Lincoln Public Schools will continuously review and update the 2021-22 LPS Safe Return to School Plan throughout the school year as the risk of COVID-19 spread in our community changes. This work will be ongoing as new research emerges and more guidance is provided to the school district from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) and the U.S. Department of Education.

Any changes to our plan and protocols will be communicated ahead of time through this website, email and social media.

Please note: Lincoln Public Schools will adjust protocols (including face covering requirements) as necessary to address changing conditions. During the 2021–2022 school year, protocols and requirements may change for a specific school building, program, classroom or setting based on number of positive cases, contact tracing, community test positivity rate, community conditions and risk of spread.

The LPS 2021-22 Safe Return Plan was last revised January 7, 2022, and last reviewed January 7, 2022.

The school district is developing/modifying its plans based on social, economic, and practical considerations that include the balancing of important educational and public health considerations, within the confines of its budgetary limitations, to allocate resources and staff in a way that mitigates risk and seeks to achieve important educational goals. 

Announcements

Translations

Click here to download the latest PDF of 2021-22 LPS Safe Return to School Plan.

We want to hear from you...

Please provide any feedback, suggestions or comments on the 2021-22 LPS Safe Return to School

We will continue to review and update our 2021-22 LPS Safe Return to School Plan to align with community conditions and the latest information. These protocols will go into effect on January 4, 2022.

Plan

To Prevent Spread

Staff, students and visitors entering any LPS facility are expected to conduct a self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms every day prior to arriving.

Every day ask yourself or your student the following screening questions PRIOR to entering an LPS building:

Do you have one of the following?

  • Fever of over 100.4
  • Onset of shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • New onset of dry cough
  • New onset of loss of taste or smell

Do you have two or more of the following?

(lasting more than 24 hours without a known cause)

  • Chills longer than two hours
  • Congestion and/or runny nose
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain

Have you had contact with COVID-19?

  • Contact longer than a cumulative 15 minutes within 6 feet without a face covering, or residing with someone who is positive.

If you answered YES to ANY of the above questions, do NOT go into an LPS building. Instead:

  • Contact your doctor or seek medical care.
  • Get tested for COVID-19.
  • Self-isolate. Do not go to an LPS building until you have a negative COVID-19 test result or have been cleared by a medical professional.
  • For students who experience symptoms, families need to contact their school health office to determine next steps and when they can return to school. Staff who experience symptoms need to fill out the C-19 form and wait for Risk Management to contact them.

Get tested for COVID-19

  • Bryan Health
  • CHI 
  • Nomi Health
  • Your healthcare provider
  • Several pharmacies including CVS, HyVee and Walgreens along with other health care provider offices and urgent care clinics also offer testing. If a person is uninsured or underinsured, they can call the COVID-19 hotline at 402-441-8006 and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department will connect them to testing resources.

Lincoln Public Schools will adjust face covering protocols as necessary to address changing conditions.

Effective January 4, 2022 face coverings will be REQUIRED during the month of January for ALL students in grades PreK-12, LPS staff, visitors, volunteers and families inside ALL LPS buildings during the school day, and before and after school during school sponsored activities. LPS will review this requirement again and announce any changes on January 28, 2022.

  • Students may remove their face coverings during strenuous activities and exercise, unless they are returning from a positive isolation or identified as a high risk close contact then masking is required.
  • Face coverings will also be REQUIRED on all buses. Eating will no longer be allowed on buses.
  • Face coverings are REQUIRED for all individuals attending athletic practices and events held inside except for athletes during strenuous physical exertion.
  • Face coverings are STRONGLY RECOMMENDED for events held outdoors (including sporting events) when in a crowd and physical distance cannot be maintained.

LPS will provide face coverings to students and staff who need them.

When wearing a face covering:

  • Face coverings must be multiple layers of tightly woven, breathable fabric that blocks light when held up to a bright light source.
  • Face coverings with exhalation valves or vents will not be allowed.
  • Per our current school dress code, bandanas are not allowed.
  • Plastic face shields are not a suitable replacement for multilayer cloth face coverings.
  • LPS will have face coverings available for staff and students who do not provide their own.
  • Families are allowed to provide their own multilayer cloth face coverings. Please note: Gaiters are single layer and can only be used if doubled up and cover both the nose and the mouth.
  • Students and families are responsible for laundering and wearing their face coverings each day.
  • LPS will treat face coverings as a required part of dress code where applicable and discipline for not following dress code is outlined in our Important Information Handbook.

