2021-2022 Back to School Plan

VCSD is Following NYS Guidelines Regarding Travel

 

 

Introduction I Communication I Health/Safety I Facilities I Child Nutrition I Transportation I Social Emotional Well Being I School Schedules I Calendar I Attendance I Technology I Teaching/Learning I PreK I Athletics I Extracurricular I Special Education I StaffingI Online

Introduction 

At Valley Central, our primary commitment is to the students and families we serve. Our priority is providing a robust education while keeping students, staff, and families safe and healthy. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has been emphatic in stating that children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), remote learning highlighted inequities in education, was detrimental to the educational attainment of students of all ages, and exacerbated the mental health crisis among children and adolescents. Therefore,  returning to full-time in-person learning is a priority for the Valley Central School District. 

Valley Central will return to 100% in-person learning in September 2021. Our Back to School  21-22 plan will define clear guidance for the operation of our six schools and ALC. Our plan  will align with the regulations developed in collaboration with the CDC, NYSDOH, the NYS  

Education Department and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The State Education  Department has advised that at this time school districts use the CDC’s Guidance for  COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools and the American Academy of Pediatrics’  COVID-19 Guidance for Safe Schools as resources for opening schools in September. As suggested by the CDC, Valley Central will monitor community transmission, vaccination coverage, and occurrence of outbreaks to guide our decisions on the level of layered prevention and strategies. Percentage Positive Results by County Dashboard | New York Forward/  Vaccine Demographic Data | COVID-19 Vaccine 

Our plan retains a strong focus on academic instruction to enhance student performance and address learning loss, as well as an emphasis on the social-emotional needs of our students,  which is a priority. Marianne Serratore, Assistant Superintendent,  (marianne.serratore@vcsdny.org) will continue to serve as the District’s COVID-19  Coordinator. She 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 following the best practices per state and federal guidelines. Of course, as with every plan being developed throughout New York State, this document is fluid and will change as necessary based on guidance from the state, CDC, and NYSED and in consideration of our families and our staff.

How Our 2021-2022 Back to School Plan was Developed

Communication/Family and Community Engagement 

The District remains committed to communicating all elements of our 21-22 Back to School plan to students, parents, and guardians, staff, and visitors. The plan is available to all stakeholders via the District website and will be updated throughout the school year, as necessary, to respond to local circumstances. 

All necessary information will be communicated to District staff, students, parents/guardians,  visitors, education partners, and vendors via our existing communication modes, which include the District website, Facebook, and School Messenger. 

Valley Central’s Communication Goals: 

  • To provide regular updates about health and safety, scheduling, and all other information faculty, staff and families should be aware of. 
  • To provide information to families through a wide array of platforms including email, telephone calls, text messaging, social media, and website postings.
  • To provide information on how families can access technology and receive technical support to assist with the utilization and maintenance of equipment. 

Clear messaging will be prepared, in multiple languages as needed, and consistently communicated throughout the year. Minimum monthly communication will provide  information on the following topics: 

Who to contact with questions, concerns, or suggestions.  

The facts as we currently know them (NYSDOH, CDC). 

The importance of social distancing, monitoring symptoms of COVID-19, and when to stay home. 

Set protocols for entrance (screening) and the review process for staff calling in sick.  Constant reminders for staff to stay home if they feel sick.

Encourage and implement social distancing in bathrooms, break rooms, hallways, etc.  Installing social distancing markers on the floors, etc. 

Practice proper hand hygiene. Staff and students are allowed to use hand sanitizer,  but hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is still more effective.  Hand sanitizer works best on clean hands. 

Encourage and practice proper respiratory etiquette (i.e., coughing or sneezing into your elbow if a tissue is not available). 

Encouraging personal responsibility for yourself and your work area. Educating the school community on district policies/procedures, including how to properly wear and dispose of a face mask/respirator. 

Health and Safety 

Connie Griffin (constance.griffin@vcsdny.org) is our District Nurse Coordinator and oversees the health and safety aspects of our 2021-2022 Back to School Plan. Collaboration with school nurses is essential and Valley Central will involve school health services staff and consider collaborative strategies that address needed health services for our students.  

The CDC has recommended the following 8 prevention strategies, which the Valley Central School District will adhere to: 

Promoting Vaccination 

Consistent and Correct Mask Use for Unvaccinated Individuals 

Physical Distancing to the Best of our Ability 

Screening 

Improving Ventilation 

Encouraging Hand Washing and Respiratory Etiquette 

Reminding students and staff to stay home when sick and to get tested.

Continuation of Contact Tracing and Quarantine when Necessary

Continuation of High Standards of Cleaning and Disinfection 

Promoting Vaccination  

➢ Valley Central will promote vaccination among teachers, staff, and families by providing information about COVID-19 vaccinations and establishing supportive policies and practices that make being vaccinated as easy and convenient as possible.

Consistent and Correct Mask Use for All Individuals 

As recommended by the CDC all Valley Central teachers, staff, students, and visitors will wear masks regardless of vaccination status. 

Everyone must wear a mask while on a school bus, regardless of vaccination status.

Masks do not need to be worn outdoors.  

