Reopening Information

Return to Hybrid Model Form - January 2021

District Reopening Plan

NYS DOH & Governor’s Office

Parent and Staff Meeting Presentations

  • August 14, 2020

  • August 18, 2020

  • August 20, 2020

     

Superintendent's Letters to the Community

Remote Learning

Testing

Contact Tracing

Accommodations for Students

Quarantine Update

Travel Advisory

FFCRA and NYS Paid Leave

West Hempstead UFSD Distance Survey Results

NYSED and DOH Assurances

  • NYSED Assurance

  • DOH Assurance

  • NY Forward Safety Plan Template


Concurrent Hybrid Schedule

Distance Learning Instructional Model

Elementary Hybrid Instruction Schedule – K-6

Secondary Hybrid Instruction Schedule – 7-12 

New York State Reopening Guidelines

Parent Resources

INTRODUCTION
Our primary commitment is to the students and families we serve. Our priority must be keeping them safe. When the 2020-2021 school year begins, school will look much different than previous years due to COVID-19 and the health and safety measures that continue to evolve. This School Reopening Plan will define clear guidance for the reopening of our five schools and aligns with the regulations developed in collaboration with NYSDOH and the NYS Education Department.
The areas outlined in this plan represent the myriad considerations West.

Hempstead will address to reopen schools safely and to sustain their safe operation. It is important to note that our plan has a strong focus on academic instruction to enhance student learning. In addition, we have addressed the social-emotional needs of our students within our plan.
This plan includes procedures that will be followed in the schools listed below as well as District Office:

To be clear, the health and safety of our students, our staff, and their families is our top priority. We have developed a plan that intends to ensure that students and employees feel comfortable and safe returning to school campuses. Our 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).

It is possible that we will need to alternate between in-person and remote learning throughout the year due to recommendations and guidance from our partnering agencies, and stay-at-home orders from the Governor. The level of infection, the spread of the virus and response to the disease in our community will be at the forefront of decision making as we move to open our schools.
Mr. Daniel Rehman, Superintendent, will serve as the district’s COVID-19 Coordinator. He will serve as a central contact for schools and stakeholders, families, staff and other school community members and will ensure the district is in compliance and following the best practices per state and federal guidelines.
Of course, as with every plan being developed throughout New York State, this document is fluid and will change as necessary based on guidance from the state, CDC, and NYSED and in consideration of our families and our staff. We strongly believe the services described throughout this plan are in the best interests of our students, families, staff, and community.
The 2020-21 school year will be our time to recover, rebuild, and renew the spirit of the West Hempstead UFSD and community. Working together, educators, students, parents, and community members will continue to address this challenge with #RamResolve.
#RamResolve. People may assume that it is just about being physically steadfast. It is in part, but it is also about having anything you want if you are willing to work for it. It is about the willingness to take care of yourself physically as well as the need to read, write, and think critically daily. It is about creating physical and mental sweat. Producing it and capitalizing on it. It is about the willingness to engage in thoughtful debate and making a stand for the principles in which you believe. #RamResolve is about bringing your best forward each day to the hallways and classrooms in our five buildings (or virtually if need be). It is not about where you start, but where you end. More importantly, it is about the journey and your willingness not to avoid the obstacles but realize the obstacle is the way. It is about no limits and no excuses.
On or around July 17, 2020 NYSED issued a survey through the SED Monitoring and Vendor Reporting System (“the Portal”) to collect essential information about the comprehensive Re-Opening Plans developed for the 2020-21 school year. Specifically, by July 31, 2020 the District completed the survey to provide NYSED with:

  • a link to our website where our school plan has been publicly posted; and

  • a set of mandatory assurances completed by the Chief Executive Officer affirming that the District will address, in each re-opening plan, all of the mandatory elements outlined in the guidance document.

As well, we completed a short companion Department of Health survey on the New York Forward website.

COMMUNICATION/FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Regular and frequent communication between schools, families, and the wider community has always been an essential element of effective family and community engagement. According to NYSED guidance, we must sign an assurance that our plan includes provisions to meet the following communication requirements:

  • Responsible Parties must engage with school stakeholders and community members (e.g., administrators, faculty, staff, students, parents/legal guardians of students, local Health departments, local health care providers, and affiliated organizations, such as unions, alumni, and/or community-based groups) when developing reopening plans.

  • Plans for reopening should identify the groups of people involved and engaged throughout the planning process.

