Reopening of Schools 2021-22 Presentation (text format)

  • Below is the text from the GNPS Reopening of Schools Update presentation that was emailed to the school community on August 26, 2021. 

    This web page may be viewed in multiple languages using the translation feature on the district website. This format is also accessible for screen readers for the visually impaired.


  • GNPS Reopening of Schools Update
    2021-22 School Year

     

    Reopening Update for Fall 2021

    The district continues to prioritize the health and well-being of our entire community as we enter the second school year operating under special guidelines due to COVID-19.

    Health and education experts strongly recommend daily, in-person learning and teaching to support students' academic, social, and emotional growth. We will welcome all students back to the classroom on September 1 while implementing the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC).

     

    NYS Gov. Kathy Hochul August 24 Announcement

    • Governor Hochul has directed the Department of Health to institute a face mask mandate for students and staff in this state.
    • She also announced that a series of school-related policies will be provided to school districts later this week.

     

    Health & Safety

    • Face masks must be worn by all individuals inside school buildings, including classrooms and non-classroom settings.
    • Individuals failing to comply with wearing a face mask will be considerate insubordinate. Face masks are optional while outdoors.
    • Daily temperature checks are no longer required for students and staff. Staff no longer required to complete COVID Attestation Form.
    • Thorough, daily cleaning and disinfecting of classrooms, buildings, and school buses will continue.
    • Bathrooms and frequently touched surfaces will be sanitized throughout the day.
    • Hand sanitizer stations are placed strategically throughout the buildings: in classrooms, in hallways, cafeterias, and in all workspaces.
    • Frequent hand-washing and respiratory hygiene will continue to be stressed among students and staff.

     

    Types of Face Masks

    • Acceptable face masks include:
      • Disposable surgical masks
      • Form-fitting cloth masks with two layers of densely woven material. Reusable face masks should be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
      • A surgical N95 mask (also referred as a medical respirator) is recommended only for use by healthcare personnel 
    • The CDC does not recommend using masks if they have a one-way valve or vent. These masks do not prevent spreading the virus to others.
    • A face shield in lieu of a mask is NOT permitted. Wearing a face shield in addition to a mask is acceptable.
    • Neck gators and bandanas are NOT permitted.

     

    Building Practices

    • Classroom desks will be arranged with a minimum of three feet of distance, where possible, with students facing in a common direction.
    • Six feet of distancing will remain between teacher workstations and student seating.
    • Communal bathrooms may be used by more than one person at a time. Face masks must be worn.
    • Visitors (with appointments) will be allowed in our buildings.
    • Students will maintain six feet of distance during lunch.
    • Secondary students will eat in the cafeteria, outdoors, and in alternate locations.
    • Elementary students will eat in their classrooms and/or alternate spaces to ensure social distancing.
    • School libraries will be available and students will be permitted to borrow materials/books.
    • The Elementary Early Morning Drop Off Program has been reinstated.
    • Lockers will not be available to secondary students at this time. Locker use will be re-evaluated next month.
    • Schools will offer select in-person events for parents and will continue to host virtual events (i.e.: PTA/PTO meetings, workshops, etc.).
    • Secondary Orientation and Walk-Through programs will be in-person (students only).
    • Elementary Meet & Greet programs will be scheduled outdoors.
    • Elementary and secondary Open House events will be virtual.

     

    Ventilation

    • Fresh air is circulated through open windows and open fresh air dampers on all ventilation equipment.
    • Air handling and ventilation units are set for maximum outside airflow.
    • The district uses recommended air filters and purification systems, including:
      • MERV-8 air filters in classroom unit ventilators.
      • MERV-13 filters in all air handling units when possible.
      • High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) air purifiers and MERV-rated filters in Nurses Offices.
      • Air purification systems strategically installed throughout the district.
    • Filters are replaced on a frequent basis, in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations.

     

    Food Services

    • Breakfast and lunch will be available at no charge to all students.
    • Masks may be removed during meals.
    • Individuals will maintain maximum physical distancing permitted while eating.
    • Elementary students will continue to eat lunch in their classrooms.
    • Additional dining spaces for elementary and secondary students will be opened if needed; outdoor dining is encouraged.

     

    Instruction

    • All students will return to daily, in-person instruction.
    • All elementary specials will take place in traditional settings.
    • Chorus and band performance classrooms will be arranged to maintain six feet of distance between musicians.
    • Orchestra classes will be arranged to maintain three feet of distance between musicians.
    • Physical education classes will be outside as much as possible. Face masks must be worn indoors.
    • Consideration will be given for field trips and competitions.

     

    After-School Activities

    • Before/after school programs and extra-curricular clubs may resume in accordance with health and safety protocols.
    • Interscholastic athletics will continue to operate under guidelines from NYSPHSAA Section VIII and the Department of Health.

     

    Transportation

    • Students are required to wear masks while boarding, riding, and exiting the bus.
    • Up to three students may be seated per bench. Members of the same household are encouraged to sit together.
    • Bus windows will remain open, when possible, to increase fresh air and improve ventilation.
    • Late buses will be available when events, clubs and activities commence.
    • High touch areas will be sanitized after morning and afternoon routes.
    • Parental drop-off and safe pedestrian choices are encouraged.

     

    Contact Tracing

    • Changes to three feet of physical distancing, per CDC guidelines, still require contact tracing to six feet, per Department of Health standards.
    • The district will continue to work cooperatively with the Nassau County Department of Health to determine if an employee or student had close contact (within six feet) for 15 minutes or more without a mask.
    • Parents or guardians will be notified if contact tracing of a positive case results in their child deemed a close contact.
    • School community will be informed of any COVID positive cases.
    • Students who are masked do not need to quarantine after contact with a positive case as long as both the contact and primary case are masked.
    • Individuals who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine after contact with a positive case unless they have symptoms.
    • The CDC recommends fully vaccinated people consider getting tested 3-5 days after known exposure, even if they do not have symptoms, and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative.

     

    Quarantining due to COVID

    • Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must remain in isolation for 10 days from the date of symptom onset or test date if asymptomatic.
    • Home instruction will be provided to students who are quarantined.
    • Recovering non-vaccinated individuals may end 10-day isolation (without testing) and return to school once the following are met:
      • Fever free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication and symptoms have improved.
    • Recovering vaccinated individuals may end 7-day isolation (with testing) and return to school once the following are met:
      • Obtain a negative PCR test result on day 5 or later of quarantine.
      • Fever-free and improved symptoms.

     

    Vaccinations

    • There is no legal authority for a school district to mandate employee or student COVID-19 vaccinations.
    • Governor Hochul is pursuing options to mandate vaccines for school employees.
    • The authority to mandate vaccinations may only be accomplished through amendments to the Education and Public Health Laws.
    • School districts may not require proof of such vaccination as a condition of employment or attendance in school.
    • School districts do have the authority to request that employees and students voluntarily submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination status.

     

    Guidance Documents from Health & Education Officials

    New York State Department of Education (NYSED)
    Health and Safety Guide for the 2021-2022 School Year

    Centers for Disease Controls & Prevention (CDC)
    Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools

    U.S. Department of Education (USDOE)
    Return to School Roadmap

    American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
    COVID-19 Guidance for Safe Schools

     

    Thank you and have a great year!