COVID 19 Reopening Plan

 

UPDATED RETURN TO SCHOOL PLAN PRESENTATION April 1, 2021 — Please click here to view

COVID 19 Reopening Plan

Introduction | Guiding Safety & Health Principles | Educational Philosophy | Safety & Health Procedures | Transportation | Extracurricular Activities | Food Service | Communication | Mental Health, Behavioral, and Emotional Support Services & Programs | Education | Appendix A | Appendix B

Introduction

The safety and health of our students, our faculty, and our staff is paramount and has been at the forefront of our planning. Our planning is designed to bring the most students back to face-to-face education as possible, while providing additional opportunities and improving upon the distance learning systems that we adopted this past spring. To allow our school district to safely reopen, there are a number of features, contingencies, and safety protocols that we must plan for, and we have attempted to outline this throughout our plan. We understand that the situation around COVID-19 is ever-evolving, and as a result, our plan will be forced to evolve with it. We, as a school district, cannot anticipate the way that the disease will develop, nor can we fully anticipate the way that it will affect our region, but through careful planning, hard work, and resilience, we have put together a plan that allows our schools to have the flexibility to address these concerns. This plan has been developed over months through the input of a vast number of stakeholders, including building and district administrators, teachers, nurses, buildings and grounds staff, students, parents, our local department of health. Their time, efforts, and dedication have been inspiring and have provided the backbone for our return this fall. We will continue to rally as only Mechanicville can, as #OneMechanicville. Appendix B includes updates which were approved by the BOE on 4/1/21.

Guiding Safety & Health Principles

Any and all discussions about how to safely and effectively reopen our schools requires us to understand the how of safely reopening. For us to safely reopen, there are four major areas that need to be considered – face coverings, social distancing, hygiene, and screening – all of which will be covered throughout the course of this planning document. As a baseline, we as a school district are required to maintain six feet of distancing in most scenarios; wear appropriate face coverings and PPE while in transit and when we cannot appropriately socially distance; we must maintain proper hand hygiene; and adhere to the CDC’s and Department of Health’s guidance as they relate to the cleaning and disinfection of our classrooms. We will perform screening of all staff, students, and faculty members as they enter, or prior to their entry into the building. In order for us to safely reopen, we need to be able to achieve and maintain these requirements, and throughout the course of this document we will explain and explore the process through which we will accomplish these requirements.

The school district has designated Superintendent Bruce Potter as their COVID-19 Safety Coordinator. This individual shall be responsible for the continuous compliance with all aspects of the school’s reopening plan, as well as any phased-in reopening activities necessary to allow for operational issues to be resolved before activities return to normal or “new normal” levels.

The school district has designated Superintendent Bruce Potter as the primary point of contact upon the identification of a positive COVID-19 case and to be responsible for subsequent communications. This person shall be responsible for answering questions from students, faculty, staff, and parents or legal guardians regarding the COVID-19 public health emergency and the plans being implemented in the school.

Educational Philosophy

During the course of our discussions with stakeholder groups, a number of different educational models were explored and the feasibility of each model was considered based on the resources available to us, our regional health metrics, and the guidance that we received from the New York State Department of Health and New York State Education Department. As a result of these different factors, we will be focusing on an in-person model that will provide daily face-to-face education for K-6 and special class, in-district SWD and a hybrid, in-person and remote education model for students grades 7-12 which will be on an A day, B day rotation. When at home students will be participating in live lessons. Based on the social distancing requirements put forth by New York State, our school district is capable of having a maximum capacity of 1,025 students district wide, which directly affects the amount of students that we can provide face-to-face learning to at any given time. In order to promote safety, our planning will also cohort students together to the extent that is practicable in order to limit the potential spread of the disease should anyone become infected.

Given the highly contagious and opportunistic nature of COVID-19, our school district will provide accommodations to individuals who are at a high risk or who live with a person who is at a high risk of complications as a result of COVID-19. Each case will be approached uniquely depending on the individual situation, but potential solutions for these vulnerable populations includes remote learning, modified educational and work settings, or by providing additional PPE to individuals with underlying health conditions. In addition to this, we understand that certain student and staff populations may require modifications to social distancing or PPE based on hearing loss or impairment; receipt of language services, or because they are a young student in an early education program. In these scenarios, we may utilize specialized clear face coverings/face shields/increased distancing when possible/list any other services that the school district would consider for these groups and ensure that any modifications would minimize COVID-19 exposure risk for students, faulty, and staff to the greatest extent possible.

The school district has given special consideration to the way that we will perform safety and emergency drills throughout the course of the school year while we are required to socially distance. We will still complete our eight evacuation drills and four lockdown drills, but the way that we conduct our drills shall be modified for the upcoming school year. Due to the hybrid nature of our school schedule, we will need to ensure all of our students receive instruction in emergency procedures and participate in drills. In order to ensure the safety of our evacuation drills, we may conduct our drills on a “staggered” schedule by having classrooms evacuate separately rather than all at once to ensure appropriate distancing. To ensure the safety of our lockdown drills we may conduct them in several different ways to enforce social distancing – whether this be through the use of a “staggered” schedule with smaller numbers of students which allows us to maintain social distancing or by conducting a lockdown drill through verbal and visual instruction and providing students an opportunity to ask questions and receive answers about lockdowns.

