Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services

TO:  Emporia Public Schools
FROM: Community Relations Department
DATE:  February 28, 2022
RE: Updated Board of Education Approved COVID Protocols
Tonight, Monday, February 28th, the Board of Education voted to make masking optional for all students, staff, parents, and visitors effective immediately, including activities scheduled for tonight. All students, staff, parents, and visitors have the option to mask at any time. The recommendations for strategies to continue and change are as follows:
Strategies to Continue:
  • Optional masking may occur on all bus and school transportation unless CDC and KSDE mandate required masking. If that occurs, the district will comply immediately.
  • USD 253 will continue to require a negative test result on day 5 or later in order to come back to work/school. 
  • Masks are required to be worn by individuals if coming back early from isolation between days 6-10 at all times.
  • District athletics and activities will continue to follow KSHSAA guidelines. 
  • Social distancing of 3’ and more as well as frequent hand washing will continue to be mitigation strategies.
Strategies to Change:
  • For district buildings that maintain an absenteeism rate of less than 5% related to COVID, masking will be optional for students, staff, parents, and visitors. This percentage is considered the threshold for masking or using optional masking. 
  • Percentage rates for COVID positives will be calculated weekly with buildings reporting the information to the Director of Nursing and the Human Resources Office. The updates will be made each Friday with recommendations for the following week to begin on Monday.
  • If a building reaches or exceeds the 5% of absenteeism related to COVID, universal masking is to be implemented at that building for at least two weeks. The principal and the building school nurse will work together to communicate with staff members, students, and family members.  
  • The two-week period will continue to be implemented until the percentage of COVID positivity declines less than 5%. Additional weeks may be needed until the building decreases to less than 5%.
The district will continue following procedures put in place for when an individual receives a positive COVID-19 test. If there is a positive student or staff member identified in a classroom, school nurses, building administrators, and building secretaries will send letters home to the affected classroom.  At the secondary level, this will look different and will be handled through school messenger.  A meeting has been set up with secondary building secretaries and nurses to coordinate how this will happen at the secondary level.  Although we are to a point in the pandemic where mitigation efforts are able to be loosened, we are still in a pandemic and will continue to follow our COVID-19 protocols on when to decide if testing an individual is necessary, or if a child or staff member needs to be sent home because they are ill.  
A reminder of current COVID-19 protocols are as follows:  If an individual presents 2 or more unexplained symptoms (regardless of temperature), the individual needs to be tested or needs to go to the doctor.  The individual may return to work/school with either a negative test result or an alternative diagnosis from the doctor.  Individuals have the option of getting tested at school, but if the individual refuses to get tested through the school district, then they will need to seek testing and/or care from their healthcare provider.  If you have had a known exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID-19, it is recommended to get tested on the day of known exposure, and again on day 5 of post-exposure.  Additionally as of February 28, 2022, we continue to be able to test staff’s family members.
KN95 masks are available on request from the building’s school nurse.

Quarantine Update – January 18th, 2022

Remote Access to Learning Update – January 20, 2022

COVID-19 Student-Athlete Return to Participation Guidelines

When students with an IEP are placed in quarantine, the expectations are below.


1. Special Education teachers will reach out to parents to determine what special education services will be provided, and to create a schedule of how those services will be provided during quarantine time. Teachers may email materials/resources to students and/or parents and provide guidance on those through google meet. If a child is quarantined and the next day of school is a PLT day/non-school day, the staff would need an additional day to get organized to provide instruction on the next full day of school.

2. If there is no temporary plan in place on their IEP, the Special Education Teacher will need to draft a temporary plan and amendment. The temporary plan and amendment will be reviewed with the IEP team including the parent. The expectation should be that the student will continue to access the general education classroom in the same manner as their peers without an IEP. 


Parents are within their rights to decline the proposed offer of special education services during the quarantine period. The school is ready, willing, and able to provide FAPE to the student. 

*If a child with an IEP is quarantined individually and there is a technology need that prohibits the student from accessing the general education setting, please reach out to your building secretary or building technology support. 

*If the student does not feel well enough to participate in/receive services, parents would need to report them absent to the building they normally attend.



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