Each classroom, main office, and health office will have a supply of masks as needed. 

Masks can be manufactured or homemade. 

All nurses will have surgical masks and medical-grade fitted N95 masks available for when they encounter a sick student or staff that are showing signs and symptoms of  COVID-19. In addition, they will have face shields, gloves, and a gown to protect themselves and the students. 

Fact sheets on proper usage and cleansing of masks will be posted on the District website, in health offices, and throughout each building. Cleansing of cloth masks should be done daily. Surgical masks should be discarded daily. If the mask is soiled,  wet, or torn, it will be changed. 

Face shields and/ or other accommodations, including frequent mask breaks and social distancing, will be considered for those who cannot medically tolerate a face covering.  

Physical Distancing to the Best of our Ability 

The recommendation is to maintain at least 3 feet of distance between students within classrooms, combined with indoor mask-wearing. 

Cohorts will be utilized as much as possible.  

For lunches, Valley Central will maximize physical distancing as much as possible when moving through the food service line and while eating (especially indoors). Valley  Central will use additional space as we are able to help facilitate distancing.  

Screening and Testing 

When community transmission is at moderate, substantial, or high levels, Valley Central will follow the CDC, NYSDOH, and local health departments’ recommendations for screening and testing in schools if required.

Ventilation 

Valley Central is aware that improving ventilation is an important COVID-19  prevention strategy. We will bring fresh outdoor air into the buildings to help keep  virus particles from concentrating inside.  

Multiple inside doors and windows will be kept open as much as possible. 

Child-safe fans will be used to increase the effectiveness of open windows.

Windows on buses will be cracked to improve air circulation. 

 

Hand Washing/Sanitizing 

All entrance areas will have hand sanitizer available to accommodate any staff,  visitors, and/ or students as they enter the buildings. 

All nurses’ offices will have sinks for hand washing with soap and water and hand  sanitizer. 

Students will be given time to use the bathroom and hand wash/hand sanitize  throughout the day, in particular when coming to school, before lunch, after lunch,  and at the end of day at a minimum. 

All teachers and staff are recommended to use hand washing or use hand  sanitizer throughout the day 

Hand washing with soap and water is still the gold standard for prevention of  disease. Hand washing should be done with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Any hand sanitizer used in Valley Central Schools will have a minimum of 60%  alcohol. When using hand sanitizer, hands should be rubbed together with sanitizer  until completely dry. Hand sanitizer will be in areas where students may use it under  supervision. 

Students and staff must practice good hand hygiene to help reduce the spread of  COVID-19. Schools will plan time in the school day schedule to allow for hand  hygiene. To ensure all faculty, staff, and students comply with daily screening  requirements, Valley Central will do the following: 

Hand hygiene includes: 

○ Signage encouraging hand washing and correct techniques; Traditional  hand washing (with soap and warm water, lathering for a minimum of 20  seconds), which is the preferred method. This can be accomplished by  

singing or humming the happy birthday song twice; 

○ Adequate facilities and supplies for hand washing including soap and  water; 

○ Use of paper towels or touch-free paper towel dispensers where feasible  (hand dryers are not recommended as they can aerosolize germs); 

○ Use of no-touch/foot pedal trash can where feasible; 

○ Extra time in the schedule to encourage frequent hand washing/sanitizing

 

Students and staff should wash/sanitize hands as follows: 

○ Upon entering the building and classrooms; 

○ After sharing objects or surfaces; 

○ Before and after snacks and lunch; 

○ After using the bathroom; 

○ After helping a student with toileting; 

○ After sneezing, wiping, or blowing nose or coughing into hands; 

○ Anytime hands are visibly soiled; 

○ When handwashing is not available use a hand sanitizer 

Hand Sanitizer 

At times when hand washing is not available, students and staff  may use a hand sanitizer containing a minimum of 60% alcohol. It should be  noted the sanitizers are flammable and students must be monitored and  

supervised when using these. Using hand sanitizers will include: 

○ Signage placed near sanitizer dispensers indicating soiled hands should  be washed with soap and water; 

○ Placement of sanitizer dispensers located near entrances and throughout  common areas.

 

Stay at Home When Sick

Staff will be told to stay home if they are sick. If they have a fever or have signs and  symptoms of COVID-19, they will contact their health care provider. 

Parents will be told to keep ill students home. 

Any student or staff with a temperature of 100 or above will be told to stay  home. 

People with a fever will be told to stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever  is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicines, such as acetaminophen.

Contact Tracing and Quarantine and Testing 

The Orange County Health Department will provide guidance on who is to  quarantine or isolate. 

QUARANTINE keeps an unvaccinated individual who was in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 away from others. If you had close contact  with a person who has COVID-19: 

○ Stay home until 10 days after your last contact. 

○ Check your temperature twice a day and watch for symptoms of  COVID- 19 for 14 days after your last contact.

○ If possible, stay away from people who are at higher-risk for getting very  sick from COVID-19 and who are unvaccinated.

ISOLATION keeps someone who is sick or tested positive for COVID-19  without symptoms away from others, even in their own home. 

