Lincoln Public Schools will continuously review and update the LPS Safe Return to School Plan throughout the school year as the risk of COVID-19 spread in our community changes. This work will be ongoing as new research emerges and more guidance is provided to the school district from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) and the U.S. Department of Education.

Any changes to our plan and protocols will be communicated ahead of time through this website, email and social media.

Please note: Lincoln Public Schools will adjust protocols as necessary to address changing conditions. During the school year, protocols and requirements may change for a specific school building, program, classroom or setting based on the number of positive cases, outbreaks, community conditions and risk of spread.

The LPS Safe Return Plan was last revised July 29, 2022, and last reviewed July 29, 2022.

The school district is developing/modifying its plans based on social, economic, and practical considerations that include the balancing of important educational and public health considerations, within the confines of its budgetary limitations, to allocate resources and staff in a way that mitigates risk and seeks to achieve important educational goals. 

Announcements

August 26th Monthly Update

Here is your monthly update from Lincoln Public Schools with important information and updates.

Translations

Coming soon…

Click here to download the latest PDF of LPS Safe Return to School Plan.

We want to hear from you...

We will continue to review and update our LPS Safe Return to School Plan to align with community conditions and the latest information. These protocols go into effect on August 1, 2022.

Plan

To Prevent Spread

Staff, students and visitors entering any LPS facility are expected to conduct a self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms every day prior to arriving.

Every day ask yourself or your student the following screening questions PRIOR to entering an LPS building:

Do you have any of the following symptoms?

  • Fever of over 100.4
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Muscle or body aches
  • New onset of loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea

If you answered YES, do not go into an LPS building. Instead:

  • Self-Isolate Immediately
  • Contact your healthcare provider or seek medical care.
  • Get tested for COVID-19.
  • Families of students need to contact the school to report the absence. Staff need to refer to HR bulletin #15 and follow sick leave procedures.

Get tested for COVID-19

  • Bryan Health
  • CHI 
  • Nomi Health
  • Nebraska DHHS
  • Your healthcare provider
  • Order your free home COVID test by going to covidtests.gov to place an order.
  • Several pharmacies including CVS, HyVee and Walgreens along with other health care provider offices and urgent care clinics also offer testing. If a person is uninsured or underinsured, they can call the COVID-19 hotline at 402-441-8006 and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department will connect them to testing resources.

Students who test positive for COVID-19

Students who test positive for COVID-19 should notify the school health office as soon as possible and follow directions provided.

Staff who test positive for COVID-19

Staff who test positive for COVID-19 should report the positive test result through the website reporting tool and follow HR Bulletin #15.

Face coverings are optional for everyone inside all LPS buildings and on all LPS buses. Individuals may wear a face covering based on their personal preference and informed by their vaccination status and personal level of risk.

Please note: Lincoln Public Schools may adjust face covering protocols as necessary to address changing conditions. Requirements may be implemented for a specific school building, program, classroom or setting based on number of positive cases, community test positivity rate, outbreaks, community conditions and risk of spread.

LPS will provide face coverings to students and staff who need or request it.

When wearing a face covering in circumstances where required:

  • Face coverings must be multiple layers of tightly woven, breathable fabric that blocks light when held up to a bright light source.
  • Face coverings with exhalation valves or vents will not be allowed.
  • Per our current school dress code, bandanas are not allowed.
  • Plastic face shields are not a suitable replacement for multilayer cloth face coverings.
  • LPS will have face coverings available for staff and students who do not provide their own.
  • Families are allowed to provide their own multilayer cloth face coverings. Please note: Gaiters are single layer and can only be used if doubled up and cover both the nose and the mouth.
  • Students and families are responsible for laundering and wearing their face coverings each day.
  • LPS will treat face coverings as a required part of dress code where applicable and discipline for not following dress code is outlined in our Important Information Handbook.

