Comprehensive Reopening Plan for AHRC Schools

NYSARC, Inc. NYC CHAPTER (AHRC NYC CHAPTER) SCHOOLS

COMPREHENSIVE RE-OPENING PLAN August 7, 2020

REVISED MAY 3. 2021

Updated:  October 5, 2020, November 2, 2020, November 4, 2020, November 18, 2020, December 4, 2020, March 12, 2021, April 5, 2021, April 9, 2021

 


The NYS Department of Health has issued “Interim Guidance for In-Person Instruction at Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency”.  This guidance document, dated April 9, 2021 prioritizes a return to in-person instruction and aligns with the CDC Recommendations to reduce physical distancing requirements between students in classroom settings, subject to adherence to certain mitigation measures.  Therefore, the AHRC Schools Comprehensive RE-Opening Plan has been updated in several areas.  Please see Sections UPDATED April 9, 2021 and May 3, 2021.  Please note that due to the dynamic nature and risk of community transmission, it may be necessary at any point in the year to prepare for a change in the combination of in-person, hybrid and remote learning.

UPDATE: April 9, 2021

 

Updated Interim Guidance Document from NYS Department of Health

https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/Pre-K_to_Grade_12_Schools_MasterGuidance.pdf

 

Archived Updates

Update: Effective April 5, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Intervention Updated March 19, 2021 has revised the physical distancing recommendations to reflect at least 3 feet between students in classrooms.  This is a change to the previously recommended distancing of 6 feet between students.

In view of this new recommendation, AHRC preschools will be able to provide more in-person participation following the Physical Distancing recommendations outlined in the NY State Department of Health “Interim Guidance of Child Care and Day Camp Programs During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” issued June 26, 2020.

The Prevention Strategies utilized to ensure safe delivery of in-person instruction and prevent COVID-19 transmission outlined in the above document will continue.

  • Universal and Correct use of face coverings with
  • Physical Distancing for adults and children
  • Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette
  • Cleaning and Maintaining healthy facilities
  • Following all current protocols for reporting, isolation and quarantine
  • Maintaining Cohorts
  • Limiting Visitors

There is no change to the school-age program.  AHRC School Age programs currently offer a full in-person model following the six-foot distancing requirement as recommended in the NYS Department of Health “Interim Guidance for In-Person Instruction at Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools During the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency” issued August 26, 2020.

 

UPDATE: Effective April 5, 2021

Outdoor activities, including, but not limited to playground activities and community walks will resume with modifications.  Classroom cohorts must be maintained with no mixing of cohorts in a single location and no mixing of cohorts during entrance to and exit from the playground/ building.   Each school is responsible for developing and submitting a schedule that, at minimum, must maintain the cohorts and establish routine cleaning and maintenance protocols.

Update: February 1, 2021 and February 2, 2021

Due to severe weather conditions, all AHRC school sites will be closed on Monday, February 1st and Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021.  Instruction will continue remotely.

Update: December 16, 2020

AHRC schools will be participating in the NYSED 2020-2021 School Year COVID-19 Snow Day Pilot Program and will pivot to remote learning to provide continuity of instruction in the event that the school would need to close due to snow emergency.  As always, families and staff will be notified via Education Department email and phone messenger system when school closure and pivot to remote instruction occurs.  All appropriate notifications will be made.

Due to snow emergency,  all AHRC schools will be closed for in-person instruction and will shift to remote learning tomorrow, December 17, 2020.

Update: December 11, 2020

Effective December 11, 2020, the Brooklyn Blue Feather Elementary School, 2335 Gerritsen Avenue, Brooklyn, NY  11229 will be closed for in-person instruction and moving to remote instruction due to an exposure to the COVID-19 virus.  Closure will allow for track and trace on behalf of the NYSDOH and will allow for deep cleaning of the premises.  Staff and families will be kept informed regarding the re-opening date.

Update: December 4, 2020

There is no longer a requirement for schools located in Orange and Red Zones to close to in-person instruction.  Schools in these zones may remain open for in-person instruction subject to strict adherence to NYS Department of Health “Interim Guidance on CIOVID-19 Testing Requirements for Public and Non-Public Schools”.

Update: November 18, 2020

Please be advised that although the mayor and chancellor announced New York City Public Schools have been closed tomorrow, ALL AHRC NYC schools will remain open. Families will be updated should the situation change.

Update: November 4, 2020

PLEASE NOTE THAT BEGINNING TODAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2020 THE AHRC JAMES P. MURPHY STATEN ISLAND PREP SCHOOL, 23 SUMMIT STREET, STATEN ISLAND, NY  10307 WILL BE CLOSED FOR IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION DUE TO A REPORTED CASE OF COVID-19.   DURING THIS PERIOD, REMOTE INSTRUCTION WILL BE PROVIDED. 

IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION WILL RESUME ON WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2020.

