Introduction | Communication/Family and Community Engagement | Health and Safety | Facilities | Child Nutrition | Transportation | Social-Emotional Well-Being | School Schedules | Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism |
Technology and Connectivity | Teaching and Learning | Career and Technical Education (CTE) |
Athletics and Extracurricular Activities | Special Education | Bilingual Education and World Languages | Staffing |
Updated May 2021
At Pine Bush Central School District our primary commitment is to the students and families we serve. Our priority must be keeping them safe. When the 2020-2021 school year begins, on-campus school will look much different than previous years due to COVID-19 and the health and safety measures that continue to evolve. This School Reopening Plan will define clear guidance for the reopening of our seven schools and aligns with the regulations developed in collaboration with NYSDOH and the NYS Education Department.
The areas outlined in this plan represent the myriad considerations Pine Bush Central School District will address to reopen schools safely and to sustain their safe operation. It is important to note that our plan retains a strong focus on academic instruction to enhance student performance and address learning loss. An emphasis on the social-emotional needs of our students is a priority and therefore have addressed this within our plan.
This plan includes procedures that will be followed in the following schools:
- Pine Bush High School–Aaron Hopmayer, Principal (https://www.pinebushschools.org/pine-bush-high-school)
- Circleville Middle School–Lisa Hankinson, Principal (https://www.pinebushschools.org/circleville-middle-school/)
- Crispell Middle School–John Boyle, Principal (https://www.pinebushschools.org/crispell-middle-school/)
- Circleville Elementary School–Kristin Slover, Principal (https://www.pinebushschools.org/circleville-elementary/)
- EJ Russell Elementary School–Elizabeth Halsey-Sproul, Principal (https://www.pinebushschools.org/ej-russell-elementary/)
- Pakanasink Elementary School–Brian Breheny, Principal (https://www.pinebushschools.org/pakanasink-elementary/)
- Pine Bush Elementary School–Eric Winter, Principal (https://www.pinebushschools.org/pine-bush-elementary/)
To be clear, the health and safety of our students, our staff, and their families is our top priority. We have developed a plan that intends to insure that students and employees feel comfortable and safe returning to school campuses. Our reopening plan incorporates recommendations and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED).
It is possible that we may need to alternate between in-person/hybrid and remote learning throughout the year due to recommendations and guidance from our partnering agencies, and stay-at-home orders from the Governor. The level of infection, the spread of the virus and response to the disease in our community will be at the forefront of decision making as we move to open our schools.
Amy Brockner, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, will serve as the district’s COVID-19 Coordinator. She will serve as a central contact for schools and stakeholders, families, staff and other school community members and will ensure the district is in compliance and following the best practices per state and federal guidelines.
Of course, as with every plan being developed throughout New York State, this document is fluid and will change as necessary based on guidance from the state, CDC, and NYSED and in consideration of our families and our staff. We strongly believe the services described throughout this plan are in the best interests of our students, families, staff, and community.
The development of this plan was guided by and grounded in the following guiding principles:
- Safeguarding the health and safety of students and staff;
- Providing the opportunity for all students to access education in the fall;
- Monitoring schools, students, and staff. When necessary, modifying schedules to appropriately contain COVID-19 spread;
- Emphasizing equity, access, and support to the students and communities that are emerging from this historic disruption;
- Fostering strong two-way communication with partners, such as families, educators, and staff;
- Factoring into decision making the challenges to the physical safety, social emotional well-being, and the mental health needs of our students caused by school closure; and
- Considering and supporting diversity in our schools and school districts as we provide education is essential.
Communication/Family and Community Engagement
To help inform our reopening plan, the Pine Bush Central School District has sought feedback and input from stakeholders, including administrators, faculty, staff, students, parents/guardians (in the form of various surveys), local health department officials and health care providers, employee unions and community groups. Engagement efforts included online surveys, virtual meetings and one-on-one conversations.
The district remains committed to communicating all elements of this reopening plan to students, parents/guardians, staff and visitors. The plan is available to all stakeholders via the district website at www.pinebushschools.org and will be updated throughout the school year, as necessary, to respond to local circumstances.
As part of its planning for the reopening of schools and the new academic year, the district has developed a plan for communicating all necessary information to district staff, students, parents/guardians, visitors and education partners and vendors. The district will use its existing communication modes – including SchoolMessenger phone calls, emails and texts, website, social media accounts, telephone calls and student email addresses–as well as appropriate signage and training opportunities to support the dissemination of consistent messaging regarding new protocols and procedures, expectations, requirements and options related to school operations throughout the pandemic.
- To encourage all students, faculty, staff, and visitors through verbal and written communication (e.g., signage) to adhere to NYSED, CDC, and DOH guidance regarding the use of acceptable face coverings – a face mask covering the nose and mouth, when a social distance cannot be maintained.
- To provide regular updates about health and safety, scheduling, and all other information faculty, staff and families should be aware of.
- To provide information to families through a wide array of platforms including mail, email, telephone calls, text messaging, social media and website postings.
- To provide information on how families can access technology and receive technical support to assist with utilization and maintenance of equipment.
