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Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons School Reopening Plan

LAST UPDATED: 8/20/20

Click here for a PowerPoint Presentation from Parent Forum held on Wednesday, August 19th including information on Orientation Days for Middle School and High School. 

Click here for a PowerPoint presentation by Mr. Harrigan on Microsoft Team that was presented at the Tuesday, September 1st Parent Forum

The following template was created by the Capital Region BOCES Health-Safety-Risk and Communications Services and adapted by the Catholic School Office to assist schools in crafting their required school reopening plans following the COVID-19 closure. The outline fully incorporates the reopening guidance from the State Office of Religious and Independent Schools. To promote accessibility, reopening plans must be posted as HTML text directly onto a web page on the school’s public website and not as a PDF, Word document, Google Doc or other format. Include (on the web page) information about whom to contact if someone has difficulty accessing the plan. 

Overview 

The COVID-19 crisis has had a deep and lasting impact on nearly all aspects of society throughout the international community during 2020. While it has limited opportunities, it also has created new opportunities to reimagine the way we live and work.  

In education, it challenged schools, practically overnight, to reconsider and retool all aspects of instruction and operations to meet the critical needs of our students and families, beginning with safeguards to protect the health and safety of all stakeholders in a school community.  

The Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons School 2020-21 Reopening Plan presents a comprehensive overview of the school’s vision for returning to school in September following the statewide closure over the final 3½ months of the 2019-20 school year due to the rapid and persistent spread of COVID-19.  This plan includes policies and procedures that will be followed in our school building this year.   

 

A school reopening committee comprised of ND-BG stakeholders was convened to engage in a comprehensive, inclusive process to not only develop the possible plans for reopening schools in three models -- in-person, hybrid or virtual -- but also to examine the New York State Education Department guidance requirements that must be met. 

 

Introduction 

On Monday, July 13, 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that school districts in New York can follow plans to reopen for in-person schooling in September if COVID-19 infection rates stay at 5% or lower in a given region.   

Determinations will be made by regions about opening and closing schools as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. If a region is in Phase 4 and has a daily infection rate of 5% or lower over a 14-day average, schools in that region could hold in-person instruction. If daily infection rates exceed 9% over a seven-day average, however, schools in that region would not reopen. Similarly, should a region see such an average after reopening, schools in that region would also be directed to close. 

While schools have been instructed to prioritize efforts to return all students to in-person instruction, the school is also planning for remote/distance learning, as well as a for a hybrid model that combines in-person instruction and remote learning. Parents will always have the choice to remain in the remote/distance learning model.  Families that prefer a remote only learning option for their child should contact ND-BG principal, Mr. Kiante Jones at 518-393-3131.  

The plan outlined here is for the reopening of the Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons School for the 2020-21 school year, following the building closure related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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 the school campus. Our reopening plan incorporates recommendations and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), New York State Reopening Guidance for Religious and Independent Schools, the Religious Services Guidelines on the New York Forward website and the New York State Education Department (NYSED). 

It is possible that we may need to alternate between in-person and remote learning throughout the year due to recommendations and guidance from our partnering agencies, and stay-at-home orders from the Governor. The level of infection, the spread of the virus and response to the disease in our community will be at the forefront of our decision making as we move to open our school.  

ND-BG Principal Kiante Jones will serve as the school’s COVID-19 Coordinator.  Mr. Jones will work closely with our Schenectady County Health Department and will serve as a central contract for all stakeholders, including families, employees and other school community members, and will ensure that ND-BG is in compliance and following the best practices per state and federal guidelines. Mr. Jones can be reached at 518-393-3131 or at kiante_jones@nd-bg.org.  

 

Content Outline 

  • Communication/Family and Community Engagement 

  • School Closure  

  • Health and Safety   

  • Health Checks 

  • Health Hygiene Practices  

  • Social Distancing 

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Face Coverings 

  • Management of Ill Persons, Contact Tracing and Monitoring 

  • Cleaning and Disinfecting 

  • Vulnerable Populations/Accommodations   

  • Visitors on Campus   

  • Facilities Guidance 

  • Infection Control Strategies 

  • School Safety and Emergency Drills 

  • Child Nutrition  

  • Meals Onsite  

  • Meals Offsite/Remote 

  • School Food Authorities (SFA)  

  • Transportation Guidance 

  • School Bus 

  • School Bus Staff 

  • Students on Transportation

  • Transportation Guidelines for the City of Schenectady Residents.
  • Social Emotional Well-Being  

  • Religious and Independent School Schedules  

  • Attendance 

  • Teaching and Learning  

  • In-person Instruction   

  • Remote/Hybrid Instruction 

  • Technology and Connectivity  

  • Athletics and Schools Activities  

  • Liturgy 

  • Faith Formation 

  • Extracurriculars 

  • Childcare 

  • Interscholastic Athletics 

  

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Communication/Family and Community Engagement 

To help inform our reopening plan, the school has sought feedback and input from stakeholders, including administrators, faculty/staff, students, parents/guardians, local health department officials and health care providers. Engagement efforts included online surveys and small group conversations. 

The school remains committed to communicating all elements of this reopening plan to students, parents/guardians, staff, and visitors. The plan is available to all stakeholders via the school website at https://nd-bg.org/ and will be updated throughout the school year, as necessary, to respond to local circumstances. The link to the plan appears on the website homepageEvery effort has been made to ensure that the plan is accessible to all individuals. 