Health office staff will communicate with the Orange County Department of  Health on positive cases of COVID-19 and will assist in tracing for possible  quarantine orders for students or staff that were in contact with a positive  COVID-19 person. 

The communication person for the Orange County Department of Health is  Heather Boss, RN, Director of Patient Services. Phone number is 845-360-6600 Fully vaccinated people who have a known exposure to someone with suspected or  confirmed COVID -19 do not need to be tested or be quarantined, as long as they are not  exhibiting symptoms. 

High Standard Cleaning/Disinfecting

All nurses’ offices will be cleaned and disinfected regularly with attention to the high  traffic areas, including doorknobs and handles, by the custodial staff. In addition,  nurses will be supplied with an approved disinfectant that they can use between each  student visit. 

All classrooms and buildings at large will be cleaned in accordance with NYS  Guidelines. 

All high traffic areas will be cleaned and disinfected regularly by the custodial staff. 

Other COVID-19 Health Protocol 

Sneeze Guards 

Sneeze guards will be used at desk locations in the health office to protect from germs  and bacteria. 

Signage used to notify visitors and staff at entrance 

Signs will be posted that states that all teachers, staff, students and visitors must  wear masks regardless of vaccination status 

Signs will be posted to encourage best practice use of masks, socially distancing, stay  at home if you are sick, stopping the spread of germs, and hand washing, to be posted  around each school. 

We will use standardized posters created by CDC, NYSDOH, or NYSED for a  consistent message.

Glove Use 

Gloves will be used by health office staff for all physical contact with students and staff  and for all treatments and procedures. Hands will be washed and gloves changed  between students and staff. 

Glove usage is only necessary for staff, other than the nurses, when they are cleaning  off an area for usage, cleaning equipment after use, and in food service. 

For routine daily work, gloves are not recommended for use. 

Hand washing is the best defense against exposure, and the use of gloves requires hand  washing before and after the use of gloves. 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) 

Gloves, face-covering masks, face shields, safety goggles, N95 Respirators, and gowns will be available in every health office and used per CDC, NYSDOH, and SED  guidelines. 

All nurses will have proper fit tested N95 masks. Fit testing will be done by  Orange Ulster BOCES Risk Management Department. 

If N95 masks are unavailable, a surgical mask and face shield will be worn when  needed. 

PPE will be disposed of properly, according to CDC, NYSDOH, and OSHA  guidelines. 

Information on use and disposal of PPE will be available to all staff. 

Caring for non-sick students or non-COVID-19 suspected illnesses 

Staff will be trained on signs and symptoms of illness and send any students with signs  of illness or complaints of illness to the school nurse. Symptoms to be observed, per  guidance from the CDC and NYSED, are flushed cheeks, rapid or difficulty breathing  without recent physical activity, fatigue and/ or irritability, and frequent use of the  bathroom. 

Students that require treatment for injury or chronic conditions will be assessed and  treated in a separate location from sick students. 

Students that have non-COVID-19 symptoms of illness may be treated in the same  area as students receiving treatment or care. 

Students requiring a nebulizer treatment will be treated in a separate room with  nursing personnel wearing PPE. Health care providers and parents will be contacted  by the school nurse on whether or not a student may use a prescribed metered dose  inhaler with spacer in lieu of a nebulizer treatment. 

Diagnostic equipment will be cleansed between students and if available,  disposable equipment will be used. 

Areas will be disinfected after each student and staff by custodial staff or  health office staff wearing appropriate PPE. 

Confidentiality will be maintained.

 

Caring for students / staff with symptoms of COVID-19 

Students or staff exhibiting signs of illness or signs of COVID-19 will immediately  notify the school nurse and be sent to the school health office for assessment by the  Registered Nurse. 

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19, as per the CDC, will be shared with all staff  and updated if needed. 

Health office staff will wear appropriate PPE when assessing and caring for  students/ staff of suspected COVID-19. 

If staff or students show signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and there is no other  explanation for their illness, they will be isolated in a supervised separate area and  sent home. 

Health office staff supervising the isolation room will have appropriate PPE as per  CDC, NYSDOH, and NYSED. 

The parent/ guardian will be called to pick up the student with suspected symptoms  of COVID-19. When they arrive at the school, they will call the health office and  the ill student will be brought out to the parent/ guardian. 

The parent/ guardian will be instructed to call their health care provider, local  clinic, or urgent care center. 

If any student or staff member exhibits emergency warning signs such as trouble  breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to arouse, or  bluish lips or face, 911 will be called and the operator will be informed that the person  may have COVID-19. 

The isolation room and any other areas that were used by the person suspected or  confirmed to have COVID-19 will be cleaned and disinfected before it can be  reopened for use. 

School staff will be aware of the symptoms of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in  Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19, which is a serious condition associated  with COVID-19 in children and youth. Parents/ guardians will be told to look for  symptoms of MIS-C and they will be told to immediately follow-up with their  healthcare provider should any of the symptoms be present: 

○ Fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes 

abdominal pain, feeling extra tired 

911 will be called if any student exhibits signs and symptoms of MIS-C.

Confidentiality will be maintained.

 

Returning to school after illness 

CDC guidance will be followed for allowing a student or staff member to  return to school after exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. 

