On Friday, Aug. 27 the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) issued a statement requiring that all students, staff, and visitors in schools wear a mask. This is in line with the announcement made previously by Governor Kathy Hochul, who directed the NYSDOH to institute a statewide mask requirement for schools. Mask wearing is one of several mitigation protocols included in our plan for the year, and we know it is a key part of a system to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. At this time, the guidance provided by NYSDOH supersedes our plan, and masks will be required at South Colonie. We will notify you if this changes.
The purpose of the plan outlined here is to ensure the collective health and safety of South Colonie Central School District students and staff in the 2021-22 school year. The health and safety of our students, staff, and their families is our top priority and we remain committed to doing our part to minimize the potential health and safety impact of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 protocols and procedures outlined below are for the South Colonie Central School District for the 2021-22 school year. This plan includes a tiered mitigation approach based on the four categories for “community transmission” that have been developed by the CDC. They are benchmarks by which counties are classified. They have been outlined below to provide understanding as to current designation procedures.
Low Transmission Blue
- Total new cases per 100,000 persons in the past 7 days: 0-9.99
- Percentage of NAAT (NUCLEIC ACID AMPLIFICATION TEST – COVID test) that are positive during the past 7 days: 0 – 4.99%
Moderate Transmission Yellow
- Total new cases per 100,000 persons in the past 7 days: 10 – 49.99
- Percentage of NAATs (NUCLEIC ACID AMPLIFICATION TEST – COVID test) that are positive during the past 7 days: 5 – 7.99%
Substantial Transmission Orange
- Total new cases per 100,000 persons in the past 7 days: 50 – 99.99
- Percentage of NAATs (NUCLEIC ACID AMPLIFICATION TEST – COVID test) that are positive during the past 7 days: 8 – 9.99%
High Transmission Red
- Total new cases per 100,000 persons in the past 7 days: ≥ 100
- Percentage of NAATs (NUCLEIC ACID AMPLIFICATION TEST – COVID test) that are positive during the past 7 days: ≥ 10.0%
The following plan is applicable at the following South Colonie locations.
- Colonie Central High School, Grades 9-12 (includes Alt. Ed. placements)
- Lisha Kill Middle School, Grades 5-8
- Sand Creek Middle School, Grades 5-8
- Forest Park Elementary School, Grades K-4
- Roessleville Elementary School, Grades PreK-4
- Saddlewood Elementary School, Grades PreK-4
- Shaker Road Elementary School, Grades K-4
- Veeder Elementary School, Grades K-4
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 learning on school campuses. Our 2021-22 COVID-19 protocols and procedures incorporate guidance from the Albany County Department of Health while using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools and American Academy of Pediatrics’ COVID-19 Guidance for Safe Schools, as well as the New York State Department of Education Health and Safety Guide as resources. Absent any additional information from NYSDOH, South Colonie School District will implement the following plan which was developed in collaboration with local health commissioners, the District medical director, as well as area superintendents.
The South Colonie Central School District will offer in-person instruction to all students five days a week, per the regular school schedule, in the 2021-22 school year. However, we recognize that remote instruction may be preferable to some families for medical reasons. Remote learning is available to those who have a significant medical issue, as documented by a physician. The remote option will be offered through Capital Region BOCES and will be a full year commitment if qualified. Teachers of those classes may be from other regional districts participating in the program. District will review requests on a case by case basis. If you believe your student qualifies for a medically based remote option, K-6 please contact your building principal and 7-12 please contact your guidance counselor.
South Colonie COVID Coordinator
Christopher Robilotti, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Safe Schools will serve as the district’s COVID-19 Coordinator for the 2021-22 school year. Christopher Robilotti will work closely with our local health department and will be responsible for overseeing the work of the Task Force and all related responsibilities. He will also serve as a central contact for schools and stakeholders, families, staff, and other school community members and will ensure the district is in compliance and following the best practices per state and federal guidelines.
Overview of the 2.0 Reopening Task Force Committee
The South Colonie Central School District’s Reopening Task Force Committee is composed of various stakeholder groups including teachers, staff, students, parents, administrators, Board of Education members and medical professionals, including our school physician. In addition to the work and recommendations of the Reopening Task Force Committee, the entire administrative team of the South Colonie Central School District has reviewed the 2021-22 COVID-19 protocols and procedures to ensure a smooth return to school this year.