Safety & Health Procedures

Face Coverings | Social Distancing | Screening | Hygiene, Cleaning, and Disinfecting

Face Coverings

Prior to entering the school district, a school facility, or school grounds, staff, faculty, students, and visitors agree to wear a face covering in all required areas. The school district will remind staff, faculty, students, and visitors of this process through training, signage, verbal communication, and other means throughout the school year. During the school day, individuals will be required to wear a face covering while on the school bus, when they are entering or exiting the school building, while they are moving through the hallways or their classroom, at any time that they cannot maintain adequate and appropriate social distancing, and any other time as dictated by administration. Individuals may not be required to wear a face covering while they are maintaining social distancing, including when they are seated in a classroom. The school district shall train all students, faculty, and staff on how to adequately put on, take off, clean, and discard PPE for staff at the beginning of the school year Superintendent Conference days, and for students by providing training on the first day of school. This training will include an explanation of what is considered appropriate PPE and will be supplemented by signage/continued education/verbal instruction, any other ways that the school district will encourage and ensure that appropriate PPE is being utilized.

The school district will provide all staff, students, and faculty with an approved face covering. The district has purchased gaiters (over the head neck gear) in school colors and logo. In addition, the school district will continue to maintain an adequate stock of disposable PPE for their emergency use or by request. In order to ensure that stock is maintained, each building principal will be responsible for performing weekly checks of supplies and working to order more as needs dictate. Both students and staff will be permitted to wear their own approved face covering. The school district has worked throughout the spring and summer to supplement the stock of PPE for the upcoming school year and will continue to do so throughout the school year. The school district will also maintain a supply of disposable face coverings on each of the school buses for students who have forgotten, broken, or soiled their face coverings. The Director of Transportation will maintain an appropriate inventory of masks for the Transportation Department to be kept on buses. The school district will also encourage students, staff, and faculty to keep a replacement mask(s) at the school district in case their initial mask fails or becomes soiled throughout the school day.

Social Distancing

For our school district to maintain safe operations, we must attempt to maintain social distancing to protect against the transmission of the COVID-19 virus while on school grounds and in school facilities. To facilitate this, our school district has redesigned our classroom spaces, common areas, and other rooms throughout the buildings for appropriate social distancing. Specifically, appropriate social distancing means six feet of space in all directions between individuals or the use of suitable physical barriers between individuals that do not adversely affect air flow, heating, cooling, ventilation, or otherwise present a health or safety risk. The only time where social distancing requirements may be relaxed in the school district is when the safety of an activity or the core activity requires a shorter distance or individuals are of the same household. To promote this type of behavior, the school district has instituted measures such as highly visible signage, developed directional traffic patterns, providing radios to both classroom staff and hallway monitors to minimize the number of students in the hall at any point in time. Furthermore, the school district has evaluated smaller spaces in the school building, such as elevators, break rooms, and faculty offices, and will be limiting the use of these spaces. These identified spaces will require the use of face coverings and occupancy should not exceed 50% of the maximum, unless the space is designed for use by a single occupant. In addition to the above noted changes, our school district has evaluated the feasibility of modifying existing areas of mass assembly, such as auditoriums, gymnasiums, and cafeterias, to provide additional learning spaces for students that are more easily appropriately socially distanced.

We have added a third bus run to reduce the amount of students entering each building. Students will be dropped off in a designated area clearly marked. Busses will have staggered dismissal of students limiting the number of students entering the identified points of entry to each building. The district will have two points of entry for students at each building. There will be no visitors or guests without a scheduled appointment. A staggered dismissal procedure will be implemented at student pick-up/bus departure at the end of the day.

Screening

To ensure that sick or ill students, staff, and faculty are not allowed on campus, the school district will be adopting a strict screening policy which includes temperature checks for students, faculty, and staff, daily screening questionnaires for faculty and staff, and periodic screening questionnaires for students. The school district will also require screenings for contractors, vendors, and visitors who will be entering the school building. We will encourage all screenings to occur before individuals reach the school building or enter any school facility and that should an individual fail the screening or feel ill, then they should remain home. Furthermore, we ask that parents and guardians remain vigilant in observing their students for signs of illness and to keep them home when they are ill. To facilitate this, the school district will have an electronic attestation form using an electronic application to conduct remote screenings, in addition to physically having temperatures taken by thermal scanner. If an individual wants to enter a school building or facility, but has not been screened prior to entry, they will be required to complete an in-person screening with a school personnel who will be provided with all required PPE to ensure their safety and well-being.

