Operations and Wellness Procedures

  • The wellness/operations routine and enhanced procedures and precautions are a comprehensive approach to sustaining a safe environment in the uniqueness of a school setting. 4Habits 4Health, along with other procedures, emphasize that there is not one specific action that, on its own, will be effective. Instead, each is interdependent and intended for their benefits to outweigh harms. Based on all available data, we will begin school using both routine and enhanced procedures and precautions. 



    Routine Procedures and Precautions

    Enhanced Procedures and Precautions

    4Habits 4Health

    • Home- parents and VHCS staff are expected to use this checklist each morning to complete a symptom check of their student or themselves at home before they  attend school/work. If a student/staff member has symptoms or close contact with someone with the COVID-19 virus, follow the guidance below under diagnosis and exposure.
      • By sending students to school each day, parents/guardians are attesting that they have completed a symptom check and their student does not knowingly display any symptoms 
    • Hands- use best practices to wash or sanitize hands at periodic intervals during the day 
    • Head- observe face covering and masks precautions outlined in the enhanced procedures and precautions. 
    • Hygiene- cover mouth when you cough and nose when you sneeze; avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth; maintain appropriate social distance as much as is possible
    • Observe routine procedures and precautions plus:
    • All staff and students will wear face coverings/masks inside Vestavia Hills City Schools facilities. Face coverings/masks are not required for staff and students when participating in outdoor classes and other school-related activities when social distance is observed.
    • Exceptions to wearing a face covering/mask include when a medical condition or disability prevents it (a note from students’ physician will be required to be provided to school nurse); eating or drinking; during physical education activities and recess when social distance can be maintained
    • Schools will have designated times during the day for students to take “mask breaks” as needed.
    • Schools will have extra masks to provide students and staff if they leave theirs at home
    • Teachers will be provided face shields upon request which can be used in place of face coverings/masks only when providing  instruction or communicating where it is essential for students to see their mouth. Social distance must be maintained where possible. Shields should be cleaned and disinfected each day.

    4Habits 4Health Training

    • All students and staff will participate in training on 4Habits 4Health 
    • Same as routine procedures and precautions 

    COVID-19 Virus Diagnosis and Exposure

    • ADPH Guidelines for Isolation and Quarantine
    • Students/staff who test positive for the COVID-19 virus can return to school/work after 10 calendar days from when symptoms were noticed, have improved symptoms, and be fever free (defined as 100.4℉ or greater) for at least 24 hours
    • Students/staff who test positive and have no symptoms can return to school/work 10 calendar days after the date of their first positive test
    • Students/staff whose siblings or other relatives in the same home test positive can return to school/work after 10 calendar days from the date of the last contact. If you are unable to separate from a person in the home that tested positive, the 10-day quarantine would begin after the family member’s last day of quarantine.
    • Students/staff who were in close contact  (defined as being within 6 feet for 15 minutes) with someone with a positive diagnosis of the COVID-19 virus must self-quarantine 10 calendar days from the last contact
    • Students/staff who are determined to have had close contact while at school will be isolated from other students/staff then sent home as soon as possible to quarantine for 10 calendar days
    • Students/staff who experience symptoms but have not had close contact to a person with the COVID-19 virus can return to school when they are without symptoms (including fever free without fever-reducing medicine) for 24 hours
    • Students/staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days do not have to quarantine if they come in close contact with someone who currently has COVID-19 unless they exhibit symptoms.
    • No retesting for the COVID-19 virus is required to return to school/work. Students will check in with the school nurse upon arrival back to school.
    • If a person gets a positive rapid test but the PCR comes back negative they can be considered a negative if they have no COVID-19 symptoms. 
    • Routine procedures and precautions

    COVID-19 Vaccine

    • Staff members who received the COVID-19 vaccine do not have to quarantine after 14 days of receiving the final vaccine if exposed to a positive as long as they do not develop symptoms. If they have any symptoms considered possible COVID-19 symptoms they would quarantine. Vaccinated persons are still expected to follow face coverings/masks protocols and observe social distance.

    Reporting of positive COVID-19 virus

    • Students/staff with the COVID-19 virus or exposure to someone with the COVID-19 virus should report it to the school nurse
    • The school nurse will report known positive COVID-19 virus cases of students/staff to the ADPH using its online reporting system
    • When a COVID-19 virus case is confirmed, the school nurse will work with public health officials to determine those students/staff who had close contact and notify them to quarantine for 10 calendar days. Students who were not in close contact but were potentially exposed will be notified by the school to monitor for symptoms.
    • HIPAA/FERPA/ADA prohibits disclosure of any personal information with such notifications

    School closures

    • VHCS will coordinate with public health officials when making determinations to close all schools or individual schools and when to quarantine individual classrooms and students 
    • Same as routine procedure

    Nurse and Isolation Room Procedures

    • Protocols will be implemented for school nurses and nurses rooms based on the ALSDE Roadmap to Reopening Schools. The plan will be adapted to any additional public health orders pertaining to medical care or procedures.
    • There will be a designated isolation room in each school
    • There will be limitations on the number of students in the nurses and isolation rooms
    • Parents are encouraged to give medicine at home when possible to limit numbers of students in nurse room 
    • Students will wear face coverings in the nurse and isolation rooms. A supply of masks will be available for students in the nurse and isolation rooms.
    • Nurses will be provided the appropriate PPE 
    • Same as routine procedures and precautions 