If a person is not diagnosed by a healthcare provider (physician, nurse  practitioner, or physician assistant) with COVID-19 they can return  to school: 

○ Once there is no fever, without the use of fever reducing medicines,  and they have felt well for 24 hours; 

○ If they have been diagnosed with another condition or have a  healthcare provider written note stating they are clear to return to  school. 

If a person is diagnosed with COVID-19 by a healthcare provider based on  a test, or their symptoms, or does not get a COVID-19 test but has had  symptoms, they should not be at school and should stay at home until: ○ It has been at least ten days since the individual first had symptoms; 

○ It has been at least three days since the individual has had a fever  (without using fever reducing medicine); and 

○ It has been at least three days since the individual’s symptoms improved,  including cough and shortness of breath. 

Visitors and Facility Entry 

To ensure all staff, and students comply with building entry and exit procedures, Valley  Central will do the following: 

Limit nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or  organizations during the school day. 

○ All visitors must be wearing proper face covering prior to entering any building  and it must be worn at all times. All visitors must check in at the greeter’s desk  for temperature screening and to fill out the COVID-19 Check–In Health  Screening. Visitors will have restricted access to the building. 

Where feasible, entry and egress in and out of all buildings will be limited to a  single location, except for the arrival and dismissal of students. If applicable, a  single point entry and single point egress will be identified to minimize cross traffic.  All other visitors entering the buildings will occur through the main entrance to a  check-in point at the greeter station. 

A face covering must be worn by all individuals, students, staff, and visitors upon  entry to Valley Central property. 

All individuals, students, staff, and visitors must wear a face covering.

Proper face covering includes, but is not limited to, a surgical mask, cloth mask,  balaclava or bandana and must completely cover the individual’s mouth and nose.

A plastic face shield alone is not an acceptable face covering.

All individuals may choose to utilize their own face covering, however face  coverings can and will be provided by Valley Central. 

Daily Health Screening

Parents, caregivers, or guardians will be strongly encouraged to monitor their children for  signs and symptoms of infectious illness every day through home-based symptom screening.  Students who are sick or exhibit symptoms of any illness should not attend school in-person and  their health care provider should be contacted. 

Staff will take their temperature and monitor themselves for any signs and symptoms of  illness daily. Any staff member who has any signs of illness will notify their administrator and  stay home. Staff members who have not self-screened prior to coming into the building will  immediately report to the health office for screening before starting their workday. 

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 may include but are not limited to 

  • Fever or chills (100.0 or above) 
  • Cough 
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 
  • Fatigue 
  • Muscle or body aches 
  • Headaches 
  • New loss of taste or smell 
  • Sore throat 
  • Congestion or runny nose 
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 

Children and adolescents with the virus that causes COVID-19 may experience any, all,  or none of these symptoms. 

Vendor Practices

All vendors must be wearing proper face covering prior to entering any building and it  must be worn at all times. 

Vendors will access the entry designated by administration and have restricted access to  the building. No vendor should access the building unless it is necessary for the  completion of his or her job. 

Training

 

Valley Central will train all personnel on new protocols and frequently communicate safety  guidelines. Training material is designed to be easy to understand and available in the  appropriate language and literacy level for all workers.

 

Valley Central will ensure all students are taught or trained how to follow new COVID- 19  protocols safely and correctly, including but not limited to hand hygiene, proper face covering  wearing, social distancing, and respiratory hygiene. Additional training will be provided in: 

  • Prevention of the spread of disease by staying home when they are sick.
  • Proper respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes. 
  • Avoiding the use of communal objects. If communal objects must be used,  provide information on proper disinfection procedures between uses. Examples of  communal objects include, but are not limited to, other workers’ phones, desks,  offices, computers or other devices, other work tools and equipment. 
  • Provide employees and students with up-to-date education and training  on COVID-19. 
  • Risk factors and protective behaviors (i.e., cough etiquette and care of PPE).  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools childcare/schools.html 

Training for Screeners 

Valley Central will identify individuals familiar with CDC, OSHA protocols, and DOH  guidelines in each building who will be a trained screener. Screeners will wear appropriate  employer-provided PPE. 

Training topics for all staff and substitutes 

  • Proper hand washing: proper hand hygiene. Promote frequent and thorough hand  washing by providing employees, the school community, and visitors with a place to  wash their hands. If soap and running water are not immediately available, provide  alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60% alcohol. Provide training on proper  handwashing and hand sanitizer use https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how handwashing.html

Hand washing video 

Provide training for faculty/staff on how to address close contact interactions with  students as part of everyday job tasks. 

