Southgate schools to open 2020-21 remotely

Photo by Larry Caruso

Summer is nearly over and with the COVID-19 pandemic still far from under control, the Southgate Community School District will begin the 2020-21 school year on Sept. 1 remotely for all students and will reevaluate Oct. 13, 2020 (unless otherwise directed by a government agency) with the possible date of returning face-to-face on Nov. 9, 2020.

The district will provide Chromebooks for students and the district will follow the remote learning plan for Phases 1-3, complete details of which can be found on the Southgate Community School District website.

If necessary, onsite testing/screening of students may occur. Learning Labs may be available as needed and designed by each building. 

Learning Labs will be utilized for assessment purposes and to work with students on goals as determined by students’ IEPT and MTSS teams. 

Proper social distancing, screening and cleaning protocols will be followed. In order to maintain proper social distancing the labs will be open by appointment only. 

● All staff and all students in grades preK-12 will wear face coverings when on a school bus. 

● All staff and all students in grades preK-12 will wear face coverings when in indoor hallways and common areas. 4 

● All staff will wear face coverings when in classrooms, except when eating. 

● All students in grades preK-12 will wear face coverings when in classrooms, except when eating. 

● Students with significant disabilities preventing the use of facial coverings are referred to forthcoming guidance from MDE. 

● The expectations for the wearing of face coverings and how to obtain clean face coverings will be included in all district to parent communications, all handbooks, all student orientations, and all staff orientations. 

● Students will receive instruction from teachers as needed regarding the proper way that facial coverings should be worn. 

● Building, grounds, and transportation signage will be prominent throughout all school facilities to remind students and staff to wear facial coverings. 

● Fabric face coverings will be ordered and provided to every student and staff member.

● PreK-5 and special education teachers will be asked and encouraged to wear clear masks.

● Disposable or fabric face coverings will be provided to students and staff as needed. ● Disposable facial coverings will be disposed of at the end of each day. 

● Fabric/homemade facial coverings must be washed daily. 

● Individuals (staff or students) who claim medical exemption will need to provide documentation from a medical professional if they are unable to medically tolerate wearing a facial covering. 

● Staff and students, who cannot medically tolerate a facial covering, will be documented in a master database at the building level. 

● Staff and students that are incapacitated or unable to remove the facial covering without assistance, must not wear one. 

● Facial coverings should never be used on children under age 2. 

● Students who are capable of wearing a face covering and refuse to do so in an area where a face covering is required will be issued a face covering by a school official (teacher, paraprofessional, administrator, school safety staff, playground aid, etc.) and asked to put the face covering on. The instance will be documented as a log entry in MIStar. 

● Students showing patterns of non-compliance will be removed from the school building and placed into remote instruction until the student agrees to comply with this safety protocol. Parents will be notified of each instance of non-compliance by the administration or district safety officer. Continue removals from the school building will result in permanent placement into remote instruction with the student being banned from coming to the school site. 

● Staff who are capable of wearing a face covering and refuse to do so will be addressed by the school administrator and could face progressive disciplinary measures up to and including termination. 

● Guests to the school building will be limited. Guests (presenters, substitute teachers, etc) will be issued a disposable face covering upon signing in at the main office and will be instructed to wear the face covering at all times. Instances of non-compliance will result in the guest being escorted from the building by the school safety officer or building administrator. 

● In instances of uncertainty about individuals not wearing face coverings, these matters will be relayed to the building administration for review and decisive action.


● Every building will be supplied with multiple hand sanitizer stations. 

● Each classroom and main office will be supplied with hand sanitizer. 

● Supplies (paper towels, soap, hand sanitizer, tissues, trash receptacles) will be checked daily and restocked. 

● Teachers will contact the office immediately if supplies run out during the school day. 

● Each classroom will have a hygiene protocol with timelines that are posted and communicated to students and parents. 

● Teacher or school nurse/health paraprofessional will teach the following to students on the first day of school and reinforce weekly or more often as needed (this may be done via video) 1 – proper handwashing on the first day of school and reinforce weekly or more often if needed 2 – how to cough and sneeze into their elbows, or to cover with a tissue and dispose of it in the trash 

● Proper mitigation strategies including hand washing and sneezing will be communicated to families via newsletters, web pages, bulletin boards, and the like. Parents and caregivers will be asked to review and reinforce with their students. 

● Custodial staff will ○ Procure adequate soap, hand sanitizer, and paper towels ○ Post signage related to cleaning and hygiene strategies throughout each building ○ Monitor hygiene supplies and refill as needed three times daily 

● Sharing school supplies will be limited, and each student will have their own supply box for materials. 

● A list of these supplies will be generated as appropriate for each grade level and or specific middle school or high school course and posted to the school website. 

● Students and teachers must have scheduled handwashing with soap and water every 2-3 hours where feasible, where we can’t we will schedule hand sanitizer use. 


● District Level Administrators and Building Operations will meet to review all guidance related to cleaning and disinfecting of buildings and to review the Building Operations the MI Safe Schools: Michigan’s 2020-21 Return to School Roadmap. 

● An inventory related to all cleaning supplies that are in compliance with the EPA-approved related to COVID will be taken and orders will be made to address increased cleaning protocols. 

● Cleaning stations will be identified around the building that hold materials for usage in different areas of each building. 

● All classrooms will be provided spray bottles with EPA-approved disinfectant and paper towels. The disinfectant shall be stored away from students. 

● Staff must wear gloves, a surgical mask and face shield when cleaning areas with a confirmed case of COVID-19. 6 

● Frequently touched surfaces including light switches, doors, benches, bathrooms, must undergo cleaning at least every four hours with an EPA-approved disinfectant. 