View a copy of the 2.0 Reopening Task Force Committee membership here.
The web version of the plan was updated on September 7, 2021. View the google doc/latest version of the plan here.
Contents of this plan
- COVID-19 Layered Mitigation Protocols and Summary Chart
- Communication/Family and Community Engagement
- Health Checks & Screenings
- Social Distancing, Face Coverings & PPE
- Infection Control Strategies
- Management of Ill Persons, Contact Tracing and Monitoring
- Cleaning and Disinfecting
- Vulnerable Populations/Accommodations
- Visitors on Campus
- School Meals
- Social-Emotional Well-Being
- School Activities (e.g., athletics, extracurriculars)
- Key References
A copy of the layered mitigation protocols summary chart can be found here. The chart is a compilation of best practices and recommendations relative to the layered protection strategies that are recommended. Please note that the information provided may change as the district receives more guidance/recommendations throughout the school year.
Each section of the chart is communicated in full detail in the plan outlined below.
To help support the South Colonie School Community with the development of the COVID-19 protocols and procedures for the 2021-22 school year, the district has sought feedback and input from stakeholders, including administrators, faculty, staff, students, parents/guardians of students, local health department officials and health care providers, employee unions and community groups.
The District remains committed to communicating all elements of these protocols and procedures to students, parents and guardians, staff and visitors. The information is available to all stakeholders via the District website and will be updated throughout the school year, as necessary, to respond to local circumstances. The link to the plan appears on the website homepage under the COVID-19 Protocols and Procedures at the top of the page. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information 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 planning for the new academic year, the District has developed a method for communicating all necessary information to District staff, students, parents/guardians, visitors and education partners and vendors. The District will use its existing communication channels – including the District website, ParentSquare, as well as appropriate signage and training opportunities to support the dissemination of consistent messaging regarding protocols and procedures, expectations, requirements and options related to school operations. Information will also be available in other languages through the utilization of the Language Line for translations and partnership with Regional Bilingual Education Resource (RBERN).
In the event of a shift to remote learning, the District will make computer devices available to students and teachers who need them. The District will reach out through the buildings to any family in need of technology support. Families will be asked to submit an IT Help Desk request and a member of the District IT staff will contact them to make appropriate arrangements. If a family does not have the ability to complete the form online, we simply ask that they contact their child’s school principal for assistance. The District will provide students and their families with multiple ways to contact schools and teachers in the event of remote learning, including email, telephone calls and established online platforms such as Google Classroom, ParentSquare and ASPEN.
The District will make every effort to ensure that communication with parents/legal guardians is in their preferred language and mode of communication. This is made possible to families by downloading the ParentSquare app and setting their preferences up in their profile.
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 as determined by the Albany County Department of Health.
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/37.8° C or greater and/or symptoms of possible COVID-19 virus infection to remain home. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list of Coronavirus symptoms was utilized to develop these resources.
The South Colonie Central School District will implement the following practices to conduct daily health screenings.
Anyone entering a South Colonie facility including students and staff members must be able to answer no to the following screening questions prior to entering a facility or riding district transportation.
- Have you had any signs or symptoms of a fever in the past 24 hours including chills, sweats, felt “feverish” or have had a temperature of 100° F or greater?
- Have you experienced one or more of these symptoms in the last 10 days: Cough, Shortness of breath or chest tightness, Sore throat, Headache, Nasal congestion/runny nose, muscle pain, Loss of Taste and/Smell, Diarrhea, Nausea, Vomiting, Fever/Chills/Sweats?
- In the last 10 days, have you been contacted by a local health department and deemed a close contact and/or knowingly been in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19? (Any student or staff member with suspected signs of COVID-19 will be assessed by the school nurse and will be sent home for follow-up with a health care provider; a separate location will be provided for potentially ill students while they await pick-up.
Social Distancing Indoors
The District has developed a plan that includes policies and procedures for maintaining social distancing wherever feasible for all students, faculty, and staff when in school facilities, on school grounds as well as riding on District transportation in accordance with the four categories for “community transmission” rates as developed by the CDC.