Pine Bush Central School District developed communication materials accordingly, including the creation of sample messages/letters for COVID-19 cases or potential cases for various school audiences. We will utilize communication methods used by the district to inform the school community. Information will be dispersed in a variety of platforms that include:
- District website
- SchoolMessenger Call List
- Email blast
- Correspondence (letters) to homes
- Social media accounts used by district
- Meetings via Google Meet
Clear messaging will be prepared and consistently communicated before re-entry, on the first day, during the first week, throughout the first month, and continuously throughout the year. Minimum monthly communication will provide information on the following topics:
- Who to contact with questions, concerns or suggestions. Empower people to make a positive difference and communicate the expectation for them to do so.
- The facts as we currently know them (NYSDOH, CDC).
- The importance of social distancing, monitoring symptoms of COVID-19 and when to stay home.
- Set protocols for entrance (screening) and the review process for staff calling in sick. Frequent reminders for staff to stay home if they feel sick.
- Encourage and implement social distancing in bathrooms, break rooms, hallways, cafeteria, etc. Installing social distancing markers on the floors, masking, etc.
- Practice proper hand hygiene. Staff is allowed to use hand sanitizer, but hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is still more effective. Hand sanitizer works best on clean hands.
- Encourage and practice proper respiratory etiquette (i.e., coughing or sneezing into your elbow if a tissue is not available).
- Encouraging personal responsibility for yourself and your work area.
- Educating the school community on district policies/procedures, including how to properly wear and dispose of a face mask.
Throughout the school year, Pine Bush Central School District solicited feedback from stakeholders about Return to More Learning.
- Superintendent Mains and Assistant Superintendent Brockner received numerous emails and phone calls with inquiries regarding increasing in-person instruction for students;
- Several calls and emails were sent via SchoolMessenger regarding the possibility of pivoting to more in-person instruction in April 2021.
Health and Safety
The health and safety of our students, our staff and their families is our top priority. We want students and employees to feel comfortable and safe returning to school campuses. Our reopening plan incorporates recommendations and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED).
The following protocols and procedures will be in place in all district schools for the 2020-21 school year should in-person schooling resume. Anyone with questions or concerns should contact our COVID-19 Safety Coordinator at email@example.com or 845-744-2031.
For more information about how health and safety protocols and training will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.
To ensure employees and students comply with communication requirements, Pine Bush Central School District will:
- Post signage throughout the buildings to remind personnel to adhere to proper hygiene, social distancing rules, appropriate use of PPE, and cleaning/disinfecting protocols.
- Establish a communication plan for employees, visitors, and parents/guardians with a consistent means to provide updated information. This will be accomplished through:
- Social media
- Print copy mailings
- Voice and/or video messaging
- Traditional media outlets
- Maintain a log of every person, including staff, workers, and visitors, who may have close contact with other individuals at the work site, school, or area; excluding deliveries that are performed with appropriate PPE or through contactless means.
- If a worker or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the school district must immediately notify state and local health departments and cooperate with contact tracing efforts, including notification of potential contacts, such as workers or visitors who had close contact with the individual, while maintaining confidentiality required by state and federal law and regulations.
To ensure all faculty, staff, and students comply with building entry and exit procedures, Pine Bush Central School District will do the following:
- Where feasible, entry and egress in and out of all buildings for adults will be limited to a single location. If applicable, a single point entry and single point egress will be identified to minimize cross traffic. All entry to the buildings will occur through the main entrance to a check-in point at the security station. Entry for students may be dispersed depending upon the location and volume of students arriving or leaving.
- A face covering must be worn by all individuals, students, staff, and visitors on Pine Bush Central School District 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 Pine Bush Central School District daily.
Daily Health Screening
To ensure all faculty, staff, and students comply with daily screening requirements, Pine Bush Central School District will do the following:
To ensure all faculty, staff, and students comply with daily screening requirements, Pine Bush Central School District will do the following:
Prior to entering all Pine Bush Central School District locations, individuals must complete a medical screening. This questionnaire will be accessible through the Pine Bush Central School District website (www.pinebushschools.org) or a QR code will be posted at all main entrances that provides a direct link to the survey using an iPhone or android phone.
When a Pine Bush Central School District employee swipes into a building, s/he is attesting to temperature monitoring prior to arrival on campus. Anyone whose symptoms responses change from a NO to YES during the day must contact their supervisor immediately and await further instruction.
Although filing of the health survey is preferred to be done online, the questionnaire for visitors will be available at each building’s Greeter’s Desk.
Screening is strongly recommended to be conducted remotely. Students arriving to school without a completed questionnaire will be accounted for as without fever/symptoms and able to attend school through attendance roll.
For multiple individuals entering the building simultaneously, they will be required to wait outside while maintaining social distance until they can be signed in and screened.
- Corridors will be created (outside, but preferably covered) where individuals can enter the facility when in-person screening is utilized.
- Multiple lines and entrances will be coordinated, if needed to reduce crowding.
- Markings (whether in tape or otherwise) will be placed on the ground or in the corridor to indicate six (6) foot lengths to provide for greater social distancing for individuals while in line.
- Only after all individuals have been accounted for, cleared through the medical screening and wearing proper face coverings, will access to the building be granted.
Should a person fail the medical screening, specific procedures should be followed. Please reference the Suspect or Confirmed COVID-19 Case section for guidance.
- All individuals on Pine Bush Central School District premises must maintain appropriate social distancing where practicable.
- Appropriate social distancing is defined as a three (3) foot separation between students. Should Orange County be designated as being at a high level of community transmission as defined by the CDC, six (6) foot separation between secondary students will be maintained.
- Six (6) feet is required between adults and between students and adults.
