Lexington Two’s Return to In-Person Instruction & Continuity of Services Plan
2022-2023 School Year
Below is the most recent update of the plan, written with public input and posted here in December 2022
On March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plans (ARP) Act was signed into law. In it, the U.S. Department of Education is providing an additional $121.9 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER III Fund). This legislation will award grants to state educational agencies (SEAs) for providing local educational agencies (LEAs) with emergency relief funds to address the impact that COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the nation.
South Carolina will receive $2,112,051,487 in ESSER III funds from the Act, with 90 percent being awarded to school districts with amounts determined in proportion to the amount of Title I, Part A funds they received in summer 2020 from funds under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The remaining funds will be used for state-level activities to address issues caused by COVID-19.
This plan describes how LEAs -- in this case, Lexington Two -- will provide the safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services for all schools. This report template complies with all reporting requirements of the ARP Act (Public Law 117-2), the ESSER III grant terms, conditions, and assurances (CFDA Number 84.425U), and the interim final rule established by the U.S. Department of Education, 86 FR 21195.
Maintaining Health and Safety
A district’s plan must include how it will maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and other school and LEA staff, and the extent to which it has adopted policies or practices and a description of any such policies or practices, on each of the CDC's safety recommendations including: universal and correct wearing of masks; modifying facilities to allow for physical distancing (e.g., use of cohorts/podding); handwashing and respiratory etiquette; cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation; contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the state, local, territorial, or Tribal health departments; diagnostic and screening testing; efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students, if eligible; appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to health and safety policies or practices; and coordination with state and local health officials.
Description of maintaining health and safety
As was the case in the current school year, Lexington Two expects to open the upcoming 2023-2024 school year with five (5) day face-to-face instruction on school campuses for K-12 students, while continuing to monitor COVID-19 health guidelines recommended by the Centers for Control and Disease Prevention (CDC), SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the SC Department of Education (SCDE) for a safe learning environment. Accordingly, the district will:
- Continue protocols for cleaning and disinfecting school facilities, buses, and high-touch areas. Classrooms, restrooms, cafeterias, hallways, offices and other spaces will be thoroughly cleaned each school day.
- Use misting machines in classrooms, public areas, or on buses as needed when positive cases are reported.
- Provide cleaning and disinfecting products in classrooms.
- Provide hand sanitizer stations in high-traffic areas of school buildings.
- Use signage to reinforce frequent hand-washing and other healthy habits.
- Continue use of technology conferencing as an option for parent/family meetings.
- Continue use of technology conferencing as an option for district and school staff meetings.
- Offer COVID-19 testing options for symptomatic staff and students.
- Offer take-home COVID-19 tests, as available, for parents/guardians and staff requesting them.
- Keep individuals exhibiting COVID-like symptoms away from others as much as possible, until they are able to go home.
- Offer masks and hand sanitizers to students, employees, and visitors if requested.
- Offer bottle-filling stations as an alternative to water fountains.
- Offer safety glass/sneeze guards in high-traffic and select close-contact areas.
- Allow teachers and staff the use of sneeze guards in their areas if requested.
- Monitor the spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, and review guidance from local, state and national sources.
Policies/Practices Regarding CDC Recommendations
Universal and correct wearing of masks
Lexington Two will monitor CDC, DHEC and SCDE guidelines that are in effect during the current school year and 2023-2024 regarding masks. A mask will be offered to any student, employee or visitor requesting one, whether in district facilities or on bus transportation. The district supports an individual’s right to wear a mask in its facilities or on bus transportation.
Modifying facilities to allow for physical distancing
Lexington Two has implemented a number of mitigation measures, including signs, floor decals, water bottle filling stations, safety glass/sneeze guard shields in close contact and high-exposure areas such as front offices, with some increased distancing in public areas as possible. Hand sanitizer stations are placed throughout schools and other district facilities. In cafeterias, social distancing in seating and modified meal service will be considered as options, should COVID-19 cases rise significantly.
Handwashing and respiratory etiquette
Keeping your hands clean is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from getting sick. Lexington Two will provide adequate supplies to support healthy hand and respiratory behaviors, including soap, hand sanitizer, tissues, and disinfecting wipes. Signs will share information on correct handwashing as well as covering nose and mouth while sneezing and coughing. Students will be reminded of these healthy hygiene measures.
Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation
In addition to mitigation measures, Lexington Two will continue cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
- Classrooms, restrooms, cafeterias, hallways, offices and other spaces will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected each school day.