  • Operating procedures (various by building) 

Entrance into the building 

Cleaning procedure 

Sick child pick up 

Staff who are sick or suspected to be sick https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019- ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick

  • Proper cleaning techniques 

Cleaning and disinfecting  

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/clean-disinfect/index.html

  • Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces,
    Businesses, Schools, and Homes 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-building-facility.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fcommunity%2Freopen-guidance.htmlhttps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/clean-disinfect/index.html

  • Hazard Communication – Right-To-Know 

Proper use of chemicals and Safety Data sheets 

https://www.osha.gov/hazcom

No chemicals from home 

Transfer of hand sanitizer in smaller containers 

List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) 

https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus/about-list-n-disinfectants-coronavirus-covid-19-0

  • Exposure Control Plan – with a focus on Pandemic/COVID-19
  •  Personal Protective Equipment – PPE 

Proper type, use, and size 

Cleaning and sanitizing of the face covering (if applicable) 

Provide training for staff and students on wearing, putting on, removing and  discarding PPE, including in the context of their current and potential duties

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy cloth-face- coverings.html 

  • Use of face coverings (donning/doffing) (cloth vs. surgical) 

Face coverings don/doff video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQxOc13DxvQ 

  • Respirator Protection (N95 – required for identified employees per NYS) 

Inclusive into your existing Respirator Protection Program or can be a  separate Respirator Protection Program for medical staff only 

Training provided for identified personnel only  

OSHA Requirements for Occupational Use of N95 Respirators in Healthcare

Signs and Messages 

Signs will be posted in highly visible locations (e.g., school entrances, restrooms) in various  languages that promote everyday protective measures and describe how to effectively stop  the spread of germs by properly washing hands and properly wearing a face covering. 

When Students Eat in Classrooms 

  • We will train all staff on food allergies, including signs and symptoms of allergic  reactions. 

Facilities 

Ryan Schmidt (ryan.schmidt@vcsdny.org) is our Director of Facilities and oversees the  facilities operations aspects of our Reopening Plan. 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. 

Classrooms, Cafeterias and Other Instructional Spaces 

  • Valley Central will ensure that all social distancing of 3 feet is possible to the best of our  ability in all spaces throughout the buildings.  
  • Social distancing and face coverings will be required. 

Nurse Stations 

  • All students and staff are required to wear appropriate face coverings.
  • N95 Respirator use for nurses should be limited to situations of suspected COVID-19
  • Nurses must receive proper training and fitment of N95 Respirators prior to use.
  • Where applicable, nurse stations have been reconfigured to: 

○ Maintain social distancing of no less than 6ft. 

○ Create “sick” and “well” zones. 

  • Students that receive daily medication should be treated separately from students  presenting with symptoms of illness.
  • Nebulizer treatments should be conducted in a separate isolated space with adequate fresh  air circulation. 
  • Physical separation will be achieved by utilizing: 

○ Individual exam rooms 

○ Polycarbonate barriers 

○ Retractable dividing curtain walls. 

○ Isolation Room/s 

  • Individuals presenting with symptoms representative of COVID-19 will be immediately  isolated to reduce risk of transmission. 
  • A separate room will be utilized where applicable. 
  • Reference the Isolation Room/s section for additional information.

    Isolation Rooms

  • Where applicable, separate, independent room/s with a door in close proximity to the  exterior will be utilized for quarantining individuals who present with symptoms representative  of COVID-19. 
  • Where excess space is not available, nurse’s stations will be equipped with dividing  curtains allowing for both a physical divide and at minimum six feet of separation.
  • These rooms have been identified in each building. 

Greeter Stations 

  • Greeter stations will remain at all entrances of each building. 
  • Greeter stations will serve as the primary location for accounting for all individuals  entering and exiting the building. 
  • Polycarbonate barriers will be installed to protect all individuals. 
  • Frequently touched materials have been removed. 

Computer Labs 

  • Cleaning and disinfection of computer labs and keyboards will be frequent.
  •  Keyboards will be wiped and disinfected before and after each use.
  • Keyboard covers may be utilized to aid in the cleaning and disinfection process.
  • Students will be instructed to wash/sanitize hands prior to and after touching the  keyboards along with other frequently touched surfaces.

 

Library Spaces 

  • All soft covered surfaces that cannot be properly cleaned and disinfected have been  removed. 

○ Bean bag chairs 

○ Upholstered couches or chairs 

○ Area rugs 

Water Fountains 

As required by New York State Code, a potable water supply will be provided per 150  occupants, but not less than 1 source per floor. 

  • Additional bottle filler stations will be installed where necessary. 
  • These appliances will be routinely cleaned and disinfected as described in the Cleaning  and Disinfection Section. 

Floor Demarcations 

  • All corridor floors and stair treads have been fitted with markings to indicate directional  traffic flow and social distancing. 
  • Corridor doors will all be affixed open using electromagnetic hold-open devices to  minimize the need to touch doors. 

Child Nutrition 

Eleanore Mills (eleanore.mills@vcsdny.org) is our School Lunch Manager and oversees all  aspects of child nutrition in our Reopening Plan. All schools in Valley Central will follow  SFA policies when communicating about school meal services, eligibility, options and  changes in operations. All communications will be provided through a variety of  communication methods including website, social media, emails, robo calls, newsletters, and  regular mail and translated into the languages spoken by families. 

Breakfast and lunch will be provided at no cost to all students. Breakfast will be grab and go  in all buildings. There will be a la carte items available at cost.  

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 as  long as they are appropriately socially distanced.

