Quick Links
Skip to main contentSkip to navigation

Southwest Public Schools



Ajax Loading Image


Return to School Protocols and Plan

Revised December 13, 2022

Southwest Public Schools


Red Willow County, Nebraska


Return to School Protocols and Plan





The Southwest Public Schools plan for a safe return to school is based on the current status of conditions within the Southwest Nebraska Public Health District and Southwest Public Schools. This plan may change is there is an identified high risk of spread within the community, school building, program or classroom.


This document will include particular precautions and protocols for schools in the communities in Bartley (6-12) and Indianola (PK-5). Supplementary items will include our activity protocols, correspondence drafted and sent to each family (as well as posted on the school website, as we continually adapt to introduced protocols and changes to directives from the NDE, the Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department, the CDC, DHM's, and any other entities that may provide updated guidance.


Primary Contacts:

Superintendent                 R.  Todd Porter                 900  Coke St.      Bartley, NE 69020                308-692-3223
Secondary                          Principal Matt Springer 900 Coke St.       Bartley, NE 69020                308-692-3223
Elementary                        Principal Tara Fries          719 E. St.             Indianola, NE 69034                308-364-2613


Due to declining enrollment since each facility was built, the elementary facility is not at full capacity of approximately 200 students (currently 150), and the Jr/Sr High School facility could allow an enrollment of roughly 400 (currently 130). They are, therefore, not near at or over full capacity in terms of daily enrollment.


Only students and staff will be admitted to each facility during the school day, other than normal delivery personnel or other specialists or parents for normal school business only. Each building has a "buzz-in" system, so only identifiable individuals will be allowed in and must register and may be asked (if current conditions change) if they have experienced any of the common symptoms that may exist with Covid-19, such as body aches, cough, sneezing, diarrhea, and temperatures will be taken. 100.4 will be the level where exclusion protocol will be started.

The school will educate our attendees about the local health department's current guidance such as:

  • Physical distancing
  • Hand washing
  • Staying at home if sick
  • Proper wearing of a cloth mask or face covering (not required/recommended at this time)
  • Other safety guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus
  • If parents want to investigate local vaccination sites or possible Covid-19 screening, they should go to https://www.swhealth.ne.gov/featured/1


Methods used will be: (as conditions change)

  • School website
  • Social media channels
  • At ticket purchasing sites during events Emails and push notifications
  • Signage on-site
  • Event registration and check-in (only if conditions change)


All students and staff will have the procedures for potential spread of coronavirus reviewed in groups of less than 50 prior to school opening. Memos will be sent to student's homes regarding daily operations. Parent meeting will be held prior to school opening for guidelines regarding attendance at extracurricular activities, which follow NSAA recommendations. Outlines will have been placed on the school website, www.swpschools.org.

  • The school does have plans for maintaining physical distancing (6 feet rule) and avoid increasing the risk of coronavirus transmission for severe weather, evacuation plans, shelter in place plans, and events or gatherings may be cancelled due to inclement weather. There are no mandates for this at this time.
  • In case of tornadic or stormy weather, we will locate students in several different safe locations throughout each school, not packing all students into one or two locations such as locker rooms. A gathering may also be called due to snow or ice, but students would not be required to attend school. If sent home early, students would be sent in adequate numbers of vehicles to maximize the most social distancing possible. There are no mandates for this at this time.


School Administration will work as a team to form an Infection Control Mitigation Team, which will:

  • Coordinate and communicate with the local health department to help implement public health guidance.
  • Ensure that existing safety plans are modified for compatibility with new health plans and current public health guidance.
  • Help create worker training that applies current information about hazards and infection control measures, including social distancing, hand washing, temperature checking, and disinfecting high-touch surfaces.


Practices for Healthy Workers and Volunteers used for our school sites may include (if required): Please note that we will follow the most current guidelines in place. There are no directives from the local health department at this time.

  • Physical Distancing is being followed. Workers and volunteers maintain at least 6 feet (about 2 meters) from the person closest to them. Where a task cannot be accomplished working alone, workers can limit their exposure by forming a "work team" in which people routinely work together, but they keep their distance from everyone else.
  • Sanitation and Disinfection Procedures have been increased and proper cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer are available. 
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) protocols are in place and PPE is available for workers and volunteers. Employers should ensure that in addition to face coverings and other appropriate PPE, workers, volunteers, vendors, and independent contractors have PPE appropriate for their work. PPE will not be provided by the local health department.
  • Fever (100.4 F) and Symptom Screening are in place for employees and volunteers. Screenings are being logged/recorded. Staff will all be prepared to take temperatures but it will not be a requirement at this time.
  • Employees and volunteers who are running a temperature (100.4 F) or showing symptoms (see: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html) are sent home to isolate and encouraged to be tested for COVID-19. They will not be allowed to return to work until authorized by the local health department or they have been home for a minimum of 10 days since symptom onset and 3 days have passed with no fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications) and with improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., improved cough. no shortness of breath). At this time staff and the public is strongly encouraged to follow the advice of their own health care provider regarding treatment or vaccinations.



