FERNANDINA BEACH WEATHER

NCSB approves Return to School Plan for new school year

At their July 23, 2020 Regular Meeting, the Nassau County School Board unanimously approved a Return to School Plan for Nassau County Students.  This plan was devised with input from a broad community of experts in both education and health. Names of embers of the Task Force charged to prepare the plan are provided in the Plan’s Appendix.   The document is copied and pasted below. It is also accessible by going to https://go.boarddocs.com/fl/nassau/Board.nsf/Public then clicking on Meetings > 2020 > July 23 > View Agenda > Tab F, Item 2 > Download Word Document.]

NASSAU COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT

2020-2021

RETURN TO SCHOOL PLAN

INTRODUCTION

This plan is based on current conditions in Nassau County and on the most recent guidelines and rules issued by the Florida Department of Education.  The district’s goal is getting our students, teachers, and support staff back to school, with our number one priority being their health and safety.

Throughout the summer, the district has been putting the pieces in place to ensure students are able to begin school on August 24th, either in person or through distance learning.  The work began with the Superintendent developing a Task Force and several work groups.  The Task Force included local health care providers, local elected officials, local law enforcement officers, business owners, parents, teachers, and the local Health Department.

This plan is based on the work of the Task Force and work groups and draws heavily from the “Reopening Florida’s Schools and CARES Act” report produced by the Florida Department of Education.

Part 1: Closing Achievement Gap – Summer Program

The GEER funds under the CARES Act are provided to LEAs to address the impact that the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has had, and continues to have, on students in Florida. This includes developing and implementing summer recovery programs prioritizing target students with significant academic need defined as:

  • Students who have been disconnected or hard to reach via distance learning.
  • Grades K-3 students for 2019-2020 (1-4 for 2020-2021) identified with a substantial deficiency in reading based on the most recent available screening and progress monitoring assessment or other forms of assessment, and teacher recommendations; and K-3 students who may be at-risk of retention, and any third grade student with a substantial deficiency in reading must be prioritized.
  • Grades 4-5 students who were level 1 or 2 on their most recent FSA and are served in the lowest 300 performing or D and F schools across the state will also be eligible for summer program options to enhance literacy skills in reading and math.

Part 2: Reopening Healthy Learning Environments

Screenings

Schools will employ a combination of self-screening and observational screening protocols for universal screening of illness of staff and students. The district and schools will communicate information to parents and staff about the symptoms of COVID-19 and require them to self-screen before coming to school. Students and staff exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 without being otherwise explained, are prohibited from coming to school, and if they do come to school, they should be sent home immediately.

In addition, the district/school may take the temperature of students and staff on a random basis or in situations where there is reason to believe that the person may be ill. Touch-free thermometers will be utilized and will be provided for use in clinics, at front desks, to food service staff, and any other school/district area where a team has determined a specific need.

Face Coverings

The importance of wearing face coverings has been well documented and is being recommended by public health officials at all levels. Face coverings may slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Face coverings, as used in this plan, mean a uniform piece of material that covers a person’s nose and mouth and remains affixed in place without the use of one’s hands, whether store bought or homemade, concurrent with Nassau County Health Department guidelines.

Parents are encouraged to provide their students with their own face coverings.  However, the district will provide face coverings for students who do not have them.

All district staff and adults visiting school buildings will be required to wear face coverings in alignment with current state and local guidance. A face covering shall not be required for the following individuals: (a) persons under the age of 5 years; (b) persons for whom a face covering would cause impairment due to an existing health condition or disability and a determination is made that an accommodation is not reasonably available; (c) persons engaging in high intensity physical exertion (e.g. exercising during PE, recess, etc.); (d) persons eating or drinking; (e) public safety, fire, and other life safety and health personnel who are on school campuses, as their personal protective equipment requirements will be governed by their respective agencies; and (f) persons communicating with someone who is hearing-impaired and must see the mouth of someone wearing a face covering in order to communicate and a determination is made that an accommodation is not reasonably available.