Update: November 2, 2020

PLEASE NOTE THAT BEGINNING TODAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2020 THE FOLLOWING SCHOOLS WILL BE RE-OPENING FOR IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION:

AHRC MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL
1201 66TH STREET
BROOKLYN, NY 11219

BROOKLYN BLUE FEATHER ELEMENTARY
2335 GERRITSEN AVENUE
BROOKLYN, NY  11229

Update: October 5, 2020

PLEASE NOTE THAT BEGINNING TOMORROW, OCTOBER 6, 2020 THE FOLLOWING SCHOOLS WILL BE CLOSED FOR IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION AND WILL RESUME REMOTE LEARNING ONLY:

AHRC MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL
1201 66TH STREET
BROOKLYN, NY 11219

BROOKLYN BLUE FEATHER ELEMENTARY
2335 GERRITSEN AVENUE
BROOKLYN, NY  11229

These closures have been mandated by Governor Cuomo in an effort to address the rising number of COVID cases within certain clusters of zip codes throughout the city.  There is no scheduled date for re-opening in person at this time.   Updates to this announcement will be posted as received.  As of this date, preschool programs and Staten Island Preparatory have not been impacted and will continue with in-person instruction as described in the Re-Opening Plan


 

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The following translations were provided by NYCTutoring.com:
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NYS DOH Supplement to Reopening Plan

 

AHRC NYC SCHOOL AGE MODEL

AHRC BROOKLYN BLUE FEATHER ELEMENTARY, AHRC MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL and AHRC JAMES P. MURPHY STATEN ISLAND PREP are committed to re-opening school for in-person instruction, five days per week, full day in September 2020.   The program will meet or exceed the current health and safety requirements for reopening as recommended by the NYSED Recovering, Rebuilding and Renewing:  The Spirit of New York’s Schools Reopening Guidance and NYS Department of Health Interim Guidance for In-Person Instruction at Pre-K to Grade 8 Schools during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.

AHRC NYC school-age programs recognize that there may be students whose medical conditions, or other family concerns and uncertainties, like transportation, preclude their return to in-person instruction at this time and for these students, a continuation of remote instruction will be available at the request of the parent.

Whether in-person or remote, AHRC schools are equally committed to ensuring that a comprehensive academic curriculum; a highly focused emphasis on health and hygiene; targeted behavioral interventions to assist students and develop the ability to tolerate and routinely engage in preventative measures; and a strong social-emotional development component will be the core of instruction. Parents may change from in-person to remote instruction at any time. A change from remote to in-person instruction will be accommodated but may require a minimum of two weeks from the date of parent request to give schools time to prepare the classroom, update therapy schedules and arrange for transportation.

Factors considered in the decision to provide full-day in-person instruction:

  • Parent responses to the AHRC Education Department School Age Parent Survey issued on July 17, 2020, offering the option for in-person or remote instruction indicated a majority preference for a return to in-person instruction.
  • UPDATE April 9, 2021 Parent-teacher communication with remote and in-person families has been ongoing and parent requests for a return to in-person instruction have been accommodated throughout the school year.  AHRC school age programs have the square footage to accommodate the full program at 6 feet and at this time the six foot distancing will be continued.
  • The square footage of each room meets the requirement of 50 square feet and the prevalent ratios of the program allow for social distancing in excess of the six square feet recommended.
  • As part of AHRC NYC, the Education Department has the support of central procurement and Personal Protective Equipment for both students and staff has been ordered and will be available.
  • The acknowledgment that school-age students with disabilities, especially those with autism demonstrated major difficulties in attending to task, in staying motivated, and exhibited challenging behaviors during remote instructional learning classes.

 

AHRC NYC PRESCHOOL MODEL

UPDATE:  April 9. 2021 Communication with remote and hybrid families has been ongoing and parent requests for in-person instruction have been accommodated throughout the year whenever possible.  In March, 2021 administrative and instructional staff conducted family outreach to ascertain the level of interest in returning to full time in-person instruction. Feedback from parents confirmed that there were a number of families requesting full-time instruction rather than hybrid instruction or remote.   AHRC Astoria Blue Feather ELC; Esther Ashkenas Central Park ELC; Francis of Paola ELC;  Howard Haber ELC are committed to increasing full-time in-person instruction by reducing physical distancing requirements as appropriate and in adherence to certain mitigation measures.   Therefor Cohort C was made available to more families with the same criteria applied in decision making namely, that the classroom cohort remain static;  that the size of the combined full time cohort adheres to newly issued social distancing requirements; that the full-time in-person cohort does not preclude any remote child from returning to in-person; that appropriate staffing requirements are maintained; that all of the core health and safety measures are followed; and that the full time in-person instruction model aligns with parent preference.

