CONTENTS: Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, Level 5



    Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Richards School District has focused on creating an environment that protects the safety and well-being of students and staff.  During the 2020-21 school year, this included offering students the option to choose in-person or virtual learning. 

    Our focus for the 2021-22 school year will be for all Richards School students to participate in in-person learning five days a week.  Throughout the school year, we will monitor COVID-19 exposure levels in the community and make modifications to the learning plan if necessary.  Five levels have been developed that are explained in detail in this document.  We will move from level to level as needed for the safety of our students and staff. 

    At this time, we feel that we will continue face to face classes (5 days a week) at Richards School in LEVEL 2.


    LEVEL 1

    All classes will take place in school buildings five (5) days a week. There would be no restrictions on visitors or volunteers in the building if in LEVEL 1.


    LEVEL 2: 


    All students will be permitted to attend face-to-face instruction inside school buildings five (5) days a week.  Extra cleaning and safety protocols for staff and students will be followed.  There are restrictions on parents, visitors and volunteers in the building.



    • Quarantine is a strategy used to prevent transmission of communicable disease, by ensuring that people who have been in close contact with an infected individual stay apart from others.
    • Quarantine is different from isolation. Isolation is used by someone who has symptoms, or tests positive for a virus, even if they don’t have symptoms. Isolation prevents transmission of the virus by separating people infected from those who are not infected. If someone takes a test and tests positive for COVID-19, or develops symptoms regardless of whether or not they have tested positive, their status will shift from quarantine to isolation.
    • The term “social distancing” or “physical distancing” will refer to no less than 3 to 6 feet of separation as recommended by the CDC.
    • Classes will be kept separated as much as possible to limit transmission.
    • Assemblies will be permitted on a limited basis with social distancing if possible.
    • Visitors to the school and to the classroom will not be permitted unless by appointment with appropriate precautions including, but not limited to,  temperature check upon entry to the building. Schools will be closed to visitors aside from drop off and pick up, which can only occur via the carline.
    • Handwashing and infection prevention instruction will be required and taught to students.
    • Unvaccinated students and staff are encouraged, but not required, to wear face masks.
    • Use of water/drinking fountains will only be allowed for use of the “touchless” self-dispensers to fill a personal water bottle (water bottle filling station). Drinking directly out of the fountain is prohibited. Water bottle filling stations have been installed throughout the buildings.
    • Hand sanitizer is available throughout the buildings, including all classrooms.


    If you are an employee or student and are exhibiting symptoms, daily self check is important.  If you have experienced one of the following within the last 14 days, you are recommended to stay home:

    • Chills, a cough, sore throat, headache:
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing;
    • New loss of taste or smell, new muscle aches; 
    • Feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit

    Each student and staff member will have their temperature checked by a touchless thermometer each day upon entry to the building.  If an employee or student has a temperature greater than or equal to 100.4 degrees fahrenheit they will be sent home.  Employees and students should not, under any circumstances, come to school if they are sick. 


    Students and employees will adopt these hygiene measures:

    • All persons are required to wash hands or use hand sanitizer when they come into school and throughout the school day. Hand sanitizer is available throughout each building, i.e., in classrooms, common areas and lunchrooms. 
    • We encourage students to limit what is brought to school this year due to spacing and the potential spread of the virus on surfaces. Backpacks must be stored in the students’ lockers or homeroom class so it is important that these items be as small as possible. 
    • We will require all persons to wash hands or use hand sanitizer after blowing noses, coughing or sneezing and after all bathroom visits.
    • We will encourage classes and employees to create their own hand signals to replace shaking hands, hugging or giving high fives.
    • We will avoid using classroom items that are frequently touched but not easily cleaned, such as items made of fabric or rugs. 
    • Students and employees will be excluded from school if they test positive for COVID-19. 
    • Symptoms of COVID-19 may include: chills, cough, sore throat, headache, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, new loss of taste or smell, muscle aches and fever. 
    • Absence of fever is not a reliable indicator for symptomatic individuals.  If other symptoms are present and student or employee tests positive, they will be required to remain out of school as indicated.
    • If students become ill once they arrive at school, students will be isolated from others and sent home immediately. 
    • Should a symptomatic student's parent or guardian refuse COVID-19 testing, the student will be excluded from the school for ten (10)  days or until the parent or guardian provides written documentation by a medical provider that the student is safe to return to school.
    • Unvaccinated students and staff members are strongly encouraged to wear a mask or shield anytime they are in close contact with others, at a distance of 3 to 6 feet or less for more than 15 minutes.