Elementary students (grades K-5) are required to wear a face covering while walking in hallways, riding the bus , waiting in line in the cafeteria, and when working in small groups or individually with a teacher or peers whenever a divider is unavailable. Students may remove face coverings during high intensity outdoor activities, while in their classroom working at their desk, and while seated for dining within their class group.

Secondary students (grades 6-12) are required to wear face coverings when they are not able to be 6 feet from others, are in hallway transitions/class changes, in large common areas, are riding the bus, and are in line in the cafeteria area. Face coverings may be removed for high intensity outdoor activities, when seated at the dining tables for eating and during mask breaks in the classroom as determined by the school or teacher.

Accommodations for face covering protocols can be made for students/staff based on their individual health needs.

The need for face coverings will continue to be evaluated. 

Classrooms

Good hand hygiene will play a huge role in our ability to prevent spread of the virus.  The importance of washing hands frequently and using hand sanitizer will be emphasized on an ongoing basis.  Hand sanitizer will be available in all classrooms.

While six feet of distance between students will not be possible in most classrooms, desks and other furniture will be arranged to allow for as much distance as possible between students.

Classrooms and high touch/high traffic surfaces/areas will be cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected daily.

  • Include after-hours disinfection with hand-held, misting machine for high touch surface disinfection conducted by school custodial staff.

Elementary cohorts of students will remain together throughout the day to reduce the number of interactions.  All efforts will be made to keep small groups consistent, to minimize the number of students each student interacts with.

  • There are some support services for education, related services, and mental health that will require students to leave or join other cohort groups during the school day. These student groupings will be tracked, and attendance will be kept.

Limit the use of classroom materials to small groups and disinfect between uses.

Limit the use of water fountains that are not fill stations; students and staff will be strongly encouraged to bring water from home or use individual disposable water bottles.

Cafeteria

There are many safeguards being implemented to help reduce the chances of the virus being spread during breakfast or lunch.   For breakfast “grab and go” will be utilized to decrease the number of students in the cafeteria.

Social distancing will be difficult in the cafeteria at lunch due to the number of students and limited space and seating.  Every effort will be made to maximize the distance between students.  Outdoor areas and other spaces will be utilized as much as possible to increase social distancing and close contact.

Schools will increase the amount of space between tables to the greatest extent feasible. Tables, seats, and contact points will be cleaned and sanitized between service with assistance from custodians.

The Department of Food & Nutrition Services will be making extensive changes to day-to-day operations to help ensure the safety of students and staff:

    • All food service personnel will be pre-screened and required to wear a mask and gloves while at work       and will receive additional training related to COVID-19 and proper cleaning, sanitation, and hand washing.
    • Additional cleaning & sanitation in the kitchen and common areas were added.
    • New signage in the kitchen and cafeteria for COVID-19 prevention and to encourage social distancing.
    • Social distancing will be practiced in the kitchen as much as possible.
  • Hand sanitizer available at start of serving line/entry doors of cafeteria
  • Sanitize tray slide/counter in between classes and/or groups
  • Simplified menu and choices
  • No self-service bars or shared utensils or condiment stations for students. All pre-packaged cutlery and  disposable trays will be used.
  • All food items will be wrapped or packaged or handed directly to the student from the food service employee.
  • Minimize cash transactions in the cafeteria. We will encourage pre-payments or online payments for staff           and   parents. Cash will not be handled by food service staff during meal service.

Buses

  • Students will be required to wear a face covering on the bus.  Face coverings should be provided by the parent.  However, a disposable mask will be provided if they forget or until they get one.
  • All touch-point surfaces will be wiped down daily with a viricide after routes are completed.
  • The bus will be deep cleaned, disinfected, and/or misted with a viricide at the end of each day.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be located at the entrance of each bus.  Students will clean hands with hand sanitizer before entering the bus.
  • Positive fresh air circulation will be established on non-ESE buses by having a front and rear window opened.
  • Students will be assigned seating to load back-to-front and unload front-to-back to minimize contact.
  • If there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 on a bus, that bus will be pulled from service and replaced with a spare bus.  The bus will not be returned to service until it can be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
  • Students who become sick during the day will not use group transportation to return home.
  • Drivers and aides will wear face coverings and self-monitor health status prior to the start of each workday.
  • Drivers will receive specific training on cleaning/disinfection procedures, the safe usage and storage of cleaning/disinfection products, and COVID-19 safety.