AHRC Astoria Blue Feather ELC; Esther Ashkenas Central Park ELC; Francis of Paola ELC; and Howard Haber ELC; and the AHRC James P. Murphy Staten Island Prep preschool program are committed to re-opening a hybrid program in September, offering alternating in-person and remote instruction.  Based on the parent survey, the preferred hybrid model is a one-week alternating schedule.  Each classroom will be divided into two groups; with Group A attending in-person and Group B participating in remote instruction one week and then alternating the next week.  This model will provide consistency for the children and families; will limit the number of children and staff utilizing a room during the week; and will allow for deep cleaning and sanitizing in between groups.  The preschool component of the AHRC James P. Murphy Staten Island Prep will continue to follow the full time in-person model of the AHRCNYC School Age Program.   All program designs will meet or exceed the current health and safety requirements for reopening as recommended by the NYSED Recovering, Rebuilding and Renewing:  The Spirit of New York’s Schools Reopening Guidance and NYS Department of Health Interim Guidance for In-Person Instruction at Pre-K to Grade 8 Schools during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.

Based on actual enrollment numbers in A and B cohorts as of October 1, 2020,  it was determined that AHRC preschools could offer a third option, namely Cohort C, which would be a five day, full-time in-person model within certain ratios.   This option is limited and will be offered only when the size of the combined full-time cohort adheres to social distancing requirements; when the combined cohort does not preclude any remote child from returning to in-person; when appropriate staffing requirements are maintained; and when the full-time in-person instruction model aligns with parent preference.

AHRC NYC programs recognize that there may be students whose medical conditions, or other family concerns and uncertainties, like transportation, preclude their return to in-person instruction at this time and for these students, a continuation of remote instruction will be available at the request of the parent.

Whether in-person or remote, AHRC NYC preschools are equally committed to ensuring that a comprehensive early childhood curriculum; a highly focused emphasis on health and hygiene;  targeted behavioral interventions to assist students and develop the ability to tolerate and routinely engage in preventative measures; and a strong social-emotional development component will be the core of instruction. Parents may change from in-person to remote instruction at any time. A change from remote to in-person instruction will be accommodated but may require a minimum of two weeks from the date of parent request to give schools time to prepare the classroom, update therapy schedules and arrange for transportation.

Factors considered in the decision to provide a hybrid model of instruction:

  • Parent responses to the AHRC Education Department Parent Survey issued on July 17, 2020, which offered the option of a hybrid or remote instruction model indicated a majority preference for a hybrid model. Parents were offered the opportunity to select among different hybrid models and responses were considered in designing the plan.
  • Capacity was determined by square footage requirements, and each preschool classroom will be limited to 50% in-person student capacity. A hybrid model of one-week remote instruction and one-week in-person instruction ensures equitable access to instruction for all children and meets the space requirements for necessary social distancing.
  • As part of AHRC NYC, the Education Department has the support of central procurement and Personal Protective Equipment for both students and staff has been ordered and will be available.

The protocols and practices detailed in the following plan will be disseminated to all staff and families and will be incorporated into both Staff and Parent Handbooks.   The plan will also be made available on each school’s website.  The plan may change as deemed necessary and appropriate, or as required by mandates from the NYS Education Department, the NYS Department of Health, the NYC Department of Education, or the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene .  Changes will be communicated to staff and families as they occur.

HEALTH & SAFETY

  1. PREPAREDNESS

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies; including staff and student masks, face shields, staff gloves, and gowns; thermometers have been inventoried and ordered.
  • Specialized PPE for school nurses and designated school staff to assess and care for ill students (n95 masks, face shields, disposable gowns) have been inventoried and ordered.
  • Safe cleaning, sanitizing & disinfecting products have been inventoried and ordered
  • The Principal of the school will serve as the Safety Coordinator and will be responsible for continuous compliance with the School Reopening Plan.
  • The School Nurse will serve as the COVID-19 Resource Coordinator and will be the main contact upon the identification of positive COVID-19, and will be responsible for subsequent communication.

Each school will work with, support, and supplement the contact tracing efforts of the NYC Department of Health. Each school has a protocol for symptomatic individuals and positive cases in their school, and a process to adequately isolate and mitigate additional exposure to COVID-19.  As stated above, the School Nurse will serve as the COVID Resource Coordinator and ensure that these protocols are followed at the site.

  1. BUILDING ENTRY/EXIT

BUILDING ENTRY/EXIT – STAFF

  • Staff will be temperature screened daily upon arrival to school by designated staff wearing PPE including goggles or protective face shields and gloves. Staff with a temperature of 100F will not be permitted in the building and advised to return home.
  • Staff will be required to complete “COVID 19 Questionnaire for Care of Self and Others” daily upon arrival to school
  • A daily log confirming that staff that has been screened will be maintained.

As per NYSDOH regulations, specific temperatures will not be recorded; only an indicator that the individual has passed the screening will be recorded.

  • Staff is subject to the rules and regulations set forth by AHRC regarding reporting exposure to COVID 19: and travel to restricted locations.

