Lauderdale County Schools RETURN TO SCHOOL PLAN 2020-2021

Lauderdale County Schools (LCSS) will return to school on August 17, 2020 for the start of the new school year. While the return of a "brick and mortar" setting is the first priority for LCSS, it may cause some parents concern. Following local and state health guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic, the safety of students and staff is our number one priority.

It is important for students, parents, teachers, and other staff members to understand that the Return to School Plan is contingent upon the level of community spread in Lauderdale County. Changes to the plan may occur pending new information from the Center for Disease Control, Alabama Department of Public Health, Governor Kay Ivey's Office, and Alabama State Department of Education.


August 17, 2020 -- First day for students.

Note: The LCSS made this decision regarding Fall opening based on the most recent and relevant information from state and local health officials and in consideration of new mandates from the Alabama Governor's Office and the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE). These decisions are subject to change pending further guidance or future mandates from the Governor or directives from the ALSDE.

There are two options available to our students and families:

  1. Traditional, On-Campus Learning
  2. Online, At-Home Learning


Schools will:

  • Teach and reinforce good hygiene measures such as handwashing, covering coughs, and face coverings if social distancing is not possible.
  • Encourage frequent hand sanitizing for students and staff as they come in and out of the building each day.
  • Provide hand soap, sanitizer, paper towels/hand dryers in all bathrooms, classrooms, and frequently trafficked areas.
  • Post signage to communicate how to stop the spread of COVID-19. Preventative measures include staying home when sick and good hygiene.
  • Clean/disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Encourage students and staff to bring hand sanitizer and face masks/ coverings to use from home.
  • Encourage staff to wear face masks/covering, and other appropriate PPE as desired.
  • Ensure water fixtures and features are cleaned regularly.
  • Water fountains will be turned off and students and staff are allowed to bring water bottles from home.
  • Ensure ventilation systems operate properly and increase the circulation of outdoor air as much as possible, as long as this does not pose a safety or health risk to students or staff.
  • Conduct deep cleaning of schools prior to students/staff returning; schedule periodic cleanings during weekends or school holidays/breaks (to the extent practicable).
  • Schools have touchless thermometers for temperature scans for students and employees as needed. Readings of 99 will be monitored and 100.4°F (38°C) or higher will result in isolation/guardian called for student pick up.


Implement standard operating procedures while taking preventative measures such as:

  • Provide hand sanitizer for students and bus drivers.
  • Provide face masks and/or shields for bus drivers; allow students to wear face masks/coverings.
  • Screen students and staff for symptoms of illness. Screening may include visual, verbal, and/or temperature checks.
  • Utilize spaced seating (to the extent practicable).
  • Siblings/families will be seated together.
  • Buses will load back to front (first on/first off).
  • Bus seating charts will be used with assigned seats.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces on the bus daily.


  • Signage posted to communicate how to stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Preventative measures include staying home when sick and good hygiene.
  • Unnecessary congregations of students and staff will be limited.
  • Protocols will be established for bus stops, loading/unloading students to minimize the congregation of children from different households.
  • If parents drop off and pick up their child(ren), they will need to stay in their vehicles and not enter the school building.


Schools may:

  • Limit mixing between groups (to the extent practicable).
  • Provide additional time for transitions.
  • Designate areas of the hallway (i.e.lanes) as flow paths to keep students separated.
  • Plan staggered class changes to decrease the number of students in hallways at one time.


Schools will implement standard operating procedures while taking preventative measures such as:

  • Student and staff hand washing before and after meal service.
  • Provide hand sanitizer for students and staff.
  • Avoid sharing of foods and utensils.
  • No self serve--lunchroom staff will serve plated lunches.
  • Conduct cleaning and sanitizing of cafeterias and high-touch surfaces throughout the school day.
  • May use disposable plates, utensils, etc.
  • No keypad entry for students. Staff will enter all info at point of sale.
  • Mark spaced lines to enter the cafeteria and serving lines (to the extent practicable); designate entrance and exit flow paths; stagger use.
  • Space seating (utilize outdoor space as practicable and appropriate).


Planning for long-term closure is in place and ongoing. Teachers will use different platforms and curricula so students will be able to continue learning at home if necessary.

Protecting Vulnerable Populations

If your child has a pre-existing health condition that may make him/her more susceptible to COVID-19, please be sure to report this to your child's school nurse or administrator and include supporting documentation.


Plans are in place to continue learning online if unable to provide learning opportunities in a classroom setting due to an emergency school closure.

School Response to COVID-19

  • Students who are identified as having a fever and/or symptoms of COVID-19 will be placed in an isolation area to be reviewed by a nurse or another trained staff member.
  • The school nurse will provide an assessment to check for COVID-19 symptoms. If symptoms are present, the parent will be called for student pick up and instructed to report to their personal health care provider, urgent care facility, or the Lauderdale County Health Department for further instructions.
  • The parent/guardian of a student who tests positive should notify their school nurse and/or school administrators upon their knowledge of this positive result (student/staff identification will remain confidential).
  • The Lead Nurse Supervisors are required to report and verify all positive COVID-19 results with the Alabama Department of Public Health.


These decisions are tentative pending further guidance and future mandates from the Governor’s office or new directives from the Alabama State Department of Education. The following activities are suspended and will not be allowed until further notice. However, some may be held virtually.

  • Open House/Mass Gatherings
  • Parent-Teacher Conferences
  • Parents/guardians eating with children
  • Parties/Celebrations in classes
  • Pep Rallies/Assemblies
  • Field Trips


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