- Low Community Transition: 3’ social distancing encouraged
- Moderate Community Transmission: 3’ distancing recommended wherever feasible or masked
- Substantial Community Transmission: 3’ distancing required wherever feasible or mask required when 3’ distancing cannot be consistently met
- High Community Transmission: 3’ distancing required wherever feasible and masked required
At this time, since vaccination is only approved for those over 12 years of age, it is extremely important that children return to the in-person learning environment with layered prevention strategies in place including universal indoor masking regardless of vaccination status.
If social distancing cannot be maintained, proper face coverings must be worn in common areas such as hallways or school buses.
Students, staff, and visitors to our schools will be expected to wear face coverings in accordance with the protocols at school including on the school bus. When community transmissions are high in accordance with the levels developed by CDC, students and staff will be required to wear masks at all times but will be allowed to remove face coverings during meals and for short breaks as long as they maintain appropriate social distance.
- Low Community Transition: Masks are encouraged for all when 3’ distancing cannot be consistently met
- Moderate Community Transmission: Masks are recommended for all when 3’ distancing cannot be consistently met
- Substantial Community Transmission: Masks are required for all when 3’ distancing cannot be consistently met with regular mask breaks
- High Community Transmission: Masks are required at all times with regular mask breaks
Students who are unable to medically tolerate a face-covering can apply for a medical exemption or request to be placed in the remote learning option through BOCES.
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 can apply for a medical exemption to the District Medical Director.
Face coverings may be challenging for students (especially younger students) to wear in all-day settings such as school, so there may be periods of time when masks are not worn.
Face coverings should not be placed on:
- Children younger than two years old
- Students for whom 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
Spaces are designated in school buildings for isolation from others and immediate dismissal from school if an individual has a temperature of 100°F or greater or displays any symptoms of COVID-19. Students and staff must notify the school when they develop symptoms or if their answers to the health screening questions change during or outside school hours. The respective school nurse and building administrator serve as the primary point of contact.
Signage will be used to communicate protocols related to infection control strategies. The following items should be placed on the signage throughout the buildings:
- Stay home if you are sick
- Cover your mouth and nose with an acceptable face covering if unable to maintain social distancing
- Properly store PPE and discard PPE after use
- Adhere to social distancing guidelines
- Report symptoms of or exposure to COVID-19
- Follow hand hygiene and cleaning/disinfection guidelines
- Visibly soiled hands should be washed with soap and water
- Follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette
- Hand sanitizer can be used when soap and water is not readily available. The hand sanitizer should be 60% alcohol or greater
- Hand sanitizer should be provided in common areas. Touch free dispensers should be used when available
- Time should be built into the daily schedule to wash hands and/or use hand sanitizer
Students and staff will be encouraged to wash hands when:
- They enter the building and each classroom
- After using shared objects or surfaces
- Before and after snacks and lunch
- After using the restroom
- After helping a student with toileting
- After sneezing, wiping/blowing nose, or coughing into hands
- Upon coming in from the outdoors
- Anytime hands are visibly soiled
- Students and staff should be provided a supply of tissues for each classroom if feasible
- Garbage cans should be placed in each room for disposal of tissues.
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 appropriately socially distanced. 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.
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) should be added. When caring for a suspect 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 the 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).
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 six feet. Students will be escorted from the isolation area to their parent/guardian. Students or staff will be referred to a healthcare provider and will receive resources on COVID-19 testing.
Instruction during medical quarantine
For students who are subject to medical quarantine this year and required to stay home, instruction will be provided in one of the following ways:
- Teachers will prepare paper materials for families to pick up and students to complete at home.
- Teachers will prepare asynchronous electronic materials for students to complete at home and offer optional Google Meet office hours.
- Teachers may choose to teach in a live synchronous/hybrid format while students and/or teachers are quarantined.
- Teachers may record a live lesson to post to Google Classroom, then offer subsequent office hours for a question/answer session.
Please note: Students who are not subject to quarantine will be marked absent from class (for reasons other than a mandated quarantine).
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:
- Documentation from a health care provider following evaluation
- Negative COVID-19 diagnostic test result
- Symptom resolution, or if COVID-19 positive, release from isolation
The district will refer to the New York State Department of Health 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.
Surveillance COVID-19 testing will be conducted on campus with parental or guardian consent in accordance with the four categories for “community transmission” rates as developed by the CDC.
