School Operating COVID-19 Layered Mitigation

Protocols for the 2021-2022 School Year

For the 2021-22 school year, the Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Central School District is planning for a full in-person return to school on Wednesday, September 8th,  providing a full academic program and a wide range of extracurricular and athletic offerings for all students.

As of today, the district continues to partner with the Fulton County Department of Health and Montgomery County Department of Health as we plan the district’s reopening efforts based on the recommended guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Academy of Pediatrics, the New York State Department of Health, and the New York State Education Department (NYSED).

Our priority is to have all students attend in-person instruction for the 2021-22 school year. The district will employ a layered mitigation approach, including strategies ranging from masking and social distancing, to facilities cleaning and hygiene, to contact tracing and quarantining, to HVAC (ventilation) and the provision of food services, to surveillance testing and vaccination access.  As a public institution, we must consider everyone in the community and minimize the risk for our students and staff.  By individually doing our part to keep everyone safe and healthy, we will ensure the academic, social, and emotional growth of our students.

Over the past year, we have learned how to manage the virus effectively by using layers of mitigation aimed to prevent infection and transmission in our schools. This layered mitigation plan is a measured approach based on the transmission or rate of infections, ranging from Low Community Transmission – Moderate Community Transmission – Substantial Community Transmission – High Community Transmission (see chart below).  It is important to understand that this is a fluid document and whenever possible and appropriate, adjustments to mitigation strategies will be made according to the most current data available and in coordination with DOH. These are challenging times and we are all similarly focused on the best interest of our students, staff, and families.

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Communication and Notifications:

The Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Central School District will continue to keep our community updated on items related to COVID-19 news, health information, and guidance from New York State. In order to streamline our communication efforts and ensure families and individuals impacted directly by cases affiliated with our school community receive and read important updates, we are making the following change to the way we communicate positive COVID-19 cases. Beginning September 8, our daily COVID-19 communication updates will be shared on a COVID-19 notification page.

If there is no community message on the district website posted for a particular school day, then the district did not receive confirmation from the Montgomery County Department of Health of any positive cases for that day.

No changes will be made to how we communicate to staff and/or families that may have a child that is determined to be a close contact to a positive COVID-19 case within the school. Impacted families and staff will always be notified as soon as possible once contact tracing is completed if there is a need for a student or staff member to quarantine. Initial communication will come from the OESJ CSD Health Office or the Montgomery County Department of Health.

Remote Only Learning Model not Offered:

The district will not be offering a remote-only option. If families do not want to send their children to school for in-person learning, their option is to home instruct their children.  For more information on home instruction visit the following link.

The following links can be accessed to review county transmission rates.

The chart below describes the mitigation protocols we will utilize in each area of focus. This layered mitigation strategy is fluid and may be adjusted as conditions warrant.

Mitigation Protocol

We will use CDC County Transmission Levels in addition to local data to determine our level of mitigation protocol. All data that is being used to make these determinations will be shared on the district webpage.

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Here is a quick reference to the mitigation protocols. Click on the link to go to that section:

Mitigation Strategy -Area of Focus

Low Transmission


Moderate Transmission


Substantial Transmission


High Transmission

  • COVID-19 Vaccines

Low Transmission: Encourage all eligible to consider-not mandated


Moderate Transmission: Encourage all eligible to consider-not mandated


Substantial Transmission: Encourage all eligible to consider-not mandated


High Transmission: Encourage all eligible to consider-not mandated

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  • Indicator of Transmission

Low Transmission: Total new cases totaling 100,000 persons in past ten days (0 -9.99)

Testing results that are positive for the past 7 days (0-4.99%)


Moderate Transmission: Total new cases totaling 100,000 persons in past ten days (10 – 49.99)

Testing results that are positive for the past 7 days (5 7.99%)


Substantial  Transmission: Total new cases totaling 100,000 persons in past ten days (50 – 99.99)

Testing results that are positive for the past 7 days (8 9.99%)


High Transmission: Total new cases totaling 100,000 persons in past ten days (greater than 100)

Testing results that are positive for the past 7 days (greater than 10%)

  • Social Distancing (indoors)

Low Transmission: Minimum of 3’- 6’ with masks required


Moderate Transmission: Minimum of 3’- 6’ with masks required


Substantial Transmission: Minimum of 3’- 6’ with masks required


High Transmission: Minimum of 3’- 6’ with masks required

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  • Lunch in the cafeteria

Low Transmission: Minimum of 3’ of social distancing; masked required after eating.