Refer to AHRC website for updated information and required forms

http://mhin.ahrcnyc.org/covid-19/c-19_home.htm

  • Staff will be required to wear masks at all times. Schools will provide face masks to all staff; however, staff will be permitted to wear their own acceptable face masks.
  • Staff will have a designated entryway and exit.

BUILDING ENTRY/EXIT- STUDENTS

  • Effective April 9, 2021: Students will be temperature screened daily upon arrival to school by designated staff wearing PPE including protective shields and gloves. Should a child present signs or symptoms or a temperature of 100F, the schools have the capacity and personnel to immediately escort the child to a designated, isolated area until protocols for safe pick-up  arrangements are completed.
  • Parents will be required to look for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 prior to sending their child to school. Parents will be directed to keep their children home if any of these signs are present, and should be medically assessed prior to determining the cause prior to returning to school:
  • Fever or chills (100°F or greater);
  • Cough;
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing;
  • Fatigue;
  • Muscle or body aches;
  • Headache;
  • New loss of taste or smell;
  • Sore throat;
  • Congestion or runny nose;
  • Nausea or vomiting; and/or
  • Diarrhea
  • Should a child present signs or symptoms upon arrival, or should the temperature screening of children upon arrival at school be warranted, the schools have the capacity, personnel and necessary PPE equipment to conduct the temperature screening of children.
  • Students will periodically be required to complete “COVID 19 Questionnaire for Care of Self and Others” upon arrival or virtually with the assistance of parents.
  • Students will be required to wear masks, unless inadvisable, as in those instances where a student is unable to medically tolerate; including those instances where it impairs physical and mental health. All efforts will be made to ensure that students are taught to follow all safety protocols, including but not limited to targeted instruction and behavioral interventions.
  • At dismissal, students who utilize bus transportation will be assisted by designated staff to board one bus at a time, waiting at markers that ensure social distancing.
  • Parents who choose to drop off and pick up their children will not be permitted in the school building. There will be a scheduled time and location for arrival and dismissal.  Parents and children will be required to wear masks.  At arrival, parent and child will be met at the designated door by a staff member for temperature checks and completion of “COVID 19 Questionnaire for Care of Self and Others” as required.   At dismissal, parents will wait outside the building at socially distant intervals.   Designated staff will accompany students outside.

BUILDING ENTRY/EXIT – VISITORS

  • No visitors, including parents, will be permitted in the building without an appointment. There will be a scheduled time and location for entry and exit.  When arriving, visitors must wear masks; be temperature screened, and required to complete “COVID 19 Questionnaire for Care of Self and Others”.
  • Clinics, CPSE/CSE meetings, Parent training/workshops, and Parent-Teacher Conferences will be conducted via a virtual platform
  • No food deliveries – staff and students are required to bring their own lunch
  • Effective May 3, 2021 staff who are scheduled for lunch may exit the building during their scheduled time; or have food delivered at door ONLY
  • All other deliveries – at door only
  1. HEALTH CHECKS

  • Parents/ guardians and staff will receive detailed instructions on symptoms of COVID -19. (See Covid-19 Supplement to Staff and Parent Handbook). If these symptoms are observed at home, then staff and/or students should not report to school until the additional medical assessment is made to determine the cause.
  • If these symptoms are observed in school, student and/or staff should report to the school health office for an assessment. Any individual who has a temperature of 100 F must be isolated and sent home immediately.  Students will be supervised in a designated, isolated area while awaiting transport home.  Each school will designate two locations for school health service needs.
  • In the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 i.e. when staff or student tests positive, the classroom will be closed and thoroughly sanitized following CDC regulations. Staff and parents of students in the classroom and any individual who has had prolonged contact with the child/staff member will be notified to quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure. Instruction will continue remotely during the time of quarantine.   If a second positive case is reported in another classroom, the same protocol will be followed.
  • All confirmed cases will be reported to the NYC DOH and NYC Test & Trace Corps. The NYC DOHMH and NYC Trace & Test Corps will investigate and perform Contract Tracing as recommended by the CDC.  Instructions and directives from local health authorities regarding reporting, isolation and partial or school closures will be followed. Closures will be reported to the New York State Education Department.
  • A staff or student who has tested positive for COVID-19 may not return to school until the following conditions have been met:
      • A staff or student who has tested positive for COVID-19 may not return to school until the following conditions have been met:
      • after 10 day isolation from date of confirmation has ended AND;
      • you have obtained health professional clearance AND
      • your child is symptom free without medication for 72 hours

      OR

      • Negative COVID test AND
      • you have obtained health professional clearance AND
      • your child is symptom free without medication for 24 hour

A staff or student who has been exposed may return to school:

  • after the 10 day quarantine period has ended, AND
  • they have medical clearance, AND
  • they are symptom free without medication for 24 hours.

