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COVID-19 Return to Learn

Garden City Public Schools Return to In-person Safety and Mitigation Measures FAQs

Cougar Circle 2019 azure blue and what is called dark orange

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Must facial coverings always be worn by staff except for meals?
    • All staff of GCPS are required to wear face coverings except while eating, unless medically unable to do so. Staff may use cloth masks from home that are washed daily or a disposable surgical mask.  Staff members who do not have a mask will be provided one.
  • Must facial coverings be worn in classrooms by all students grades preK -26?
    • All students in grades preK-26 are required to wear a mask while in the classroom. Students may wear a cloth mask from home or a disposable mask.  Students who do not have a mask will be provided one.  Students who are medically unable to do so, must have a doctor's note.  Cloth masks must be washed daily and disposable type surgical masks must be thrown out after the end of the school day at home. 
  • Burger students that are cognitively and medically able will also wear masks. Students may wear a cloth mask from home or a disposable mask. Students who do not have a mask will be provided one.  Students who are medically unable to do so, must have a doctor's note.
  • Are bandanas or neck gaiters acceptable facial coverings?
    • Bandanas and neck gaiters are not approved for use during transportation or while in the school building.
  • Must facial coverings always be worn in hallways and common areas by preK-26 students in the building except for during meals?
    • Yes, while in hallways and common areas, all preK-26 students will wear face coverings. Masks may be removed during breakfast, lunch and to drink.
  • Must facial coverings be worn by preK-26 students, staff, and bus drivers during school transportation?
    • Yes, preK-26 students, staff and bus drivers will wear a mask while riding the bus. Masks are a requirement for boarding the bus.  Masks will be available onboard for any student who does not have a mask.
  • Will preK-6 and special education teachers wear clear masks?
    • GSRP (Pre School), preK-6 teachers and special education teachers will have clear masks available for use when working with students.
  • Will facial coverings be considered for pre-K-5 students and students with special needs in class- rooms?
    • All preK-6 students will wear masks while in classrooms. Special needs students in grades preK-6 who are medically able to do so will wear a mask.  The District will follow guidelines from the Michigan Department of Education for students with significant disabilities.
  • Will facial coverings be considered for preK students and students with special needs in hallways and common areas?
    • While in hallways and common areas, preK students and students with special needs will wear face coverings if medically able to do so. Students with significant disabilities in the Burger Center Based Program for Students with Autism will be cohorted and kept socially distanced from one another to the extent possible. Students in this program who are able to wear a mask will do so.  The District will follow guidance from the Michigan Department of Education in support of these students. Staff and students have been informed that homemade and cloth face coverings must be washed daily.  Disposable and surgical type face coverings need to be disposed of at the end of each day.

