The health and safety of our students, our staff and their families is our top priority. We want students and employees to feel comfortable and safe returning to school campuses. Our reopening plan incorporates recommendations and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED).
The following protocols and procedures will be in place in all district schools for the 2020-21 school year should in-person schooling resume. Anyone with questions or concerns should contact our COVID-19 safety coordinator Susan Swartz at email@example.com (518-347-3600, ext. 71101) or Andrew Giaquinto at firstname.lastname@example.org (518-347-3600, ext. 73101).
For more information about how health and safety protocols and trainings will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.
The district as developed resources to educate parents/guardians and staff members regarding the careful observation of symptoms of COVID-19 and health screening measures that must be conducted each morning before coming to school. The resources include the requirement for any student or staff member with a fever of 100°F or greater and/or symptoms of possible COVID-19 virus infection to not come to school. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list of Coronavirus symptoms was used to develop these resources.
The Scotia-Glenville Central School District will implement the following practices to conduct mandated health screening.
The school district will utilize a Daily Health Screening app for both required staff and strongly encouraged student health screenings. The app is available to districts through Capital Region BOCES. The app is device agnostic so may be accessed through multiple technologies including Iphones, Androids, desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and Chromebooks. Staff will be required to complete the app each day prior to reporting to work. If determined to be ineligible to come to work, the staff member must remain home. In the off chance the individual cannot attest to their good health and arrives at work, they will be sent home. Staff who do not have digital access will complete a paper copy of the health app questions prior to entering the workplace.
Parents/guardians will have access to the same app and will be strongly encouraged to use the app daily before sending their child(ren) to school. Students who arrive at school but have not had a health check will be checked by the school nurse, including a temperature check and completion of a paper form which mirrors the health app. In the case of an elementary student, the school nurse will call the parent/guardian and complete the form by phone.
In the event a parent/guardian cannot be reached, the student will be isolated until such time as a parent/guardian can be reached. For parents/guardians without digital access, a daily phone call will be made prior to the start of school to complete a paper copy of the health screening questions.
Members of the Health and Safety Advisory Team will create the protocols for morning health checks which will be shared with staff and parents/guardians. Advisory teams will begin meeting the week of August 3 and will continue to meet throughout the month of August and into the school year as needed. Advisory teams are composed of administrators, teachers, school personnel, and community members. At present, advisory teams will be meeting virtually.
The district has developed a plan with protocols and procedures for maintaining social distancing of all students, faculty, and staff when on school facilities, grounds and transportation.
Members of the Health and Safety Advisory Team will create the protocols for mask wearing and breaks which will be shared with staff and parents/guardians through the school district website, signage, and instructional videos. Advisory teams will begin meeting the week of August 3 and will continue to meet throughout the month of August and into the school year as needed. Advisory teams are composed of administrators, teachers, school personnel, and community members. At present, advisory teams will be meeting virtually.
If social distancing of six feet cannot be maintained, proper face coverings must be worn in common areas such as hallways or school buses. For those employees medically unable to wear face coverings, face shields will be distributed and required. For students unable to wear face coverings, staff will endeavor to keep the individual a minimum of 6 feet from classmates. In some instances where a student is unable to wear a face covering of any sort, the school district’s option for virtual instruction will be recommended.
Students, staff and visitors to our schools will be expected to wear face coverings indoors and outdoors, including on the school bus, and when six-foot physical distancing is not possible. Students will be allowed to remove face coverings during meals, some instruction, and for short breaks so long as they maintain appropriate social distance. Students who are unable to medically tolerate a face covering will not be required to wear one.
Because students and staff will need to be prepared to wear a face covering if another person unexpectedly cannot socially distance, they will be required to wear a face covering in all common areas (e.g., entrances and exits) and when traveling around the school.
Face coverings will be provided to students and staff, if needed, at no cost. Acceptable face coverings for COVID-19 include, but are not limited to, cloth-based coverings and surgical masks that cover both the mouth and nose. Parents/guardians will be encouraged to send their children with face masks that meet the requirement (cover nose and mouth) but have been selected by the parent for their child.
An employee is allowed to wear his or her own acceptable face covering if they choose. Employees with healthcare provider documentation stating they are not medically able to tolerate face covering will not be required to do so but will be offered a face shield.
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 2 years old
- Students where such covering would impair their health or mental health, or where such covering would present a challenge, distraction, or obstruction to education services and instruction
- Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious
- Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance
The district will instruct students, parents/guardians and staff, contractors and vendors on:
- The proper way to wear face coverings
- Washing hands before putting on and after removing their face covering
- Proper way to discard disposable face coverings
Staff, parents / guardians and students will receive training and information about face coverings from the school district website, posters, written communication and instructional videos.