Our district’s screening process will meet all of the requirements as set forth by the state, where a temperature at or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit or a failure of the screening will result in that individual not gaining entry into the school. If the individual who fails a screening is a staff member, faculty member, or outside visitor, then they will be instructed to leave the school facility and see their health care provider. If the individual who fails a screening is a student, then they shall be taken to that building’s isolation room to be assessed by the school nurse and await a parent, guardian, or emergency contact who can bring them to a health care provider for further evaluation. The isolation room shall require appropriate social distancing to be maintained, an increased cleaning and disinfection schedule from the school district’s buildings and grounds staff, and constant visual supervision. We will provide all required PPE to the individual(s) who will be supervising the isolation room to ensure their safety. When an individual’s parent, guardian, or emergency contact arrives at the school district to pick up their student, we will once again remind them that their student is required to be seen by a health care provider in regards to the failed screening. The school district will also instruct staff and faculty members to observe for signs of illness in others and require that symptomatic persons be sent to the school nurse or isolation room for a check-up. Any student or staff member leaving school due to an identified COVID-19 symptom will remain out of school/work for 72 straight hours symptom free.

The school district has worked with and remained in communication with our county health department to determine the specific return requirements of individuals who fail a screening, test positive for COVID-19 through a diagnostic test, or have come in close contact with or have been exposed to somebody who tests positive for the COVID-19 virus. Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19, regardless of whether the person is symptomatic or asymptomatic, the student or staff may return to work upon completing at least 10 days of isolation from the onset of symptoms or 10 days of isolation after the first positive test if they remain asymptomatic. The LHD will release the person from Isolation. In addition, the school district shall work with our county health department to determine the process for the provision or referral of diagnostic testing for students, faculty, and staff, should that become necessary. The school district has also worked with our county department of health to determine what metrics will serve as early warning signs that COVID-19 cases may be increasing beyond an acceptable level, both within our schools or within the larger local community. We are also working with our County DOH to determine the protocol for when there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the school, including how we will assist in contact tracing. Should multiple cases be discovered in an area or school within the district, the district’s COVID-19 liaison will contact the County liaison and should action be warranted, the County Health Department and the Superintendent of Schools will make a determination if a portion of the school, or a particular school shall be closed.

The school district has identified the Superintendent of Schools as the individual who will serve as the central point of contact and who is responsible for receiving and attesting to having reviewed all screening activities on a daily basis. This individual shall also be identified as the contact for individuals to notify if they later experience COVID-19 related symptoms during the day or have COVID-19 exposure, as noted on their questionnaire.

Hygiene, Cleaning, and Disinfecting

Our school district has instituted, trained on, and follows the CDC and NYDOH guidelines on the hygiene, cleaning, and disinfection of school buildings and materials. We have developed extensive procedures and protocols for school-wide cleaning and the disinfection of classrooms, restrooms, cafeterias, libraries, playgrounds, school buses, and all other school facilities based on the CDC guidance. We have also identified the areas of buildings that will require additional cleaning and disinfection, such as bathrooms. Throughout the course of the year, our district will maintain cleaning and disinfection logs which identify the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection for those areas. We have also developed and maintained a list of commonly touched surfaces throughout the school district, with a cleaning and disinfection schedule assigned to individuals and positions for these surfaces. Please refer to appendix A of this plan for information regarding the specificity of our cleaning, hygiene, and disinfection protocols and procedures. We will also be increasing ventilation with outdoor air to the greatest extent possible based on the outdoor air temperature and the capabilities of our HVAC system. Lastly, the school district shall continue to conduct or complete the process of performing its required Lead-in-Water testing as required by NYS DOH regulation 67-4.

Our school district also understands that for us to maintain a safe and healthful school environment, we need to promote and encourage proper hand hygiene throughout the day. In order to achieve this goal, we will be installing hand hygiene stations throughout common areas of the building so that students may sanitize their hands while they are in transition and at times where they may not be able to clean their hands with soap and water throughout the school day. We will also be training students, faculty, and staff on proper hand hygiene throughout the school year and provide continued education for individuals through proper signage at all levels of the school district. Throughout the course of the school day, we will also require students, staff, and faculty to wash or sanitize their hands before and after eating, after using the restroom, and upon arrival to a new classroom location.

Transportation

We recognize that transportation will present its own unique set of challenges for this upcoming school year and as a school district we are committing ourselves to providing a safe and healthful school environment at all phases and stages of the school day. In order for us to maintain this safety, face coverings will be required while students are entering the bus, exiting the bus, and are seated on the bus, unless a student is not physically able to wear a face covering. We will also maintain social distancing to the greatest extent possible while on the bus unless individuals are from the same household. If a student tries to enter the bus without a proper face covering they will not be denied service or entry – instead they shall be provided with a disposable face covering that is kept on the bus. Furthermore, transportation will not be denied to students with disabilities that would prevent them from wearing a mask nor will they be forced to do so during transportation.

