• North Salem Central School District

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    Introduction

    On Monday, July 13, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that school districts in New York can follow plans to reopen for in-person schooling in September if COVID-19 infection rates stay at 5% or lower in a given region. 

    Determinations will be made by region about opening and closing schools as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. If a region is in Phase 4 and has a daily infection rate of 5% or lower over a 14-day average, schools in that region could hold in-person instruction. If daily infection rates exceed 9% over a seven-day average, however, schools in that region would not reopen. Similarly, should a region see such an average after reopening, schools in that region would also be directed to close.

    While districts have been instructed to prioritize efforts to return all students to in-person instruction, the district is also planning for remote/distance learning as well as for a hybrid model that combines in-person instruction and remote learning. Parents will always have the choice to remain in the remote learning model.  Parents choosing to remain in a remote model are asked to submit their request in writing to the building principal.  To facilitate this process parents will be surveyed.

    The plan outlined here is for the reopening of schools in the North Salem Central School District for the 2020-21 school year, following the building closure related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan includes procedures that will be followed in the following schools:

     

    The health and safety of our students, our staff and their families is our top priority. We want students and employees to 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 may need to alternate between in-person, hybrid, 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 our decision making as we move to open our schools.

    Dr. Ken Freeston, Dr. Julio Vazquez, Dr. Adam VanDerStuyf, Dr. John Sieverding, Mr. DiGrandi and Mrs. Johnson will serve as the District’s COVID-19 Coordinators.  They will work closely with the Westchester Department of Health and Dr. Barsh, the District’s medical advisor. They will provide continuous compliance with all aspects of the school’s reopening plan following best practices per state and federal guidelines, as well as any phased-in reopening activities necessary to allow for operational issues to be resolved before activities return to normal levels.  They 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. Their contact information is available on the staff directory on the District’s website. 

    We want to thank the dozens of people who have volunteered to work on our reopening task forces. Community members and parents joined teachers, administrators, secretaries, paraprofessionals, custodians, bus drivers and Board trustees to work together to develop opening scenarios.  The Academic Task Force has prepared three opening scenarios, all in classroom instruction, all distance learning, and a hybrid/phased in approach.  The Social Emotional Task Force identified resources and capacities to support families, students, and staff when they need it.  The Health and Safety Task Force worked on our transportation, facilities and health services.

     

    We appreciate your patience as we thoughtfully and purposefully studied external guidance on school reopening plans from the NY Department of Health, Department of Education and the CDC.  Our plans should be considered living documents which will be continually revised as conditions change.

     

    It is important to point out that before selecting which plan to implement it may be prudent for us to wait until the Governor makes his determination on whether he will permit schools to open based on regional transmission rates in the first week of August.

     

    While there continues to be a polarizing national debate on when and how to reopen schools, we want to assure you that the health and safety of students and staff will be the primary factors in determining the timing and format of reopening North Salem schools.

     

    Please feel free to email questions to reopen@northsalemschools.org.  We will prepare an FAQ document for distribution.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Content Outline

    • Communication/Family and Community Engagement
    • Health & Safety
      • Health checks
      • Social distancing, face coverings & PPE
      • Infection control strategies
      • Management of ill persons, contact tracing and monitoring
      • Health hygiene
      • Cleaning and disinfecting
      • Vulnerable populations/accommodations
      • Visitors on campus
      • School safety drills
    • Facilities
    • Child Nutrition
      • Meals onsite
      • Meals offsite/remote
    • Transportation
    • Social Emotional Well-Being
    • School Schedules
    • School Activities
      • Extracurriculars
      • Childcare
    • Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism
    • Technology and Connectivity
    • Teaching and Learning
      • In-person Instruction
      • Remote/Hybrid Instruction
    • Special Education
    • Bilingual Education and World Languages
    • Staff
      • Teacher and Principal Evaluation System
      • Certification, Incidental Teaching and Substitute Teaching

     

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    Communication/Family and Community Engagement

    To help inform our reopening plan, the district has sought feedback and input from stakeholders, including administrators, Board of Education Trustees, faculty, staff, students, parents/guardians of students, local health department officials and health care providers, employee unions and community groups. Engagement efforts included online surveys, virtual forums/meetings and one-on-one conversations.

    The District met with stakeholders and community members including administrators, Board of Education Trustees, faculty, staff, students, parents/legal guardians of students, local health departments, local health providers, our district’s unions (NSTA teachers' union; NSSRP custodians and bus drivers’ union; NSPA principals’ union; and CSEA clerical, paraprofessional, and teacher assistants’ union); alumni and community based groups when we developed our reopening plans (hybrid, remote, and in-person).  Stakeholders from each of these constituencies partook in our academic task force, health and safety task force, and social and emotional task force all of which informed our reopening plans.

    The district remains committed to communicating all elements of this reopening plan to students, parents/ guardians, staff and visitors. The plan is available to all stakeholders via the district website at https://www.northsalemschools.org/, and will be updated throughout the school year, as necessary, to respond to local circumstances. The link to the plan appears under the announcement section of the District’s website on the homepage and is also available on each of the schools’ homepages. Every effort has been made to ensure that the plan is accessible to all individuals in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level A/AA. The plan can also be translated into other languages, via the G-Translate feature available on the district website.

    As part of its planning for the reopening of schools and the new academic year, the district has developed a plan for communicating all necessary information to district staff, students, parents/guardians, visitors, education partners and vendors. The district will use its existing communication channels – including Blackboard Mass Communication which includes email, text, social media and the District’s website in addition to the Superintendent’s News Service.   The district’s communication plan also includes the use of appropriate signage and training opportunities to support the dissemination of consistent messaging regarding new protocols and procedures, expectations, requirements and options related to school operations throughout the pandemic. Information on the District’s website will also be available in Spanish as well as other languages through the District website’s Google Translate feature. 

    The district is committed to establishing and maintaining regular channels of communication and has reviewed and determined which methods have proven to be the most effective in communications with our school community. The district will rely on Blackboard Mass Communication (email, text, social media, District website), Tuesday Newsday and the Superintendent’s News Service to communicate news, requirements and updates.

    The information that we will share will be based on state guidance and provide guidance on responsibilities of parents/guardians, students, staff and visitors regarding health and safety measures that must be adhered to on school campuses and those that are recommended outside of the school day and off school grounds; ensure that all students and staff are taught or trained how to follow new COVID-19 protocols safely and correctly, including but not limited to hand hygiene, proper wearing of face coverings, social distancing, and respiratory hygiene; 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; provide regular updates about health and safety, scheduling, and all other information families should be aware of; share information on social-emotional supports for students, faculty and families and provide opportunities for families to provide feedback on school experience.

    In support of remote learning, the district will make computer devices available to students and teachers who need them.  Parents/guardians will be surveyed in English and in Spanish to determine the need for devices.  The district will allocate a wifi device to each student that is in need of one and chromebooks will be distributed so that 1:1 allocation is achieved. 

    The district will provide students and their families with multiple ways to contact schools and teachers during remote learning, including the District’s website, Tuesday Newsday, email, Google Classroom, and phone messages. All teachers emails and contact information are available on the District’s website.   

    The district will use existing internal and external communications channels to notify staff, students and families/caregivers about in-person, remote and hybrid school schedules with as much advance notice as possible. Schedules will be communicated via the reopening plan on the District’s website, virtual meetings, through email, U.S. mail and through the Parent Portal, and/or Tuesday Newsday. Schedules will be provided in late August, once the Governor’s expected guidance during the first week of August is made known.  

    The district will follow its existing engagement and communication protocols with parents regarding the provision of special education services for their child. The district will ensure that parents/legal guardians of students who receive special education services are receiving meaningful engagement in their preferred language and mode of communication by reaching out to each parent/guardian through the following means:  email, virtual meetings, the District’s website and/or phone calls.

    The district will follow the existing engagement and communication protocols with parents regarding the transportation services for their child.

    In addition, the district will make every effort to ensure that communication to parents/legal guardians is in their preferred language and mode of communication via translated written communications and virtual meetings or phone calls.