Mask wearing and social distancing will be required of all staff and students. Initially, there will be no in-person before or after school activities or evening continuing education so that facilities may be cleaned and disinfected after school, then closed down and locked until classes resume in the morning.
All staff and students will receive training in mask wearing and the need for social distancing. The trainings offered may be in-person or virtual. In addition, buildings and grounds staff (mechanics, custodians, cleaners) have received training through Needham Risk Management. Ongoing training opportunities will be provided to this group as they have primary responsibility for the facilities.
Members of the Health and Safety Advisory Team will create the protocols for facility cleaning and maintenance which will be shared with staff, parents/guardians, and students. Advisory teams will begin meeting the week of August 3 and will continue to meet throughout the month of August and into the school year as needed. Advisory teams are composed of administrators, teachers, school personnel, and community members. At present, advisory teams will be meeting virtually.
Facility Alterations and Acquisition
Tentative plans for both elementary schools and the middle and high school have been developed accounting for the use of social distancing and reducing space capacity.
- All students every day.
- Somewhat shorter day for students; same length of day for staff.
- Students in socially distanced groups (pods) and masked (with mask breaks) with their teachers for ½ day, then flipped and lunch, one special, a recess or downtime, work in support of the other half of the day’s teaching for ½ day with a supervising adult.
- Four day rotation for specials – art, music, physical education, library.
- Students eat lunch in the classroom.
- Teachers have 45 min of planning time each day.
- Students with the most intense disabilities will meet every day
Secondary 6 – 12
- Students at each grade level divided by 1/3rds (Group A, B, and C)
- Each group has two days of in-person instruction followed by four days of virtual learning
- Teachers teach their regular schedule so on the days when students are virtual, they are still learning from their teacher of record
- Students in grades 6–8 will eat in the large gym socially distanced and students in grades 9–12 will eat in the cafeterias socially distanced
- Some programs for students with disabilities will meet in-person daily, dependent upon the intensity of student need; we are still determining what will happen with other programs.
The school district’s Advisory Team for Instruction will be working in subgroups to establish procedures and protocols for social/emotional well being, school schedules, school activities, attendance and chronic absenteeism and teaching and learning. The subgroups of the Advisory Team for Instruction consist of members from administration, teachers, district staff, and community members. The information developed by the team will be disseminated through the school district website, written information, student specific information (i.e. schedules), email, and phone calls.
The school district will utilize available space in the cafeteria, gyms, auditorium, and libraries (or sections thereof), as classroom space. Minor alterations and the use of space dividers may be utilized in existing classrooms. The need for social distancing may be enhanced by alterations to a lobby or corridor and/or interior spaces/rooms.
Plumbing Facilities and Fixtures
The school district is planning for additional cleaning of bathrooms, kitchens, and all fixtures within them. Gang bathrooms (those serving more than one student at a time) will be adjusted (by partition or cordoning off sections) to allow for social distancing.
The school district’s Advisory Team for Health and Safety will develop protocols and procedures to enable social distancing in restrooms (for students) and within kitchens for food service staff. Staff restrooms are single occupancy. The advisory team will also be developing cleaning protocols for these areas. The advisory team consists of members from administration, teachers, district staff, and community members and will begin meeting the week of August 3.
The school district will be upgrading the filters used in its heating/air handling system to assist with air cleaning. In addition, fresh air intake will be increased in the facilities during the overnight hours to enhance the flow of fresh air.
Further detail will be added to this area as the school district investigates and secures additional filters.
The school district requires students, faculty, or staff members who develop COVID-19 symptoms during the school day to report to the nurse’s office. If there are several students waiting to see the school nurse, students must wait at least six feet apart. The district has designated areas to separate individuals with symptoms of COVID- 19 from others until they can go home or to a healthcare facility, depending on severity of illness. One area will be used to treat injuries, provide medications or nursing treatments, and the other area will be used for assessing and caring for ill students and staff. Both areas will be supervised by an adult and have easy access to a bathroom and sink with hand hygiene supplies.
Each school and district facility will identify a space for isolation of those suspected of being exposed to, or having, COVID 19. Isolation rooms will be used to contain the individual, limiting their exposure to others. The school district’s Advisory Team for Health and Safety is identifying a space (potentially a second space in the school and not the Health Office) where a staff member or student may be isolated. The advisory team consists of members from administration, teachers, district staff, and community members and will begin meeting the week of August 3.
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 suspected or confirmed individual with COVID-19, gloves, a gown, eye protection, and a fit-tested N-95 respirator will be used, if available. If an N-95 respirator is not available, a surgical face mask and face shield will be used.
School health office cleaning will occur after each use of cots, bathrooms, and health office equipment (e.g., blood pressure cuffs, otoscopes, stethoscopes). Health office equipment will be cleaned following manufacturer’s directions.
