COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols
Volusia County Schools is committed to providing a safe and clean environment and asks families and employees to do their part to keep everyone healthy as the pandemic continues.
VCS is closely monitoring the course of the virus and will be updating this page regularly. Please use this page as a resource – and submit any additional questions you might have through Let’s Talk by clicking or tapping the yellow Let's Talk icon at the bottom of the page.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are masks required?
Face coverings (masks and face shields) are required for students in grades K-12 when they are indoors at school and on buses through October 15, 2021. Parents and guardians have the option of opting their child out of the mandatory face-covering policy by completing the opt-out form on Parent Portal, or, if they don't have access to a computer or would prefer a paper form, parents can complete the Face Covering Parent Choice Form (English version; Spanish version) and submit it to the main office at their child's school. Face coverings are also required for adults (VCS employees, parents, visitors, and vendors) at VCS schools and facilities. The employee and visitor policy will also be in effect until October 15, and will be revisited at intervening School Board meetings.
What is required for a medical exemption from the face covering policy?
Parents may also seek a medical exemption for their child, if they prefer. For the medical exemption, parents must provide a note from a medical professional stating that the student has a medical condition that would prohibit the student from wearing a mask safely. The note must be on the medical professional’s letterhead and should be provided to the school. Each school has a designated staff member who handles the exemption requests. Any information provided to the school for is protected by FERPA law and stored securely.
What are our cleaning procedures in schools?
VCS schools follow the Association of Physical Plant Administrators (APPA) cleaning guidance for Level 2.
Classrooms, cafeterias, school buses, and school facilities are being cleaned daily, to include sanitizing of all desks, counters, and sinks, garbage pickup, and cleaning of floors. Every school has a lead custodian, and VCS has a system that allows teachers and principals to request extra cleaning if they spot an issue that needs immediate attention. Hand sanitizer, cleaning supply kits, and masks are available in every classroom, and buses are equipped with extra masks and hand sanitizer. Schools may request refills of supplies, and deliveries are made every day. Spray bottles of sanitizer are available to all teachers for additional sanitizing throughout the school day. All schools have a dispensing station for cleaning/sanitizing disinfectant in case it’s needed by teachers during the school day.
What protocols are used for cleaning classrooms once a positive COVID-19 case is confirmed?
If there is a case of COVID-19, VCS vacates the classroom and incorporates a deep, thorough cleaning of flat surfaces (horizontal and vertical). Classrooms that have undergo a deep cleaning are typically vacated for 24 hours prior a deep cleaning taking place. After the deep cleaning, the room is deemed safe to return.
How are buses cleaned once a positive COVID-19 case is confirmed?
VCS will remove a bus from service for 24 hours and then e-mist the interior and doorway of the bus before returning it back into service.
Is e-misting more effective than deep cleaning?
E-misting and deep cleaning use the same disinfect and cover the same areas. E-misting allows disinfection of spaces to occur in a fraction of the time. VCS uses both methodologies across the district.
How often are schools inspected?
VCS schools are inspected for custodial effectiveness at least once a quarter and as needed.
What CDC recommended mitigation strategies are employed in schools?
In addition to masks, vaccinations (for eligible persons), physical distancing, and handwashing, the CDC recommends a robust HVAC system for continued fresh air. VCS classrooms and office spaces experience 8-9 fresh air exchanges per hour under normal operating conditions (students present in class).
What types of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are available to our schools and how do they receive them?
All school and district sites have access to a warehouse reservation system to place orders for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Warehouse Services fill these orders within 24 hours of receipt. The warehouse stocks hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray, ant-bacterial wipes, gloves of various sizes, paper towels, desk shields, isolation gowns, face shields, and both washable and disposable masks (child-size and adult size).
All classrooms and buses have hand sanitizer dispensers for which refills are also available to schools through the warehouse reservation system.
What else is VCS doing to keep students safe?
VCS encourages students and employees to social distance by 3 feet or more whenever possible to lessen the chance of exposure to the virus. VCS uses seating charts in all classrooms for contact tracing. At elementary and K-8 schools, VCS uses seating charts at lunch.
How can families help keep their children and classmates safe?
The most important thing is to keep your student home if they are sick or experiencing any symptoms of illness. (See our protocols below for more information.) Day-to-day, please encourage your child to wash their hands frequently during the school day and to social distance from fellow students and teachers as much as possible. It is recommended that student use water bottles whenever practical. Water fountains and bottle filling stations, where available, are in use this year.