Spacing, Movement and Access

  • Will school space desks six feet apart in classrooms?
    • With current staffing, class sizes and the number of students who have elected in-person instruction, social distancing of six feet is not feasible.
  • Will teachers maintain six feet of spacing between themselves and students as much as possible OR have a plexiglass barrier installed between teacher and students?
    • All teachers will be provided with a plexiglass barrier. The teacher desk will be placed as far as possible from student desks.
  • In classrooms where large tables are utilized, will students be spaced as far apart as feasible?
    • In GSRP and in classrooms with work at tables, students will be spaced as far apart as possible. Students will be masked and these classrooms will function as strict cohorts. 
  • Will teachers arrange all desks facing the same direction toward the front of the classroom?
    • Classrooms utilizing desks will have all desks facing the same direction.
  • Will floor tape or other markers be used at six- foot intervals where line formation is anticipated?
    • Floor tape and stenciled markers will be utilized where line up of students is anticipated. For Elementary buildings, spray painted cougar paw print stencils at 6' intervals will be utilized where students are expected to line up in the morning.  Tape will also be used to mark intervals.
  • Will schools provide social distancing floor/seating markings in waiting and reception areas?
    • Office areas have distancing markings stating "Stand here/wait here" to let visitors in the office know where to stand and not congregate.
  • Will family members or other guests be allowed in the school building?
    • Family members will not be allowed into the school or beyond the office unless there is an extenuating circumstance. Screening will be necessary for entry.
  • Will all adult guests entering the building be screened for symptoms, wear a facial covering, and wash/sanitize hands prior to entering? Will strict records, including date and time, be kept of non-school employees or other visitors entering and exiting the building?
    • To enter the office area, completion of a COVID-19 Screener is necessary. Guests need to be masked and utilize the hand sanitizer station.  Sign in and Sign out is required. Visitors beyond the office will be limited to guest teachers and contractors required to perform maintenance work.  These individuals will complete the screener provided by the Wayne County Department of Health.
  • If a classroom has windows that can open, will they be open as much as possible, weather permitting?
    • Weather permitting, classroom windows will be kept open to assist with air flow.
  • Will efforts be made to keep six feet of distance between people in the hallways?
    • Movement of elementary classrooms from one part of the building to the next will be staggered by cohort. This includes class bathroom breaks and recess.  Secondary buildings will stagger dismissal per hall to limit crowding.
  • When able and appropriate, will schools try to cohort groups of students to isolated hallways or areas that can be monitored?
    • Strict cohorting of students is in place for elementary students and for students in the Burger Center Based Program for Students with Autism. Areas of extra space have been identified including student commons areas and gym lobby areas.  Supervision will be in place when students are cohorted.
  • Will staff monitor arrival and dismissal to discourage congregating and ensure students go straight from a vehicle to their classrooms and vice-versa?
    • Congregation of students is discouraged and students are not to assemble on property before or after school unless supervised for a school sanctioned event. At dismissal times, students are expected to exit the building and either board the bus or leave the property.  Building principals will supervise arrival and dismissal to discourage congregating.
  • Will flow of foot traffic be directed in only one direction? If one-way flow is not possible, will hallways be divided with either side following the same direction?
    • One-way hallways will be used where possible. If not feasible, hallways will be divided and taped to indicate traffic flow.  Students will walk on the right side of the hall and not cross the centerline as they move throughout the building.
  • Will entrances and exits be kept separate to keep traffic moving in a single direction?
    • The school infrastructure and lay out does not enable us to keep entrances and exits separate. Bus drop offs will be used for arrival entry in the morning and for dismissal in the afternoon.  Main access to the office vestibule is a single point entry.
  • Will “specials” (like Art, Music, and Library) be brought to the classrooms instead of having students move to different locations?
    • Elementary specials teachers for Art, Music, and Technology will push into These teachers will be equipped with the appropriate PPE and will follow requirements and guidelines to minimize sharing of materials.
  • Will signs be posted on the doors of restrooms to indicate proper social distancing and hand hygiene techniques?
    • Signage is in restrooms and on doors indicating recommended hand washing routines and distancing.
  • Where possible, will physical education be held outside and social distancing of six feet be practiced?
    • Weather permitting, PE classes will take place outside. If held indoors, PE classes will be held in the gym or multipurpose room with adequate space to spread students out and maintain distanc
  • Will there be assigned seats in the classrooms?
    • Teachers will have seating charts for each class to assist with contact tracing if necessary. Each elementary student will have his/her own desk.
  • Will there be fresh air or mask breaks during the school day?
    • Teachers may use discretion as needed to take student cohorts outside for a five minute mask break.


