Health and Safety Protocols
Fort Bend ISD is utilizing the current Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and TEA-provided guidance on practices to socially distance and create the safest environment possible for the return to school in a face-to-face model, and has also consulted with a local advisory group of medical professionals. District-created protocols go above and beyond the required safety practices by having students and staff complete wellness checks attesting to their health and wellness, as well as conducting temperature checks of all those that enter any District building and facility.
Collaboration across the District has allowed for preparation of risk mitigation protocols that include providing masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, signage for safety as well as social distancing, and classroom cleaners to support student and staff safety.
Risk Mitigation Protocols
Student and family health and safety are our highest priorities. FBISD has created a COVID-19 Advisory Committee comprised of local health officials, infectious disease experts, pediatricians, and mental health professionals to implement safety protocols to support you and slow the spread of COVID-19. Educational materials have been developed in partnership with our COVID-19 Advisory Committee based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Texas Education Agency, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines.
- Fort Bend ISD’s approach to providing a safe learning environment for all students and staff involves frequent and ongoing cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting of campuses and District-level buildings. Cleaning and disinfecting are part of a broad approach to preventing the exposure and spread of infectious diseases in schools. The process of cleaning combined with disinfecting effectively work to minimize the spread of infection.
- Comprehensive cleaning protocols have been developed following CDC, TEA, and OSHA guidelines. They include continuous cleaning throughout the day, with emphasis on high traffic, high exposure areas (e.g., restrooms) and high-touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, handrails).
- Disinfectants used by custodial staff are on the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).
Reducing Surface Contact
Implementing proactive measures to minimize the contact with surfaces in high-traffic areas and frequently visited areas can further reduce the spread of germs and other pathogens. The District will implement restrictions for use of water fountains and academic lockers. When possible, doors will be opened by the classroom teacher to ensure students have limited contact with doorknobs as feasible.
As part of our overall pandemic response plan, FBISD is upgrading air filtration systems district/campus wide. These upgrades will improve the capacity of our air filtration systems to capture between 90 – 98% of particulates.
We will begin to phase in upgraded air filters in August, and it will take approximately six months to upgrade the entire District.
Wellness/temperature checks will be conducted at entrances for students, staff, and visitors.
Staff reporting to the workplace complete attestations of health and wellness confirming they do not have symptoms of COVID-19, as well as attesting that they have not been in the presence of anyone who may have been diagnosed with COVID-19, nor that they have been to any location deemed to be high risk for COVID-19 transmission.
Wellness monitors have been hired across the district and will be stationed at all campuses to support health and safety functions. Wellness Monitors will be positioned at designated entrances and exits and have multiple roles, including, but not limited to:
- Confirming daily symptom check-ins
- Performing noncontact temperature checks
- Providing facial coverings on the initial entry day and then on an as needed basis
- Supporting contact tracing
Proactive Precautionary Measures:
Above all, stay home if you are sick or feel ill.
- Everyone is expected to routinely wash hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol will be provided to staff for personal use and in classrooms.
- To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, facial coverings will be worn by all medically and developmentally able staff, students and visitors. All staff/students will receive a reusable cloth facial covering provided by the District.
- View the Tips for Wearing a Mask video from Johns Hopkins Medicine for details.
The master schedule for secondary schools is designed to support fewer classroom transitions throughout the school day. The schedule also allows for a staggered transition schedule in between class periods to minimize the number of students in the hallways at a given time period.
Signage and designated direction indicators for hallways along with floor indicators and wall signage will support social distancing as well.
Classrooms will be set up to allow for six feet of distancing for each person in a room limiting the overall capacity of any given room or facility. Human Resources staff, along with Design and Construction architects and other District leaders, walked District and campus facilities with principals to review spaces and develop modifications to ensure safe social distancing practices.
- In accordance with CDC and TEA guidelines, social (physical) distancing is a key strategy in reducing the spread COVID-19. The District has implemented social distancing protocols in all buildings. Every effort will be made to ensure everyone is able to keep a minimum of six feet of distance from one another in all situations.
Diagnosis, Exposure & Communication Protocols
- Per CDC and TEA guidance, classrooms or buildings may be closed for cleaning and disinfection throughout the year if needed.
- Each campus will have a COVID Crisis Team to assist in conducting contact tracing. Contact tracing is a process of supporting patients and warning contacts of exposure in order to stop chains of transmission. The COVID-19 Crisis Team on campuses will include the nurse, campus administrator, counseling staff, and attendance-related staff. All campus and District-level COVID Crisis Teams will complete a COVID-19 Contact Tracing training offered by Johns Hopkins University.
