Planning Scenarios for Moving Between Learning Models

Scenario 1: In-person Learning for Students

Assumptions:

  • Minimal to moderate community spread is occurring with limited impact (confirmed cases among students and staff) on the school community
  • Sporadic cases may be occurring, but in general each confirmed case can be traced to a likely source of exposure and all or most close contacts can be identified and excluded in the school setting.
  • Staffing is sufficient to continue in-person instruction
  • Contacts at school can be identified quickly (e.g., all close contacts can be notified and excluded within 24–48 hours of being notified of the confirmed case)
What situations under Scenario 1 may not necessitate transition to a blended or learning from home model?
  • Single, standalone cases are confirmed, but close contacts in the school setting can be quickly identified and are limited to individual classrooms or areas in the school.
    • Temporary learning from home could be implemented for the affected classroom(s) rather than shifting the learning model for the entire school.
  • Multiple cases are identified but can be linked to a specific classroom or individual activity with minimal impact or exposures to other classrooms/activities in the school setting. All close contacts can be quickly identified and are limited to individual classrooms and/or activities.
    • Temporary learning from home could be implemented for affected classrooms rather than shifting the learning model for the entire school.
  • Multiple cases are identified, but are linked to a clear alternative exposure unrelated to the school setting and unlikely to be a source of exposure for the larger community (e.g., social or household clusters where multiple people who attend the same school have become ill because of an exposure outside of school).

Scenario 2: Blended Model with Strict Physical Distancing and Capacity Limits

Assumptions:
  • Moderate to substantial community spread is occurring; higher degree of impact on the school community with multiple confirmed cases among students and staff.
  • Higher numbers of confirmed cases over shorter periods of time, and/or clusters of cases identified within classrooms or the school community generally; however, all or most close contacts can still be identified and excluded in the school setting.
  • Staffing is sufficient to continue in-person instruction
  • Measures, including overall capacity limits, are needed to allow for strict physical distancing
  • Testing capacity is sufficient to allow symptomatic individuals to access testing as needed and asymptomatic close contacts are prioritized for testing.
  • Extracurricular activities with higher risk for transmission are modified to reduce risk or discontinued.

What situations under Scenario 2 may necessitate a transition to a blended learning model?
  • A significant community outbreak is occurring (e.g., large community event, large local employer) with potential to impact staff, students, and families served by the setting

Scenario 3: Learning from Home Only

Assumptions:
  • Substantial, uncontrolled community spread is occurring and/or there is a considerable degree of impact on the school community
  • Multiple confirmed cases or large-scale outbreaks occurring among students and staff
  • Staffing impacted to the degree that a school is not able to offer in-person instruction.
  • Extracurricular activities are discontinued
  • In general, implementation should occur for a minimum of one incubation period (two weeks)

What situations may necessitate a transition to a learning from home only model?
  • Confirmed cases are identified but identification and notification of close contacts in the school setting cannot be completed within 24-48 hours. Consider short-term use of learning from home to allow schools to coordinate with HDOH to complete identification of contacts and to develop a clearer picture of the COVID-19 situation impacting the school.
  • Multiple cases are identified within a short period of time (e.g., one week) that occur across multiple classrooms or activities and a clear connection between cases or to a suspected/confirmed case of COVID-19 cannot be easily identified.
  • A significant community outbreak is occurring (e.g., large community event, large local employer) and is impacting multiple staff, students, and families served by the school community.
  • Substantial, uncontrolled community transmission is occurring at the county or state level, and there are multiple confirmed cases of COVID-19 among students and/or staff.

Considerations for Moving Back to Blended or In-person Learning Models After a Learning from Home Period
  • Schools should wait a minimum of two weeks (or one incubation period) before bringing any students back for in-person or blended learning (most people in the school community who will develop symptoms of illness could be identified and self-quarantine, as appropriate during this time).
  • A blended learning model could be used as a bridge to safely move back toward in-person learning. For example, a school could use a blended learning model for 2 incubation periods (28 days) and carefully monitor for any additional clusters of COVID-19 cases before transitioning back to a full in-person learning model.

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