Face Covering Exemption Process

If face coverings become required at any time for a classroom, program, or school, the following will be used for the face covering exemption process. Students who were granted a face covering exemption last school year will be exempt from any requirement for the 22–23 school year. For new students, a form to apply for the exemption will be provided to families with communication about any requirements.

K-12 Students

The criteria for face covering exemptions are below.

Medical issues that are documented in the student’s emergency health plan, OR Individual Health Plan (IHP):

  1. Students who require oral suctioning
  2. Students on a ventilator
  3. Students who have a trach
  4. Students who frequently secrete bodily fluids from the eyes, nose, and/or mouth.

Significant behavioral needs that are documented in the student’s Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) or 504:

  1. Students for whom face coverings may cause on-going significant distress that cannot not be remedied through teaching, problem solving, or other accommodations.
  2. Students for whom significant distress may disrupt education, or whose distress may disrupt the education of others.
  3. Students with a history of issues concerning restrictive clothing, close spaces, or high anxiety, or with other data supporting significant student distress.

Preschool Students

The criteria for face covering exemptions are below.

  • Children with documented (in the child’s school records or from information obtained from the family from the child’s physician or medical provider) medical conditions, which may include: Asthma, lung disease, tracheostomy, ventilator or children for who are oxygen dependent or require oxygen levels to be checked throughout the school day.
  • Children with other conditions, which may include:
    • Sensory impairments and issues for which the face covering may cause on-going significant distress that cannot be remedied through teaching, practice and support and may disrupt. This distress may disrupt the child’s participation in preschool or the participation of others;
    • Children who secrete bodily fluids from their eyes, nose, and/or mouth;
    • Autism; or
    • Children who are unable to physically remove the face covering or are not able to communicate a need to remove the face covering because the face covering presents a choking or strangulation hazard.

Students, staff and visitors will be encouraged to frequently wash their hands for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer will be available in classrooms and multiple locations throughout the building when hand washing isn’t easily accessible.

Custodial staff will clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in common areas and classrooms as needed and at the end of the day.

Our Operations Department will continue with fresh air practices in alignment with recommendations from ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers) and the CDC (Center for Disease Control).

  • Drinking fountains will be available.
  • Classroom sinks will be available.
  • Water bottle fill stations will be accessible where available.
  • K-12 students may bring bottles full of water from home.

Elementary

  • Hand sanitizer will be provided for students as they enter the cafeteria.
  • Students will be assigned to a table.

Secondary

  • Hand sanitizer will be provided for students as they enter the cafeteria.
  • Meals will be served based on past practice.

Limiting visitors to schools during the school day

All guests must perform the self-screening for symptoms prior to entering a building and adhere to any face covering requirements. (Please see the Face Coverings protocols above.)

LPS facilities are available for outside use through the online Archibus reservation system. All facility terms and conditions apply, including the applicant's responsibility to comply with any COVID-19 protocols from governing organizations, orders and/or Directed Health Measures.

The COVID-19 vaccine is not required, but strongly recommended.

Under Title 173 of the Nebraska Administrative Code, each school or school district in Nebraska is required to keep the immunization history of the students enrolled on file. If your child has received the COVID-19 vaccine, we ask that you please provide us a copy of the information by emailing a copy of the vaccination card to your school nurse. If your child has not received the COVID-19 vaccine, there is nothing you need to do.

The Nebraska Department of Education and Children’s Hospital and Medical Center have launched a new website to help answer any questions you may have about the COVID-19 vaccine for children. Check out maxthevaxne.org for more information.

A safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine plays a critical role in providing protection against the virus, preventing illness and saving lives. The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) is following CDC and State of Nebraska guidelines to distribute the vaccine. They are committed to ensuring that everyone who lives, works or learns in Lincoln and Lancaster County can receive a vaccine. Sign up now to schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine through the LLCHD website.

Resources
For more information about safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines and answers to common questions, please see the helpful resources below:

Learn more on the LLCHD website.

School buildings will be considered for vaccination clinics based on recommendations from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department. Information about vaccination clinics held at school will be shared with families ahead of time via email.