- Six (6) feet is required when eating meals or snacks, or drinking, or at other times when masks are removed.
- Six (6) foot distance between personnel must be maintained, unless safety or core function of the work activity requires a shorter distance. Appropriate face coverings must be worn at all times.
- 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.
- In-person gatherings will be limited as much as possible and we will use tele- or video-conferencing whenever possible. Essential 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.
Students and staff must practice good hand hygiene to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Schools should plan time in the school day schedule to allow for hand hygiene.
- 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.
- Students and staff should wash 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. In order for the sanitizer to be effective it must contain a minimum of 60% ethanol or 70% isopropyl 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 should be placed near sanitizer dispensers indicating soiled hands should be washed with soap and water;
- Placement of sanitizer dispensers should be located near entrances and throughout common areas.
Visitor and Vendor Practices
No outside visitors or volunteers will be allowed on school campuses, except for the safety and well-being of students. 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. Essential visitors to facilities and parent/guardian visitors will be required to wear face coverings and will have restricted access to our school buildings.
To ensure all faculty, staff, students, visitors and vendors comply with protective equipment requirements, anyone visiting Pine Bush Central School District facilities will will do the following:
- 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 check in at the Greeter’s Desk to complete a medical screening questionnaire. The visitor must wear a visitor’s badge as a way to indicate to all that the visitor has been screened.
- When signing in, visitors must indicate their relationship to the school/district.
- No visitor should enter a building unless necessary. All meetings should be held outside or via virtual meetings when possible.
- All visitors must sign in and out at the main entrance of each building stating their destination at that building for contact tracing. All visitors should be accompanied by a staff member.
- Should a visitor become ill while on campus, they must alert the staff member they are visiting to report the issue and then immediately seek medical attention.
- At the end of each day, the secretary must scan the sign-in/out documents and send them individually to: (District location/email) Each document must be named indicating the location and date, following this format: VISITORS_LOCATION_YYYY.MM.DD.pdf.
- All vendors must be wearing proper face covering prior to entering any building and it must be worn at all times when six (6) foot social distance cannot be maintained.
- All vendors must fill out the questionnaire which can be found by scanning the QR Code posted on all doors. The vendors must sign in with their identification through the system for a visitor pass. This will indicate to all others that the vendor has been screened.
- No vendor should enter a building unless necessary for completion of their job. All meetings should be held outside or via Google Meetwhen possible.
- All vendors must sign in and out at the main entrance of each building stating their destination at that building for contact tracing.
- Should a vendor become ill while on campus, they must alert the staff member they’re visiting to report the issue and then immediately seek medical attention.
Pine Bush Central School District 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.
Pine Bush Central School District 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 use. 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).
Training for Screeners
Pine Bush Central School District will identify individuals familiar with CDC, OSHA protocols, and DOH guidelines in each building who will be a trained screener. Appropriate employer-provided PPE, including at a minimum, face coverings, will be worn during screenings. Social distancing and/or other barriers should be employed where appropriate.
Training Topics for Staff and Substitutes (As Appropriate)
- 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% ethanol or 70% isopropyl alcohol. Provide training on proper handwashing and hand sanitizer use. https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html
- 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.
- Operating procedures (various by building)
- Entrance into the building
- Cleaning procedures
- Sick child pick up
- Staff who are sick or suspected to be sick
- Proper cleaning techniques
- Cleaning and disinfecting
- Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes
- Hazard Communication – Right-To-Know
- Proper use of chemicals and Safety Data sheets
- 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
- Update Hazard Assessment and PPE Selection Worksheet for all identified employees
- 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
- Use of face coverings (donning/doffing) (cloth vs. surgical)
- Respirator Protection (N95 – required for identified employees per NYS)
- 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
Signs and Messages
Signs will be posted in highly visible locations (e.g., school entrances, restrooms) that promote everyday protective measures and describe how to stop the spread pdf icon of germs (such as by properly washing hands and properly wearing a cloth face cover image icon).
When Students Eat in Classrooms
- Train staff on food allergies, including symptoms of allergic reactions to food.
- Train all non-food service staff on any meal service-related activities they will be responsible for.
Space Design and Capacities
General Office Area
- Where applicable, offices in small spaces will be limited to 50% of its rated occupancy.
- In multiple occupant offices, work spaces will be arranged to maintain at least 6 ft of separation between individuals.
- Additional protective barriers such as polycarbonate screens or strip curtains may be utilized to create a physical separation without hindrance to egress or airflow but shall be required where 6 ft distancing is not possible.
- Workstations may be reconfigured so that employees do not face each other or establish partitions if facing each other cannot be avoided
- Face coverings should be worn in these multiple use office settings.
- Additional breaks may be allotted to allow individuals time to leave the space to remove their masks. Specific determination of these conditions will be determined by the individual’s program supervisor.
- When practical, stagger shift start and end times to discourage employees from congregating during the shift change-over and from overcrowding at entrances and exits
- Employees will be encouraged to use virtual meeting tools, including phone and virtual teleconference, in lieu of in-person meetings, when possible
- Will limit in-person meetings (refer to NYS guidance) when virtual meetings are not feasible
- If meetings are to occur in person, they will be conducted in a quick manner
- Social distancing among participants will be required
- Lingering and socializing before and after meetings should be discouraged
Break Rooms and Lunch Rooms
- Break room use is discontinued if a minimum of 6 ft. separation cannot be maintained when consuming food or drink.