Disposable items will be used as much as possible (e.g., disposable pillow protectors, disposable thermometers, disposable thermometer sheaths or probes, disposable otoscope specula).
Aerosol Generating Procedures
Respiratory treatments administered by nurses generally result in aerosolization of respiratory secretions. These aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) potentially put healthcare personnel and others at an increased risk for pathogen exposure and infection. The district requires the following PPE to be worn during AGPs: gloves, N-95 or a surgical mask with face shield, eye protection and a gown. PPE will be used when: suctioning, administering nebulizer treatments, or using peak flow meters with students who have respiratory conditions.
Treatments such as nebulized medication treatments and oral or tracheostomy suctioning will be conducted in a room separate from others with nursing personnel wearing appropriate PPE. For nebulizer treatments, if developmentally appropriate, the nurse will leave the room and return when the nebulizer treatment is finished.
Cleaning of the room will occur between use and cleaning of the equipment should be done following manufacturer’s instructions after each use.
If Students or Staff become Ill with Symptoms of COVID-19 at School
The school 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 provided resources on COVID-19 testing.
Return to School after Illness
The school 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 DOH’s “Interim Guidance for Public and Private Employees Returning to Work Following COVID-19 Infection or Exposure” regarding protocols and policies for faculty and staff seeking to return to work after a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or after the faculty or staff member had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19.
The school 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.
Information regarding protocols and safety measures will be developed by the Advisory Team for Health and Safety and shared both internally (with employees) and with the greater Scotia-Glenville community. Methods for sharing information include use of the school district’s website, written communications, posters and signage.
In the event that a large-scale testing will need to be conducted at the school, the district administration will work with the following providers:
- its school physicians/Saratoga Hospital
- the Schenectady County Health Department, and
- the New York State Department of Health (as needed).
The school district will notify the state and local health departments immediately upon being informed of any positive COVID-19 diagnostic test result by an individual within school facilities or on school grounds, including students, faculty, staff, and visitors of the district.
To assist the local health department with tracing the transmission of COVID-19, the school 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
If/when COVID-19 cases are discovered in the school, in consultation with the local health department, the district will do, at minimum, the following:
- Isolate the individual and cordon off the space they are / were in;
- Contact the Schenectady County Department of Health to report the case;
- Contact the school district’s school physicians; and
- Work jointly to determine risk of exposure to others, need for school or district closure, contact tracing parameters.
Confidentiality must be maintained as required by federal and state laws and regulations. School staff should not try to determine who is to be excluded from school based on contact without guidance and direction from the local health department.
For more information about how COVID-19 containment efforts will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.
A closure refers to contingency plans, protocols, and procedures for decreasing the scale or scope of in- person education and/or closing the school. The school district will collaborate with the local health department to determine the parameters, conditions or metrics (e.g., increased absenteeism or increased illness in school community) that will serve as early warning signs that positive COVID-19 cases may be increasing beyond an acceptable level.
In conjunction with the school district’s school physicians,Schenectady County Department of Health, and New York State Department of Health, the school district may face a situation that warrants reducing in-person education or closing the school. In consultation with the school physicians and state and local health departments, a determination will be made for an orderly closure.
Conditions that may precede closure include:
- Schools will close if the regional infection rate rises over 9% after Aug. 1. Schools will close if the 7-day rolling average of the infection rate is above 9%.
- Schools in regions in Phase 4 can reopen if the daily infection rate remains below 5 percent using a 14-day average, unless otherwise directed from the Schenectady County Department of Health.
- If the infection rate rises above 9%, schools must wait until the 14-day average is below 5%
- Once schools open at Phase IV below 5% for a 14-day rolling average, schools can remain open even if the rate continues to rise about 5% until it reaches 9% for the 7-day average.
- Scotia-Glenville will be notified by the Schenectady County Department of Health regarding the regional situation.
- Scotia-Glenville administrators may consider closing school if absentee rates impact the ability of the school to operate safely.
- Scotia-Glenville may choose to modify operations prior to closing to help mitigate a rise in cases, if infection rates are rising above 5% or may consider modifying school operations for medically vulnerable students and staff if they are participating in in-person activities.
Scotia-Glenville will consult its medical director and/or the local department of health when making such decisions.
Scotia-Glenville will determine which operations will be decreased, or ceased, and which operations will be conducted remotely during any potential reduction in services or closure
For more information about how school closure information will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.
The school 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, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.
The school district will ensure adherence to hygiene and cleaning and disinfection requirements as advised by the CDC and DOH, including “Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public and Private Facilities for COVID-19,” and the “STOP THE SPREAD” poster, as applicable. Cleaning and disinfection logs will be maintained that include the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection.
Examples of facility types where cleaning and disinfection frequency will be distinguished include
- Athletic training rooms, locker rooms
- Health offices, isolation rooms
- Administrative offices (main office, reception area)
- Frequently touched surfaces in common areas (door handles, elevator buttons, copy machine keypads, etc.)