  • Responsible Parties must develop a communications plan for students, parents, or legal guardians of students, staff, and visitors that includes applicable instructions, training, signage, and a consistent means to provide individuals with information.

  • Responsible Parties must ensure all students are taught or trained how to follow new COVID-19 protocols safely and correctly, including but not limited to hand hygiene, proper face-covering wearing, social distancing, and respiratory hygiene.

  • Responsible Parties must encourage all students, faculty, staff, and visitors through verbal and written communication (e.g., signage) to adhere to CDC and DOH guidance regarding the use of PPE, specifically acceptable face coverings when a social distance cannot be maintained.

HEALTH AND SAFETY
The health and safety of the children and adults in our schools are paramount. Health and safety considerations must always come first in every decision made and every action taken by our schools and district.

Whether instruction is provided in-person, remotely, or through some combination of the two, schools have an important role to play in educating and communicating with school communities about the everyday preventive actions they can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Prevention is accomplished by following the recommendations of health authorities in the following areas:

  • Health Checks;

  • Healthy Hygiene Practices;

  • Social Distancing;

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Cloth Face Coverings;

  • Management of Ill Persons; and

  • Cleaning and Disinfection.

We will continually monitor the CDC and DOH websites to keep current with the latest COVID information and guidance. Other health and safety requirements include:

  • Our plan has been developed in collaboration with the district director of school health services to instruct staff to observe for signs of illness in students and staff and requires symptomatic persons to be sent to the school nurse or other designated personnel (See below for more information).

  • Our plan has a written protocol for daily temperature screenings of all students and staff, along with a daily screening questionnaire for faculty and staff and periodic use of the questionnaire for students. (See below for more information).

  • Our plan requires that ill students and staff be assessed by the school nurse (registered professional nurse, RN) or medical director and that if a school nurse or medical director is not available, ill students and staff will be sent home for follow up with a healthcare provider. (See below for more information).

  • Our plan has written protocols requiring students or staff with a temperature, signs of illness, and/or a positive response to the questionnaire to be sent directly to a dedicated isolation area where students are supervised, before being picked up or otherwise sent home. (See below for more information).

  • Our plan has written protocols to address visitors, guests, contractors, and vendors to the school, which includes health screening.

  • Our plan has a written protocol to instruct parents/guardians to observe for signs of illness in their child that require staying home from school. (See below for more information).

  • Our plan has written protocols and appropriate signage to instruct staff and students in correct hand and respiratory hygiene.

  • Our plan has written protocols detailing how the district/school will provide accommodations to all students and staff. (See below for more information).

  • Our plan has written protocols requiring all employees, adult visitors, and students to wear a cloth face-covering whenever social distancing cannot be maintained. (See below for more information).

  • Our plan has written protocols regarding students taking mask breaks. (See below for more information).

  • We have obtained an adequate supplies of cloth face coverings for school staff and students, and PPE for use by school health professionals.

  • Our plan has written protocols for actions to be taken if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the school. (See below for more information).

  • Our plan has written protocols that comply with CDC guidance for the return to school of students and staff following illness or diagnosis of a confirmed case of COVID-19 or following quarantine due to contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. Return to school will be coordinated with the local health department. (See below for more information).

  • Our plan has written protocols to clean and disinfect schools following CDC guidance. (See below in Facilities section for more information).

  • The District has a written plan for district/school run before and aftercare programs. (See Appendix for SCOPE Protocols).

  • The Superintendent will be the designated COVID-19 safety coordinator whose responsibilities include continuous compliance with all aspects of the District’s reopening plan, as well as any phased-in reopening activities necessary to allow for operational issues to be resolved before activities return to normal or “new normal” levels.

Health Checks
Parents/guardians and staff members will be provided resources to educate them regarding the careful observation of symptoms of COVID-19 and health screening that must be conducted each morning before coming to school. Parents/guardians and school staff will be instructed that any student or staff member with a fever of 100°F or greater and/or symptoms of possible COVID-19 virus infection should not be present in school. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) keep an up to date list of symptoms of Coronavirus on its website. This list is not all-inclusive as some individuals may display other symptoms or none at all. As of 7/13/2020, the following are listed as the most common symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills (100°F or greater);

  • Cough;

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing;

  • Fatigue;

  • Muscle or body aches;

  • Headache;

  • New loss of taste or smell;

  • Sore throat;

  • Congestion or runny nose;

  • Nausea or vomiting; and/or

  • Diarrhea.