    Cleaning and Disinfecting 

    • Learning spaces used by students and staff are cleaned and disinfected on a periodic basis
    • Custodians have responsibility for cleaning and disinfecting (see Coronavirus cleaning and disinfecting Information)
    • Hand sanitizer provided by the school system is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and kills 99% of germs. The product is FDA registered and contains 70% alcohol.
    • Soap dispensers are located in bathrooms
    • Paper towels are stocked and provided as needed
    • Nurse and isolation rooms will be cleaned and disinfected periodically throughout the day
    • Observe routine procedures and precautions plus:
    • Cleaning  redundancy and quality control measures
      • Disinfecting of spaces by teachers and staff (spray when away) periodically during the day
      • Thorough cleaning and disinfecting by custodial staff of spaces 
      • Monthly training will occur with custodial teams to gauge effectiveness of current practice
      • Industry partners will join trainings to provide industry standard shifts and adjustments
    • Temporary closures of classrooms may occur for cleaning and disinfecting using CDC guidelines to the extent possible

    Facility Preparation

    • Sneeze guards will be located at reception, office areas, and  teacher desks/workspaces
    • Bathrooms will be stocked with soap
    • Hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout the building
    • Heating, Air Conditioning, and Ventilation (HVAC) systems will promote the safe circulation rate of outside air where applicable 
    • HVAC systems will have routine changing of high efficiency filters (Merv-10  and 11 rated
    • Enhanced ventilation measures will be installed on HVAC systems where applicable to complement high efficiency filters and minimize harmful particulates in the air
    • Additional project design for capital projects is underway to enhance focus on healthy school facilities with our partners from Schneider Electric and Lathan and Associates. 
    • Observe routine procedures and precautions plus:
    • Students and staff should bring a water bottle to school
    • Water fountains will be used only for refills of water bottles or cups. Students and staff should use hand sanitizer before and after use.

    Student Attendance and Absences

    • Routine expectations for traditional and remote students
    • Parents should contact school when their child is absent
    • COVID-19 virus-related student absences will be coded as excused
    • To the extent possible during absences, students are expected to maintain course work through the Week-at-a-Glance, Google Classroom and Seesaw when using the blended model 
    • Absence rates will be monitored by schools and the district
    • Observe routine procedures and precautions 

    Employee Attendance  and Leave

    • Observe routine procedures

    Visitors, Contract Services, Vendors, and Volunteers

    • Routine check-in procedures will apply
    • Symptom check verification from each visitor/vendor/volunteer/contractor is required
    • School office will maintain an accurate record of visitors
    • Observe routine procedures and precautions plus:
    • Face coverings/masks will be worn when in a VHCS building or outside where appropriate social distance cannot be maintained (may have to remove for verification of identity)
    • Parents/Guardians may attend events during the school day consistent with the school’s plan regarding number of participants
    • No visitors during breakfast or lunch service unless substituting for teachers

    Class Rolls

    • Elementary student classroom assignments  will be provided by each school to parents prior to Meet-the-Teacher events 
    • Secondary class schedules will be available for students and parents when the fee payment portal opens on August 10
    • Observe routine procedures and precautions

    Arrival and Dismissal

    • Routine procedures will be observed
    • Entrance and exits will be clearly marked for two-way flow
    • Students should use hand sanitizer after arrival
    • Observe routine procedures and precautions plus:
    • Students arrive and move directly to their classroom, or, to designated holding areas where appropriate distance can be maintained
    • Schools will implement a staggered dismissal schedule or separate holding areas to minimize congregating or creating pinch points at exits during dismissal
    • Students should leave campus after dismissal unless they are involved in an extra-curricular activity

    Class Exchanges

    • Two-way traffic in hallways will be delineated to limit pinch points 
    • Students should use hand sanitizer during class exchanges
    • Observe routine procedures and precautions plus: 
    • Schools will stagger class exchanges where practical to limit density, large gatherings, and pinch points

    Classrooms, Libraries, Gyms, Instructional and Counseling Offices, and Outdoor Play Implements

    • Routine procedures and use
    • Rooms and other spaces will be cleaned and disinfected in the event of a confirmed case of the COVID-19 virus
    • Observe routine procedures and precautions plus:
    • Minimize furniture in classrooms to spread desks and tables 
    • Seating charts are required and charted for all classes 
    • Seating should maintain appropriate social distance as much as is practical
    • Student tables will have sneeze guards in place to separate work space
    • Classrooms that have more students in a period than allowable space using social distance will utilize overflow areas within the building
    • Student backpacks should be placed with space between them
    • Larger classes may move to larger spaces where possible to accommodate social distance
    • PE teachers will plan activities that limit interaction of multiple classrooms to the extent practical. 
    • Students will not be required to dress out for PE
    • Disinfect high touch surfaces periodically during each day
    • Outdoor PE, Music, Band and Recess activities are encouraged when weather conditions are safe. 
    • Libraries will observe a fixed schedule