As part of its planning for the reopening of school and the new academic year, the school has developed a plan for communicating all necessary information to school staff, students, parents/guardians, visitors and education partners and vendors. The school will use its existing email communication channels – including the use of the SwiftK12 system as well as appropriate signage and training opportunities to support the dissemination of consistent messaging regarding new protocols and procedures, expectations, requirements and options related to school operations throughout the pandemic. 

The school is committed to establishing and maintaining regular channels of communication and has reviewed and determined which methods have proven to be the most effective in communications with our school community. The school will rely on SwiftK12 to communicate news, requirements and updates related to reopening and in-person instruction, including social distancing requirements, proper wearing of face coverings and proper hand and respiratory hygiene. The information that we will share will be based on state guidance and the school has sought feedback and input from all stakeholders: administrators, faculty, staff, and parents/guardians.   

A survey will be conducted in August to determine the technology and device access that each student has in their household. The school will provide students and their families with multiple ways to contact with teachers when remote learning occurs.  Questions about student classes or assignments should be emailed to your child’s teachers.  Other concerns should be emailed to Mr. Jones.  Parents can also call the school at 518-393-3131. 

The school will use existing internal and external communications channels to notify staff, students and families/caregivers about in-person, remote and hybrid school schedules with as much advance notice as possible.  SwiftK12 will be used to communicate important information to students and families.   

The school is committed to ensuring that all of its students and their families are taught, and re-taught new expectations related to all public health policies and protocols. As part of this continuous training, the school will assess the best approach to communicating the information for each students’ age group and will provide frequent opportunities for students to review these policies and protocols. This targeted education will help ensure that all students and their families know what is expected of them as they successfully return to the school setting. These trainings will cover: 

  • Hand hygiene:  Proper handwashing techniques and protocols  

  • Proper face covering procedures:  how to properly use PPE (personal protective equipment for example facial coverings & gloves) 

  • Social distancing:  Social Distancing also called “physical distancing” means keeping a six foot space between yourself and others.  

  • Respiratory hygiene:  The COVID-19 virus spreads from person to person in droplets produced by coughs and sneezes. Therefore, the school will emphasize the importance of respiratory hygiene.  

  • Identifying symptoms:  Symptoms of COVID-19 and health screening measures that must be conducted each morning before coming to school. 

Signage 
The school will create and deploy signage throughout the building to address public health protections surrounding COVID-19. Signage will address protocols and recommendations in the following areas:  

  • Proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) 

  • Acceptable face coverings and requirements related to their wear 

  • Proper hand washing  

  • Adherence to social distancing instructions 

  • Symptoms/prevention of COVID-19 

In addition to signage, the school will encourage all students, staff and visitors through verbal and written communication to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health (NYSDOH) guidance regarding the use of PPE through additional means such asthe school website, social media posts, regular email communication and Swift K12 reminders, as well as classroom and schoolwide reminders. 

The school is committed to creating a learning environment that protects student and staff health, safety and privacy.  Our school will operate under a standard procedure for addressing situations in which an individual has tested positive for COVID-19 or appears symptomatic. These procedures are outlined in the Health & Safety section of our reopening plan.  

In the event that a student or staff member is sick or symptomatic, notification to exposed individuals will occur pursuant to the state’s contact tracing protocols as implemented by the local health department.  

School Closures 

The school is preparing for situations in which the school building needs to close due to a significant number of students or staff testing positive for COVID-19 or a considerable regional increase in COVID-19 cases. 

The school will collaborate with the Schenectady County Health Department to determine the parameters, conditions or metrics (e.g., increased absenteeism or increased illness in a school community) that will serve as early warning signs that positive COVID-19 cases may be increasing beyond an acceptable level and warrant a school closing. 

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Health & Safety 

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 the school campus. Our reopening plan incorporates recommendations and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), New York State Reopening Guidance for Religious and Independent Schools, the Religious Services Guidelines on the New York Forward website and the New York State Education Department (NYSED).   

 

The following protocols and procedures will be in place for the 2020-21 school year should in-person schooling resume. Anyone with questions or concerns should contact our COVID-19 safety coordinator Mr. Kiante Jones, at kiante_jones@nd-bg.org or at 518-393-3131.   

For more information about how health and safety protocols and trainings will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the Communication/Family Engagement section of our reopening plan. 

Health Checks 

The school has developed resources to educate parents/guardians and staff members regarding the careful observation of symptoms of COVID-19 and health screening measures that must be conducted each morning before coming to school. The resources include the requirement for any student or staff member with a fever of 100°F 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 school will implement the following practices to conduct mandated health screening: 

Students  

  1. School personnel will perform mandatory daily temperature checks for all students before entering the building, and verbally ask students the Covid-19 screenings questions provided in the New York Forward Pre-K to Grade 12 School Guidelines 

  1. Access to the building will be denied for a temperature greater or equal to 100°F, or for any of the screening questions answered in the affirmative. ND-BG recommends that the parent/caregiver prescreen and take their child’s temperature prior to going to school. If parents cannot affirm the health screening questions, they will need to keep their children home.  Children with a temperature of 100°F or greater must be kept home.  Anytime a parent/caregiver keeps their child(ren) home due to symptoms of illness they must contact the school nurse to discuss their concerns and create a plan of action.  This plan may include a medical assessment prior to returning to school. The school will periodically send home an attestation for parents/caregivers to sign and return to the school.    

