COVID-19 UPDATES (10-15-2020)

Preston School District Parents and Students:

The county is continuing to see increases in the number of active COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19.  After serious consideration and conversations with county commissioners, Franklin County Medical Center, Southeast Idaho Public Health, as well as feedback from you and parents via surveys and comments, we feel it is necessary to make adjustments to our plans to keep our students, faculty, and staff safe and to assist our health care community in their attempts to meet the needs, not just of COVID-19 patients, but all that might need medical attention, which could be put in jeopardy if cases and hospitalizations continue to rise unchecked.

We do not take this decision lightly.  Please understand that this is temporary and is only motivated by our desire to help assist our health care providers, keep our staff and students safe, and to keep our students coming to school on a daily basis for as long as possible.  This approach will be re-evaluated every 2 to 3 weeks depending on conditions. 

Adjustments for Preston School District 

  1. Masks required for students at PHS, FCHS, and PJH at all times unless eating or as instructed by a teacher or administrator.  Teachers and administrators may make allowances for students in their environments to remove their masks if social distancing of 6 feet can be maintained. (exceptions only for medical conditions presented by parents, approved by admin) Parents should plan to supply the masks for their students.  If that is not possible, cloth or disposable masks can be provided.
  2. Masks required for students when participating in group activities and when in close proximity at Oakwood Elementary and Pioneer Elementary as directed by their teacher (exceptions only for medical conditions presented by parents, approved by admin) 
  3. Masks will be required for students riding busses, including extra-curricular busses or vans.  
  4. Students who are found to be in within six feet for 15 minutes or more to other students with a positive COVID test will be required to remain home for 10 days after last exposure (staying at school will not be an option) 
    1.  Exception:  Negative nasal swab/PCR/antigen (not antibody) test will allow students to return to regular participation as long as symptoms are not persisting (this test is only valid after 7 days from most recent exposure). 
  5. Students who are required to remain home as a result will not have absences counted against them, however, they will be responsible for work that was prepared by the teacher during that time. (Student attendance at FCHS will continue to be monitored according to their regular plans)
  6. Staff members are expected to wear a mask unless 6 feet of separation can be maintained. As teachers are giving instruction they may need to do so without a mask.
  7. Volunteers and guests coming into the school will be required to wear a mask if proceeding past the office.
  8. Extra-curricular considerations
  • Parents and students are aware of the risks and will be notified if a player has tested positive on a team on which their student participates.
  • Masks will be required when riding in any school vehicle (bus, van, or car). 
  • Masks will be required of athletes and coaches on the sidelines. (may be removed to communicate with players on the court/field etc.) 
  • Students quarantined (for exposure) from school can still participate in after school activities as long as they are not displaying symptoms and wear masks for all but full action practice and drills.
  • Student participants will be masked whenever social distancing cannot be maintained.

Fans at extra-curricular activities  

Masks are required to enter but no limiting the number of spectators will take place.

Why are we making this decision? 

  1.  Active case counts reported by the health department and FCMC are well above the high risk limit. 
  2. 10-15% of the health care workers at FCMC are under quarantine because of COVID + testing or COVID exposure. 
  3. School District Staff positivity counts are increasing.
  4. Hospitalizations due to COVID are increasing. 
  5. Key service providers are quarantined as a result of COVID exposure. 
  6. Recommendations from federal and state agencies.
  7. The majority of parents who completed the most recent survey indicated that they would prefer a requirement for masks over an alternating schedule.

If cases were to continue to escalate the district may have to move to a schedule that limits the number of students in the building at any given time (like an alternating AB schedule).  As stated before, our primary goal is to keep students in school as much as possible and that will be the driving force for decisions related to schedule adjustments. 

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