This document outlines the fall 2021 reopening at Schoharie CSD. Layered mitigation protocols will be followed once students and staff are able to safely remain in school. This document is a working document that is subject to change as conditions related to the pandemic change.
Health and Safety
- Schools will be open for all students for onsite instruction.
- Social distancing requirements will be observed at 3’ in most (but not all) areas and activities. This will include classrooms (which will be at or near occupancy) and other indoor spaces but shall NOT include school buses.
- Masks will be mandated indoors in school pending further information from the CDC, NYS Education Department and the State and local Departments of Health. The district is prepared to pivot to optional masks indoors when the county is at a status of low transmission.
- Handwashing and the availability and frequent use of hand sanitizers will continue to be promoted as part of the district’s overall safety plan.
- Encourage vaccinations with the expectation that Up to 85% of district staff (administrative, faculty/teaching, and support) will be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
- COVID screenings and temperature checks shall NOT be required from asymptomatic individuals. Symptomatic people should stay home. If staff have a condition such as an allergy the nurse should be notified so the person can attest to their condition.
- District shall implement a “layered” approach to surveillance and preventative measures to prevent community transmission of the COVID-19 virus. This will be achieved through communication with nurses, the administration and local health department.
- Surveillance testing for the COVID-19 virus shall be conducted in partnership with the county’s health department on a “population sampling” basis.
- Facilities (indoors and outdoors) will be available for community use, subject to compliance with the district’s reopening and COVID-19 safety plans and layered mitigation protocol.
- Frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces and regularly scheduled “deep cleaning” and disinfection will be maintained in all buildings/classrooms/offices. Including the use of the Clorox 360 machine in areas of known cases of COVID.
- Efforts to maximize fresh air and adequately filter all ventilation will be maintained.
- Visitors to our schools (during the school day or at special events) may be subject to certain restrictions including mask-wearing or COVID-19 screening, depending on a variety of factors including local/community COVID-19 transmission rates. At times rates of infection are high, schools may be closed to most or all visitors or visitors will be required to show proof of vaccination.
- School meals (breakfast and lunch) will be available to all students daily at no cost.
- Social distancing of 6’ when possible will be maintained at all times when food is consumed. Due to these distancing requirements, food may be consumed in classrooms, in cafeterias or other suitable spaces. During periods of low transmission rates social distancing will go down to 3’.
- School buses will operate with a maximum of two-students-per-seat rule (67% capacity).
- Students and drivers shall continue to adhere to federal mask mandates.
- Parents shall be encouraged to transport students to/from school when able to do so. The district will not transport from a one mile radius of the school.
- Separate routes shall be maintained for elementary and secondary students. Within those routes, students from the two buildings may be routed on the same bus when transmission rates are low.
- Requests for special/alternative transportation shall be honored when possible if transmission rates are low.
Social and Emotional Well Being
- Orientation programs shall focus on emotionally-safe reentry for all students.
- Expanded counseling and mental health services, including outside referrals, shall be available to all students. This will include onsite county mental health services for eligible students.
- Professional development and training for all staff on recognizing and responding to students’ emotional, social, and mental health concerns shall be ongoing throughout the year.
- Schools will be open for onsite instruction for a standard instructional day on each day school is in session.
- Schools will be prepared for sudden, temporary shifts to remote instruction in the event of widespread COVID-19 exposures or illnesses; smaller outbreaks will be managed through quarantine(s) and tutorial/supplemental instruction.
- Individual schools will develop daily drop-off and pick-up routines and procedures.
- Students at the Elementary may be cohorted, but may travel to special area classes and other areas of the school. Students at Jr/.Sr.high school will not be cohorted and will travel from classroom to classroom as their schedules dictate.
- Clubs and activities at the elementary, and Jr./Sr. high school levels will resume provided they maintain mask and social distancing requirements.
- Interscholastic athletics (low, moderate, and higher-risk sports) will follow a traditional athletic season and schedule. Masks will be required at indoor practices and contests unless community transmission rates are low (Volleyball).
After School Care
- Families will have access to after school care at the elementary and middle school levels.Provided by 4 H Cornell Cooperative Extension.
- Students will have access to high quality, recovery-focused before and after school programs focusing on basic academic skills and social/emotional health provided by the district.
Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism
- Teachers and counselors shall monitor student attendance to ensure participation and engagement and to watch for signs of chronic absenteeism.
- Students exhibiting chronic absenteeism (defined as absences totaling 10% or more of scheduled eligible days of instruction) shall be referred to a school counselor and/or building principal so that a plan to improve school attendance can be developed and implemented
Technology and Connectivity
- All students in grades 2-12 shall have 1:1 access to a Chromebook or similar device; all students grades K-1 shall have access (by class/cohort or 1:1) to such a device (IPAD).
- Hotspots will be available for students/families who are unable to access broadband internet service at home (subject to cell signal strength at their homes).
- Onsite/in-person teachers will continue to use online platforms in class and outside of class.
Teaching and Learning
- Remote learning applications will be considered only for those students who are (1) medically fragile, (2) at increased risk of COVID-19 exposure and illness, and/or (3) have social/emotional/mental health needs that are best accommodated in a remote/online educational setting. The district will require a doctors note for remote learning by September 1st.
- In almost all circumstances, students who did NOT make adequate academic progress while in a remote learning environment last year will not be afforded a remote learning environment this year.
- Remote learning will be offered in partnership with the Capital Region BOCES.
- Students who are supported through our district’s special education program will receive instruction consistent with their Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
- Related services (such as speech, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and counseling) shall be provided to students consistent with their IEPs. These services will be offered onsite and in-person except in instances where remote/online services are the most appropriate option for the student, based on the recommendations of the Committee on Special Education or the Director of Student Services.
Resources used to assist planning and implementation
- The District will continue to consult the NYS Education Department Health and Safety Guide for the 2021-2022 School Year.
- The district plan is a conservative approach to attempt to keep students in school. The goal of school remaining open safely is our first priority. The second priority is to avoid needing to quarantine large groups of students or shut down classrooms or grade levels.
- Resources for Monitoring Community Transmission
Reference the COVID-19 Regional Metric Dashboard for information on new cases reported per 100,000 persons in the last 7 days at this link: https://forward.ny.gov/covid-19-regional-metrics-dashboard
Reference the NYS COVID-19 Tracker at this link: https://covid19tracker.health.ny.gov for updated information about % positive COVID-19 case results.