Moderate Transmission: Minimum of 3’ of social distancing; masked required after eating.


Substantial Transmission: Minimum of 3’ of social distancing; masked required after eating.


High Transmission: Minimum of 3’ of social distancing; masked required after eating.

  • Facemasks (indoors)

(Commissioner’s Determination on the requirement of Indoor Masking Pursuant to 10 NYCRR 2.61 .)

Low Transmission: Required for all.

Regular and appropriate mask breaks

Outdoor masking when 3’ social distancing cannot be met


Moderate Transmission: Required for all.

Regular and appropriate mask breaks

Outdoor masking when 3’ social distancing cannot be met


Substantial Transmission: Required for all.

Regular and appropriate mask breaks

Outdoor masking when 3’ social distancing cannot be met


High Transmission: Required for all.

Regular and appropriate mask breaks

Outdoor masking when 3’ social distancing cannot be met

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Facemasks (outdoors) including recess and physical education

Low Transmission: Outdoor masking when 3’ social distancing cannot be met


Moderate Transmission: Outdoor masking when 3’ social distancing cannot be met


Substantial Transmission: Outdoor masking when 3’ social distancing cannot be met


High Transmission: Outdoor masking when 3’ social distancing cannot be met

  • Transportation (Masks are required by federal mandate at all times on public transportation.)
    Low Transmission: Masks Required


    Moderate Transmission: Masks Required


    Substantial Transmission: Masks Required


    High Transmission: Masks Required

  • Staying Home when sick (staff and students)
    Low/Medium/Substantial/High Transmission: Students, teachers, and staff should stay home when they have signs of any illness (cough, fever, loss of taste and smell, cold/flu symptoms, etc.) and contact their healthcare provider if symptoms do not resolve after 48hrs. A person may be asked to provide a doctor’s note to return to school.

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  • Hygiene: Handwashing/ Hand Sanitizer, and Respiratory Etiquette

Low Transmission: Expected and Encouraged


Moderate Transmission: Expected and Encouraged


Substantial Transmission: Expected and Encouraged


High Transmission: Expected and Encouraged

  • Cleaning and Disinfection

Low Transmission: Daily Routine Cleaning. Enhanced Disinfection of High-Touch Surfaces (School Buildings and Buses)


Moderate Transmission: Daily Routine Cleaning. Enhanced Disinfection of High-Touch Surfaces (School Buildings and Buses)


Substantial Transmission: Daily Routine Cleaning.  Enhanced Disinfection of Moderate and High-touch Surfaces (School Buildings and Buses)


High Transmission: Daily Routine Cleaning. Enhanced Disinfection of Moderate and High-touch Surfaces (School Buildings and Buses)

  • Ventilation and Air Quality

Low Transmission: Increased fresh air circulation (mechanical, open windows, open doors)


Moderate Transmission: Increased fresh air circulation (mechanical, open windows, open doors)


Substantial Transmission: Increased fresh air circulation (mechanical, open windows, open doors)


High Transmission: Increased fresh air circulation (mechanical, open windows, open doors)

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  • Contact Tracing, Quarantine, and Return to School/Work Protocol

Low/Moderate/Substantial/High Transmission: Following guidelines released by Montgomery County Health Department.  A close contact is determined as a person who was within 6 feet or less for more than 15 minutes of the positive case within 48 hours prior to symptom onset until the last day the positive person was in attendance.  Vaccinated, asymptomatic will not need to be quarantined if determined to be a close contact.  If a close contact vaccinated individual is symptomatic, quarantine rules apply, unless the individual tests negative for COVID-19 within 3-5 days.  Close contacts return to school after a 10-day quarantine.  Positive students or staff will be isolated for 10 days.  All close contacts will be determined through shared communication between the OESJ CSD and the Fulton County Health Department and Montgomery County Health Department.

All classrooms and buses will have seating charts to assist in contact tracing.

  • Random COVID-19 Surveillance/ Screening Testing (Staff and Students)

Low Transmission: No Surveillance Testing


Moderate Transmission: No Surveillance Testing


Substantial Transmission: Regular COVID-19 random surveillance testing will be instituted for high-risk sports. If an individual is vaccinated they will not be subject to testing.


High Transmission: Regular COVID-19 random surveillance testing will be instituted for high-risk sports. If an individual is vaccinated they will not be subject to testing.