Face Covering Exemption Process

K-12 Students

Students who were granted a face covering exemption last school year will be exempt from any requirement for the 21-22 school year. The criteria for face covering exemptions are below.

Medical issues that are documented in the student’s emergency health plan, OR Individual Health Plan (IHP):

  1. Students who require oral suctioning
  2. Students on a ventilator
  3. Students who have a trach
  4. Students who frequently secrete bodily fluids from the eyes, nose, and/or mouth.

Significant behavioral needs that are documented in the student’s Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) or 504:

  1. Students for whom face coverings may cause on-going significant distress that cannot not be remedied through teaching, problem solving, or other accommodations.
  2. Students for whom significant distress may disrupt education, or whose distress may disrupt the education of others.
  3. Students with a history of issues concerning restrictive clothing, close spaces, or high anxiety, or with other data supporting significant student distress.

If your child does not have an exemption and you believe they meet the criteria outlined above, please fill out this form.

Preschool Students

Preschoolers who were determined to be exempt from the face covering requirement in the 2020-21 school year, remain exempt and no further action is needed. The criteria for face covering exemptions are below.

  • Children with documented (in the child’s school records or from information obtained from the family from the child’s physician or medical provider) medical conditions, which may include: Asthma, lung disease, tracheostomy, ventilator or children for who are oxygen dependent or require oxygen levels to be checked throughout the school day.
  • Children with other conditions, which may include:
    • Sensory impairments and issues for which the face covering may cause on-going significant distress that cannot be remedied through teaching, practice and support and may disrupt. This distress may disrupt the child’s participation in preschool or the participation of others;
    • Children who secrete bodily fluids from their eyes, nose, and/or mouth;
    • Autism; or
    • Children who are unable to physically remove the face covering or are not able to communicate a need to remove the face covering because the face covering presents a choking or strangulation hazard.

If you would like to request consideration for a face covering exemption for your preschooler or have questions, please contact the Early Childhood Office at 402-436-1995.

Activity/Athletics Attendees

If you wish to attend LPS events and be exempt from wearing required face coverings, please submit that request online to Student Activities using this form, or in writing to “LPSDO” at 5905 ‘O’ Street, Lincoln, NE 68510.

Students, staff and visitors will be encouraged to frequently wash their hands for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer will be available in classrooms and multiple locations throughout the building when hand washing isn’t easily accessible.

Custodial staff will clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in common areas and classrooms as needed and at the end of the day.

We will continue to keep everyone as physically distanced from others by maintaining three to six feet whenever possible. Any distance makes a difference and we will space out individuals as far as we can, where and when we can. Desks will be placed as far apart as possible.

Our Operations Department will continue with fresh air practices in alignment with recommendations from ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers) and the CDC (Center for Disease Control).

Custodial staff will clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in common areas and classrooms as needed and at the end of the day.

  • Drinking fountains will be available.
  • Classroom sinks will be available.
  • Water bottle fill stations will be accessible where available.
  • K-12 students may bring bottles full of water from home.
  • Paper disposable cups will be provided by schools for students who do not have water bottles.

Elementary

  • Hand sanitizer will be provided for students as they enter the cafeteria.
  • Meals will be served in individual containers.
  • Students will be assigned to a table.
  • Plexiglass dividers will be used.

Secondary

  • Hand sanitizer will be provided for students as they enter the cafeteria.
  • Meals will be served based on past practice.
  • Any utensils for self-service will be replaced  every one-half hour.

Update: All visitors (vaccinated or unvaccinated) will not be able to sit in the cafeteria or eat lunch with students. 

All guests must perform the self-screening for symptoms prior to entering a building and adhere to the face covering protocols. (Please see the Face Coverings protocols above.) No visitors will be allowed in the cafeteria.

LPS facilities are available for outside use through the online Archibus reservation system. All facility terms and conditions apply, including the applicant's responsibility to comply with any COVID-19 protocols from governing organizations, orders and/or Directed Health Measures.

The COVID-19 vaccine is not required, but strongly recommended.

