Health and Safety
To view the below plan information in PDF format, click here.
The Gates Chili CSD reopening plan incorporates recommendations and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED). The following protocols and procedures will be in place in all district schools for the 2020-21 school year should in-person schooling resume. Anyone with questions or concerns should contact our COVID-19 Safety Coordinator at Patrick_Irving@gateschili.org or (585) 247-5050 Ext 21315.
The district is actively pursuing having ample stockpiles of required PPE and cleaning/disinfecting supplies.
For more information about how health and safety protocols and trainings will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section.
The district 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 Gates Chili Central School District will utilize a digital app for the daily health screening of students and staff members. Students and their families and staff will be provided with instructions on how to download and use the app/link. For families who don’t have access to the internet, WiFi hotspots will be made available. For students who are not able to complete the screening at home prior to coming to school, building administration and/or nursing staff will conduct the screening in a private and confidential manner as soon as practicable upon arrival. Staff who do not complete the screening prior to arrival, will be required to complete the screening as soon as they arrive at the building. Building administration will make contact with anyone who has not completed this process. Visitors that must be in the building will be required to complete a written health screening upon arrival.
If a student has a temperature of 100° F or higher or has a positive response to a screening question, the student must not report to school. If the student reports to school, that student will be escorted to a designated isolation location within the building and the parent/guardian will be contacted for pick up. When the parent/guardian is contacted by phone they should be made aware that their primary care provider should be contacted and the student will be able to return back to school once the doctor has cleared them to return and/or other clearance protocol has happened. If a student develops symptoms outside of school hours, then the parent/guardian should not send their student to school and should contact their student’s building to notify them.
If a staff member has a temperature of 100° F or higher or has a positive response to a screening question, that staff member must remain home and contact their supervisor immediately. If a staff member shows COVID-19 symptoms during the day, they must notify their supervisor and either report to a designated isolation area or leave the building. If a staff member develops symptoms outside of school hours, then it is that staff member’s duty to inform their immediate supervisor. For more information on COVID-19 Response Protocols, refer to Appendix A.
Social Distancing, Face Coverings and PPE
The district has developed a plan and procedures for maintaining social distancing of all students, faculty, and staff when on school facilities, grounds and transportation.
- Six feet of space in all directions will be kept by all individuals within the building
- Hallways will be marked to direct the flow of foot traffic
- Desks will be kept six feet apart
- If desks cannot be kept six feet apart, physical barriers will be used between desks
- Acceptable face coverings are required while on the bus
- Student lockers will be spaced out and locker use will be limited
- If social distancing cannot be maintained while eating in the cafeteria, then the school will have students eat within the classroom or in an alternate location that allows social distancing to be maintained
- If staff meetings are too large for a particular meeting area, they will occur through the use of Zoom and/or Microsoft Teams
- Bathroom break schedules will be implemented at the elementary level
- Numbers of individuals in bathrooms at the secondary level will be limited, where possible
Proper face coverings must be worn in common areas such as hallways or school buses. Students who are unable to medically tolerate a face covering, including students where such covering would impair their physical health or mental health are not subject to the required use of a face covering, per physician’s documentation. Staff who are not medically able to tolerate face covering or requesting any other medical accommodation based on disability should follow the protocol outlined by Human Resources. Students and staff will be allowed to remove face coverings during meals, and for short masks breaks, so long as they maintain appropriate social distance.
Reusable face coverings will be provided to students and staff. Disposable face coverings will be available if needed. 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. Students, staff and visitors will be permitted to wear their own acceptable face covering if they choose.
Face coverings should not be placed on:
- Children younger than 2 years old
- Students where such covering would impair their health or mental health
- Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious
- Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance
The district will instruct students, parents/guardians, staff, 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
- Information on obtaining and maintaining adequate supplies of cloth face coverings for school staff and students who forget their masks
Infection control strategies
Hand sanitizer will be placed throughout the building and in classrooms. Soap dispensers will be heavily monitored within bathrooms to ensure they are fully stocked. Individuals must wear acceptable face coverings. Schools will limit the sharing of objects to the extent possible. This includes objects such as lockers, cubbies, laptops, notebooks, touchscreens, writing utensils, chalk and dry erase boards, musical instruments, art supplies, tools, and toys, as well as the touching of shared surfaces, such as conference tables and desks; or require students and staff to perform hand hygiene before and after contact.
Each day the school buildings will continue to be cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the guidance from CDC and OSHA. Signage will be used to remind individuals to:
- Stay home if they feel sick
- Cover their nose and mouth with an acceptable face covering
- Adhere to social distancing instructions
- Report symptoms of, or exposure to, COVID-19, and how they should do so
- Follow hand hygiene, and cleaning and disinfection guidelines
- Follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette
Management of ill persons, contact tracing and monitoring
The district requires students and staff who develop COVID-19 symptoms during the school day to report to the nurse’s office. If there are several individuals waiting to see the school nurse, students must wait at least six feet apart. The district has designated isolation 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. For specific information related to students and staff who feel sick at school or come into close contact with a confirmed case, refer to Appendix A.
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 medical-grade mask 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).
Return to School After Illness
The district 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. For more information, refer to Appendix A.
The district 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 district 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.
Students or staff with illness should stay home in accordance with Education Law § 906(1): “[w]whenever…a student in the public schools shows symptoms of any communicable or infectious disease reportable under the public health law that imposes a significant risk of infection of others in the school, he or she shall be excluded from the school and sent home immediately, in a safe and proper conveyance. The director of school health services shall immediately notify a local public health agency of any disease reportable under the public health law.”
