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2021-22 School Reopening Plan

Introduction

The purpose of this plan is to ensure the collective health and safety of Jamesville-DeWitt students and staff throughout the 2021-22 school year. The health and safety of our students, staff, and their families is our top priority, and we remain committed to doing our part to minimize the potential health and safety impact of COVID-19.  

As we approach the beginning of the school year we know that many Jamesville-DeWitt teachers and staff are vaccinated, and many students in grades 7-12 are also vaccinated.  In fact, over 72% of eligible Onondaga County residents (ages 12 and up) are fully vaccinated.  This is good news, and provides protections for our students and staff. However, the complexities of operating schools during the pandemic remain.

This plan incorporates the latest guidance, recommendations and requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Education Department (NYSED), as well as the Onondaga County Health Department.  This plan emphasizes a layered approach to safety measures in all schools and classrooms.  This is a living resource and is subject to change based on new and evolving guidance. The level of infection, the spread of the virus and response to the disease in our community will be at the forefront of our decision making throughout the school year.

J-D will offer in-person instruction to all students five days a week, per the regular school schedule, in the 2021-22 school year. 

Guiding Principles

  • The health, safety and well-being of the children and adults is paramount.

  • Educational equity will be at the forefront of decision-making.

  • Return all students to school, full-time

  • Support students’ social, emotional and mental health

  • Prioritize the needs of our most vulnerable students

  • Communicate with stakeholders, such as staff, families, students, and the community.

  • Ensure flexibility to meet the needs of all students regardless of changing circumstances.

Content Outline

Click on the links below to jump to specific sections of the plan or continue to scroll down. 

COVID-19 vaccinations

According to the CDC, high levels of COVID-19 vaccination among eligible students as well as teachers, staff, and household members is one of the most critical strategies to help schools safely resume full operations.  Vaccination sites are available across Onondaga County


Face coverings and social distancing

Students, staff and visitors to our schools will be expected to wear face coverings indoors.  Masks are required on the school bus. Students will be allowed to remove face coverings during meals and for short breaks. Students who are unable to medically tolerate a face covering will not be required to wear one. Medical documentation is required and will be reviewed by the district’s physician.

Students and staff will be required to wear a face covering in all common areas (e.g., entrances and exits) and when traveling around the school.

Masks are not necessary outdoors, but students and staff are welcome to wear a mask if desired.

Face coverings will be provided to students and staff, if needed, at no cost. Acceptable face coverings for COVID-19 include, but are not limited to, cloth-based coverings and surgical masks that cover both the mouth and nose.

At least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms and other areas of the school will be maintained where possible.  


Management of ill persons, contact tracing and monitoring

Students, teachers, and staff who have symptoms of infectious illness, such as influenza (flu) or COVID-19, should stay home and be referred to their healthcare provider for testing and care, regardless of vaccination status. Staying home when sick with COVID-19 is essential to keep COVID-19 infections out of schools and prevent spread to others. 

The district requires students, faculty, or staff members who develop COVID-19 symptoms during the school day to report to the nurse’s office. The district has designated areas to separate individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 from others until they can go home or to a healthcare facility, depending on severity of illness. Students or staff will be referred to a healthcare provider and provided resources on COVID-19 testing.

PPE requirements for school health office staff caring for sick individuals includes both standard and transmission-based precautions. 

School health office cleaning will occur after each use of cots, bathrooms, and health office equipment (e.g., blood pressure cuffs, otoscopes, stethoscopes). Health office equipment will be cleaned following manufacturer’s directions.

Disposable items will be used as much as possible (e.g., disposable pillow protectors, disposable thermometers, disposable thermometer sheaths or probes, disposable otoscope specula).


Return to School after Illness

The district has established protocols and procedures, in consultation with the local health department(s), about the requirements for determining when individuals, particularly students, who screened positive for COVID-19 symptoms can return to the in-person learning environment at school. This protocol includes:

  • Documentation from a health care provider following evaluation
  • Negative COVID-19 diagnostic test result
  • Symptom resolution, or if COVID-19 positive, release from isolation
  • The district will refer to the New York State Department of Health regarding protocols and policies for faculty and staff seeking to return to work after a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or after the faculty or staff member had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19.

The district requires that individuals who were exposed to the COVID-19 virus complete quarantine protocols and not have developed symptoms before returning to in-person learning. The discharge of an individual from quarantine and return to school will be conducted in coordination with the local health department.


COVID-19 screening testing

COVID-19 screening testing identifies people infected with COVID-19, including those with or without symptoms, who may be contagious.  We will work with the Onondaga County Department of Health to offer testing of students and staff at each of our buildings.  More specific information will be provided as plans are developed.

Per an Emergency Order issued by the Onondaga County Executive, all Jamesville-DeWitt staff must be vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.


Contact tracing

The district will notify the state and local health department immediately upon being informed of any positive COVID-19 diagnostic test result by an individual within school facilities or on school grounds, including students, faculty, staff, and visitors of the district.

