Guiding Recommendations for the CDC (July 9, 2021)
Students benefit from in-person learning, and safely returning to in-person instruction in the fall 2021 is a priority.
Vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Promoting vaccination can help schools safely return to in-person learning as well as extracurricular activities and sports.
Masks are recommended to be worn indoors by all individuals (age 2 and older) who are not fully vaccinated.
Screening testing, ventilation, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, staying home when sick and getting tested, contact tracing in combination with quarantine and isolation, and cleaning and disinfection are also important layers of prevention to keep schools safe.
Students, teachers, and staff should stay home when they have signs of any infectious illness and be referred to their healthcare provider for testing and care.
Many schools serve children under the age of 12 who are not eligible for vaccination at this time. Therefore, this guidance emphasizes implementing layered prevention strategies (e.g., using multiple prevention strategies together consistently) to protect people who are not fully vaccinated, including students, teachers, staff, and other members of their households.
COVID-19 prevention strategies remain critical to protect people, including students, teachers, and staff, who are not fully vaccinated, especially in areas of moderate-to-high community transmission levels.
PSAS Kindergarten through 9th grade Health and Safety Guidelines
Stay home when appropriate
- Employees or students who are sick, have a temperature, or who have had a close contact with a person positive for COVID-19 are required to stay home.
-PSAS will not adopt any specific social distancing requirements. However, whenever possible students and staff will remain 3 feet apart.
-Each class will have students in an assigned seat with a current seating chart to aid in the facilitation of contact tracing.
-Following the Pueblo County Department of Health and Environment August 27 mandate, all persons entering the school building must wear a mask unless otherwise exempted under the Health Department Order
-Proper hand washing protocols will be taught to all students and frequent hand washing or use of hand sanitizer will be encouraged and supported.
-Students will be given the opportunity to wash hands or use hand sanitizer before meals.
-Students will be given the opportunity to wash hands or use hand sanitizer after using shared equipment such as playground equipment.
-PSAS will place developmentally appropriate signage about social distancing, hand washing, and mask wearing on walls and surfaces through the campus.
Cleaning and disinfecting
-High touch areas (bathrooms, water fountains, door handles, and shared surfaces) will be cleaned at least once a day.
-The campuses will be regularly disinfected.
-Each campus will continue to use UV lighting to sanitize classrooms and office spaces.
-Students and staff will only use water founds to fill water bottles. Drinking from water fountains is discontinued.
-Buildings will increase ventilation as much as possible by opening windows and doors provided that opening windows and doors does not provide a safety risk.
-Fans and other devices will be limited for circulating indoor air.
Sharing of materials
-Each student will have access to their own curricular resources; however, sharing may be permitted for instructional purposes.
-Use of the media center and checking out materials is allowed.
-Students will have access to hallway, PE, and classroom based lockers
-All kitchens will be sanitized daily.
-Breakfast and lunch will be served on a normal schedule
-Campuses will use outdoor eating spaces as weather permits
-Sneeze guard and barriers will continue to be used on the serving line
-Masks or face shields and gloves will be worn by nutrition service workers
-As much a possible students will have assigned seats or tables during lunch periods
High Contact and High Aerosol classes
-Classes such as PE will meet outdoors when possible
-Students will have an opportunity to wash hands or use hand sanitizer before and after class
-Contact sports and activities will be limited as much as possible
-Instruments will not be shared by students
Large in person group events
-Large, school sponsored, in person events will be allowed but will be limited and structured to keep students and families distanced
-Parent teacher conferences will take place in person with a virtual option
Visitors and Volunteers
-Visitors and volunteers will limited to the building and subject to approval by the campus administration
-Use of facilities by outside organizations will be discontinued for the 2021/2022 school year
Responding to illness, COVID-19 close contact, and confirmed COVID-19 Cases
Below are CDPHE protocols for addressing positive cases and close contacts. Additionally, PSAS staff, parents and students will follow specific isolation and quarantine guidance from Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment.
