REOPENING

General Safety of the School:

The school will follow all guidance related to health and safety protocols. This will include meeting social distancing requirements and cleaning frequently touched spaces to prevent spread of any infection related to COVID-19. The school will follow the NYSED Reopening Guidance Procedure.

Capacity:

The school building size and the anticipated school population allows for at least six feet of space to be maintained around each person in a classroom, while ensuring that there remains room for teachers and students to circulate for in-person instruction at school for the academic year while following health and safety plans. Families will be notified of their child’s specific schedule in September. The Principal will make needed schedule adjustments based on expected in-person student and staff attendance as we near to the opening days of the academic year.

Social Distancing:

As outlined by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), the school will operate at a reduced capacity for in-person instruction. Maximum capacity has been determined by calculating the space needed to be in compliance with COVID-19 health and safety protocols including maintaining at least six feet of physical distancing. The school will provide signs, including but not limited to signs reminding individuals to remain six feet apart, to support appropriate movement protocols, and floor markers that show six feet in distance. The school will redesign movement protocols within the building to minimize congestion, including but not limited to designating one-way direction stairwells, single file routes, and protocols on entrance and departure from the building.

PPE and Face Coverings:

Face coverings are a necessary component for the school’s reopening plan to ensure the safety of students and staff. Face coverings will be required inside school buildings and consistent with the guidance of health agencies and paired with increased PPE for staff. Students and staff will be able to bring their own face coverings, but if for any reason someone comes to a school building without the needed PPE, the school will have face coverings available. Signs will be provided to remind students, faculty, and staff of the importance of wearing appropriate PPE.

Operational Activity:

General Protocols

  • Physical distancing guidelines and mandatory use of face coverings must be enforced for all individuals while in the building. Exceptions are for students who cannot tolerate a face covering medically.

  • Appropriate signs (e.g., six-foot space markings and directional signs) will be used outdoors as needed and will be visible upon entry and throughout school building, including entrances, exits, classrooms, offices, assembly spaces and corridors.

  • Face coverings, and other forms of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as hand sanitizer, gloves, and thermometers, will be provided.

  • Custodian will sanitize school building and all high touch surfaces area on a nightly basis. Examples include doorknobs, light switches, handrails, kitchen appliances, countertops, drawer handles, tables, sinks, faucet and toilet handles, drinking fountains, elevator buttons, push and pull plates on doors, phones, keys and remote controls.

  • Clean surfaces with soap or detergent and water (or a cleaning product) first to remove visible dirt and grime. Disinfectants are most effective on clean surfaces and objects.

  • Hand sanitizing dispensers will be placed in each classroom and hallways.

  • Daily lessons are to be taught in person as per the school’s proposed schedule, provided by the administration as a traditional instructional program. Classes will be taught in person, unless in quarantine cases when classes will be in remote instruction. Administrative staff will join teacher sessions from time to time to observe classes.

  • Google Classroom and Google Meet will be components of the instructional planning to be utilized, if and when necessary, to ensure equity in the school community.

  • The school will maintain a daily attendance record of students during school opening days, based on the school calendar that will be provided to the school community by the administration.

  • Communication with parents and students will be employed via email, text, phone and virtual meetings.

Student Circulation

  • Principal will create plan to support movement that upholds physical distancing throughout the building.

  • Elevator use should be limited to individuals with special needs.

  • Face coverings must be worn at all times except while eating or drinking.

  • Appropriate signs, e.g., directional markers and physical distancing guidelines, will be displayed on walls and floors throughout all travel routes.

  • Travel areas will be appropriately staffed to support students with physical distancing guidelines.

  • To reduce movement throughout the building, teachers will travel from class to class, with students remaining in the same room throughout the day to the extent possible. If students have to travel, proper social distancing protocols should be followed.

  • Teachers will minimize the use of shared items in the classroom, including learning tools, pencils and other items shared in a group setting. If any group activities occur, students shall wear masks.

