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Amy Fisher stands with FSSD Director of Schools David Snowden after she was honored as Classified Employee of the Year.

As the close of the 2020-21 school years draws near for the Franklin Special School District, Director of Schools David Snowden and members of the district’s COVID response team have established recommendations that will go into effect for the summer months.

Snowden pointed out the guidelines at Monday night’s FSSD Board of Education meeting at Franklin Elementary School. There are 10 areas of focus within the safety protocols he and the team have drawn up for summer school, camps and other school-related activities beginning June 1.

“We’re cautiously optimistic that with these mitigation protocols, we may have the opportunity to even lessen the restrictions as we get closer to the beginning of school,” Snowden said. “I think it’s still too early to say for certain we’ll be able to reduce restrictions even more, but I think it’s a real possibility.”

Here are the recommendations from Snowden and the COVID response team:

 Screening Recommendations:

  • Discontinue temperature screenings of staff, students and visitors. This practice is no longer recommended by the CDC and our data shows it has not been a reliable measure to identify illness. 
  • Continue a visual symptom screen of students upon entry into school, at the door or upon arrival to the classroom. Students who exhibit symptoms will be referred to the school nurse or designated program staff member for further assessment. 
  • Continue visitor symptom screening utilizing posted screening questions.  

Masks: 

  • Masks are recommended for teachers, students and visitors while at school or on the bus. The CDC guidance for schools recommends a mask in public settings, especially when six feet distancing is not feasible. The wearing of masks, combined with other important mitigating measures described below, have been effective in minimizing the spread of illness in our schools.  

 Illness Guidelines: 

  • Continue current illness guidelines, revising as updates are available from the CDC and TN Department of Health. 
  • While these guidelines are strict and require diligent and daily monitoring and management by our school nurseswe believe these measures have been one of the most effective strategies in limiting the spread of COVID in our schools. 
  • The school or district nurse contacts both students and staff members daily who are absent due to illness to determine the appropriate return date based on their symptoms.  

Distancing/Cohort Recommendations: 

  • Continue to follow CDC guidelines for distancing as feasible (currently three-six feet in the classroom and six feet in other spaces). When not feasible, teachers and staff members should continue to use strategies to maintain maximum distance possible within the confines of the available space. 
  • Continue assigned seating in the cafeteria to limit the number of exclusions due to exposure. Schools may return to utilizing all tables and seats as needed to efficiently serve meals. Meals in classrooms may continue if preferred. 
  • Continue to cohort classes when feasible and continue assigned seating. These measures have been effective in limiting the number of students excluded due to exposure. 
  • Classes may join with other students outside of their cohort during outdoor recess. Students will be monitored by teachers/staff to avoid contact with another individual for 15 minutes or longer. 

Transportation:

  • Continue assigned seating on buses to limit the number of exclusions due to exposure. (We continue to review the information related to masks on school buses due to the uncertainty of whether the President’s Executive Order for required masks on public transportation applies to school buses. If not required, we propose that masks be recommended but not required.) 

Cleaning Protocols: 

  • Continue to follow routine cleaning procedures recommended for school settings and school buses as well as CDC guidelines for cleaning/sanitizing/disinfecting an area following a known positive COVID case. 

Hand Washing/Sanitizing: 

  • Continue promoting and enforcing good hand washing/sanitizing practices among staff, students and visitors. 

Visitor Guidelines: 

  • In addition to essential visitors, allow others (at the discretion of the building/program administrator) who are deemed to be beneficial to the educational process or provide beneficial support to students and staff. 

School Events: 

  • School-wide events are permitted when six-foot distancing is maintained at the discretion of the building/program administrator. Resuming additional events in the 2021-22 school year will be considered at a later date. 

Field Trips: 

  • Field trips in the 2021-22 school year will be considered at a later date. 

The safety protocols are basically an extension of the district’s Return to Learn plan instituted last July. Snowden said he hopes the board can address plans for the 2021-22 school year at the June 14 meeting. 

Awards night

Monday night’s meeting also included the recognition of the Classified Employee of the Year and the department and school-level winners.

Amy Fisher, who has been nurse for Johnson Elementary School since 2005 and district nursing coordinator since 2007, took honors as the 2020-21 Employee of the Year on a night when several other classified employees were also honored.

Fisher has been with the district since 2002, when she worked as a substitute nurse. She faced various challenges through her years on staff, but nothing like the COVID-19 pandemic. Under her leadership, the FSSD was able to write many of the health protocols that it still uses today. 

Fisher also supervised the school and district COVID responses in regard to protocol, quarantines, isolations and daily illness guidelines. In addition, she spends hours on the phone coordinating with local and state health officials, as well as with parents and faculty members.  

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FSSD department and school-level winners

Recognized as department and school-level winners were:

Sandra Deal, R.N. — Franklin Elementary school nurse

Dywonne Whitmore — Liberty Elementary café manager

Sherry Sanders, R.N. — Moore Elementary school nurse

Vicky Gish, R.N. — Poplar Grove Elementary school nurse

Vicki Dean — Poplar Grove Middle paraprofessional

Jamie King — Freedom Intermediate custodian

Sondra Ellison, R.N. — Freedom Middle school nurse

Marné Price — Central office/annex food and culinary services operations assistant

Caleb Hime — Transportation/maintenance/landscaping

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Winners of FSSD extraordinary service awards

School nurses and others on the front line of addressing health and safety concerns were also recognized at Monday’s meeting. The following received extraordinary service awards:

Sheila Albert, R.N. — Freedom Intermediate school nurse

Liz Cowan, R.N. — Poplar Grove Middle school nurse

Sandra Deal, R.N. — Franklin Elementary school nurse

Sondra Ellison, R.N. — Freedom Middle school nurse

Jennifer Florida, R.N. — Liberty Elementary school nurse

Vicky Gish, R.N. — Poplar Grove Elementary school nurse

Sherry Sanders, R.N. — Moore Elementary school nurse

Amy Fisher, R.N. — Johnson Elementary school nurse, district nursing coordinator and FSSD COVID response team member

Celby Glass — FSSD Safety and Attendance Supervisor and FSSD COVID response team member

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