Under Title 173 of the Nebraska Administrative Code, each school or school district in Nebraska is required to keep the immunization history of the students enrolled on file. If your child has received the COVID-19 vaccine, we ask that you please provide us a copy of the information by emailing a copy of the vaccination card to your school nurse. If your child has not received the COVID-19 vaccine, there is nothing you need to do.

The Nebraska Department of Education and Children’s Hospital and Medical Center have launched a new website to help answer any questions you may have about the COVID-19 vaccine for children. Check out maxthevaxne.org for more information.

A safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine plays a critical role in providing protection against the virus, preventing illness and saving lives. The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) is following CDC and State of Nebraska guidelines to distribute the vaccine. They are committed to ensuring that everyone who lives, works or learns in Lincoln and Lancaster County can receive a vaccine. Sign up now to schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine through the LLCHD website.

The health department is hosting several COVID-19 vaccine clinics, including by appointment only for children ages 5-11 at local high schools and other locations in the city and county. All residents age 5 and older are currently eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Local pediatric practices are also offering the COVID-19 vaccine as well as some local pharmacies. To find a pharmacy near you, go to vaccines.gov.

Resources
For more information about safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines and answers to common questions, please see the helpful resources below:

Learn more on the LLCHD website.

School buildings will be considered for vaccination clinics based on recommendations from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department. Information about vaccination clinics held at school will be shared with families ahead of time via email.

LPS Buses

Face coverings are REQUIRED for all students and staff on buses to and from school. 

StarTran Buses

From the City of Lincoln:
“The U.S. Department of Transportation face covering mandate is in effect. All operators and riders are required to wear a face covering on StarTran buses under federal law.”

Learn more on the StarTran website.

Infection Response

LPS will notify families and staff through email if there is a positive COVID-19 case within their school building within 48 hours prior to onset of symptoms, or test date if the positive case is asymptomatic.  The best way to reduce the chance of being a high-risk close contact is to get the COVID-19 vaccine and to continue wearing a face covering inside all buildings. If a high-risk close contact is identified, families will receive a phone call with instructions from the health office.

A high-risk close contact is an unvaccinated individual who has been within 6 feet of the positive case for a cumulative 15 minutes or more and one or both persons were not wearing a face covering. A positive COVID-19 case begins 48 hours prior to onset of symptoms, or test date if the positive case is asymptomatic.

Lincoln Public Schools will continue to follow policies and protocols around illnesses as found on page 13 in the Important Information Handbook. In addition, LPS established the following Quarantine and Exclusion requirements as established in consultation with and at the direction of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department.

Exclusion from an LPS building for illness

Following LPS policies around illnesses, if an individual has any symptoms the following is required before they can return:

  • The individual must be fever free for 24 hours without the use of medications.
  • The rash must be gone or there is a note from a medical provider which says the rash is not contagious to others.
  • The eyes are clear, with no drainage or a medical provider’s note stating the individual is not contagious.
  • No vomiting or diarrhea for 24 hours.
  • Persistent cough is resolved without the aid of cough suppressant medication.
  • Or the individual must have a note stating medical clearance from a health care provider.

Close Contact - Quarantine

  • An individual identified as a close contact exposure to a positive COVID-19 case and who DOES NOT have symptoms must wear a face covering for 10 days while around others, including at school and during activities. This includes during recess, PE, activities and athletic events, and music classes and events. Please note:
    • Students should not participate in any activity that requires them to remove their face covering while around others.
      Students should not participate or play a band instrument that involves air flow.
    • Students should not participate in choir (show choir), speech, cheerleading, dance, or theater production unless they can do so wearing a well-fitting face covering which stays over the mouth and nose during such activity.
    • Students should not participate in physical education or athletics unless they can do so wearing a well-fitting face covering which stays over the mouth and nose during such activity. If the activity requires the participant to remove their face covering, then they should not participate in the activity while around others for the 10 days.
  • Individuals who have on-going high-risk exposure to a positive individual who is unable to isolate (i.e. household) should remain at home until the positive individual completes 5 days of isolation. The student may return to school if the following three conditions are met:
    • At least 5 days have passed since symptoms of a positive case in the home’s start day or test date of the positive case in the home (start date is day 0); AND
    • They do not have any obvious CoVid-19 symptoms, fever, cough, sore throat, muscle pain or diarrhea; AND
    • They are able to mask for an additional 10 days.
  • After being identified as a close contact, if symptoms develop at any time during the 10 day period the individual must stay home and be tested using a PCR test.
  • If an individual cannot wear a face covering, then they MUST be excluded from school and activities for the full 10 days. The individual may return after the 10th day if no symptoms develop.

