UPK-6 May Reopening Plan Update
Phelps-Clifton Springs Central School District Update to Reopening Plan 2020-2021 To Support Full In-Person Learning for Grades UPK-6 Effective May 10, 2021.
- Reopening of school facilities for in-person instruction
- Monitoring of Health Conditions
- Containment of potential transmission of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Closure of school facilities and in-person instruction, if necessitated by widespread virus transmission
Midlakes Elementary School has been open for in-person instruction, in our hybrid model, since September 14, 2020, based on physical distance of six feet in classrooms and for eating and twelve feet for singing, playing instruments, and engaging in aerobic activity.
Updates to our Reopening Plan are outlined below. They reflect full in-person instruction with reduced physical distancing for UPK through Grade 6, effective May 10, 2021. These updates are based on the New York State Department of Health’s Interim Guidance for In-Person Instruction at Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (April 9, 2021).
Families of students in grades UPK-6 will maintain the option to choose full remote learning for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, rather than returning to full in-person instruction at reduced physical distances. The hybrid model of instruction will no longer be offered as an option beginning on May 10, 2021.
Midlakes Middle/High School will remain in the hybrid model, with physical distance of six feet in classrooms and for eating and twelve feet for singing, playing instruments, and engaging in aerobic activity, based on Ontario County’s “High” COVID-19 Transmission Rate, as per CDC guidelines. It is unlikely that Midlakes Middle/High School will be able to switch to full in-person learning at reduced physical distances, per CDC and NYSDOH guidelines and the current Ontario County transmission rate, prior to the end of the 2020-2021 school year.
The Phelps-Clifton Springs Central School District has engaged stakeholders at the elementary level and has determined the community’s tolerance for risk based on the operational and instructional procedures outlined in this updated plan. A questionnaire distributed to parents of students in UPK-6 identified what a switch to full in-person instruction would look like. The questionnaire clearly indicated the reduced physical distance of three feet in classrooms and the likelihood of two students per seat on buses, among other key changes. Based on these parameters, the questionnaire produced the following results:
- 532 responses (63.1% response rate)
- 76.1% of respondents (representing 405 students) indicated a preference to a return to full in-person instruction, opposed to 23.9% (representing 127 students) indicating a preference to finish the current school year in the hybrid model.
- 92.1% of all respondents (representing 490 students) indicated a choice of full in-person learning, opposed to 7.9% (representing 42 students) indicating a choice of full remote instruction if the District decided to switch to full in-person learning with a remote learning option for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.
This section of the update to our Reopening Plan will outline the changes to operational procedures and the use of our facilities to support full in-person instruction for grades UPK-6, effective May 10, 2021.
Topics not specifically addressed in this update will continue to be covered by our original Reopening Plan.
A. Physical Distance for Classrooms, Eating, and Specials
- Adults will maintain six feet of physical distance from each other and students.
- Students will be spaced three feet apart, facing the same direction, in classrooms. Students will remain in their classroom cohorts and will be kept separate from other cohorts whenever possible.
- Students will maintain six feet of physical distance, whenever possible, in hallways and common areas.
- Students will maintain six feet of physical distance when singing, playing instruments, and engaging in aerobic activity. Whenever possible, specials will be moved out of our classrooms and returned to their regularly assigned spaces and designated areas.
- Students will no longer eat in their classrooms, where desks will now be spaced three feet apart. Students will eat in areas designated as cafeterias. Students will be seated six feet apart and facing the same direction while eating, and students from the same classroom will be seated as a cohort, separated from other cohorts.
- Adults and students will always wear appropriate face coverings, except when eating. This includes classrooms, hallways, common areas, and buses.
- Limited mask breaks will be scheduled when students can maintain physical distances of at least six feet.
- Appropriate face coverings will be provided to students and staff as needed.
The Phelps-Clifton Springs Central School District will provide transportation to all students who attend in-person instruction. The District encourages families to transport their child/children to school if possible, to help reduce the number of students on a bus.
School Bus Mandatory Requirements:
- The District will require all students and staff to wear masks upon entering, exiting, or while riding the school bus. The District will have masks on each bus for students and staff that do not have a personal mask.
- The District will initially reduce the passenger load to maintain social distancing but will allow for students to be seated two per seat as needed to make full in-person instruction possible for grades UPK-6. This seating arrangement results in approximately 44 students per 65-passenger bus and 54 students per 81-passenger bus. Students who reside in the same household or attend the same daycare will be permitted to be seated together, which will allow for a larger number of students to ride each bus.All of students will be seated two to a seat unless space allows for one to a seat.