  • Will the District provide adequate supplies to support healthy hygiene behaviors?
    • Supplies for healthy hygiene will be provided and available. This includes soap, 60% alcohol hand sanitizer, paper towels, tissue and also signage that describes proper hand washing techniques: wet, lather, scrub - 20 seconds, rinse and dry.
  • Will the District teach and reinforce hand washing with soap and water?
    • Staff will reinforce proper hand washing techniques and hand sanitizing techniques with students.
  • Does the District have portable hand washing and/or hand sanitizing stations set up throughout school buildings?
    • Hand sanitizing stations are installed in numerous areas including entry ways at each building.
  • Will the District systematically and frequently check and refill soap and hand sanitizers?
    • Custodial and Buildings & Grounds staff will regularly check and refill soap and hand sanitizer.
  • Will students and teachers have scheduled hand washing with soap and water every 2-3 hours?
    • Hand washing routines and hand washing breaks will be built into the schedule. Elementary buildings will utilize classroom sinks to manage hand washing routines with students.
  • Will the District educate staff and students on how to cough and sneeze into their elbows, or to cover with a tissue? Will used tissues be thrown in the trash and hands washed immediately using proper hand hygiene techniques?
    • Videos and other material will be used for educating staff and students how to properly cough and sneeze into their elbows or a tissue. Staff will enforce disposal of used tissues with students.
  • Should students limit sharing of personal items and supplies such as writing utensils?
    • Sharing of materials is discouraged and students will use their own pencils, pens, etc. If a student needs supplies for a particular lesson or assignment, those supplies will be provided and used by that student only.
  • Will students’ keep personal items separate and in individually labeled cubbies, containers, or lockers?
    • Student lockers will be utilized only when they do not need to be shared on a building basis. The District will avoid having students share lockers.  In the event individual lockers are not available, individual student materials and supplies will be kept in their own containers.  Student backpacks can be placed on the back of their chairs. Clarity of student item storage will be provided by building.
  • Will schools limit the use of classroom materials to small groups and disinfect between use, or provide adequate supplies to assign for individual student use?
    • Where possible, students will be assigned their own supplies and materials to utilize for individual use. Items that are shared in small groups will be disinfected between groups.
  • Will students have the opportunity to wash and/or sanitize their hands during the day?
    • All classrooms will establish a hand washing/hand sanitization schedule.

Screening Students and Staff

  • Should students and staff conduct daily self-examinations, including a temperature check, prior to coming to work?
    • Prior to reporting to work or school, staff and students will complete the Wayne County Health Department COVID-19 Screener which includes a temperature self-check. Symptomatic staff or students will stay home and report their absence.
  • Has every school identified and designated a quarantine area and a staff person to care for students who become ill at school?
    • Yes, each school building has an identified quarantine room for ill students. Students placed in this room will be masked and their parents will be notified to pick them up.  Staff assigned to this room will be equipped with the appropriate PPE, including N95 masks for those individuals that require them.  Other PPE in this room will include gowns, surgical masks, gloves and touchless thermometers.
  • Should symptomatic students sent home from school be kept home until they have tested negative or have completely recovered according to CDC guidelines?
    • Symptomatic students will be kept home until they produce a negative COVID-19 test, and are recovered according to CDC guidelines or have a doctor's release to return. Until a student can meet the requirements to return, homework must be done and submitted online.
  • Will a monitoring form (paper or electronic) for screening employees be used every day?
    • Yes, screeners consistent with the Wayne County Health Department are in use by the District and employees complete them before reporting to work.
  • Should families check their child’s temperature at home every morning using oral, tympanic, or temporal scanners?
    • Yes, based on the recommendations from the Wayne County Department of Health, the District will require families to check their child's temperature at home every morning using an oral, tympanic, or temporal scanner. Students with a temperature of 100.4 or greater will be required to stay home and consider COVID-19 testing if other symptoms are present.
  • Will families be asked to monitor their children for symptoms of COVID-19?
    • Families have been encouraged and directed to regularly monitor their students for symptoms of COVID-19. Health Screeners from the Wayne County Department of Health have been sent out electronically to families and families have been instructed to monitor for the listed symptoms.
  • Will the District cooperate with the local public health department regarding implementing protocols for screening students and staff?
    • The District will follow the guidelines and recommendations of the Wayne County Department of Health in regard to staff and student screening.