    Students (with assistance from parents) and employees should self screen prior to coming to school or expect to be screened before entering the school building.  Those exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, without other obvious explanations, will be isolated in a designated area until they can be picked by parent or guardian.


    • Parents or guardians should use the car line for student drop off and pick up to avoid gatherings in the school lobby or outside the school entrance.
    • Parents are encouraged to self screen children at home prior to coming to school for the following symptoms and exposure:
      • fever or chills
      • cough
      • headache
      • muscle aches
      • nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
      • new loss of taste or smell
      • runny nose or congestion
      • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
      • sore throat
    • Staff will monitor for social distancing as students enter the building and visually inspect students for signs and symptoms of illness as they enter the school and/or classroom.
    • Designees will monitor temperatures via touchless monitor as students enter the building.  If a student or employee has a temperature of 100.4 or higher, they will be sent home.


    • Breakfast will be eaten in the classroom for students attending the Early Childhood Center.
    • 1st -5th grade will eat breakfast in the cafeteria and will sit with their grade level  to minimize risk of transmission.
    • 6th-8th graders will eat breakfast in the FEMA & Bunch Gymnasiums using the “Grab ‘n Go” model and will sit with their grade level to minimize risk of  transmission.
    • For students in PK-8th grade, lunchtimes will be staggered and cafeteria surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected between groups.   
    • Students will eat lunch with their class group daily to minimize risk of transmission.
    • Teachers will strongly reinforce ‘no sharing’ of food, drink and utensils.


    • Traditional water fountains will not be utilized. 
    • Touchless water bottle filling stations will be used for students to fill water bottles.
    • All students will need a reusable  water bottle for daily use.


    • Students will be encouraged to social distance if possible and will be taught appropriate handwashing and infection prevention strategies.
    • Student seating will be arranged with as much space between students as possible in order to maintain social distance standards.
    • Teachers will arrange student desks to maximize the space between students to reduce risk of transmission caused from virus-containing droplets (i.e., talking, coughing, sneezing).
    • Separate supplies will be provided for students when possible.
    • Students will use hand sanitizer when entering and exiting classrooms. Students should be encouraged to wash their hands throughout the school day as appropriate.


    • Should specialty teachers use shared equipment, staff members will disinfect the equipment after each use.
    • Physical education classes can be taught in the gym. Teachers will plan activities that maximize social distancing and will sanitize equipment between groups. P.E. classes will be held outside as much as possible.


    • Recess times will be staggered to limit the number of classes on the playground at a time.
    • All students must wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before and after recess and before returning to the classroom.


    • In order to minimize the exposure of students and staff, non-essential visitors and parents, including parents, will not be permitted beyond the secure entry of the school buildings.

      The District requests the following:

      • Entry into schools will be restricted to staff and students. Other visitors and volunteers must receive pre-approval from an administrator. 
      • Parents are encouraged to call ahead if they need to visit the school, outside of an emergency situation.
      • If a child needs to be picked up for any reason, Richards School personnel will accompany the child to the front door and await the arrival of the parent or guardian.
      • Parents will not be allowed to visit the classroom or to eat lunch with their child in the cafeteria until we are operating within “Level 1.” 
      • Those allowed into the school buildings will have their temperature checked. The date and time of the visit, as well as where in the building they travel to and which if any students or staff they have contact with, will be logged.


    • Symptoms of COVID 19 may include: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, runny nose or congestion, or other flu-like symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. 
    • Absence of fever is not a reliable indicator for symptomatic individuals.  If other symptoms are present and student or employee tests positive, they will be required to remain out of school as indicated.
    • Students who are ill or experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms should not report to school and should notify the school.
    • If students become ill once they arrive at school, students will be isolated and sent home immediately. 
    • Students who test positive will be required to remain out of school for at least ten (10) days following onset of symptoms. Those students who do not test positive, may return to school when fever-free for more than 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and when symptoms subside.