    The district is committed to ensuring that all of its students and their families are taught and re-taught new expectations related to all public health policies and protocols. As part of this continuous training, the district will assess the best approach to communicating the information for each students’ age group and will provide frequent opportunities for students to review these policies and protocols. The District is working with PNW BOCES for videos that will support this targeted education and will help ensure that all students and their families know what is expected of them as they successfully return to the school setting. These trainings will cover:

    • Hand hygiene - Students will be instructed in proper hand washing hygiene by our school nurse and teachers. Videos will also be provided on the school website to demonstrate proper hand washing hygiene and will be reinforced through signage.
    • Proper face covering procedures (how to wear and remove). Students will be instructed in face covering procedures (how to wear and remove their face coverings) by our school nurse and teachers.  Videos will also be provided on the school website to demonstrate proper wearing and removal of face coverings and will be reinforced through signage.  Sample PNW Video provided
    • Social distancing protocols and training that include maintaining a distance of six feet or more, whenever possible, will be provided for students by administration and teachers and will be reinforced through signage and video supports. Sample PNW Video provided  Sample PNW Video provided 2
    • Respiratory hygiene protocols and training will be provided by staff for students and through video that will be provided on the District’s website and through signage. Sample PNW Video provided
    • Identification of the symptoms of COVID-19 will include a description and training via Global Compliance Network for faculty and staff. Parents/guardians will need to immediately call the school nurse and report absence if their child develops symptoms.  Parents will be provided with protocols for health daily health screenings.  Please see the guidance below for identification:
      • All parents/guardians must ensure that their child is healthy when reporting to school. Children must not have any symptoms or fever. If your child does not appear well, you will be contacted to pick your child up from school to seek medical attention.
      • Limited data about COVID-19 in children suggest that children are less likely to get COVID-19 than adults, and if they do contract COVID-19, they generally have less serious illness than adults. While uncommon, deaths and rare illnesses such as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) may still occur.
      • People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of reported symptoms – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Symptoms can include:
      • Fever or chills
      • 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
      • Diarrhea
      • This list does not include all possible symptoms and children and youth with SARS-CoV-2 infection may experience any, all, or none of these symptoms. (See Symptoms of Coronavirus for more information).
      • Given the wide range of symptoms and the fact that some people with SARS-CoV-2 infection (the virus that causes COVID-19) are asymptomatic, there are limitations to symptom screening conducted by schools for the identification of COVID-19.

    The district will create and deploy signage throughout the district to address public health protections surrounding COVID-19. Signage will address protocols and recommendations in the following areas:

    • Proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
    • Acceptable face coverings and requirements related to their wear
    • Hand washing
    • Adherence to social distancing instructions
    • Symptoms/prevention of COVID-19

    In addition to signage, the district will encourage all students, faculty, staff and visitors through verbal and written communication to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DOH guidance regarding the use of PPE through additional means such as videos on the District website and through Global Compliance Network training for all faculty and staff. 

    The district is committed to creating a learning environment that protects student and staff health, safety and privacy. Our district will operate under a standard procedure for addressing situations in which an individual has tested positive for COVID-19 or appears symptomatic.

    Direction for containment protocols will be communicated to all faculty and staff verbally and in writing.  These protocols include:

    1. Identification of students with COVID-19 symptoms
    2. Safe removal and isolation of a student with symptoms to the designated isolation room
    3. Contacting the student’s parents/guardians so students are picked up from school and seek medical attention
    4. Cleaning of the isolation room
    5. Identification of affected students and staff
    6. Referral for testing of affected students and staff
    7. Contacting families of affected students
    8. Cleaning of the classroom/areas and ensuring appropriate control measures are promptly implemented to contain further spread.
    9. Determining if further transmission and dissemination is occurring.
    10. Providing remote instruction for students impacted.

    In the event that a student or staff member is sick or symptomatic, notification to exposed individuals will occur pursuant to the state’s contact tracing protocols as implemented by the local health department. The district will not notify the wider community unless specifically directed to do so by local health officials.

    School Closures

    The district is preparing for situations in which one or more school buildings need to close due to a significant number of students or staff testing positive for COVID-19 or a considerable regional increase in COVID-19 cases.

    The North Salem Central School District will work with the District’s medical advisor, our school nurses, and the Westchester County Department of Health to determine the parameters, conditions and metrics that will serve as early warning signs that positive COVID-19 cases may be increasing beyond an acceptable level.  The district may choose to modify operations in one or more schools prior to closing to help mitigate a rise in cases. The district will consult with Dr. Barsh and the Westchester County Department of Health when making such decisions. 

    A closure refers to contingency plans, protocols, and procedures for decreasing the scale or scope of in-person education and/or closing the school. The district will collaborate with the Westchester Department of Health 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.

    The District in consultation with the state and Westchester County Department of Health may face conditions that may warrant reducing in-person education or closing the school and such conditions may include:

    • Schools will close if the regional infection rate rises over 9% after Aug. 1. Schools will close if the 7-day rolling average of the infection rate is above 9%.
    • Schools in regions in Phase 4 can reopen if the daily infection rate remains below 5 percent using a 14-day average, unless otherwise directed from the LOCAL (insert county) health department.
    • If the infection rate rises about 9%, schools must wait until the 14-day average is below 5%
    • Once schools open at Phase IV below 5% for a 14-day rolling average, schools can remain open even if the rate continues to rise about 5% until it reaches 9% for the 7-day average.
    • The District will consult with our medical director and/or the local department of health when making decisions related to closing.
    • The District will also determine which operations will be decreased, or ceased and which operations will be conducted remotely.

    School building administrators will communicate with each other regularly.  Should schools close, schools will begin closure procedures with the transitioning of remote learning of specific classrooms based upon contact tracing data.  If multiple classes close, specific wings and grade levels of the school may close at the elementary school leading up to an entire school closure.

     Given the passing of students from class to class at the Middle School/High School, the entire school may need to close based upon the multiple contacts that students make throughout the day at which point we would transition to remote learning.  

    The District will execute an orderly closure by communicating internally with faculty and staff and using Blackboard mass communication as well as the Superintendent’s News Service to communicate with families and provide instructions on closure procedures. 

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    Health & Safety

    The health and safety of our students, our staff and their families is our top priority. We want students and employees to 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).

    The following protocols and procedures will be in place in all district schools for the 2020-21 school year should in-person schooling resume. Anyone with questions or concerns should contact our COVID-19 safety coordinators, Dr. Ken Freeston, Dr. Julio Vazquez, Dr. Adam VanDerStuyf, Dr. John Sieverding, Mr. DiGrandi or Mrs. Johnson.  Their contact information can be accessed on the District’s website. 

    For more information about how health and safety protocols and training will be communicated to students, families and staff members, see the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.

    Health checks

    The district has developed resources to educate parents/guardians and staff members regarding the careful observation of symptoms of COVID-19 and health screening measures that must be conducted each morning before coming to school. The resources include the requirement for any student or staff member with a fever of 100°F or greater and/or symptoms of possible COVID-19 virus infection to not come to school. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list of Coronavirus symptoms was used to develop these resources.

    The North Salem Central School District will implement the following practices to conduct mandated health screening.

    Daily screening questionnaires have been developed for faculty and staff and are being used for faculty/staff who are currently working in our buildings.   Individuals unable to access the forms electronically will fill out paper forms of the questionnaire.

    https://forms.gle/XJkPvFBCSHaNdRj57 - MS/HS Questionnaire

    https://forms.gle/tzp79bWf3UQ6e9ddA - PQ Questionnaire

    Transportation Questionnaire

    Policies should include the following:

    1. Daily temperature checks and completion of the screening questionnaire provided in the New York Forward Pre-K to Grade 12 School Guidelines for staff, contractors, vendors, and visitors [prior to arrival/at school].
    2. Parents and guardians must observe their children for any symptomology indicating the possibility of COVID-19.   (The current CDC definition of symptoms include: fever, cough, shortness of breath, or at least two of the following symptoms: fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell). If your child has any of the above symptoms, your child should stay home.  Parents will be required to complete daily wellness checks including taking their child’s temperature.  The District is exploring using an electronic monitoring website for this purpose.
    • Students whose parent/guardian did not complete the screening at home will be checked by the school nurse.
    • Means for ensuring all students are treated equally; and students whose parent/guardian did not complete the screening are not singled out.
    • Students will immediately report to the school nurse upon arrival at school and, if cleared by the nurse, will be sent to class.
    1. One of the sub-committees consisting of our school nurses, parents who were licensed professionals working in hospitals and health care facilities worked on written protocol for staff to observe signs of illness in students and staff.  Regulations outlining the steps for identifying symptomatic persons to be moved to the school nurse will be in effect.  As such the District has identified locations for isolation rooms and procured the necessary equipment and supplies to support these areas.

    Social distancing, Face Coverings & PPE

    The district has developed a plan with policies and procedures for maintaining social distancing of all students, faculty, and staff when on school facilities, grounds and transportation.