As well, we will work with the staff to observe students or other staff members for signs of any type of illness, such as:

  • Flushed cheeks;

  • Rapid or difficulty breathing (without recent physical activity);

  • Fatigue, and/or irritability; and

  • Frequent use of the bathroom.

Students and staff exhibiting these signs with no other explanation for them will be sent to the school health office for an assessment by the school nurse. If a school nurse is not available, the school may contact the parent/guardian to come pick up their ill child or send the staff member home. Health screenings, including daily temperature checks and completion of a screening questionnaire, are required for staff, contractors, vendors, and visitors. Students are required to have a daily temperature check and periodic completion of a screening questionnaire. Anyone who has a temperature of 100°F or greater or has a positive response to the screening questionnaire will be isolated from others and sent home immediately. Students will be supervised in the isolated area while awaiting transport home. We will refer such persons to a healthcare provider and provide resources on COVID-19 testing.
Students and staff are required to notify their school when they develop symptoms or if their answers to the questionnaire change during or outside school hours. We will set up a means to collect this information.
Staff is asked to complete the required screenings before arrival at school, and parents/guardians are asked to screen their child before sending them to school. We understand and will communicate to parents/guardians that screening by the parent/ guardian before school is preferred in lieu of temperature checks and symptom screening being performed after arrival to school. Screening of students includes a daily temperature check and periodic completion of a screening questionnaire.
A screening questionnaire may be used to determine whether an individual has:

  • knowingly been in close or proximate contact in the past 14 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 14 days;

  • experienced any symptoms of COVID-19, including a temperature of greater than 100.0°F in the past 14 days: and/or

  • has, 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 issued by the NYSDOH on June 24, 2020.

Per NYSDOH, schools are prohibited from keeping records of student, faculty, staff, and visitor health data (e.g., the specific temperature data of an individual), but are permitted to maintain records that confirm individuals were screened and the result of such screening (e.g., pass/fail, cleared/not cleared).

Hand Hygiene
Students and staff must practice good hand hygiene to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. We will strongly consider planning time in the school day schedule to allow for hand hygiene. Hand hygiene includes:

  • Traditional hand washing (with soap and water, lathering for a minimum of 20 seconds), which is the preferred method;

  • Use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers (60% alcohol or greater) when soap and water are not available, and hands are not visibly dirty.

Respiratory Hygiene
Our reopening plan includes processes and procedures for respiratory hygiene. The COVID-19 virus spreads from person to person in droplets produced by coughs and sneezes. Therefore, students and staff must cover their mouths or noses with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and dispose of the tissue appropriately. If no tissue is available, using the inside of the elbow (or shirtsleeve) to cover the mouth or nose is preferable to using the hands. Always perform hand hygiene after sneezing, coughing, and handling dirty tissues or other soiled material.

Use of Nebulizers in School for Asthma Symptoms

  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, nebulizer treatments at school should be reserved for children who cannot use or do not have access to an inhaler. We will obtain the appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) for staff who administer nebulizer treatments and peak flow meters for students with asthma. PPE for use when administering nebulizer treatments or peak flow meters to students with asthma consists of gloves, medical or surgical facemask, and eye protection. During the COVID-19 pandemic, if a nebulizer treatment or use of peak flow meter is necessary at school for a student, the number of people present in the room should be limited to the student and the staff member administering the treatment or peak flow meter. If appropriate based on the student's age and level of maturity, the staff member could leave the room and return when the nebulizer treatment is finished. After the nebulizer treatment or use of peak flow meter, this room should undergo routine cleaning and disinfection.

  • We will encourage parents to supply MDI-inhaler vs. albuterol vials used with a nebulizer for asthma treatment as feasible.

Social Distancing
Social Distancing also called “physical distancing,” means keeping a six-foot space between yourself and others. We will enforce social distancing in all school facilities and on school grounds.

Update – May 10, 2021
The West Hempstead UFSD has chosen to reduce physical distancing to no less than three feet between students during academic instruction for grades K-6, however:

  • We will follow CDC recommendations for physical distancing depending upon community transmission rates and grade levels.

We will adhere to the exceptions where a minimum of six feet of distance must be maintained including:

  • Six feet is always the required distancing between adults (teachers, staff, visitors) and between students and adults.

  • Six feet of distance is required when eating meals or snacks, or drinking, or other times masks must be removed. This may mean that meals cannot be eaten in classrooms that have been converted to three feet of physical distance during instruction time.

  • Individuals participating in activities that require projecting the voice (e.g., singing) or playing a wind instrument must be six feet apart and there must be six feet of distance between the performers and the audience during performances and concerts.

