VC Reopening Plan-Facilities

 

Ryan Schmidt (ryan.schmidt@vcsdny.org) is or 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. 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.

Valley Central plans to meet the deadline for submission of Building Condition Survey or Visual Inspections on time. In addition, lead in water sampling will be carried out upon the reopening of school under conditions consistent with when the building is “normally occupied.”

Upon reopening, the district plans to increase ventilation, to the greatest extent possible.   Water systems will be flushed in buildings that have been unoccupied.

The following actions will be taken as needed:

  •     Drinking Water Facilities: Valley Central will reduce the number of drinking fountains available, in order to facilitate frequent cleaning. However, drinking fountains are a code required plumbing fixture.
  •     When utilizing tents, both temporary and permanent, Valley Central will submit a building permit application.

Emergency Response Protocols & Drills

The 2020-2021 school year will include hybrid models of the traditional school day. Emergency response drills, including evacuation and lockdown drills will be spread across the different student populations dependent on the day each population is present the day the drills are scheduled. Valley Central will partake in all drills that are a requirement of the New York State Education Department. Social distancing and or the use of face coverings will be utilized during all drills. During any real emergency there will be a violation of the six (6) foot recommendation between people in order to protect life and safety.


Space Design and Capacities

General Office Area

  •     All small offices will be limited to 50% the rated occupancy for the space. 
  •     Where applicable all offices and small spaces will be limited to one (1) individual at a time. 
  •   If in-person meetings are essential Valley Central will ensure that face coverings are worn, social distancing protocol is followed and gatherings take place in large open spaces.

Conference Rooms

  •   Valley Central will limit in-person meetings (refer to NYS guidance), if virtual meetings are not feasible.
  •   Social distancing and face covering will be required by participants.
  •   Lingering and socializing before and after meetings will be discouraged

 Break Rooms and Lunch Rooms

  •     The number of people in break rooms must be limited to ensure social distancing can take place. 
  •     Staff are advised to take their lunch and breaks in their private offices or classrooms; in their vehicles or outside. 
  •     Staggered break schedules may be utilized to assist with separation concerns. 
  •     If staff wish to take breaks together they must do such in a large space or outside, where at minimum 6ft. of separation can occur. 
  •   Communal meals will not be provided to employees, and food will not be available in common areas where employees may congregate.

Copier Rooms/Areas

  •   Congregating in copier rooms/areas is discouraged.
  •   Cleaning supplies will be provided at copier stations.
  •   Staff are encouraged to wipe down touch surfaces post and prior use.

Elevators

  •   One person in an elevator at a time, unless a student or staff member is sick or injured, in which case they will be escorted by the nurse in appropriate PPE.
  •   Personnel must wear acceptable face coverings when in common use areas.
  •   Elevators will be frequently disinfected.

Restrooms  

  •     The number of people in a bathroom will be limited to ensure social distancing can occur.
  •     In special circumstances where a student must be assisted in the use of the lavatory, the adult present must be wearing all applicable personal protective equipment including a face covering and when medically applicable, the student will be wearing a proper face covering as well.
  •     Automatic hand dryer use will be discontinued and replaced with touchless paper towel dispensers.

Hallways/Stairwells

  •     Face covering must be worn in hallways and stairwells by all students and staff.
  •     Where feasible hallway traffic may be limited to single flow direction. 
  •     Where single flow is not applicable, bi-direction traffic will be permitted. 
  •     Directional flow will be identified by indications on the floor/stairs.
  •     All individuals must also allow for adequate space between when traveling in the same direction.

Classrooms

  •     Occupancy in each classroom will be specific and determined based off of the overall square footage of the space. 
  •     Each Student, teacher and support staff will receive not less than 6 ft. of separation from others.
  •     Additional considerations will be taken to account for space utilized for classrooms and teaching material. 
  •     Overall class sizes will be reduced to accommodate all safety parameters.
  •     Students, teachers and support staff will be required to wear a proper face covering when social distancing cannot be obtained.
  •     Where possible special teachers and PPS staff will travel to the classroom to provide instruction.
  •     Restrict items in the classroom to that of obvious use. 

○      Remove any unnecessary furniture.

○      Remove any soft surfaces that are difficult to disinfect such as:

■      Area Rugs

■      Soft fabric chairs

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 stations will be equipped with dividing curtains allowing for both a physical divide and at minimum 6ft 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.
  •     Signage will be installed to indicate where visitors shall stand to maintain social distance requirements. 
  •     Reception areas have had seating removed or adequately spaced to provide at minimum of 6ft of separation.
  •     Frequently touched materials have been removed.

Computer Labs

  •     The use of shared space and equipment use will be limited where feasible.
  •     Blocks of computers will be sectioned off to ensure social distancing is maintained.
  •     Tables of computers will be reconfigured so as to not face each other or a polycarbonate barrier will be installed to create a physical barrier.
  •     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

  •     The use of the library will be significantly limited.
  •     All soft covered surfaces that cannot be properly cleaned and disinfected have been removed.

○      Bean bag chairs

○      Upholstered couches or chairs

○      Area rugs

  •     All spaces have been reconfigured to ensure social distancing.