School Clinic

  • Enhanced training will be provided to Clinic Staff.
  • Clinic Staff must wear a mask and/or face shield and gloves when interacting with students and staff. Sanitizing Stations will be set-up outside the Clinic.
  • The area where students interact with the health staff will be cleansed after each student visit.
  • To prevent unwieldy numbers of students waiting to see the Health Aide/Nurse, all visits to the Clinic must be scheduled.
  • Teachers will call the Clinic or Front Desk before sending a student to the Clinic to ensure availability and quick response. Exceptions to this rule: Any emergency may send a student to the Clinic or call the Health Aide/Nurse for services.
  • Students who are scheduled for regular Clinic visits, such as those who must have their glucose checked at designated times, do not need to have someone call ahead.
  • Plexiglass or a barrier will be installed between cots.
  • A waiting room will be established with required social distancing.
  • A room will be designated for students who are awaiting parent pick-up due to COVID-19 symptoms or other reasons.

Hallways, Restrooms, and Common Areas

  • Hallway traffic will be one way, with arrows on the floor.
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be available throughout all buildings.
  • Students and staff will be discouraged from gathering in common areas.
  • The number of students in restrooms will be limited.
  • Restrooms will be disinfected throughout the day.
  • Signage will be installed in appropriate areas with CDC or local health department safety recommendations.
  • Provide frequent reminders to staff and students to stay at least 6 feet apart when possible.
  • Limit capacity in break rooms/conference rooms to allow for social distancing.
  • Schedule routine cleaning and disinfection of school facilities daily.
  • Custodial staff will conduct after-hours disinfection with hand-held, misting machine for high touch surfaces.

Arrival and Dismissal

Upon arrival, PreK-5 students will go straight to class, cafeteria, or other designated areas as determined by the school.

Campus opening times for schools have been adjusted as needed to minimize the number of students arriving on campus prior to the start of school.  The Principal will communicate the appropriate arrival times for the campus based on the ability to get students in class on time and to provide adequate supervision for students before the start of classes.

At dismissal, there will be increased supervision to maintain directional flow and reduce mass gatherings.  Dismissal will be staggered when possible.  If the Principal can stagger dismissal, the plan will be communicated to parents.  Parents who are picking up their student(s) from school should remain in their vehicles.

Responding to a Positive Case of COVID-19

Our ability to keep our schools up and running will hinge greatly on our vigilance in following the safety measures outlined in this plan.  There is growing evidence that strict adherence to these practices greatly enhances an organizations ability to control the spread of the virus.    Once an individual is confirmed positive for COVID-19, the Health Department will be notified, and contact tracing will be conducted.  If an employee tests positive for COVID-19 they will not return to work or school until they provide a note from the county health department or the physician providing care.

A Health Department letter will be sent home with all students having close contact with a confirmed case.  In consultation with the Health Department, a decision will be made regarding which individuals should quarantine and for how many days.

Students who test positive or who are sent home to quarantine due to exposure will be provided a device and a plan for distance learning.

Isolation from School and Protocols to Return to School After Home Isolation

Students and staff should be isolated from school if they test positive for COVID-19. Determinations about the need for home isolation and the length of the isolation period will be made in collaboration with families, the school-based administrator, the health services team, and the Nassau County Health Department. Once a student or employee is isolated from the school environment, he/she may return if he/she satisfies the recommendations of the Nassau County Health Department. The district and the Nassau County Health Department will continue to collaborate to refine and implement COVID-19 protocols to assess risk and respond to school-specific matters based on all relevant factors and current information.