- Staff are advised to take their lunch and breaks in their private offices or classrooms; in their vehicles or outside at the picnic table throughout the campus.
- Staggered break schedules may be utilized to assist with separation concerns.
- If staff wish to take breaks together they must do such in a large space or outside, where at minimum 6 ft of separation can occur.
- Amenities that are handled with high contact frequency, such as water coolers, coffee makers, and bulk snacks will be replaced with alternatives where possible.
- Congregating in copier rooms/areas is discouraged.
- Cleaning supplies will be provided at copier stations.
- Staff are encouraged to wipe down touch surfaces post and prior use.
- One person at a time in the elevator, where practicable
- Elevators will be frequently disinfected.
- All bathrooms regardless of size will be limited to one person at a time.
- Individuals must knock or announce themselves before entering a gang restroom.
- In special circumstances where a student must be assisted in the use of the lavatory, the adult present must be wearing all applicable personal protective equipment including a face covering and when medically applicable, the student will be wearing a proper face covering as well.
- Signage will be posted on entry indicating one person at a time.
- Where feasible hallway traffic may be limited to single flow direction.
- Where single flow is not applicable, bi-direction traffic will be permitted.
- Directional flow will be identified by indications on the floor/stairs
- Adequate distancing will be obtained between all individuals by taped off lanes on the corridor floors/ stair treads.
- All individuals must also allow for adequate space between when traveling in the same direction.
- Occupancy in each classroom will be specific and determined based off of the overall square footage of the space.
- Each student, teacher and support staff will receive not less than 6 ft. of separation from others.
- Additional considerations will be taken to account for space utilized for classrooms and teaching material.
- Overall class sizes will be reduced to accommodate all safety parameters.
- Students, teachers and support staff will be required to wear a proper face covering.
- Where possible special teachers and related services support staff will travel to the classroom to provide instruction.
- Restrict items in the classroom to that of obvious use.
- Remove any unnecessary furniture.
- Remove any soft surfaces that are difficult to disinfect such as:
- Area Rugs
- Soft fabric chairs
- All students and staff are required to wear appropriate face coverings.
- N95 Respirator use for nurses should be limited to situations of suspected COVID-19.
- Nurses must receive proper training and fitment of N95 Respirators prior to use.
- Where possible, nurse stations have been reconfigured to:
- Maintain social distancing of no less than 6 ft.
- Create “sick” and “well” zones.
- Students that receive daily medication should be treated separately from students presenting with symptoms of illness.
- Nebulizer treatments should be conducted in a separate, isolated space with adequate fresh air circulation.
- Physical separation will be achieved by utilizing:
- Individual exam rooms
- Polycarbonate barriers
- Retractable dividing curtain walls.
- Isolation Rooms
- Individuals presenting with symptoms representative of COVID-19 should be immediately isolated to reduce risk of transmission.
- A room separate from the nurse’s station will be utilized.
A separate room with a door in close proximity to the exterior will be utilized for quarantining individuals who present with symptoms representative of COVID-19.
These rooms have been identified in each building:
- Pine Bush High School – Room 143
- Circleville Middle School – Room B138 Workroom
- Crispell Middle School – Room 125
- Circleville Elementary School – Room 111
- EJ Russell Elementary School – Room 1A & 1
- Pakanasink Elementary School – Room Across from the Nurse’s Office
- Pine Bush Elementary School – Room 120
Greeter’s Desk/Reception Areas
Greeter’s Desks will remain at the main entrance of each building.
- Where a multi-entrance design is used, additional posts will be instituted.
- They will serve as the primary location for accounting for all individuals entering and exiting the building.
- Polycarbonate barriers have been installed to protect all individuals.
- Floor demarcations have been installed to indicate where visitors shall stand to maintain social distance.
- Reception areas have had seating removed or adequately spaced to provide at minimum of 6ft of separation.
- Frequently touched materials such as informational brochures have been removed.
- Where a multi-entrance design is used, additional posts will be instituted.
As long as schools are closed or partially closed due to COVID-19, computer lab use will be prohibited.
Library Spaces (If Open)
- Remove all soft covered surfaces that cannot be properly cleaned and disinfected. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Bean bag chairs
- Upholstered couches or chairs
- Area rugs
- Reconfigure space to ensure social distancing.
- Tables will be limited to one individual at a time where applicable.
- Polycarbonate barriers may be installed to create a physical barrier.
- Table/chairs should be arranged so as to not face each other.
- Small reading nook use should be discontinued unless:
- Limited to one person at a time.
- Cleaned and disinfected routinely.
- Borrowing of materials such as books may need to be discontinued if adequate disinfection cannot be achieved.
- Create directional traffic flow patterns between bookcases to ensure social distancing.
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer will be available in each entry, all corridors, and each classroom.
- Limited to one occupant at a time.
- Entry doors to gang bathrooms will be left open where applicable to reduce the need to handle.
- Vestibules/Reception Areas
- Polycarbonate barriers will be installed to provide protection for Pine Bush Central School District staff and individuals presenting
- Barriers have been designed in accordance with New York State Fire Code
- Water Fountains
- As required by New York State Code a potable water supply will be provided per 150 occupants, but not less than one source per floor.
- To reduce cross contamination the bubbler/drink spout has been removed or disabled.