- Assigned seats will be used to monitor and minimize the close contact between students seated together. Seating assignments and bus camera footage will be used to assist in the contact tracing process.
- If student(s) are unable to medically tolerate a face covering, accommodations will be made in seating arrangements so that a student without a mask is socially distanced by six feet from other students. Wheelchair school buses will be configured to ensure social distancing of six feet. The District will optimize airflow on the buses by keeping the windows and roof hatches open when the weather conditions will allow. The District will have bus drivers clean high contact areas of buses in-between new group of students. The buses will also be cleaned and disinfected at the end of each day.
School Bus Staff Mandatory Requirements:
- The District will require employees to perform a daily health assessment for symptoms of COVID-19 before arriving to work. Employees will be provided with a mechanism to report their health assessment remotely before reporting to work. Employees will be directed that if they are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19 they should notify the District immediately and seek medical attention.
- The District will require that all employees, including, bus drivers, monitors, attendants, and mechanics to wear a face covering. Employees may also opt to wear a face shield, which can be worn only in conjunction with a mask. Employees that have direct contact with students will be required to wear gloves, which will be made available on the buses.
- The District will provide mandatory training, prior to the academic year, to transportation staff (drivers, monitors, attendants, mechanics, and cleaners) on the proper use of personal protective equipment and the signs and symptoms of COVID-19. The District will also provide periodic refreshers or updated training when necessary.
- The District will have signage that offers reminders and guidance on using personal protective equipment and the importance of social distancing. The District has installed hand sanitizer stations in main offices, break rooms, and the mechanics bay for employee use. Transportation staff will be encouraged to wash hands before and after their runs.
Mandatory Requirements for Students Using District Transportation:
- The District requires parents/guardians to ensure that their child/children are not experiencing any signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and do not have a fever of 100 degrees or more before boarding their bus.
- All students are required to wear a mask on a school bus. If a student is medically unable to wear a mask the student will be seated so that they are socially distanced from other students by six feet. In addition, students with disabilities that prevent them from wearing a mask will not be required to wear a mask. Masks will be made available by the District on the bus for students who do not have a mask. The District will not deny transportation to any student that does not have a mask. Unmasked students will be socially distanced from other students by six feet.
Mandatory Routing Requirements for Student Transportation:
- The District will provide pupil transportation to nonpublic, parochial, private, charter schools or students whose Individualized Education Plans have placed them out of district whose schools are meeting in in-person sessions when/if the district is not.
- The District recognizes that all students are entitled to transportation by the district to the extent required by law. The District cannot deny transportation for children who are in foster care, homeless, or attend private or charter schools. The District will waive the due date of its private and parochial transportation request form for the 2020-2021 school year.
- Guidance documents from the Department of Health, including Interim Guidance for Public Transportation Activities, and New York State Education Department have been incorporated into the structure and responses of the Phelps-Clifton Springs CSD Transportation Plan.
D. Child Nutrition
The Phelps-Clifton Springs Central School District will provide all students with access to school meals each school day, whether they are learning in-person or remotely at home. Meals will be free to students through the 2020-2021 school year.
Child Nutrition Plan:
- All students, whether attending in-person or remotely, will be offered access to school meals each day. The District will follow School Food Authority (SFA) policies to communicate the options for school meal service, eligibility for free or reduced-price meals, and changes in operations.
- All meals are free to students during the 2020-2021 school year.
- All meals will be provided via a brown bag format, for breakfast and lunch.
- Meals will meet all meal pattern requirements.
- Production records will be kept in the Food Service Director’s office.
- The Food Service Director will keep daily logs of students requesting and receiving meals. Once meals are delivered to students, either in-person or via pick-up, the Food Service Director will document that the student received the meal.
- Students with special dietary needs will be accommodated.
Meals for Students Learning Remotely:
- The District will provide meals to remote students for pick-up at designated locations on campus. Meals will be available for pick-up once per week on Mondays (6:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m.), with a weeks’ worth of meals provided at each pick-up time.
- For meal pick-up, appropriate signage will clearly identify pick-up locations. Staff will place the food in the trunk or on a table for families to retrieve, to reduce social contact. Families will not need to enter the school building.
- Families wishing to access school meals during remote instruction will register using an online form, or through a phone call to the Food Service Director.
Meals for Students Learning In-Person:
- Students who attend school in-person will have their meal requests taken by the teacher, and that information will then be communicated to the school Food Service Department.
- Students who attend school in-person will eat meals in designated areas. Areas may include cafeterias, classrooms, or alternative locations. Students will be seated at least six feet apart, facing the same direction, so they can remove their face masks to eat their meals.