Busing and Student Transportation

  • Will the District require the use of hand sanitizer before entering the bus? Will hand sanitizer be supplied on the bus?
    • Yes, and hand sanitizer stations have been mounted to the entry way of each bus.
  • Will the bus driver, staff, and all students in grades preK-26, if medically feasible, must wear facial coverings while on the bus?
    • The driver, bus aides, school staff and preK-26 students riding the bus, including students with special needs, will wear a face covering if medically feasible. Each bus will have disposable masks available for students who do not possess a mask.
  • Will the District clean and disinfect transportation vehicles before and after every transit route?
    • Yes, but no students will be on board when school staff sanitize the bus.
  • Will the District clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in the vehicle prior to morning routes and prior to afternoon routes?
    • The driver and bus aide will clean and disinfect cockpit area touch points, hard seats, arm rests, door handles, buckles, light and air controls, doors and windows, grab handles and handrails. This cleaning will take place in the evening prior to the AM run and again midday before the afternoon runs begin.
  • Will the District clean, sanitize, and disinfect equipment including items such as car seats, wheelchairs, walkers, and adaptive equipment being transported to schools daily?
    • Bus drivers and bus aides will disinfect and clean special transportation equipment like car seats, wheel chairs, walkers, adaptive equipment and harnesses. Cleaning of this special equipment will take place daily or in between usage if used by multiple students.
  • Will drivers keep doors and windows open when cleaning the vehicle and between trips to let the vehicles thoroughly air out?
    • Weather and safety permitting, the windows and doors of buses will be kept open when cleaning to promote ventilation in between routes.
  • Will drivers keep windows open while the vehicles are in motion to help reduce spread of the virus by increasing air circulation?
    • Weather and safety permitting, while the bus is in motion on a run with students, windows will be kept open to increase airflow and circulation.
  • What is the plan for getting students home safely if they are not allowed to board the school bus?
    • If a student is not allowed to board a bus, the driver will notify transportation and emergency contacts will be called to notify the parent of the situation. The driver or staff member will make sure the student is supervised until the parent arrives.
  • If a student becomes sick during the day, will they be able to use group transportation to return home?
    • If a student is sick during the school day, they will not be transported home by District transportation. Parents will be notified and they will pick up the student.  If the student has severe symptoms, 911 will be contacted.  Students will not be bussed until a child has been symptom free for 24 hours.

Food Service, Gathering, and Extracurricular Activities 

  • Will the District prohibit indoor assemblies that bring together students from more than one classroom?
    • Yes, there will be no indoor assemblies that bring together students for more than one class. Activities like the homecoming dance, book fairs, fund raiser assemblies, etc. will not be held during the current phase of the pandemic.
  • Will school-supplied meals be delivered to classrooms with disposable utensils?
    • Elementary buildings, the Burger Center Based Program for Students with Autism, and the Cambridge Alternative High School will all have meals delivered to classrooms with disposable utensils. All utensils and meal service containers served to students will be disposable.
  • Will classrooms or outdoor areas be used for students to eat meals at school, if distancing guidelines cannot be met OR if cafeterias must be used, will meal times be staggered to create seating arrangements with six feet of distance between students?
    • Elementary students will eat in their classrooms or possibly outdoors if weather permits. For Garden City Middle School and Garden City High School, social distancing will be in place for lunch seating. Extra space beyond the cafeteria will be used to expand seating.  This includes the student commons and gym lobby areas.
  • Will serving and cafeteria staff use barrier protection including gloves, face shields, and surgical masks?
    • Food service staff will utilize the appropriate and required PPE, including gloves, face shields, and masks.
  • Will students, teachers, and food service staff wash hands before and after every meal and before and after every event?
    • Students, Teachers and Food Service staff will wash their hands regularly including before and after meals and events.
  • Will recess be conducted outside whenever possible with appropriate social distancing and cohorting of students? If more than one class is outside, students should wear facial coverings?
    • Elementary classrooms will have set schedules for recess time and cohorts will remain together in separately designated areas of the playground(s). If more than one cohort is on the same playground area then students will remain masked.
  • Can extracurricular activities continue with the use of facial coverings?
    • Supervised extracurricular activities may continue with small groups of students wearing masks and for official school events or clubs. If possible, these events will be held outdoors.  If indoors, social distancing and small groups will be in place for purposes of mitigation.
  • Will large scale assemblies of more than 50 students be suspended?
    • The District's buildings will not hold large scale assemblies of more than 50 students.
  • Will off-site field trips that require bus transportation to an indoor location be suspended?
    • There will be no off-site field trips that require transportation to indoor locations.