  • Daily Screening

Low/Moderate/Substantial/High: Transmission: Staff and substitutes: Daily screening is mandatory before entering campus.

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  • Indoor Physical Education

Low Transmission: 3 feet distancing and masked indoors; masks optional outdoors


Moderate Transmission: 3 feet distancing and masked indoors; masks optional outdoors


Substantial Transmission: 3 feet distancing and masked indoors; masks optional outdoors


High Transmission: 3 feet distancing and masked indoors; masks optional outdoors

  • Performing Arts

Low Transmission: Performing Arts 6 feet distancing and masked when not performing


Moderate Transmission: Performing Arts 6 feet distancing and masked when not performing


Substantial Transmission: Performing Arts 6 feet distancing and masked when not performing


High Transmission: Performing Arts 6 feet distancing and masked when not performing

  • Interscholastic Athletics – mask-wearing

Low Transmission: Indoor athletics masks required with mask breaks at 6’ apart. Spectators 3’ apart.
Outdoor athletics, masks not required for spectators or athletes.


Moderate Transmission: Indoor athletics masks required with mask breaks at 6’ apart. Spectators 3’ apart.
Outdoor athletics, masks not required for spectators or athletes.


Substantial Transmission: Indoor athletics masks required with mask breaks at 6’ apart.
Spectators must be masked 3’apart.
Outdoor athletics, masks not required for spectators or athletes.


High Transmission: Indoor athletics masks required with mask breaks at 6’ apart.
Spectators must be masked 3’ apart.
Outdoor athletics, masks not required for spectators or athletes.

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  • Extra-curricular activities or clubs (indoors)

Low Transmission: Minimum of 3’ apart wearing a mask required with mask breaks at 6’ apart.


Moderate Transmission: Minimum of 3’ apart wearing a mask required with mask breaks at 6’ apart.


Substantial Transmission: Minimum of 3’ apart wearing a mask required with mask breaks at 6’ apart.


High Transmission: Minimum of 3’ apart wearing a mask is required, with mask breaks at 6’ apart.

  • School Use of Facilities

Low Transmission: Compliance with applicable school protocols


Moderate Transmission: Compliance with applicable school protocols


Substantial Transmission: Limited Use of Facilities Allowed. All groups ensure compliance with applicable school protocols.


High Transmission: Limited Use of Facilities Allowed. All groups ensure compliance with applicable school protocols.

  • Visitors to Buildings during the school day.

Low Transmission: Sign-in, screening, and masks required.  Visitors will be admitted by appointment only.
Ex. meeting with: teacher, principal, counselor, outside providers/vendors, facilities repair, etc.


Moderate Transmission: Sign-in, screening, and masks required.  Visitors will be admitted by appointment only.
Ex. meeting with: teacher, principal, counselor, outside providers/vendors, facilities repair, etc.


Substantial Transmission: Sign in, screening, and masks required.  Visitors will be admitted by appointment only.
Ex. meeting with: teacher, principal, counselor, facilities repair, outside providers/vendor, etc.


High Transmission: Sign in, screening, and masks required. Visitors will be admitted by appointment only.
Ex. meeting with: teacher, principal, counselor, outside providers/vendors, facilities repair, etc.

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Surveillance COVID-19 Testing for High-Risk Sports:

Regular COVID-19 testing will be instituted for high-risk sports that may consist of random or regular testing based on the conditions as they exist in the area.  A 10% random sample will be pulled each week from high-risk sports from the modified level to the varsity level. Student-athletes will be tested by qualified medical personnel.  If a student presents proof of vaccination, they do not need to partake in the random testing. Agreeing to random testing is a condition of an individual’s ability to participate in a high-risk sport.

Indoor/Outdoor Athletics:

Indoor/Outdoor Athletics

  • bring your own water bottle (water will be available but community use of water will not be permitted) – clearly label all water bottles and other personal items
  • students should wear their own appropriate workout clothing (do not share clothing)
  • individual clothing/towels should be washed and cleaned after every workout immediately upon returning home
  • frequent hand washing is highly encouraged

Locker-Rooms

  • a limited number of athletes in the locker rooms at one time
  • at least 3 feet apart and masked at all times while in the locker rooms and in other indoor areas (bathroom, training room, etc.)
  • frequent hand washing is highly encouraged

Western Athletic Conference(WAC) Indoor Spectators

  • masks required
  • four spectators per player for home teams across all WAC indoor contests.
  • all spectators must wear a mask indoors and be at least 3’ apart.

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