Families will be notified when confirmed COVID-19 cases occur in the school.  Notification will include whether or not closed whether or not close contact to the individual occurred and if so, will give clear direction to quarantine, get tested and see a medical professional.

  • Staff are subject to the rules and regulations set forth by AHRC regarding Reporting Exposure to COVID 19, and travel to restricted locations. Refer to AHRC website for updated information and required forms
  • Students are subject to the rules and regulations set forth in the NYS Department of Health Interim Guidance for In-Person Instruction at Pre-K to Grade 8 Schools during the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency.

Update April 9, 2021:  Asymptomatic fully vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine if exposed to COVID 19.

Testing

Staff, as well as families, are strongly encouraged to get tested on a regular basis at one of the 34 city-run testing locations.

Contact Tracing
The NYC DOHMH and the NYC Test & Trace Corps will investigate confirmed cases and will perform Contact Tracing as recommended by the CDC. Based on the number of cases and the conclusion of the investigation, recommendations will be made regarding the partial or full closure of school and the duration. Note: Every effort has been made to limit the number of interactions during the course of a day.  There will be strict adherence to the classroom cohort design, the logging of any additional staff entering the room, i.e. therapist, or supervisor; the prohibition on visitors and social distancing.  Classroom and administrative staff will fully cooperate with the NYC Test & Trace Corps.

The School Nurse will be designated as the COVICD-19 Resource Person and, as such, will be the main contact upon the identification of COVID-19 cases and responsible for referrals for COVID testing and follow-up and all subsequent communication.

Additional guidelines have been released effective November 1, 2020, that impact the re-opening design described herein and will affect AHRC schools that are located in red or orange micro-cluster zones.   NOTE:  This guidance for schools in red and orange zones has been replaced by guidance issued on December 4, 2020, as follows:

There is no longer a requirement for schools located in red or orange zones to close to in-person instruction.  Schools in these zones may remain open for in-person instruction subject to strict adherence to guidance dated December 4 “Interim Guidance on COVID-19 Testing Requirements for Public and Non-Public Schools”

[In order for a school to reopen in a red or orange micro-cluster zone, schools must:

    • Remain closed for at least 4 calendar days after the zone designation is announced (48 hours to ensure lack of infectious contact in the school, and additional time for testing), and may re-open as early as the 5th calendar day.
    • Ensure that no person may attend in-person on the campus without first receiving a negative test result, this applies to faculty/staff as well as students.

Schools may reopen after these steps are taken, with students and faculty/staff who are positive or close contacts of positive cases appropriately excluded from school grounds. Additionally, the test result must be no more than 7 days past the date of specimen collection on the day in-person learning reopens and the date of specimen collection must be after the date the zone was established.

After a school reopens in a red or orange micro-cluster zone, vigilant symptom and exposure screening must be conducted daily and must follow the below guidelines:

  • 25% of the in-person learning school community (both students and faculty/staff) must be tested per week.
  • The school should ensure that it provides opportunities to test on school grounds, or otherwise facilitates testing and accepts test results from healthcare providers.
  • If the school does not hold a testing event or provide testing on school grounds, test results provided to the school as part of the 25% testing of the population must be received within 7 days from the date of specimen collection and specimen collection must be after the school reopens.
  • Each week the 25% of the school population tested must be composed of unique individuals who have not previously been tested for the surveillance screening, as part of the weekly 25% testing until the fifth week of weekly testing at which point the individuals who participated in the first week of testing should be tested again.
  • Members of the school community who test positive must isolate according to established guidelines.
  • Contact tracing must be performed to ensure that contacts to newly identified positive individuals are quarantined according to established guidelines.

The NYC Cluster Action Initiative requires Schools in Yellow Zones to:

(1) Beginning October 16, 2020, test 20% of in-person students, teachers and staff at least once per week, for as long as school remains in yellow zone OR until the positivity rate is below the cluster average

(2) Report numbers of tests and cases through the daily NYS School COVID-19 Report Card.

  1. HEALTHY HYGIENE PRACTICES

          SIGNAGE

  • Signs depicting healthy hygiene practices will be posted in high visibility areas including but not limited to the school entrance, restrooms, classrooms, offices, hallways, etc. To serve as daily reminders of the following healthy hygiene practices.

FACIAL MASKS

  • Staff and students and any individual entering the building must wear acceptable facial masks. Students will be required to wear masks, unless inadvisable, as in those instances where a student is unable to medically tolerate; including those instances where wearing a mask impairs physical and mental health.   All efforts will be made to ensure that students are taught to follow safety protocols, including but not limited to targeted instruction and behavioral interventions.   Students and staff will receive instruction on the appropriate methods for donning and removing facial coverings during meals or necessary breaks.  Facial coverings will be provided; however, appropriate facial coverings from home that meet the CDC criteria will be permitted.

