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Link to the Return 2021 Plan

DuBray yearbook photo

March. 28, 2022

 

Dear families,

 

Welcome back from your Spring Break. I hope it was relaxing and restful. As we begin the fourth quarter of the school year, I wanted to share a few changes with you that the Board of Education put into place at their last meeting. With cases at the lowest we have seen and after receiving word that the Attorney General has dropped a suit against the district regarding masking, the Board approved a motion to lift all covid mitigations and to remove the dashboard from our website. While masks remain an option, signs regarding masking will be coming down from our buildings. The dashboard is off of our website and an updated Return to School Plan will be in place online by the end of the day. 

 

A few notes regarding Election Day on April 5. Students will be off school that day and teachers will be in professional development. There are nine candidates on the ballot for two, three-year positions on the Board of Education. You can learn more on our website. The district also has a no-tax-increase bond issue on the ballot. FZ Prop 4 requires 57-percent approval to pass and would provide funds for maintenance projects, upgrades and additions across the district. These projects would help maintain and improve the health and safety of our buildings, accommodate growth, and provide opportunities for students and the community. You can learn more about FZ Prop 4 at go.FZSD.us/FZProp4.

 

It has been another school year filled with student and staff achievements, and we still have the fourth quarter to complete. I look forward to celebrating the many more accomplishments to come, including graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2022.

 

Sincerely,
Dr. Bernard J. DuBray
Superintendent


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Feb. 28, 2022

Dear families,

I’d like to take this opportunity to share a few updates with you. As you might already be aware, the CDC has released new guidelines regarding masking on school buses. Under the current pandemic conditions in St. Charles County, which are moderate, the masking requirement on buses has been lifted. It is one more step forward from the past two years. 

I have had several individuals come to me concerned about misinformation they are seeing online, primarily in regard to the Attorney General’s suit against the district. Fort Zumwalt has been masks-optional for the majority of this school year, with the exception of our buses which were, until last Friday, under a federal mandate. Despite the masks-optional stance, the Attorney General responded to complaints from a handful of Fort Zumwalt parents and included Fort Zumwalt on a list of school districts he is suing for having a mask mandate in place. The initial costs of this suit will be covered by our insurance provider. Neither federal stimulus money nor bond issue proceeds can be spent on legal matters. Our attorney represents several districts involved and will be coordinating the costs of the suit so as to minimize expenses to the greatest extent possible. l would like to thank those of you have reached out to the district or to me personally to help you clarify what you are seeing online. I have always said strong schools are found in strong communities and our open dialog makes us stronger. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact my office.

Sincerely,

Dr. Bernard J. DuBray

Superintendent


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Jan. 19, 2022
Dear families,

Last night at the Board of Education’s regular meeting, the Board voted to amend Fort Zumwalt School District’s Return to School 2021-2022. Beginning tomorrow, Jan. 20, 2022, two mitigation tiers will be in place.

If a single classroom Pre-K – 5 shows an increase in Covid cases of 3 students or more over 10 consecutive calendar days, those classroom students and staff will be masked for a period of 10 consecutive calendar days following the most recent positive case. No outside visitors will be allowed to visit at lunch or volunteer in that classroom until the positive cases subside.

Based on a school’s enrollment, at a 4 percent positivity rate the school will add mitigation strategies until the positivity rate falls below 4 percent for 10 consecutive calendar days. The mitigation strategies to be included are:

1. S
tudents and staff will wear masks while in the building
2.
Additional lunch accommodations might be required to offer greater social distancing
3.
Classroom activities should take advantage of outdoor facilities as often as possible. No masks will be required for activities conducted outdoors
4.
There will be no outside visitors allowed in the building until the positivity rate falls below 4 percent for 10 consecutive calendar days.

T
hese updates have been made in our plan online, and take effect Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. Beginning tomorrow, only schools that are over the 4-percent threshold will have these protocols in place. 