    The physical parameters of both school buildings, PQ and MS/HS as well as the District Office have been inspected by the Health and Safety Team to determine placement of appropriate signage to instruct all persons in maintaining a social distance of at least 6 ft.  In addition, most of the hallways in the MS/HS have been designated and marked for single-direction walking.

    If social distancing of 6 feet cannot be maintained, proper face coverings must be worn in common areas such as hallways. For those medically unable to wear face coverings precautions will be taken to safeguard their health and the health of those around them.

    Students, staff and visitors to our schools will be expected to wear face coverings indoors and outside, when six-foot physical distancing is not possible. Students will be allowed to remove face coverings during meals, instruction, and for short breaks so long as they maintain appropriate social distance. Students who are unable to medically tolerate a face covering will not be required to wear one.

    Because students and staff will need to be prepared to wear a face covering if another person unexpectedly cannot socially distance, they will be required to wear a face covering in all common areas (e.g., entrances and exits) and when traveling around the school.

    Face coverings will be provided to students and staff, if needed, at no cost. Acceptable face coverings for COVID-19 include, but are not limited to, cloth-based coverings and surgical masks that cover both the mouth and nose.

    An employee is allowed to wear their own acceptable face covering if they choose. Employees with healthcare provider documentation stating they are not medically able to tolerate face covering will not be required to do so.

    Face coverings may be challenging for students (especially younger students) to wear in all-day settings such as school, so there will be periods of time when students can be socially distanced and masks are not worn.

    Face coverings should not be placed on:

    • Children younger than 2 years old
    • 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
    • Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance

    The district 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
    • Proper way to discard disposable face coverings

    The North Salem School District has a plan for obtaining and maintaining adequate supplies of cloth face coverings for school staff, students who forget their masks (also applicable for students who do not have a mask prior to boarding the school bus) and PPE for use by school health professionals. When necessary certain medical treatments, such as aerosol generating procedures, will require the nurse to wear both a surgical mask with a face shield.

    Currently our inventory for PPE applications consists of the following:

     

    Product

    Use

    In Stock

    On Order

    Gloves

    PPE

    15,000

     

    Masks

    PPE

    20,000

     

    Disposable Gowns

    PPE

    200

     

    Face Shields

    PPE

    500

     

     

    Infection control strategies

    The physical parameters of both school buildings as well as the District office has been inspected by the members of the Health and Safety Team and identified all the locations requiring plastic separators for points of congregation e.g. security area at the front entrances, reception areas in offices, serving areas in the cafeteria, circulation desk in library, table configurations in classrooms, etc. Alcohol-based hand rub dispensers have been ordered for locations when sinks are not available for hand washing and signage indicating markers for social distancing and one-way directional hallways will be installed.

    Plumbing Facilities and Fixtures

    • Both PQ and MS/HS meet the minimum standards for toilet and sink fixtures and conform to the BCNYS
    • Drinking Water Facilities: At PQ and the MS/HS the number of drinking fountains available have been reduced while water fountains for refilling bottles remainThe number in each school adheres to the code requirement of one fountain for each one hundred occupants.
    • Distancing rules are adhered to by using signage, occupied markers, or other methods to reduce restroom occupancy at any given time, where feasible.

    Ventilation

    • All HVAC systems at PQ and MS/HS are currently being serviced as per our preventive maintenance contract with our mechanical engineering firm.
    • Code ventilation requirements are being maintained as per the design of the HVAC systems.
    • The Building Automation System (BAS) is set to allow ventilation with outdoor air to the greatest extent possible depending on outdoor humidity levels.
    • Proper filtration requirements for all our systems are adhered to and the frequency of changing filters will be increased.

     

    New Technology for Air Purification:

    At this time the district is exploring possibilities for continued improvement of our HVAC systems.

    Management of ill persons, contact tracing and monitoring

    The district requires students, faculty, or staff members who develop COVID-19 symptoms during the school day to report to the nurse’s office. If there are several students waiting to see the school nurse, students must wait at least 6 feet apart. The district has designated areas to separate individuals with symptoms of COVID- 19 from others until they can go home or to a healthcare facility, depending on severity of illness. One area will be used to treat injuries, provide medications or nursing treatments, and the other area will be used for assessing and caring for ill students and staff. Both areas will be supervised by an adult and have easy access to a bathroom and sink with hand hygiene supplies.

    Isolation rooms have been designated for both PQ and MS/HS.  Students suspected of being ill as per the above symptomology will be escorted by an adult to the isolation room.   All equipment and supplies have been purchased to properly support students who are suspected of being ill (potentially with COVID-19).  Parents will be notified by the school nurse to pick up their child.

    PPE requirements for school health office staff caring for sick individuals includes both standard and transmission-based precautions. In areas with moderate to substantial community transmission, eye protection (e.g., goggles or face shield) will be added. When caring for a suspected or confirmed individual with COVID-19, gloves, a gown, eye protection, and a fit-tested N-95 respirator will be used, if available. If an N-95 respirator is not available, a surgical face mask and face shield will be used.

    School health office cleaning will occur after each use of cots, bathrooms, and health office equipment (e.g., blood pressure cuffs, otoscopes, stethoscopes). Health office equipment will be cleaned following manufacturer’s directions.

    Disposable items will be used as much as possible (e.g., disposable pillow protectors, disposable thermometers, disposable thermometer sheaths or probes, disposable otoscope specula).

    Aerosol Generating Procedures

    Respiratory treatments administered by nurses generally result in aerosolization of respiratory secretions. These aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) potentially put healthcare personnel and others at an increased risk for pathogen exposure and infection. The district requires the following PPE to be worn during AGPs: gloves, N-95 or a surgical mask with face shield, eye protection and a gown. PPE will be used when: suctioning, administering nebulizer treatments, or using peak flow meters with students who have respiratory conditions.

    Treatments such as nebulized medication treatments and oral or tracheostomy suctioning will be conducted in a room separate from others with nursing personnel wearing appropriate PPE. For nebulizer treatments, if developmentally appropriate, the nurse will leave the room and return when the nebulizer treatment is finished.

    Cleaning of the room will occur between use and cleaning of the equipment should be done following manufacturer’s instructions after each use. 

    If Students or Staff become Ill with Symptoms of COVID-19 at School

    The district requires 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, prior to being picked up or otherwise sent home. Students will be supervised in the isolation area while awaiting transport home and will be separated by at least 6 feet. Students will be escorted from the isolation area to their parent/guardian. Students or staff will be referred to a healthcare provider and provided resources on COVID-19 testing.

    Return to School after Illness

    The district has established protocols and procedures, in consultation with the local health department(s), about the requirements for determining when individuals, particularly students, who screened positive for COVID-19 symptoms can return to the in-person learning environment at school. This protocol includes:

    1. Documentation from a health care provider following evaluation
    2. Negative COVID-19 diagnostic test result
    3. Symptom resolution, or if COVID-19 positive, release from isolation

    The district will refer to DOH’s “Interim Guidance for Public and Private Employees Returning to Work Following COVID-19 Infection or Exposure” regarding protocols and policies for faculty and staff seeking to return to work after a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or after the faculty or staff member had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19.

    The district requires that individuals who were exposed to the COVID-19 virus complete quarantine and have not developed symptoms before returning to in-person learning. The discharge of an individual from quarantine and return to school will be conducted in coordination with the local health department.

    Contact Tracing

    The district will notify the state and local health department immediately upon being informed of any positive COVID-19 diagnostic test result by an individual within school facilities or on school grounds, including students, faculty, staff, and visitors of the district.

    To assist the local health department with tracing the transmission of COVID-19, the district has developed and maintained a plan to trace all contacts of exposed individuals in accordance with protocols, training, and tools provided through the New York State Contact Tracing Program. 

    Districts may assist with contact tracing by:

    1. Keeping accurate attendance records of students and staff members
    2. Ensuring student schedules are up to date
    3. Keeping a log of any visitor which includes date and time, and where in the school they visited
    4. Assisting the local health departments in tracing all contacts of the individual in accordance with the protocol, training, and tools provided through the NYS Contact Tracing Program

    Contact Tracing Assessing and informing those with potential exposure is a fundamental control strategy for minimizing spread within a group. CDC defines close contact as interactions within 6 feet for more than 10 minutes.

     

    In an effort to determine the potential or confirmed case’s contacts with other students or staff members, the district will assist the local Department of Health including notification of potential contacts, such as students, staff or visitors who had close contact with the individual, while maintaining confidentiality required by state and federal law and regulations.