HAND HYGIENE

  • Traditional hand washing with soap and warm water and lathering for 20 seconds will be conducted frequently throughout the day but minimally, upon arrival, following the use of the restroom, before and after meals, after gym,  before and after removing PPE, after sneezing, wiping or blowing nose, or coughing
  • Alcohol-based (60% alcohol or greater) hand sanitizers will be available in each classroom, restroom, hallway, office, and gym area; usage will be supervised by classroom staff.

 RESPIRATORY HYGIENE

  • Frequent and ongoing instruction, reinforcement, and visual reminders throughout the building will be in place to remind staff and students of the importance of covering the nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing; or using the inside of the elbow or shirtsleeve if tissues are not available.
  • An adequate supply of tissues is available

 SOCIAL DISTANCING Revised April 9, 2021

  • Six feet is always the required distancing between adults ( teachers, staff, visitors) and between students and adults
  • Desks in school age programs will continue to be placed a minimum of six feet apart since the classroom size allows for full in-person participation even at six feet distancing
  • Desks/tables in preschool programs will be placed according to most recent physical distancing  recommendations of April 9, 2021 with exceptions as outlined
  • Desks and chairs are labeled with child’s name
  • Personal belongings are labeled in bins
  • Personal supplies are labeled in bins to limit sharing of supplies
  • Hallways are marked with arrows to designate the direction and flow of traffic; space markers to designate safe distancing
  • Classroom groupings will remain static i.e. the same cohort of students will remain together for the entire day with the assigned staff so as to limit interactions with other individuals. Intermingling of classes in common space areas will be prohibited.
  • Limited and scheduled use of gym, allowing for single class usage and time for disinfecting and cleaning between uses. Gymnasiums are demarcated to ensure a distance of SIX feet in all directions while students are participating in activities.  Effective April 5, 2021 Outdoor activities, including, but not limited to playground activities and community walks will resume with modifications.  Classroom cohorts must be maintained with no mixing of cohorts in a single location and no mixing of cohorts during entrance to and exit from the playground/ building.   Each school is responsible for developing and submitting a playground  schedule that, at minimum, must maintain the cohorts and establish routine cleaning and maintenance protocols.
  • Lunch will be eaten in the classroom or in designated areas – six feet of distancing is required when eating meals or snacks. Students are not required to wear masks when seated and eating.  Meals may be served in alternate areas to accommodate individual static cohorts, i.e. only one group at a time; or meal periods may be staggered to ensure physical distancing and proper cleaning and disinfection between cohorts.
  • No assemblies, performances or other large group events except graduation celebrations which will adhere to the “Updated Interim Guidance for Graduation Celebrations Updated June 14, 2020.”
  • Bathroom schedule: maximum of two students at a time with a staff member accompanying students to ensure all health precautions are followed and social distancing is maintained
  • No field trips;
  • Therapy schedules and protocols are designed to limit traffic in hallways. Therapists are assigned to a room and will have a designated area to work, either within the classroom or, if necessary, a separate location. All materials used by therapists, including physical therapy equipment must be cleaned and sanitized between uses.
  • Faculty and Staff Meetings will be held virtually.

Students will receive targeted instruction on the above healthy hygiene habits, including wearing a mask and the appropriate ways to don and doff a mask; and take scheduled mask break.

  1. SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR IMMUNO-COMPROMISED STUDENTS

Students who are medically fragile may not be able to maintain social distancing, hand or respiratory hygiene, or wear a face covering or mask.  The principal and school health professional will work with the student’s family and healthcare provider to determine how best to meet the student’s needs while protecting his/her health and safety in an in-person environment.  Remote instruction and teletherapy will be provided upon parent request.


FACILITIES

The physical plant of the building, both square footage and classroom design, dictated the re-opening models, i.e. in-person in the school-age programs and 50% hybrid models in the preschools.  The model chosen for each location allowed the program to meet the requirements of social distancing, providing the maximum possible protection from spreading the coronavirus.  It was not necessary to rearrange or re-purpose space.  Therefore, there will be no impact on fire code compliance, inspections, emergency exits, or other general facility code issues.

