Back-to-School Plan 2021-22

Introduction

  • The plan outlined here is for the reopening of schools in the Gates Chili Central School District for the 2021-22 school year, following the building closure related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The health and safety of Gates Chili students, staff and their families are the district’s top priority. The district wants students and employees to feel comfortable and safe returning to school campuses. The district’s 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 district 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 decision-making as the district moves to open school buildings. 

  • Guiding Principles

    As Gates Chili Central School District plans to reopen school buildings in September, the guidance and considerations outlined in this framework are grounded in six guiding principles: 

    1. Safeguarding the health and safety of students and staff; 
    2. Allowing all students to have the opportunity to fully engage in in-person instruction five days per week for students UPK-12,
    3. Emphasizing equity, access and support to the students and communities who are emerging from this historic disruption; 
    4. Fostering strong two-way communication with partners such as families, educators and staff

  • Glossary of Terms

    BC: Building Code. 

    CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

    Cohorts: Cohorts are self-contained, pre-assigned groups of students with group size limits established by the size of the room and number of desks that are able to be placed in the space while maintaining social distancing. Cohorts are established to prevent intermingling of students between cohorts to the extent possible. 

    ELL: English Language Learner. 

    Face Coverings: Schools will maintain protocols and procedures for students, staff, and other individuals to ensure appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is used to protect against transmission of COVID-19 virus when on school grounds and in school facilities. PPE includes an acceptable face covering to be worn by all individuals at all times. These face coverings will be required to be worn any time/place that individuals cannot maintain appropriate social distancing. Acceptable face coverings include, but are not limited to, cloth-based face coverings (e.g., homemade sewn, quick cut) and surgical masks that cover both the mouth and nose. 

    Fully In-Person Instruction: Gates Chili students engage in instruction at Gates Chili CSD school buildings with their classroom teachers five days per week for students UPK-12 beginning the week of September 7, 2021.  

    NYSED: New York State Education Department. 

    NYSDOH: New York State Department of Health. 

    OFP: Office of Facilities Planning. 

    OSHA: Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 

    Remote Instruction: Instruction through the use of personal electronic devices, learning management systems (Schoology) and video conferencing. 

    Social Distancing: Schools will maintain protocols and procedures for students, staff, and other individuals to ensure appropriate social distancing to protect against the transmission of COVID-19 virus when on school grounds and in school facilities.  

    Director of Physical Education, Health and Athletics Dr. Patrick Irving will serve as the district’s COVID-19 Coordinator. Dr. Irving will work closely with the Monroe County Health Department and will be responsible for communicating the necessary health guidelines that need to be followed by the Gates Chili Central School District. He will serve as a central contact for schools and stakeholders, families, staff and other school community members and will ensure the district is in compliance and follows best practices per state and federal guidelines. 


    This framework includes procedures that will be followed in the following schools: 

    Florence Brasser Elementary School  - 585.247.1880 

    Neil Armstrong Elementary School  - 585.247.3190 

    Paul Road Elementary School  - 585.247.2144 

    Walt Disney Elementary School  - 585.247.3151 

    Gates Chili Middle School - 585.247.5050 

    Gates Chili High School - 585.247.5050 

  • Communication / Family and Community Engagement

    The district remains committed to communicating all elements of this plan to students, parents/guardians, staff and visitors. The plan is available to all stakeholders via the district website at www.gateschili.org/Coronavirus and will be updated throughout the school year, as necessary, to respond to local circumstances. A link to the plan appears on the website homepage. Every effort has been made to ensure that the plan is accessible to all individuals in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level A/AA. The plan can also be translated into other languages, via the translate feature located in the top, righthand corner of the district website. 

    The district will follow its existing engagement and communication protocols with parents/guardians regarding the provision of special education services for their child(ren). In addition, the district will make every effort to ensure that communication to parents/guardians is in their preferred language and mode of communication. 

    The district is committed to ensuring that all staff, students and their families learn and understand new expectations related to all public health policies and protocols. As part of this continuous training, the district will assess the best approach to communicating the information for each student’s age group and will provide frequent opportunities for staff and students to review these policies and protocols. This targeted education will help ensure that all staff and 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 face covering procedures, social distancing, respiratory hygiene, cleaning/disinfecting and identifying symptoms. The district will create and deploy signage throughout the district to address public health protections surrounding COVID-19. In addition to signage, the district will encourage all students, faculty, staff and visitors through verbal and written communication to adhere to the use of personal protective equipment. 