     

    • School health staff will utilize general principles of contact tracing to begin closely monitoring other potentially exposed individuals.
    • Health staff will receive awareness contact tracing training

     

    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 local health department.

    For more information about how COVID-19 containment efforts will be communicated to students, families and staff members, see the Communication/Family and Community Engagement of our reopening plan.

    School Closures

    A closure refers to contingency plans, protocols, and procedures for decreasing the scale or scope of in-person education and/or closing the school. The district will collaborate with the Westchester Department of Health to determine the parameters, conditions or metrics (e.g., increased absenteeism or increased illness in the school community) that will serve as early warning signs that positive COVID-19 cases may be increasing beyond an acceptable level.

    The District in consultation with state and the Westchester Department of Health may face conditions that may warrant reducing in-person education or closing the school and such conditions may include:

    • Schools will close if the regional infection rate rises over 9% after Aug. 1. Schools will close if the 7-day rolling average of the infection rate is above 9%.
    • Schools in regions in Phase 4 can reopen if the daily infection rate remains below 5 percent using a 14-day average, unless otherwise directed from the LOCAL (insert county) health department.
    • If the infection rate rises about 9%, schools must wait until the 14-day average is below 5%
    • Once schools open at Phase IV below 5% for a 14-day rolling average, schools can remain open even if the rate continues to rise about 5% until it reaches 9% for the 7-day average.
    • The District will consult with our medical director and/or the local department of health when making decisions to close.
    • The District will also determine which operations will be decreased, or ceased and which operations will be conducted remotely.

    For more information about how school closure information will be communicated to students, families and staff members, please see the  Communication/Family and Community Engagement  of our reopening plan.

    Health hygiene

    The district will emphasize healthy hygiene practices for students and staff by providing initial and refresher education in hand and respiratory hygiene, along with providing adequate supplies and time for frequent hand hygiene. Signs will be posted throughout the school (e.g., entrances, restrooms, cafeteria, classrooms, administrative offices, auditorium, custodial staff areas) and regular messaging will be shared with the school community. Signage will be used to remind individuals to:

    1. Stay home if they feel sick.
    2. Cover their nose and mouth with an acceptable face covering when unable to maintain social distance from others or in accordance with any stricter policy implemented by the school.
    3. Properly store and, when necessary, discard PPE.
    4. Adhere to social distancing instructions.
    5. Report symptoms of, or exposure to, COVID-19.
    6. Follow hand hygiene, and cleaning and disinfection guidelines.
    7. Follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette.

    Hand Hygiene

    Students and staff must carry out the following hand hygiene practices. 

    • Wash hands routinely with soap (any kind) and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Dry hands completely after washing. Use paper towels to dry hands if available instead of a hand dryer if they are available.
    • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. Hand sanitizer should be rubbed on the hands until it is completely absorbed. DO NOT dry hands if sanitizer is used.

    Hand washing should occur:

    • Before and after eating (e.g. snacks and lunch).
    • After going to the restroom or after assisting a student with toileting.
    • After using a tissue.
    • Before and after using shared materials.
    • Before and after putting on or taking off face masks.
    • After coming in from the outdoors.
    • Anytime hands are visibly soiled.

    Respiratory Hygiene

    The COVID-19 virus spreads from person to person in droplets produced by coughs and sneezes. Therefore, the district will emphasize the importance of respiratory hygiene.

    Students and staff must carry out the following respiratory hygiene practices.

    • Cover a cough or sneeze using a tissue. If 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.
    • Face coverings are protective. Wearing a face covering will keep the respiratory droplets and aerosols from being widely dispersed into the air.

    For more information about how hygiene information will be communicated to students, families and staff members, see the Communication/Family and Community Engagement of our reopening plan.

    Cleaning and Disinfecting

    The district will ensure adherence to hygiene and cleaning and disinfection requirements as advised by the CDC and DOH, including “Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public and Private Facilities for COVID-19,” and the “STOP THE SPREAD” poster, as applicable. Cleaning and disinfection logs will be maintained that include the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection.

    Examples of facility types where cleaning and disinfection frequency will be distinguished include

    • Bathrooms
    • Athletic training rooms, locker rooms
    • Health offices, isolation rooms
    • Administrative offices (main office, reception area)
    • Frequently touched surfaces in common areas (door handles, elevator buttons, copy machine keypads, etc.)
    • Breakrooms
    • Cafeterias/Kitchens
    • Computer labs
    • Science labs
    • Classrooms
    • Maintenance offices and work areas
    • Bus Garage
    • Buses, school vehicles
    • Libraries
    • Large meeting areas (auditoriums, gymnasiums, music rooms)
    • Playgrounds (cleaning only)
    • Outdoor seating areas (plastic or metal)

    Students, faculty, and staff will be trained on proper hand and respiratory hygiene, and such information will be provided to parents and/or legal guardians on ways to reinforce this at home.

    The district will provide and maintain hand hygiene stations around the school, as follows:

    • 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.
    • Accommodations for students who cannot use hand sanitizer will be made.

    Regular cleaning and disinfection of the facilities will occur, including more frequent cleaning and disinfection for high-risk and frequently touched surfaces. This will include desks and cafeteria tables, which should be cleaned and disinfected between each individual’s use. Cleaning and disinfection will be rigorous and ongoing and will occur at least daily, or more frequently as needed. 

    The district will ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of restrooms. Restrooms should be cleaned and disinfected more often depending on frequency of use.  

    For more information about how cleaning and disinfection information will be communicated to students, families and staff members, see the Communication/Family and Community Engagement of our reopening plan.    

    The North Salem School District will be implementing a plan with a specific focus on Cleaning and Disinfecting for COVID-19. 

    Cleaning and Disinfecting for Covid-19

         

    Vulnerable populations/accommodations

    We recognize that some students and staff members are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness.

    As per State and Federal guidance, staff members will be provided with reasonable accommodations for documented health illnesses. 

     

    As per State and Federal guidance, students will also be provided with reasonable accommodations including if they live with a person who is at an increased risk, or simply do not feel comfortable returning to an in-person educational environment.

     

    Visitors on campus

    No outside visitors or volunteers will be allowed on school campuses, except for the safety and well-being of students. Parents/guardians will report to the Security Kiosk at both schools and not go beyond unless it is for the safety or well-being of their child. Essential visitors to facilities will be required to wear face coverings and will be restricted in their access to our school buildings.

    Visitors must follow all safety protocols as listed above.

    School safety drills

    The district will conduct fire (evacuation) drills and lockdown drills as required by education law and regulation and the fire code without exceptions. Schools must continue to conduct mandatory fire and lockdown drills according to the existing statutory schedule. Drills will be conducted in a manner that maintains social distancing at exits and gathering points outside the building, while still preparing students to respond in emergencies.

    NYSED Safety Drill Requirements [1]

     

    Education Law § 807 requires that schools conduct 8 evacuation and 4 lockdown drills each school year. When planning drills, consideration has been given to how the District modifies their drill procedures to minimize risk of spreading infection. Conducting drills is an important part of keeping students and staff safe in an emergency, however, steps should be taken to minimize the risk of spreading infection while conducting drills. As such, it may be necessary for schools to conduct drills in the 2020-21 school year using protocols that are different than they are used to.

     

    Regardless of the modification used when conducting a drill, students will be instructed that if it was an actual emergency that required evacuation or lockdown, the most imminent concern is to get to safety; maintaining social distancing in an actual emergency that requires evacuation or lockdown may not be possible and should not be the first priority.

     

    Modifications to evacuation drill protocols may include, but are not limited to:

     

    • Conducting drills on a “staggered” schedule, where classrooms evacuate separately rather than all at once, and appropriate distance is kept between students to the evacuation site. Staggering by the classroom, minimizes contact of students in hallways, stairwells, and at the evacuation site. If conducting drills using a modified procedure, it is required that the drill be conducted with all students in the school building on that school day, it may be necessary to do so during a class period that is extended for this purpose; and
    • If schools re-open with a “hybrid” in-person model, such as one where students attend school alternate school days to reduce the occupancy of the school building, the District will ensure that all students are receiving instruction in emergency procedures, and participating in drills while they are in attendance in-person. Modifications to Lockdown Drills may include, but are not limited to:
      • Conduct lockdown drill in classroom setting while maintaining social distancing and using masks;
      • Conducting lockdown drills on a “staggered” schedule with smaller numbers of students present to maintain social distancing, however schools must be certain that all students are receiving instruction in emergency procedures and participating in drills while they are in attendance in-person; and
      • Conduct lockdown drills in the classroom without “hiding”/ “sheltering” but provide an overview of how to shelter or hide in the classroom.