Thank you for your cooperation.
Sincerely,
Dr. Bernard J. DuBray
Superintendent

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Jan. 4, 2022 Dear Families,

I hope you found your Winter Break restful and relaxing. As we welcome students back to school on Thursday, I wanted to remind you of changes the Board approved for our Return to School 2021-2022 at its December meeting. In addition, I am including the CDC’s updated guidance from Dec. 27 on shortened isolation periods for COVID-positive individuals.
-- Beginning with the second semester, the district will no longer contact trace or quarantine exposed students or staff who are not showing symptoms.
-- Masks will be optional so long as positive case numbers remain under the thresholds of our tiered mitigation strategies, which are outlined in the Return to School 2021 - 2022 plan. I will continue to monitor the positivity rate and I will be prepared to recommend additional mitigation measures where necessary.
-- We will be following the newest CDC guidelines (Dec. 27, 2021) regarding a positive test. Per CDC recommendation, if an individual tests positive for COVID they should isolate for 5 days and if they show no symptoms or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours) after the required isolation period, they are allowed to attend school/work by wearing a mask for 5 days when around others to minimize the risk of infecting people they encounter.
-- Please notify your school nurse if your child(ren) tested positive over the break or test positive as classes resume.
-- Remember the At-Home Wellness Check. Those who are sick should stay home and consult a medical provider.
-- The Missouri Department of Health and Human Services is holding a COVID testing event at the Family Arena from now until Jan. 13. Get more information or make an appointment to get tested.
-- Those interested can find more information about COVID vaccines or boosters here.
Finally, a note regarding athletics and activities. The Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) has announced that there are no changes to the current MSHSAA Return To Play Form/Protocols for student-athletes who have tested positive for COVID-19. They are still required to quarantine from practices and competitions for 10 days and can begin the five-stage Return to Play protocol after being released by a physician.
As the weather has finally turned more winterlike, remember to familiarize yourself with the district’s inclement weather procedures. Notifications will be sent to families via phone, text and email, as well as alerts posted to all of our websites. These notifications will let you know if an inclement weather day is a traditional snow day or an Alternative Methods of Instruction (AMI) day. Our first two inclement weather days this school year will be traditional snow days, which means they will need to be made up at the end of the school year. The next five subsequent inclement weather days will be AMI days and will not have to be made up. You can find details on those plans at go.FZSD.us/AMIDays.

Sincerely,
Dr. Bernard J. DuBray
Superintendent

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Oct. 12, 2021

A revised plan for addressing Covid-19 in the school district will be implemented following the end of the day Oct. 15, 2021. The plan will call for masks optional. In addition, a modified quarantine will be employed for those students wearing a mask when exposed to a positive individual during the school day. Any unmasked student exposed to a Covid-positive individual at school will not qualify for the modified quarantine and will be expected to quarantine according to the guidelines set forth by the St. Charles County Department of Public Health.

The modified quarantine will allow a student to attend school wearing a mask and monitoring for    Covid-19 symptoms for 14 days. This quarantine p­­eriod can be reduced to 7 days by obtaining a negative Covid test from an authorized healthcare provider after the fifth day of the quarantine, with no symptoms in evidence. It will not allow a student to participate in extracurricular activities, including MSHSAA sports and other sanctioned activities, as set forth by MSHSAA and the St. Charles County Department of Public Health. As has been the protocol, asymptomatic vaccinated students will not be required to quarantine.


Parents/guardians will be allowed to volunteer their time in their own child’s classroom (no more than 2 in any one classroom at any one time) for various activities, including parties. Parents/guardians will be required to complete a district wellness check, including a temperature check, at the school when they arrive to visit or volunteer. Parents from the building will also be allowed to schedule a private lunch time with their child using seating separated from other students at lunch. The number of parents will be limited to no more than 5 at any given lunch session so that adequate seating can be provided away from the rest of the student body.


It is the overall goal of this plan to limit transmission of the virus while allowing as many students to be in school as possible and still protecting our entire community. This can be accomplished with the tiered levels of mitigation strategies that are the core of this plan. The following special conditions will be in effect:


1. 
If a single classroom Pre-K – 5 shows an increase in Covid cases of 3 students or more over 14 consecutive calendar days, those classroom students and staff will be masked for a period of 14 consecutive calendar days following the most recent positive case. No outside visitors will be allowed to visit at lunch or volunteer in that classroom until the positive cases subside.

  1. 2. Based on a school’s enrollment, at a 2 percent positivity rate the school will add further mitigation strategies until the positivity rate falls below 2 percent for 14 consecutive calendar days. The mitigation strategies to be included are:

          A. Students and staff will wear masks while outside a classroom in the building.

          B. Additional lunch periods might be required to offer greater social distancing.

          C. Classroom activities should take advantage of outdoor facilities as often as possible. No masks will be required for activities conducted outdoors.

           D. There will be no outside visitors allowed in the building until the positivity rate falls below 2 percent for 14 consecutive calendar days.

  2. 3. Based on a school’s enrollment, at a 4 percent positivity rate the school will continue mitigation strategies outlined in No. 2. In addition, masking will be required for all students and staff at all times in the building until the positivity rate falls below 2 percent for 14 consecutive calendar days.


In the preparation of this plan, the Board of Education consulted with Sara Evers, acting director, and Samantha Van Natta, acting assistant director, from the St. Charles County Department of Public Health and other local experts in pediatric infectious diseases who helped determine the thresholds incorporated in the tiered plan outlined above. The Board will continue to actively talk with these specialists moving forward.

Sincerely,
Dr. Bernard J. DuBray
Superintendent

_________________
Sept. 20, 2021

Dear Staff and Families,


Tonight at the Board of Education meeting the Board voted 4 - 3 that Fort Zumwalt School District will universally mask, grades pre-K through 12. This includes all Fort Zumwalt staff as well. The decision will be reviewed at the next board meeting.


