During the spring of 2020, in preparation for the 2020-2021 school year, The Academy administration began to develop a ‘Scholars Resiliency Game Plan’ Back to School reopening that began reviewing state and federal guidance and implementation strategies.
On July 15, 2020 the New York State Department Health agency released requirements and recommendations for schools to resume in-person learning this fall while keeping scholars and staff safe and healthy. The guidance continues to evolve, but the Academy plans are aligned with Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in coordination with state, the New York Department of Public Health and the Nassau County Department of Health. Our main priority has been and will continue to be the health and safety of scholars, families, and our teachers and staff and leadership.
The ‘Scholars Resiliency Game Plan’ has these goals at the forefront of their planning:
- Develop and implement a plan that can be flexible and responsive to the changing conditions of the pandemic and ultimately return to full in-person instruction.
- Ensure safe and secure learning/workspace for all scholars and staff aligned to state and federal recommendations.
The guiding principles for developing the ‘Scholars Resiliency Game Plan’ included aligning teaching and learning with the Academy’s mission; consider both the academic and social emotional needs of scholars; ensuring equity and access for all scholars. Continuation of full-day instruction.
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Promoting Healthy Hygiene Practices
Helping to reduce the spread of the virus requires we increase our current hygiene practices within our school, develop some new procedures, and increase hygiene opportunities throughout the day. The Academy staff will model, teach and reinforce healthy hygiene practices including hand washing, avoiding contact with eyes, nose, and mouth, appropriately covering coughs and sneezes and how to safely use a face covering.
The Academy scholars, staff and visitors will enter buildings through one of two entrances that house a Sanitizing Station walk thru station that provides thermal temperature scanning, hand sanitizer dispensing and walk thru sanitizing mist.
School nurses and nurse aides will observe individuals who may have symptoms to ensure they are not admitted inside the school. The Academy will deploy a contact tracing system to accelerate notifications to individuals who may have come into contact with persons at-risk for or confirmed to have contracted COVID-19.
Daily Symptom Monitoring
Daily temperature and symptom checks will be required for all scholars and staff prior to arriving at school.
Staff and scholars will need to self-certify that they are not experiencing any symptoms and do not have a fever each day.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include:
• A fever of 100.4 ° F or greater
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• Nausea or vomiting
• Muscle aches
• Sore Throat
• New loss of taste or smell
• Congestion or running nose
Any scholar, staff member or visitor who does not complete the precertification prior to arriving at school will be required to complete the process once they arrive at school. Scholars or staff must complete this process prior to attending any classes.
Any scholar or staff member who is experiencing any of the following scenarios should not report to school. • symptoms of COVID-19,
• tests positive for COVID-19, or
• has close contact (less than 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) with someone who has tested positive for the virus in the last 14 days.
Families should notify the school nurse immediately and staff should notify their immediate supervisor.
Planning for When Scholars or Staff Becomes Sick
• Any individual who shows symptoms of COVID-19 will be immediately separated from everyone else.
• Each school will have a separate location where anyone showing symptoms will wait while undergoing evaluation or waiting to be picked up by a parent/guardian.
• Scholars will not be left alone in the quarantine area and school staff will utilize the PPE outlined by the CDC for standard and transmission-based precautions.
• Individuals will be sent home with a recommendation to seek medical attention.
• The parent/ guardian or staff will be instructed to call their health care provider, or if they do not have a healthcare provider, to follow up with a local clinic or urgent care center.
• Scholars and staff may not return until they meet the return to school protocols outlined by the School in accordance with CDC and NYS guidelines.
• Any area used by the individual who is sick will be cleaned and disinfected per the CDC and NYS guidelines.
• The Academy will make referrals to local entities with testing capacity.
• Scholars and staff will bear responsibility for testing and ensuring that results are reported by the school in a timely fashion.
• All facilitates will include a nurse’s office and an isolation room supervised by a nurse, nurse’s aide or a supervising staff member for scholars and staff show or develop symptoms of COVID-19 during the school day.
• School nurses, nurse aides or a supervising staff assessing or providing care to ill scholars and staff will use appropriate PPE including an N-95 mask (if available), disposable gloves or a face shield with underlying cloth mask and, if necessary, a gown.
• The Academy will isolate scholars and scholars who develop symptoms during the day in the isolation rooms. Multiple scholars suspected of COVID-19 may be in this isolation room if they can be separated by at least 6 feet.
• Nurses and nursing aides will conduct assess ments to record recent histories, record body temperature and coordinate notifications with administrators.
• Parents will be called immediately for pick up. Parents may enter the school if they meet screening standards. If not, scholars will be walked to their parent/guardian by the nursing team for discharge for the day. Parents will be required to sign out at the time of discharge.
• The Academy will provide written notification to parents (via e-mail) of the discharge date and the requirements for re-entry.
• Symptomatic scholars or staff members will follow the CDC’s Stay Home When You Are Sick guidance unless otherwise directed by a healthcare provider.
• If a scholar or staff member is not diagnosed by a healthcare provider (physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant) with COVID-19 they can return to school:
– Once there is no fever, without the use of fever reducing medicines, and they have felt well for 24 hours.
– If they have been diagnosed with another condition and has a healthcare provider written note stating, they are clear to return to school or work.
– If a scholar or staff member is diagnosed a healthcare provider based on a test or their symptoms or does not get a COVID-19 test but has had symptoms, they should not be at school and should stay at home until:
– It has been at least ten days since the individual first had symptoms;
– It has been at least three days since the individual has had a fever (without using fever reducing medicine); and
– It has been at least three days since the individual’s symptoms improved, including cough and fever.