- In place of the bubbler/drink spout, either automatic bottle filler station will be installed or water will be provided for students.
- These appliances will be routinely cleaned and disinfected as described in the Cleaning and Disinfection Section.
- Floor Demarcations
- All entrances or areas of static wait have floor signage installed allotting for a minimum of six (6) feet of separation between all individuals
- All corridor floors and stairway treading have been fitted with stripping to indicate directional traffic flow and social distancing.
- Corridor doors will all be affixed open using electromagnetic hold-open devices to minimize the need to touch doors.
The Pine Bush Central School District will ensure sufficient ventilation by maintaining adequate, code required ventilation (natural or mechanical) as designed. Ventilation will be increased with outdoor air to the greatest extent possible by opening doors, windows, etc., while maintaining health and safety protocols.
Cleaning and Disinfection
The Pine Bush Central School District will ensure adherence to hygiene and cleaning and disinfection requirements as advised by the CDC and DOH, including “Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public and Private Facilities for COVID-19,” and the “STOP THE SPREAD” poster, as applicable. Cleaning and disinfection logs will be maintained that include the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection.
Examples of facility types where cleaning and disinfection frequency will be distinguished include:
- 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.)
- Computer labs
- Science labs
- Maintenance offices and work areas
- Bus Garage
- Buses, school vehicles
- Large meeting areas (auditoriums, gymnasiums, music rooms)
- Playgrounds (cleaning only)
- Outdoor seating areas (plastic or metal)
Students, faculty, and staff will be trained on proper hand and respiratory hygiene, and such information will be provided to parents and/or legal guardians on ways to reinforce this at home.
The district will provide and maintain hand hygiene stations around the school, as follows:
- For handwashing: soap, running warm water, and disposable paper towels.
- For hand sanitizing: an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol for areas where handwashing facilities may not be available or practical.
- Accommodations for students who cannot use hand sanitizer will be made.
Regular cleaning and disinfection of the facilities will occur, including more frequent cleaning and disinfection for high-risk and frequently touched surfaces. This will include desks and cafeteria tables, which should be cleaned and disinfected between each individual’s use. Cleaning and disinfection will be rigorous and ongoing and will occur at least daily, or more frequently as needed. Disinfectants must be products that meet EPA criteria for use against SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and be appropriate for the surface.
The district will ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of restrooms. Restrooms should be cleaned and disinfected more often depending on frequency of use.
For more information about how cleaning and disinfection information will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the Communication section of our reopening plan.
Suspect or Confirmed COVID-19 Cases
- Emergency Response – Students and staff with symptoms of illness must be sent to the health office. A school nurse (Registered Professional Nurse, RN) is available to assess individuals as chronic conditions such as asthma and allergies or chronic gastrointestinal conditions may present the same symptoms as COVID-19 but are neither contagious nor pose a public health threat. Proper PPE will be required anytime a nurse may be in contact with a potential COVID-19 patient
- Isolation – Students suspected of having COVID-19 awaiting transport home by the parent/guardian will be isolated in a room or area separate from others, with a supervising adult present utilizing appropriate PPE. Multiple students suspected of COVID-19 may also be in this isolation room if they can be separated by at least 6 feet. If they cannot be isolated in a separate room from others, facemasks (e.g., cloth or surgical mask) will be provided to the student if the ill person can tolerate wearing it and does not have difficulty breathing, to prevent the possible transmission of the virus to others while waiting for transportation home. Students should be escorted from the isolation area to the parent/guardian. The parent or guardian will be instructed to call their health care provider, or if they do not have a health care provider, to follow up with a local clinic or urgent care center. Other considerations include:
- Closing off areas used by a sick person and not using these areas until after cleaning and disinfection has occurred;
- Opening outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area;
- Waiting at least 24 hours before cleaning and disinfection. If waiting 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible;
- Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, such as offices, classrooms, bathrooms, lockers, and common areas;
- Once the area has been appropriately cleaned and disinfected it can be reopened for use.; and
- Individuals without close or proximate contact with the person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 can return to the area and resume school activities immediately after cleaning and disinfection.
- Notification – The NYS and local health departments will be notified immediately upon being informed of any positive COVID-19 diagnostic test result by an individual in school facilities or on school grounds, including students, faculty,staff and visitors.
Public health officials assume the task of contact tracing, once notified.
To ensure the school district and its employees comply with contact tracing and disinfection requirements, the Pine Bush Central School District will do the following:
- Have a plan for cleaning, disinfection, and notifying Public Health, in the event of a positive case. In the case of an employee testing positive for COVID-19, CDC guidelines will be followed regarding cleaning and disinfecting your building or facility if someone is sick. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-building-facility.html
- Close off areas used by the person who is sick.
- Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.
- Wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting. If 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
- Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person who is sick, such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment like tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and copier machines.
- Vacuum the space, if needed. Use a vacuum equipped with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, if available.
- Consider temporarily turning off room fans and the central HVAC system that services the room or space (if applicable), so that particles that escape from vacuuming will not circulate throughout the facility.
- Workers without close contact with the person who is sick can return to work immediately after disinfection.
Return to School After Illness
The Pine Bush Central School District has established protocols and procedures, in consultation with the local health department(s), about the requirements for determining when individuals, particularly students, who tested positive for COVID-19 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
The district will refer to DOH’s “Interim Guidance for Public and Private Employees Returning to Work Following COVID-19 Infection or Exposure” 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 and have not 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.