The school district shall commit to ensuring that all buses that are used during the day are cleaned and disinfected at least daily and that all high-contact points shall be wiped down after each run. While we acknowledge that school buses cannot be equipped with hand sanitizer due to its combustible nature, and we will advise individuals to not bring personal hand sanitizer containers with them on the bus, we will ensure that hand sanitizing or hand washing stations are provided for all staff in transportation locations such as dispatch offices, employee lunch/breaks rooms, and bus garages. Furthermore, we will provide all required PPE for transportation department staff and require the use of a face covering. Should a driver, monitor, or attendant be required to have direct physical contact with a child, they will be required to wear gloves, which the school district shall provide to ensure their safety and healthfulness. These employees will also be required to complete the daily self-health screening prior to arriving at work to help ensure the safety and healthfulness of their fellow employees.

If our school district is in remote session or otherwise, we will continue to maintain transportation services to nonpublic, parochial, private, charter schools, or students whose Individualized Education Program has placed them out of district to schools who are meeting and conducting in-person session education when/if the district is not.

The district has sent forms to parents and guardians asking if they require district provided transportation. Given the circumstances we understand that parents may want to provide transportation, this will assist in social distancing on our buses.

Extracurricular Activities

Presently, Interscholastic sports are not permitted at the time of this publication per the New York Department of Health. The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYPSPHSAA) established a COVID-19 Task Force comprised of superintendents, principals, athletic directors, executive directors, and members of the New York State Athletic Administrators Association and the State Education Department to address safety concerns related to sports and social activities. The District will provide more information upon receipt of guidance from the COVID-19 Task Force for the 2020 fall sports season.

The District will endeavor to provide extracurricular and social activities for students that are deemed “low-risk” for the reopening of schools in September. The Superintendent and other Superintendent-selected administrators will make all decisions pertaining to internal extracurricular and social activities. This will be an on-going and deliberative process aimed at ensuring safety for all participants. Weather permitting, and to the extent practicable, all social activities will take place outside for the foreseeable future. Additionally, the District will maximize the use of technology and online resources to conduct educational, social activities for students in order to limit person-to-person contact while maintaining quality and enriching experiences for our students.

All students and teachers must maintain social distancing protocols at all times while participating in extracurricular and social activities. Any equipment utilized must be cleaned at the end of the activity and/or before the equipment is transferred for use between participants. All participants must strive to the greatest extent possible to avoid the touching of shared equipment and/or endeavor not to share equipment at all. All participants must maintain six feet of distance in all directions while partaking in social activities. Social distancing markers will be used to assist students in maintaining social distance. Face-coverings should be utilized for all those who are able to medically tolerate such coverings. To the extent possible, students will be staggered to allow for the smallest groups possible for all social activities.

The district is partnering with the Mechanicville Area Community Services Center for the provision of before and aftercare programs. The MACSC already hosts a summer program at our elementary school and adheres to the social distancing guidelines, PPE usage recommendations by the CDC and DOH, as is cleaned and disinfected by our custodial team implementing the cleaning protocols in Appendix A.

In accordance with guidance issued by the New York State Education Department, the District will primarily limit use of school and District facilities to school-sponsored groups only. In event external agencies or groups request use of school/District facilities, the District will comprehensively review all requests to ensure that such organizations and visitors are in compliance with all State and locally developed health and safety protocols. All external organizations and visitors will be subject to the same District, State, and local safety protocols as school employees and students.

Food Service

Regardless of the educational model chosen by our school district and the dynamic nature with which that can change, our school district shall continue to provide school breakfast and lunch to all students who were previously receiving school meals – both on-site and remotely. While on-site, we will maintain social distancing during the course of our meals and provide food service. Classroom desks will already be 6ft apart. Our cafeteria will be set up in a manner that all students will be single seated at least 6 ft apart.

Students will sanitize/wash their hands prior to handling food. Meals will be eaten in the classroom. Classrooms will have an oversized garbage can that will be emptied after lunch. Students will raise their face coverings and place waste in the garbage.

Breakfasts will be made and brown bagged with required meal components and students would be able to pick them up as they entered the building. Our hand held scanners would be used so no use of pin pads- no hand contact. I plan to communicate with nurse/teachers regarding specific allergies per classroom and will package meals with students’ names for those with allergies. We will be a peanut FREE in the Elementary building this year but will offer a safe alternative to anyone wanting a PBJ. (Wow butter made from soy)

We will ask that teachers/aides remind students NOT to share with others and to use hand sanitizer, wipes or wash prior to meal time. Before and after each distribution of meals in common areas, all surfaces will be cleaned and sanitized with approved food grade products.

Lunches will be prepared in the kitchen, loaded onto a transport cart and delivered at specific times to the pods for teacher/aide distribution. Chris has shared his time frames and I feel able to stay within his needs. All meals will follow a specific meal pattern and be served in disposable containers so nothing soiled will be returned to the kitchen. Class rosters will be used to document purchases, cafeteria staff will use a scanner to log sales.

Grades 4. 5 , 7 and 8 will eat in their classrooms. They will come to the cafeteria at designated times (wearing masks) and pick up their meals. Touch-free hand sanitizer will be available at the entry to the cafe. Cafeteria staff will plate all meals into disposable containers with pre-wrapped disposable silverware. Scanners will be used for all purchases. NEW student ID cards with barcode will be made and distributed prior to opening

Staff will clean and sanitize student seating areas at the end of the day as each student will remain in their designated seat for the duration of the school day.