The District will ensure social distancing between individuals while eating in the school  cafeteria to the best of our ability. If not feasible, meals may be served in alternate areas or in  staggered meal periods to ensure social distancing and proper cleaning and disinfection  between students. 

The sharing of food and beverages (e.g., buffet style meals, snacks) is prohibited. Store  bought food in its original packaging will be allowed for social events.  

Transportation 

Brad Conklin (brad.conklin@vcsdny.org) is our Business Official and oversees the  transportation aspects of our Back to School Plan. First Student is Valley Central’s  transportation services contractor. Valley Central and First Student will conduct  transportation activities that are consistent with state-issued public transit guidance and  NYSED School guidelines.  

Students and First Student staff must wear acceptable face coverings at all times on school  buses and should maintain appropriate social distancing. Parents or Guardians of students that  are unable to wear masks must contact Connie Griffin; the District’s Nurse Coordinator, prior  to boarding a school bus and provide the appropriate documentation.  

Parents and legal guardians are encouraged to transport students to school to reduce  density on buses 

Cleaning and Disinfecting 

  • Buses will be disinfected twice a day 

Bus protocols for a reported case of COVID-19 on a school bus 

Brad Conklin will be notified. The COVID 19 Coordinator will then notify building administration and a plan will be implemented to contact parents of students on that bus. 

Students on Transportation 

  • As was outlined in the Health and Safety section of this guidance, all  parents/guardians will be required to ensure their child/children are not  experiencing any signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and do not have a fever of  100 degrees or more prior to them boarding their method of transportation to  school; 
  • Students must wear a mask on a school bus if they are physically able. 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; 
  • Students who do not have a mask cannot be denied transportation and will be  provided one by the bus driver 

Required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – First Student 

  • Disposable gloves 
  • Face Covering/Mask 
  • Face Shield (if applicable) 

Routing 

  • Student movement between bus routes will be limited.  

Social Emotional Well-Being  

Georgia Patchen (georgia.patchen@vcsdny.org) is our Director of Pupil Services and Special  Programs and oversees the social and emotional aspects of our Back to School Plan. Valley  Central is committed to prioritizing social emotional well-being – not at the expense of academics, but in order to create the mental, social and emotional space to access rigorous  academic content with confidence. School Psychologists, Student Assistance Counselors and  additional mental health professionals, provide student, family and staff support.  

Student Supports

  • The District is moving forward with the implementation of the Yale RULER approach to  Social Emotional Learning. The District currently utilizes School Psychologists and  Student Assistance Counselors to provide student support. To address the growing  mental health needs of our students, the District will add four positions (high school,  middle school, elementary schools, attendance). In addition to providing mental health  support, these professionals will assist with attendance concerns, Yale RULER  implementation and other SEL programming.  
  • Assist with facilitation of classroom guidance on social distance practices in school.
  • Check in with emotionally fragile students as they return to school to assess level of  functioning. The Valley Central School District will provide additional mental health  support 
  • Home visits will be conducted as a means to check and connect with students and  families. Staff will follow all guidance for social distancing and wearing of protective  gear such as masks. 
  • Provide individual counseling to students who express fears, loss, anxiety and/or signs  of depression by providing age-appropriate stress management and coping strategies.  FOR SIGNS OF DEPRESSION, SUICIDAL THOUGHTS AND/OR PRESENTING  AS DANGER TO OTHERS, PLEASE CONDUCT RISK ASSESSMENT AND  FOLLOW NORMAL SCHOOL YEAR PROTOCOLS. 
  • Refer students to outside counseling as needed. If a student attends private  outpatient counseling, obtain consent to coordinate services with outpatient  providers to support students and their families. 
  • For students suffering from more severe anxieties, a plan may need to be developed with  the families to have the student return to the building. This may involve being met by a  mental health professional at the start of the day, check-in with mental health staff  throughout the school day as well as a partial school day with clear steps as to when a full  day of schooling will resume for the student.  
  • Provision of student engagement interventions, after school social emotional groups, and  mental health programming through the physical education department. 
  • Identify student needs for food and shelter. Provide assistance through community  resources and through Valley Central Programs (Backpack Snack Attack, Food  Pantry). These services are to be coordinated with the Attendance/Homeless  Liaison.  
  • As many students may be returning to in-person learning for the first time in over a  year, it is important to begin the year with team building activities to create an  environment of trust, safety and interpersonal relationships. Each building will be  tasked to create/conduct activities. These activities will assist in returning to the  daily structure of school and forming interpersonal relationships.  

Family Supports 

The District will utilize School Psychologists, Student Assistance Counselors and other  mental health professionals to meet the growing needs of our students and their families.  They will meet these needs by: 

  • Provide information to families on District and Building Reopening Plans.
  • Assist families with fears about allowing their children to return to school. Share  resources on signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression. Assist with referrals to  community agencies as needed. The school and families may develop plans to assist with  reentry to the building.  
  • Make contact with identified families that require assistance with obtaining outpatient  appointments for their children, food, shelter and clothing. 
  • Conduct home visits following social distance guidelines and wearing protective gear  such as masks.