When a person has been identified (confirmed) or suspected to be COVID-19 positive; the process In Pine Bush Central School District could include:
- Having school administrators collaborate and coordinate with local health officials to make school closure and large event cancellation decisions.
- Establish a plan to close schools again for physical attendance of students, if necessary, based on public health guidance and in coordination with the local DOH. Establishing a decision-making tree at the district level.
- Develop a plan for continuity of education, medical and social services, and meal programs and establish alternate mechanisms for these to continue.
- Implement as needed short-term closure procedures regardless of community spread if an infected person has been in a school building. If this happens, CDC recommends the following procedures:
- Closing off areas used by ill person(s) and locking off area(s), signage can also be used to ensure no one enters the area. If possible, wait 24 hours before you clean and disinfect. If it is not possible to wait 24 hours, wait as long as possible. Do not use the area(s) until cleaning and disinfection has taken place.
- Opening outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.
- Cleaning staff should clean and disinfect all areas (e.g., offices, bathrooms, and common areas) used by the ill person(s), focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.
- Communicating as soon as possible with appropriate staff, parents, and students.
- Using DOH guidance/procedures for when someone tests positive.
- In consultation with the local DOH, a school official may consider whether class/school closure is warranted and period of time (prior to re-opening) based on the risk level within the specific community as determined by the local DOH.
- In accordance with guidance for quarantine at home after close contact, the classroom or office where the COVID-19-positive individual was based will typically need to close temporarily as students or staff quarantine.
- Additional close contacts at school outside of a classroom should also quarantine at home.
- Closing of schools could be a regional decision.
- 7 metrics – NYS Dashboard
- Schools will reopen if a region is in Phase IV and the daily infection rate remains below 5% using a 14-day average
- Schools will close if the regional infection rate is greater than 9% using a 7-day average after August 1, 2020
- Thresholds will be determined on a case-by-case basis dependent on the numbers (school closures may be a response).
- Buildings may consider closing if required cleaning products (bleach and water can be used as a cleaning product) and PPE are not available
- Closure may be required if adequate transportation is not available.
In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection in the district, facilities operations will be geared toward meeting social distancing requirements and cleaning frequently touched spaces regularly. The function, position and operation of stairs and corridor doors, which have closers with automatic hold opens (and are automatically released by the fire alarm system), will remain unchanged.
The Pine Bush Central School District plans to meet the deadline for submission of Building Condition Survey or Visual Inspections on time. In addition, lead in water sampling will be carried out upon the reopening of school under conditions consistent with when the building is “normally occupied.”
Upon reopening, the district plans to increase ventilation, to the greatest extent possible. Water systems will be flushed in buildings that have been unoccupied.
The following actions will be taken as needed:
- Work with architects/engineers to establish sufficient fresh air exchange.
- Drinking Water Facilities: Reduce number of drinking fountains available in order to facilitate frequent cleaning. However, drinking fountains are a code required plumbing fixture.
- Minimum number of toilet fixtures that must be available for use in a building is established in the building code.
- Maintain adequate, code-required ventilation (natural or mechanical) as designed.
Emergency Response Protocols & Drills
The 2020-2021 school year will include in-person/hybrid models of the traditional school day. Emergency response drills, including evacuation and lockdown drills, may be spread across the different student populations dependent on the day each population is present the day the drills are scheduled.
Emergency Response Protocols
Areas will be identified in each school that will be used for the Shelter-in-Place along with areas that cannot be used for due to certain types of environmental hazards (i.e.: high winds, tornado, etc.).
Shelter-In-Place protocols will be the same with the following changes:
- Provide 6 feet of space between students and staff during the Shelter-In-Place
- Use of face coverings throughout the event may be considered
- If 6 feet between staff and students cannot be achieved, face coverings should be worn at all times during the event
- Plan to have extra face coverings on hand in the event that a person does not have one
- Listen for updates and respond accordingly
Evacuation protocols will be routinely the same with some minor adjustments:
- Identify areas outside of the building in advance that will allow 6 feet of separation of students and staff. Verify that students and staff will not impede emergency responders
- In effort to get all staff and students out of the building as quickly and efficiently as possible, face coverings should be worn at all times
- Plan to have extra face coverings on hand in the event that a person does not have one
- Identify, in advance, who will be holding the door to get out of the building, therefore reducing the amount of people touching the door hardware when leaving the building. Personnel that will be conducting this task may be assigned to holding the door for one or more classrooms or until confirmation that everyone has vacated the building
- As written in the established protocols, bring all necessary items needed and consider adding the following items: extra face coverings, in the event a face covering becomes unusable and hand sanitizer
- If no extra face coverings are available, instruct anyone that does not have a face covering to use their shirt to cover their nose and mouth during the event
Lockout protocols will be the same, besides maintaining six (6) feet of space between students and staff in the area.
During an actual lockdown, there will be a violation of the six (6) foot recommendation between people. In order to protect life safety, lockdown protocols will be mostly the same process as they have been conducted in the past.
- Evaluate, in advance, if there is room to social distance without being in the line of sight
- Face coverings should be worn during the event at all times
- Plan to have extra face coverings on hand in the event that a person does not have one
- Instruct anyone that does not have a face covering to use their shirt to cover their nose and mouth during the event.
