Safe Return to School


Face Coverings

All building occupants are required to wear face coverings while in the building. Students and staff engaging in outdoor activities must also wear face coverings unless they are consistently more than six feet apart during the activity.

Student Masks

  • The CDC recommends that no child wear a mask if it impedes their ability to breathe normally or if they would be unable to remove it on their own if necessary.
  • While we support the CDC recommendation that children be supervised when wearing masks, DLH Academy faculty and staff will not handle or adjust student masks.
  • Students will be required to wear masks while in their classrooms and wear them when they are moving throughout the building, in common areas, at arrival and during dismissal.
  • During lunch, students who are eating lunch will not be required to wear masks. Once a student is done eating, they will be required to wear a mask. Students will be required to use socially distanced seating.  
  • During recess, nap, and athletics, students will wear masks as it is safe to do so.

Staff Masks

All employees are being asked to wear masks as they move about and work in the building. You may bring your own, either paper, cloth, or you may obtain one from the main office when you arrive. This is not optional. While you are seated at your private workstation, with no one else in the room, with the door closed, you may remove your mask.

All visitors must enter through the main entrance and only have access to the front office. No more than two visitors may enter the office at time. Additional guests must wait in line in areas designated by floor markings. Masks are required by all building occupants before entering. Hand sanitizing stations are also located at the front entrance.

Considerations in using facial coverings when supporting students during in-person instruction following the public health emergency, preparation is required to ensure staff and students’ safe return to school. Safety must be a priority and decisions regarding facial coverings for students and staff must be in alignment with respective county health departments and state recommendations and orders. These considerations may be appropriate for any student, with or without an IEP, to support learning and improve their ability to access instruction and educational environments. The use of any facial covering may negatively impact the ability for a student to see their teachers’ and peers’ faces and easily hear their voices. Speakers use not only their voice but a wide variety of facial expressions to communicate with others. The wearing of a facial covering can muffle the speaker’s voice and reduce intelligibility, especially when there is background noise. Students may rely on auditory directions and descriptions to access their learning environment or may rely visually on speech reading to fill in gaps in understanding due to distance and background noise.

The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) has recommendations for educators to increase successful communication while wearing facial coverings (ASHA 2020b).

  • Make sure you have the attention of your listener before you start talking. 
  • Face your listener directly, and make sure nothing is blocking your view. 
  • Speak slowly and slightly louder, but do not shout or exaggerate your speech. 
  • Use your eyes, hands, and body language to add information to your speech. To optimize hearing—confirm that those who use hearing aids or cochlear implants are wearing their devices or use a portable amplifier. 
  • Provide visual references (e.g., printouts, notes, images) to accompany communication. 
  • Ask if your listener understood you—if they didn’t, rephrase it or write it down.  
  • Ask them to repeat important information to see whether they understood what you said. 
  • Reduce competing noise in the environment, if possible. 
  • If you’re talking with someone new, ask the person what you can do to make communication easier for both of you. The following are additional considerations when working with students with a variety of specific needs. 

For students who need explicit instruction: 

  • Video modeling, social narratives, visual supports (e.g., pictures) paired with explicit instruction are recommended to help students know and understand how to use personal protective equipment, or PPE. 
  • Full face shields are available for staff members to wear.


Student Movement and Transitions:

  • Arrows and/or signs will be put in hallways to demonstrate which way the traffic will flow, so that social distancing is observed at all times.
  • Staff will monitor transitions to ensure students are wearing masks and that only assigned individuals (or classes) occupy hallway or common area space.
  • Signs will be posted limiting the number of people in restrooms.

Student Dining Plan:

  • The cafeteria will be used for small group rotations in order to maintain social distancing during meal times.
  • Students can bring individual lunches from home but must be careful not to share food.

Birthday Treats, Snacks & Gifts

The sharing or distribution of snacks and gifts from home is prohibited until further notice.


All nonessential visitation will be restricted. Visiting parents’ temperatures will be taken, and masks will be required. Visitors must follow directions on signage containing information on social distancing during visits. Visitation is prohibited during student arrival periods (between 7:00am-8:00am)  and during student dismissal periods (3:15pm-4:00pm). All visitors will be limited to the front office until further notice. Open-door policies involving parents visiting the classrooms and face-to-face meetings with teachers and administrators, are suspended until further notice. Virtual meetings and phone conferences may be requested as the need arises.

Group Activities and Events

DLH Academy will not have large-group gatherings or events such as visitation days or sporting events. Sporting events will resume upon the recommendation of  MPS recreations divisions and CDC.