Board members weighed the numbers of positive and quarantined students that we have seen in the first three weeks of the school year. With masks in place, more students will be eligible for the modified quarantine if they are exposed to a COVID positive individual. This means students will be able to stay in school unless they exhibit symptoms. 


The new policy goes into effect Sept. 23. 


Sincerely,
Dr. Bernard J. DuBray
Superintendent



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Sept. 9, 2021

Dear Parents/Guardians,
 
The 2021-2022 school is off to a good start. Staff has welcomed your child(ren) back to the classroom and they are settled into their daily routines. For some I know this has already been complicated by quarantines
and positive COVID tests. Currently the district operates under a masks-optional policy. As you are aware, this policy will be revisited at the next Board of Education meeting.
 
Our school Registered Nurses and administrators are spending part of their days contact tracing and notifying families of exposure to the virus. This is because the county health department is not properly staffed and is unable to provide this service to us. At this time, most of our schools show a minimal positivity rate, as evidenced in our daily reporting. While these numbers are encouraging, there is one school that is currently experiencing spikes in COVID positivity.

As of Sept. 9, Westhoff Elementary School has had 27 students test positive, resulting in 99 quarantines. This obviously indicates that some action is necessary to curb the spread and return the building to more normal operations. With this in mind, masks will be required indoors for all Westhoff students and staff beginning Monday, Sept. 13. This requirement, which also will be reviewed at the next Board meeting, will remain in place for at least two weeks as we monitor the data on the numbers of positive cases as a percentage of the student body as a whole. Should the number of positive cases at any school exceed 4 percent of the school’s total student population, it will be my plan to reinstate masks for a period of time at that school.
  
As a district, our goal has been to continue moving forward on a return to normalcy while seeking opportunities to improve quarantine measures that keep healthy children in school. We acknowledge that, at times, spikes in cases might occur at specific buildings. When this occurs, we will remain proactive in implementing measures to curb the spread.

Sincerely,
Dr. Bernard J. DuBray
Superintendent


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Overview on Return 2021 and Federal Stimulus 
Safe Return/Continuity of Services and ESSER III


Posted 6/22/2021
   The following is posted as a requirement of the American Rescue Plan Act for the Fort Zumwalt School District to qualify for federal stimulus funds that are a part of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III).
   During the 2020-2021 school year Fort Zumwalt School District provided uninterrupted instruction in-person for more than 15,000 students and online for as many as 3,500 students. (This number grew smaller as the school year went on, eventually below 2,500.)  See the district’s Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan (SRCSP), also known as the Return to School 2020-2021 plan The district also provided, and will continue to provide, social emotional support for students and technology support (in the form of hardware and a help desk) that allows instruction to continue even if a student is quarantined. Weekly meal pick-up for virtual and quarantined students continues at no charge.
   The district’s primary objective for the 2021-2022 school year is to resume normal school operations.
   Our goals are:

  • --Prepare for students and staff to return for the 2021-2022 school year in a “masks optional” environment where those who choose to wear masks are comfortable and those who don’t are safe.

  • --Prepare students, transportation staff and parents/guardians for the federal requirement that masks be worn on school buses. (See Executive Order 13998)

  • --Implement and revise the Return to School 2020 plan (SRCSP), including health protocols, sanitization protocols and quarantining practices. Revisions will be made in consideration of current pandemic conditions and in collaboration with the St. Charles County Department of Public Health.

  • --Continue to review the SRCSP at least every six months and revise as necessary.

  • --Continue to provide high quality in-person instruction for our students 5 days a week.

  • --Continue to provide high quality virtual instruction where it has been determined to be in the best interest of the student. This determination is made through an application process and through consultation between educators, parents/guardians and students.

  • --Continue to provide accommodations as necessary or as mandated by a student’s Individualized Education Plan.

   With multiple vaccine resources in the community, the district has no plans at this time to coordinate or provide vaccinations. However, individuals who choose to get vaccinated against COVID-19 are not required to quarantine when exposed to a positive case. This helps ensure continuity of instruction. Similarly, there are many community resources for screening and testing services. The district has no plans to provide these services in our schools.
   The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) guidance states that return-to-school plans adopted as part of a public board meeting meet federal stimulus funding requirements for public input. The Fort Zumwalt Board of Education adopted the Return to School 2020 plan by consensus at it’s July 20, 2020 meeting. It can be found on the district’s website at go.FZSD.us/Return2020. Dialogue with our community has continued at public meetings and through other forums. In the interest of clarity and transparency, the district will seek input throughout the summer as the plan for Return 2021 is finalized. The Superintendent will continue to provide updates at upcoming Board of Education meetings, on the district website, via his regular monthly email updates to staff and parents/guardians and on the FORTiTUDE podcast.