- The District will follow CDC, TEA, and County guidelines for reporting diagnosed and suspected cases, including protocols to support notification of parents and the school community.
- Self-quarantine is required if you exhibit symptoms or have had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Self-isolation is required if testing positive for COVID-19.
COVID-19 Support Team and COVID-19 Contact Tracing Team
The District COVID-19 Support Team will continue to lead all contact tracing teams to monitor and manage the reports of cases of COVID-19 related to students and staff to keep the FBISD community safe. Contact tracing, a process of supporting patients and warning contacts of exposure to stop chains of transmission, will continue under the direction of the District COVID-19 Support Team in Fort Bend ISD.
A COVID-19 Support Team has been initiated on each campus and includes at the minimum, the nurse, campus administrator, counseling staff, and attendance related staff. The District team is trained in COVID-19 Contact Tracing as offered by Johns Hopkins University. The Social Emotional Learning and Comprehensive Health Team will continue to monitor and adjust the contact tracing practices as needed and share updates accordingly.
Contact tracing is the process of interviewing those who have tested positive for the virus, determining people who have been in close contact with that positive individual, connecting with those close contacts to gather further information, and providing guidance to help them stay well while limiting spread of the virus. This extensive contact tracing process will help to limit the transmission of the disease within our school community. Determinations will be made through the tracing process if students or team members must be temporarily separated from the school or work environment.
The Campus COVID-19 Team will work directly with the District COVID-19 Team to contact trace their staff members and students.
- When a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, is directed to quarantine, or is notified of a suspected “Close Contact,” they will complete their daily health screener so the District COVID-19 Team can contact them to initiate the contact tracing process..
- The District’s COVID-19 team will communicate with those involved, contact the health department if needed, and report any essential information to FBISD personnel and/or parents.
- If a student or staff member is diagnosed with a confirmed case of COVID-19, the individual must meet four criteria to return to campus:
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. In severe cases, this could be up to 20 days
- At least 24 hours must have passed since the staff member or student had fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, and
- Improvement in COVID-19 symptoms, such as cough, shortness of breath, and
- Receive clearance from the District Contact Tracing Team and the Health Department
Fort Bend ISD has worked diligently to augment our COVID-19 wellness screening and contact tracing by partnering with IBM to enhance and streamline our data collection and systems. As a part of this partnership, Fort Bend ISD has established and trained a COVID-19 Contact Tracing Team; which is solely dedicated to facilitating this process in an accurate, thorough and timely manner.
Individual(s) identified as being in close contact with the confirmed case are contacted directly by the district’s contact tracing team; however, we are sharing this general notification with all [School Name] staff and families for your awareness.
In accordance with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Texas Education Agency (TEA) guidelines, Fort Bend ISD takes immediate action when we learn of a positive case. This includes contacting the Fort Bend ISD custodial services team to initiate enhanced cleaning and disinfection of areas within the school building and bus. The Fort Bend County Health Department is also contacted and consulted as a part of our COVID-19 District team contact tracing and reporting process.
Each case investigation includes a thorough contact tracing process to identify individual(s) who were in close contact with the confirmed case. Close contacts will be instructed not to return to the school environment until after the 14 day quarantine period has passed. Case investigations consist of interviewing and contact tracing with the individual directly, as well as appropriate individuals on-site and able to provide information, while ensuring the privacy of the patient.
Please visit www.fortbendisd.com/contacttracing for more information.
“Close contact” is defined as being within six feet of a confirmed COVID-19 case for at least 15 minutes. If an individual is identified as having close contact to a confirmed COVID-19 case, they will have to self-quarantine for 14 days. Even if the individual tested negative for COVID during the 14-day period, they still must complete the 14-day quarantine. The determination to identify a person as a close contact and in need of quarantine is based upon multiple factors including but not limited to the following:
- Amount of time an individual or individuals is determined to be six feet or closer for a cumulative 15 minutes during a 24 hour period
- The amount of time a person who tests positive was in their environment starting from 2 days before illness onset while infectious (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated
- Evaluation of what area(s) the positive case was for an extended amount of time, and what the individual was doing in those areas (i.e. rooms, cafeteria, any transportation)
- Amount of time the positive case had symptoms, and the amount of time the positive case was in proximity to others 48 hours prior to symptoms appearing
- Use of face coverings in the environment
Ensuring patient privacy
It’s important that all students, staff, and community members understand that all information received during the contact tracing process is confidential and will be treated as such. Fort Bend ISD campus leaders will work closely with the District to notify staff and students with information about a positive case, but will not reveal specific details to protect the privacy of those affected.