CLEANING AND DISINFECTION

  1. Cleaning and disinfecting protocols follow CDC “Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection” in conjunction with OSHA requirements and general AHRC protocols for routine cleaning of the classroom.
  2. Preventive measures
    • The entire facility has been cleaned and sanitized
    • Water fountains have been disconnected
    • All porous and /or soft materials, including rugs, have been removed from the classrooms.
    • Communal supplies have been eliminated and each student will have personal supplies labeled in bins
    • Extraneous furniture has been removed
    • Gym equipment has been color-coded and will be set aside after single usage and sanitized at the end of the day
    • Heating/air conditioner systems have /will have HEPA filters installed and maintained monthly
    • Faucets will be run prior to building opening
    • Wall sanitizers have been hung in every classroom
    • Additional cleaning equipment has been ordered; g. separate mopping equipment for bathrooms and classrooms
    • Additional custodial staff have been hired
  1. Daily Cleaning Schedule
    • All surfaces and objects receive daily routine cleaning with soap and water; and environmentally safe disinfectants and cleansers.
    • Classroom staff are responsible for the end-of-day cleaning of classroom desks, tables, manipulatives, etc. as well as during the day needed clean-up. Custodial staff follows a daily schedule of cleaning classrooms, common areas and offices. (Attached)
    • Additional cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, i.e. doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, tables, phones, keyboards, has been added to the cleaning schedule
    • A daily log that includes the date, time and scope of cleaning and disinfection will be maintained
  1. Custodial staff will be provided with PPE: facial masks, eye protection when necessary, and gloves.
  2. CDC Procedures for classroom closure when student or staff contract COVID-19  will be strictly followed.
  1. CDC Procedures for School Health Office Cleaning will be strictly followed

SAFETY DRILLS

Required emergency and safety drills will be conducted according to schedule.  All students will receive instruction in emergency procedures and participating in drills when they are attending in-person.   Drills will be conducted on a staggered schedule. Classrooms evacuate separately and appropriate social distance is kept between students.  Lockdown drills will be conducted within the classroom, maintaining social distancing, and using masks.

NUTRITION

There is no plan to change current practice.  Food is not served in AHRC schools.  Children bring in lunch from home.  Parents are encouraged to provide healthy and nutritious as per the suggestions in the Parent Handbook which each family receives at the beginning of each school year.  Meals will be eaten in the classroom in an effort to maintain the cohort, maintain social distancing, and limit movement throughout the building.  Staff will wear gloves to assist students while eating.

TRANSPORTATION

As of July 31, 2020, it is anticipated that the NYC Department of Education Office of Pupil Transportation will be providing bus transportation as mandated by the IEP.   There is an expectation that the recommendations of temperature screening, social distancing, and wearing of masks will apply during transport.   As of this date, there are no specific instructions describing the protocols that will be put into place.  Parents will be notified as soon as information becomes available.

Parents are advised to contact the school prior to opening if they plan to transport their children to school on their own so that the school can prepare for the safe arrival and screening of children.  Parents will receive specific instructions on the arrival and dismissal time; location of entry and exit; and procedures that will be followed.

For Office of Pupil Transportation, (OPT) guidance about Cleaning and Sanitation, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Social Distancing, Health Assessments, and Provision of Services for students please visit https://www.schools.nyc.gov/school-year-20-21/district-school-reopening-plan-submission-to-nysed/transportation

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL WELLBEING

An advisory council comprised of the school psychologist, school guidance counselor/social worker, teachers, school building, and agency leaders, parents and students will be established to contribute to the school counseling program plan.

A comprehensive school counseling plan with a clear prioritization of mental health and well-being in response to the challenges and impact of COVID-19 will be developed and added to the current curriculum.

Social-Emotional Learning is a core element of the curriculum in AHRC NYC schools and staff, students and families are supported by the expertise of Board Certified Behavior Analysts, School Psychologists, and in the school-age program, a Social Worker and/or Guidance Counselor.  Addressing students’ behavior and mental health challenges are integral to the program and the process of gathering, reviewing, and responding to data enables the staff to be directly responsive to student needs.  A strong emphasis on family support is also an essential aspect of the program and parent counseling and parent workshops are ongoing and will continue virtually.  The Pyramid Model to support the social and emotional development of children birth through age five is utilized in the preschools.

Social-emotional supports for staff are equally important and COVID 19 Resources, which include resources for mental health, are available on the AHRC NYC website and can be accessed by staff and families.  The Comprehensive School Counseling COVID-19 Supplement will include additional resources to be disseminated to families and staff.

Professional learning opportunities for staff will include critical topics related to personal and student emotional well-being.

ATTENDANCE AND ABSENTEEISM

Attendance is recorded daily by the teacher and reported monthly on the NYC DOE CMR.  The process for recording is the same whether attendance is in person or by active participation in remote instruction.

Procedures for addressing absenteeism are in place and include follow up, in the first instance, by teachers via phone, text or email.  Additional follow up may be conducted by Nurse, Guidance Counselor, Social Worker or Principal.  The focus of outreach is to assess student and family needs and determine the obstacles that impact attendance, particularly during remote instruction.

Absence based on mandatory quarantine will be noted as such.  Remote instruction will be provided during the quarantine period.  Remote instruction will not be offered during routine absence.

The procedures for reporting chronic absenteeism as outlined in the NYC Department of Education Contract will be followed.

TECHNOLOGY

Students who attended school during the 2019-2020 School Year were surveyed prior to the outset of school closure to ascertain their capacity to engage in remote instruction.  Families received IT assistance and instruction in accessing ZOOM, Microsoft Teams, and Google Classroom.  Where needed, iPads were provided.  Consequently, returning students have access to technology and can participate in remote instruction.

