How many students and staff will be expected to return to campus if permission is given by Governor Cuomo to reopen schools in our regions?
Our plan has been developed with a focus on health and safety, to support all students in grades K-12 in a hybrid model of instruction. Universal Pre-Kindergarten will operate as a half day program. Students in grades K-12 will engage in a blended learning model with in-person instruction occurring two days a week. All school staff are expected to return to service.
In order to maximize the space available for student instruction and to maximize our ability to maintain 6-feet of social distance to the greatest extent possible, we plan to reopen our schools in a hybrid model of instruction and offer a remote only learning option (RLO).
Students in grades K-12 will be divided alphabetically and attend on Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday. These groups will be delineated as gray or red groups. Students will learn remotely on Wednesdays.
How will students and staff be screened to assure safety? How will students be tested for COVID-19
There will be daily health screenings for all students and staff. These must be completed prior to arrival and all students and staff must take their temperature at home. Anyone with a fever of 100.0 F, or higher or who has a positive answer on the daily health screening, will be required to stay home.
The Department of Health guidance serves as the mandatory baseline of health and safety protocols for school districts to follow. Testing is part of a continuum of mitigation efforts that includes mandatory daily temperature checks and other additional screening, testing for symptomatic individuals or exposures and contact tracing in the event of a positive case.
The district has a plan in place in which any positive cases will be tracked through established contact tracing protocols and in coordination with the local health department.
If anyone has or is suspected of having COVID-19 symptoms, they will be referred to their primary care physician, urgent care center or the County Health Department to be directed to a testing site.
In the event that a large-scale testing will need to be conducted at the school, the district administration will work directly with the County Health Department. The district will consult and work closely with the County Health Department on a case by case basis.
According to the Center for Disease Control, symptoms of infection include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
In addition to the symptoms above, parents and school staff should watch for additional signs of potential infection, including: flushed cheeks, rapid or difficulty breathing (without recent physical activity), fatigue, irritability or frequent use of the bathroom.
All staff should self screen at home. Staff will be asked to take their temperature and complete an online screening questionnaire online.
Bus drivers, bus monitors and day custodial workers who are unable to complete the self screening at home will complete their screening via the bus garage.
Instructional staff that arrive at school and have not completed the self screening process, will be asked to report to the main office to complete screening.
Visitors to the school building will be screened by trained personnel and required to fill out the screening questionnaire.
Staff assisting with screening shall be trained and will be provided with personal protection equipment (PPE) including gloves, mask and/or face shield.
The screening plan may be adjusted per guidance from the Center for Disease Control or Department of Health.
When a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the district safety coordinator, school nurse and county health department should be contacted. Efforts must be made to protect the confidentiality of the infected individual.
In coordination with the county health department, contact tracing assistance will be provided and decisions made regarding who may need to be quarantined or if a short term or long term closure is necessary.
If the district is notified of a confirmed COVID-19 case, the district will immediately notify the County Health Department.
Contact tracing is a public health function performed by the local public health department to trace all persons who had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. The district may assist with contact tracing by having in place the following protocols:
- Keeping attendance records for students and staff on a daily basis;
- Ensuring student schedules are up to date;
- Keeping a log of any visitor which includes the date, time and where they have visited;
- Assisting the health department in obtaining contact information, if needed, and making contact as well;
- The district will follow the requirements set forth by the County Health Department and the Center for Disease Control for cleaning, disinfecting, and possible school closure.
Based on data and recommendations provided by the County Health Department regarding contact tracing, a decision to close an individual school building or the entire District will be made.
Confidentiality must be maintained as required by federal and state laws and regulations. School staff should not try to determine who is to be excluded from school based on contact without guidance and direction from the County Health Department.
How will students and staff be required to use personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect and prevent the spread of the virus?
The DOH and NYSED guidance encourages the wearing of masks whenever social distancing cannot occur. Students will be required to wear masks on school transportation, in classrooms (when they cannot social distance), in hallways, bathrooms, locker rooms, cafeteria and other program spaces. Similarly, if staff and students cannot be at least six feet apart, each will be required to wear a mask.
Other personal protective equipment will be available to staff including face shields and gloves.
How will the school district support medically vulnerable or high risk groups?
The safety of all students and staff is critical. School staff can indicate to their supervisor if they feel that they require additional accommodations to support their return to work, which could include seeking additional PPE. Likewise, parents can communicate to building principals if they feel their child is vulnerable and alternative accommodations can be discussed.
What items shall be ordered and provided by the school district to mitigate infection?
Students and staff will be required to wear masks when they cannot practice social distancing. Each school office, bus and bus garage will have masks to distribute as needed. Bus drivers, monitors and screeners will be required to wear shields and/or masks. Gloves will also be available.
Scan thermometers will be an essential screening tool. Students and staff will be encouraged to complete the screening process at home. Some school staff may be trained to serve as screeners to facilitate campus screening.