  • Six feet of physical distance must be maintained in common areas and outside of classrooms (e.g. lobbies, auditoriums, gymnasiums, cafeterias, and hallways), where possible.

If Students or Staff become Ill with Symptoms of COVID-19 at School
Students and staff with symptoms of illness will be sent to the health office. Ideally, a school nurse (Registered Professional Nurse, RN) will be available to assess individuals with chronic conditions such as asthma and allergies or chronic gastrointestinal conditions, which may present as the same symptoms as COVID-19 but are neither contagious nor pose a public health threat.

If a school nurse is not available, we will isolate and dismiss any student or staff member who has a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19 that are not explained by a chronic health condition for follow up with a health care provider.

We will follow Education Law § 906, which provides [w]henever...a student in the public schools shows symptoms of any communicable or infectious disease reportable under the public health law that imposes a significant risk of infection of others in the school, he or she shall be excluded from the school and sent home immediately, in a safe and proper conveyance.

The director of school health services shall immediately notify a local public health agency of any disease reportable under the public health law. The director of school health services, or other health professionals acting upon direction or referral of such director, may make such evaluations of teachers and any other school employees, school buildings and premises as, in their discretion, they may deem necessary to protect the health of the students and staff.

Students suspected of having COVID-19 awaiting transport home by the parent/guardian will be isolated in a room or area separate from others, with a supervising adult present utilizing appropriate PPE. Multiple students suspected of COVID-19 may be in this isolation room if they can be separated by at least 6 feet [or if all such students are wearing appropriate face coverings].

When we encounter students or staff who become ill with symptoms of COVID-19 while at school, we will follow the following CDC and NYSDOH recommendations:

  • Closing off areas used by a sick person and not using these areas until after cleaning and disinfection has occurred;

  • Opening outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area;

  • Waiting at least 24 hours before cleaning and disinfection. If waiting 24 hours is not feasible, we will wait as long as possible;

  • Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, such as offices, classrooms, bathrooms, lockers, and common areas.

    • Once the area has been appropriately cleaned and disinfected, it can be reopened for use.

    • Individuals without close or proximate contact with the person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 can return to the area and resume school activities immediately after cleaning and disinfection.

    • We will refer to DOH’s “Interim Guidance for Public and Private Employees Returning to Work Following COVID-19 Infection or Exposure” for information on “close and proximate” contacts.

    • If more than seven days have passed since the person who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 visited or used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection are not necessary, but routine cleaning and disinfection should continue.

If a separate room is not available, we will either keep at least a 6-foot distance between ill students or staff members and other persons. If they cannot be isolated in a separate room from others, we will provide a facemask (e.g., cloth or surgical mask) to the student if the ill person can tolerate wearing it and does not have difficulty breathing, to prevent the possible transmission of the virus to others while waiting for transportation home. Where possible, we will follow the guidance in the NYSED Reopening Guidance document, which recommends that:

We will call for emergency transport (911) following district policies, for any student showing any of these emergency warning signs of MIS-C or other concerning signs:

If a student or staff member reports having tested positive for COVID-19, a school administrator or his/her designee may notify the local health department to determine what steps are needed for the school community.

Return to School after Illness from, or Exhibiting Symptoms of, COVID-19
We will follow CDC guidance for allowing a student or staff member to return to school after exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. If a person is not diagnosed by a healthcare provider (e.g., physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant) with COVID-19, they can return to school:

  • Once there is no fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines, and they have felt well for 24 hours;

  • If they have been diagnosed with another condition and submit a healthcare provider written note stating that they are clear to return to school.

If a person is diagnosed with COVID-19 by a healthcare provider based on a test or their symptoms or does not get a COVID-19 test but has had symptoms, they should not be at school and will be required to stay at home until:

  • It has been at least ten days since the individual first had symptoms;

  • It has been at least three days since the individual has had a fever (without using fever-reducing medicine); and

  • It has been at least three days since the individual’s symptoms improved, including cough and shortness of breath.

School Closures

  • We will collaborate with our local health department to determine the parameters, conditions, or metrics (e.g., increased absenteeism or increased illness in school community) that will serve as early warning signs that positive COVID-19 cases may be increasing beyond an acceptable level.

  • We will consider closing school if absentee rates impact the ability of the school to operate safely. We may choose to modify operations before closing to help mitigate a rise in cases. We may consult our medical director and/or the local department of health when making such decisions.