Confirmed Case of COVID-19

When there is a confirmed positive COVID-19 test result for a student, the parent will contact the school Principal.

When there is a confirmed positive COVID-19 test result for an employee, he/she will contact their Supervisor.

The Principal or Supervisor will contact the Office of Intervention, Prevention and School Safety and the Assistant Superintendent of Instruction.  The Principal or Supervisor will immediately determine the areas of school that need sanitization. If needed, they will work with the Director of Facilities for assistance with the cleaning of large areas.

The Office of Intervention, Prevention and School safety will work with the Nassau County Health department to begin contact tracing.  The Assistant Superintendent of Instruction will notify key district administrative stakeholders.

It is the responsibility of the Nassau County Health Department to contact the person confirmed with COVID-19, inform direct contacts of their possible exposure, and provide instructions to those involved with the confirmed case, including siblings and other household members, regarding self-quarantine and exclusions. The individual who tested positive will not be identified in communications to the school community at large but will be identified to the Nassau County Health Department for contact tracing.

As soon as the district/school becomes aware of a student or employee who has been exposed to or has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the custodial staff will be informed, so that impacted building or bus areas, furnishings, and equipment are thoroughly disinfected. If possible, based upon student and staff presence, the custodial staff will wait 24 hours or as long as possible prior to disinfecting. However, if that is not possible or school is in session, the cleaning and disinfection will occur immediately.

Procedure for Handling Employee COVID-19 Related Health Concerns & Related Leave

All administrators will receive further training on the most recent information pertaining to COVID-19 in Nassau County.

If staff contact school or department administrators regarding work accommodations or available leave options relating to COVID-19, administrators at each school or department will be advised to refer all such questions and requests to the Human Resources Department.

Visitors, Volunteers, and Vendors

Visitors, volunteers, and vendors will be approved on a very limited basis until further notice.  Approved volunteers, visitors, and vendors will be required to sign in via RAPTOR for entry.  All vendors will be vetted via the front office.

To minimize outside influence into the school any person entering campus will be escorted to their destination.  All will complete COVID-19 questionnaire, wear face covering, and utilize hand sanitizer.

All parent visits for the purpose of having lunch with their children will be suspended until further notice.  PreK– 5 parents may escort their student(s) to the door of their classroom for the first two weeks of school if they wear a face covering, complete COVID-19 questionnaire, and exit campus immediately upon releasing their student(s) to their teacher(s).

Athletics, Extracurricular Activities, and Clubs

Our school sponsored athletic teams, clubs, and other extracurricular activities serve a vital role on our school campuses.  Our ability to allow these activities during this time will require careful adherence to the safety protocols put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread.

Athletics

  • Nassau County athletics will adhere to the Florida High School Athletic Association guidelines.
  • All student athletes who wish to participate in fall sports will be required to have an “Assumption of Risk, Waiver, Release & Hold Harmless ” form signed by their parent or guardian.
  • Coaches will conduct daily screenings and random checks.
  • Hand sanitizer stands will be placed at the entry/exit of all venues and concession stands.
  • Schools will establish sanitization procedures for shared equipment.
  • If spectators are permitted to attend events, limitations may apply based on social distancing guidelines as issued by state and local officials.

Band and Fine Arts

  • Schools will explore alternative indoor/outdoor facilities to hold classes to promote social distancing.
  • Rehearsals will be outdoors when appropriate.
  • All fine art students who wish to participate in after school activities will be required to have an “Assumption of Risk, Waiver, Release & Hold Harmless” form signed by their parent and guardian.
  • Hand sanitizer stands will be placed at the entry/exit of all venues and concession stands.
  • During the first nine weeks, out of county band travel will be limited for football games and other events.  In some cases, a pep band may be at the game.  This decision will be reevaluated each nine weeks.
  • We will still allow bands to perform their annual concerts and performances as performance opportunities are key to a student’s band experience.  For the first nine weeks, outdoor performances and videoed performances can occur.  This decision will be reevaluated each quarter.
  • Volunteers and band boosters are not permitted on campus during the school day.  After school, parents can be part of the band booster program if they have completed the NCSD volunteer paperwork, “Assumption of Risk, Waiver, Release & Hold Harmless” form and participated in a band COVID-19 parent orientation.
  • Band booster parents will be encouraged to wear masks, practice social distancing, and volunteer with the same small group every time to limit exposure.
  • Band uniforms will be cleaned and sanitized following the manufacturers’ guidelines.
  • As feasible, students will limit the sharing of materials and equipment.
  • Clear face shields will be available for students participating in theater classes.