○      Tables will be limited to one individual at a time where applicable.

○      Desks will be arranged so as not to face one another.

  •     Directional traffic flow patterns will be created to ensure social distancing.

 

Engineering Controls

  •     Alcohol based hand sanitizer will be available.
  •     Water Fountains

○      As required by New York State Code a potable water supply will be provided per 150 occupants, but not less than one 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 entrances or areas of static wait have floor signage installed allotting for a minimum of six(6) feet of separation between all individuals

○      All Corridor floors and Stairway treading have been fitted with stripping 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. 

 

Ventilation

Valley Central will ensure sufficient ventilation and fresh air to all spaces of occupancy by means of:

  •     More frequent maintenance and inspection of the systems will occur to mitigate extra strain on systems.
  •     Filter replacement schedules will be more frequent.

 

Cleaning and Disinfection

Valley Central will ensure adherence to hygiene and cleaning and disinfection 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 disinfection logs will be maintained that include the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection.

Examples of facility types where cleaning and disinfection frequency will be distinguished include

  •     Bathrooms
  •     Athletic training rooms, locker rooms
  •     Health 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
  •     Buses, school vehicles
  •     Libraries
  •     Large meeting areas (auditoriums, gymnasiums, music rooms)
  •     Playgrounds (cleaning only)
  •     Outdoor seating areas (plastic or metal)

Students, faculty, and staff will be trained on proper hand and respiratory hygiene, and such information will be provided to parents and/or legal guardians on ways to reinforce this at home.

The district will provide and maintain hand hygiene stations around the school, as follows:

  •     For handwashing: soap, running warm water, and disposable paper towels.
  •     For hand sanitizing: an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol for areas where handwashing facilities may not be available or practical.
  •     Accommodations for students who cannot use hand sanitizer will be made.

Regular cleaning and disinfection of the facilities will occur, including more frequent cleaning and disinfection for high-risk and frequently touched surfaces. This will include desks and cafeteria tables, which will be cleaned and disinfected between each individual’s uses. Cleaning and disinfection will be rigorous and ongoing and will occur at least daily, or more frequently as needed.

The district will ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of restrooms. Restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected more often depending on frequency of use. 

For more information about how cleaning and disinfection information will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the https://www.vcsd.k12.ny.us/academics/of our reopening plan.                 

Disinfectants must be products that meet EPA criteria for use against SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and be appropriate for the surface.

 

Contact Tracing

Public Health Officials assume the task of contact tracing, once notified.

To ensure the school district and its employees comply with contact tracing and disinfection requirements, Valley Central will do the following: 

  •   Have a plan for cleaning, disinfection, and notifying Public Health, in the event of a positive case.  In the case of an employee testing positive for COVID-19, CDC guidelines will be followed regarding cleaning and disinfecting your building or facility if someone is sick. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-building-facility.html
  •   Close off areas used by the person who is sick.
  •   Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.
  •   Wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting. If 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
  •   Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person who is sick, such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment like tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and copier machines.
  •   Vacuum the space if needed. Vacuum equipped with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter will be used if available.
  •   Workers without close contact with the person who is sick can return to work immediately after disinfection.

 

Closure Considerations

When a person has been identified (confirmed) or suspected to be COVID-19 positive; the process in Valley Central could include:

  • Having administrators collaborate and coordinate with local health officials to make school closure and large event cancellation decisions.
  • Establish a plan to close schools again for physical attendance of students, if necessary, based on public health guidance and in coordination with the local DOH. Establishing a decision-making tree at the district level.
  • Develop a plan for continuity of education, medical and social services, and meal programs and establish alternate mechanisms for these to continue.
  • Implement as needed short-term closure procedures regardless of community spread if an infected person has been in a school building. If this happens, CDC recommends the following procedures:

o   Closing off areas used by ill person(s) and locking off area(s), signage can also be used to ensure no one enters the area. If possible, wait 24 hours before you clean and disinfect. If it is not possible to wait 24 hours, wait as long as possible. Do not use the area(s) until cleaning and disinfection has taken place.

o   Opening outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.

o   Cleaning staff will clean and disinfect all areas (e.g., offices, bathrooms, and common areas) used by the ill person(s), focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.

o   Communicating as soon as possible with staff, parents, and students.

  • Using DOH guidance/procedures for when someone tests positive.

o   In consultation with the local DOH, a school official may consider whether school closure is warranted and period of time (prior to re-opening) based on the risk level within the specific community as determined by the local DOH.

o   Any room where a COVID 19 positive individual was based will be disinfected.

  • Closing of schools could be a regional decision.

o   7 metrics – NYS Dashboard

▪        Schools will reopen if a region is in Phase IV and the daily infection rate remains below 5% using a 14-day average

▪        Schools will close if the regional infection rate is greater than 9% using a 7-day average after August 1, 2020

  • Thresholds will be determined on a case-by-case basis dependent on the numbers (school closures may be a response).
  • Buildings may consider closing if required cleaning products (bleach and water can be used as a cleaning product) and PPE are not available.