    The district is committed to creating a learning environment that protects student and staff health, safety and privacy. Our district will operate under a standard procedure for addressing situations in which an individual has tested positive for COVID-19 or appears symptomatic. If a student or staff member is sick or symptomatic or has had close contact with a positive case, the district will follow the protocols outlined in the Health and Safety section. 


    School Closures 

    School building administrators will communicate with each other regularly and, if needed, will consider closing school if absentee rates impact the ability of the school to operate safely. Specific conditions that warrant the closure of schools will be identified and displayed to all stakeholders in advance. The district will be in close communication with state and local health departments to determine when the school is unsafe for in-person instruction. Close communication will be ongoing between the superintendent and building administrators in the case of an emergency closing so that each building will be able to plan for an orderly closure and the district can notify students and their families. 

  • Health and Safety

    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 2021-22 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 has 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. 


    Health checks 

    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. 

    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. 

    • Hallways will be marked to direct the flow of foot traffic 
    • Acceptable face coverings are required while on the bus 
    • Students will be assigned seats in the cafeteria. They will be required to put their masks back on when finished eating.  
    • If staff meetings are too large for a particular meeting area, they will occur through the use of Zoom and/or Microsoft Teams 
    • Numbers of individuals in bathrooms 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. 


    Infection control strategies 

    Hand sanitizer will be placed throughout the building and in classrooms. Soap dispensers will be 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 
    • 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. 


    COVID-19 Testing 

    Students or staff with illness should stay home in accordance with Education Law § 906(1): “[w]henever…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 


    Contact Tracing 

    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. 


    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 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. 


    Health hygiene 

    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 

    Hand Hygiene 

    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  

    Respiratory Hygiene 

    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. 

    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: 

    • Bathrooms 
    • 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.) 
    • 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 
    • 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.   


    Visitors on campus 

    Parents/guardians/visitors will report to the main entry point. Parents/guardians/visitors to facilities will be required to wear face coverings and 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. 

  • Facilities

    In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection in the district, 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 that require review by the Office of Facilities Planning (OFP), 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 district plans to increase ventilation, to the greatest extent possible. Water systems will be flushed in all buildings. 

    • The district has worked with engineers to establish proper filtration requirements (e.g., filters that your HVAC system can handle) that will maintain adequate, code required ventilation as designed. 
    • Maximum number of individuals allowed to be in the bathroom at once will be regulated to one person per stall and, if applicable, plus one person in every other urinal. 
    • Drinking Water Facilities: bottle filler drinking fountains will be utilized instead of regular drinking fountains in order to maintain proper hygiene. There is more than one bottle filler per hundred occupants. 

    School safety drills 

    The district will conduct fire (evacuation) drills and lockdown drills as required by New York State and the fire code without exception. Schools 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. 

    The school district modifications to evacuation drill protocols will 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, the drill will be conducted with all students in the school building on that school day and may be necessary to do so during a class period that is extended for this purpose 
    • If schools reopen with a hybrid instruction model, schools will be certain that all students are receiving instruction in emergency procedures and participating in drills while they are in attendance in person. 
    • School buildings will conduct lockdown drills in classroom settings while maintaining social distancing/using masks 

    Changes to Space Utilization and/or Alterations 

    The district does not intend to change space utilization and/or make alterations, but if it becomes necessary; we will consult our architect and submit floor plans to OFP for approval and ensure the project submissions only dedicated to “COVID-19 Reopening” are labeled as such.   


    Tents/Leasing for Additional Space 

    The district does not intend to presently use tents or lease additional space.  Should this change, the district will consult OFP, as required. 


