VC Reopening Plan – Health and Safety

CDC Guidance on Mask Wearing and Vaccination Status-(4/30/21)

Update Guidance from NYS DOH on Quarantine and Travel

Connie Griffin (  is our Head Nurse and oversees the health and safety aspects of our Reopening Plan.

How to Quarantine Safely

OC DOH FAQ’s and COVID-19 Screening/Testing details can be found here. 

What if my child is sent home sick, is ill with COVID-19, or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19? 

Health Protocols

Hand Washing / Hand Sanitizing

Recommendations for the use of hand sanitizers and hand washing at school

  • 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 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. 


Recommendations for disinfecting health offices

  • All nurses’ offices will be cleaned and disinfected daily with attention to the high traffic areas, including door knobs and handle,  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 by the custodial staff

Social Distancing, Barriers or Sneeze Guards

Recommendation to maintain 6 feet social distance if at all possible 

  • The nurse’s offices have been looked at in detail and accommodations are underway to provide as much as possible a segregated space for sick and well children.  The nurses will be wearing barriers or PPE when encountering sick children and will be in close contact with these children so a sneeze guard will not be effective.
  • Sneeze Guards will be used at desk locations in the health office to protect from germs and bacteria.
  • Painter’s tape/ stickers will be used on floors of health offices to illustrate traffic flow and appropriate spacing to support social distancing.

Use of face coverings/ masks

Facial coverings/ masks will be worn by all people entering a school

    • All staff and students are required to wear a mask while in the school, and maintain the 6 foot social distancing rule. 
    • If you do not have a mask, each classroom, main office,  and health office will have a supply of masks as needed.
    • Masks can be manufactured or home made.
    • All nurses will have surgical masks and, if available,  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. 
    • Medically fragile individuals with special needs, and/or underlying medical conditions requiring special accommodations,  such as being unable to wear a mask, require a safety plan from their primary care provider that outlines the special needs accommodations and includes safety measures to protect the medically fragile individual from possibly contracting COVID-19, as well as potentially transmitting COVID-19 to others in the school setting. 

Mask Breaks

  • Mask breaks for students will occur outside when possible and/or in areas with good air flow and where maximum social distancing can be maintained.  Windows and doors may be open to maximize air flow.

Signage used to notify visitors and staff at entrance

  • Signs will be posted that  states everyone must wear a mask and has the school phone number and nurse’s phone number  to call if they need curbside or phone service

  • We will provide signs 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 or 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 coverings/ 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 of use and disposal of PPE will be available to all staff. 

Staying Home When Sick

  • Staff will be told to stay home if they are sick.  If they have 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. 
  • If you have a fever, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicines, such as acetaminophen.

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
    • vomiting
    • diarrhea
    • neck pain
    • rash
    • bloodshot eyes
    • 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 for24 hours;
    • If they have been diagnosed with another condition and 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.


Quarantine and Isolation

  • The Orange County Health Department will provide guidance on who is to quarantine or isolate.  
  • QUARANTINE keeps someone 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 14 days after your last contact.
    • Check your temperature twice a day and watch for symptoms of COVID-19.
    • If possible, stay away from people who are at higher-risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.
  • 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.
    • Communication person for the Orange County Department of Health is Heather Boss, RN, Director of Patient Services.  Phone number is 845-360-6600


Other Health Related Information

Facility Entry

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

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

To ensure all faculty, staff, and students comply with daily screening requirements, Valley Central will do the following: 

  •     Prior to entering all Valley Central locations, individuals must complete a medical screening questionnaire.  This questionnaire is accessible through Valley Central website on each school webpage links and under Staff Resources. It is a google form only for staff. 
  •     Staff must complete this screening prior to beginning their work day via the electronic submission form or a paper copy. 
  •     Although filing of the health survey is preferred to be done online, paper copies of the questionnaire for visitors will be available. 
  •     Staff will be required to monitor their own temperatures prior to arrival on campus and throughout the day.  Anyone whose symptoms response changes from a NO to YES during the day, must contact their supervisor immediately and await further instruction. 
  •     Parents are encouraged to monitor for temperatures and symptoms prior to sending their student on a bus.
  •     For multiple individuals entering the building simultaneously, they will be required to stand at the marked out locations on the floor, maintaining social distance until they can be signed in and screened. 
  •   Should a person fail the medical screening, specific procedures will be followed.  Please reference the Suspect or Confirmed COVID-19 Case section for guidance.  

Social Distancing

To ensure all faculty, staff, students, and visitors comply with physical distancing requirements, anyone within Valley Central facilities will practice social distancing expectations:

  •   All individuals on Valley Central premises must maintain social distancing and wear face covering when social distancing cannot be maintained.
  •   Proper social distancing is defined as a six (6) foot separation between individuals.  
  •   Ensure six (6) foot distance between personnel, unless safety or core function of the work activity requires a shorter distance. Any time personnel are less than six (6) feet apart from one another, personnel must wear acceptable face coverings.
  •   Tightly confined spaces will be occupied by only one individual at a time, unless all occupants are wearing face coverings.
  •   Social distance separation will be using tape or signs that denote six (6) feet of spacing in commonly used and other applicable areas on the site (e.g., clock in/out stations, health screening stations, reception areas).
  •   In-person gatherings will be limited as much as possible and we will use tele- or video-conferencing whenever possible. In-person gatherings, such as meetings, will be held in open, well-ventilated spaces with appropriate social distancing among participants. 
  •   Designated areas for pick-ups and deliveries will be established, limiting contact to the extent possible. 

 Personal Hygiene

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 aerolize 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 should include:

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

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

Visitor Practices

No outside visitors will be allowed on school campuses, except for the health, safety and well-being of a student and only with permission from administration. Parents/guardians will report to the greeter’s desk and not go beyond unless it is for the safety or well-being of their child, with permission from administration. All visitors must be wearing proper face covering prior to entering any building and it must be worn at all times when a six (6) foot social distance cannot be maintained. 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.


Vendor Practices

All vendors must be wearing proper face covering prior to entering any building and it must be worn at all times when a six (6) foot social distance cannot be maintained. 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 their job.



Valley Central will train all personnel on new protocols and frequently communicate safety guidelines. Training on the precautions listed below will be conducted either remotely or in person. Social distancing and face coverings will be required for all participants if training is conducted in person. 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 disease spreads 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).

CDC Guidance: Considerations for Schools


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:

CDC Guidance: Handwashing-Clean Hands Save Lives

○      Hand washing video

  •     Proper cough and sneeze etiquette
  •     Social Distancing

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

CDC Guidance: Social Distancing

  •     Operating procedures (varies by building)

○      Entrance into the building

○      Cleaning procedures

○      Sick child pick up

○      Staff who are sick or suspected to be sick

CDC Guidance: What to do if you are sick

  •     Proper cleaning techniques

○      Cleaning and disinfecting

CDC Guidance: Cleaning and Disinfecting


Print Cleaning and Disinfecting Guidance

  •     Hazard Communication – Right-To-Know

○      Proper use of chemicals and Safety Data sheets

■     OSHA Hazardous Communications  

○      No chemicals from home

○      Transfer of hand sanitizer in smaller containers

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

  •     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

CDC Guidance: DIY Cloth Face Coverings


○      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


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.