  1. Screening data will be maintained as “Passed Screen” or “Failed Screen.”  Students who fail the screen (answering any screening question in the affirmative) or have a fever greater than or equal to 100°F should be kept outside the building. If this is not possible, they will be isolated from others as arrangements for immediate dismissal from school are being made with the parent or guardian. 

  1. Students will need to sanitize their hands upon entry into ND-BG.   

  1. Students should notify the nurse when they develop symptoms, or if their answers to the questionnaire change during or outside school hours.   

Staff 

  1. Staff will be required to have their temperature taken prior to entering the building.  If their temperature is 100°F or greater, they may not enter the workplace, the staff member will be directed to return home or remain in a designated area. 

  1. Staff will also be asked to attest to not having symptoms per CDC guidelines. 

  1. Screening data will be maintained as “Passed Screen” or “Failed Screen” for staff. Staff that does not pass their screening will need to contact their healthcare provider and will need to provide medical documentation before returning to work.       

  1. Staff will need to sanitize their hands upon entry into ND-BG. 

  1. If employees develop symptoms of COVID-19 while at school, they should alert the school nurse and Mr. Jones immediately. 

Visitors, Contractors and Vendors        

  • Any individual who is not a student or staff member will have their temperature checked when they enter a district facility.  If their temperature is 100°F or greater they will not be permitted to remain in the building. 
     

  •  Essential businesses which include contractors, community partners, or others performing ongoing services with the school will also be expected to check the temperatures of their employees at the start of each workday as well as attest to not having symptoms per CDC guidelines.  This will not preclude the school from also asking these same questions. 
     
     

  •  Visitors will generally not be allowed at ND-BG at this time, but if visits are required, appointments need to be scheduled. Emergency personnel will not be required to schedule an appointment. 

  • Visitors will also have their temperatures checked when they enter a school building or district office.  

  • Visitors will also be asked to attest to not having symptoms per CDC guidelines.  If their temperature is 100°F or greater they will not be permitted to remain in the building.  

  • Visitors, contractors, and vendors will need to sanitize their hands upon entry into ND-BG.  

Temperature screening will include: 

  • Employee supervision of students who are waiting their turn 

  • Employees, students and visitors standing apart via 6 feet social distancing requirements 

  • Training sessions for employees who perform temperature screenings 

  • Maintenance of sufficient supplies for taking temperatures 

  • Use of PPE and/or barriers for employees while conducting screenings 

Health Hygiene 

The school will emphasize healthy hygiene practices for students and employees by providing education on hand and respiratory hygiene, along with providing adequate supplies and time for frequent hand hygiene. 

The school will post signs throughout all buildings (e.g., entrances, restrooms, cafeteria, classrooms, administrative offices, auditorium, custodial staff areas, etc.) and regular messaging will be shared with the school community. 

Signage will be used to remind individuals to:  

  • Stay home if they feel sick or do not feel well. 

  • At times other than meals, cover their nose and mouth with an acceptable face covering when unable to maintain social distance from others. 

  • Properly store and, when necessary, discard PPE. 

  • Adhere to social distancing. 

  • Report symptoms of, or exposure to, COVID-19. 

  • Follow hand hygiene, and cleaning and disinfection guidelines. 

  • Follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette. 

  • Follow cleaning and disinfection guidelines.  

 

Hand Hygiene 

Students and staff must carry out the following hand hygiene practices.   

  • Wash hands routinely with soap and water for at least 30 seconds.     

  • Dry hands completely after washing. Use paper towels to dry hands instead of a hand dryer. 

  • 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 or drinking. 

  • After going to the restroom or after assisting a student with toileting. 

  • After using a tissue. 

  • Before and after using shared materials. 

  • After coming in from the outdoors. 

  • Anytime hands are visibly soiled. 

Respiratory Hygiene  

The COVID-19 virus spreads from person to person via respiratory droplets.  Therefore, the school will emphasize the importance of respiratory hygiene. 

Students and employees must carry out the following respiratory hygiene practices: 

  • Face coverings are protective. Wearing a face covering will keep the respiratory droplets from being widely dispersed into the air. 

  • 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. 

Social Distancing, Face Coverings and PPE 

The school has developed a plan with policies and procedures for maintaining social distancing of all students, faculty and staff when on school facilities, grounds and transportation. 

Proper face coverings must be worn in common areas such as hallways or school buses.  Face coverings must be worn at any time social distancing is not possible.    

Students, staff and visitors to our schools will be expected to wear face coverings indoors and outside, including on the school bus. Students will be allowed to remove face coverings during meals, at specified times during instruction, and for mandated short breaks so long as they maintain appropriate social distance. 

Students and employees will need to be prepared to wear a face covering in all common areas (e.g., entrances and exits) and when traveling around the school in the hallways. 

Parents and guardians are asked to provide masks or face coverings for their student. If a student forgets their mask the school the school will provide face coverings to students.  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. 