    Plumbing Facilities and Fixtures 

    • Minimum number of toilets available for use within each school building’s bathrooms will be clearly regulated and the minimum number required by building code will always be maintained. 
    • The district will ensure sinks and soap will always be available to all building occupants 
    • Any new Alcohol-based Hand-Rub Dispensers installed in any locations in the district will be in accordance with FCNYS 2020 Section 5705.5 
    • Bottle filler drinking fountains shall be used instead of regular drinking fountains in each school 
    • Drinking fountains and bathrooms will be cleaned regularly and log sheets will be used within each building to document when cleaning occurred 
    • Hand dryers will be disabled and touch free paper towel dispensers will be used instead in all buildings 

    In order to prevent Legionella risk, the district will implement the following practices when starting back up building water systems if they have been dormant: 

    • Flush the entire water system to replace all water 
    • Use an approved chlorine-testing device to measure residual chlorine, flush until measured levels are equal to or slightly less than the supplying utility’s chlorine residuals 

    Some flushing considerations are listed below. Additional flushing guidance can be found at the Environmental Science, Policy, and Research Institute (ESPRI) 12 website. 

    • Verify that testing for back flow assemblies is up to date prior to flushing 
    • Create a list of all plumbing fixtures that will need to be flushed including ice machines, dishwashers, and point of use (POU) treatment devices to ensure that no fixture is overlooked. Point of use filters should be replaced 
    • Make sure that fixture drains are functioning and can handle expected flows without overflowing 
    • During flushing operate all valves in the fully open position so that any particulate matter can be flushed through 
    • Pay close attention to float-operated or other restrictive valves which need to be manually opened to clear particulates and prevent fouling of the valves 
    • Remove all aerator screens before flushing 
    • Clean or replace aerator screens to get rid of scale deposits that may contain harmful metals (lead) or microbial biofilms 
    • Disinfect, heat sterilize, or replace showerheads especially if vulnerable populations have access to the showers 
    • Adjust valves back to normal operating positions to ensure that the system is rebalanced 
    • Return hot water systems to normal operating temperatures 
    • Document all start up actions in the daily maintenance log 
    • Evaluate the effectiveness of startup procedures relative to Legionella by testing for Legionella using an approved culture method or one cited by the National Academies of Science for testing of Legionella in water 

    Ventilation 

    All school buildings will increase ventilation with outdoor air to the greatest extent possible by opening of windows and doors if it does not present a danger to the occupants. The district will maintain adequate, code required ventilation (natural or mechanical) as designed and seek to increase fresh air ventilation rates to the extent possible to aid in maintaining a healthy indoor air quality and use the best filters possible to support this ventilation. Ventilation Systems will be run at a minimum of two hours before and after occupancy in all buildings. This is to create a thermal lag and minimize HVAC operations when occupied and allow as much fresh air to be pulled in as possible. Ventilation systems are all controlled through an automated system and will be open for pulling in outside air to the fullest extent possible when occupied by students and staff. Reporting will be tracked to ensure systems are operating at capacity. Unit ventilators will be checked continuously for proper operations. 

  • School Nutrition

    Meals onsite 

    For students onsite, meals will be provided while maintaining appropriate social distancing between students. Students do not need to wear face coverings when seated and eating.  They are required to put their masks back on when finished eating.  

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

    • Students will wash hands or use hand sanitizer before and after eating 
    • School nutrition staff members will follow all applicable health and safety protocols, including the wearing of face coverings and hand washing before handling food items 

    The district will operate in compliance with child nutrition program requirements. Communication with families in their preferred language will be provided via the district website translate feature.

  • Transportation

    The district 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 on school buses (e.g., entering, exiting, and seated). Parents/guardians will be encouraged to drive students to and from school, if able. 


    Social Distancing 

    Students will be seated two per seat unless seated with members of the same household and must maintain social distance on the bus to the extent practicable. Weather-permitting, school buses will transport passengers with windows and roof hatches ajar to provide additional airflow. Wheelchair school buses will configure wheelchair placement to ensure social distancing of three to six feet. 

    When students embark and disembark the bus, they should follow social distancing protocols. This will increase the time required to load and unload buses at schools in the morning and afternoon. School buildings will have staggered arrival and departure times to ensure social distancing. 

    Parents/guardians are encouraged to drop off or walk students to school to reduce density on buses. 


    Masks/Face Coverings on Buses 

    Gates Chili CSD buses will require all students and staff to wear face coverings. If a student does not have a mask, the bus driver will provide one. No student will be denied transportation if they do not have a mask. Students with medical exemptions approved by the district that relieves them of the requirement to wear a face covering will be appropriately socially distanced. 