Modifications to Lockdown Drills may include, but are not limited to:
- Conduct lockdown drill in classroom setting while maintaining social distancing and using masks;
- Conducting lockdown drills on a “staggered” schedule with smaller numbers of students present to maintain social distancing, however schools must be certain that all students are receiving instruction in emergency procedures and participating in drills while they are in attendance in-person; and
- Conduct lockdown drill in classroom without “hiding”/“sheltering” but provide a description of how to shelter or hide in that particular space.
Facility Alterations and Acquisition
At this time the Pine Bush Central School District doesn’t intend to alter current facilities or acquire new ones. Should that become necessary, the district will consult our architects and submit required paperwork to OFP for approval.
All schools in the Pine Bush Central School District will follow SFA policies when communicating about school meal services, eligibility, options and changes in operations. All meals provided during the public health emergency will be available at no cost to all children. All communications will be provided through a variety of communication methods including website, social media, emails, robocalls, newsletters, and regular mail and translated into the languages spoken by families upon request.
Pine Bush Central School District has identified Lyn Prestia as the contact person to receive and respond to communications from families and to school staff. Families will be reminded in food service communications during the summer and periodically that they can submit a new application for free and reduced-price meals any time during the school year. Applications are available online at www.myschoolapps.com, in each school building, in the school calendar, on the district website and through email or regular mail as needed. Phone in and in-person support to complete the application is available from our Food Services Director.
School meals will continue to be available to all students, including those attending school in-person and those learning remotely.
For information about how meal information will be communicated, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.
For students onsite, meals will be provided while maintaining appropriate social distancing between students. Students do not need to wear face coverings when seated and eating so long as they are appropriately socially distanced.
The district will ensure social distancing between individuals while eating in the school cafeteria. If not feasible, meals may be served in alternate areas (e.g., classrooms) or in staggered meal periods to ensure social distancing and proper cleaning and disinfection between students.
The sharing of food and beverages (e.g., buffet style meals, snacks) is prohibited, unless individuals are members of the same household. Adequate space will be reserved for students, faculty, and staff to observe social distancing while eating meals.
- At the elementary level, classroom groups will sit together in the cafeteria, but socially distant from each other. Adequate cleaning and sanitizing of tables will occur between lunch periods.
- Middle school students will grab and go and eat breakfast and lunch in their classrooms.
- Provide both verbal and written reminders about the importance of not sharing food or drinks.
- Shorten and/or stagger meal times and rotate half of the students to recess while the other half of the group eats lunch. Add additional locations for students to eat including auditoriums to provide adequate space for social distancing.
- All meals will be grab and go, prepared in plastic bags. All buffet style serving will be eliminated.
- NO access to vending machines.
- No sharing tables or “collecting” of unused food is allowed.
Breakfast meals will be served in a grab and go style from a breakfast cart(s) in the hallways and taken to the designated locations. Lunch meals will be picked up through the cafeteria serving lines and eaten at the designated locations. All meals will be documented through the point of sale computer which contains allergy information. Meals will be packed in plastic bags or containers. Pre-portioned condiments and wrapped utensils will be handed out by food service personnel. Daily morning lunch meal orders will be taken and sent to the kitchen where applicable. The School Nutrition Department will continue to follow local, state, and federal health and safety guidelines.
Hand hygiene in community settings will be promoted/reinforced to students using resources that instruct and convey the message that clean hands are vital throughout the school day. Posters will be displayed and reminders will be included in communications to the students. Training lessons and activities will be made available to teach proper handwashing.
Pine Bush Central School District will continue to provide meals for those participating in virtual/remote instruction. Meals will be available at the following locations: Pine Bush High School, Circleville Middle School and Family Church.
Pine Bush Central School District will conduct transportation activities that are consistent with state-issued public transit guidance and NYSED School Reopening guidelines. 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 distancing to the extent practicable.
Students who are able will be required to wear masks and social distance on the bus to the extent practicable; however, students whose physical or mental health would be impaired are not required to wear a face covering, but must be appropriately socially distanced. Members of the same household may be seated within 6 feet of each other. 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 contract carriers will be cleaned/disinfected once a day. High touch surfaces will be wiped down after the morning (AM) and afternoon (PM) run depending upon the disinfection schedule.
School buses shall not be equipped with hand sanitizer due to its combustible composition and potential liability to the carrier or district. School bus drivers, monitors and attendants must not carry personal bottles of hand sanitizer with them on school buses.
Wheelchair school buses will configure wheelchair placement to ensure social distancing.
Whether school is in session remotely or otherwise, pupil transportation will be provided to nonpublic, parochial, private, charter schools or students whose Individualized Education Plans have placed them out-of-district whose schools are meeting in in-person sessions.
All students are entitled to transportation by the district to the extent required by law. Transportation departments do not have the ability or the right to deny transportation for children who are in foster care, homeless or attend private or charter schools. Parents who may have missed the due date to request out of district transportation due to a reasonable excuse may file a 310 appeal with the Commissioner of Education.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
- Buses and other transportation vehicles will be cleaned and disinfected daily (focus on high touch areas) and wiped down in between runs if scheduled for multiple routes.
- Daily Cleaning
- All trash removed
- Floors swept and dust mopped
- Walls and windows cleaned
- High Touch Surfaces
- Bus seats and seat backs
- Seat belts
- Door handles, handrails
- Driver operator area
- Cleaning and disinfecting products approved by the EPA will be used according to instructions.