Employees and students with acceptable healthcare provider documentation stating they are not medically able to tolerate a face covering will not be required to do so.  For those medically unable to wear face coverings, a face shield will be provided.  

The school will instruct students, parents and guardians, employees, 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 

ND-BG has developed a plan with policies and protocols for maintaining social distancing of all students, staff and visitors when on school facilities, grounds and transportation. This plan includes, but is not limited to: 

  •  directional arrows in hallways 

  •  stickers or other signage on the floor or walls, to illustrate the six feet of physical distancing 

  • signage in entrance, hallways, classrooms, offices, break rooms, bathrooms and all common areas informing staff and students about social distancing requirements and the need to wear a facial covering 

The school will create and deploy signage throughout the school building to address public health protections surrounding COVID-19. Signage will address protocols and recommendations in the following areas:  

  • Proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) 

  • Acceptable face coverings and requirements related to their wear 

  • Hand washing 

  • Adherence to social distancing instructions 

  • Symptoms/prevention of COVID-19 

In addition to signage, the school will encourage all students, faculty, staff and visitors through verbal and written communication to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DOH guidance regarding the use of PPE through additional means such as notifications and emails sent through the SwiftK12 platform.   

The school is committed to creating a learning environment that protects student and staff health, safety and privacy. Our school will operate under a standard procedure for addressing situations in which an individual has tested positive for COVID-19 or appears symptomatic. These procedures are outlined in the Health & Safety section of our reopening plan.  

In the event that a student or staff member is sick or symptomatic, notification to exposed individuals will occur pursuant to the state’s contact tracing protocols as implemented by the local health department. The school will notify the wider community based on the guidance and protocols provided by local health department officials. 

Management of Ill persons, Contact Tracing and Monitoring 

The school 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 6 feet apart. The school 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.  

Space will be dedicated in the Brother’s Residence for the health office and for the isolation room.   

PPE requirements for school health office staff caring for sick individuals includes both standard and transmission-based precautions. In areas with moderate to substantial community transmission, eye protection (e.g., goggles or face shield) should be added. When caring for a suspect or confirmed individual with COVID-19, gloves, a gown, eye protection, and a fit-tested N-95 respirator will be used, if available. If an N-95 respirator is not available, a surgical face mask and face shield will be used. 

School health office cleaning will occur after each use of cots, bathrooms, and health office equipment (e.g., blood pressure cuffs, otoscopes, stethoscopes). Health office equipment will be cleaned following 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 school 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 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 6 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 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: 

  1. Documentation from a health care provider following evaluation  

  1. Negative COVID-19 diagnostic test result  

  1. Symptom resolution, or if COVID-19 positive, release from isolation  

The school 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 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. 

COVID-19 Testing 

If large-scale testing needs to be conducted at ND-BG, the school administration will work with the following providers:  

  • Schenectady County Department of Health 

  • Hometown Health 

  • Ellis Hospital  

Contact Tracing 

The school will notify the state and local health department immediately upon being informed of any positive COVID-19 diagnostic test result by an individual within school facilities or on school grounds, including students, faculty, staff, parents/guardians, and visitors.  

To assist the local health department with tracing the transmission of COVID-19, the school 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.   

The school may assist with contact tracing by: 

  1. Keeping accurate attendance records of students and staff members 

  1. Ensuring student schedules are up to date  

  1. Keeping a log of any visitor which includes date and time, and where in the school they visited 

  1. 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 or when an individual who was in a facility used or owned by the school for instruction of students is discovered to have COVID-19 the school’s COVID-19 Coordinator in consultation with the local health department, the district will do the following:  

  • Immediately close the area affected     

  • Investigate all movements and interaction of student/staff over the previous week     

  • After 24 hours, arrange for thorough cleaning & disinfection of areas affected,      

  • Work with NYSDOH to notify all potential contacts 

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. 

School Closures 

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 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.  

At a minimum, the plan will incorporate the following: 

  • School facilities will close if the regional infection rate rises over 9% after August 1st.  

  • School facilities will close if the 7-day rolling average of the infection rate is above 9%.  

  • School facilities in regions that are in Phase 4 will only reopen if the daily infection rate remains below 5% using a 14-day average, unless otherwise directed from the Schenectady County Health Department.  

  • If the infection rate rises above 9%, school facilities will be directed to close and must remain closed until the 14-day average is below 5%. 

  • Once school facilities open at Phase 4 below 5% for a 14-day rolling average, school facilities can remain open even if the rate continues to rise about 5% until it reaches 9% for the 7-day average. 

  • The Principal may consider closing school facilities if absentee rates impact the ability of the school to operate safely.  

  • The Principal may choose to modify operations prior to closing to help mitigate a rise in cases. If infection rates are rising above 5%; consider modifying school facility operations for medically vulnerable students and staff if they are participating in in-person activities. 

  • The Principal will consult with the local department of health when making such decisions. 

  • The Principal will determine which operations will be decreased or ceased and which operations will be conducted remotely. 

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. 

Cleaning and Disinfecting 

The school 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 

  • Bathrooms 

  • 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.) 

  • Breakrooms 

  • Cafeterias/Kitchens 

  • Computer labs 

  • Science labs 

  • Classrooms 

  • Maintenance offices and work areas 

  • Bus Garage 

  • Buses, school vehicles 

  • Libraries 

  • 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 on ways to reinforce this at home.  