Clubs

  • Clubs will be allowed to meet face-to-face periodically. However, clubs will be encouraged to utilize virtual meetings as much as possible.
  • School-based sponsors will ensure that students adhere to social distancing, wear face coverings, and follow CDC guidelines as applicable.
  • All students must have a signed “Assumption of Risk, Waiver, Release & Hold Harmless” form on file to participate.

Medically Vulnerable Students

All medically vulnerable students and those students who live with medically vulnerable family members should consult with their family doctor and develop a plan for their safe participation in schooling.  For medically vulnerable students who come to school, school health staff will develop school health plans in consultation with the county health department.  Our schools will consider accommodations for these students on a case-by-case basis.

Students with Disabilities

If a parent of a student(s) with a disability believes the established procedures are not appropriate for their student(s) they should contact their healthcare provider to discuss their child’s health risk in school.  After the parent consults with their health care provider they should contact the school to arrange a meeting to address their child’s specific needs utilizing the district’s COVID-19 Impact Services and Supports Plan.  This plan will outline extra precautions necessary for the student’s safe return to schooling.

Student Attendance

Our current attendance policy states, after fifteen (15) days of absence, whether excused or unexcused, a student must present verification from a licensed doctor for all subsequent absences due to illness. COVID-19 related absences will be excused and not count toward the 15 days of absences for the 2020-2021 school year.

Part 3: Instructional Continuity Plan

The Instructional Continuity Plan (ICP) addresses what the district will do if we go back under an executive order requiring everyone, except for essential service workers, to stay at home.  When this occurred this past spring, the district had very little time to prepare.  If the situation happens again, we will be in a much better position to implement distance learning.  Teachers will receive training, prior to the beginning of school, on our new Learning Management System (LMS) called Canvas.  The LMS will assist teachers and students by providing a more fluid and seamless transition to learning through a virtual platform by providing a central location for content and curriculum. Teachers can incorporate their existing Microsoft Teams or Google Classroom into Canvas.

The overall ICP will be completed within the next couple of weeks and will be shared at that time.

Part 4: LEARNING OPTIONS for 2020 – 2021

Elementary (Grades PreK-5)

Elementary Option 1– Traditional School (Brick and Mortar)
K-5 students will go to school as normal, five days a week. PreK students will go to school as normal, four days a week. Early release days will continue to occur every Wednesday.

*If your child is a student with disability being served through our prekindergarten, Access Points, STARRS, or our medically fragile program, it is the recommendation of the Nassau County School District that you continue to send your student to their zoned/assigned school and to select Option 1 for your student. 

Elementary Option 2– School-Based Distance Learning
Students will remain attached to the current school while receiving instruction online. Teaching will mirror the pace and rigor of the traditional brick and mortar school. Students choosing this option should make a semester commitment.

*Students with an IEP or 504 Plan will have access to many accommodations that naturally occur in the virtual setting.  Please note that some accommodations may not be possible to implement in the online educational setting.  All related services will be delivered through teleservices or at your child’s zoned/assigned school via walk-in services, and this decision will be made utilizing your student’s IEP team process.

Elementary Option 3– Nassau Virtual
Students who choose Nassau Virtual will withdraw from their traditional school and switch their enrollment to Nassau Virtual. Students choosing this option should make a semester commitment.

*Students with an IEP or 504 Plan will have access to many accommodations that naturally occur in the virtual setting.  Please note that some accommodations may not be possible to implement in the online educational setting.  All related services will be delivered through teleservices or at your child’s zoned/assigned school via walk-in services, and this decision will be made utilizing your student’s IEP team process.

