COVID -19 School Reopening Plan
Maimonides Hebrew Day School
Rabbi Israel Rubin, Head of School
Our plan meets the standards set forth in the guidance and reflects engagement with school stakeholders and community members, including but not limited to administrators, faculty, staff, students, parents/legal guardians of students, local health departments, local health care providers, and affiliated organizations. Specifically, our plan covers: (1) reopening of school facilities for in-person instruction, (2) monitoring of health conditions, (3) containment of potential transmission of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and (4) closure of school facilities and in-person instruction, if necessitated by widespread virus transmission.
- Reopening of School Facilities for In-Person Instruction
Facility Guidance and Social Distancing:
All students, faculty and staff will maintain appropriate social distancing, which means six feet of space in all directions between individuals or use of appropriate physical barriers between individuals. Students, faculty, and staff will use face coverings and PPE when not social distancing.
Doorways will be propped open, if allowed by fire code, to minimize touch. We will reduce student use of corridors and shared spaces by providing a specific socially distanced space for each child in one classroom that remains the same throughout the day. The teacher will travel from class to class, while the students stay in same classroom.
Students and staff will stay together in small groups as much as possible throughout the day. We will not have gatherings of multiple classes such as schoolwide assemblies.
Plastic partitions will be used in locations where social distancing cannot be guaranteed or easily regulated. They will also be used to further protect each student with a cubicle of their own. Light transmitting plastics will comply with Building Code 2606. Social distancing of at least six feet in the classroom will be maintained by turning all desks to face the same direction and arranging seating six feet apart whenever feasible. Each student will be allotted a 20 square feet space. Classrooms have been measured to ensure adequate footage to accommodate our student body.
The facilities will be properly disinfected and appropriate signage and disinfection stations will be set up throughout the building. Windows will be open when they can to allow for fresh air ventilation. We will also use our outdoor classroom and general outdoor area when we can to allow for outdoor learning and fresh air.
Stairways will be labeled one way.
PPE and Face Coverings:
Parents, staff, students, and other people present in school building are required to wear a face covering. Acceptable face coverings include paper or disposable mask, cloth face mask, scarf or bandana. Face coverings must cover nose and mouth completely. A clear plastic barrier aka face shield that extends below the chin anteriorly and to the ears laterally can be used when wearing a face mask is problematic. Scenarios include staff providing direct student services where direct speech perception is critical, a teacher when a face covering impedes the educational process, or for a student where wearing a face mask is problematic due to developmental or behavioral issues.
Face coverings may be temporarily removed to eat or drink, but care should be taken to maintain as much space as possible between people, recognizing it in not always feasible to maintain six feet of distance from others. Face coverings may also be temporarily removed when engaging in indoor physical activities/ sports where level of exertion makes wearing a mask difficult or when engaging in outdoor activities, however care should be taken to maintain six feet distance.
School will provide face coverings to employees or students who do not have their own.
School policy will be clearly posted in the entranceway and communicated with all students, parents, employees and potential visitors. Links to NYS websites with education and rationale of school policies will be provided.
Healthy Hygiene Practice:
Students and staff will be encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water upon entering the building, before and after lunch, after using the restroom, and other times as needed. Hand sanitizer will be available in areas without a sink. Hand sanitizer will contain at least 60% alcohol. Use of hand sanitizer by students will be supervised by staff. Signs regarding proper handwashing will be posted near sinks.
Before and Aftercare Programs:
Grades 1-8 before care will be 8:00 AM – 8:45 AM.
There will be no aftercare.
Nursery & Kindergarten Childcare:
Nursery Childcare: 8:00 AM – 3:30 PM
Kindergarten Childcare: 8:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Management of Ill Persons:
Any student/staff member with a fever of over 100.0°F, and/or any other COVID-19 respiratory symptoms must stay home from school. If a staff member develops a fever or COVID-19 symptoms while at school, they must go home. If a student develops a fever or COVID-19 symptoms while at school, s/he will be immediately placed in an isolation room. Family members of the staff or students, as well as all those who were in their same carpool will also be placed in an isolation area. Parents will be contacted to pick up the students as soon as possible. Parents will sign their child out and pick up at entrance without entering the building.
Students and staff members with COVID-19 symptoms are required to have a COVID-19 test. If the test results are negative, the student/staff member can return to school after 24 hours fever and symptom free. Family and carpool members without symptoms can return to school immediately.
Students and staff members with positive COVID-19 results will need to stay home until symptom free and a note from doctor to return to school. All family and carpool members will need to quarantine for fourteen days. Anyone who receives positive results must notify the school immediately. The school nurse will contact the DOH.