  • Employees with COVID-19 are paid sick leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act until the Act expires or is renewed due to updated conditions.


The District will work with our local health department when possible responding to and investigating any positive cases of COVID-19 associated with any school attendance or activities in buildings or venues. We will conduct the following procedures to protect workers' and students' health:

  • At this time, individual temperatures and protective devices are not required.
  • If condition change and health measure and directives change, each employee and student may be temperature  tested  at least twice daily, once at the beginning  of the day, once at lunch, and once before extracurricular activities. All protective devices and well as sanitation equipment available have been purchased and provided to each site as well as vehicles. Foggers, sprayers, wiping equipment, gloves, masks, shield, goggles, and all equipment that can sanitize desk, tables  floors, windows, carpets, and equipment are readily available and personnel has been trained on their use. Water fountains will/may be used but bottle fillers will be encouraged  for  all.  Individual  bottles  will  be provided for those who need them if they become mandated, as well as masks if requested.



Southwest Public Schools will continually sanitize and disinfect our facilities and vehicles (although Covid-19 conditions have changed, we will continue sanitation procedures to mitigate all viruses)

  • Public Areas (lobby, hallways, dining and food service areas) such as: Door handles, handrails, push plates, Bike rack or other barricades the public may touch, Handrails for stairs, ramps, and escalators, Elevator buttons - inside and out, Reception desks and ticket counters, Telephones, Point of Sale terminals, and other keypads, Tables and chairs, including highchairs and booster seats, Beverage stations, water fountains, vending and ice machines, Trash receptacle touch points.
  • Restrooms (front and back of house as well as portable units) such as: Door handles and push plates, sink faucets and counters, and toilet handles, Lids of containers for disposal of women's sanitary products, Soap dispensers and towel dispenser handles, Baby changing stations, Trash receptacle touch points.
  • Back of House Offices, Dressing Areas, Green Rooms, Production Areas such as: Individual office and other room furniture, Door handles, push plates, doorways, railings, Light switches and thermostats, Cabinet handles, Telephones, computers, other keypads, mouse, Microphones, Backstage and technical equipment, Trash receptacle touch points.
  • Back of House Kitchen and Food Preparation Areas such as: Handles of all kitchen equipment doors, cabinets, push pads, Counter surfaces, Light switches, Handles of beverage and towel dispensers, Handles of sinks, including hand washing sink and mop sink, Cleaning tools and buckets, Trash receptacle touch points.


Southwest Public Schools has reviewed and will follow the CDC Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility Guidelines at all possible times. Custodial staff has designed a schedule to check off when and where each area has been cleaned and disinfected. (The use of anti-viral foggers will continue to be used daily as well as other sanitation procedures. We will continue to monitor updates when needed)

  • These activities will be part of our daily routine. Each member of our staff has been thoroughly instructed on covering every area of the school and vehicles. Principals and Superintendents will visually check and get verbal reports from custodial and transportation staff daily. Each custodian will establish a routine of which area is cleaned and how often each day. Bus drivers will be required to sanitize each vehicle after each route before they are considered done for the route and/or day. (Playground equipment and physical education play equipment will not be required to be sanitized unless required by updated guidance)


We may promote the use of cloth face covering or masks (this requirement is not currently in place and will not be added unless recommendations from the Southwest Public Health Department or community conditions require it) by attendees by:


(All below will not be required unless directed by updated health mandates or NSAA regulations)

  • Encourage cloth face coverings and masks in pre-event ticketing, invitations, and social media.
  • Display the event's health rules before and during the event, including promoting cloth face coverings.
  • Provide masks for attendees


We will provide opportunities for attendees to wash and sanitize their hands while in our facilities and vehicles:

  • Stations with either soap and water or hand sanitizer containing at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol are provided at all entry points.
  • Stations with either soap and water or sanitizer containing at least 150% ethanol or 70% isopropanol are provided at other well-marked and illuminated locations throughout the venue.
  • Assigned team members responsible for regularly checking and refilling supplies.