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    Facilities

    In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection in the district, facilities operations will be geared toward meeting social distancing requirements and cleaning frequently touched spaces regularly by using required cleaning supplies.  We are also maintaining logs of where we have been cleaning. In carrying out projects or tasks supporting infection control, requirements will be met for changes associated with building spaces. 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 2020 New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (BC) and the State Energy Conservation Code.

    The function, position and operation of stairs and corridor doors, which have closers with automatic hold opens (and are automatically released by the fire alarm system), will remain unchanged.

    The district plans to meet the deadline for submission of Building Condition Survey or Visual Inspections on time. In addition, lead in water sampling will be carried out upon the reopening of school under conditions consistent with when the building is “normally occupied.”

    Upon reopening, the district plans to increase ventilation, to the greatest extent possible.   Water systems will be flushed in buildings that have been unoccupied.

     

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    Child Nutrition

    School meals will continue to be available to all students, including those attending school in-person and those learning remotely.

    Meal information will be communicated through Blackboard Messenger, in addition to being posted on the District’s website.

    Meals onsite

    For students onsite, meals will be provided while maintaining appropriate social distancing between students. Students do not need to wear face coverings when seated and eating so long as they are appropriately socially distanced. 

    The district will ensure social distancing between individuals while eating in the school cafeteria. If not feasible, meals may be served in alternate areas (e.g., classrooms) or in staggered meal periods to ensure social distancing and proper cleaning and disinfection between students.

    The sharing of food and beverages (e.g., buffet style meals, snacks) is prohibited.

    Adequate space will be reserved for students, faculty, and staff to observe social distancing while eating meals.  This will be done either by maintaining a minimum of 6 feet between desks when students are eating in the classroom and/or clearly delineating 6 feet sections on cafeteria tables. 

    Before and after eating, students will maintain appropriate hand hygiene by using sinks and/or approved hand sanitizer. 

    For meals served in the cafeteria, tables will be cleaned between cohorts of students and at the completion of meal service.

    Regardless of where the meals are eaten, compliance with the Child Nutrition Program and District Wellness Policy will be maintained.

    Meals offsite/remote

    For students who are on remote instruction, access to meals will be made available through the District’s food service vendor.  

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    Transportation

    The district will conduct transportation activities that are consistent with state-issued public transit guidance and NYSED School Reopening guidelines. Students and school staff must wear acceptable face coverings at all times on school buses (e.g., entering, exiting, and seated) and should maintain appropriate social distancing to the extent practicable. 

    Students who are able, will be required to wear masks and social distance on the bus to the extent practicable; however, students whose physical or mental health would be impaired are not required to wear a face covering, but must be appropriately socially distanced. Members of the same household may be seated within 6 feet of each other. Parents and legal guardians are encouraged to drop off or walk students to school to reduce density on buses.

    All buses that are used every day by districts and contract carriers will be cleaned/ disinfected once a day. High contact spots will be wiped down after the morning (AM) and afternoon (PM) run depending upon the disinfection schedule. 

    School buses shall not be equipped with hand sanitizer due to its combustible composition and potential liability to the carrier or district. School bus drivers, monitors and attendants must not carry personal bottles of hand sanitizer with them on school buses. 

    Wheelchair school buses will configure wheelchair placement to ensure social distancing of 6 feet.

    Whether school is in session remotely or otherwise, pupil transportation will be provided to nonpublic, parochial, private, charter schools or students whose Individualized Education Plans have placed them out of district whose schools are meeting in in-person sessions.

    All students are entitled to transportation by the district to the extent required by law. Transportation departments do not have the ability or the right to deny transportation for children who are in foster care, homeless or attend private or charter schools. Parents who may have missed the due date to request out of district transportation due to a reasonable excuse may file a 310 appeal with the Commissioner of Education.

    School Bus Staff

    School bus drivers, monitors, attendants and mechanics are required to perform a self-health assessment for symptoms of COVID-19 before arriving at work. If personnel are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, they will notify their employer as per the reporting policies and seek medical attention. 

    School bus drivers, monitors, attendants and mechanics must wear a face covering along with an optional face shield. 

    Transportation staff (drivers, monitors, attendants, mechanics and cleaners) will be trained and provided periodic refreshers on the proper use of personal protective equipment and the signs and symptoms of COVID-19. 

    Transportation departments/carriers will need to provide Personal Protective Equipment such as masks and gloves for drivers, monitors and attendants in buses as well as hand sanitizer for all staff in their transportation locations such as dispatch offices, employee lunch/break rooms and/or bus garages. 

    Drivers, monitors and attendants who must have direct physical contact with a child must wear gloves.

    Bus schedules have been adapted to accommodate reduced capacity.  We will be assigning 22 students for each 66 passenger bus, seating one student per seat.  This configuration will maintain social distance between opposite rows.  In addition, students will be wearing masks and buses will be loaded from the back to the front and in reverse order when disembarking from the bus.  When students embark and disembark the bus, they should follow social distancing protocols. This will increase the time required to load and unload buses at schools in the morning and afternoon. North Salem School District will stagger arrival and departure times to ensure social distancing.

    North Salem utilizes a 2 tier AM and PM schedule.  Following the MS/HS run all high contact spots will be disinfected as well as after the PQ AM run.  The same will be done in the PM after the MS/HS run and at the conclusion of the PQ run.   In the PM all buses will be disinfected using an electrostatic sprayer.

    When temperatures are above 45 degrees Fahrenheit, school buses should transport passengers with roof hatches or windows slightly opened to provide air flow.

    • School buses will not be equipped with hand sanitizer due to its combustible composition. Written directives will be given to all transportation personnel to this effect.

     

    • School bus drivers, monitors and bus attendants will not carry personal hand sanitizer with them on school buses. Written directives will be given to all transportation personnel to this effect. 

     

    • School bus drivers, monitors, attendants and mechanics will wear face coverings along with optional face shields. Written directives will be given to all transportation personnel to this effect.

     

    • All transportation staff will be trained and receive instruction on the proper use of PPE and become aware of the signs of symptoms of COVID-19. Orientation for all bus personnel will include the aforementioned.

     

    • All transportation staff will be trained and provided periodic refreshers on the proper use of social distancing. Orientation for all bus personnel will include the aforementioned.
    • North Salem School District will provide PPE such as face masks and gloves for drivers, monitors and attendants in buses.
    • Hand sanitizer will be provided for all staff in their transportation locations such as dispatch offices, employee lunch/break rooms and/or bus garages.
    • All bus personnel who have direct contact with students will wear gloves. A directive to this effect will be given to all transportation staff.
    • Transportation staff should be encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water before and after am and pm runs to keep healthy and prevent the spread of respiratory and diarrheal infections from one person to the next. Germs can spread from other people or surfaces when you:
      • touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
      • touch a contaminated surface or objects
      • blow your nose, cough, or sneeze into hands and then touch other people’s hands or common objects

    Signage will be posted to promote proper hygiene practices.

    For more information about training protocol for students and staff and how transportation information will be communicated, see the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.

     

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    Social Emotional Well-Being

    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. This has done this by:

    The District has outlined the available resources as well as other available supports in the North Salem Central School District Comprehensive School Counseling Plan (link below).  The plan will be updated as necessary and/or required.  Additionally, a “Mental Health and Covid-19” link has been added to the Middle School/High School website and a “Mindful Lab” link is included in the distance learning section of the Pequenakonck website to offer parents, students and community members additional resources to refer to. 

    https://ny50000167.schoolwires.net/cms/lib/NY50000167/Centricity/Domain/74/North%20Salem%20Central%20School%20District%20Counseling%20Plan%202019.pdf

    A Social and Emotional Health Task Force including members of the board of education, school leaders, community-based service providers, parents, teachers, certified school counselors, and school psychologists and other pupil personnel service providers has also been developed.  Additionally, the MHAT/Wellness Committee (composed of similar stakeholders) continues to meet regularly.  Both the Social and Emotional Health Task Force and MHAT/Wellness Committee will continue to post resources available to the greater community on the schools’ websites.

    The District addresses professional development opportunities for faculty and staff on how to talk with and support students during and after the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, as well as provide support for developing coping and resilience skills for students, faculty, and staff. This is addressed by:

    A two hour training with Cognitive Behavior Consultants will be provided for the full faculty/staff community to support the identification of the signs of trauma in person and remotely on 9/2/20.  Additionally, further development related to the development and implementation of RULER, Kind Campus and Habits of Mind at the elementary level and Ruler and DBT at the middle school and high school.  The student led Warr;ors Club will also serve a vital role in this work. 