Are students and employees required to be vaccinated?
Vaccinations are not required by VCS, and each individual/family will make its own decision. For those who would like to get vaccinated, COVID-19 vaccine opportunities are posted on our Vaccine Opportunities page.
At what point will a student who is displaying symptoms be sent to the clinic?
Upon the teacher or staff being aware of the student’s symptoms. School nurses are trained on proper protocols.
What are the protocols for students who have COVID-19 or who have been exposed to COVID-19?
If a student has symptoms of COVID-19 but has not had a known exposure, they can return to school once they are symptom-free.
If a student has been exposed to COVID-19, VCS will follow the COVID-19 Decision Tree Student Protocol to determine next steps. Factors to be considered include whether the exposed person and the known positive case were within 3 feet of each other for at least 15 minutes (cumulative) and, if so, whether both people were wearing masks.
If a fully vaccinated student (at least 14 days since last shot) is determined to have an exposure AND does not have symptoms, they may continue to attend school as long as they remain asymptomatic.
If an unvaccinated student is determined to have an exposure AND has had a positive COVID-19 case within the past 90 days AND does not have symptoms, they may continue to attend school as long as they remain asymptomatic.
If an unvaccinated student is determined to have an exposure AND does not have symptoms, they may return to school 1) IF they receive a negative test after the 4th day of exposure (student can return upon receipt of that negative test); OR 2) IF they do not elect to test, they may return 7 days after exposure as long as they are asymptomatic.
If an unvaccinated student is determined to have an exposure AND develops symptoms, they may return to school: 1) IF the student receives a negative test and is asymptomatic; OR 2) 10 days have passed since symptom onset or a positive-test results AND the student has not had a fever for 24 hours; OR 3) the student has written permission from a healthcare provider to return.
If a student (vaccinated or unvaccinated) tests positive for COVID-19 or is symptomatic after an exposure, they may return to school: 1) IF the student receives a negative test and is asymptomatic; OR 2) 10 days have passed since symptom onset or a positive-test results AND the student has not had a fever for 24 hours; OR 3) the student has written permission from a healthcare provider to return.
What are the protocols for VCS employees who have COVID-19 or who have been exposed to COVID?
If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, they must quarantine for 10 days. They may return to work on Day 11 if their symptoms have improved and they have not had a fever for 24 or more hours.
If a fully vaccinated employee (at least 14 days since last shot) is exposed to COVID-19 and does not have symptoms, they may continue working as long as they remain asymptomatic.
If an unvaccinated employee is exposed to COVID-19 AND has had a positive COVID-19 case in the past 90 days AND does not have symptoms, they may continue working as long as they remain asymptomatic.
If an unvaccinated employee is exposed to COVID-19 AND does not have symptoms, they must quarantine for 10 days from onset. IF after six days they test negative using a PCR test, they can return to work on Day 8.
If an unvaccinated employee is exposed to COVID-19 AND develops symptoms, they must quarantine for 10 days from onset. IF after six days they test negative using a PCR test, they can return to work on Day 8.
If an employee (vaccinated or unvaccinated) is exposed to COVID-19 AND develops symptoms, VCS recommends they get tested. They must begin to quarantine. They may return to work 1) on Day 11 if their symptoms have improved and they have not had a fever for 24 or more hours; OR 2) IF after six days they test negative using a PCR test, they may return to work on Day 8.
Are field trips allowed this school year?
Field trips are allowed this year, with safety precautions in place. Please note, students and staff are required to follow COVID-19 policies in place at the field trip locations, either in state or out of state. Parents or guardians can opt their child out of a field trip due to COVID-19 concerns. Parents should discuss this with the teacher and/or principal at the school.
Are volunteers allowed in schools this year?
Approved volunteers are now able to assist at schools. Information and the application are available online.
How do students access their school assignments if they are quarantined?
Students can access their school work or make-up work through Canvas and/or Microsoft Teams*. The Parent and Student Technical Guide includes Quarantine Digital Learning Guides and other information about digital resources. The VCS Support Hotline is available 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at 386-626-0095.
*Under extenuating circumstances, students may receive an alternate means to complete work while quarantined.
How can parents access the Parent Portal?
The Parent Portal can be accessed at https://www.vcsedu.org/parents/parent-portal.
Where are the Parent Guide and School Calendar located?
The 2021-2022 Parent Guide and School Calendar is available online.