(All below will not be required unless directed by updated health mandates or NSAA regulations)

To maintain 6-feet of physical distance between attendees, we will schedule attendee arrival times and locations. To manage lines and keep people 6-feet apart we will:

  • Display the event's health rules before and during the event, including social distancing requirements and face covering guidelines.
  • Lines marked on the ground at the event - depending on the surface painters tape, spray chalk, and spray paint can work.
  • Fencing and Bike Racks may be used
  • Face coverings will be recommended
  • Cohorts/podding may be used if necessary


(All below will not be required unless directed by updated health mandates or NSAA regulations)

Screening procedures that we will have in place to minimize the chance of ill attendees participating in our gathering or events will include:

  • In the days leading up to the event, proactively ask attendees to stay home from the gathering, event, or venue if they are ill or have symptoms (including: fever, sore throat, dry persistent cough, shortness of breath, new loss of taste or smell, etc.).
  • Provide all workers who are helping with screenings at the event with appropriate PPE, as advised by our local health department. (We understand procuring PPE for this event, gathering or venue is the host/organizer's responsibility).
  • At the event ask attendees to report symptoms (including: fever, sore throat, dry persistent cough, shortness of breath, new loss of taste or smell). See https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html
  • Temperature check by thermometer at the event.
  • Immediately send anyone home to isolate who is symptomatic and strongly encourage them to be tested for COVID-19.
  • Temperature check by attendee disclosure



We will stagger exits/departures to maintain 6-feet of physical distance between attendees by:

  • Display the event's health rules before and during the event, including social distancing requirements and departure instructions.
  • Workers and volunteers present to assure attendees understand the procedure and comply with social distancing requirements until they are in their vehicles or otherwise outside the venue.


(All below will not be required unless directed by updated health mandates or NSAA regulations)

To recap procedures for arrivals and departures:


Arrivals for students will be explained before school begins. Students who are arriving for an activity must come in one entrance and will be checked at that time. Patrons will be asked to use one entrance for entry and two for exit to allow for quicker exits. Families must meet students outside of facility after events. Guidelines about social distancing, signs of illness, entry and exit procedures will be posted throughout the school and explained to parents at activity meeting. Exit from the facility will be expedited by asking people to leave the facility for sanitizing immediately following activity via public address system.


We will manage access to restrooms that allow attendees to maintain as much distance as possible in the size of our facilities by:

  • Staff will monitor waiting area to preserve appropriate space between attendees.
  • Staff will monitor waiting area to preserve an easily discernible line to avoid conflict about where the line begins.


(All below will not be required unless directed by updated health mandates or NSAA regulations)

To maintain seating and 6 feet of physical distancing between individuals and groups, as well as manage admission to maintain 6 feet of physical distance between individuals and groups, we will:

  • Remove or tape off seats in order to maintain 6-feet distance.
  • Staff will monitor and help attendees maintain 6-feet distance at choke points such as entrances and exits, hallways, concessions, merchants, and restroom areas.
  • Messaging to attendees before and during the event through electronic messaging and physical signage.
  • Rope barriers and stanchions or bike racks to physically separate attendees.
  • Open areas patrolled by workers performing the guest services functions of providing information, enforcing rules, and modeling healthy behavior.
  • Messaging by the performer or announcer during the event.

We will offer food and beverage service that follow the current restaurant guidelines in Nebraska's Directed Health Measures:   https://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx

At this time there are no restrictions

We understand that:


Self-serve buffets and salad bars are not prohibited.


All workers may wear face coverings (cloth masks) that are washable. Worker masks must be laundered or replaced daily. Workers must wash hands before and after putting on the face mask and after every time they touch it. Select all that apply that will be in your plan.

  • We will educate our workers on how to safely use masks.
  • We will provide facemasks for workers.
  • We will not require all workers to wear masks. (only if updated health directives require them)


Whenever possible, food service workers should NOT perform multiple roles (Example - servers should not also take money). Venues must ensure proper training for food service workers with new or altered duties. Select all that apply that will be in your plan.

  • Employees will be trained in their duties.

No merchants will be allowed at our school sites


We will train concession stand workers that masks and gloves must be worn at all times only if health directives require such actions.


Social Distancing for musicians will be ensured by: (Only if updated health measures require)

  • Performance space, including on stage and in orchestra pits, are being arranged to maximize social distancing while allowing at least some of them to perform together.


Social Distancing will be encouraged and reinforced if health directives should be updated to require such actions:

  • Workers may wear face coverings when they do not interfere with essential work functions, particularly when they cannot maintain social distance.

We will control the risk associated with high-touch equipment by:

  • Plans in place to frequently sanitize items such as motor controllers, microphones, mic stands, presentation remotes, and audio/video cable. (If required)
  • Equipment will be dedicated to individual users where possible. (if required)

In considerations of use of heavy equipment and equipment deliveries, the district will:

  • We are not able to designate one operator for each piece of equipment such as tractors, forklifts, boom lifts, and scissor lifts.
  • Delivery truck drivers will receive the same screening and follow the same health procedures as other workers (only if updated mandates are issued).
  • Deliveries will be schedule to minimize the time workers load and unload close together (only if updated mandates are issued).



Southwest Public Schools intends to follow recommendations of the Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department, The Launch Nebraska Planning a Safe return to School in Nebraska, and NSAA guidelines to every extent possible in our situation. If we are unsure of a situation, we will contact the Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department, The Department of Education, or the NSAA for further guidance. Accommodations will be made will be made for children with disabilities with respect to health and safety policies