    Richards School provides a wide variety of programs and resources to support the social, emotional and mental health of students. By collaborating with Burrell Behavioral Healthcare which is part of Ozarks Health Care (OHC), our counselors can refer students for on-site counseling and other mental health services. Counselors also provide other support and are accessible by contacting our counseling department at 417-256-5239 to speak to Mrs. Gastineau or Mrs. Bryant.


    The importance of good mental health cannot be understated at this time. The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly evolving situation that is causing stress and uncertainty for many.

    There are steps school leaders and staff can take to foster health and well-being in themselves and their school communities. Keep in mind that recovery from a crisis takes time and may not happen in a linear fashion—especially during a pandemic that does not have a defined, known end.

    • Awareness, balance, and connection can help;
    • Set and celebrate achievable goals;
    • Celebrate the resilience of the great people around you who go above and beyond as they support and help others in times of crises.

    Health and Wellness Resources:



    • Students and drivers on a bus are required to wear face coverings while riding the bus when social distancing is not feasible. This is a requirement of the CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/face-masks-public-transportation.html
    • Students are highly encouraged to practice physical distancing while waiting for the bus at their designated bus stop.
    • Students may sit two to a seat. Students within the same household (or students who are considered in each other’s stable group) will be assigned seats together or in seats across from, in front of, or behind each other while riding the bus.
    • Bus drivers are advised to travel with windows down as much as is possible depending upon weather conditions.
    • Once seating is established, bus drivers will have a seating chart and assigned seats whether a child is riding or not. 
    • Buses will be appropriately cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis with an EPA approved disinfectant.
    • Buses will have hand sanitizer available on each route and encourage students to use upon boarding.
    • Bus drivers will be properly trained in COVID safety measures.
    • Bus drivers will alert school administration upon arrival of any student displaying signs of COVID-19
    • Bus drivers will check their own temperature prior to driving a route. 
    • Buses will unload one bus at a time to avoid congestion and to allow for temperature checks for students exiting the bus.


    • Staff will limit the sharing of devices. When devices must be shared, staff will assign specific students to specific devices. Staff will ensure devices are sanitized between uses.
    • These items should be sanitized by staff on a regular basis:
      • Keyboards and mice
      • Phones
      • Headphones
      • Any shared devices (iPad, spare Chromebooks. Library computers, PLTW laptops, , etc.)
      • Printers
      • Remotes


    Classroom snacks will need to be pre-packaged, unopened items.


    While in locker rooms, students are to stay 3-6 feet from others as a normal practice. Avoid touching surfaces touched by others to the extent feasible.  Avoid anyone who is coughing, sneezing or appears sick.


    Each school building will have an “OUT ROOM” separate from the nurse’s office where students or employees who may have COVID-19 or another communicable disease will wait to be evaluated or for pickup. The room will be disinfected after use.  Students who are ill will be walked out of the building to their parents. 


    Social distancing is an effective way to prevent potential infection.  Unfortunately, there is a conflict between optimal academic and social/emotional learning in schools and strict adherence to current social distancing guidelines.  Employees and students should practice staying at least 3-6 feet away from others when possible. 

    • Non-essential/informal meetings and visits should be avoided.
    • Students will be spaced as far apart as possible in each classroom and barriers may be used in classrooms as needed.
    • When possible students will face the same direction in areas such as classrooms and the cafeteria.
    • Parents are encouraged to provide alternative modes of transportation, instead of the school bus, due to the lack of social distancing options available.


    The safety of our employees and students are our first priority.  Upon reopening, our school buildings have been completely cleaned and disinfected and we will continue to adhere to all necessary safety precautions.  In addition to the deep clean this summer, the cleaning steps outlined below are to be taken to disinfect workplace surfaces, chairs, tables, etc. to protect employees and reduce the risk of spread of infection.  We will require employees to maintain this safety standard by continuously cleaning and disinfecting based on the frequency stated below. 