Grades 6, and 9 – 12 will come to the cafeteria at designated times (wearing masks) and pick up their meals. Touch-free hand sanitizer will be available at the entry to the cafe. Cafeteria staff will plate all meals into disposable containers with pre-wrapped disposable silverware. Tables have been arranged to provide a minimum spacing of 6’ between each student with only one student seated per table. Staff will clean and sanitize student seating areas at the end of each meal service period.

AlaCarte items will be offered in the cafe. We will use the window towards the atrium being used as a distribution location for all ala carte/snack items. Cafeteria staff will dispense all ala carte items and use scanners for purchases. We will not have vending machines in operation at this time.

For students on the A/B schedule, breakfast and lunch for the following day will be ready for pick up as students are dismissed (Milk will be frozen to assure food temp safety until reaching home) Scanners will be used for all purchases.

Communication

Our school district affirms and attests that we have reviewed and understand all state-issued industry guidelines and will submit our plans for reopening to them. In addition to this, we will post copies of our finished plan on the school website, in conspicuous areas across school buildings and facilities, and links posted to district social media accounts. Throughout the course of this process, we will also develop consistent communication plans to ensure that members of the school community are kept up-to-date with all developments and changes to our plan. This process will be managed through verbal instruction, posted signage that is consistent with DOH COVID-19 signage, the maintenance of a COVID-19 page on our school website as well as use of text and email messaging systems and school sponsored social media accounts. We will also develop communications for students and families about how to prepare for the upcoming school year, including specific information on the social distancing requirements, how to properly wear a face covering, and proper hand and respiratory hygiene. Throughout the course of the school year, we will continue to train students, faculty, and staff on how to follow any new COVID-19 protocols safely and correctly, including hand hygiene, proper face covering wearing, social distancing, and respiratory hygiene.

Mental Health, Behavioral, and Emotional Support Services & Programs

Our school district shall make every effort to provide and address the mental health, behavioral, and emotional needs of students, faculty, and staff when school reopens for in-person instruction. Throughout the course of the school year, we will identify and support students who are having difficulty transitioning back into the school setting by:

Implementation of P2 the Positivity Project district wide. The Positivity Project is a school based program dedicated to helping America’s youth build strong relationships by recognizing the character strengths in themselves and others. The vision is to create citizens and leaders who will enhance our communities and country by internalizing the belief in #PositivityInAction. Positive psychology’s scientifically validated 24 character strengths serve as our foundation. Positive psychology teaches that people have all 24 strengths within them — and that character is not just skills or behaviors, but rather an intrinsic part of each of us.

Continued Implementation of Restorative Practices

  • Restorative Interventions that are Preventative, including community building circles, student and staff self reflection on the ways that the pandemic has impacted them emotionally, and embedded classroom culture building.
  • Restorative Interventions that are Responsive, including trauma informed care training for ALL staff (particularly hall monitors, bus drivers, bathroom aides) that includes affective statements and questioning.
  • Restorative Interventions that are Responsive, including harm circles, mediation, and building of “take care of me lists.”
  • Continued TCI training (Responsive RP), created by our PPS team, to yield CTLE hours for all those interested in learning de-escalation techniques.

Implementation of a Multi-Tiered Support System (MTSS), which is a tiered intervention system for academics and social/emotional learning (SEL) support within the school system. MTSS helps educators provide support for students with various needs MTSS will continue for ALL students whether students participate at school or via a remote location. Our SEL interventions will be flexible and powerful and will support students in school and at home. Examples: Individual/group counseling, Mindfulness breaks, providing parent support, student check-ins, Google Meetings, etc.

MCSD will continue to establish an intentional focus on social and emotional skill building, mental and behavioral health, personal safety and the need for social interaction. SEL learning standards will be embedded within every classroom ( at school or remote).

We will also provide periodic training for faculty and staff on how to support students during and after the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency. We will also provide information on developing coping and resilience skills for students, faculty, and staff during training or through written materials.

Education

Attendance | Connectivity | Learning Plans | English Language Learners | Evaluation

Attendance

Classes will be held in-person, remote, and hybrid – regardless of the way that students receive instruction, they will be scheduled for classes daily to allow for synchronicity – teachers will take attendance via our SIS and the daily attendance will be recorded. Attendance clerks will monitor attendance reports and take action at designated thresholds of absences. District communication system will be configured to send notification to parents both on a daily basis as well as at set intervals regarding class and school absences. Procedures have been established for the PPS Team to support attendance goals, to continue to foster student engagement and continuing to check-in with families to provide social emotional learning support and supports for mental health.

Connectivity

A digital equity survey was conducted before and after initial closure – connectivity status is logged in our district SIS. Our district is a 1:1 Chromebook ratio from grades 4-12. Parent surveys have shown where additional needs are for students/households who do not have access to a device for remote instruction. A device loan program has been established for distribution to students/household in need of a device on a case by case basis.