Secondary (Grades 6-12)

Secondary Option 1 – Traditional School (Brick and Mortar)

Students will go to school as normal, five days a week. Early release days will continue to occur every Wednesday.

*If your child is a student with disability being served through our Access Points, STARRS, Transition Adult Program(TAP)/Project Search, or our medically fragile program, it is the recommendation of the Nassau County School District that you continue to send your student to their zoned/assigned school and to select Option 1 for your student.

Secondary Option 2 – School-Based Distance Learning

Students have the choice of remaining attached to the current school while receiving instruction online. Teaching will mirror the pace and rigor of the traditional brick and mortar school. Students choosing this option should make a semester commitment. All courses will not be available through school-based distance learning. For courses not available through school‐based distance learning, students may take the course through Nassau Virtual or FLVS.

  • Middle school students may choose to come to the brick and mortar school for Band and/or Gifted classes.
  • High school students may choose to come to the brick and mortar schools for select courses while taking most courses through Nassau’s School-Based Distance Learning option. Though the district will not be able to accommodate ALL scheduling requests, we will work with those students wanting to take advantage of this option.
  • Students will need to work with their school counselor to determine the courses and daily schedule available at the school.
  • Please Note: If a student needs transportation outside of the normal bus route’s daily start and stop times, transportation will need to be provided by the student or a parent/caregiver.

*Students with an IEP or 504 Plan will have access to many accommodations that naturally occur in the virtual setting. Please note that some accommodations may not be possible to implement in the online educational setting. If any of your child’s accommodations are unable to be implemented virtually, your child’s IEP team will review this with you and discuss options to help your child succeed. All related services will be delivered through teleservices or at your child’s zoned/assigned school via walk-in services, and this decision will be made utilizing your child’s IEP team process.

Secondary Option 3 – Nassau Virtual

Students who choose Nassau Virtual will withdraw from their traditional school and switch their enrollment to Nassau Virtual. Students choosing this option should make a semester commitment.

**Students with an IEP or 504 Plan will have access to many accommodations that naturally occur in the virtual setting. Please note that some accommodations may not be possible to implement in the online educational setting. If any of your child’s accommodations are unable to be implemented virtually, your child’s IEP team will review this with you and discuss options to help your child succeed. All related services will be delivered through teleservices or at your child’s zoned/assigned school via walk-in services, and this decision will be made utilizing your child’s IEP team process.

Part 5: Mental and Emotional Well Being

It is the mission of the Nassau County School District (NCSD) to develop each student as an inspired life-long learner and problem-solver with the strength of character to serve as a productive member of society. In order to achieve this mission, it is crucial to develop the student as a whole, including their mental and behavioral wellness. Mental and behavioral wellness have been a formal priority of the NCSD for over five years. In January 2015, the NCSD implemented a district-wide System of Care (SOC). This SOC is built on the belief that Nassau County students are best served through the implementation of a relationship based, whole-child centered model. The SOC was developed on the foundation of two evidenced-based models: The National Association of School Psychologists’ Framework for Safe and Successful Schools (Cowan et al., 2013) and the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model put forth by The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) and the Centers for Disease Control in 2014. These two models provide the structure for the SOC to provide services efficiently and effectively to all students and to promote close school-community collaboration.

The purpose of the System of Care is to create a system that is built as a “safety net” for all students and their families. This system exists so that all students in need are identified and receive effective and timely services.

As part of the SOC, it is imperative to broadly assess students for mental/behavioral health needs. Similar to the academic process of universal screening to determine the need for additional academic supports, best practice recommendations include a screening process to identify which students need additional mental/behavioral health support. In order to implement the legislative requirements regarding mental/behavioral health screening and assessment procedures for determining which students are in need of mental/behavioral health intervention, policies should reflect the use of “opt out” universal consent. The current “opt-in” policies are extremely restrictive and defy best practice in identifying students in need of additional services. Similar to the process for identifying students for physical needs (e.g., hearing and vision screening), best practice mental health and behavioral wellness requires a universal process to screen students in need of follow-up with a mental health professional. Moreover, the “opt- out” policy will improve efficiency in conducting threat prevention assessments.