● All special classrooms i.e. art, music, gym, media centers and other hands-on classrooms will have EPA-approved cleaning supplies stored in the classroom away from students. The teacher of record for the area will wipe down all frequently used materials after each class with EPA-approved disinfectant. This will occur prior to the entrance of the next class. 

● Staff will wipe down the students desks everytime students exit the room at the elementary or after every period at the secondary level with EPA-approved disinfectant. 

● Playground equipment will be cleaned twice a week. 

● A training on cleaning materials and protocols will be provided to the staff through a virtual meeting the first week of school. This training will show the use of PPE when cleaning, protocols for the classroom and storage of cleaning materials. 


● Southgate Community School District will follow the most current MHSAA guidelines for phases 4 and 5 and guidance for the phases will be differentiated between and found here: MHSAA 


● Schools will cooperate with the local public health department regarding implementing protocols for screening students and staff. 

● Families are encouraged to check their child’s temperature at home every morning using oral, tympanic, or temporal scanners; students with a temperature of 100.4 or greater should stay home and consider coronavirus testing if symptoms of COVID-19 are present. 

● Families are encouraged to monitor their children for symptoms of COVID-19. The presence of any symptoms, including cough or shortness of breath, should prompt the family to keep the student home from school and to follow up with a primary care provider. 

● Each school building will identify a remote and secluded room, to serve as an isolation area. This room will be outfitted with appropriate PPE including gowns, face shields, N95 Masks, gloves, sanitizing wipes, portable two-way radios, an internet-connected computer, and log sheets. 

● Each building will have an identified and trained staff personnel to care for sick students. These duties will take precedence over any other responsibilities and therefore this individual must have the flexibility to leave their regular assignment at a moment’s notice. 

● From the time of identification of potential infection and a log sheet of activity will be maintained until the student or staff member is safely removed from the building. 7 

● Parent communication will be made immediately with clear and concise directions on where and how to pick up the student and where to report for testing. 

● A designated person (office staff) will contact the student/family each day after removal until test results are provided and verified before the student can return to school according to Wayne County Health Department/CDC Guidelines. 

● During the time of quarantine, the student will be asked to self identify the location and individuals they came into contact with for the past 48 hours to the best of their recollection. Priority will be placed on those individuals that they were in contact with for a sustained 15 minutes or more. 

● The health department will be contacted after parents have been contacted to assist in contact tracing and notification of vulnerable individuals. 

● All school staff will be required to conduct a health safety self assessment at home prior to coming to work and verifying through a Google form that they are safe to work. This will include taking their temperature and reporting this daily on the Google form. 

● Staff who are unable to work due to displaying COVID-19 symptoms will be required to report this to the school through the Google form as well as through Absence Reporting System. The school health official or Human Resources will monitor this form daily and follow up with any symptomatic person to direct where, when, and how to get tested and to report those results back to the school as soon as available. 

● Parents or guardians are not allowed in the school building except under extenuating circumstances as determined by school officials. Only one parent or guardian per child should be allowed to enter except under extenuating circumstances as determined by school officials. ○ Any parents or guardians entering the building should wash or sanitize hands prior to entry. 


● The District will cooperate with the local public health department regarding implementing protocols for screening students and staff. 

● Symptomatic students and staff will remain at home following the Wayne County Health Departments and CDC guidelines. 

● Families will be notified of the presence of any laboratory positive or clinically diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in the classroom and/or school to encourage closer observation for any symptoms at home. 

● The District will provide staff with guidance on confidentiality laws and statutes that protect student and staff health information. Student communicable disease related information is protected health information. (Even if a family/student acknowledges and publicly discloses a positive test, school staff and officials must not participate in discussions or acknowledge a positive test). 

● If possible, smaller areas such as individual classrooms will be closed for 24 hours before cleaning to minimize the risk of any airborne particles. 

Responding To Positive Tests Among Staff And Students 

● The District will cooperate with the local public health department if a confirmed case of COVID-19 is identified, and in particular, collect the contact information for any close contacts of the affected individual from two days before he or she showed eight symptoms to the time when he or she was last present at the school. The local health department will initiate contact tracing, following regular public health practice. 

● Students who develop a fever or become ill with COVID-19 symptoms at school should wear a mask and be transported by their parent or guardian, emergency contact, or ambulance if clinically unstable, for off-site testing. 

● Staff who develop a fever or become ill with COVID-19 symptoms at school should wear a mask and be transported for off-site testing. 

● Symptomatic students and staff sent home from school should be kept home until they have tested negative for COVID-19, or have been released from isolation according to CDC guidelines. 

● In the event of a lab or clinically diagnosed case of COVID-19, immediate efforts should be made to contact any close contacts (those who spent more than 15 minutes less than six feet in close proximity to the student or staff member) so that they can be quarantined for 14 days at home. Students and staff should be closely monitored for any symptoms of COVID-19. At this time, empiric testing of all students or staff members in the class is not recommended. Only those that develop symptoms require testing for COVID-19. 

● Notify local health officials, staff, and students immediately of any possible case of COVID-19 while maintaining confidentiality consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), HIPAA and other applicable federal and state privacy laws. 

● Parents and guardians are encouraged to check students’ temperature at home every morning using oral, tympanic (ear), or temporal scanners; students with a temperature of 100.4 or greater must stay home and consider coronavirus testing. 

● Parents and guardians are encouraged to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. The presence of any unexplained symptoms, including cough or shortness of breath, should prompt the parent or guardian to keep the student home from school and to follow up with their primary care provider.

More information and continuing communications from the district are available at

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