Positive for COVID-19 - Isolation

For students who test positive, families need to contact their school health office to determine next steps and when they can return to school. Staff who test positive need to fill out the C-19 form and wait for Risk Management to contact them.

  • If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, they need to stay home for 5 days since obvious symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell) first appeared or date of COVID-19 test taken if no symptoms are present.
  • If the COVID-19 positive individual DOES NOT have symptoms or if symptoms are resolving, they can return on day 6 but must wear a face covering for an additional 5 days. During day 6-10:
    • Students should not participate in choir or play band instruments that involve air flow.
    • Students should not participate in any activity that requires them to remove their face covering while around others.
    • Students should not participate in physical education or athletics unless they can do so wearing a well-fitting face covering which stays over the mouth and nose during such activity. If the activity requires the participant to remove their face covering, then they should not participate in the activity while around others.
  • If an individual cannot wear a face covering, then they MUST be excluded from school and activities for the full 10 days.

Each case is unique and needs to be addressed individually. This chart below provides general guidelines around isolation, but each family should work with the school nurse and each employee with Risk Management on when they can return.

Isolation Guidance from CDC

  • The community can view positive case numbers across Lincoln Public Schools with the dashboard provided online.
  • Email messages will be sent to staff and families if there is a student, staff, volunteer or visitor that has been in an LPS building anytime 48 hours prior to the time of COVID-19 symptoms being exhibited or the positive COVID-19 test was taken.

Program-Specific

Homebound Services 

If a student has a medical need that prevents them from attending school in person, the parent should contact the special education administrator at their child’s school to request more information about Homebound Services.

Accommodations

If a parent wants special COVID accommodations to be implemented, the parent should contact the school’s special education administrator to set up a meeting to discuss options.

 

 

Prekindergarten Classrooms

Prekindergarten classrooms will follow most pre-pandemic protocols. During the 2021-2022 school year, protocols may change for a specific school building, program, classroom or settings based on cases, contact tracing, community conditions and risk of spread.

All Home Visits

When there is a confirmed positive COVID-19 case in a home, LPS staff are not permitted to return to the home until:

  • 24 days from the last confirmed positive case;
  • Household members are fever-free for at least 24-hours; and
  • The family passes the LPS self-screen.

Early Intervention Services

Parental preference to continue virtual service delivery due to ease and convenience is no longer allowable due to federal requirements to provide Early Intervention Services within natural environments. A family can only choose to utilize virtual service delivery during the COVID-19 Pandemic Emergency Status if the child’s fragile/serious medical condition requires additional health protections. Because the  COVID-19 Public Health Emergency in Nebraska has ended, Early Intervention Services must return to in-person service provision for all children/families. Please contact the Early Childhood Office at 402-436-1995 with additional questions.

Remote Learning

Learn more about the Remote Learning Program here.

Note: The Remote Learning Program will not be an option for quarantined students or students with an extended absence. Extended absences from in-person school will be handled as they were prior to the pandemic. It is the responsibility of the student to contact their teachers and make up work which has been missed because of any absence. The school staff will support the student’s initiative to make up work missed.

We will communicate with Remote Learning Program families directly about meal needs and distribution.

Coronavirus Dashboard (Updated Daily)

Please note: On August 8, the Coronavirus Dashboard will be cleared out to only report for the 2021-22 school year.

Our Coronavirus Dashboard pulls information from multiple sources to capture positive COVID cases as reported by individuals to LPS Risk Management and LPS Health Services. On Tuesday, January 18, 2022, we discovered not all of the historical data was accurately pulling from those sources into our dashboard. Computing Services determined the root cause of the issue and resolved it.

LPS and the City of Lincoln — Working Together

Lincoln Public Schools staff continues to work collaboratively with the City of Lincoln and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) to develop plans for school operations. You can learn more about the City of Lincoln’s response to COVID-19 by visiting: https://app.lincoln.ne.gov/city/covid19/