Any student/staff member who vomited at night or morning needs to stay home from school until they are symptom free for 24 hours. If a student/staff member vomits at school, they will need to go home from school. They will be immediately placed in the isolation room. Parents will be contacted to pick up their child as soon as possible.
Arrangements to complete school work remotely will be made for students who are out due to illness, quarantining, or other medical reasons.
To the greatest extent possible, we will make accommodations for vulnerable students (heart, lung conditions, diabetes, etc.) to allow them to participate in educational activities which may include extra PPE or social distancing for the particular student or teleconferencing and/or distance learning, when appropriate. Vulnerable faculty and staff will be encouraged to wear extra PPE such as gloves and/or face shields as appropriate and will also be accommodated as needed. The school will review all IEP or 504 plans to accommodate their goals in a safe way, (see PS school bus arrangements in Transportation).
Extracurricular activity will be minimized and when they will occur, proper social distancing and/or face coverings will be required.
Field trips will not occur this school year.
Maimonides Hebrew Day School does not provide transportation.
Parents and/or legal guardians will provide students transportation to and from school.
Students who ride mass transit will be strongly encouraged to wear acceptable face coverings and practice social distancing.
Students who ride public school transportation (for special education or related services at a public school) will be strongly encouraged to comply with the health practices of that public school, including mask wearing where it does not affect the mental health or physical health of the child.
There will be no food service at Maimonides Hebrew Day School. Students will continue to bring their snacks and lunches from home. Meals will be eaten in classrooms with proper social distancing cubicles. Sharing of food and beverages will not be allowed, except with members of the same household and only if needed. Students will wash their hands before and after they eat. Hand sanitizer will be provided, if hand washing is not practical
Teachers will be trained on any food allergies of their students, and symptoms of allergic reactions to food.
Fire (evacuation) drills and lockdown drills (staying in building) will be conducted without exceptions.
Mental Health, Behavioral, and Emotional Support Services and Programs:
Teachers will be trained to observe for signs of mental, behavioral, and emotional issues with students. Such students will be referred for evaluation and proper next steps will be taken. The referral mental health agency will be Jewish Family Services (JFS), Jane Ginsberg, director.
Teachers will identify and address the social emotional health and wellbeing of students upon reentry to school. Teachers will identify students that are at risk emotionally and will follow up with JFS. BIPS will be established for students experiencing behavioral issues as a result of the return to classroom. In the event of a closure, teachers will create a plan to increase contact with students and parents to address social/emotional needs until such services can be offered in the school building.
Teachers will be provided with Professional Development resources needed to assess and assist the high-risk student population. Teachers will be given the appropriate PD for speaking to students about their wellbeing prior to reopening the school for 2020-21 school year. The list of resources will be available at that time.
After assessing and identifying high risk students, teachers and school staff will make contact with parents to address concerns. Parents will be included in all intervention services outlined for high risk students. Families will be contacted regarding high risk status and intended interventions within one week of identification.
Jewish Family Services will be readily available to provide services at school as needed.
We will communicate with parents on a regular basis using several methods including but not limited to phone calls, email, weekly newsletters, school WhatsApp group, school website and zoom meetings. There will be timely emails/newsletters sent out to parents and staff with updates and applicable instructions.
Updated contact information will be obtained for all students and staff before the start of the school year. Parents and staff will be informed on how they can contact the school. Communication coordinators will be designated as central points of communication between staff and community members.
All community members will be informed on the safety procedures regarding the school reopening. Information will be provided across multiple platforms and regular updates will be provided. Appropriate signage will be placed throughout the building and informational material will be kept for distribution in the main office.
Our school nurse, Rebekah Wildman will be the designated coordinator and the main point of contact upon the identification of positive COVID-19 cases and will be responsible for subsequent communication. She will be responsible for answering questions from students, faculty, staff, and parents or legal guardians of students regarding the COVID-19 public health emergency and the plan implemented by the school.
Continuity of Learning:
All students must be provided with the opportunity to learn in an environment that is safe, engaging, and productive. The faculty and staff at Maimonides Hebrew Day School recognizes that there is inherent value in creating positive routine, best practices that best fit the needs of our student body, and access to high-quality education. We also recognize that education in a traditional classroom setting is in a state of constant change. We are prepared to meet both learning and safety standards by bringing our student body back for the 2020-21 school year in its entirety.
Our school will stringently adhere to NYS DOH guidelines for keeping our students, staff and community healthy. We will implement a staggered arrival and dismissal plan that reduces amount of contact students have with staff and peers. We will keep students contained to one classroom for all subjects and lunch, thereby reducing the amount of contact students have in hallways and common spaces.