- Individuals should stay home from work, school, and activities when a person is sick or diagnosed with COVID-19. Isolation lasts for at least 10 days (specifically ten 24-hour periods) after the onset of symptoms — and for 24 hours after being fever-free without the aid of fever-reducing medication and if the person shows an improvement of symptoms. For people who have not had symptoms, isolation lasts 10 days from the day they had their first positive test. In rare instances (for example, if a person was very sick or has certain medical problems), isolation may last 20 days. Public health experts do not recommend repeat testing to decide when to end the period of isolation except in rare circumstances in consultation with a medical provider. Find information about how to isolate.
- Individuals should stay home from work, school, and activities after a person was in close contact with someone with COVID-19. Find guidance on how to quarantine and how long quarantine lasts. A person should not attend work, school, or out of school activities if they are under quarantine following an exposure in school. If a person develops symptoms of COVID-19 during their quarantine period, they should begin isolation.
Reporting of Positive COVID-19 Cases
- School districts are able to disclose this information to local and state public health officials without prior written consent under FERPA’s health or safety emergency exception, because a person with COVID-19 represents a potential threat to the health and safety of others at the school. This is true even if there is not an outbreak.
- Public health then interviews the people who have COVID-19 and conducts contact tracing to determine who might be close contacts of the case, and makes recommendations about isolation and quarantine.
- The Office of Human Resources and the Office Accountability and Intervention will serve as the official PSAS reporting parties. Schools and departments should immediately share any COVID-19 positive case information to the appropriate office.
PSAS K-12 Instructional Delivery Model
PSAS believes that in person learning is the optimal instructional delivery model for most K-12 learners and therefore will return all K-12 students to in person, full time instruction beginning the first official day of school, Monday, August 16, 2021.
Online School Options
If a family desires online instruction for their student, they will need to fill out a school transfer request through the PSAS enrollment office. It is important for parents to recognize that this should be a long term decision, and should not be considered for anyone anticipating less than a full year’s worth of online instruction.
Use of Technology
Each student in grades 2-12 will be issued a district technology device (e.g., chromebook) for their use throughout the school year. All classrooms will capitalize on the use of digital textbooks, teacher presentations, assessments, and applications as part of their daily in-classroom instruction as well as for homework as appropriate.
- K-12 students will be assigned a specific seat within each classroom. As much as possible students will also be assigned seats during intervention and lunch
- Most COVID-related student absences and quarantines will be treated like a regular student absence. In accordance with Board policy, make-up work shall be provided for any class in which a student has an excused or unexcused absence. It is the responsibility of the student/parent/guardian to pick up any make-up assignments which will receive full credit. There shall be one day allowed for make-up work for each day of absence.
- COVID-related student absences, including quarantines, will be excused.
Beechtree Labs Partnership - Optional COVID-19 Testing for PSAS
We are proud to announce that we have partnered with Beechtree Laboratories to provide COVID-19 tests weekly to PSAS stakeholders, including students, staff, and families. COVID-19 testing will begin on Friday, September 3, 2021.
We have sought the service of Beechtree Laboratories to help ensure student and community safety and support the previous COVID-19 protocols sent to families.
Beechtree is a highly experienced laboratory located in Draper, UT. They have been testing across the US supporting states, municipalities, airports, schools, hospitals, drive-thru sites, the US Military, and the movie, oil, sports, and fishing industries. PSAS has elected to partner with Beechtree because they offer:
-Fast Turn-Around Results (within 24 Hours)
-Simple, Fast, and Efficient Service On-Site
-Zero Cost to Families At-Home Test Kits
The partnership between PSAS and Beechtree supports CDC recommendations, creating a layered approach that includes regular screen testing. The CDC states, “to be effective the screening program should test at least once per week, and rapidly (within 24 hours) report results.”
PSAS is excited to partner with Beechtree as this helps provide a safe, equitable, and consistent learning experience for all students and families this school year. The program will be optional for families and is mandated only for activities where students leave campus. More information will be sent home in the coming weeks with directions and logistics for each campus. To start the process, families can register and provide consent for your student using the information below.
