COVID Info
Last item for navigation

Northwest ISD Health and Safety Protocols
Updated: October 14, 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. NISD continuously monitors COVID cases in the district and updates protocols as needed. To submit your feedback on protocols, click here.


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.   


Close contact is defined as:

  • (a) Being directly exposed to infectious secretions. (e.g., being coughed on)
  • Or
    (b) Being within 6 feet of an infected person (laboratory-confirmed or a clinically compatible illness) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes). An infected person can spread SARS-CoV-2 starting from 2 days before they have any symptoms (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days before the positive specimen collection date), until they meet criteria for discontinuing home isolation.
    • Exception: In the K–12 indoor classroom setting, the close contact definition excludes students who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student (laboratory-confirmed or a clinically compatible illness) if both the infected person and the exposed person(s) correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time.
  • Either (a) or (b) defines close contact if it occurred during the infectious period of the case, defined as two days prior to symptom onset to 10 days after symptom onset. In the case of asymptomatic individuals who are test-confirmed with COVID, the infectious period is defined as two-days prior to the confirming lab test and continuing for 10 days following the confirming lab test.


People who have tested positive for COVID do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to 3 months as long as they do not develop symptoms again.


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

School Environment

  • Students should be encouraged to keep as much distance between themselves and others as feasible.
  • Personal furniture shall be removed from all teaching areas and taken home or disposed of properly. The intent of removing personal furniture is threefold:
    • Clear out space for separating desks
    • Remove furniture that encourages shared seating, either at the same time or one after another (such as loveseats, couches, beanbags, etc.)
    • Remove furniture that is difficult to clean or is made of a porous material
  • The district will provide each teacher with his or her own clear desktop divider at their request.
  • Indoor school events are allowed when transmission risk is low (See Determining Transmission Risk under Visitor and Volunteer below).
  • This includes, but is not limited to:
    • PTA meetings
    • Special recognition lunches
    • Carnivals/Festivals
    • Curriculum Night

* School Dances will not be allowed at this time. Due to the nature and activity (i.e. close proximity, elevated room temperatures, high energy activity, etc…) associated with school dances, Northwest ISD will not be allowing school dances.
 

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 should occur 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 program 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.
  • Northwest ISD will consider a closure of a campus when the active test-confirmed cases at or above 3% of the student and staff population at any given campus. Tarrant County Public Health Department’s metrics for safer in person instruction cites that the positivity rate should ideally be less than 5%.
    • Additional Considerations:
      • Three or more cases in a cohort group (i.e. classrooms, programs, clubs, etc.).
      • 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 available.

 


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 and Volunteers

Northwest ISD and its campuses want to offer and create meaningful ways for parents and community members to be engaged and involved this school year. The safety of students, staff, and visitors will continue to guide the decisions about these opportunities. Northwest ISD will implement a tiered system regarding visitors in campus buildings or attending school-sanctioned events and activities based on the percentage of COVID cases and the infection rate within Northwest ISD. Northwest ISD’s thresholds will generally be based on how the CDC calculates community spread thresholds. These will be defined as follows:

 Determining Transmission Risk
Low Risk Positive cases represent less than 5% of the combined student/staff population at a given campus.
Moderate/Substantial Risk Positive cases represent between 5-9.99% of the combined student/staff population at a given campus. 
High Risk Positive cases represent more than10% of the combined student/staff population at a given campus.

High Risk:

  • Visitors will not be permitted on campus.
  • Approved volunteer opportunities at each campus will be limited to essential needs and approved by campus administration prior to arriving at the school.
  • All volunteers must screen themselves for COVID symptoms prior to entering an NISD facility to ensure each person entering the building is free of COVID symptoms.
  • NISD strongly encourages all visitors to wear masks and socially distance when on district property.
  • 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
  • No field trips.


Moderate/Substantial Risk:

  • Visitors and volunteers may be engaged in activities and events that involve small groups of students when approved by campus administration.
  • All visitors/volunteers must screen themselves for COVID symptoms prior to entering an NISD facility to ensure each person entering the building is free of COVID symptoms.
  • Lunch guests will not be allowed.
  • NISD strongly encourages all visitors to wear masks and socially distance when on district property.
  • To the extent possible, group events/activities may be limited in the number of visitors or there will be considerations to host the event/activity outside.
  • Field trips will be considered on a case by case basis to determine feasibility with safety measures in place.


Low Risk:

  • Resume normal campus operations as designated by the campus administration.
  • All visitors/volunteers must screen themselves for COVID symptoms prior to entering an NISD facility to ensure each person entering the building is free of COVID symptoms.
  • NISD strongly encourages all visitors to wear masks and socially distance when on district property.
  • Lunch guests are welcome but may be limited with special seating.
  • Locations and seats available will differ by campus as each facility offers different options. Campuses will provide specific information to parents regarding availability.



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