- Low Community Transition: No Surveillance Testing
- Moderate Community Transmission: No Surveillance Testing
- Substantial Community Transmission: Surveillance Testing at 10% per week
- High Community Transmission: Surveillance Testing at 20% per week
In the event that large-scale testing for COVID-19 will need to be conducted at school, the South Colonie Central School District will work with the Albany County Department of Health in consultation with the District’s Medical Director, Dr. Warren Silverman.
Please note that if a student or staff member is tested for any reason, due to close contact with a COVID positive individual or due to experiencing symptoms— then they are not able to attend school or work until the test results are received.
COVID-19 vaccines are strongly encouraged for all eligible individuals. South Colonie will promote and encourage vaccinations among teachers, staff, families, and eligible students under all community transmission rates in accordance with CDC guidance
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 to 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:
- Keeping accurate attendance records of students and staff members
- Ensuring student schedules are up to date
- Keeping a log of any visitor, which includes date and time and where in the school they visited
- 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
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 upon contact (without guidance and direction from the local health department).
A closure refers to contingency plans, protocols, and procedures for decreasing the scale or scope of in-person education. The District will collaborate with the Albany County Department of Health to determine the parameters, conditions or metrics (increased illness in school, community, or region) that will serve as early warning signs that positive COVID-19 cases may be increasing beyond an acceptable level.
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 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 its medical director and/or the Albany County Health Department when making such decisions.
School building administrators will communicate with each other regularly and, if needed, will consider closing school if absentee rates impact the ability of the school to operate safely.
The decision for school closure (reduction of in-person education) shall be reached in consultation with state and county health departments. A determination will be made as to which operations will be decreased or ceased and which operations will be conducted remotely. A process to conduct orderly closures which may include phasing, milestones, and involvement of key personnel, shall be made by the Superintendent of Schools.
Information about school closures will be communicated to students, families and staff members via the District’s mass notification system ParentSquare and information will be made available on the District website.
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:
- Stay home if they feel sick.
- 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.
- Properly store and, when necessary, discard PPE.
- Adhere to social distancing instructions.
- Report symptoms of or exposure to COVID-19.
- Follow hand hygiene and cleaning and disinfection guidelines.
- Follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette.
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.
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, please visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.
- The District will maintain or exceed adequate code required ventilation (natural or mechanical) as designed.
- Responsible parties should increase ventilation with outdoor air to the greatest extent possible (e.g., opening windows and doors) while maintaining health and safety protocols, particularly for younger students.
- The District has installed Merv 8 air filters in all univent systems in accordance with the manufacturers guidance and risk management recommendations. These filters will be changed on a regular basis according to the standards set forth by the manufacturer. Click here for the ventilation system protocols.
The district will ensure adherence to hygiene and cleaning and disinfection requirements as advised by the CDC and DOH. Cleaning and disinfection logs will be maintained that include the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection. The following cleaning protocols will be followed in accordance with the four categories for “community transmission” rates as developed by the CDC.
- Low Community Transmission: Daily routine cleaning
- Moderate Community Transmission: Daily routine cleaning and daily disinfection of high-touch surfaces
- Substantial Community Transmission: Daily routine cleaning and daily disinfection of moderate and high-touch surfaces
- High Community Transmission: Daily routine cleaning and daily disinfection of moderate and high-touch surfaces
We recognize that some students and staff members are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness, live with a person who is at an increased risk, or simply do not feel comfortable returning to an in-person educational environment.
Remote learning is available to those who have a significant medical issue, as documented by a physician. The remote option will be through Capital Region BOCES and will be a full year commitment if qualified. Teachers of those classes may be from other regional districts participating in the program. The District will review requests on a case by case basis. If you believe your student qualifies for a medically based remote option, please contact your building administrator (Grades K-8) or designated guidance counselor (Grades (9-12).
Visitors and volunteers on school facilities will be allowed in accordance with the four categories for “community transmission” rates as developed by the CDC.
- Low Community Transition: No restrictions to visitors
- Moderate Community Transmission: Minimal restrictions to visitors
- Substantial Community Transmission: Moderate Restrictions; no unnecessary visitors; strictly limited “outside group” use of school facilities.
- High Community Transmission: Strict restrictions; no unnecessary visitors; no “outside group” use of school facilities.
Visitors must follow all safety protocols as listed in this document.
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 as long as they are appropriately socially distanced.