3rd party vendors have offered free/discounted internet access for qualifying households, additionally, there are multiple free hotspots available throughout our community for students to connect to. Some students do not have access to the internet at home. The district has worked with these families to find possible solutions including providing information on free spectrum internet access as well as connecting their devices via hotspot. In very limited cases where internet connectivity is not an option, the classroom teacher maintains regular contact with these families and provides instruction via hard copy materials.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lOYzVzTxbzMSUIHgns4S2TLJzkzaEVQEE-88er0AnGY/edit?usp=sharing

During remote learning, families with transportation issues are treated on a case by case basis. The district has worked with these families on an individual scale to provide mailings directly to their home and/or work with staff for a zero contact drop off of materials.

An internal technology help desk is available for families who are struggling with the delivery and access of technology. There is a dedicated phone line which has been distributed district wide and is available on our website. Additionally, any families that contact the office are directed to a main phone line which will allow for immediate support and communication.

Teachers and related service providers are using both technical and non-technical tools to track communication with students/families. Google classrooms tracks participation and completion of assignments. Special Education teachers and related service providers keep logs of lessons and progress toward goals. Regular education – attendance is taken during sessions logging progress and level of proficiency, along with teacher notes on student progress and evidence of learning.

Teaching staff are 1:1 with access to a district issued device, Chromebook or laptop computer. Some teachers live in remote areas where internet and cell phone service are intermittent (2). The district has worked in collaboration with these teachers to provide a space for them to instruct students within the building during remote learning periods, while maintaining all social distancing measures. Teachers will be allowed to access a specified location following all CDC and DOH guidelines for contact tracing and temperature monitoring. Custodial teams continue to clean and sanitize the assigned areas regularly. (This measure is only available to those few staff with no option to connect virtually.)

Learning Plans

Insert the school district’s continuity of learning plan for in-person, remote, and hybrid learning.

https://docs.google.com/viewerng/viewer?url=https://www.mechanicville.org//cms/lib/NY02208575/Centricity/Domain/8/Reopening+of+School+Draft+Plan+Presentation.pdf

Each grade level and content area has created a Scope and Sequence Curricular document that outlines the appropriate NYState Learning Standards, including that of Next Gen where it has been integrated as appropriate. These documents are broken down by semester, with appropriate virtual and in person resources delineated for implementation to ensure that all standards are taught towards.

The standards will serve as our faculty’s baseline for instructional level instruction, and as a goal for our students at their independent level. Teachers will use these standards as criteria for setting objectives of their lessons as well as the success criteria of their assessments. The standards will be at the core of all instruction and assessment. Our faculty have been trained in these practices, and the hub of their resources for carrying out this standards-based work is our School Improvement website. The links to our standards-based resources are here:

For the duration of this pandemic, Mechanicville City Schools will be using new phone numbers to service the needs of our students, staff, and community for all building and educational needs.

  • For Technology questions, Wi-Fi issues, password issues, charging/parts concerns, connectivity problems, or other computer and Chromebook issues on school devices, call 518-450-4088 or email helpdesk@mechanicville.org
  • For K-12 instructional/programmatic resources and questions, or inquiries regarding building access, call 518-450-4086
  • For questions related to Food service and meals, call 518-450-4085 or email
    dmackey@mechanicville.org

All information will be sent via email, social media, website, and via school notification system to parents periodically.

The Committee on Special Education will ensure students are provided with the instruction and related services listed on the student’s Individualized Education Plan. The delivery of instruction may be in-person, remote or a hybrid delivery. Families will be given the opportunity to choose in-person/hybrid or remote learning for their child(ren). Students with significant disabilities have been identified to be prioritized for in-person learning to the extent possible.

Our classroom environments are designed to ensure social distancing with small numbers of students per six foot distancing (CDC guidelines) working with co-teach/collaborative teaching partnerships. Ongoing collaboration with these teaching teams is paramount and will foster the support needed for student success while continuing to focus on standards-based instruction, daily interactions between teachers and students and regular follow-up by reporting to parents on how instruction is going.

The student’s Committee will review the IEP and determine whether any changes are needed considering all relevant information available; including and not limited to progress monitoring, concerns of the parent, and other documentation maintained. Our plan includes a process to ensure ongoing monitoring of learning. In addition communication amongst teachers, service providers, students and parents is logged regularly and all/any concerns are documented. The Committee on Special Education will host Program Review meetings when necessary, requested by staff, parent, or both and will be scheduled immediately. The Committee on Special Education will ensure timely evaluations and reevaluations to continuously address student strengths and needs and eligible programs and services.

The Committee on Special Education will continue to follow and implement the students’ Individualized Education Plans focusing on student growth, progress of goals, accommodations/modifications, supplementary supports, etc. If there is failure to provide “appropriate” services and to remedy if needed, compensatory services may be considered. The Pupil Personnel Services Support Team will call all parents of students with medical conditions to discuss any unique health needs (related to COVID-19) prior to the start of school.