The school 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 school 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. 

Vulnerable Populations/Accommodations  

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 to provide reasonable accommodations that ensure these individuals are able to safely participate in educational activities.  Each student or staff member situation will be assessed to determine what reasonable accommodations can be provided.   

Visitors on Campus 

No outside visitors or volunteers will be allowed on the school campus, except for the safety and well-being of students. Essential visitors to facilities will be required to wear face coverings and will be restricted in their access to our school building.  

Visitors must follow all safety protocols as listed above. 

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Facilities Guidance 

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection in the school, facilities operations will be geared toward meeting social distancing requirements and cleaning frequently touched spaces regularly. In carrying out projects or tasks supporting infection control, requirements will be met for changes associated with building spaces. Plans for changes or additions to facilities will be submitted to comply with the requirements of the 2020 New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (BC) and the State Energy Conservation Code.  

The function, position and operation of stairs and corridor doors, which have closers with automatic hold opens (and are automatically released by the fire alarm system), will remain unchanged. 

The school plans to meet the deadline for submission of Building Condition Survey or Occupational Safety Inspections on time. 

Upon reopening, the school plans to increase ventilation, to the greatest extent possible. Water systems will be flushed in buildings that have been unoccupied. 

The school will revisit Emergency Response Plans, protocols, and procedures and make modifications in light of COVID-19.    

Infection Control Strategies 

The infection control strategies will include polycarbonate, SED approved separators where there is interaction with visitors and guests, such as the main office of each school.  Alcohol-based hand sanitizer will be in each classroom and other points of congregation. 

Cafeterias and Gymnasiums - Spaces that are not traditionally used for classrooms but may now be used for instruction shall be set up to meet all code and social distancing requirements.   

Facility Alterations and Acquisition 

Alterations to the configuration of existing classrooms or spaces or the introduction of temporary and/or movable partitions will be used only after appropriate permission is obtained from the NYS Education department. 

Space Expand 

ND-BG does not plan to expand its space beyond buildings it currently owns or leases at this time.  Should that change, the appropriate approval will be obtained. 

Tents for Additional Space 

ND-BG does not plan to use tents for additional space at this time.  Should that change, the appropriate approval will be obtained. 

Plumbing Facilities and Fixtures 

  • Drinking Water Facilities: required, the school shall maintain at least one water fountain for each one hundred occupants.  

  •  ND-BG will close off bathroom stalls and sinks to the extent possible, and be code compliant to assist in maintaining social distancing in the bathroom.   

Ventilation 

 

Where there is mechanical ventilation, the units will maintain at least 25% fresh air intake.  In locations where there is only fresh air ventilation through windows, the window(s) will be opened at the optimal setting to increase ventilation with outdoor air to the greatest extent possible (e.g., opening windows and doors) while maintaining health and safety protocols. 

The school will use the appropriate filters for each mechanical unit.  Filters will be changed on a regular basis, which is the best course to improve the air quality.    

New Technology for Air Purification 

ND-BG is not adding any new technology for air purification at this time. 

School Safety and Emergency Drills 

The school will conduct fire (evacuation) drills and lockdown drills as required by education law and regulation and the fire code without, exceptions. The school 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.  

  • In accordance with Fire Code Section 404, the Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons Schools will maintain Fire Safety, Evacuation, and Lockdown Plans and these plans include how lockdown and evacuation drills are conducted. Methods to promote and provide for social distancing during the evacuation drills will be adhered to.   

  • In accordance with Education Law § 807, ND-BG will conduct eight (8) evacuation and four (4) lockdown drills during the school year. Drill procedures may be modified to minimize risk of spreading infection. Conducting drills is an important part of keeping students and staff safe in an emergency; however, steps will be taken to minimize the risk of spreading infection while conducting drills. As such, it may be necessary for schools to conduct drills in the school year using protocols that are different than they are used to. 

  • Regardless of the modifications used when conducting a drill, students will 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 should not be the first priority. 

ND-BG modifications to evacuation drill protocols 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, minimizes contact of students in hallways, stairwells, and at the evacuation site. If conducting drills using a modified procedure, it is required that the drill be conducted with all students in the school building on that school day, it may be necessary to do so during a class period that is extended for this purpose. 

Modifications to Lockdown Drills may include, but are not limited to:  

  • Conduct lockdown drills in classroom settings while maintaining social distancing/using masks. 

  • Conducting lockdown drills on a “staggered” schedule with smaller numbers of students present to maintain social distancing.     

  • Conduct lockdown drills in classrooms without “hiding”/ “sheltering” but providing an overview of how to shelter or hide in the classroom. 

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Child Nutrition 

School meals will continue to be available to all students, including those attending school in-person and those learning remotely.  

For information about how meal information will be communicated, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan. 

Meals Onsite 

For students onsite, meals will be provided while maintaining appropriate social distancing between students while also considering increasing access points for providing meal service. Students do not need to wear face coverings when seated and eating so long as they are appropriately socially distanced.   

The school will assess where meals will be served. The school will ensure social distancing between individuals while eating in the school cafeteria. If not feasible, meals may be served in alternate areas (e.g., classrooms, gymnasium) or in staggered meal periods to ensure social distancing. If meals will be eaten in the classroom, classes will go through the cafeteria line one at a time.   