Fire rated clear plastic or tempered glass shall be hung in each building office and the district office.
Cleaning and disinfecting tools will be made available.
Soap and hand sanitizer shall be available.
Disinfecting wipes will be available to wipe down desks and other frequently touched surfaces in classrooms. School staff will work to clean and disinfect desks and tables before each use.
What cleaning and disinfecting activities will support the reopening?
Cleaning and disinfecting the school building will be a critical shared responsibility.
School buses, the bus garage and school buildings will have areas that are shared and frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected daily and in some cases multiple times each day.
Disinfecting wipes and some other safe disinfecting product or material will be available in each classroom to clean and disinfect student desks and other frequently touched classroom surfaces.
During the school day, the custodians will be cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces with emphasis on door handles, table tops, bathroom surfaces, handrails, and seating areas.
After each school day, efforts will be made to disinfect all frequently touched areas and surfaces throughout the school buildings, buses, bus garage and offices.
Building activity schedules may have to be limited to no later than 9PM to allow night staff to address gym, locker/changing rooms and common areas.
What procedures will be in place for visitors to campus?
To the extent possible, visitors to campus will be discouraged. Video conferencing will be used where practical to conduct meetings. If it is necessary for a parent, contractor or other agent to come to the campus, they will follow the same screening procedures as students and staff. Visitors to campus will signal their presence at the main office or district office when they will be screened before being granted access to the building. All visitors to the building will be required to wear a mask.
What will occur if a staff member or student is identified as being exposed to infection or symptomatic of infection?
If a staff member or student becomes symptomatic during the school day, the school nurse will work to isolate the individual and will gather information to share with the county health department. The health department will offer direction regarding next steps, contact tracing and further medical intervention.
Staff members who are able to drive will be encouraged to drive to their residence. Staff members should notify their main contact to inform them of a possible exposure or symptomatic referral. Staff members will be asked to follow up with their medical provider and remain out of work for a period of 14 days or sooner if released to return to work.
An ‘isolation room” shall be identified in each school building and bus garage. The isolation room should be structured with personal protective equipment (PPE) so that two individuals can be safely distanced in the space. If two individuals cannot be safely placed, an alternate location to isolate a potentially infected individual shall be identified by the principal in consultation with the school nurse and day custodian.
If a student or staff member has a period of time before being able to be transported home, they will be asked to wait in the “isolation room”. The room will be visually supervised by a staff member and should be sanitized after each use.
If possible, the individual(s) will be asked to consider those with whom they have come in contact with over the last three days before isolation.
The school nurse will complete a report of the facts related to the individual isolated. This information will be shared with the county health department.
If a student or staff member is confirmed to be infected or confirmed to have been exposed to someone that has tested positive for COVID-19, the district will make efforts in accordance with state and local laws and regulations, to notify local health officials, staff, families of the case or cases of COVID-19 while maintaining confidentiality in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Those who have had close contact with the student or staff member will be notified. They will be advised to stay home and monitor for symptoms. A student or staff member must be symptom free for fourteen (14) days and have a negative test for COVID-19 before returning to work or school.
How will the district support contact tracing efforts?
The district will cooperate with the county health department and will encourage the staff members and the parents to cooperate with county contact tracers to identify groups or individuals with whom contact has occurred. The district will cooperate with the county health department if a person must be quarantined due to being exposed to a symptomatic person.
How will the district continue to support the nutritional needs of our students?
The district will provide all enrolled students with access to breakfast and lunch whether in person or remote. If school is remote, pick up locations will be identified in the school community or delivery will be available.
Students will be instructed as to the proper ways to support hand hygiene. The cafeteria and other spaces used for student and staff meals will be cleaned and disinfected daily and between periods. Students and staff will be asked to adhere to social distancing guidelines during meal times so masks will not be required while eating.
How will the district conduct required health and safety drills as part of the reopening?
Completing safety drills is essential to maintain the safety of the school community. Safety drills will be conducted using social distancing and the wearing of masks to support health and safety. Early in the school year, instruction will be offered to all students about the requirements necessary to incorporate social distancing and the wearing of masks into safety planning.
How will the district address social/emotional concerns among students and staff?
We recognize that the social emotional well-being of our students and staff during these challenging times is critically important. The district has made available resources and referrals to address mental health, behavioral, and emotional needs of students, faculty, and staff when school reopens for in-person instructions.
Physical (Social) Distancing
Health and Safety Detail
- Students and staff will be encouraged to use social distancing to the extent possible remaining 6 feet from one another; masks are required at all times in the hallways, bathrooms, except at meals.
- Masks must be worn when physical distancing cannot occur; masks should be worn in hallways, bathrooms (when practical), smaller instructional spaces and on school buses.
- Classroom cubbies and hallway lockers will not be used so as to prevent students from congregating in classroom areas or school hallways. Students will use backpacks/book bags to carry their belongings, including books, notebooks, Chromebooks, lunch, etc.