    Bus Cleaning Protocol 

    All buses that are used every day by the district and any contract carrier buses will be cleaned once a day. Bus seats and high contact spots will be sprayed down using disinfectant after every trip in the morning (AM) and afternoon (PM). This means that buses will be disinfected at least four (4) times per day. Assurance of cleaning will be maintained as part of the daily bus driver checklist. 


    Hand Sanitizer 

    Non-alcohol-based sanitizer will be available per the Department of Transportation. School buses shall not be equipped with alcohol-based 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 alcohol-based hand sanitizer with them on school buses. 

    Hand sanitizer dispensers will be placed at the main entrance for students and staff use upon entry into the building. 


    Mandatory Transportation Requirements 

    Whether school is in session or otherwise, pupil transportation will be provided to non-public, parochial, private, charter schools. Additionally, transportation will be provided to students whose Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) have placed them out of district. All students are entitled to transportation by the district to the extent required by law. Transportation departments do not have the ability or the right to deny transportation for children who are in foster care, homeless or attend private or charter schools. Parents/guardians 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. 


    Bus Run Schedules and Work Hours for Staff 

    There may be multiple morning and afternoon bus runs. Due to increased cleaning requirements and increased parent drop-off and pick-up, start and end times for all staff may shift anywhere from 15-30 minutes. The length of the workday will remain unchanged for building staff. 


    School Bus Staff 

    If personnel are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, they will notify their employer as per the reporting protocols and seek medical attention. 

    School bus drivers, monitors, attendants and mechanics must wear a face covering when operating a school bus, unless medically unable to do so. 


    School Bus Staff: Personal Protective Protocol 

    Transportation departments/carriers will need to provide personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves for drivers, monitors and attendants on buses. Hand sanitizer will be provided for all staff in their transportation locations such as dispatch offices, employee lunch/break rooms and/or bus garages. 

    Transportation staff who must have direct physical contact with a child must wear gloves. Transportation staff may wear gloves if they choose to do so, but are not required unless they must be in physical contact with students. 

    Transportation staff will be encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water before and after morning and afternoon bus runs to prevent the spread of infection. 


    Training 

    Transportation staff members (drivers, monitors, attendants, mechanics and cleaners) will receive training. Transportation staff will be trained and provided periodic refreshers on the proper use of personal protective equipment, social distancing and the signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Training will be provided for every student during the required safety drills provided during the first week of school. 

     

  • Social-Emotional Well-Being

    The district recognizes that the social-emotional well-being of students and staff during these challenging times is critically important. The district has made available resources and referrals to address mental health, behavioral, and emotional needs of students and staff. 

    The district will address the pandemic as a TIG (Trauma, Illness and Grief) event. As such, the district will have mental health staff prepared to triage situations and support students as needed. The district will also work to train staff to provide them with the skills to provide students the supports they will require. 

    The district will review its comprehensive counseling plan and revise as necessary. Mental health support will be provided to staff, students and parents/guardians as needed. Students requiring mental health support will be referred to school mental health professionals. Outreach initiatives will be in place for students who do not return to school in the fall. Special considerations are warranted for students with pre-existing anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions; children with a prior history of trauma or loss; and students in early education who may be particularly sensitive to disruptions in routine and caregivers. The district recognizes that students facing other challenges, such as poverty, food insecurity, and homelessness, and those subjected to ongoing racial inequities may benefit from additional support and assistance. 

    The district has a comprehensive school counseling plan which was developed under the direction of certified school counselors. The plan is reviewed periodically and updated as needed. In addition, the district has established an advisory council that involves shared decision-making and is comprised of families, students, members of the board of education, school building and district, community-based service providers, teachers, certified school counselors, and other pupil personnel service providers. The advisory council informed the development of the comprehensive school counseling program plan. This program plan will be reviewed and updated to meet current needs. 

    Resources such as Employee Assistance Programs and other means to provide support and mental health services to staff will be established prior to reopening. EAP information is available for staff on the Staff Intranet. 

    The district will address professional development opportunities for staff regarding 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. 

