Opening of School Facilities for 2021-22 school year
Family and Community Engagement
Healthy Hygiene Practices
PPE and Face Coverings
Cleaning and Disinfection
Fire Drills/Lockdown Drills
Extra-curricular Programs/Interscholastic Athletics
Before and Aftercare
Mental Health, Behavioral, and Emotional Support Services and Programs
In-person Instructional Program
English Language Learner Instruction
Teacher and Principal Evaluation System
As always, the district is committed to transparent communication, and as such, the in-person reopening plan will be prominently posted on the home page of the website. A printed copy of this information can be mailed to you, or picked up in the district office, for any reason. Please call the district clerk at (315) 689-8500 x 5002 to request a printed copy.
The district will use existing internal and external communication channels to provide notification about school operations and schedules with as much advance notice as possible. These channels will include webpages, mailings, voice and text messaging through Remind and School Messenger, and Facebook postings.
The district will follow its existing engagement and communication protocols regarding the provision of special education services. In addition, the district will make every effort to ensure that communication to parents is in their preferred language.
The district will also make every effort to ensure that students and parents are informed about expectations related to public health policies and protocols. At the start of the year, students and staff will receive training on multiple health protocols including:
- Hand hygiene
- Proper use, removal and care of personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Social distancing
- Respiratory hygiene
- Identifying symptoms
The district’s top priority is the health and safety of students and staff. To that end, the reopening plan incorporates recommendations and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED).
As part of ensuring the top priority, the district will emphasize healthy hygiene practices for students and staff. The district’s messaging will include signage, reminding all persons to:
- Stay home if they feel sick.
- Cover their nose and mouth with an acceptable face covering when unable to maintain a social distance from others.
- Properly store and, when necessary, discard personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Adhere to social distancing instructions.
- Report symptoms of, or exposure to, COVID-19.
- Follow hand hygiene and cleaning and disinfection guidelines.
- Follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette.
- For handwashing: soap, running warm water, and disposable paper towels.
- For hand sanitizing: an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol for areas where handwashing facilities may not be available or practical.
Additionally, students and staff will be expected to carry out the following hygiene practices:
1. Hand Hygiene
- Wash hands routinely with soap (any kind) and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Dry hands completely after washing.
- Use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not readily available.
2. Respiratory Hygiene
- Cover a cough or sneeze using a tissue. After a tissue is used, it should be thrown away immediately.
- If you don’t have a tissue when sneezing or coughing, sneeze into your elbow.
- Wash your hands after sneezing or coughing.
Students will be socially distanced 3 feet in all classrooms and 6 feet in all eating areas.
Student seating will be arranged according to said markers and allow for all students to be facing in the same direction.
At the elementary and middle school levels, student groupings will be organized into static cohorts.
Families will be asked to provide their child with an acceptable face covering and the district will have a supply of face masks on hand to distribute as needed. Students will be asked to wear their face covering prior to boarding the bus, while on the bus, while disembarking from the bus, when entering and exiting the building, when in common areas and during instruction. Teachers will facilitate mask breaks as needed.
For those students who are medically unable to wear face coverings, the district will provide face shields with the expectation that such PPE will we worn in lieu of a health care provider’s written prohibition.
The district will provide all staff with N-95 respirators, gloves, paper gowns, face shields, and goggles as requested.
Staff members may elect to wear their respirator or another acceptable face covering. The district defines an acceptable face covering as a cloth or surgical mask that covers both the mouth and nose. All staff members will be asked to wear their acceptable face covering when entering the building, exiting the building, in a common area, and when delivering instruction.
For staff who are medically unable to wear face coverings, the district will provide face shields with the expectation that such PPE will be worn in lieu of a health care provider’s written prohibition.
In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the district’s operations will be geared toward meeting social distancing requirements and cleaning frequently touched spaces on a regular basis. In executing projects or tasks supporting infection control, requirements will be met for changes associated with building spaces. Specifically, plans for changes or additions to facilities that require review by the Office of Facilities Planning (OFP), will be submitted to comply with the requirements of the 2021 New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (BC) and the State Energy Conservation Code. Additionally, upon opening, the district will maintain ventilation as designed and water systems will be flushed in buildings that have been unoccupied.
The district will ensure adherence to hygiene and cleaning and disinfecting requirements as advised by the CDC and DOH, including “Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public and Private Facilities for COVID-19.” Cleaning and disinfection logs will be maintained and be comprised of the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection.
Regular cleaning and disinfection of the facilities will occur, including more frequent cleaning and disinfection for restrooms and frequently touched surfaces. Cleaning and disinfection efforts will be rigorous and ongoing and will occur at least daily or more frequently as needed.
The district will conduct transportation operations in compliance with state-issued public transit guidance and NYSED School Reopening guidelines.
Students will be asked to wear a mask prior to boarding, during the route, and while disembarking. Students will be directed to load from the rear to the front and disembark from the front to the rear so as to limit incidental contact.
The district will require all transportation staff members to wear their respirator or an appropriate face covering whenever on a bus or school grounds and whenever social distancing cannot be maintained.
The district will provide all transportation staff members with training specific to the use and care of PPE, cleaning and disinfection practices, and proper loading and unloading procedures specific to a COVID-19 environment. Drivers and/or monitors who must have direct physical contact with a child will wear gloves.
