to themselves. Students should not touch each other or share any items. 

  • School buses will be cleaned and disinfected daily. 

  • Safety and health measures may be adjusted based on current guidelines and conditions.

 Visits to Schools 

  • At this time visits to the schools to only those essential to school operations. 

  • Visits to the school will be by appointment only and campus administration approval.

Close Contact 

This document refers to “close contact” with an individual who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19. Close contact is determined by an appropriate public health agency. For clarity, close contact is defined as:

 a. being directly exposed to infectious secretions (e.g., being coughed on while not wearing a mask or face shield); or 

b. being within 6 feet for a cumulative duration of 15 minutes, while not wearing a mask or face shield; if either occurred at any time in the last 14 days at the same time the infected individual was infectious. Individuals are presumed infectious at least two days prior to symptom onset or, in the case of asymptomatic individuals who are lab-confirmed with COVID-19, two days prior to the confirming lab test  

Screening Questionnaire Information

 1. When asking individuals if they have symptoms for COVID-19, school systems must only require the individual to provide a “Yes” or “No” to the overall statement that they are symptomatic for COVID-19, as opposed to asking the individual for specific symptom confirmation. School systems are not entitled to collect information during screening on the specific health information of an individual beyond that they are symptomatic. 

2. Once it is determined that individuals who responded “Yes” to either of these questions have met the criteria for re-entry, school systems must destroy those individuals’ responses.