Testing Protocols for Students and Staff and Responding to Positive Cases

  • Will Garden City Public Schools cooperate with the local public health department regarding implementing protocols for screening students and staff?
    • Garden City Public Schools will cooperate with the Wayne County Department of Health and will utilize the provided and approved screeners. Staff will complete the screener including the temperature check before reporting to work.  Families will administer the screener including the temperature check before sending their student to school or to the bus stop.
  • What happens when a student who develops a fever or becomes ill with COVID-19 symptoms at school?
    • Students exhibiting a fever or other symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will be masked and kept in the Quarantine Room until they are able to be picked up by their parent, guardian or emergency contact. If they exhibit severe symptoms or are clinically unstable, EMS will be contacted.
  • What happens when a staff develops a fever or becomes ill with COVID-19 symptoms at school?
    • Staff who become ill with symptoms of COVID-19 while at work will continue to wear a mask until they leave the premises. In the event they are unable to transport themselves, their emergency contact will be secured or EMS will be contacted.
  • Will symptomatic students and staff be sent home from school?
    • Symptomatic students and staff that are sent home from school will not be allowed to return to the school setting until they have tested negative for COVID-19, or have been released from isolation by their doctor according to CDC guidelines.
  • Will families be notified of the presence of any laboratory positive or clinically diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in the classroom and/or school?
    • The District will use the forms provided by Wayne RESA to notify families of Positive/Clinically Diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in the classroom and/or school to encourage closer observation for any symptoms at home.


  • Will frequently touched surfaces including light switches, doors, benches, bathrooms, undergo cleaning at least every four hours with either an EPA-approved disinfectant or diluted bleach solution?
    • Custodial staff will clean and sanitize frequently touched surfaces at least every four hours. These surfaces include light switches, doors, benches, bathrooms, faucet knobs and flush handles.  Cleaning staff will use an EPA approved disinfectant. 
  • Will student desks must be wiped down with either an EPA-approved disinfectant or diluted bleach solution after every class period?
    • School staff will wipe down student desks with an EPA approved disinfectant after every class period. Staff will be equipped with the appropriate PPE equipment to conduct cleaning.
  • Must staff must wear gloves, surgical mask, and face shield when performing all cleaning activities?
    • When performing cleaning, staff will wear gloves, surgical mask and a face shield.
  • Will libraries, computer labs, arts, and other hands-on classrooms undergo special cleaning?
    • In between cohorts of students visiting other classrooms, like art, computer labs, library or other hands-on areas, these areas will be cleaned with an EPA approved disinfectant. Any shared PE equipment will also be cleaned/disinfected between cohorts.
  • Will playground structures undergo normal routine cleaning?
    • Custodial staff will continue to perform regular cleaning and maintenance of playground equipment.
  • Will the District ensure safe and correct use and storage of cleaning and disinfection products, including storing products securely away from children, and with adequate ventilation when staff use products?
    • Staff will ensure that cleaning and disinfectant equipment is secured safely and out of reach of students. Staff will be mindful of proper ventilation when cleaning, and weather-permitting, will keep windows open when disinfecting classrooms.