The transportation office will have additional PPE equipment available including masks and gloves as well as hand sanitizers for all employees. Buses will not be equipped with hand sanitizer due to its combustible composition and potential liability to the district. Drivers and monitors will not be allowed to carry personal bottles of hand sanitizer onto school buses.
Three bus routes have been maintained to reduce student occupancy as much as possible.
Drivers will sanitize their buses between runs. Transportation staff members will clean and disinfect all buses at the end of the morning and afternoon runs.
Pupil transportation will be provided to nonpublic, parochial, private, and/or charter institutions. Pupil transportation will also be provided to students who have an individualized education plan (IEP) that specifies participation in a program that is outside of the district.
Arrival and dismissal will be staggered and multiple entrances and exits will be used so as to limit the overall size of student groups and any incidental contact.
School meals will continue to be available to all students, including those attending school in-person and those learning remotely. For students who attend on site, meals will be provided while maintaining appropriate social distancing in cafeterias and/or alternate areas. Food will be pre-plated and sealed with an individual covering.
The sharing of food and beverages will be prohibited. Cleaning/disinfection protocols will be followed between cohorts of students eating in common areas. For those students who choose remote learning, meals will be available for pick up at the high school.
In the event that the district has to enact distance learning for all, meals will be delivered to students via the morning bus runs.
Shared spaces such as libraries, gymnasiums, auditoriums, and/or cafeterias may be repurposed according to social distancing guidelines in order to serve as additional classrooms.
All other communal areas including faculty rooms will be closed until social distancing guidelines and PPE requirements are no longer necessary. The playgrounds will be available for use on a staggered basis and only after cleaning and disinfecting protocols have occurred.
Field trips and assemblies with outside presenters will not occur until social distancing guidelines and PPE requirements are no longer necessary.
Visitors, volunteers, and activities involving other groups will be restricted until social distancing guidelines and PPE requirements are no longer necessary. Only parents and guardians, who are cleared to enter after going through the screening process, will be given access to the main office areas.
The district will only accept contactless, vendor deliveries left in a designated area on the loading dock.
The school facilities will not be opened for public use on evenings and weekends until social distancing guidelines and PPE requirements are no longer necessary.
The use of the elevators will be restricted and signs to that effect will be posted.
The sharing of personal items, books, electronic devices and equipment is prohibited. The district will provide adequate supplies to minimize the sharing of high-touch materials.
Students will be allowed to carry a backpack and asked to bring only their face covering, needed outerwear for the season, a lunch if not partaking in the school lunch, and a water bottle.
Any staff meeting that exceeds ten persons will occur remotely; meetings that occur on site will need to be held in a space that allows for social distancing and face coverings will need to be worn by all attendees but the speaker.
The district will conduct eight evacuation and four lockdown drills in each building as required by education law.
The evacuation drills will be modified to accommodate social distancing guidelines by implementing a staggered schedule. The lockdown drills will be modified to occur in a classroom setting in which all parties will maintain social distancing and the teachers will discuss how to “shelter in place.” Teachers will also instruct students that in the event of an actual emergency, the most imminent concern would be to reach safety.
Extra-curricular programs and athletics will be supported to our fullest extent as allowable by the Department of Health.
The district’s before and aftercare programs are run by Healthy Kids, an organization bound by state regulations to follow the CDC guidelines specific to daycare centers.
The district will make provision for students and staff who are in the vulnerable populations in accordance with the accommodations detailed, in writing, by their health care provider.
The district recognizes that the social and emotional well-being of students and staff during these challenging times is critically important.
The district will call upon the counselors to help the staff recognize and identify students in need. The school counselors will follow-up with students and families and make outside referrals as appropriate. Additionally,
the multi-tier system of supports (MTSS) teams will convene and provide interventions as practical.
The district will continue to support student wellness activities, including SOAR (a positive behavior intervention support system program) and the Positivity Project.
The district will utilize the resources of the Employees Assistance Program (EAP) to provide the staff with information specific to developing coping and resiliency skills.
Upon opening, the number of students in each classroom, excluding larger areas, will be reduced to adhere to CDC guidance regarding proper social distancing. Additionally, and to the degree possible, the movement of students will be minimized.
At the start of the new school year, teachers will be asked to spend time building relationships, creating culture, and teaching social distancing etiquette. All instruction will continue to be aligned to the NYS Learning Standards. Teachers will be expected to assess student understanding of pre-requisite skills as part of developing lessons. Grading practices will be standards-based and feedback will be about degree of mastery.
Should a distance learning or hybrid learning model become necessary, certain groups of students will be prioritized to receive in-person learning to the greatest extent possible. This includes, but is not limited to, special education students, English language learners, students who did not engage in remote learning during the spring of 2020, and students who have connectivity needs.
The district will provide students with the special education services as prescribed on their IEPs and in compliance with social distancing and PPE requirements. Progress notes will be maintained by all providers and parents will receive narrative reports on a regular basis. The committees on special education and the committees on preschool education will collaborate with providers to ensure a common understanding of services, plans for monitoring and communicating student progress, and commitment to sharing resources. Additionally, these committees will oversee student access to needed accommodations, modifications, supplementary aides and services, and technology.
The district will complete identification of students eligible to receive ELL services within 30 school days of the start of the school year for students who:
- Enrolled during the 2020-2021 school year
- Enroll during the summer of 2021
- Enroll during the first 20 days of the 2021-2022 school year
All teachers and principals will continue to be evaluated pursuant to the district’s approved APPR plan.