- HVAC systems have been checked and will be monitored for proper airflow and circulation.
Hygiene, Cleaning and Disinfecting
Health and Safety Detail
- Students and staff will be encouraged to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer multiple times during the school day, and cough/sneeze into their elbow.
- During the school day, cleaning staff will disinfect frequently touched surfaces using appropriate chemicals and procedures.
- Night cleaning crews will disinfect classrooms, bathrooms, offices, locker/changing rooms, hallways, cafeterias, and frequently touched surfaces using appropriate chemicals and strategies.
- Demonstrations of proper hand washing will be part of the opening day routine; elementary classrooms should incorporate hand washing into the school day; hand washing should occur before meals and after using the bathroom; hand sanitizer will be available (except on the school buses); hand sanitizing stations will be visible and located strategically.
Screening of Staff
Health and Safety Detail
- Staff will be encouraged to self screen before coming to work which should include temperature checks and completing an electronic questionnaire.
- Custodians, grounds crew, bus drivers and monitors shall be screened at the bus garage upon arrival to work.
- Staff unable to complete self-screening, will be screened on a daily basis. Screening shall include temperature check and answering the questionnaire.
- Any individual who screens positive for COVID-19 exposure or symptoms must immediately be sent home or to the designated isolation room located in each building; The county health department shall be notified immediately.
- Staff will work to identify all of the potential contacts on campus by the staff member. School nurses will work with contact tracers to share information.
Screening of Students
Health and Safety Detail
- Parents will be expected to keep children who are sick, symptomatic or knowingly exposed to a symptomatic case, at home.
- Parents will be asked to confirm that their child has tested negative or has been free of symptoms for a minimum of 14 days before returning to school and provides documentation.
- Parents will be asked to screen their child(ren) before coming to school by taking their temperature and keeping them home if they have an elevated temperature or expresses or displays symptoms of COVID-19.
- Student athletes will be screened via questionnaire before each practice or contest.
Screening of Visitors
Health and Safety Detail
- Visitors to campus will be limited.
- All visitors will be screened by office staff by completing a questionnaire and temperature check.
- Office staff will wear a shield/mask and gloves when completing the screening.
- Office staff will be trained in screening procedures.
- Whenever possible, video conferencing, email, phone or other digital communication tools may be used to facilitate meetings and conferences.
Health and Safety Detail
- Screening shall be performed by staff who are trained to confidentially complete the screening process.
- Screeners shall wear a shield/ mask and gloves and will be trained on how to use a scan thermometer and complete the questionnaire.
- To the extent possible, students will be screened by parents and staff will self screen and complete a digital screening form
- Students will be screened before participating in an athletic or extracurricular activity, practice, event or contest.
Personal Protective Equipment
Health and Safety Detail
- Students and staff will be asked to wear masks when they cannot physically distance.
- Masks will be available at each school office and bus garage for those who do not have a mask.
- Each school bus will be provided with a quantity of masks.
- Protective shields will be installed in school offices.
- Protective shields that can easily be worn by bus drivers and other staff that wish to wear a shield will be provided. Staff will be asked to clean their shield when necessary but at least daily.
- Cleaning materials will be provided in each classroom. Staff will assist in the cleaning of desks before student use.
- Gloves will be made available for bus drivers and staff who wish to utilize them.
- All students, parents, faculty, and staff will be provided with age-appropriate training on how to safely put on, take off, clean, and discard personal protective equipment (PPE), including face coverings. This will be done through classroom instruction and video training that is also posted on the website. Signage will also be posted throughout the school buildings as a reminder.
Health and Safety Detail
- Students at school will have access to breakfast and lunch. Social distancing will be used when students are in line and while eating. Grab and Go breakfast and lunch may be utilized to all groups of students to eat together in classrooms or other smaller program spaces.
- During remote instruction, all students will have access to breakfast and lunch. Meals will be delivered as needed or made available for pick up at school buildings. Remote meals will be distributed following all applicable health and safety guidelines including wearing masks, social distancing and hand hygiene.
- Communication regarding the delivery of meals during remote instruction will occur using global calls, email, text, newspaper, social media and website.
Health and Safety Detail
- Students and staff will have access to counselors and social workers.
- Comprehensive school counseling plans will be reviewed and will address programs and services aimed at supporting the social and emotional needs of students and staff.
- Community agencies such as the Department of Social Services, Fulton and Montgomery Departments of Health, Catholic Charities, Family Counseling Center, St. Mary’s and the HFM Prevention Council will partner with the school district to provide necessary wrap around services for students and their families. These services will be supported by district social workers and guidance counselors.
- A multi-tiered approach to supporting social and emotional issues shall be utilized that will provide education, support, intervention, and follow-up support services for students and staff.
- Staff may seek social emotional support through their health insurance plan.