June 21, 2022

Updated COVID Community Levels

KIPP Texas Families, 

I hope everyone had an amazing three-day weekend filled with joy and time with loved ones during the celebrations of Juneteenth and Father’s Day! I am so thankful that Juneteenth is now a Federal holiday as the day commemorates African American freedom from slavery and in modern day, emphasizes education and achievement.

In the last few weeks, the levels of COVID in Texas have fluctuated both positively and negatively. Following the email I sent last week, we have seen additional changes in our region’s county community levels. On Friday, June 17, we were notified that the COVID community levels have shifted again (see chart below), and Houston is HIGH while Austin has shifted to LOW, according to the CDC.

Please see details below for a region-by-region rate and a refresher of the KIPP Texas COVID Policy and the impact to summer learning and events.

Regional COVID Level Status

As of June 21, the COVID Fort Bend and Harris counties have reached HIGH COVID community levels, which means the mask mandate is in place for our Houston region, including Harris and Fort Bend county KIPP schools, offices, and events on and off campus.

  • Bexar County MEDIUM
  • Dallas County* LOW
  • Fort Bend County HIGH
  • Harris County HIGH
  • Travis County LOW

Updated COVID Protocols 

The KIPP Texas COVID Policy below is aligned with county and CDC guidance.

 
Health & Safety Guidelines
MasksThe KIPP Texas mask mandate will vary by county community level as measured using the CDC Community Levels tool.

LOW
If county is in green:
- Masks are optional but not required in KIPP schools or offices.
- Masks are still required in healthcare areas.

MEDIUM
If county is in yellow:
- Masks very strongly recommended but not required in all KIPP buildings and on/off campus KIPP events.
- Masks required on school buses.
- Masks required in healthcare areas.

HIGH
If county is in orange:
- Masks required in all KIPP buildings and on/off campus KIPP events.
- Masks required on school buses.
- Masks are optional outdoors if you are able to maintain 6 feet of distance from others.
- Masks can also be removed if you are alone in a closed office space or classroom.

* When masks are required, they must be medical grade masks or doubled-up cloth masks.
Visitors on campus (beyond front lobby)LOW
If county is in green:
- Adhere to pre-COVID policies and procedures (sign in at the front office of each school and wear a visitor badge - make an appointment with school staff as appropriate.)

MEDIUM
If county is in yellow:
- Indoor, social distancing 3+ feet, masks not required, staff will take attendance by ensuring visitors sign in and out in the main office.

HIGH
If county is in orange:
- By appointment only (ie attendance conferences, parent-teacher conferences, discipline meetings, tours, etc), staff will take attendance by ensuring visitors sign in and out in the main office. Visitors must be masked.
Large group student and/or visitor event (e.g. performance, HS graduations, assembly, dance)LOW
If county is in green:
- Masks strongly recommended for students and visitors.

MEDIUM
If county is in yellow:
- Indoor, social distancing 3+ feet, masks not required and cohort attendees (approx max 150 participants), staff will take attendance.

HIGH
If county is in orange:
- Outdoors preferable, especially if outside visitors are allowed.
- If indoors: masks required, staff will take attendance and use seating charts for students.
- If family members are invited, they must be masked.
- If family members are invited must limit capacity so that 3+ feet can be maintained between groups (household members comprise one group).
Off campus day student trip: (e.g. college tours, field trip to local attraction)LOW
If county is in green:
- Utilize KIPP Field Trip Playbook for policies and procedures HERE

MEDIUM
If county is in yellow:
- Follow protocols of location being visited, Masks are required during transport, and are strongly recommended in all other settings, staff will take attendance.

HIGH
If county is in orange:
- All students must be masked during entire visit and take meals outdoors. Staff will take attendance and will know all attendees and ensure seating charts.
Volunteers on campusLOW
If county is in green:
- Adhere to pre-COVID policies and procedures (sign in at the front office of each school and wear a visitor badge - make an appointment with school staff as appropriate.)

MEDIUM
If county is in yellow:
- Indoor, social distancing 3+ feet, masks not required

HIGH
If county is in orange:
- Not allowed at this time.
Overnight student trips LOW
If county is in green:
- Utilize KIPP Field Trip Playbook for policies and procedures HERE

MEDIUM
If county is in yellow:
- Masks are required during transport, and are strongly recommended in all other settings, tests are strongly recommended before the trip and after arrival home. Testing should be done the day of arrival and repeated 2 days later. (arrival test can be waived if student or staff won’t be in school for 2 days)

HIGH
If county is in orange:
- Masks are required, students must remain cohorted (bus seating, eating), tests are strongly recommended before the trip and after arrival home. Testing should be done the day of arrival and repeated 2 days later. (arrival test can be waived if student or staff won’t be in school for 2 days)
COVID VaccineKIPP Texas believes the best way of protecting yourself from COVID-19 and its variants is by getting the vaccine. Although it is not required, we strongly recommend the vaccination for anyone who is eligible.

As of June 17, the FDA has authorized COVID-19 vaccines for kids ages 6 months - 5 years old, and COVID vaccine boosters are now available for children ages 5-11 and ages 12+.
Hand HygieneKIPP Texas believes that frequent hand washing and sanitizing are among the best safeguards against COVID-19. We will continue offering hand sanitizing stations across KIPP Texas campuses and buildings and strongly encourage frequent handwashing.
Cleaning and DisinfectingAll spaces will continue to be cleaned daily. High-touch and high-traffic areas will be disinfected with greater frequency. Where positive COVID-19 cases are reported, special deep cleaning protocols will be implemented.
COVID 19 Dashboard The cases listed include any staff member or student who has been on campus in-person and tested positive for COVID-19. This report does not include any student engaged in remote learning these nine weeks or any staff member who is only working remotely.

COVID Vaccines and Tests

As a reminder, every campus has a supply of COVID tests available on-site, each household can request eight free COVID-19 test kits delivered directly to your home by ordering them from covid.gov/tests.

As of June 17, the FDA has authorized COVID-19 vaccines for kids ages 6 months – 5 years old, and COVID vaccine boosters are now available for children ages 5-11 and ages 12+.

Regardless of the COVID community levels, be sure to follow the guidance below:

  • Exercise caution and although masks are not required, KIPP Texas strongly recommends them while in a KIPP building and at an on or off campus KIPP event.
  • Continue washing hands and other hygiene precautions. 
  • Test for COVID before and two days after going to large group gatherings to help keep others around you healthy.

Survey for Summer School Students

Please complete this survey for your Little KIPPster if they are attending summer school and find themselves experiencing any of the circumstances below — email communication will be sent to you with the next steps.

  • Tested positive for COVID
  • Experiencing COVID-like symptoms
  • Identified as a close contact of a COVID-positive individual
  • Living with close contact with a COVID-positive individual 

You will need your child’s student ID number to complete the survey, as this provides the necessary information to complete the required regional reporting.

As we continue to put the safety of our Big and Little KIPPsters first, please remember to exercise the proper cautionary measures when and if you attend any group gatherings. We highly encourage you to mask up for two days following the event to ensure you are not experiencing any COVID-related symptoms.  

We will continue to seek medical professional and CDC guidance and update you with any changes to policy as we prepare for a Strong Start of the 2022-23 school year. 

Thank you, KIPP Texas families, for prioritizing the health and safety of our community. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to COVID.Response@KIPPTexas.org.

Please also follow us on social media to stay updated on our current COVID safety protocols and policies. 

With Gratitude,

Sehba Ali