    • Wipe desks daily after school
    • Spray with sanitizer weekly
    • Remove trash and change liner daily
    • Wipe down daily any surface as needed


    • Wipe down daily any surface as needed
    • Spray sanitizer nightly
    • Remove trash and change liner daily


    • Wipe down tables after every use
    • Spray sanitizer nightly
    • Remove trash and change liner daily


    • Wipe down daily any surface as needed
    • Spray sanitizer nightly


    • Wipe down daily any surface as needed
    • Spray sanitizer nightly
    • Remove trash and change liner daily


    • At the end of each use


    Employees are encouraged to disinfect their own personal workspace (desk, phone, keyboard, etc.) throughout the day, giving special attention to commonly touched surfaces. The custodial staff will clean all workspaces at their designated cleaning time. 


    In the event of a suspected case of COVID-19, the following protocols will be followed:

    • An employee or student doesn’t feel well and visits the school nurse 
    • The nurse determines symptoms may be COVID related
    • The employee or student will be temporarily separated from others


    • If an  employee becomes ill on campus, he/she will immediately report to the district nurse’s isolation room.
    • The employee will contact their primary healthcare provider and the provider will arrange for testing.
    • If the employee tests positive for COVID-19, the provider that ordered the test will call the employee with the positive result.


    • If a student becomes ill with COVID-19 related symptoms on campus, he/she will immediately be sent to the nurse.
    • The nurse will contact the parent or guardian. When the parent arrives, the nurse will encourage the parent to have the child tested. The nurse will offer to assist the parent with making phone calls to the healthcare provider if needed. 
    • The healthcare provider will arrange for the student to be tested.  If the student tests positive for COVID, the healthcare provider will contact the parent/guardian.


    Once a student or employee is excluded from the school environment, they may return only if they satisfy the below recommendations, which are subject to change.


    Persons who have not received an antigen test, proving or disproving the presence of COVID-19, and who have not been vaccinated but have experienced symptoms consistent with COVID-19 may return when the following conditions are met: 

    • They have not had a fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication (i.e. Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Motrin) and
    • Other symptoms have improved (for example, absence of cough, etc).

    TESTED: Persons who have experienced symptoms and have tested positive for COVID-19 may return when all of the following conditions are met:

    • They have not had a fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication (i.e. Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Motrin) and 
    • Other symptoms have improved (for example, absence of cough, etc) and 
    • At least ten (10) calendar days have passed since onset of symptoms.


    As soon as the District becomes aware of a student or employee that may have COVID-19 the custodial staff will be informed that all desks and workspaces of the person are thoroughly disinfected. The Superintendent will consider initiating the following Richards Positive COVID-19 Protocols: 

    • Deep cleaning should be performed as soon as possible after the confirmation of a positive test. While the scope of deep cleaning is presumed to be the full site, sites may reduce the footprint to be deep cleaned if there is sufficient rationale to do so. 
    • In lieu of performing deep cleaning, sites may be shut down for 24-48 hours to allow for natural deactivation of the virus. 
    • Official communication to the Richards Board of Education will come from the superintendent.
    • Official communication to the Richards community (and media, if appropriate) will be done by the superintendent.
    • The nurse will follow up with the staff member or family of the student.


    • The school district will consider school closures based upon city, county, and state guidelines and will consider the percentage of site population testing positive for COVID-19. 
    • If it is determined that a school should be closed, families will be informed of the timeframe that school will be closed and students will have access to virtual content during that time as well as other alternative methods of instruction if the student is unable to access the internet or a hotspot.


    In order to communicate as quickly and accurately as possible on events that may take place related to COVID-19 the district asks that you do the following:

    1. Teachers and parents/guardians need to check text messages, email and the school’s website often as well as follow our Facebook page.




    • Breakfast and lunch will be eaten in the classroom for ALL students. 
    • Teachers will strongly reinforce ‘no sharing’ of food, drink and utensils.