The SOC is enhanced by experts from multiple disciplines. The Mental Health Assistance Allocation plan improves access to school-based mental/behavioral health supports and improves the staffing levels in terms of school-employed mental health professionals. The vision for these professionals is that they receive ongoing training and technical support to allow them to infuse prevention and intervention services into the learning process and to help integrate services provided through school–community partnerships into existing school initiatives.

The district has increased support so that each school will have access to a mental health provider 4-5 days per week. This allows for one mental health provider (school psychologist, mental health counselor, or school social worker) to serve on the Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) School-Based Problem Solving Team. Through this role, mental health providers will collaborate with other team members to conduct suicide and threat assessments, crisis intervention, and individualized/small group student support. In addition, the school based mental health professional will provide comprehensive services to students at their school including individualized assessment, feedback, intervention, skill-based treatment, and relapse prevention through progress monitoring. Community-based and contract-based collaborative partners can also provide assistance with diagnosis, treatment, medication management, in-home support, and relapse prevention.

Access to mental/behavioral health support can be achieved via the System of Care, the school based MTSS process or both.  As noted above, the SOC provides immediate access to the mental health provider on campus.  This trained professional makes a determination as to if the student is in crisis, needs a referral to a community agency, or needs a referral to the School-Based Problem Solving Team.  If the student is in crisis, the mental health professional has access to a community based Mobile Response Team (MRT).  The MRT assesses the student and determines if immediate crisis intervention is needed.  If the student is not in crisis but may need support beyond the school based mental health provider, the student is offered access to community partners and agencies.  The MTSS is another avenue for students to receive support.  The School-Based Problem Solving Team allows faculty and staff to address mental/behavioral health needs via a multi-tiered approach. This process allows for data driven decision making using a four-step problem solving model. MTSS is a framework to provide supports to students focusing on the whole child. Students flow through the tiers based on need and data. Indicators of positive outcomes include but are not limited to an improvement in academic engagement, positive behavioral changes, decrease in disciplinary referrals, improved coping skills, and improved relationships and rapport building. The following description of the tiered approach is noted below:

  • Awareness/prevention universal core instruction/Tier I includes: Alignment with State and District Standards, Character Education, Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA), Expect Respect Bullying Prevention, Kognito, PREPaRE school crisis prevention and intervention curriculum, parent workshops, Sanford Harmony social emotional development curriculum, mental health awareness education, Positive Behavior Interventions and Support Tier I practices and procedures.
  • Supplemental instruction/Tier II includes but is not limited to: Evidence-based mental/behavioral health services for students at risk for one or more co-occurring mental/behavioral health or substance abuse diagnoses via small group social skills instruction, Check-In/Check-Out, Coping Cat, Skills Streaming, Check and Connect K-12, 101 Ways to Teach Children Social Skills, Ripple Effects (provided by community agency), strategic research based interventions targeted to student’s specific needs with frequent progress monitoring, Positive Behavior Interventions and Support Tier II practices and procedures.
  • Intensive interventions/Tier III includes but is not limited to: Evidence-based mental/behavioral health services for students with one or more co-occurring mental/behavioral health or substance use diagnoses utilizing the University of South Florida Department of Education’s best practice recommendations, contract-based collaborative partners to provide wrap-around and direct services in the areas of individualized assessment, diagnosis, intervention, treatment (i.e. medication management), and relapse prevention, Modular Approach to Therapy for Children Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, or Conduct Problems (MATCH), Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Promoting School Happiness, Zones of Regulation, individual social skills instruction, Functional Behavior Assessment, Positive Behavior Intervention Plan, Positive Behavior Interventions and Support Tier III practices and procedures.