  • Where possible, students should remain with the same group of students, in a cohort, throughout the day.

Bathroom Usage (For Students and Staff)

  • Bathroom use will not exceed established cap (based on physical distancing guidelines) at any given time.

  • Appropriate signs regarding hand washing and physical distancing will be displayed. Public Assembly Spaces

  • Use of large assembly spaces (e.g. cafeterias, auditoriums, libraries, and, gymnasiums) must comply with physical distancing guidelines and to the same health and safety protocols in classroom settings.

Exterior Spaces/Play Yards

  • Multiple cohorts of students may use larger exterior spaces concurrently, provided that physical distancing is practiced between they are well supervised. .

  • The school will maximize the use of outdoor space for multiple uses, including instruction and dismissal if feasible and appropriate.

  • Schools will adopt procedures that allow students to engage in physical distancing while exiting the building.

  • Additional school personnel will be deployed strategically to assist students.

  • The school will consider the use of alternated dismissal times and multiple exits.

  • Families will be aware of exit procedures and encouraged to arrive at designated times to avoid congestion.

  • Schools will assign staff to school yard or exterior of school to encourage students and parents to not congregate outside.

  • Visible signs will be posted identifying the dismissal protocols and DOHMH’s four core actions to stop the spread of COVID-19: stay home if sick, keep physical distance, keep your hands clean, and wear a face covering. Signs will be available in multiple languages.

Policies regarding field trips, special congregate events, and visitors

  • At this time, the school will cancel on site student athletic events, practices and performances. Parent meetings, and field trips will be limited to virtual opportunities. The school will change regularly scheduled in-school events to a virtual format and limit visitors to school buildings. Any in-person meeting needs to comply with the processes outlined in this policy.

  • In an effort to limit the number of visitors to the school building, as recommended by the CDC, the school will encourage, where possible, to address all visitor and family concerns by phone or computer. The administration and designated staff will conduct meetings remotely where possible. When it is essential to hold an in-person meeting, all visitors are required to follow the visitor control protocols, including complying with physical distancing requirements and wearing a face covering.

  • All visitors will be escorted to and from the meeting destination, in order to prevent visitors from accessing unauthorized areas, limiting the possibility of exposure. If a parent is called to the school to pick up their child, the child will be brought to the main lobby to meet the parent.

  • Non-essential individuals will not be allowed to enter school buildings. All packages are to be delivered to the main lobby in a manner consistent with physical distancing protocols.

Restart Operations:

At the start and throughout the school year, the school will have the necessary health and cleaning supplies to help protect students and staff from COVID-19, including hand sanitizer, soap, and disinfectants. Students will be placed in classrooms with proper circulation of air and ventilation. The classrooms will space out all desks to maintain 6 feet distance between students and the teacher. The use of Air filters and air conditioners and opening of windows will allow for proper circulation of air. The school will also increase cleaning throughout the school day and on a nightly basis, with special attention to high-touch areas. There will be increased access and regular opportunities for students and staff to wash hands or use hand sanitizer throughout the day.

Extracurriculars Activities and Before and Aftercare Programs:

If and when extracurricular and afterschool activities are permitted to resume for the year, students and staff will adhere to the guidelines and recommendations set for school opening, including all health and safety guidelines.

Transportation:

  • Consistent with State-issued public transit guidance, protocols and procedures, individuals (including bus staffers, who will also be required to use hand sanitizer) must always wear acceptable face coverings on the school transport vehicle (e.g., entering, exiting, and seated), and should maintain appropriate social distancing, unless they are members of the same household.

  • If a child does not have a face covering when attempting to board a bus, protective face coverings will be available for distribution at the bus door inside the bus.

  • Seating on the bus will be clearly marked to designate which seats may be used and which seats will be blocked off for social distancing.

  • Families will be notified prior to the start of school as to what the seat designators will look like so that they can instruct their children prior to boarding the bus.

