Students and staff in the Quincy Public Schools will be required to wear masks for most indoor activities.

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In a special meeting Wednesday, the Quincy School Board voted 5-2 to approve its revised COVID-19 guidelines for the 2021-22 school year.

The guidelines approved Wednesday include an emphasis on in-person learning, with alternate instruction available for those under quarantine, along with COVID mitigations such as physical distancing, masking indoors and on buses, testing of those with symptoms and increased sanitizing.

Otherwise, the Quincy Public Schools’ goal is to go back to as normal a school environment as possible in light of the current surge in COVID cases.

Here is what the Quincy School Board approved Wednesday:

As we prepare for the 21-22 School Year, our world may be much different than last year or previous years. In Quincy, we will look out for the safety of our students. We will take lessons learned from 181 days of in-person instruction in a pandemic in ten schools and lessons from remote options at all levels. We have built a plan that meets the needs of our community and our students. The plan is vetted through the Adams County Health Department, and we are recommending approval by the QPS Board of Education.

In-Person and Remote Learning
Quincy Public Schools will conduct predominantly in-person instruction for the 2021-22 School Year. You can refer to schedules, start times, end times, bell times on our QPS website. We will still social distance as best we can in classrooms and hallways, using three feet distance as our goal. We will use our greenspace and outdoor opportunities.

Learning Environment
Per guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education, school will resume to fully in-person learning for all student attendance days in grades PK-12. If a student is required to quarantine per guidance from the local health department or Illinois Department of Public Health, parents/guardians will work with their child’s school on a plan for alternate instruction during the duration of the quarantine.

Quincy Senior High School and The Academy (formerly ACRSS and ABC) will offer an online academy for students in grades 9-12. Students that apply and meet the criteria to attend the online academy will be able to access Edgenuity and/or QSHS developed courses through Schoology. Students who attend the online academy will take tests and quizzes on campus in a safe environment.

Sickness/ Illness of Staff and Students
All students and staff with COVID symptoms as defined by the CDC and IDPH must stay home and not attend school.

Quarantining and Contact Tracing
The nurses will be following the (CDC/IDPH) or (health department) guidelines to assist in contact tracing. The ACHD will be handling all quarantines. It is our planning assumption unvaccinated students will be placed in quarantine if they are in close contact to a positive COVID person or they are COVID positive. We will have other options to avoid a quarantine, like testing. Those would be available upon parent request. More information is forthcoming.

Masks and Safety Layers
In accordance with the most recent release of the Governor’s executive order, CDC, IDPH, and ISBE school guidance, layered mitigations will still be in place, such as physical distancing, masking indoors and on buses, quarantining, testing of those with symptoms (with parental approval), and increased sanitizing, especially in common areas. If local conditions change, mitigations may be removed or added, as deemed necessary by the local health department or the School Board.

• Masks are required in most indoor settings for all individuals including staff, students, and visitors.
• Masks are not required outdoors.

Locker use at the Junior High will resume for the 2021-22 School Year. Lockers at the High School are optional. If you want a QSHS locker, guardians/parents must request a locker for students when completing registration in Skyward.

Starting the School Day and Lunch
The start of the school day will be like the 2020-21 School Year. We found fewer student management issues. K-8 Breakfast will be available and eaten in classrooms. High school will eat breakfast in the cafeteria. Students will be asked to move directly to their first class as they arrive.

Lunch will be served in the cafeterias, media areas, and possibly some classrooms. Elementary schools may use media centers to reduce student numbers in cafeterias. High school will have six lunch periods. Junior High will use the cafeteria, annex, and possibly some classrooms.

Busing will fully resume. Routes and pick-up times will be communicated. At this time masks are required on all public transportation including school buses.

Capacity at Events
Events will resume at full capacity in the fall of 2021. Most clubs, athletic events, and music events will be back on a traditional schedule. Schedules will be published by the athletic office and Music office. Depending on if it is an indoor event, outdoor event, and current conditions, non-participants will be required to use a face-covering

Quincy Public Schools will again welcome our volunteers, presenters, parents, and special guests back into our schools. We ask if you have symptoms, or you are a close contact of an individual positive with COVID or has symptoms, you do not come to the school. We will start this slowly to see how the year starts. Visitors will be limited. All visitors will wear a mask and have principal permission.

Quincy Public Schools will continue to take special care with the cleaning of all student facilities. If a positive incident should occur, we will take extra cleaning precautions in those areas.

Field Trips
Field trips will be used for educational purposes on a limited basis.

Prepare for Change
Things will change. Last year, even though our overall plan stayed the same the entire year, we were constantly adjusting. We will do the same this year. We can always become less restrictive as conditions change. We will also prepare to be more restrictive if the virus spreads more in the Quincy and Adams County Area. We are watching the Delta Variant and discussing data with Jerrod Welch at the ACHD often. We will be responsive to our community. Last year, we felt we were preventing the spread by early identification of individuals with symptoms and our other control measures. We plan to continue to be a great community partner in the reduction of this virus. Changes may occur quickly, but they will always be in consultation with the Board of Education and Adams County Health Department.
Roy Webb

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