Accommodations for Staff
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified some medical conditions that may place individual employees at higher risk for serious illness if they contract COVID-19. Persons in these groups should consult with their healthcare provider regarding prevention:

  • Individuals age 65 or older;

  • Pregnant individuals;

  • Individuals with underlying health conditions including, but not limited to:

  • Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma

  • Serious heart conditions

  • Immunocompromised

  • Severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 or higher)

  • Diabetes

  • Chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis

  • Liver disease

  • Sickle cell anemia

Medical conditions placing employees at higher risk may be disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504). If an employee requests an accommodation due to their high-risk condition or disability, the District will follow its established ADA procedures and engage in the interactive process to identify potential accommodations.

Accommodations for Students
Students with disabilities, including those who may be at higher risk if they contract COVID-19, may be entitled to new or different accommodations. Medically complex children who have neurologic, genetic, metabolic conditions, or who have congenital heart disease are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 than other children.

Students with special needs or students who are medically fragile may not be able to maintain social distancing, hand or respiratory hygiene, or wear a face covering or mask. Parents/ guardians need to work with their child’s healthcare providers so that an informed decision can be made on how best to meet the child’s needs at school while protecting their health and safety.

Students requesting accommodations should contact the District immediately by submitting a written request to Ms. Bridget Karis, Director of Pupil Personnel Services Written requests will enable the District to proactively identify such students and refer them for evaluation for Section 504 or special education eligibility if they are not yet identified. For already identified students with disabilities, the student’s 504 team or Committee on Special Education (CSE) will gather the appropriate health documentation to determine what changes in instruction may be required due to the student’s health needs, including the provision of remote instruction or homebound services if appropriate.

Cleaning and Disinfection
The CDC provides Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection with specific guidance for schools along with the Cleaning and Disinfection Decision Tool to aid in determining what level of cleaning and/or disinfection is necessary. School-wide cleaning will include classrooms, restrooms, cafeterias, libraries, playgrounds, and buses. The guidance provides a general framework for cleaning and disinfection practices. The framework is based on doing the following:

  • Normal routine cleaning with soap and water will decrease how much of the virus is on surfaces and objects, which reduces the risk of exposure;

  • Disinfection using US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved disinfectants against COVID-19. Where disinfectants are used, products should be registered with EPA and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Frequent disinfection of surfaces and objects touched by multiple people is important;

  • When EPA-approved disinfectants are not available, alternative disinfectants can be used (e.g., 1/3 cup of bleach added to 1 gallon of water or 70% alcohol solutions). We will not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products. This can cause fumes that may be extremely dangerous to breathe in. We will keep all disinfectants out of the reach of children;

  • We will identify cleaning and disinfection frequency for each facility and area type; and

  • We will maintain logs that include the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection in a facility or area.

High touch surfaces may be cleaned and disinfected frequently though out the day. Examples of high touch surfaces include:

  • Tables;

  • Doorknobs;

  • Light switches;

  • Countertops;

  • Handles;

  • Desks;

  • Phones;

  • Keyboards and tablets;

  • Toilets and restrooms; and

  • Faucets and sinks.

  • We will follow our established schedule for cleaning and/or changing heating/air conditioning system filters;

  • We will follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfection of electronic devices such as laptops, iPads or Chromebooks, keyboards and computer mice, etc., between use;

  • Shared wind musical instruments should be cleaned between use per the manufacturer’s directions;

  • Playgrounds should be cleaned per CDC Guidance.

  • Shared athletic/gym equipment (e.g., balls, protective gear) should be cleaned between use per manufacturer’s directions.

  • We will provide for the cleaning and disinfection of exposed areas in the event an individual is confirmed to have COVID-19, with such cleaning and disinfection to include, at a minimum, all heavy transit areas, and high-touch surfaces as well as follow CDC guidelines.

School Health Office Cleaning
School health office cleaning will occur after each use of:

  • Cots;

  • Bathroom; and

  • Health office equipment (e.g., blood pressure cuffs, otoscopes, stethoscopes, etc.) will be cleaned following the manufacturer’s directions.

We will use disposable items as much as possible, including:

  • Disposable pillow protectors; or

  • Disposable thermometers, or disposable thermometer sheaths or probes, and disposable otoscope specula.

More information on cleaning health office equipment is on the New York State Center for School Health’s website under COVID-19.

  • Undated cleaning equipment such as, but not limited to, backpack disinfectant spray.

  • Hand sanitizer available throughout common areas. It should be placed in convenient locations, such as a building, classroom, and cafeteria entrances and exits (hand sanitizer containing 60%).