    Instructional staff will be provided training in the following areas prior to students attending: 

    • Social-Emotional Learning, with topics to include: 
    • Trauma-informed practices for the classroom setting 
    • Utilizing community circles 
    • Resiliency in the classroom setting 
    • Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education, with topics to include: 
    • Creating a welcoming and affirming environment 
    • Communication skills and social injustices 
    • CR-SE Instructional practices 

  • School Schedules

    Students will follow a typical bell schedule under the fully in-person model.  

  • Attendance

    Attendance will be taken daily in school.  

  • Technology and Connectivity

    The district recognizes that adequate access to computing devices and high-speed internet are essential for education equity. Well before the COVID-19 pandemic, the district has been committed to leveraging the use of technology in a way that fosters student-centered learning, creates self-directed and collaborative learners and promotes global citizenship. 

    All students within the district will be provided with a laptop for the 2021-22 school year. The district will also provide a section on the website for the purpose of providing guidance and resources about hybrid and remote learning to students and parents/guardians. Prior to the start of the school year, the district will survey families and staff to have knowledge of their access to high-speed internet and provide reliable access to those in need. 

    The district’s instructional technology team will collaborate with leaders and educators on designing effective instructional experiences and best practices. Ongoing technical support will be provided to staff, students, and parents/guardians through an internal ticket system and telephone hotlines. 

    Students will be provided instruction on the multiple ways to participate in learning and demonstrate mastery of New York State Learning Standards in instruction models. This will be accomplished through the utilization of Education Law 2-d compliant digitally-rich resources and pedagogical best practices. 

  • Teaching and Learning

    The school calendar includes two Superintendent Conference Days before students arrive at school. The district will focus these in-service days on providing support to staff in the areas of health and safety protocols, social-emotional wellness, culturally-responsive and equitable practices, and technology integration. 

    Staff will spend time building relationships, supporting students with the transition back to school, and teaching social distancing etiquette at developmentally-appropriate levels.   

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

    Attendance will be taken daily and monitored to ensure that students are engaged. 

    Acknowledging that the typical content in each 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 student success. Grading practices will follow a standards-based framework designed to provide direct feedback regarding mastery of course content. 

    Students and staff grades UPK-12 and parents/guardians will utilize Schoology as the Learning Management System. It will also serve as a communication platform between teachers, students and parents/guardians, in addition to the district’s existing internal and external communication channels. Communication with families in their preferred language and mode will be provided by the district. 


    In-person Instruction 

    Students will wear masks in school. Barriers may be installed where appropriate. 

    Elementary students in grades UPK-5 will attend school fully in person up to five days per week: Elementary schools will emphasize grouping students by the same class/group of students and teacher (cohort) so each team functions independently as much as possible.  

    Secondary students in grades 6-12 will attend in-person up to five days per week. With in-person instruction, students will wear face coverings, maintain social distancing, and attend classes as aligned with their schedules. 

    Schools will minimize the movement of students. The district will adhere to current guidance between students when engaging in physical activity and/or performing arts in the school buildings. 


    Remote Instruction 

    We will not be offering a full-time remote instruction model.  Remote will only be offered on emergency closing days.  

  • Special Education

    The district will address the provision of free appropriate public education consistent with the need to protect the health and safety of students with disabilities and those providing special education services. 

  • Bilingual Education and World Languages (English as a New Language)

    The district will comply with the English Language Learners (ELLs) identification and initial enrollment process as required by Commissioner’s Regulations Part 154. 

    Required instructional units of study for ELLs will be provided based on their most-recently-measured English language proficiency level during in-person or hybrid instruction. Instructional staff will be encouraged to use visuals and demonstrations on hygiene and safety protocols such as hand-washing. Staff will check student understanding of that information. 

    The district will use a variety of resources to translate communication for parents/guardians and students. These include in-person interpreters, written translations, bilingual glossaries for students, over-the-phone interpreting services, as well as digital tools. 

    If schools are closed or closing due to COVID-19, ELL families will have access to all updates in their identified languages. 

  • Staff

    Teacher and Principal Evaluation System 

    All teachers and principals will continue to be evaluated pursuant to the district’s approved APPR plan. 


    Certification, Incidental Teaching and Substitute Teaching 

    All teachers will hold valid and appropriate certificates for teaching assignment, except where otherwise allowable under the Commissioner’s regulations (e.g., incidental teaching) or education law. 

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