    Classroom Supplies and Instructional Materials

    • K-5 students will use individual supply kits
    • Observe routine procedures and precautions plus:
    • Students should use individual supplies/manipulatives to the extent practical
    • Teachers should minimize shared supplies and equipment and disinfect after use
    • Lab equipment and manipulatives will be cleaned periodically during the day 
    • Students should use hand sanitizer or soap after touching commonly used equipment
    • Class parties that include visitors will be limited to areas where appropriate social distance can be observed 

    Bathrooms and Lockers

    • Routine procedures for use and gatherings
    • Observe routine procedures and precautions plus:
    • School lockers will either not be utilized or a schedule developed to minimize density and maintain appropriate social distance 
    • Limit the number of students in bathrooms at a given time

    Field Trips, Assemblies, Clubs and Meetings

    • Routine procedures for assemblies and meetings will be observed
    • All field trips require Superintendent’s approval 
    • Observe routine procedures and precautions plus:
    • Overnight or out-of-state trips will be considered by the Board for approval provided the defined safety guidelines are in place
    • School special events should be held outdoors when social distance cannot be maintained indoors
    • Indoor meetings, classroom visits, or open houses that include parents/guardians may require staggered attendance schedules to limit capacity and allow for social distance 
    • Teachers and schools are encouraged to have virtual field trips and assemblies 
    • Clubs will follow all procedures and precautions in the plan
    • Conduct staff-related meetings and parent meetings remotely or where appropriate distance can be maintained
    • Kindergarten orientation will not be held during the spring

    Safety Drills 

    • Routine procedures in compliance with pertinent laws (fire, severe weather, intruder)
    • Fire and Severe Weather drills will be conducted using staggered schedules to limit density of students participating 

    Extended Day Program and Non-school Groups

    • Symptom check verification required for personnel entering facility
    • Staff and students will follow all reopening plan protocols
    • Observe routine procedures and precautions plus:
    • After school activity non-school providers will pay usage fee for cleaning and disinfecting

    Child Nutrition Program

    • Precautions training of all employees required
    • Routine seating configuration
    • Disinfecting of cafeteria will take place between lunch waves or classes
    • Students should use hand sanitizer or soap before being served
    • Parents are encouraged to use PayPAMS for payment.
    • Breakfast and lunch meals for remote learning students will be available. Meals for the school week can be picked up on Mondays between 9:30-10 at Central Elementary and Liberty Park EDP entrance. 
    • Red and Blue day students in grades 6-12 can pick up a meal on the day they are not on campus. PIck up times will be 10:00-10:30 outside each school’s cafeteria.
    • An order form will be sent each week to remote and Red/Blue day students to request meals. Meal charges will be based on eligibility (full paid, reduced, or free)
    • Observe routine procedures and precautions plus:
    • Sneeze guards will be installed at Point of Sale
    • Traditional hot-style and cold-style breakfast and lunch will be provided in grab-and-go containers (take-out style)
    • No self-serving unless individually wrapped items
    • Disposable trays and silverware will be used
    • Cafeteria seating will be utilized for breakfast and lunch only where appropriate distance can be maintained. Seating will be set up to meet appropriate distance parameters. When cafeteria seating is not used, lunch would  be picked up in the cafeteria and eaten in classrooms or outdoors. Other large spaces can be used for seating to maintain appropriate distance.
    • Food and beverage for school events that are not school-provided breakfast or lunch must be pre-packed.


    • Training required for all employees
    • Disinfecting will take place after each trip
    • Students should use hand sanitizer before boarding and after disembarking
    • Observe routine procedures and precautions plus: 
    • Appropriate distance should be observed when multiple students board at the same location
    • Spacing on routes when practical
    • Students will have designated seat assignments
    • Face coverings/masks will be worn
    • The Freshman campus shuttle buses will have increased number of buses when needed to lessen density of students

    Extracurricular Activities, Competitions and Concessions

    • Use routine procedures for cleaning and disinfecting
    • Attendees should use hand sanitizer before entering and after leaving event
    • Concessions will follow guidelines for concession stands
    • Observe routine procedures and precautions plus:
    • Athletics will follow guidance from AHSAA
    • Activities will have limitations on number of attendees
    • Face coverings/masks worn consistent with plan guidelines 

    Teachers on Full Remote Schedule 

    • Office hours are the same as traditional teachers
    • Teachers will be located at their base school or Central
    • Observe routine procedures and precautions

    Substitute Teachers

    • VHCS will have additional permanent substitutes available
    • VHCS will offer contracts for parent volunteers who are appropriately licensed and wish to substitute when the our provider is unable to fill all substitute positions
    • VHCS will utilize media specialists, specials, electives, interventionists, reading coaches, central office staff, and PE teachers as necessary to fill-in for grade level and core classes when substitutes cannot fill positions
    • Observe routine procedures and precautions

    Professional Development 

    • Routine procedures for professional development (PD)
    • Observe routine procedures and precautions plus:
    • PD should be remote when appropriate distance cannot be maintained 
    • PD away from school will require approval of Superintendent
    • PD will be cancelled when core classrooms cannot be covered