All students are monitored by a staff member at all times while at school. There are no areas designated for students to gather in common areas without close monitoring by a staff member. Small groups of students are assigned to staff members and are monitored during learning activities and during transitions. Staff members provide direction to students, parents, guardians and transport personnel during arrival and dismissal to ensure that traffic flow occurs safely and follows distancing guidelines.

Student Groupings and Group/Sports Activities:

  • DLH Academy will not participate in field trips or other off campus activities until it is safe to do so again.
  • No school assemblies or school sponsored events, or fundraisers will be held, but we will have special meetings with individual classes to celebrate academic and behavior achievements.
  • The school schedule and student grouping are designed to minimize the amount of individuals(groups) occupying spaces within the building. Self-screening information is posted in the building entrance, the school website, the Safety Manual, and in the Return to Work Manual.
  • The school schedule and student grouping are designed to minimize the amount of individuals (groups) occupying spaces within the building.
  • Actions that students can take to stay safe are posted on the school website, in each classroom, and at the building entrance. Teachers review actions required for students to stay safe daily as a general school expectation.Teachers also review building safety guidelines such as following signage, social distancing, washing hands frequently,sharing of materials and using hand sanitizer.

Morning Drop-Off Screening Procedures

When we move to the phase two (hybrid model) Morning drop-off will be from 7:00 - 8:00 am, but the drop-off process will take longer than normal. All students will be dropped off in the rear of the building. We ask that you give yourself extra time every morning to ensure that your child has been cleared for building entry; this will be a daily process. Parents departing before their child is cleared for building entry during morning drop off, will result in a mandatory virtual learning requirement for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. Any student who fails the wellness screening upon arrival must remain in virtual instruction for at least 10 days or return with a negative Covid testing result and no further symptoms.

During morning drop-off, COVID-19 signs that list questions and symptoms will be posted at the doors. A staff member will check to make sure students are entering the building with a mask on. Students’ temperatures will be taken upon arrival daily. If our infrared thermometer registers that your child’s temperature is at or over 100.4 degrees, we will take the temperature again. If your child’s temperature still registers at or above 100.4 degrees, or if your child displays visible covid symptoms, the student must return home with the parent for virtual instruction. Student health conditions will be monitored throughout the day. If a student becomes ill, the student will be placed in isolation (Room 207) apart from other children and staff until they are transported home by a parent.

Students that display multiple COVID-19 symptoms are required to be tested and cannot return until negative test results are given to the school.

Dismissal Procedures

Staggered pick up times have been established in order to maintain social distancing and ensure safety protocols.

  • Pick up will take place in the rear of the building in the same direction as drop off (note: this direction is different from previous pick-up procedures).
  • Dismissal will take place between 3:00 and 3:45 daily. Individuals picking up students will remain in their vehicle and students will be escorted to them by a staff member.
  • Pick up for students in grades K4 through 1st grade (and siblings) may arrive at 3:00
  • Pick up for students in grades 2nd through 8th will begin at 3:



  • All students and staff who can be safely vaccinated are encouraged to do so, however vaccinations are not required for employees or students. 
  • Covid-19 Vaccinations are requested by all partnering organizations who provide services for staff and students.

Quarantine requirements are based on recommendations from the CDC and may vary due to the type of exposure (limited/single date exposure vs household contact) and the presentation of proof of completed Covid-19 vaccinations.

I tested positive but I have no symptoms           

You Can Return to School, If:

  • At least ten days since symptoms first appeared and you continue to have no symptoms


  • At least 48 hours with no fever, without fever-reducing medication and symptoms have improved


  • Quarantine of 5 days has been observed and proof of complete vaccination has been presented

For Anyone Who Has Been Around a Person with COVID-19               

It is important to remember that anyone who has close contact (less than six feet for fifteen minutes or more) with someone with COVID-19, stay home for ten days after exposure based on the time it takes to develop illness.

Students and staff who present proof of completed Covid-19 vaccinations are not required to quarantine if no symptoms of illness are present. However, individuals must continue to wear masks and maintain 6 feet of social distancing at all times. Covid testing is also required on or after the 5th day following exposure.

Quarantine requirements increase if individuals reside with a person who tested positive for Covid. Vaccinated individuals must observe a 5 day quarantine period and may return to school with no symptoms present. A negative Covid-19 test is required. Non- vaccinated personnel must observe a 10 day quarantine period and may return to school. A negative Covid-19 test is required.

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