To assist the local health department with tracing the transmission of COVID-19, the district has developed and maintained a plan to trace all contacts of exposed individuals in accordance with protocols, training, and tools provided through the New York State Department of Health.  

The district will maintain a record when a positive case occurs in a building.  Data on the number of positive cases will be available on the district website.

Confidentiality must be maintained as required by federal and state laws and regulations. School staff should not try to determine who is to be excluded from school based on contact without guidance and direction from the local health department.


School closures

A closure refers to contingency plans, protocols, and procedures for decreasing the scale or scope of in- person education and/or closing the school. The district will collaborate with the local health department to determine the parameters, conditions or metrics (e.g., increased absenteeism or increased illness in school community) that will serve as early warning signs that positive COVID-19 cases may be increasing beyond an acceptable level.

The district will announce using the school messenger system and on major television stations and local media when schools are closed due to inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances.  


Quarantined students

A student who is quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19 will have access to his or her classes via google classroom and will receive daily tutoring  (1 hour for elementary; 2 hours for secondary) to support his or her learning.


Health hygiene

The district will emphasize healthy hygiene practices for students and staff by providing initial and refresher education in hand and respiratory hygiene, along with providing adequate supplies and time for frequent hand hygiene. Signs will be posted throughout the school and regular messaging will be shared with the school community. Signage will be used to remind individuals to:

  • Stay home if they feel sick.

  • Cover their nose and mouth with an acceptable face covering when unable to maintain social distance from others or in accordance with any stricter policy implemented by the school.

  • Properly store and, when necessary, discard PPE.

  • Report symptoms of, or exposure to, COVID-19.

  • Follow hand hygiene, and cleaning and disinfection guidelines.

  • Follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette.


Cleaning, disinfecting and ventilation

The district will continue to maximize the flow of outside air into the buildings.  The district will ensure adherence to hygiene and cleaning and disinfection requirements as advised by the CDC and DOH. 

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

  • Bus Garage

  • Buses, school vehicles

  • Libraries

  • Large meeting areas (auditoriums, gymnasiums, music rooms)

  • Playgrounds (cleaning only)


Visitors on campus

Visitors to schools must follow all safety protocols as listed above.


School meals

Students do not need to wear face coverings when seated and eating. Social distancing will be maintained to the greatest extent possible. 


Transportation

Students and school staff must wear acceptable face coverings at all times on school buses (e.g., entering, exiting, and seated) and should maintain appropriate social distance to the extent practicable. 

Parents and legal guardians are encouraged to drop off or walk students to school to reduce density on buses.

All buses that are used every day by districts and contract carriers will be cleaned/ disinfected once a day. High contact areas will be wiped down after the morning (AM) and afternoon (PM) run depending upon the disinfection schedule. 

Transportation staff (drivers, monitors, attendants, mechanics and cleaners) will be trained and provided periodic refreshers on the proper use of personal protective equipment and the signs and symptoms of COVID-19. 


Sports and other extracurricular activities

Jamesville-DeWitt will work with the Onondaga Department of Health, Section III, and our league to develop protocols for safe participation in athletics programs for students and coaches. According to the CDC, certain high risk sports remain at increased risk for getting and spreading COVID-19. Close contact sports and indoor sports are considered high risk.

For indoor sports, the district may increase physical distancing between players on the bench or spectators in the crowd. The district may also reduce capacity for spectators or not allow spectators at indoor sports based on determinations made by state or local authorities.

Students and adults should follow the same school-day policies and procedures during athletic and extracurricular activities.  


Remote learning

We understand that some parents and guardians have concerns about sending their students to school for in-person instruction because of their student’s health status. To accommodate those families, we are partnering with OCM BOCES to offer a remote instruction option for those students with a signed physician statement indicating that the student cannot return to in-person school due to a documented, pre-existing medical condition. 

Remote instruction will be provided by New York state-certified teachers employed by OCM BOCES, and students meeting the enrollment eligibility will be placed in the remote learning program for the entirety of the 2021-22 school year. Physician statements must be signed, dated and sent to the building principal.  Questions regarding remote instruction through BOCES may be directed to Peter Smith or Nate Franz. 

If you are interested in homeschooling your student for 2021-22, there is information on our website about that option. Questions regarding homeschooling may be directed to Pete Reyes. 

While we believe that in-person instruction best meets the academic and social and emotional needs of our students, we recognize that because we are still in a pandemic, remote instruction may be the safest option for some of our students.  

In the event that schools are closed by local, state or officials due to a spread of disease or lack of available staffing resources, schools may have to shift to remote learning. Classroom teachers should be prepared to switch to remote learning quickly. In the event that schools are closed for in person learning, students will be expected to login from home and follow their normal school schedule via video conferencing tools and online learning platforms provided by the district.


DISTRICT

OUR SCHOOLS




Dr. Peter Smith, Superintendent

P.O. Box 606
DeWitt, NY 13214

Phone: (315) 445-8300
www.jamesvilledewitt.org


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