When students eat in classrooms all non-food service staff will be trained on any meal service-related activities they will be responsible for. Teachers will be trained on recognizing food allergies, including symptoms of allergic reactions to food.  

Students must be 6 feet apart or be separated by a barrier while consuming meals. The school will provide physical distancing guides in food service areas such as tape on floors, signage, increase table spacing, remove tables, mark tables as closed, or provide a physical barrier between tables to ensure students are 6 feet apart when consuming meals. 

Proper cleaning and disinfection of tables, chairs, and other frequently touched hard surfaces will take place in between groups of students. Cashiers and servers will place meals on a counter or tray line for quick pick up and place pre-portioned condiments on each tray. 

The use of share tables, salad bars and other self-service refrigerators and buffets for food and condiments is prohibited. 

The sharing of food and beverages (e.g., buffet style meals, snacks) is prohibited. Adequate space will be reserved for students, faculty, and staff to observe social distancing while eating meals. 

The school will coordinate school personnel in order to meet the feeding safety needs of students with disabilities. 

A cleaning and disinfection will occur in between the middle and high schools lunch periods in the cafeteria and gym.   

The school will train students, faculty and staff on proper hand and respiratory hygiene, and such information will be provided to parents and guardians on ways to reinforce this at home.  

The school 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 

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Transportation  

The school will conduct transportation activities that are consistent with state-issued public transit guidance and NYSED School Reopening guidelines.  Bus Capacity will be reduced by more than 50% to allow for riders to socially distance. Students and school staff must wear acceptable face coverings on school buses (e.g., entering, exiting, and seated) and maintain appropriate social distancing at all times. All students who receive transportation from their district or residence are encouraged to adhere to District, CDC, and NYDOH guidelines.     

School Bus 

Students who are able will be required to wear masks and social distance on the bus; however, students whose physical or mental health would be impaired are not required to wear a face covering but must be appropriately socially distanced. Members of the same household may be seated within 6 feet of each other. Parents and legal guardians are encouraged to drop off or walk students to school to reduce density on buses.  

All buses that are used every day by the school and contract carriers will be cleaned/ disinfected once a day. High contact spots will be wiped down after the morning run.   

School buses shall not be equipped with hand sanitizer due to its combustible composition and potential liability to the carrier or district. School bus drivers must not carry personal bottles of hand sanitizer with them on school buses.   

School bus drivers are required to perform a self-health assessment for symptoms of COVID-19 before arriving to work. If personnel are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, they will notify Mr. Jones as per the reporting policies and seek medical attention.   

School bus drivers, monitors, attendants and mechanics must wear a face covering along with an optional face shield.   

Any adult who drives an ND-BG bus will be trained and provided periodic refreshers on the proper use of personal protective equipment and the signs and symptoms of COVID-19.   

School Bus Drills 

  • A minimum of three school bus drills shall be held in either a classroom or school bus setting.  Social distancing guidelines must be followed.  The first drill will be conducted during the first week of the fall term, the second between November 1st and December 31st and the third between March 1st and April 30th.   

For more information about training protocol for students and staff and how transportation information will be communicated, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan. 

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 Transportation Guidelines for the City of Schenectady Residents.

Guidelines
The district in partnership with busing vendors will conduct transportation activities that are consistent with state-issued public transit guidance and NYSED School Reopening guidelines.

  • Students and school staff must wear acceptable face coverings at all times and  maintain appropriate social distancing, while boarding, exiting and on a school bus.  
  • Students who should not wear a face covering, as is documented through an Individualized Education Plan or 504 plan, will not be required to wear a face covering but must maintain appropriate social distancing.
  • Members of the same household are not required to socially distance themselves from one another and may be seated within six feet of each other and are encouraged to sit together on the bus.
  • Bus capacity will be reduced by 50% or less to allow for socially distancing riders.  Diversity will be ensured in how students are seated,
  • Parents, guardians and caretakers are encouraged to drop off or walk students to school, when possible, to help reduce density on buses.
  • Transportation will be provided to nonpublic, parochial, private, charter schools or students whose Individualized Education Plans have placed them out of the district to a school that is holding in-person sessions.
  • School bus drivers, monitors, attendants and mechanics are required to perform a self-health assessment for symptoms of COVID-19 before arriving at work. Any transportation staff member who experiences any of the symptoms of COVID-19, will notify their employer as per the reporting policies and seek medical attention. 
  • Transportation staff members (drivers, monitors, attendants, mechanics and cleaners) will be trained and provided periodic refreshers and updates on the proper use of personal protective equipment and the signs and symptoms of COVID-19. 
  • Transportation department/carriers will need to provide personal protective equipment such as facial coverings/masks and gloves for drivers, monitors and attendants in buses as well as hand sanitizer for all staff in their transportation locations including dispatch offices, employee lunch/break rooms and/or bus garages. 
  • All bus employees must wear face coverings and rubber gloves. Hand sanitizer is not permitted on the bus.  
  • When temperatures are above 45 degrees Fahrenheit, school buses should transport passengers with roof hatches or windows slightly opened to provide air flow.
  • Transportation staff will be instructed to wash their hands with soap and water before and after both the morning and afternoon runs to help prevent the spread of respiratory and diarrheal infections.  Staff will be educated on how germs can spread from people or surfaces when:
    • touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
    • touching a contaminated surface or objects
    • blowing your nose, cough, or sneeze into hands and then touching other person’s hands or common objects
  • Students who do not have their own face covering must be provided one by the transportation staff. Face coverings will be distributed to students at the entrance of the bus, prior to boarding.  The face covering must be worn during the entire ride. Students that refuse to wear a face covering during any part of the bus ride will have that behavior addressed by their respective school, upon arrival.
  • Students who do not have a facial covering can not be denied transportation. They must, however, maintain a six feet distance from others. 
  • There will be a seating chart for all students on the bus.  Those picked up first will be seated at the back.  When unloading the bus, students will leave from the front and maintain social distancing while exiting.  Students who are dropped off first, on the trip from school, will be seated at the front of the bus.
  • Students who are transported in a mobility device should use seating positions that provide the required social distancing or have NYS-approved sneeze guards installed.
  • Students should be reminded of the bus rules such as no eating or drinking on the bus or removing their face covering.
  • All students are entitled to transportation by the district to the extent required by law and as per Board of Education policy.  Transportation is provided for students in grades K-5 who attend school more than 1.0 mile, but less than 5.5 miles and for students in grades 6-12 who attend schools more than 1.5 miles, but less than 5.5 miles, from their legal residence. Special needs transportation for disabled children is provided in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee for Special Education.
  • SCSD will adhere to mandates regarding the safe and effective transportation of students who are homeless (McKinney-Vento), in foster care, have disabilities or attend non-public or charter schools.  Districts and other applicable schools should plan accordingly and communicate their plans to SCSD.
  • Parents who may have missed the due date to request out of district transportation due to a reasonable excuse may file a 310 appeal with the Commissioner of Education.