Beyond the in-school referral process for our faculty and staff, our students will be able to access mental/behavioral health support via self-referral as well.  They can go directly to their teacher, school counselor, or mental health provider on campus to access mental/behavioral health support.  Students and families also have access to a plethora of resources on the Nassau County School District website at https://www.nassau.k12.fl.us/Page/3277.  These resources are updated periodically and are often shared on our NCSD Facebook page.  In addition, each student, parent, and community member (residents, public member of society) has access to FortifyFL. FortifyFL is a suspicious activity reporting tool that allows anyone to instantly relay information to the appropriate law enforcement and school officials.  People can anonymously submit tips online which automatically routes to the appropriate law enforcement agency and school officials.  This will not only prevent tragedies, but it can also elicit the appropriate help for the student.

The Nassau County School District is aware that these are extraordinary times causing anxiety and uncertainty.  We understand the importance of taking care of the mental/behavioral health of our students, and we are committed to supporting their wellbeing.  We are here to aid in decreasing the stress and anxiety that our students may experience at this time.  Our vetted support system provides access for all students in Nassau County to find assistance during their time of need.

Appendix A – Task Force Members

Medical Task Force

Nassau County Emergency Operations Center
Dr. Eugenia Ngo-Seidel – Nassau County Health Department
Dr. Chip Ross – ER Physician, City Commision
Dr. Andy Magnet – Physician/Parent
Dr. Annette Bell – Physician/Parent
Mandy Conner – Parent
Misty Mathis – ESE Director

Instructional Task Force

Natasha Drake – Administrator
Kristi Simpkins – Administrator
Rhonda Devereaux – Principal
Curtis Gaus – Principal
Kim Shumate – Instructional Coach
Melissa Johnson – Principal
Bryce Cubbal – Principal
Marlena Palmer – Principal
Ashley Murray – YHS Teacher
Amanda Rau – HMSH Teacher

James Bryan – WNHS Teacher
Patrick Schinella- YMS Teacher
Stephanie Lundquist – CMS Teacher
Donna Graves – HES Teacher
Kelly Lacy – CES Teacher
Stephen Simmons – CIS Teacher
Jessica Watkins – YES Teacher
Ashely Thompson – WES Teacher
Cymonne Smith-Smiley – ELH Teacher
Janel Avila – FBHS Teacher
Chris Pagel – WES Teacher

Virtual Learning Technology Task Force

Joshua Bozeman – Teacher FBHS
Patrick Schinella – Teacher YMS
Dr. James Glackin – Teacher FBHS
Erica Watts – Teacher SES
Courtney Bohler Teacher – ELH
Amanda Rau – Teacher HMSHS
Patricia Graves – Teacher HES
Kristen Musgrove – Teacher HMSHS
Ashley Murray – Teacher YHS
Crissy Bass – Digital Classroom Support Specialist
Adam Henderson – Executive Director ,Technology and Innovation

Non-Instructional Task Force

Chi Wan Tyler  –  Paraprofessional  YMS
Sharon Blanton – Secretary/Bookkeeper HMS
Tonya Scaff – Secretary/Bookkeeper CES
Andrea Bairas – Paraprofessional ELH
Isabel Hernandez – Secretary/Bookkeeper HES
Becky Cribbs – Data Entry Operator HMSHS
Johanna Griffin – Secretary/Bookkeeper WNHS
Laurie Brinson – Paraprofessional WES
Tracee Whitty – Data Entry Operator  CMS
Sabrina Christianson – Paraprofessional SES
Marlana Sresovich – Food Service – FBHS
Julie Wisienski – Food Service –
Angela Woodruff – Bus Driver
Edward Wilcox – Data Entry Operator – Career and Adult Education.
Annetta Phillips – Administrative Assistant/Attendance Assistant/Truancy Officer
Lauren Jones – Director, Food Service
Andreu Powell – Director, Intervention, Prevention, School Safety
Jeffrey Bunch – Director, Facilities
Brad Underhill – Director, Transportation
Glenn Virdin – School Safety Specialist

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