The Technology Survey will be sent to the families of new students, entering for the first time in September.  Based on the results, families will receive the assistance and /or equipment needed to ensure that every student has access to technology.

TEACHING AND LEARNING

Continuity of Learning Plans for the school programs includes preparation for in-person learning and remote instruction.  AHRC Brooklyn Blue Feather, AHRC Middle/ High School, and AHRCNYC Staten Island Prep offer rigorous academic instruction that is aligned to NYS Standards and Commissioner’s Regulations Part 100, including Physical Education, the Arts, and Career & Technology Education.

AHRC NYC Preschools curriculum aligns with NYS Standards for Early Childhood Education, utilizes The Creative Curriculum to inform lesson planning, and the Pyramid Model.

The Remote Instruction Plans for both school-age and preschools continue the instructional alignment with NYS Learning Standards; regular and substantive interaction with teacher, instructions for students and families and the additional operational supports required in a remote learning environment.

Individualized Education Program mandates and goals are consistently delivered whether in-person or via remote instruction and teletherapy.  All necessary accommodations, modifications, and supplementary services, including assistive technology, are provided to ensure the provision of FAPE (Free and Appropriate Public Education).   Assessments, quarterly and annual reports continue as scheduled.  CPSE/CSE Meetings and Parent-Teacher Meetings to discuss quarterly Progress Reports, as well as regularly scheduled Parent-Teacher Conferences, will be held via remote platform.

STAFFING

Teachers, school and district leaders, and pupil personnel service professionals hold a valid and appropriate certification for their assignment.  As warranted, protocols are in place to employ teacher candidates who demonstrate a study plan leading to the appropriate certification to support instruction.

STAFF DEVELOPMENT

School-Age Programs will maintain their CTLE-approved trainings and workshops for all new and current staff inn curricular domains, behavioral support, and instructional strategies, which can be accessed here.  These will continue to be conducted by administrators, staff trainings, and other personnel experienced in presenting this content.  Programs will also introduce professional development specific to COVID-19.  These trainings will include but are not limited to:

  • CDC-aligned, proper hand and respiratory hygiene
  • How to Adequately Put on, Take Off and Discard Protective Personal Equipment (PPE)
  • Appropriate Mask Wearing in the School Setting
  • Ways to Support and Maintain Appropriate Social Distancing in the School Setting
  • Technology-related trainings for students, staff and families in cases when remote-learning is necessitated (i.e. device-related trainings as well as effective use of digital curriculum and platforms)
  • Strategies to support the mental health of both staff and students during these times

These trainings will be offered in both in-person and virtual settings as needed. They will be conducted by staff familiar with CDC guidelines in these specific domains.  All in-person trainings will occur in environments that ensure social distancing requirements are met; and that all staff maintain hand-washing routines and appropriate mask usage.  Training materials will be shared digitally to limit the potential of contaminated documents.  All trainings will have attendance sheets and rigorous record-keeping protocols to ensure that all staff receives COVID-related trainings on a consistent schedule.

COMMUNICATION /FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

The AHRCNYC REOPENING PLAN for SCHOOL AGE and PRESCHOOL PROGRAMS was developed in collaboration with administrators, faculty, school nurses, and parents/legal guardians.  Prior to the development of the plan, families were surveyed as to their preferred school re-opening design.  Parent choices were incorporated into the final plan.   Town Hall Meetings with staff of each school were held to elicit questions and suggestions and a meeting was held with the union leadership prior to final submission of the plan.   The plan will be uploaded onto the AHRC Schools website.

AHRC schools have a robust system of communication with the families and throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic have employed all of the methods to keep parents informed and to maintain regular, frequent and transparent communication:  system-wide phone and email communications;  direct phone, text and email contact between parents and teachers, school psychologists, social worker and guidance counselor, nurses and school ;  shared links for up-to-date information and resources;  technology surveys;  re-opening preference surveys;  Parent Handbooks and Covid-19 Supplements; and access to the school and AHRC websites.

 

Urgent Update: November 18, 2020

Please be advised that although the mayor and chancellor announced that New York City Public Schools have been closed tomorrow,  ALL AHRC schools will remain open.  Families will be updated should the situation change.

SCHOOLS HAVE REOPENED FOR IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION: NOVEMBER 2, 2020

PLEASE NOTE THAT BEGINNING MONDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2020 THE FOLLOWING SCHOOLS ARE OPEN FOR IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION:

AHRC MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL
1201 66TH STREET
BROOKLYN, NY 11219

BROOKLYN BLUE FEATHER ELEMENTARY
2335 GERRITSEN AVENUE
BROOKLYN, NY 11229

NYSARC, Inc. NYC CHAPTER (AHRC NYC CHAPTER) SCHOOLS COMPREHENSIVE RE-OPENING PLAN