The District will ensure social distancing between individuals while eating in the school cafeteria. If it is not feasible to social distance, meals may be served in alternate areas (e.g., classrooms) or in staggered blocks of time to ensure social distancing and proper cleaning and disinfection between students.
We are doing tray lines. Kids will go through the line, get their lunch, and bring it back to wherever they are designated to eat. Breakfast may be offered as “grab and go” but they will be through the lines, not delivered to classrooms.
Adequate space will be reserved for students, faculty, and staff to observe social distancing while eating meals.
The District will conduct transportation activities that are consistent with state-issued public transit guidance and NYSED guidelines. Students and school staff must wear acceptable face coverings at all times on school buses (e.g., entering, exiting, and seated). 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 points will be wiped down after the morning (AM) and afternoon (PM) run depending upon the disinfection schedule.
Wheelchair school buses will configure wheelchair placement to ensure social distancing.
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.
School Bus Staff
School bus drivers, monitors, staff 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 and may also wear an optional face shield.
Parents/legal guardians are required to conduct the health screening questions and take a student’s temperature prior to a student boarding a bus.
Buses will be cleaned between the am and pm runs .
When outside temperatures are above 45 degrees Fahrenheit, school buses should transport passengers with roof hatches or windows slightly opened to provide air flow.
Students on the bus
Students will disembark from transportation vehicles in the following manner:
- 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. Schools may consider staggered arrival and departure times to ensure social distancing.
- Schools may reconfigure the loading and unloading locations for students who are transported by bus, car or are pedestrians.
We recognize that the social emotional well-being of our students and staff during these challenging times is critically important. As such, the District will continue to make resources and referrals available to address mental health, behavioral, and emotional needs of students, faculty, and staff when school opens for instruction in fall.
Additionally, the work will continue with the District Health Mental team which is composed of families, students, members of the board of education, school building and/or district/charter leaders, community-based service providers, teachers, certified school counselors, and other pupil personnel service providers. This shared decision-making body will inform the comprehensive developmental school counseling program plan. This program plan has been reviewed and updated to meet current needs.
New in the 2021-22 school year, the District will also pilot a universal screening to support mental health needs of students. Specifically, the Behavioral and Emotional Screening System (BESS) will help identify those students at-risk of social-emotional and/or behavioral concerns, so that tailored early intervention and support can be provided.
Athletics & the Arts
An effort will be made to have activities that can be conducted in a safe environment with appropriate social distancing protocols when permitted.
Athletics and the arts will be conducted in the following manner according to the four categories for “community transmission” developed by the CDC.
- Low Community Transition: No restrictions
- Moderate Community Transmission: 3’ distancing recommended. Masks recommended when 3’ cannot me met or when not actively participating
- Substantial Community Transmission: 3’ distancing required. Masks required when 3’ cannot be met. Athletics only: Weekly Surveillance Rapid (10%) testing for unvaccinated students in High Risk Sports, limited spectators
High Community Transmission: 3’ distancing required. Masks required when 3’ cannot be met. Athletics only: Weekly Surveillance Rapid (20%) testing for unvaccinated students in High Risk Sports, two spectators per participant
- NYSED Health and Safety Guide to Reopen NYS Schools, see http://www.nysed.gov/back-school/health-and-safety-guide-2021-2022-school-year
- CDCs Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools, see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/k12
- Quarantining, in the K-12 classroom setting, the close contact definition excludes students who were within 3-6 feet of an infected student from quarantining if both the infected student and the exposed student(s) correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time, see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/contact-tracing/contact-tracing-plan/appendix.html#contact
- Mask on buses, see https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/masks/mask-travel-guidance.html
- Screening Testing, see Part 4, at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/k-12-guidance.html
- Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAATs), see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/lab/naats.htmlAlbany County Department of Health website at this link: https://www.albanycounty.com/departments/health
- American Academy of Pediatrics’ COVID-19 Guidance for Safe Schools at this link: https://www.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/clinical-guidance/covid-19-planning-considerations-return-to-in-person-education-in-schools/
Resources for Monitoring Community Transmission
- Reference the COVID-19 Regional Metric Dashboard for information on new cases reported per 100,000 persons in the last 7 days at this link: https://forward.ny.gov/covid-19-regional-metrics-dashboard
- Reference the NYS COVID-19 Tracker at this link: https://covid19tracker.health.ny.gov for updated information about % positive COVID-19 case results.