Staff Supports 

Valley Central school psychologists, student assistance counselors and mental health  professionals will: 

  • Assist the staff implementation of the Yale RULER approach. 
  • Assist with facilitation of professional development on signs and symptoms of  anxiety, depression, and lack of student motivation. 
  • Assist with supporting readjustment period for new school schedule and social  distance guidelines. Provide assistance and guidance with classroom behaviors.
  • Visit classrooms to observe signs of stress and anxiety in the adults. Discuss  concerns with administration. ADMINISTRATION SHOULD CONTACT  HUMAN RESOURCES FOR REFERRAL TO EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE  PROGRAM AS NEEDED. 

Valley Central employees have access to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)  which offers many free services including face-to-face and virtual counseling.  Information about all social-emotional supports will be made widely available to  the Valley Central community through our website. We are committed to  developing/making accessible family/caregiver-appropriate social and emotional  learning (SEL) content to be used during all phases of our re-entry. 

School Schedules  

Each building will provide families with schedules specific to their school. Information  pertaining to schedules can be found in the student handbooks, as well as on the Valley Central  School District Website. Secondary schools post individual schedules on Parent/Student Portal

Calendar  

The Valley Central 2021-2022 Calendar is located on our website.  

Attendance, Attendance Reporting and Chronic Absenteeism  

The District will continue to follow its established attendance policies. All schools will  monitor daily attendance and/or required daily scheduled student contact and engagement  regardless of the format of instruction being used throughout the school year. Attendance  policies and procedures will be communicated with families and students prior to the start of  the school year, or if the instructional model changes during the year, and will be recorded  daily in SchoolTool. Reports will be generated to identify students who are absent and/or chronically absent and contact will be made with their families to determine reasons for  absence and needs or barriers the student may have to participate in school. The District will  use multi-tiered strategies to proactively support attendance for all students, as well as  differentiated strategies to identify and support those at higher risk for chronic absenteeism. 

Valley Central is committed to collaborating with parents and guardians in addressing  attendance issues and providing interventions to prevent chronic absenteeism. Valley Central  has added a support person to address issues with attendance. An action plan is being created  with a central emphasis on family engagement leading up to and through the start of school.  With the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, plans will be in place for outreach to  families of students who do not return. 

Chronic absenteeism, which includes both excused and unexcused absences, is defined as  missing 18+ days per school year. While we recognize that many factors will influence student  attendance, it is the expectation that parents and guardians will keep the school informed of  any circumstances impacting their child’s ability to attend and/or participate in school, so that  we may work together to develop solutions. It should be noted that the District is obligated to  notify and collaborate with outside agencies when students are chronically absent. 

Technology and Connectivity  

Christopher Mohr (christopher.mohr@vcsdny.org) is our Director of Technology and  oversees the technical aspects of our Reopening Plan.  

Valley Central has been committed to ongoing planning and implementation of District  technologies to ensure equitable access for staff and students. In the event that the District is  forced to go to remote learning, the Valley Central Technology Department is fully prepared  to ensure we are ready.  

  • Valley Central has increased its total internet bandwidth to continue to support the  increased use of remote learning should the need arise. The team has initiated plans that  are mindful of student home access to reliable internet and computers.  
  • Valley Central has purchased a sufficient number of new Chromebooks for students in  order to support the remote learning if the need should arise. 
  • Valley Central has acquired a sufficient number of hotspots to assist families without  internet access.  
  • Valley Central has procured, managed and/or maintained hardware, software, licenses,  learning management systems, etc. to support and improve virtual instruction and  student engagement.
  • Valley Central will continue to identify professional learning needs for teachers and  continue to support their development of skills and pedagogy in a virtual learning  environment. 
  • Valley Central will maintain a “Helpdesk” system for parents/students/teachers to  report technical issues that might be experienced during remote learning. Communicate  protocols to these stakeholders to inform them in advance of how to gain assistance in  such cases. 
  • The District will also schedule opportunities to connect with families to educate them  on how to use the technologies and connect to the instructional activities. 

Teaching and Learning 

Marianne Serratore (marianne.serratore@vcsdny.org) is our Assistant Superintendent for  Curriculum and Instruction. She, along with the building principals, oversees the teaching and  learning aspects of our Back to School Plan.  

  • All classroom instruction for the 21-22 school year will be 100% in person unless  mandated otherwise by the State.  

Quarantined Students 

If a student is quarantined due to COVID 19, he/she will be provided with remote instruction.  

  • This instruction will be a combination of asynchronous and synchronous instruction.
  • When determining the correct combination of instruction it is always important to ask  ourselves what is best for this student?  
  • Teachers will establish a Google Classroom for remote learning. All live instruction  will be conducted through Google Meets and all instructions and digital learning  material will be posted to the Google Classroom. 
  • All students will be provided with a district Chromebook. 
  • There should be regular streaming of lessons during the quarantine period to ensure  the student stays connected and engaged. This applies to special areas, AIS and  student support.  
  • Materials may also be sent home to the students.  
  • The District has created a list of approved programs and applications. In order to  comply with State and Federal privacy regulations, teachers must not use technology  that includes any student data (including login information) that has not been  approved by the District. 
  • Teachers must use Class Link. 