- Computer labs
- Science labs
- Maintenance offices and work areas
- Bus Garage
- Buses, school vehicles
- Large meeting areas (auditoriums, gymnasiums, music rooms)
- Playgrounds (cleaning only)
- Outdoor seating areas (plastic or metal)
Students, faculty, and staff will be trained on proper hand and respiratory hygiene, and such information will be provided to parents and/or legal guardians about ways to reinforce this at home.
The district will provide and maintain hand hygiene stations around the school, as follows:
- For handwashing: soap, running warm water, and disposable paper towels.
- For hand sanitizing: an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol for areas where handwashing facilities may not be available or practical.
- Accommodations for students who cannot use hand sanitizer will be made.
Regular cleaning and disinfection of the facilities will occur, including more frequent cleaning and disinfection for high-risk and frequently touched surfaces. This will include desks and cafeteria tables, which should be cleaned and disinfected between each individual’s use. Cleaning and disinfection will be rigorous and ongoing and will occur at least daily, or more frequently as needed.
The district will ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of restrooms. Restrooms should be cleaned and disinfected more often depending on frequency of use.
For more information about how cleaning and disinfection information will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.
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. It is our goal that these individuals are able to safely participate in educational activities.
The school district’s Advisory Team for Instruction includes subgroups planning for virtual instruction and opportunities to enable vulnerable staff and students to fully participate in the school day. Members of the advisory team will create the protocols and guidelines for participation of vulnerable staff and students which will be shared with staff and parents/guardians. Advisory teams will begin meeting the week of August 3. Advisory teams are composed of administrators, teachers, school personnel, and community members.
In addition, the superintendent of schools continues to work with the Capital Region BOCES planning group which is exploring/planning to implement a regional approach to addressing the needs of vulnerable populations.
No outside visitors or volunteers will be allowed on school campuses, except for the safety and well-being of students. Parents/guardians will report to the front office and not go beyond unless it is for the safety or well-being of their child. Essential visitors to facilities will be required to wear face coverings and will be restricted in their access to our school buildings. Visitors must follow all safety protocols as listed above.
The school district will conduct fire (evacuation) drills and lockdown drills as required by education law and regulation and the fire code without exceptions. Schools must continue to conduct mandatory fire and lockdown drills according to the existing statutory schedule. Drills will be conducted in a manner that maintains social distancing at exits and gathering points outside the building, while still preparing students to respond in emergencies.
Scotia-Glenville’s elementary, middle, and high school will conduct all required safety drills during the school year.
- Scotia-Glenville schools maintain Fire Safety, Evacuation, and Lockdown Plans as required by Fire Code Section 404. These plans include how lockdown and evacuation drills are conducted. Methods to promote and provide for social distancing during the evacuation drills are being developed by a subgroup of the school district’s Advisory Team for Health and Safety. Recommended changes will be appended to the required planning documents.
- Education Law § 807 requires that schools conduct eight (8) evacuation and four (4) lockdown drills each school year. When planning drills, consideration will be given to procedures to minimize the risk of spreading infection. Methods to promote social distancing and reduce the risk of infection during evacuation drills are being developed by a subgroup of the school district’s Advisory Team for Health and Safety. Recommended changes will be appended to the required planning documents.
- Regardless of the modification used when conducting a drill, students should be instructed that if it was an actual emergency that required evacuation or lockdown, the most imminent concern is to get to safety; maintaining social distancing in an actual emergency that requires evacuation or lockdown may not be possible and will not be the first priority.
The school district is considering modifications to evacuation drill protocols that may include, but are not limited to:
- Conducting drills on a “staggered” schedule, where classrooms evacuate separately rather than all at once, and appropriate distance is kept between students to the evacuation site. Staggering by classroom may minimize contact of students in hallways, stairwells, and at the evacuation site. Conducting drills using a modified procedure requires that the drill be conducted with all students in the school building on that school day, so may result in doing so during a class period that is extended for this purpose.
- Scotia-Glenvillle currently plans to reopen with a hybrid model in grades 6 through 12, resulting in smaller groups of students receiving two days of in-person instruction, followed by four days of virtual instruction. As such, the school district will be certain that all students are receiving instruction in emergency procedures, and participating in drills while they are in attendance in-person.
Modifications to Lockdown Drills may include, but are not limited to:
- Conduct lockdown drill in classroom setting while maintaining social distancing/using masks.
- Conducting lockdown drills on a “staggered” schedule with smaller numbers of students present to maintain social distancing, however schools must be certain that all students are receiving instruction in emergency procedures and participating in drills while they are in attendance in-person.
- Conduct lockdown drill in classroom without “hiding”/ “sheltering” but provide an overview of how to shelter or hide in the classroom.