The School Bus
Mandatory Requirements

  • All buses (conforming and non-conforming to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Standards, as well as type A, C or D) which are used every day by districts and contract carriers must be cleaned and disinfected once a day. High contact areas must be wiped down after the morning and afternoon run depending upon the schedule. (For example, some buses might be cleaned between the am and pm runs while other buses may be cleaned/disinfected after the pm run).
  •  School buses shall not be equipped with hand sanitizer due to its combustible composition and potential liability to the carrier or district. School bus drivers, monitors and attendants must not carry personal bottles of hand sanitizer with them on school buses.
  • Wheelchair school buses must configure wheelchair placement to ensure social distancing of 6 feet.


School Bus Drills

  • A minimum of three school bus drills shall be held in either a classroom or school bus setting.  Social distancing guidelines must be followed.  The first drill will be conducted during the first week of the fall term, the second between November 1st and December 31st and the third between March 1st and April 30th.  Guidelines and details will be following. 

For more information about training protocol for students and staff and how transportation information will be communicated, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section.

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Social Emotional Well-Being 

We recognize that the social emotional well-being of our students and staff during these challenging times is critically important. The school has made available resources and referrals to address mental health, behavioral, and emotional needs of students, faculty, and staff when school reopens for in-person instructions. ND-BG guidance staff will work to identify and support students having difficulty transitioning back into the school setting, especially given the changes in the school environment. 

The school will establish an advisory council that involves shared decision-making and is comprised of families, students, members of the board of education, community-based service providers, teachers, school counselor. The advisory council will inform the comprehensive developmental school counseling program plan.  

The school will provide professional development opportunities for faculty and staff on how to talk with and support students during and after the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, as well as provide support for developing coping and resilience skills for students, faculty, and staff. This is addressed by our partnership with Catapult Learning to provide social emotional and behavioral supports to students in need.   
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Religious and Independent School Schedules 

Student schedules will be the same for in-person, virtual, or hybrid learning.  Class sizes at ND-BG will be reduced to allow for proper social distancing.   

For information about how school schedule information will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan. 

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Attendance 

Teachers will collect and report daily teacher-student engagement or attendance, either while delivering instruction virtually or in the hybrid model. 

 

School administration will monitor and plan for ensuring students are regularly engaging in instruction.  This work includes the regular review of attendance data to identify and intervene when students demonstrate patterns of absenteeism. 

 

 

 

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Teaching and Learning 

The school calendar typically includes one or more staff-only days before students arrive at school. Acknowledging the challenges that our teachers and staff have faced this spring delivering remote instruction under stressful circumstances, the school will focus these in-service days on providing support to staff in the areas of social-emotional health and technology integration. 

These days will also be utilized for student orientation. This time will allow small groups of students to meet with their new teacher and begin to establish the relationship necessary for a successful school year. 

As we enter the new school year, teachers will be encouraged to spend time building relationships, supporting students with the transition back to school, and teaching social distancing etiquette at developmentally appropriate levels. 

The school has developed a continuity of learning plan for the 2020-2021 school year for in-person, remote, and hybrid models of instruction.    

When a remote or hybrid learning model is necessary, certain groups of students will be prioritized for in-person learning to the greatest extent possible.  

Assessing student learning gaps or areas of need will be critical. Formative assessment before a unit of instruction to assess student understanding of pre-requisite skills will be common practice.   

Acknowledging that the typical content in a given grade level or course may need to be adjusted, content will be prioritized to ensure that students receive instruction for the prioritized learning standards, key understandings, and skills necessary for students’ success in future study.   