Responding to Confirmed Cases
• All confirmed cases will be immediately reported to the Nassau County Health Department. The Nassau County Health Depart ment will provide guidance on the course of action needed to ensure that the most recent CDC guidelines are followed.
• Any scholar or staff member who had contact, limited or close, will be notified of t heir exposure via email.
• Scholars or staff members with close contact (less than 6 feet for greater than 15 mins) will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
• Individuals with limited contact will NOT be required to self-iso late but will be asked to closely monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.
• The Academy will support the Nassau County Department of Health in contact tracing efforts following protocols, training and tools provided by the NYS Department of Health.
• Sanitizing Station walk thru stations will collect scholar, staff and visitor data for the purpose of keeping accurate attendance records of scholars and staff along with contact tracing.
• The Academy will maintain a log of any visitors which includes date, time and where i n the school they visited and their recorded temperature.
• The Academy will monitor the spread of the virus by maintaining detailed documentation.
• The Academy will look closely at our staff and scholars who have underlying conditions and implement protocols for handling confirmed cases as well as methods to help minimize the spread in the community.
All scholars and staff members are required to disclose travel outside of the tri-state area (New Jersey, Connecticut, New York) by email to their Human Resources prior to and/or after their trip. Notification prior to travel allows Human Resources, Operations and School Leadership to plan for potential coverage or shift to remote learning.
Any staff member who travels to a states identified by the New York Department of Health’s COVID Travel Advisory is required to quarantine for 14 days or they must present a negative COVID test prior to returning to work in person. Staff members are responsible for arranging a test and receiving results before their planned return-to-work date.
Limiting the sharing of materials and supplies is another method to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19.
• Supplies will be assigned to a single scholar or use will be limited to a group of scholars. Any shared supplies will be disinfected after each use.
• Digital manipulatives will be used to the greatest extent possible.
• When not possible, each scholar will be provided their own set or manipulative. When that is not possible manipulatives will be disinfected after each use.
• Scholars will be taught to avoid, to the greatest extent possible, the sharing of electronic devices, toys, books, and other games or learning aids.
• Scholars will manage their own instructional textbooks (i.e. workbooks).
• Technology will be used whenever possible to provide written feedback to scholars.
• Scholars should avoid bringing any non-school related supplies or materials to school.
Limiting the individuals in a building to only those who are required to provide instruction for scholars will help to reduce the opportunities for the virus to enter our schools.
• Only essential visitors will be allowed to enter into school buildings and should conduct all business within the front office.
• Procedures will be in place to sign scholars in/out for late arrival/ early dismissal without parents having to enter the building.
• All parent meetings will be held virtually whenever possible.
• A face covering will be required at all times.
• Prior to entering a school building, all visitors will need to complete temperature and symptom screening.
• Visitors will be required to complete a COVID screening questionnaire prior to entering the school.
• Upon entering the building, all visitors will be required to wash/ sanitize their hands and to be wearing a face covering.
Cleaning & Disinfecting
- Classrooms will be cleaned and sanitized daily. This includes: All high touch areas, classroom desks, counter tops, chairs (back, arms, sides), high use equipment (markers, displays, computers), and light switch and phones.
- Restrooms will be cleaned and sanitized 4 times per day and as needed.
- Frequently touched surfaces in common areas will be cleaned and disinfected every hour.
- Frequently touched surfaces in learning commons will be cleaned and disinfected two times per day.
- All facilities will receive a deep cleaning every week on Wednesday while scholars learn remotely.
Upon arrival scholars will go directly to one of the two entrances. More
Face coverings must be worn at all times in school buildings, even when social distance is maintained. More
The Academy charter school Food Services will follow the procedures and expectations outlined below that align with CDC and NYSDOH guidelines. More
All Academy buses will follow the procedures and expectations outlined below that align with insert and will be updated as needed.• All individuals on a bus must wear a face covering, including the bus driver.
• Bus routes will be organized to ensure no more than 50 individuals are on the bus at a times.
• Bus stops will be assigned to allow for social distancing, to the greatest extent possible.
• All scholars will have assigned seats. Scholars from the same household will be asked to share seats whenever possible. There may be times a scholar would need to share a seat with someone outside of their household.
• Scholars and staff must certify that they are symptom free before boarding the bus.
• Whenever possible, windows should be open.
• The bus will be clean and sanitized after each route.
• Visual cues will be provided to help scholars manage social distancing to the greatest extent possible.
• All bus drivers and assistants will utilize appropriate PPE when riding the bus.
Academic Instructional Overview:
As we continue to manage the Pandemic, the academy charter schools learning and instruction plans are nimble, allowing us to move quickly and easily into online learning, should we need to return to phase of no instruction on campus. This also allows us to continue to move toward full in-person instruction.
- Choice of In Person Learning and Online (Remote learning – at home)
- Combines in Person Instruction and eLearning.
- Leverages asynchronous and synchronous structures.
- Allows for scholar population to attend school on rotating days.
Online Learning – Remote
- Five hours of daily instruction.
- Allows for scholar engagement and continuity of instruction through mostly technological mediums.
- Leverages synchronous and asynchronous instructional times.
The COVID-19 pandemic landscape is ever changing. The Academy Charter School will follow the guidance of our partner organizations. We ask that our families closely monitor communication from the State as we anticipate these plans to change throughout the coming months.