Instructional delivery will be provided through a variety of options. Students with disabilities, ELL, Homeless, and students in alternative settings will be provided with any of the following:

  • In-Person learning
    • Timely/no lapse in the implementation of IEP/504 Accommodation Plans
  • Pre-recorded lessons on targeted goals & objectives
  • Virtual (e.g. Google Hangouts/Meet) opportunities for individualized instruction
  • Small group instruction when appropriate and with parent consent
  • Videos, online assignments, and/or activities to support learning
  • Scheduled office hours when appropriate
  • Individualized packets and activities/online activities, books, visuals, social stories
  • Instructional videos for students and parents

CSE meetings including annual reviews are being conducted remotely. Communication is sent to families allowing for flexibility in participation. Virtual meetings are taking place with the CSE Chair, teacher, parent, students and PPS staff.

The Committee on Special Education (CSE) and The Committee on Preschool Special Education Chairpersons will communicate regularly with schools, teachers, related service providers and families through two-way communication, school websites, and offering parent meetings to discuss procedures. Additionally, the CSE and CPSE will continue to host CSE/CPSE meetings to be conducted in larger conference rooms promoting social distancing or pre-arranging the meetings to be conducted remotely.

Communication is sent to families allowing for flexibility in participation. Virtual meetings are taking place with the CSE Chair, teacher, parent, students and PPS staff.

Students with disabilities, ELL, Homeless, and students in alternative settings will be provided with any of the following:

  • In-person option following all CDC and DOH safety guidelines for student and staff safety including but not limited to social distancing, facemask use, training for proper hygiene.
  • Pre-recorded lessons on targeted goals & objectives
  • Virtual (e.g. Google Hangouts/Meet) as well as in-person opportunities for individualized instruction
  • Small group instruction when appropriate and with parent consent
  • Videos, online assignments, and/or activities to support learning
  • Scheduled office hours when appropriate
  • Individualized packets and activities/online activities, books, visuals, social stories
  • Instructional videos for students and parents

Students receiving special education will receive support from the service provider(s) listed on the IEP. Special Education Teachers and ELL teachers work with general education teachers on grade level content and curriculum. Special Education Teachers and general education teachers will work to provide accommodations for students. Special Education Teachers and Related Service Providers will address specific accessibility issues for students. Instruction may be asynchronous and or synchronous, and will address student goals and objectives. Instructional delivery will be provided through a variety of options.

Teachers will review instructional practices and plan for needed accommodations and modifications for students with disabilities with the goal of access to grade level curriculum. This will take place by continuously reviewing the students’ needs. The review will take place with teachers, students, and parents and if changes are needed on the IEP the CSE will offer an amendment without a meeting or a program review meeting. The plan for needed accommodations/modification/supports will always honor how the student best learns in the given learning environment in order to increase, maintain and improve the student’s capabilities.

English Language Learners

ELL teachers are in regular communication with parents regarding program participation and individual student progress. The school district will provide the required instructional Units of Study to all ELL’s based on their most recently measured English-language proficiency level during in-person or hybrid instruction. Teachers employ the use of translation tools to send out documents in the family’s native language throughout the school year. Parents have the ability to select from a choice of preferred language using our school notification system (Parent Square). All communications both sent and received via this application will allow parents to engage with the school in their preferred language.

The school district will provide the required instructional Units of Study to all ELL’s based on their most recently measured English-language proficiency level during in-person or hybrid instruction.

Evaluation

Our school district’s plan ensures that all teachers and principals will be evaluated pursuant to our currently approved APPR plan, including any variance applications approved by the Department. All teachers in our school district shall hold valid and appropriate certificates for their teaching assignments, except where otherwise allowable under the Commissioner’s regulations (e.g., incidental teaching) or Education Law.

This plan is submitted by Bruce Potter, Superintendent of Schools – July 31, 2020

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

Appendix A

Cleaning, Hygiene, and Disinfection Protocols and Procedures

Classrooms

  • Cleaning Frequency: Daily
  • Disinfection Frequency: Daily
  • Responsible Party: Custodial staff; staff and teachers
  • Additional Information: Doors, desks, chairs, and floors

Restrooms

  • Cleaning Frequency: 2x daily
  • Disinfection Frequency: 2x daily
  • Responsible Party: Custodial staff
  • Additional Information: Doors and sinks will be done twice daily. Floors will be done once daily.

Health Offices/Isolation Rooms

  • Cleaning Frequency: Various
  • Disinfection Frequency: Various
  • Responsible Party: Nursing staff; Custodial staff
  • Additional Information: Cots, bathrooms and health office equipment will be cleaned after each use. Floors will be done once daily.

Breakrooms

  • Cleaning Frequency: Daily
  • Disinfection Frequency: Daily
  • Responsible Party: Custodial staff
  • Additional Information: Doors, tables, chairs and floors

Cafeterias/Kitchens

  • Cleaning Frequency: Various
  • Disinfection Frequency: Various
  • Responsible Party: Custodial staff; staff and teachers
  • Additional Information: Tables and chairs will be cleaned/disinfected in between each group’s use. Floors will be done once daily.