    • 1st - 5th Grade will be taken outside, stay in the Bunch Gym or stay in their classroom. 
    • 6th music and band will be held outside or in the Bunch Gym.  Staff members will be required to keep all students at a 6 foot distance from each other. 
    • 7th Grade Choir- Will be held spread out in the Bunch Gym
    • 7th-8th Band - Will be held spread out in the Bunch Gym
    • 8th Grade Boys Choir- Will be spread out in the classroom
    • 8th Grade Girls Choir- Will be held in the Bunch Gym

    • PE 
    • 1st - 5th Grade will be taken outside, stay in the FEMA Gym or stay in their classroom. 
    • 6th will be held outside or in the FEMA Gym.  Staff members will be required to keep all students at a 3-6 foot distance from each other. 
    • 7th & 8th Grade Girls- Teachers will separate groups with 7th in one gym and 8th in the other
    • 7th & 8th Grade Boys- Teachers will separate groups with 7th in one gym and 8th in the other

    • ART 
    • 1st - 6th Grade will be held in their assigned classroom.
    • 1st - 6th Grade will be held in their assigned classroom. 

    • LIBRARY 
    • 1st - 6th Grade will have library in their classroom and the librarian will come to them with a selection of books. 


    • Recess times will be staggered to limit the number of classes on the playground at a time.
    • All students must wash their hands (soap or hand sanitizer) before and after recess and before returning to the classroom.
    • While at recess, staff will monitor for social/physical distancing.
    • Frequently touched surfaces on the playground equipment will be cleaned/sanitized routinely.



    If in LEVEL 4 courses would be taught with a combination of seated and remote instruction.  Staff will be in buildings, with students alternating days of in-person attendance and remote instruction. Protocols for staff and students will be followed according to building COVID-19 RE-ENTRY Guidelines.  All entrances to schools will be locked and restricted to staff and students. Other visitors and volunteers must receive pre-approval.


    If in LEVEL 5 all staff would be on campus.  All students will be off campus and receive instruction online using Google Classroom or another method approved by the AMI Plan at that time. Teachers will use tools such as email, ZOOM, REMIND, FACEBOOK, telephone calls, text messages and other means appropriate to communicate with students and families.  Accommodations and arrangements will be made for students without internet access by using remote outside locations and hotspots supplied to the students. Both buildings would be closed to students.


    Virtual Instruction will be an option beginning at the first of the school year for those interested. More information on this format is available from Mrs. Rogers.  She can be contacted at srogers@richardsschool.k12.mo.us  


    Universal and correct wearing of masks (Refer to page 4 & 7)

    Physical Distrancing (Refer to pages 6, 7, 8, 9 &11)

    • Consistent with the CDC

    Handwashing and respiratory etiquette (Refer to pages 4,5,7 & 8)

    • Taught and Reinforced
    • Sanitizer and tissue provided throughout the buildings

    Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation (Refer to page 8, 10, 11 & 12)

    • Increased cleaning for high touch surfaces

    Efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff and students if eligible (Refer to page 19)

    • LEA Sponsored vaccination events
    • LEA Participates in vaccination events
    • LEA Publicizes vaccination events on School’s Facebook Page

    Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to the health and safety policies

    • Accommodations as necessary or as mandated by Individual Education Plans

    MSHSSA Return to Play Requirements

    Students that participate in MHSAA-sanctioned activities and test positive for COVID-19 will isolate for a period ten (10) days, including practice and interscholastic competition. If the student is fever-free and asymptomatic after the 10 days, they must obtain a release from a physician before they begin the five (5) stages of return to play. This is to ensure there are no post-infection issues, relative to the heart, after the student is released for physical activity.



    In collaboration with Ozarks Healthcare (OHC) we were able to offer our building as a site for vaccinations for any adults working in our buildings.  We will continue to provide our site as needed for educators, other staff, and students if eligible. 

    We will also continue to advertise by our district’s Facebook page when vaccination clinics are available.


    The ARP Act requires that school districts make their Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan available to the public online and that the plans be in an understandable and uniform format; to the extent practicable, are written in a language that parents can understand or, if not practicable, orally translated; and upon request by a parent who is an individual with a disability, provided in an alternative format accessible to that parent. 


    This plan will be reviewed and revised every June and December at a minimum.  This will be done by the committee which will be composed of students, families within the district, school administrators, teachers, and other education personnel.  This input will be gathered in a combination of methods, including but not limited to a public survey posted on Richards School Districts’ Website at www.richardsschool.k12.mo.us