LPS Buses

The CDC no longer requires face coverings on buses or vans operated by public or private school systems, including early child education programs.

Hand sanitizer and cleaner will be provided for each bus. Transportation staff will clean high touch surfaces on the bus at the end of each day.

StarTran Buses

From the City of Lincoln: “Masks are no longer required on StarTran buses. The decision follows an April 18 court ruling ending the national mask mandate on public transportation.”

Learn more on the StarTran website.

Infection Response

The community can view weekly positive case numbers in each building and across Lincoln Public Schools with the dashboard provided online.

Lincoln Public Schools will continue to follow policies and protocols around illnesses as found on page 13 in the Important Information Handbook. In addition, LPS established the following Quarantine and Exclusion requirements in consultation with and at the direction of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department.

Exclusion from an LPS building for illness

Following LPS policies around illnesses, if an individual has any symptoms the following is required before they can return:

  • The individual must be fever free for 24 hours without the use of medications.
  • The rash must be gone or there is a note from a medical provider which says the rash is not contagious to others.
  • The eyes are clear, with no drainage or a medical provider’s note stating the individual is not contagious.
  • No vomiting or diarrhea for 24 hours.
  • Persistent cough is resolved without the aid of cough suppressant medication.
  • Or the individual must have a note stating medical clearance from a health care provider.

Isolation and Quarantine

Each case is unique and needs to be addressed individually. The chart below provides general guidelines around isolation, but each family should work with the school nurse, and each employee should follow HR Bulletin#15 on when they can return.

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 are expected to stay home for 5 days from the date obvious symptoms appeared (fever, cough, sore throat, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell) or the date the COVID-19 test was taken. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 can return on day six if they do not have symptoms or if symptoms are resolving. Individuals shall wear a face covering for an additional 5 days.

Individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 through a close contact are expected to wear a face covering for 10 days after the close contact and should seek testing 5 days after the exposure. A close contact is someone who was less than 6 feet away from an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 for a cumulative of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

Isolation Guidance from CDC

Program-Specific

Homebound Services 

If a student has a medical need that prevents them from attending school in person, the parent should contact the special education administrator at their child’s school to request more information about Homebound Services.

Accommodations

If a parent wants special COVID-19 accommodations to be implemented, the parent should contact the school’s special education administrator to set up a meeting to discuss options.

Prekindergarten Classrooms

Prekindergarten classrooms will follow most pre-pandemic protocols. During the 2022–2023 school year, protocols may change for a specific school building, program, classroom or settings based on cases, contact tracing, community conditions and risk of spread.

All Home Visits

When there is a confirmed positive COVID-19 case in a home, LPS staff are not permitted to return to the home until:

  • 24 days from the last confirmed positive case;
  • Household members are fever-free for at least 24-hours; and
  • The family passes the LPS self-screen.

Early Intervention Services

Parental preference to continue virtual service delivery due to ease and convenience is no longer allowable due to federal requirements to provide Early Intervention Services within natural environments. A family can only choose to utilize virtual service delivery during the COVID-19 Pandemic Emergency Status if the child’s fragile/serious medical condition requires additional health protections. Because the  COVID-19 Public Health Emergency in Nebraska has ended, Early Intervention Services must return to in-person service provision for all children/families. Please contact the Early Childhood Office at 402-436-1995 with additional questions.

Coronavirus Dashboard (Updated Daily)

Please note: On August 8, the Coronavirus Dashboard will be cleared out to only report for the 2021-22 school year.

Our Coronavirus Dashboard pulls information from multiple sources to capture positive COVID-19 cases as reported by individuals to Lincoln Public Schools. 

LPS and the City of Lincoln — Working Together

Lincoln Public Schools staff continues to work collaboratively with the City of Lincoln and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) to develop plans for school operations. You can learn more about the City of Lincoln’s response to COVID-19 by visiting: https://app.lincoln.ne.gov/city/covid19/