Outside Seating Areas

  • Cleaning Frequency: Various
  • Disinfection Frequency: Various
  • Responsible Party: Custodial staff; staff and teachers
  • Additional Information: Tables and chairs will be cleaned/disinfected in between each group’s use. Floors will be done once daily.

Computer Labs

  • Cleaning Frequency: Various
  • Disinfection Frequency: Various
  • Responsible Party: Custodial staff; staff and teachers
  • Additional Information: Equipment to be cleaned/disinfected between each use. Doors, tables, chairs and floors will be done once daily.

Science Labs

  • Cleaning Frequency: Daily
  • Disinfection Frequency: Daily
  • Responsible Party: Custodial staff; staff and teachers
  • Additional Information: Equipment to be cleaned/disinfected between each use. Doors, tables, chairs and floors will be done once daily.

Maintenance Office and Work Areas

  • Cleaning Frequency: Daily
  • Disinfection Frequency: Daily
  • Responsible Party: Custodial staff
  • Additional Information: Doors, desks, chairs, and floors

Bus Garage

  • Cleaning Frequency: Daily
  • Disinfection Frequency: Daily
  • Responsible Party: Custodial staff; Transportation staff
  • Additional Information: Bathroom, doors, desks, chairs, and floors

Libraries

  • Cleaning Frequency: Daily
  • Disinfection Frequency: Daily
  • Responsible Party: Custodial staff; Librarians
  • Additional Information: Equipment to be cleaned/disinfected between each use. Doors, tables, chairs and floors will be done once daily.

Playgrounds

  • Cleaning Frequency: N/A
  • Disinfection Frequency: N/A
  • Responsible Party: N/A
  • Additional Information: These areas are not going to be used. When these areas will be returned to use, then an appropriate frequency for cleaning/disinfection will be established.

School Buses

  • Cleaning Frequency: Daily
  • Disinfection Frequency: Daily
  • Responsible Party: Transportation staff
  • Additional Information: High contact spots will be cleaned after the morning (AM) runs and cleaned/disinfected after the afternoon (PM) run.

School Vehicles

  • Cleaning Frequency: After each use
  • Disinfection Frequency: After each use
  • Responsible Party: Staff using vehicles
  • Additional Information: N/A

Administrative Offices

  • Cleaning Frequency: Daily
  • Disinfection Frequency: Daily
  • Responsible Party: Custodial staff
  • Additional Information: Doors, desks, chairs, and floors

Large Meeting Areas (e.g. gymnasiums, auditoriums, music rooms)

  • Cleaning Frequency: N/A
  • Disinfection Frequency: N/A
  • Responsible Party: N/A
  • Additional Information: These areas are not going to be used. When these areas will be returned to use, then an appropriate frequency for cleaning/disinfection will be established.

Athletic Training Rooms, Locker Rooms

  • Cleaning Frequency: N/A
  • Disinfection Frequency: N/A
  • Responsible Party: N/A
  • Additional Information: These areas are not going to be used. When these areas will be returned to use, then an appropriate frequency for cleaning/disinfection will be established.

Frequently touched surfaces (e.g. doorknobs, light switches, elevator buttons, copy machine buttons, handles, etc.)

  • Cleaning Frequency: 2x daily
  • Disinfection Frequency: 2x daily
  • Responsible Party: Custodial staff
  • Additional Information: N/A

Standard frequently touched surfaces (e.g. keyboards, desks, phones, laptops, tablets, remote controls, etc.)

  • Cleaning Frequency: After each use
  • Disinfection Frequency: After each use
  • Responsible Party: Staff using shared surfaces
  • Additional Information: N/A

Students should not be present when disinfectants are in use and should not participate in cleaning and/or disinfection activities.

Appendix B – UPDATED PLAN EFFECTIVE 4/12

Classroom Social Distancing

  • Under current NYS Department of Health Guidelines (as of 4/1/21)
    • Students grades 7-12 hybrid learners will have the opportunity to be in-person every day learners
      • In classrooms where they can not maintain social distancing of 6 ft, they will wear a mask and have a barrier provided
  • IF NYS accepts the updated guidelines provided by the CDC
    • Students in grades 9-12 while in a Red Transmission Area and in classrooms where they can not maintain social distancing of 6 ft, will wear a mask and have a barrier provided

Transportation

  • On Buses where students must be 2 persons to a seat and not from the same household, students will be provided a barrier

Food Service

  • Students eating in the cafeteria will be seated at tables with a barrier when they can not be seated at least 6 ft apart.

Air Filtration as a Mitigation Strategy

  • The HVAC system will be upgraded from a MERV 8 to a MERV 13 filter, which is 85% effective at catching human generated particles the size of COVID-19. 
  • Offices, common public spaces, cafeterias, gymnasiums, and nurses stations will be equipped with portable HEPA filter units which are 99/97% effective at catching human generated particles the size of COVID-19.