  • Will the District comply with all guidance published by Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)?
    • The District will comply with all guidance and directives from the MHSAA. This includes any and all guidance related to the safety of athletes and the guidelines for spectators at competitive events.
  • Will students, teachers, and staff use proper hand hygiene techniques before and after every practice, event, or other gathering?
    • Students, Teachers, Staff and Athletes will follow proper hand hygiene practices before every event, practice and competition. Coaches and the Athletic Director will ensure that there is an adequate supply of hand sanitizer available and all participants will be administered a health screener confirming that they are healthy and without symptoms prior to all events, practices and competitions.
  • During training, will all equipment be disinfected before and after use?
    • Coaches and trainers will ensure that all equipment is disinfected and cleaned between team usage and before and after events.
  • Are facial coverings mandated during school provided transportation to athletic events?
    • Staff, Teachers, Coaches and Athletes will all wear masks while being transported to athletic events. Consistent with transportation practices, they will also sanitize their hands before entry to the bus.  Buses will be cleaned and disinfected before and after transportation to athletic events.
  • Will spectators be mandated to wear facial coverings and maintain six feet of social distancing at all times?
    • Hosting of spectators at athletic events is consistent with guidelines from the MHSAA. All spectators both indoors and outdoors will be masked.  The bleachers have been marked with X's to guide spectators with 6' of social distancing.  Capacity at events remains limited to the current guidelines set forth in the executive orders.  Entry gates are manned by a staff member to ensure that crowding does not occur.
  • How will each participant maintain hydration during athlete training or contests?
    • Each athlete/participant will use their own clearly marked water bottle for individual use and will not share this equipment.
  • Can handshakes, fist bumps, and other unnecessary contact occur?
    • Athletes will follow the guidelines from the MHSAA and handshakes, fist bumps and other forms of celebratory contact will not occur.
  • Are indoor weight rooms and physical conditioning activities that require shared equipment suspended? Are outdoor physical conditioning activities allowed while maintaining social distancing?
    • Use of indoor weight rooms and shared physical conditioning equipment remains suspended. Outdoor physical conditioning is allowed with social distancing in place.
  • Are large scale outdoor or indoor spectator events are suspended?
    • Large scale outdoor spectator or stadium events are limited to 100 people, and people not part of the same household must maintain six feet of distance from one another. Indoor and outdoor events are limited in capacity and consistent with the Executive Order. Spectators to indoor and outdoor events remain limited to two guests per athlete.  Guests not from the same household are to remain six feet apart at all times.

Responding to Positive Tests Among Staff and Students

  • Must all schools, public and private, cooperate with the local public health department if a confirmed case of COVID-19 is identified, and in particular, provide the health department with names and contact numbers for COVID positive staff and students and their close contacts if known?
    • Garden City Public Schools will continue to partner with the Wayne County Department of Health. We will refer to the Return to School Roadmap and FAQs put out by the department.  We will use our seating charts, class lists and other information from the student database to provide useful information to the department.
  • Will Garden City Public schools notify local health officials, staff, and students immediately of any possible case of COVID-19 while maintaining confidentiality consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other applicable federal and state privacy laws?
    • The Wayne County Department of Health will be notified of possible COVID-19 cases. Information will be kept confidential and consistent with ADA, HIPAA, and FERPA guidance.
  • When can employees with a confirmed case of COVID- return to the workplace?
    • Employees that were out of work with COVID-19 will only return to work when they have tested negative and/or been cleared by their physician that they are safe to return. The District's Human Resources Department will correspond with employees to confirm that it is safe for them to return.

Additional Mitigation Strategies

  • Do students have access to student desk shields/PPE?
    • Elementary, secondary, and Burger Program students are provided with a three-sided student desk shield made of transparent plastic.  This will not be a substitute for wearing a mask but will be used in addition to mask wearing in the classroom as an added layer of mitigation.
  • Are there HEPA Filters for each classroom?
    • The District has purchased HEPA filters for each classroom to improve airflow and circulation.


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  • Exposure Determination for Garden City Public Schools.pdf
    document _recordid 1456
  • Garden City Public Schools Remote Work Policy.pdf
    document _recordid 1455
  • GCPS COVID-19 Mitigation and Safety FAQs
    document _recordid 1412
  • Community Update - October 13, 2020
    document _recordid 1411
  • COVID-19​ Preparedness and Response Plan
    document _recordid 1390
    document _recordid 1389

Support2 documents

  • Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event
    document _recordid 1365
  • Tips for Supporting Student Wellness During COVID-19
    document _recordid 1364


  • MDHHS Directive regarding the Dashboard Reporting
    document _recordid 1408