    School Schedules

    School schedule information will be communicated to students, families and staff members via the District communication tools including, but not limited to, email, BlackBoard, the Superintendent News Service and eSchool/Parent Portal.

    Pequenakonck Elementary School

    Pequenakonck Elementary School will open school according to the District Calendar published on the website.  The hours of school will be 8:25 to 3:05.  Depending upon the model of instruction, drop-off and pick-up times may be staggered for safety reasons. 

    If PQ opens using the hybrid model, kindergarteners will have full days of school right from the first day of school.  If PQ opens using the in-person model, we are considering whether to maintain the half-day model for the first 9 days with kindergarten  students returning to PQ for call back appointments.

    Students will continue to have instruction in all core areas as well as specials in accordance with NYS Standards.  However, delivery of instruction may vary due to social distancing and cohort requirements.

    Professional Development that includes a focus on students’ Social and Emotional Learning as well as specific training on remote/hybrid synchronous and asynchronous platforms will be prioritized at the beginning of the year and throughout the year. All mandated state training will also occur through Global Compliance Network (GCN) and other approved formats.

    Middle School High School (MSHS)

    The Middle School/High School will open school according to the District Calendar published on the website. The hours of school will be 7:28 a.m. - 2:10 p.m. The hours may need to adjust to accommodate students' earlier arrival or staggered bus arrival as they will be directed to not congregate and move directly to class upon building entry.

    Students will continue to have instruction in all core areas as well as specials and elective courses in accordance with NYS Standards or Advanced Placement (AP) requirements.  However, delivery of instruction may vary due to social distancing and cohort requirements.

    Professional Development that includes a focus on students’ Social and Emotional Learning as well as specific training on remote/hybrid synchronous and asynchronous platforms will be prioritized at the beginning of the year and throughout the year. All mandated state training will also occur through Global Compliance Network (GCN) and other approved formats.

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    School Activities

    Extracurriculars

     

    In reference to the DOH’s “Interim Guidance for Sports and Recreation During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” for guidance on extracurricular and athletics, The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) will provide leadership and direction via the health and safety task force regarding the policies and regulations that are in place.

    Note: Interscholastic sports are not permitted at the time of publication of this guidance, and additional information on athletic activities is forthcoming. NYSPHSAA has delayed the Fall season with a tentative start date of September 21, 2020. Section I of NYSPHSAA has determined that all middle and high school sports should begin on this date provided we are permitted to.

    ***The North Salem Central School District will continue to evaluate opportunities to make extracurricular activities available based on guidance from NYS.

    ***The use of school facilities by outside groups will be limited to only those deemed essential by the district. Should the District make a determination to provide some extracurricular activities, they will generally focus on those with little or no physical contact.

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    Pequenakonck Elementary School

    During the Fall semester, PQ will not run school sponsored extracurricular activities, namely the Running Club.  The Physical Education Department may run this as a home fitness program for interested students but the afterschool program will not take place at school. 

    Basketball, Chorus and Student Council which all run in the winter and spring semesters will be reevaluated at that time. 

    PTO Afterschool Enrichment Activities (ASE) will not run live sessions at PQ for the Fall semester.  Remote activities are being discussed by the PTO.  The Spring semester classes will be reevaluated in January.

    Outside groups will not be allowed to use the building for activities with students.

    Middle School High School

    Currently the focus is to assess activities that can be conducted in a safe environment with appropriate social distancing protocols. We are considering clubs and activities that can be continued remotely in the event of another shut down as we did in March.

    Social distancing and face coverings requirements will also need to be adhered to for any in-person clubs or activities as well as cleaning protocols for the meeting spaces. The District is reviewing the ability to engage in these activities in the cohort model that would be incorporated for hybrid learning plans.

    Childcare

    Pequenakonck Elementary School

    Pequenakonck Elementary School does not run a district sponsored before and aftercare program. 

    Pequenakonck Elementary School contracts with the Regional YMCA for before and after school childcare  programs.  We are currently in the process of determining if we can continue to provide space for their before and after school childcare program.  The YMCA has written protocols for all aspects of their programming from social distancing, PPE usage, cleaning and disinfection requirements, as well as risk of COVID-19 transmission.

     

    Middle School High School (MSHS)

    The North Salem Middle School High School does not run a district sponsored before and aftercare program.

     

    Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism

    Pequenakonck Elementary School

    During Remote or Hybrid Instruction, daily attendance will be taken during synchronous learning times. Teachers will submit daily attendance in eSchool, our student information system.

    Parents will be asked to report absences through our School Dismissal Manager App as was done previous to the pandemic.  Parents who do not report a child’s absence in School Dismissal Manager and whose child is not present for the live morning attendance meetings will receive a call from the office about the child’s lack of attendance.  Classroom teachers will also follow up with parents initially about lack of participation in remote learning.  Should a pattern emerge, administration will contact the family.  A lack of response will result in notification of Child Protective Services.

     

    Middle School High School (MSHS)

    During Remote or Hybrid Instruction, daily attendance will be taken during synchronous learning times. Teachers will submit daily attendance in eSchool, our student information system. For any and all in-person learning, teachers will take period-by-period attendance as they always have done in the past.

    Parents will be asked to report absences through the current process (calling the Attendance phone line) as was done previous to the pandemic. Parents who do not report a child’s absence and whose child is not present for the daily period attendance will receive a call from the office about the child’s lack of attendance.  Classroom teachers will also follow up with parents initially about lack of participation in remote learning.  Should a pattern emerge, administration will contact the family and attendance letter’s are generated at certain thresholds.  A lack of response will result in notification of Child Protective Services.

    Technology and Connectivity

    Pequenakonck Elementary School

    During the pandemic beginning March 2020, parents were surveyed  regarding their access to computer devices and high-speed internet access.  The North Salem Central School District provided devices and internet access to those self-identified families.  Teachers also self-identified for technology devices and internet access. District equipment was provided to teachers as needed.

    Beginning in September 2020, all Pequenakonck Elementary School students will be provided with district devices. K-3 students will receive a touchscreen Chromebook and students in grades 4-5 will receive a regular Chromebook. Parents will continue to be surveyed regarding technology needs for district  support.  Teachers will also continue to have access to district equipment as needed. 

    Students will access Google Classroom (Grades 3-5) and SeeSaw (K-2) for consistent communication regarding assignments.  Google Meets will be used for all student access to synchronous lessons.

    Bandwidth and connectivity at PQ is being assessed and addressed to maximize student access in all models of instruction.  Network improvements, increased bandwidth and new wireless access points in classrooms are part of addressing the connectivity needs for teachers and students.

    Middle School High School (MSHS)

    During the pandemic beginning March 2020, parents were surveyed  regarding their access to computer devices and high-speed internet access. The North Salem Central School District provided devices and internet access to those self-identified families. Teachers also self-identified for technology devices and internet access. District equipment was provided to teachers as needed.

    Beginning in September 2020, all MSHS students will be provided with district devices. Parents will continue to be surveyed regarding technology needs for district  support.  Teachers will also continue to have access to district equipment as needed. 

    Students will access Google Classroom for consistent communication regarding assignments.  Google Meets and/or Zoom will be used for all student access to synchronous lessons.

    Bandwidth and connectivity at the MSHS is being assessed and addressed to maximize student access in all models of instruction.  Network improvements, increased bandwidth and new wireless access points in classrooms are part of addressing the connectivity needs for teachers and students.

     

    Teaching and Learning

    Pequenakonck Elementary School

    The North Salem Central School District school calendar includes three staff-only days before students arrive at school. Acknowledging the challenges that our teachers and staff have faced this spring delivering remote instruction under stressful circumstances, the district will focus these in-service days on providing support to staff in the areas of health and safety protocols, social-emotional health and technology integration.

    As we enter the new school year, PQ teachers will spend time building relationships, supporting students with the transition back to school, and teaching social distancing etiquette at developmentally appropriate levels.  

    Assessing student learning gaps or areas of need will be critical. Formative assessment before a unit of instruction to assess student understanding of pre-requisite skills will be common practice.

    Acknowledging that the typical content in a given grade level or course may need to be adjusted, content will be prioritized to ensure that students receive instruction for the prioritized learning standards, key understandings, and skills necessary for students’ success in future study. 