  • Ventilation will be incorporated into the bus along with air-conditioning systems.

  • The school transportation vehicles will be cleaned and disinfected each day using CDC recommended cleaning and disinfection protocols.

Food Services:

  • Pre-packaged & pre-served meals will be available for breakfast and lunch each day, though students will also be permitted to bring their own lunch if preferred.

  • Lunch will be in the cafeteria and the lunch schedule will be modified to ensure social distancing.

  • Students will be required to wash their hands before and after eating. Students will be instructed to wash their hands two at a time to comply with social distancing.

  • Students will not be allowed to pass or share any items, including food, with other students.

  • Teachers and staff will facilitate lunch and breakfast procedures.

  • When the cafeteria is in use, the students and staff will maintain appropriate physical distancing. After eating, students and staff will wipe down the area where they ate their meal.

  • Every evening, the custodian will sanitize the entire building with COVID-19 approved disinfectant.

Mental Health, Behavioral, and Emotional Support Services and Programs:

Addressing the social-emotional needs of the school community will be a top priority for school re-opening plan and throughout the year. The school staff will be provided with learning and teaching support to understand trauma and build trauma-informed approaches into their practices and plans,

Communication:

As we continue to develop and finalize guidelines and protocols for the beginning of the school year, we have and will continue to engage and inform families, educators and staff.

MONITORING

Screening:

Daily health screenings for students and school-based staff, including temperature checks, must be completed at home by families and by school-based staff. The school will launch an education campaign that makes clear to parents and school-based staff how important these daily health checks are to keeping school communities healthy and safe.

School-based staff and students cannot report to school if they have:

  • Been knowingly in close contact in the past 10 days with anyone who has tested positive through a diagnostic test for COVID-19 or who has or had symptoms of COVID- 19.

  • Tested positive through a diagnostic test for COVID-19 in the past 10 days.

  • Experienced any symptoms of COVID-19, including a temperature of greater than 100.0°F, in the past 14 days.

  • Traveled internationally or from a state with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 per the New York State Travel Advisory in the past 14 days.

Random Temperature Screenings

  • Every morning, prior to entering the school, specific staff will perform random samplings of temperatures for both students and school-based staff using non-touch thermometers.

  • School staff will screen people entering the building at random.

  • Face coverings and gloves will be worn continually by designated staff taking temperatures.

  • Any student with a temperature of more than 100.4 from a random temperature check will be escorted to the building’s Isolation Room and wait for a parent/guardian to be picked up. The students will return to school after providing a letter of clearance from a physician.

Testing Protocols:

The school will request that all school-based staff get tested at least 10 days before the start of in-person instruction and get tested on a regular basis, at least once a month.

If a student shows symptoms of COVID-19 while at school:

  • Students showing symptoms of COVID-19 will be escorted to the Isolation Room by a designated staff member wearing appropriate PPE.

  • The student will wait in the supervised Isolation Room for pick up.

  • A family member or guardian will be contacted by a staff member and asked to pick up the student.

  • Upon pick up, the school staff will encourage the family to visit a doctor and get the student tested for COVID-19, and provide the information of the closest testing site, if asked.

  • If the student has had no known contact with a positive case, the student can only return to school after clearance from a health care provider and has been symptom free for 72 hours without the use of medication.

  • If the student does not get tested, then the student cannot return to school until 10 days have passed since the first symptom and has been symptom free for 24 hours without the use of medication

If a school-based staff member shows symptoms of COVID-19 while at school:

  • School-based staff members showing symptoms at COVID-19 will be directed to leave the building.

  • The school will encourage staff members to visit a doctor and get tested for COVID-19.

  • If the staff member has had no known contact with a positive case, the staff member can only return to work when presenting a negative COVID-19 test result from a health care provider and the staff member has been symptom free for 24 hours without the use of medication..

