With Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to allow schools in New York State to open for fall 2020, districts, which previously submitted reopening plans prior to the announcement, will now have the difficult task of enforcing the safety measures they developed.
Social media has been a hotbed of commentary from parents, educators, and the general public on the possible issues of mask wearing, sanitization, and overall emotional and social health of students.
In one parents’ group, the discussion of “mask training” children how to be able to wear masks for the lengthy school day was had, with parents telling of a spectrum of results.
Other worries include older children, particularly high-school aged, not taking the mask rules seriously, or overcrowding, as one school in Georgia proved to do with an infamous social media post of a filled-to-the-brim hallway.
Connetquot, Bayport-Blue Point, and Sayville have all outlined their personal protective equipment guidelines in presentations.
The district will look to provide cloth adult and pediatric personal protective equipment for all district adults and students.
At this time, the district has procured a supply of disposable masks for both adults and students for when students, faculty, and staff do not arrive at the school with their own personal protection.
Further, the district will maintain a fluid supply of disposable masks for both adults and students.
The health and safety plan dictates that all employees, adult visitors, and students are to wear a cloth face covering whenever social distancing cannot be maintained. Both students and staff are permitted to wear their own face coverings, should they choose. The district will look to provide cloth adult and pediatric personal protective equipment for all district adults and students. Further, for instances of loss or damage, the district will maintain a fluid supply of disposable masks for both adults and students. The district will uphold the protocol, as outlined in the New York State Education Department’s FAQ, provided on July 22, 2020, that “as a baseline, face coverings are required to be worn any time or place that individuals cannot maintain appropriate social distancing.” Further face coverings are “strongly recommended” by the New York State Department of Health at all times, except for meals and instruction with appropriate social distancing.”
Recognizing that masks can be cumbersome and uncomfortable for students, the plan has incorporated a regular break time from wearing a mask for all students.
Staff are directed to ensure that appropriate social distancing is maintained during the mask breaks.
As such, the district plan will incorporate the following protocols regarding students taking mask breaks:
Staggered partial-class mask breaks: pursuant to the developmental readiness of the class, the teacher will assess needs and may elect to have small groups take a break at one time (e.g., row A may take a five-minute mask-break)
Full-class mask breaks: a five-to-10-minute mask break may be called during the instructional period for the whole class
Individual mask-breaks: teacher will assess student needs and allow for individuals to take a five-to-10-minute mask break
Period by period mask breaks: for those grades that maintain a period by period schedule, the teacher may allow for a five-to-10-minute mask break at the start of each period
Classroom mask breaks outside (grades K-5): with prior notification to the building administrator, the teacher may elect to provide a mask break outside to allow for both exposure to fresh air and physical movement
All students, staff, parents, contractors, and visitors on district property will be required to wear a face covering at all times. Students and staff will have breaks periodically throughout the day while social distancing to take their face covering off (mask break). If there is a medical reason for not wearing a mask, a doctor’s note will be required.
Signs will be posted throughout all of the buildings to instruct staff and students on proper handwashing and respiratory hygiene.
Each school will maintain adequate supplies of PPE for use by school health professionals and PPS providers.
Each school will use disposable equipment and supplies in the health office as much as practicable.
Each building will provide PPE to custodial and other personal cleaning and engaging in disinfection at the school if required by the manufacturer of the agent being used.
Each building will provide PPE to PPS providers (speech, psychologists, etc) such as face coverings (as required by the DOH), face shields, barriers, gloves, etc.
There will be a daily checklist for school personnel to inspect their area and ensure they have sufficient supplies each day (e.g., face coverings, tissues, hand hygiene supplies, cleaning supplies, etc.)
All essential visitors and contractors will be screened with temperature and questionnaire prior to being admitted to the building.
Staff responsible for in-person screenings will be provided with appropriate PPE (i.e. masks, gloves, etc.)
Staff responsible for supervising an isolation room will be provided with appropriate PPE, which will include both standard and transmission-based precautionary gear.
BBP will provide hand sanitizer throughout common areas (e.g. entranc- es, cafeteria), near high-touch surfaces, and use touch free dispensers when able.
Students should wash their hands before entering and leaving a classroom – if sink is not available, hand sanitizer is appropriate.
Some students or staff may be unable to use alcohol-based hand sanitizers for health reasons, therefore they will be permitted to wash their hands with soap and water.
All individuals, including staff, students and visitors, must wear a face covering consistent with State and CDC guidelines.
Parents should supply two masks for their children.
The district will maintain a supply of masks in case student masks are not usable or are lost.
Masks will be worn at all times except for designated mask breaks and meals.
Parents who believe that there is a medical reason for their child to not wear a mask should contact their pediatrician and the school nurse. Documentation will be requested.
Sayville School nurses and teachers will provide training to all students concerning the importance of frequent and thorough handwashing. DOH approved hand sanitizer will be available for staff and students, when handwashing with soap and water is not available.
The district will provide PPE to staff on an as-needed basis. The school nurses and custodians will be provided with equipment to protect them from higher levels of exposure, when dealing with sick individuals and specific cleaning tasks.
All other staff members will have access to PPE as recommended by DOH, SED and CDC guidelines.