While our school will prepare for in-person instruction, we will create a contingency plan should we need to revert to distance learning with little notice. We will allow for remote instruction, including a digital platform, if the need occurs. Hybrids of the two will also be made available when appropriate. We will implement methodologies that support distance learning and are easily translated to remote classrooms. We will implement best practices that support student learning and well-being if remote learning is necessary. Students and their families/caregivers can contact the school and teachers with questions about their remote instruction and/or technology.
The school will collect and report daily teacher/student engagement or attendance, regardless of instructional setting via email and/or direct contact between the teacher and principal.
- MONITORING OF HEALTH CONDITIONS
The facilities have been properly disinfected and appropriate signage and disinfection stations have been set up throughout the building. Furthermore, we have procured the proper amount of PPE and face coverings for our students, faculty, and staff.
Hygiene Cleaning and Disinfection:
School wide cleaning and disinfection will take place daily with cleaning products approved by the CDC for use against COVID-19. Aside for daily cleaning, our school plans to hire professional cleaners for a more intense deep cleaning in all classrooms and halls. Our school has completed a NYSED survey to bulk order recommended cleansing and sanitizing supplies.
Monitoring Health Conditions at School
Health screening will take place at front door by designated individual with appropriate PPE for all students and staff prior to entering the building. We will educate staff, students and families about the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and when they/their children should stay home and when they can return to school. This will be in compliance of most updated DOH guidelines.
We will use a daily screening questionnaire for faculty, staff and all students reporting to school. Student questionnaire must be filled out each day by parent affirming that themselves and their child/ren have not had any symptoms of COVID-19 including but not limited to fever, chills, nausea and vomiting, no recent travel or close contact with a person with COVID-19. Failure to comply with daily completion of questionnaire will result in student not passing health parameters and will be sent home.
Individuals will have their temperature checked each day prior to entry into the building by designated nurse/staff member. If an individual presents a temperature of greater than 100.0°F, the individual will be denied entry into the school. The student/staff member will need to go home. Family and carpool members will also need to go home. See Management of Ill Persons guidelines for exact protocol.
Staff and students will be referred to their primary care physicians for diagnostic testing for COVID-19, in consultation with DOH, when needed. Symptomatic individuals, close contacts of COVID-19 suspected or confirmed individuals and individuals with recent international travel or travel within a state with widespread transmission of COVID-19 as designated through the New York State Travel Advisory will be required to be tested by their primary care physician before such individuals return to school.
The local health department will be the community organization primarily responsible for referring, sourcing, and administering testing.
Early Warning Signs:
We will follow the metrics signs established by state and local health departments that will serve as early warning signs that positive COVID-19 cases may be increasing beyond an acceptable level.
- CONTAINMENT: RESPONSE AND PREVENTION
School Health Offices:
If an individual develops symptoms of COVID-19 during the school day, he/she will be isolated from all others. In the case of a student, arrangements for the child to be taken home quickly will be made.
An isolation room will be used for students to stay in while awaiting pick up. Parents will sign out student and pick up from an outside entrance. Parents will be required to have their child seen by a health care provider, and tested COVID-19.
Individuals that have tested positive for COVID-19 will remain out of school until symptom free based on DOH guidelines. A doctor’s note will be required for reentry.
Individuals who were exposed to the virus must complete quarantine before returning to in-person learning. This will be conducted in coordination with the local DOH.
Hygiene, Cleaning, and Disinfection:
We will adhere to hygiene, cleaning, and disinfection guidance set forth by DOH and CDC.
All students and staff will have updated contact information on file in the school office before the start of the school year. All visitors to the school will sign in and provide their personal contact information. Any positive COVID-19 cases will be reported to the Albany County Health Dept.
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, all staff and student families will be informed of a positive case in the school. Phone calls will be made to anyone who was in close proximity of the positive individual. The need for quarantining will be assessed.
- CLOSURE AND CONTINGENCY PLANS
Conditions for Closure:
In consultation with state and our local health department, we will identify conditions that may warrant reducing in-person education or closing of the school, and we will plan for an orderly closure with them.
All changes and updates will be communicated to staff and parents and all other relevant individuals via emails, text messages, phones calls and our school website, as appropriate.
Continuity of Learning:
Our school will ensure learning will continue throughout the coming school year. We will prepare for in-person instruction and will allow for remote instruction, such as a digital platform if the need occurs. Hybrids of the two will also be made available when appropriate. There will be clear opportunities for instruction that are accessible to students. Students and their families/caregivers can contact the school and teachers with questions about their instruction and/or technology.