- Vending machines will not be used.
- A la carte sales will not be allowed.
- Students may choose to bring their own meals to school.
Health and Safety Guidelines:
- The District will follow all New York State Department of Health guidelines in preparing and serving meals.
- The District uses written standard operating procedures for sanitation of school kitchens, cafeterias, food storage, and any other location where meals are served.
- The District will provide an ample supply of face masks, soap, hand sanitizer, and tissues in food service areas.
- Work areas will be routinely cleaned and disinfected in high-touch areas, including tables, chairs, and carts, after each use.
- Employees will always wear face masks and gloves when working in the Food Service Department.
- Only food service and facilities staff will be allowed in the kitchen area.
- Food service staff will be trained in all safety protocols and COVID-19 identification, prior to the commencement of the academic year.
- MSDS SHEETS and appropriate training will be provided for any specific COVID-19 cleaning products.
- Tables and chairs will be disinfected and cleaned between each student use.
Food Allergy Guidelines:
- The District will plan and implement measures to protect students with food allergies when providing meals in the cafeteria and spaces outside the cafeteria.
- Staff assisting students during the meal period will be trained on health and safety guidelines for students with allergies, including the recognition of an allergic reaction and the appropriate course of action to respond in an emergency.
Hand Hygiene Guidelines:
- The District will implement protocols and procedures for how students will perform handwashing and hygiene before and after eating, how appropriate hand hygiene will be promoted, and how sharing of food and beverages will be discouraged.
Cleaning and Disinfecting Guidelines:
- The District will implement protocols and procedures that require cleaning and disinfection before each group of students arriving for meals if served in the same common area.
- Site safety plans will be revised to include standard operating procedures for meal service in cafeterias, alternative locations, and classrooms (only if necessary).
- Social distancing of at least six feet will be maintained during all meal periods.
- The Facilities Department will be responsible for cleaning all areas after each student meal period.
- The District will provide families with applications for Free and Reduced Lunch pricing and other relevant communications via print notices in local newspapers, the District’s website, mass emails and phone calls, and social media.
- The District’s communications are available in the languages spoken in students’ homes.
The District uses a combination of strategies to monitor the health conditions of students and staff and will continue to use these strategies as students in Grades UPK-6 return for full in-person instruction at reduced physical distances.
- Families are responsible for completing a daily health screening using the rSchoolToday app. School nurses review the student health screening submissions daily to confirm that students are not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and are clear to attend school.
- Students are checked for fever using mobile temperature screeners upon entering the school and before reporting to their classrooms.
- Staff members are responsible for completing a daily health screening using the rSchoolToday app. The COVID Safety Coordinator and school nurses review the staff health screening submissions daily to confirm that staff are not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and are clear to attend school.
- School nurses communicate with families and staff as needed to monitor and assess health conditions and make referrals for COVID-19 testing as appropriate. The school nurses communicate with the Ontario County Department of Health, as needed, to seek input and clarification on specific situations related to students and staff.
The District uses layered mitigation strategies to prevent and contain the transmission of COVID-19. These mitigation strategies include:
- Physical distances as identified by the CDC and NYSDOH
- Face coverings (mask-wearing)
- Hand washing and sanitation
- Daily health screenings
- Cleaning and disinfection
- Ventilation and filtration
The District will continue to follow the mitigation strategies identified in the original Reopening Plan and will reinforce the importance of these multiple, layered strategies in the context of reduced physical distance.
The District will continue to communicate with the local health departments to assist with contact tracing in response to confirmed positive cases of COVID-19.
The District communicates regularly with the Ontario County Department of Health to monitor the confirmation of positive cases of COVID-19 among students and staff and identify individuals for DOH-ordered quarantine. The Ontario County Department of Health also assists the District in communicating with other local health departments to confirm information related to students and staff who reside in or test positive in neighboring counties.
The District shares information with the local health departments to assist them in determining the necessity for quarantines and/or the closure of school facilities. The local health department make all the decisions regarding quarantines as well as school closures necessitated by widespread transmission of COVID-19. The District assists in the communication of quarantines and DOH-directed school closures, but all dates and decisions are subject to change by the local health department.
If necessary, the District is prepared to close school facilities and transition to full remote learning as outlined in the Remote Learning section of our original Reopening Plan for a period of time determined by the local department of health.
The District refers students, staff, families, and community members to the original reopening plan for additional information related to the delivery of instruction, daily operations, and other aspects of our management of COVID-19 at school.