 Sudden School Closures 

In the event that the Valley Central School District is fully closed due to COVID -19,  the District is prepared for 100% online instruction. Guidelines for online instruction  will be provided if such as need arises.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) 

While planning for CTE instruction, whether in-person, remote or hybrid models, Valley  Central has collaborated with Orange-Ulster BOCES to ensure high school instructional plans  are aligned. OU BOCES has developed models that ensure NYS Learning Standards, applicable  industry certification requirements; clinical and work-based learning hours have been met. In  addition, their plans follow all NYSDOH health and safety guidelines and social distancing. 

Universal Pre-K 

Tammy Coleman (tammy.coleman@vcsdny.org) is the Director of Data/Testing  and UPK and oversees our Universal Pre-K program. As a District that provides half-day and  full-day UPK, we attest that we have measures in place to ensure the CBOs we contract with  will follow health and safety guidelines outlined in the NYSED guidance and required by the  NYSDOH. Valley Central will also ensure that the CBOs with full-day classes have provided  a Continuity of Learning plan to the District. 

Athletics 

Rich Steger (richard.steger@vcsdny.org) is our Director of Physical Education and Health.  He oversees our Reopening Plan concerning athletics and physical education. Our fall season  begins on August 23rd. Valley Central Athletics will follow all CDC and NYSDOH  guidelines. Masks will not be required for outdoor sports; however, they will be required for  indoor sports. Spectators will be allowed as per the guidelines provided by the State.  

Extracurricular Activities 

All extracurricular activities will take place in person and follow all CDC and NYSDOH  guidelines. 

Special Education  

Barbara Butler (barbara.butler@vcsdny.org) is our Director of Special Education and  oversees all aspects of Special Education in our Reopening Plan. The Valley Central  Reopening Plan provides a framework to ensure that all students with disabilities continue to  have available to them a free appropriate public education (FAPE) that emphasizes special  education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for  further education, employment, and independent living in the least restrictive environment  (LRE)

Special education programs and services of Valley Central provide equity and access for  students with disabilities to be involved in and to participate and progress in the general  education curriculum with access to the necessary accommodations, modifications,  supplementary aids and services, and technology (including assistive technology) to meet the  unique disability related needs of students Valley Central will document the programs and  services offered and provided to students with disabilities, as well as the communications with  parents in their preferred language and mode of communication. 

The District will ensure access to the necessary accommodations, modifications,  supplementary aids and services, and technology (including assistive technology) to meet the  unique disability related needs of students. 

Valley Central is committed to providing meaningful parent engagement in the parent’s  preferred language or mode of communication regarding the provision of services to his/her  child to meet the requirements of the IDEA. Further, we will maintain regular  communication with the parents/guardians to ensure that they are engaged in their children’s  education during the reopening process. Parent counseling and training will continue  monthly and will be conducted via Google Meets. 

Valley Central will plan and support collaboration between the Committee on Preschool  Special Education (CPSE) and Committee on Special Education (CSE) and program providers  representing the variety of settings where students are served to ensure there is an  understanding of the provision of services consistent with the recommendations on  individualized education programs (IEPs), plans for monitoring and communicating student  progress, and commitment to sharing resources. 

Valley Central will maintain records to document the implementation of each IEP. The  documentation will include, but will not be limited to progress notes, progress monitoring,  formative assessment, standardized assessment, attendance records and the provision of any  mandated compensatory services during the 21-22 school year. 

All CSE and CPSE meetings will be held via Google Meets unless otherwise arranged. 

Vulnerable Students with Special Needs 

Some special needs students who are medically fragile may not be able to maintain social  distancing, hand or respiratory hygiene, or wear a face covering or mask. It is important for  parents/ guardians to work with their child’s healthcare providers and the school nurse located  at the student’s school so that an informed decision can be made on how best to meet the  child’s needs at school while protecting their health and safety. As these students transition  back to the school environment, our school health personnel will plan and coordinate with the  following so that a healthy transition is made:

  • teaching/related service staff 
  • special education administration 
  • building administration 

Additional PPE for staff caring for such students will be provided on a case-by-case basis.  Staffing assignments will be examined to provide the lowest teacher-to-student ratios  possible. 

Staffing  

William Miller (william.miller@vcsdny.org) is our Assistant Superintendent of Human  Resources and oversees all aspects of staffing for our Back to School Plan 

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. 

Student Teachers 

Student teachers from NYSED registered college or university programs can serve under the  supervision of fully certified teachers in Valley Central. Student teachers will follow all of the  social distancing, mask wearing, health status reporting, and other COVID-19 procedures that  the teachers follow. Student teachers will serve under the supervision of our full-time certified  teachers only. At no time will a student teacher be used as a teacher of record. 

Vulnerable Populations 

The unknown vulnerabilities of our faculty and staff will be handled on a case-by-case basis.  Accommodations, where appropriate, will be provided when and where needed.

Online Instruction

PLEASE NOTE: Online Instruction will ONLY be utilized in the event of a sudden school closure.

Unexpected School Closures 

In the event that schools are closed unexpectedly, all students will be provided with online learning.  The expectations for online instruction can be found here.