Decisions about the need for exclusion and the length of the exclusion period for students and staff exposed to or with confirmed cases of COVID-19 will be made by local health departments according to guidance from New York State Department of Health.
Sick students and staff should be excluded from school and all school-related activities. Students and staff who develop respiratory illness symptoms during the school day should be isolated promptly in a room separate from others. Immediately report any illness to the school nurse or other designated school official.
If a patient who tests positive for COVID-19 is currently attending or working in a school, state and local health officials, will help identify those individuals and will follow up with the school on next steps for those who may have had close or proximate contact with that person while they were able to spread COVID-19. It is important to continually share resources with the school community to help families understand when to keep children home.
In the event that a large-scale testing will need to be conducted at the school, the district administration will work with the following providers:
New York State Health Department (585) 423-8042
Monroe County Health Department (585) 753-2991
The district 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, staff and visitors of the district.
To assist the local health department with tracing the transmission of COVID-19, the district 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 district will assist with contact tracing by:
- Keeping accurate attendance records of students and staff members
- Ensuring student schedules are up to date
- Keeping a log of any visitor which includes date and time, and where in the school they visited
- 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/when, COVID-19 cases are discovered in the school the district will consult with the Monroe County Health Department. A single case of COVID-19 in a school would not warrant closing the entire school. Community spread and how much contact the person with COVID-19 had with others, as well as when such contact took place, need to be considered. These variables should also be considered when determining how long a school, or part of the school, stays closed. If the spread of COVID-19 within a school is higher than in the community, or if the school is the source of an outbreak, administrators will work with local health officials to determine if temporarily closing the school building is necessary. Students and/or staff who test positive or had close contact with anyone who tested positive will be provided with guidance for when it is safe to discontinue self-isolation or end quarantine.
Confidentiality must be maintained as required by federal and state laws and regulations. Staff should not try to determine who is to be excluded from school based on contact without guidance and direction from the district and local health department.
For more information about how COVID-19 containment efforts will be communicated to students, families and staff members, refer to the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section.
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 district 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:
- Schools will close if the seven-day rolling average of the infection rate is greater than 9%
- Schools in regions in Phase 4 can reopen if the daily infection rate remains less than 5% using a 14-day average, unless otherwise directed from the Monroe County Health Department
- Once schools open at Phase 4 with a regional infection rate less than 5% for a 14-day rolling average, schools can remain open even if the rate continues to rise above 5% until it reaches 9% for the 7-day average
Schools may choose to modify operations prior to closing to help mitigate a rise in cases. If infection rates are rising above 5%; schools may consider modifying school operations for medically-vulnerable students and staff if they are participating in in-person activities. The district will consult their medical director and the local department of health when making such decisions
For more information about how school closure information will be communicated to students, families and staff members, refer to the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section.
The district will emphasize healthy hygiene practices for students and staff by providing ongoing education in hand and respiratory hygiene, along with providing adequate supplies and time for frequent hand hygiene. Signs will be posted throughout the school and regular messaging will be shared with the school community. Signage will be used to remind individuals to:
- Stay home if they feel sick
- Cover their nose and mouth with an acceptable face covering when unable to maintain social distance from others or in accordance with any stricter policy implemented by the school
- Properly store and, when necessary, discard PPE
- Adhere to social distancing instructions
- Report symptoms of, or exposure to, COVID-19
- Follow hand hygiene, and cleaning and disinfection guidelines
- Follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette
Students and staff must carry out the following hand hygiene practices.
- Wash hands routinely with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Dry hands completely after washing
- If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer
Hand-washing should occur:
- Before and after eating
- After going to the restroom or after assisting a student with toileting
- After using a tissue
- Before and after using shared materials
- Before and after putting on or taking off face masks
- After coming in from the outdoors
- Anytime hands are visibly soiled
The COVID-19 virus may spread from person to person in droplets produced by coughs and sneezes. Therefore, the district will emphasize the importance of respiratory hygiene. Students and staff must carry out the following respiratory hygiene practices:
- 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.
- Face coverings are protective. Wearing a face covering will keep the respiratory droplets and aerosols from being widely dispersed into the air.
For more information about how hygiene information will be communicated to students, families and staff members, refer to the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
The district will ensure adherence to hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting 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 disinfecting logs will be maintained that include the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfecting. Examples of facility types where cleaning and disinfection frequency will be determined include:
- Athletic training rooms, locker rooms
- Nurse’s offices, isolation rooms
- Administrative offices (main office, reception area)
- Frequently-touched surfaces in common areas (door handles, elevator buttons, copy machine keypads, etc.)
- Computer labs
- Science labs
- Maintenance offices and work areas
- Bus Garage
- Buses, school vehicles
- Large meeting areas (auditoriums, gymnasiums, music rooms)
- Outdoor seating areas
Regular cleaning and disinfecting of the facilities will occur, including more frequent cleaning and disinfecting for high-risk and frequently-touched surfaces. This will include desks and cafeteria tables, which should be cleaned and disinfected between individual use. Cleaning and disinfection will be rigorous and ongoing and will occur daily, or more frequently as needed.
The district will ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of restrooms. Restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected more often depending on frequency of use.
For more information about how cleaning and disinfecting information will be communicated to students, families and staff members, refer to the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section.
Visitors on campus
No outside visitors or volunteers will be allowed on school campuses, except for the safety and well-being of students. Parents/guardians will report to the main entry point and not go beyond unless it is for the safety or well-being of their child. Essential visitors to facilities will be required to wear face coverings, attest to not having any COVID 19 symptoms, and will be restricted in their access to our school buildings. Visitors must follow all safety protocols as listed above.
Before and aftercare programs housed at Gates Chili CSD facilities will be required to maintain all health and safety protocols set by the district.