REGISTRATION AND CONSENT
Please register your child and provide consent for testing in the Beechtree application by scanning the QR Code below. This is a one-time registration and consent for the school year. You can withdraw consent at any time but won’t need to register your child every week. Once registered, a QR Code is provided to the child’s phone. If they do not have a device, a lanyard card will be provided.
Thank you very much for your understanding and we are very pleased to be able to use this layered approach to allow us to manage the risk of COVID-19 spread this year and keep our students in class. If you have any questions, please reach out to your campus principal. To learn more about Beechtree Laboratories, click
General Covid-19 Information
COVID-19 Response in the Pueblo School for Arts and Sciences Network 2021-22 - Updated Sept. 2021
COVID-19 Response in the Pueblo School for Arts and Sciences Network
At PSAS, we are committed to the safety and wellness of all our students, staff, and of our surrounding community. During the 2021-2022 school year, we are prepared to adjust our school response to all COVID-19 requirements. In an effort to balance protecting the safety of our students with their learning needs, we will continue to follow all mandates issued by local, state, and federal authorities; and, we will continue to exceed recommendations for cleaning through the use of ultraviolet lights, increased sanitation, and other safety measures to keep our students, staff, and community safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Our current guidelines on vaccines:
We do not currently have a vaccine requirement for students or faculty to engage in school activities at PSAS. If you are interested in a vaccine, please contact the Pueblo Health Department.
Our current guidelines on illness:
If you, your student, or a close family member has symptoms of Covid or is ill, please keep your student home from school until symptoms have abated.
Our current guidelines for masking following the recommended protocols:
Individuals are expected to wear a mask at Pueblo School for the Arts and Sciences. Please read the Pueblo County Health Department order for a full list of requirements and exemptions. (PCHD Order 8/30/21)
Our current guidelines for reporting and quarantine:
PSAS had several quaratines and reporting incidents in the 2020/2021 school. Following last year, not a single PSAS student or staff member suffered serious COVID-19 related illness that resulted in hospitalization or death. In the larger Pueblo community, the impact of the flu was more serious and deadly for Pueblo students. However, Pueblo did see a dramatic rise in mental health crises for our students and substantial learning loss for our most at-risk students.
We now have 18 months of experience with the impacts of transmission, quarantine, and infection of Covid-19. This experience has informed us that keeping students and staff in the classroom is a priority at our school. PSAS staff are dedicated and trained education professionals, not medical professionals.
Following any testing for COVID-19, your local health department will direct you on quarantining protocols for you and your family. In order to help your family make the best decision in line with your values, PSAS will offer onsite testing.
The current state guidance directs all clinical labs and health care providers to report COVID-19 test results both positive and negative to the Health Department. If the school is notified of a confirmed positive case from a source other than the Pueblo County Health Department, PSAS administration will report that case to PCHD.
We will continue alerting students, staff, and parents of known classroom exposures so all individuals are appropriately informed, will monitor closely for symptoms, and may choose to increase personal mitigation measures as necessary. We trust our families to make decisions that match their values and level of sensitivity and to follow all directives from the PCHD.
PSAS will offer testing through BeechTree Laboratories to all students and families free of charge. PSAS will NOT see the results of those tests. BeechTree Laboratories, as a clinical lab provider, is required to submit all testing results to the proper health authorities. Additionally, families will receive those test results and can act accordingly.
If a student or staff member tests positive, they should follow all directives by the PCHD and should stay home from school. PSAS’s current absence policy allows for excused absences for illness, and does not require the school to know the specific medical diagnosis.
PSAS is currently exploring several options for onsite testing including testing during the lunch hour, before or after school, and during designated times during the school day. All procedural updates will be sent out as they are determined.
PSAS values student information privacy and every measure will be taken to ensure student privacy is protected from the collection of the test to the dissemination of results.