Grading practices will follow a standards-based framework designed to provide direct feedback regarding students’ mastery of course content. 

Parents that prefer a virtual only option for their child should contact Mr. Jones at 518-393-3131 or at kiante_jones@nd-bg.org  

In-person Instruction  

Upon reopening, the number of students in each of our classrooms will be reduced to adhere to CDC guidance regarding proper social distancing. Class size will reflect the need to ensure that students’ desks/seats are positioned no less than six feet apart.  

Current staffing levels may be insufficient to accommodate the expanded number of classrooms needed to ensure social distancing.   

Professional development will be provided to teachers on best practices in virtual instruction.    

All instruction will continue to be aligned to the New York State Learning Standards. 

The school will minimize the movement of students. This potentially means having students eat lunch in the gym as well as the cafeteria and eliminating assemblies, field trips and other large-group activities. Special-area subjects (e.g., art, music, physical education) may be pushed into the classroom.  Whenever possible students will utilize outside space for physical education instruction. We will adhere to 12 feet between students when engaging in physical activity.  

To the extent possible, students will remain in small cohorts if/when leaving the classroom, such as for recess or any necessary transition, so as to reduce their exposure to additional students. 

For information on school schedules, visit the School Schedules section of our reopening plan.  

For information about how in-person instruction information will be communicated to students and families, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan. 

Remote/Hybrid Instruction  

Given the possibility that communities may experience spikes in COVID-19 cases at any point during the school year, which may prompt short or long-term school closures, the school has developed a hybrid/blended learning model and schedule that can continue as is in a fully remote environment. 

Instruction will not only focus on “core” subject areas to the exclusion of elective courses. Consideration has been given to prioritizing hands-on and lab-based activities while students are onsite in school buildings. All instruction will continue to be aligned to the New York State Learning Standards.  

As noted previously, student schedules will remain the same whether instruction is in person or remote so that students do not encounter conflicts wherein synchronous lessons for different subjects are offered simultaneously. 

Remote learning opportunities for secondary students will include a greater emphasis on synchronous instruction, with teachers finding ways to provide live instruction and lessons to students. While recording of live lessons is still essential for students unable to attend at a scheduled time, teachers will ensure that their students are directly engaged with them and their class peers in experiential learning on a regular basis. 

Teachers who teach virtually will encourage students to join them for small group office hours or additional help. Regardless of whether a student is hybrid or virtual, they will participate in meaningful learning experiences such as; engaging with other students, online discussions, using technology to enhance formative assessment, viewing videos, and interacting with their teachers.   

 

To ensure high-quality remote learning experiences, we will standardize the use of a single online learning platform, to the extent possible, and develop a common, coordinated set of guidelines for teachers to follow when using the platform with students. 

Grading practices will follow a standards-based framework designed to provide direct feedback regarding students’ mastery of course content.  

For information about how remote/hybrid instruction information will be communicated to students and families, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan. 

Technology and Connectivity 

Surveys will be used to identify students still needing devices and/or internet access.  To the greatest extent possible ND-BG will provide support to students lacking technological equipment in the event that we move to virtual instruction.   

Lessons from teachers who are teaching within the classrooms, or operating virtually, will be streamed live (synchronously) using devices such as webcams and video platforms, such as Zoom, to be viewed remotely by students.   

Teachers will be encouraged to record and make lessons available to students to also watch outside of scheduled class time. 

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Athletics and School Activities   

 

School Religious Ceremonies that will still take place at ND-BG in a safe and socially distanced way:  

Liturgy 

School Masses 

School Prayer Services  

Extracurriculars 

Interscholastic sports and extracurricular activities are an important aspect of our school community.  It is a priority to offer and maintain as many offerings as possible to as many groups of students.  A thorough examination of all extracurricular activities will be done to determine which can be conducted virtually.   

 

Interscholastic Athletics 

Per the NYDOH Guidance, interscholastic sports are not permitted at the time of publication of this guidance. Additional information is forthcoming. 

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYPSPHSAA) has established a COVID-19 Task Force comprised of religious and independent school Athletic Directors and public school district administrators responsible for providing guidance to allow New York high school student-athletes to return to athletics as soon and as safely as possible. The task force is reviewing State and local health guidelines, as well as NYSED guidance, regarding the 2020-2021 school year to determine, among other things, the extent to which changes may be needed for each interscholastic sports season.  The COVID-19 Task Force will continue to review all aspects of the fall 2020 season and the 2020-2021 school year related to the COVID-19 crisis, such as: practice requirement; fan attendance; resocialization efforts; protocol, procedures; transportation; etc. As more information becomes available it will be shared on the NYSPHSAA website. 

 

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Key References 

Additional References 

Once finalized, reopening plans must be posted on the school’s website. By August 7, 2020, schools will need to complete a survey through the Portal, providing NYSED with:  

  • A link to the public website where each school plan has been publicly posted 

  • A set of mandatory assurances that the reopening plan includes all of the mandatory elements outlined in the NYSED guidance 

NOTE: Information submitted through the Portal will not include detailed narratives or descriptions of specific actions to be taken by a school as part of their reopening Plan; those details must be articulated in the materials that are publicly posted on the school website.