  • If the staff member does not get tested, then the staff member cannot return to school until 10 days have passed since the first symptom and has been symptom free for 24 hours without the use of medication.

Testing Responsibility:

The school will ask the school-based staff to get tested at least 10 days before the start of in-person instruction and get tested on a regular basis, at least once a month. This frequent testing may occur at any location, but it is encouraged that school-based staff use City-run sites where they will receive test results in 24 hours.

Early Warning Signs:

In order for the school to reopen and stay open, the percentage of positive tests in New York City must be less than 3% using a 7-day rolling average. The school will close if the percentage of positive tests in New York City are equal to or more than 3% using a 7-day rolling average. It is important to note that the above threshold is just one cause for closing the school but may not be the only cause. For example, a decision to close the school would be made where there were recurrent, uncontrolled outbreaks of COVID-19 in schools, even if the overall case rates across New York City were to remain low.

CONTAINMENT

Isolation:

The school will take every precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within school community. One of the key actions in preventing the spread of COVID-19 is isolating when sick. Should a student present with symptoms of COVID-19, the school will be prepared to separate the ill student from the rest of the school in an isolated room, supervised by a designated staff member with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), until the student can be picked up by a parent or a guardian.

Communication:

The school will communicate to all families and students at school when a case is confirmed. Families of students and staff who are confirmed close contacts of the positive case will receive a letter stating that their child/staff member has been in close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual; this letter gives clear direction to quarantine for 14 days. Families of students and staff who are not considered close contacts will receive a letter stating that there was a confirmed case of COVID-19 at the school, but that the child or staff member is not considered a close contact therefore there is no need to quarantine.

CLOSURE

Closure Triggers:

There are several recommended settings in which the school having two or more confirmed positive COVID-19 cases may need to close:

Conclusion of Investigation

During Investigation (for at 24 hours)

After Investigation

One confirmed case

Close classroom, transition to remote learning

Classroom remains closed for 14 days; students and staff in close contact with positive case self-quarantine for 14 days.

At least two cases linked together in school, same classroom

Close classroom, transition to remote learning

Classroom remains closed for 14 days; students and staff in close contact with positive cases self-quarantine for 14 days

At least two cases linked together in school, different classrooms

Close school building, transition to remote learning

Classrooms of each case remain closed and quarantined for 14 days, additional school members are quarantined based on where the exposure was in the school.

At least two cases linked together by circumstances outside of school

Close school building, transition to remote learning

School opens after investigation, classrooms remain closed for 14 days

At least two cases, not linked but exposure confirmed for each outside of school setting

Close school building, transition to remote learning

School opens after investigation, classrooms remain closed for 14 days

Link unable to be determined

Close school building, transition to remote learning

Close school for 14 days

Operational Activity for Quarantine:

See table above. However, the school must close if the percentage of positive tests in New York City are equal to or more than 3% using a 7-day rolling average.

  • The school will provide 180 days, or the equivalent, of instruction to their students. Instructional days shall be counted for programs that are delivered in person and in cases of quarantine remotely.

  • Teachers must use Google Classroom & Meet for each of their classes during quarantine. All assignments from teachers, assignment submissions from students, and lesson plans must be exchanged through these platforms.

Communication:

In the event the school needs to close due to two or more confirmed cases of COVID-19, that decision will be made by the principal and in compliance with the State’s set health safety guidelines and protocols. The school community will be informed of such decision and procedure plans.

Fire Code Compliance:

  • All protocols for fire safety and lockdowns will be followed.

  • The school will conduct standard operations and procedures without departing from current requirements.

  • The school building will comply with the requirements of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (BC), except as specified in 19 NYCRR 1221.2(d).

  • Fire (evacuation) Drills and Lockdown Drills will be conducted regularly and in compliance with plans as outlined by the fire department and will comply with social distancing rules.

  • Emergency Drills shall be conducted with standard operations and procedures without departing from current requirements.

 

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