Back to school: A look at the 'new norm'

Back to school: A look at the 'new norm'

DoDEA Pacific

DoDEA Pacific is excited to welcome students back to school for the 2020-21 school year!

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on schools across the world, including those that make up the DoDEA Pacific region. Schools will look a bit different in the “new normal.” In HPCON B, students who have opted for the brick-and-mortar learning environment will return to school for face-to-face instruction with mitigation strategies in place. In HPCON C, instruction would be delivered in the remote environment.

“We collaborated closely with our military leaders to ensure our return to school plan is in line with local installation guidance and also adaptable to shifts in local environmental conditions,” said DoDEA Pacific Region Director Lois Rapp. “It is important to us that our reopening plan supports the needs of our families and military partners, whom we are here to serve.”

As part of its return to school plan, DoDEA Pacific will employ mitigation strategies including social distancing, face masks, healthy hygiene practices, clear physical barriers, and frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces. DoDEA Pacific has purchased additional supplies to ensure a safe in-person learning environment, including 10,506 gallons of hand sanitizer, 7,697 gallons of hand soap, approximately 30,000 containers of disinfecting wipes and about 56,000 washable face masks – two for each student and employee.

“The health and safety of students and employees is our priority,” Rapp said. “We are committed to successfully implementing mitigation strategies within our schools and ensuring we have the supplies needed to be part of the greater solution to stop the spread of this virus within our military-connected communities.”

A pre-screening will be required to fall students and employees prior to going to school each day. This pre-screening includes a temperature check and visual check for symptoms associated with COVID-19. Parents will be required to sign a standard acknowledgement acknowledging their responsibility to perform the pre-screening protocol.

Parents are their child’s first teachers and play an important role in preparing their child for school in this “new normal” environment. To make sure your child is ready:

  • Teach and reinforce proper use, removal, and care of face coverings with your child. 
  • Ensure your child understands how to wash his or her hands properly. Teach proper cough/sneeze etiquette. 
  • Talk with your child about what they can expect on the bus and in hallways, classrooms, the cafeteria, and the playground. 

DoDEA Pacific’s Return to School plan and a video depicting what school will look like are available on the region’s website:

Protocol for sick children
When a student develops/presents with any symptoms of illness consistent with COVID-19 (i.e., new onset or worsening cough -OR- shortness of breath -OR- at least two of the following symptoms: fever, chills, muscle ache, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, fatigue, diarrhea, congestion or runny nose, cough, shortness of breath):

  • School nurse is contacted and isolates student.
  • Contact parents to pick up student within 1 hour. Local installation medical guidelines will be followed should school staff be unable to reach the parent.
  • School nurse will follow up with parents on student status and medical care plan in accordance with installation guidelines.
  • Disinfect all high-touch surfaces with which the student came in contact.
  • Teacher will coordinate lessons for the student while he or she is out sick.

Protocol if someone tests positive

  • Based on the joint risk assessment, in coordination with the local installation, DoDEA schools will be prepared to potentially dismiss students and staff for an initial 2-5 days (cancelling all school related activities).
  • If an initial closure is deemed necessary, this period will allow school and installation leaders to determine appropriate next steps, including whether an extended closure is needed to stop or slow the further spread of COVID-19.
  • DoDEA will notify the school community of a positive case and support installation contact tracing requirements.
  • During the closure period, the school facility will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
  • We will adhere to local installation health official guidance as to when a student or staff member who has tested positive can return to school, including further testing requirements and medical clearance.

– DoDEA Pacific


School Year 2020-2021 (175 Instructional Days and 190 Teacher Work Days)

First Semester (86 Instructional Days) 

Monday, August 24                 Begin First Quarter and First Semester
Monday, September 7             Labor Day: Federal Holiday
Monday, October 12               Columbus Day: Federal Holiday
Thursday, October 22             End of First Quarter (41 days of classroom instruction)
Friday, October 23                  No school for students – teacher work day
Monday October 26                Begin second quarter
Wednesday, November 11     Veterans Day: Federal Holiday observed
Thursday, November 26         Thanksgiving Day: Federal Holiday
Friday, November 27              Friday: Recess Day
Monday, December 21           Begin Winter Recess (21 December - 1 January 2019)
Friday, December 25              Christmas Day: Federal Holiday

Friday, January 1                    New Year's Day: Federal Holiday
Monday, January 4                 Instruction Resumes
Thursday, January 14             End of Second Quarter and First Semester (45 days of classroom instruction)
Friday, January 15                  No school for students – teacher work day
Monday, January 18               Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.: Federal Holiday

Second Semester (89 Instructional Days)

Tuesday, January 19              Begin Third Quarter and Second Semester
Monday, February 15             Presidents' Day (Washington's Birthday): Federal Holiday
Wednesday, March 24           End of Third Quarter (45 days of classroom instruction)
Thursday, March 25               No school for students – teacher work day
Friday, March 26                    Begin Spring Recess (26 March -2 April)
Monday, April 5                      Instruction Resumes - Begin Fourth Quarter
Friday, May 28                       Friday: Recess Day
Monday, May 31                    Memorial Day: Federal Holiday
Thursday, June 10                 End of Fourth Quarter and Second Semester (45 Days of classroom instruction)
Friday, June 11                      No school for students – teacher work day. Last day for non-administrative educator personnel

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