  • A touchless hand dryer will be installed in bathrooms. In bathrooms where touchless hand dryers cannot be installed, hand sanitizer dispenser will be installed next to the existing hand dryer.

  • Removal of mouth nozzles on water fountains or signage use to encourage the use of the water-bottle refilling station on all water fountains.

  • Ensure running of warm water in all bathrooms and available sinks.

  • Hand-washing schedule for all students:

  • Limit on the number of personal items and furniture other than student and teacher desks, allowed in classrooms, office, and communal spaces.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
We have reviewed the OSHA COVID-19 guidance for information on how to protect staff from potential exposures, according to their exposure risk pursuant to their Exposure Control Plan. The OSHA guidance also sets forth when PPE is needed by staff pursuant to the OSHA standards. We will follow CDC recommends that school-based health personnel use Healthcare Facilities: Managing Operations During COVID19 Pandemic Updated June 29, 2020 guidance when providing care to ill persons as part of infection control protocols:

  • Licensed healthcare professionals must utilize standard precautions at all times;

  • Transmission-based precautions should be used when assessing persons suspected of having COVID-19;

  • We will ensure we have adequate supplies of PPE for use by school health professionals to assess and care for ill students and staff members.

Cloth Face Coverings (Update May 10, 2021: Now Known as Mask Coverings)
Cloth face coverings are meant to protect other people in case the wearer is unknowingly infected but does not have symptoms. Cloth face coverings are not surgical masks, respirators, or other medical personal protective equipment. We will require that all staff, students, and building guests wear a face covering at all times. However, if face coverings are to be worn by all individuals at all times, staff should allow students to remove their face covering during meals, and for short breaks, so long as those students maintain appropriate social distance.

Acceptable face coverings include but are not limited to cloth-based face coverings (e.g., homemade sewn, quick cut, bandana), and surgical masks that cover both the mouth and nose.

We will provide acceptable face covering to employees and students and have an adequate supply in case of need for replacement per Executive Order 202.16. We will allow an employee to wear their acceptable face covering but will not require that they supply their face coverings. Employees with healthcare provider documentation, stating they are not medically able to tolerate face covering, will not be required to do so.

We recognize that face coverings may be challenging for students (especially younger students) to wear in all-day settings such as school and that scheduling mask breaks are important. Face coverings will not be placed on:

  • Students where such covering would impair their health or mental health, or where such covering would present a challenge, distraction, or obstruction to education services and instruction;

  • Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious; or

  • Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face-covering without assistance.

We will instruct students, parents/guardians, and staff, contractors, and vendors on:

  • The proper way to wear face coverings;

  • Washing hands before putting on and after removing their face covering;

  • The proper way to discard disposable face coverings;

  • The importance of routine cleaning of reusable face coverings; and

  • Face coverings are for individual use only and should not be shared.
    Information and resources to assist schools in instructing on the proper use and cleaning of facemasks are on the CDC webpage on cloth face coverings.

Students and staff may use alternate PPE (i.e., face coverings that are transparent at or around the mouth) for instruction or interventions that require visualization of the movement of the lips and/or mouths (e.g., speech therapy). These alternate coverings may also be used for certain students (e.g., hearing impaired) who benefit from being able to see more of the face of the staff member.

Contact Tracing
Contact tracing is a public health function performed by local public health departments to trace all persons who had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. This allows public health officials to put in place isolation or other measures to limit the spread of the virus. We will cooperate with state and local health department contact tracing. We will assist public health departments in knowing who may have had contact at school with a confirmed case by making reasonable efforts to:

  • keep accurate attendance records of students and staff members;

  • ensure student schedules are up to date;

  • keep a log of any visitors which includes the date, time and location in the school they visited; and

  • Assist local health departments in tracing all contacts of the individual at school in accordance with the protocol, training, and tools provided through the New York State Contact Tracing Program. We understand that this does not mean we are required to have staff members take the contract tracing program. Questions should be directed to the local health department.

We further understand that confidentiality must be maintained to the fullest extent possible as required by federal and state laws and regulations and that our staff should not try to determine who is to be excluded from school based on contact without guidance and direction from the local department of health.

Update May 10, 2021: Indicators: Due to evidence that transmission risk ranges by the age of the student, the CDC recommends that physical distancing requirements differ by grade level and community transmission risk. CDC has developed four levels of indicators and thresholds for community transmission of COVID-19. Please refer to Table 1 in the CDC guidance for more detail.