    Grading practices will follow our standards-based framework designed to provide direct feedback regarding students’ mastery of content.

    As of the writing of this document further clarification is being asked of NY State with regards to districts being required to provide full time remote instruction if requested by parents or if home school provisions apply if parents choose not to send their children to school.

    The District’s current understanding is that according to the Governor’s P-12 Checklist and Master Guidance on Page 4, “Policies regarding vulnerable populations including individuals who may not feel comfortable returning to an in-person educational environment, to allow them to safely participate in educational activities and, where appropriate, accommodate their specific circumstances. These accommodations may include, but are not limited to remote leaning or telework, modified educational or work settings or providing additional PPE to individuals with underlying health conditions.”

    The question regarding students and parental choice has been raised to the Governor’s office as they will have to make this determination as this is not necessarily clear to Districts’ under the State’s current guidance.

     

    Following the Governor’s announcement in early August regarding NYS school reopening, the North Salem Central School District will make a decision regarding the instructional model that best meets the requirements of the DOH, NYS, and NYSED.  Parents will be surveyed regarding the participation in the chosen model as well as transportation.

     

    Students and families are and will be continually communicated to by teachers, staff, administration and District through multiple avenues, including but not limited to phone, email, Parent Portal, Superintendent News Service, website, and a District app (powered by BlackBoard).

     

    In-person Instruction

    Upon reopening for full-time in-person instruction at Pequenakonck Elementary School, students’ desks/seats are positioned no less than six feet apart. Accommodating a six-foot radius around students will necessitate the removal of all other furniture in a classroom.  

    Current staffing levels can accommodate up to 4 classes per grade level based on current enrollment totals.  Should the classroom  enrollment exceed 20 students, the grade level would need to transition to the hybrid model for instruction. 

    All instruction will continue to be aligned to the New York State Learning Standards. Instruction will not only focus on “core” subject areas but also specials, Spanish, remedial reading and math as well as services provided through 504 and special education.

    PQ will minimize the movement of students. In this model, students will eat lunch in their classroom instead of the cafeteria.   Assemblies, field trips and other large-group activities will be eliminated. Special-area subjects (e.g., art, music, physical education) will be pushed into the classroom.  Whenever possible students will utilize outside space for physical education instruction and possibly music. We will adhere to 12 feet between students when engaging in physical activity and singing activity.

    To the extent possible, students will remain in their classroom cohorts if/when leaving the classroom, such as for recess or any necessary transition, so as to reduce their exposure to additional students.

    Remote/Hybrid Instruction

    Given the possibility that communities may experience spikes in COVID-19 cases at any point during the school year, which may prompt short or long-term school closures, Pequenakonck Elementary School has developed a hybrid/blended learning model and schedule that can continue as is in a fully remote environment.

    Instruction will not only focus on “core” subject areas but also specials, Spanish, remedial reading and math as well as services provided through 504 and special education. Consideration has been given to prioritizing hands-on and lab-based activities while students are onsite in school buildings. All instruction will continue to be aligned to the New York State Learning Standards.

    At PQ, students will be divided into two cohorts.  Cohort A will come to school on Mondays, Tuesdays and every other Wednesday.  Cohort B will come to school Thursdays, Fridays and every other Wednesdays.  Families K-12 will attend school within the same cohort. The daily student schedule will remain the same whether instruction is in person or remote.  PQ students will have the opportunity to log in to live mini lessons during these regularly scheduled times or view recorded lessons on the curriculum topic.  Students who are working at home will then complete assignments independently.  Teachers will provide regular feedback to student work as well as provide regular small group instruction to the extent possible.

    To ensure high-quality remote learning experiences, we will standardize the use of a single online learning platform, to the extent possible, and develop a common, coordinated set of guidelines for teachers to follow when using the platform with students. Students in K-2 will use SeeSaw and students in grades 3-5 will continue to use Google Classroom.  Content specific applications will continue to be part of the learning environments.

    Grading practices will continue to follow a standards-based framework designed to provide direct feedback regarding students’ mastery of course content. We will use a four-scale grading rubric based on levels of competency/mastery - Exceeds Expectations, Meets Expectations, Approaching Expectations, Not Meeting Expectations.

    If the District, due to COVID and/or Governor requirements, moves to an all remote learning environment, staff will continue to utilize the electronic learning platforms established, with an emphasis on synchronous learning opportunities. 

     

    During remote learning, it is important for students/families to establish a learning routine in order for students to remain engaged in learning.  Students will have daily contact with teachers for a class meeting where teachers will continue to build community and focus on SEL lessons.  Attendance will be taken at this time.  Students will follow a structured schedule of short, live or pre-recorded direct instruction lessons followed by independent work or additional small group work with the teacher.  At the elementary level, students benefit from smaller group interactions with the teacher during remote learning.  Teachers will work to maximize this small group work with students ensuring that students are directly engaged with them and their class peers in learning on a regular basis.

     

    Specials will occur daily at their scheduled time with a combination of live and pre-recorded lessons.  Students receiving services during the support block will receive a combination of live and pre-recorded lessons.  The schedule will be designed to be developmentally appropriate for students ages 5-10 years old. 

     

    To ensure high-quality remote learning experiences, we will use two online learning platforms - Google Classroom Grades 3-5 and SeeSaw K-2.  K-2 students will use Google Meets codes for live sessions for students.   Teachers will have additional and  content-specific applications and websites that they integrate into student learning as well.

    Middle School / High School (MSHS)

    The North Salem Central School District school calendar includes three staff-only days before students arrive at school. Acknowledging the challenges that our teachers and staff have faced this spring delivering remote instruction under stressful circumstances, the district will focus these in-service days on providing support to staff in the areas of health and safety protocols, social-emotional health and technology integration.

    As we enter the new school year, teachers will be encouraged to spend time building relationships, supporting students with the transition back to school, and teaching social distancing and hygiene etiquette at developmentally appropriate levels.  

    When a remote or hybrid learning model is necessary, certain groups of students will be prioritized for 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 with technology or connectivity needs.

    Assessing student learning gaps or areas of need will be critical. Formative assessment before a unit of instruction to assess student understanding of pre-requisite skills will be common practice. 

    Acknowledging that the typical content in a given grade level or course may need to be adjusted, content will be prioritized to ensure that students receive instruction for the prioritized learning standards, key understandings, and skills necessary for students’ success in future study. 

    Grading practices will follow our current grade marking process of a minimum of a 65 grade point average for credit attainment. Marking periods and progress reports will follow our yearly schedule for 5, 15, 25, 35 week progress reports and 10, 20, 30, 40 week report cards.

    For information relating to teaching and learning in BOCES special education and Career and Technical Education programs, please see the BOCES website.

    As of the writing of this document further clarification is being asked of NY State with regards to districts being required to provide full time remote instruction if requested by parents or if home school provisions apply if parents choose not to send their children to school.

    The District’s current understanding is that according to the Governor’s P-12 Checklist and Master Guidance on Page 4, “Policies regarding vulnerable populations including individuals who may not feel comfortable returning to an in-person educational environment, to allow them to safely participate in educational activities and, where appropriate, accommodate their specific circumstances. These accommodations may include, but are not limited to remote leaning or telework, modified educational or work settings or providing additional PPE to individuals with underlying health conditions.”

    The question regarding students and parental choice has been raised to the Governor’s office as they will have to make this determination as this is not necessarily clear to Districts’ under the State’s current guidance.

     

    Following the Governor’s announcement in early August regarding NYS school reopening, the North Salem Central School District will make a decision regarding the instructional model that best meets the requirements of the DOH, NYS, and NYSED.  Parents will be surveyed regarding the participation in the chosen model as well as transportation.

     

    Students and families are and will be continually communicated to by teachers, staff, administration and District through multiple avenues, including but not limited to phone, email, Parent Portal, Superintendent News Service, website, and a District app (powered by BlackBoard).

    In-person Instruction

    Due to the square footage limitations in conjunction with the CDC/DOH distancing guidelines the MSHS would not be able to open for 100% in-person instruction. Upon reopening, the number of students in each of our classrooms will be reduced to adhere to CDC guidance regarding proper social distancing. Class size will reflect the need to ensure that students’ desks/seats are positioned no less than six feet apart and twelve feet for certain activities (i.e. aerobic activities and both choral and instrumental music)

    Accommodating a six-foot radius around students will necessitate the identification of additional rooms and common-area spaces that can be converted into learning spaces, including such areas as the auditorium.

    All instruction will continue to be aligned to the New York State Learning Standards.