- Misting machines will be used in classrooms, public areas, or on buses as needed when positive COVID cases are reported.
- Cleaning/disinfecting products will be offered in classrooms.
- Hand sanitizer stations are placed throughout school buildings.
- A facility with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 24 hours will receive enhanced cleaning and disinfecting measures.
Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine
Lexington Two will continue to follow the guidelines of the CDC and DHEC regarding close contacts, contact tracing, quarantines, and other measures that help to curb the spread of COVID-19. Lexington Two will continue to follow plans for assisting students and staff who are symptomatic during the school day, to include keeping them away from others as much as possible. The district will continue to monitor positive cases in our communities and will continue to provide information and protocols to parents/legal guardians on COVID and related measures, as warranted.
Diagnostic and screening testing
Lexington Two will continue to offer testing for symptomatic students and staff in the current school year and will weigh options for such testing in the 2023-2024 school year, based on community transmission rates and positive COVID case numbers. Testing does not replace other protective measures schools have in place as a way to potentially identify individuals with symptoms, and testing will not prevent all contagious individuals from entering the school. Testing symptomatic individuals is only one aspect of controlling the spread of the virus in schools. All of the district’s nurses have been properly trained to administer the test and properly dispose of all infectious waste, should the need arise. Free home tests, as available, will be offered to families to take home.
Efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students, if eligible
During 2022-2023 and the upcoming 2023-2024 school year, Lexington Two stands ready to serve as a host site for vaccination clinics, if a request is made, should the community see a substantial increase in COVID cases. Lexington Two would promote the availability of these clinics to provide vaccinations to staff, students, and parents/legal guardians who want to be vaccinated.
Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to health and safety policies and practices
When circumstances require specific policies or practices designed to protect the health and safety of Lexington Two students, 504 and IEP teams will determine whether modifications and/or reasonable accommodations are needed for individual students with disability-related issues.
Coordination with state and local health officials
Lexington Two continues to monitor and implement guidance from the CDC and DHEC to provide a safe school environment for full-time in-person learning. In addition, Lexington Two has partnered amid COVID with a number of other organizations and agencies, among them Lexington Medical Center, on vaccination clinics for employees, students and parents; DHEC-recommended vendors to conduct COVID testing at the District Education Center; the SC Department of Education on academic, health, safety and federal standards and initiatives; the SC High School League on athletics; and a number of community organizations, such as churches and food pantries, to help with needs for students and their families amid the challenges of COVID-19. In addition to hiring its own team of district social workers, Lexington Two maintains a partnership with Lexington County Mental Health for direct services to our students. The district expects to maintain these kinds of important partnerships throughout the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 school years.
Continuity of Services Overview
Districts must describe how the LEA will ensure continuity of services, including but not limited to services to address students’ academic needs and students’ and staffs’ social, emotional, mental health and other needs, which may include student health and food services.
District response on continuity of services
Lexington Two expects to start the 2023-2024 school year with five (5) days a week of face-to-face instruction for students in kindergarten through 12th grades.
Spring and fall 2022 data will be used as baseline measures to determine academic gaps in reading and math. This information will be used to identify academic acceleration opportunities and skill identification to employ additional interventions in reading and math including, but not limited to, tutorials before and after school, as well as reading and math interventions during the school day. Literacy academic growth and progress for students in K-2 will be assessed via the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA), STAR Early Literacy assessment and/or the STAR assessment in fall, winter, and spring. Literacy and math academic growth and progress for students in K-8 will be assessed via STAR assessments in fall, winter, and spring.
In grades 9-12, schools will use state-provided strand data, as well as the state data review, to provide professional development for teachers who teach courses for which the state requires an end-of-course assessment (EOC). Lexington Two common-assessment data will be utilized to monitor growth and progress in EOC courses throughout the year. Schools will provide ongoing support for academically at-risk students who have demonstrated learning loss, as a result of the pandemic, through credit recovery, interventions during the school day, as well as tutoring before and after school. All high schools will continue to strive to increase the number of students who are deemed college- or career-ready and to increase the number of students who are on-time graduates. In addition, schools will continue to develop and implement strategies to improve all state report card measures.
In the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 school years, the district will continue using at all grade levels Lex2.5, a structured after-school program that focuses on academic acceleration but also includes behavioral support, recreational opportunities, snacks, and transportation. It is available to K5-12, though the way it's structured is different at each level. Several sessions will be offered throughout the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 school years to offer flexibility for student activities and family schedules.