    Our schools will organize the flow and movement of students throughout the building by utilizing signage (one way hallway directions and up or down only stairwells). To additionally reduce student interactions there is a potential to eliminate assemblies, field trips, classroom visitors, and other large-group activities. Whenever possible students will utilize outside space for physical education instruction.

    Remote/Hybrid Instruction

    Given the possibility that communities may experience spikes in COVID-19 cases at any point during the school year, which may prompt short or long-term school closures, our district has developed a hybrid/blended learning model and schedule that can continue as is in a fully remote environment.

    Instruction will not only focus on “core” subject areas to the exclusion of elective courses. Consideration has been given to prioritizing hands-on and lab-based activities while students are onsite in school buildings. All instruction will continue to be aligned to the New York State Learning Standards.

    As noted previously, student schedules will remain the same whether instruction is in person or remote so that students do not encounter conflicts wherein synchronous lessons for different subjects are offered simultaneously. The MSHS will follow the 9-period day, 40-minuter per period schedule and keep a rotating 1 through 6 number day process. The only change to this model will be that any snow days determination will not alter the number rotation. The number rotation schedule will be set at the beginning of the year and remain as such for the entire year.

    Remote learning opportunities for secondary students will include a greater emphasis on synchronous instruction, with teachers finding ways to provide live instruction and lessons to students. Teachers will work to ensure that their students are directly engaged with them and their class peers in learning on a regular basis. We are currently considering some form of camera in the classroom to stream “live” synchronous learning with teachers, period-by-period, so students at home can access these learning experiences and have robust interactions with teachers.

    To ensure high-quality remote learning experiences, we will primarily utilize a single online learning platform, to the extent possible, and develop a common, coordinated set of guidelines for teachers to follow when using the platform with students. The main learning platform will be Google Classroom for students and the GSuite for Education Enterprise for teachers. Teachers will have additional and content-specific applications and websites that they integrate into student learning as well.

    Grading practices will follow our current grade marking process of a minimum of a 65 grade point average for credit attainment. Marking periods and progress reports will follow our yearly schedule for 5, 15, 25, 35 week progress reports and 10, 20, 30, 40 week report cards.

    Students will be placed into cohorts/pods as it is strongly encouraged to minimize exposure in case of an individual testing positive for COVID. The District’s plan is to divide families by cohorts:

     

    Cohort #1 - Last name A-K

    Cohort #2 - Last name L-Z

    Please contact your child’s school if you have multiple students in your household with different last names.

     

    Scheduling under the hybrid model will be that Cohort #1 will be in-person every Monday and Tuesday throughout this time while Cohort #2 will be in-person every Thursday and Friday. Cohorts will alternate being in-person every Wednesday so under this model students have the ability to be in-person 5 out of every 10 school days.

     

    If the District, due to COVID and/or Governor requirements, moves to an all remote learning environment, staff will continue to utilize the electronic learning platforms established, with an emphasis on synchronous learning opportunities that follow our 9-period day.

     

    Special Education

    The District will ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to the curriculum and instruction being provided to students in the general education classroom based on the recommendations included in each student’s IEP.  This will include instruction with students without disabilities to the greatest extent practicable in both in person and remote learning formats.  Students receiving Integrated Co-teaching services will continue to be members of a general education classroom in in-person, hybrid or remote learning scenarios.  In an in-person model, students receiving special class instruction and/or related services out of the general education classroom will receive those services for the frequency and duration indicated on their current IEPs without additional unnecessary separation from their non-disabled peers. In hybrid and remote models, services will be provided to the greatest extent practicable based on the student’s IEP in consultation and collaboration with the student’s parents, and teacher(s).

    In the event of all in-person instruction, students will participate in all special education and related services as outlined in their current 2020-2021 IEPs.  Administrators, teachers and related service providers will continue to communicate with parents via email, telephone and/or video conference to ensure that student’s needs are being met and services are delivered to the greatest extent practicable should the District need to reopen in a hybrid or remote learning model.  The CPSE and CSE will continue to amend and/or convene the Committee for purposes of requested reviews should components of any student’s Individual Education Plan need to be changed for any reason.  Communication with parents and guardians will continue to be provided in their preferred language or mode of communication. 

    Data related to monitoring progress toward IEP goals will continue to be maintained and communicated with parents regularly as per IEP recommendations. 

    Students will continue to have access to the necessary accommodations, modifications, supplementary aids and services, and technology, including assistive technology, to meet the unique disability related needs of students as indicated in each student’s IEP.  Teachers are prepared to differentiate instruction in order to accommodate the needs of students in the classroom as well as romotely as would be required for a hybrid and/or remote learning model.  Modifications to the curriculum and instruction will continue to be made to meet students’ needs as required by and indicated in their IEPs.  Assistive technology will continue to be provided for student use and instructional purposes for all possible modes of instruction (in-person, hybrid or remote).

     

    Bilingual Education and World Languages

     

    Pequenakonck Elementary School/Middle School High School

    The North Salem Central School District did not have any ELL students enter the school system during the COVID-19 school closure.  Students enrolling over the summer of 2020  will complete the ELL identification process within the 30 school days of the start of the school year for all students.

    NS MS/HS through our ENL staff and with the assistance of our district’s registrar will complete the ELL identification process within 30 school days of the start of the school year for all students who enrolled during COVID-19 school closures in 2019-20, as well as all students who enroll during summer of 2020 and during the first 20 school days of the 2020-21 school year. After this 20 day flexibility period, identification of ELLs must resume for all students within required 10 school days of initial enrollment as required by Commissioner’s Regulations Part 154. 

    PQ through our ENL staff and with the assistance of our district’s registrar will complete the ELL identification process within 30 school days of the start of the school year for all students who enrolled during COVID-19 school closures in 2019-20, as well as all students who enroll during summer of 2020 and during the first 20 school days of the 2020-21 school year. After this 20 day flexibility period, identification of ELLs must resume for all students within required 10 school days of initial enrollment as required by Commissioner’s Regulations Part 154. 

    NS MS/HS through our ENL staff will identify and provide the required instructional Units of Study to all ELLs based on their most recently measured English language proficiency level during in-person, hybrid or remote instruction.

    PQ through our ENL staff will identify and provide the required instructional Units of Study to all ELLs based on their most recently measured English language proficiency level during in-person, hybrid or remote instruction.

    The District will be providing students with laptop devices to ensure that all students, including ELL students, will have the technology required for continuity of instruction.


    Students and families are and will be continually communicated to by teachers, staff, administration and District through multiple avenues, including but not limited to phone, email, Parent Portal, Superintendent News Service, website, and a District app (powered by BlackBoard).

     

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    Staff

    Teacher and Principal Evaluation System

    The District ensures that all teachers and principals will continue to be evaluated pursuant to the district’s approved APPR plan.

    Certification, Incidental Teaching and Substitute Teaching

    The District ensures all teachers will hold valid and appropriate certificates for teaching assignment, except where otherwise allowable under the Commissioner’s regulations (e.g., incidental teaching) or education law.

     

     

    Key References

    ●       State Education Department Issues Guidance to Reopen New York State Schools (July 16, 2020)

    ●       State Education Department Presents Framework of Guidance to Reopen New York State Schools (July 13, 2020)

    ●       Interim Guidance for In-Person Instruction at Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, NYS Department of Health (July 13, 2020)

    Additional References

    ●       Interim Guidance for Sports and Recreation During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
    (June 26, 2020)

    ●       Interim Guidance for Food Services during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.
    (June 26, 2020)

    ●       Interim Guidance for Office-Based Work during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.
    (June 26, 2020)

    ●       Interim Guidance for Public Transportation Activities during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. (June 26, 2020)

    ●       New York State Department of Health Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

    ●       New York State Education Department Coronavirus (COVID-19)

    ●       Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus (COVID-19)

    ●       Occupational Safety and Health Administration COVID-19 Website

    Once finalized, reopening plans must be posted on the district’s website. By July 31, 2020, districts will need to complete a survey through the Portal, providing NYSED with:

    ●       A link to the public website where each school plan has been publicly posted

    ●       A set of mandatory assurances that the reopening plan includes all of the mandatory elements outlined in the NYSED guidance

    NOTE: Information submitted through the Portal will not include detailed narratives or descriptions of specific actions to be taken by a school or district as part of their reopening Plan; those details must be articulated in the materials that are publicly posted on the school/district website.

    Also by July 31, 2020, districts must complete a short companion Department of Health survey that includes a link to the publicly posted plan on the district/school website.

     

     

    [1] SED, pg 45-46