A continuum of interventions will be provided that supports Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS). Instructional staff continue to participate in professional learning opportunities to ensure compliance with ACT 213, which requires all district and charter schools to report data on the implementation of MTSS and universal screening procedures for students in kindergarten through second grades. The MTSS process includes establishing and expanding upon the achievement team model throughout all grade levels, providing a central continuum of primary learning and additional supports for bilingual/ESOL students and families to improve upon classroom and community engagement, building upon Tier I capacity of educators to address immediate needs of students in the classroom, creating effective Tier II and III programs that detail specific entry and exit criteria, and expanding upon special education programming, services and resource).
Opportunities will be provided to facilitate collaboration and professional development that safely support the professional growth and development of all staff. Educators will receive ongoing professional learning related to the pedagogy and strategies to promote student learning, social-emotional wellness, and success. Professional development support for the implementation of instructional standards and priorities and updated curriculum maps will be customized for educators based on their grade-level assignments and/or specific content areas.
Professional learning communities within and across schools will be utilized in an ongoing effort to discuss best practices, utilize resources, as well as problem-solving challenges and needs of students and staff.
SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL HEALTH (May Include Food Services)
Lexington Two will continue several initiatives aimed at meeting the increasingly diverse and significant needs of our students, with added social workers; curriculum programs; and partnerships with local, state, and national organizations and groups for responsiveness to the needs of our students, families and staff in terms of resources, training and other measures. These initiatives are in addition to our partnership with Lexington County Mental Health, which provides mental health counselors in schools for direct services to our students. Staff also are an integral part of efforts to support students on social/emotional/mental health wellness. Each Lexington Two school also has an on-site nurse.
In 2022-2023 and 2023-2024, Food Services will continue to offer breakfast in the classroom to qualifying schools, and traditional cafeteria breakfast for all other district schools. Lunch service will be offered through the traditional food line in the cafeteria for all grade levels, with Food Services team members dishing up and distributing the meals. Students will have the option of eating in the cafeteria and in designated outdoor areas at middle and high schools where such areas are available. Modifications will be considered as needed.
Districts are required to review and, as appropriate, revise their Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan at least every six months through September 30, 2023, including seeking public input and taking such input into account in determining whether to revise the plan and, if revisions are determined necessary, on the revisions it makes to its plan.
If a district developed a plan prior to enactment of the ARP Act that was made publicly available and was developed with public comment, but does not address each of the required aspects of safety established in the ARP Act, the district must, as part of the required periodic review, revise its plan consistent with the ARP Act requirements no later than six months after it last reviewed its plan.
District response on ensuring periodic updates to its plan
Lexington Two continues weekly reviews of its COVID-19 case numbers, health protocols and safety plans, even during school breaks. Based on those numbers, the district will make any adjustments, if needed, to instruction.
During the period of the ARP ESSER award, through September 2023, Lexington Two will periodically review and, as needed, revise its plan for in-person instruction and continuity of services. The plan will be reviewed at least every six months, and the district will seek public input during the review process. Plan revisions will take into consideration any updated guidance from the CDC, DHEC and SDE. Lexington Two also will continue to monitor guidance from the five municipalities within district boundaries, as well as the county and state, when reviewing plans.
The ARP Act requires that school districts make their Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan available to the public online and that the plans be in an understandable and uniform format; to the extent practicable, are written in a language that parents can understand or, if not practicable, orally translated; and upon request by a parent who is an individual with a disability, provided in an alternative format accessible to that parent.
Before making its plan publicly available, school districts must seek public comment on the plan and develop the plan after taking into account public comment.
District response on public input in development of its plan
- Lexington Two sent a survey to a variety of stakeholders as part of its work to update its Return to In-Person Instruction & Continuity of Services Plan. Stakeholder groups included parents/legal guardians, students, teachers, staff, and administrators.
- Once the updated plan is finalized, Lexington Two will take the following steps to make its plan available to the public:
- The plan is posted on our district website, lex2.org, and school websites.
- The plan is available in nearly 100 different languages through the use of our web provider powered by Google Translate.
- A link to the plan will be sent to parents, students, and employees via our messaging systems.
- A link to the plan will be shared on BoardDocs as part of the district’s COVID-19 updates to the Lexington Two Board of Trustees.
- Upon request, a parent who is an individual with a disability as defined by the ADA may be provided with the plan in an alternative format accessible by contacting Lexington Two’s District Family Services Coordinator at (803) 796-4708.