- Eating and drinking will be prohibited on the bus
- Buses will be inspected to ensure cleaning/disinfecting protocols are followed on contracted buses
- All cleanings/inspections will be documented (via trackable log)
Bus Protocols for a Reported Case of COVID -19 on a School Bus
Kurt Wickham, Director of Transportation, will be notified, the district will then notify building administration and a plan will be implemented to contact parents of students on that bus. The bus will be taken out of service for 24 hours before the bus can be used again after a report of COVID-19. Bus will be disinfected following CDC guidelines.
Students on Transportation
- As outlined in the Health and Safety section of this guidance, all parents/guardians will be required to ensure their child/children are not experiencing any signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and do not have a fever of 100 degrees or more prior to them boarding their method of transportation to school;
- Students must wear a mask on a school bus if they are physically able. Students who are unable to medically tolerate a face covering, including students where such covering would impair their physical health or mental health are not subject to the required use of a face covering;
- With the exception of siblings, students will be socially distant (six (6) ft separation) where practicable;
- Students who do not have masks must be provided one by the district;
- Students with a disability which would prevent them from wearing a mask will not be compelled to do so or denied transportation.
Training (Office Personnel, Drivers, Mechanics, Aides)
The following training will occur prior to the beginning of school:
- Hazard Communication/Right-To-Know (annual)
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Exposure Control/Bloodborne Pathogen (BBP)
- COVID-19 Awareness
- New cleaning protocols (buses, transportation center)
- Face Covering (sizing, use, wear & care)
- Personal Health and Hygiene
- Special working conditions with face coverings (strenuous activity)
Required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Disposable gloves
- Face Covering/Mask
- Face Shield (if applicable)
- Pine Bush Central School District will emphasize to parents and students prior to reopening schools that the transportation contractors have thoroughly disinfected all buses and student transportation vehicles
- Pine Bush School District will communicate with parents and students that student transportation vehicles are included in the district’s COVID-19 plans and what part students and parents will play in ensuring safety and minimizing infection while utilizing District transportation services
- Advise parents not to send their children to school or board the bus if sick or with an elevated temperature
- Survey parents regarding transportation including an “opt-out” option
- Remind students/parents/guardians that social distancing requirements extend to the bus stop
- Communicate with administration multiple routing scenarios for different instructional scheduling options (split session, alternating days, hybrid option)
Density Reduction, Social Distancing, Bus Capacity
Seating charts will be created and maximize the distance between students when possible.
Allow siblings or those that live in the same household to sit together
Sneeze guards to protect the driver
Do not seat students directly behind the driver, whenever possible.
Students shall wear face masks while in transit. If a student doesn’t have a face mask, one will be provided. Exceptions will be made for students who for medical reasons cannot wear or tolerate a mask.
Drivers will take student attendance on every route, every day, to and from school. The attendance sheets should be documented in writing and retained for contact tracing.
- The Pine Bush Central School District has developed multiple routing scenarios for administration to analyze different instructional scheduling options
- Split sessions
- Alternating days
- Hybrid schedules – some grade levels in person learning at school buildings, other grade levels virtual remote learning
- Utilize computerized routing programs to provide different routing scenarios and analyze cost/feasibility
- Limit rotation of substitute drivers and aides, if possible
- Limit student movement between bus routes
- Discontinue allowing students to ride different buses on different days of the week unless parent or guardian makes plausible requests (childcare, custody arrangements)
- If possible, mirror AM and PM routes, so bus riders are the same group each day
Loading/Unloading & Pickup/Drop-off
- Students shall be loaded in sequential route order. First student on the bus sits in the back, when going to school, last student off sits in the back when going home from school
- Dismissal times will be staggered to best suit building needs and to promote social distancing
- Adjustments will be made by buildings:
- For unloading and entry, and loading and departure
- Route timing which will be affected by delayed loading/unloading processes
- Arrival and departure activities shall be supervised to ensure social distancing
- Will add or modify bus routes to reduce load levels on buses
Transporting to BOCES
- The Pine Bush Central School District will provide transportation to BOCES and will follow similar protocols as previously described.
- The Pine Bush Central School District, through its transportation contractors, will keep a log of attendees on the trip in both directions from the BOCES building. Upon request, schools may need to supply the log of passengers in addition to cleaning logs in the event BOCES must assist in contact tracing due to exposures either at the BOCES buildings or during transportation.
In the 2018-19 school year, Pine Bush Central School District established a Social Emotional Learning Task Force whose work is grounded in our beliefs the most equitable opportunities for educational success relies upon the comprehensive support for students and families provided in our schools with our professionals and the systems of support we have built. These supports include academics as well as the social and emotional well-being of our students. We are committed to prioritizing social emotional well-being – not at the expense of academics, but in order to create the mental, social and emotional space to access rigorous academic content with confidence. In support of this belief, and regardless of the re-entry choices, the team will continue to support students and staff upon opening of the 2020-2021 school year; this includes a means to identify and actively support student and staff well-being and mental health concerns through a range of pre-determined tactics to be employed by those dealing with difficult situations. This plan will focus specifically on how to best support students and staff in a blended learning model scenario, which includes a mix of both in-person and virtual classroom instruction. This plan includes considerations for teams to rapidly transition between face-to-face and continuous remote learning, which may be required based on the pandemic.
Research shows the importance of mental and emotional well-being for students and staff, which has both psychological and ultimately academic outcomes. We know, after this prolonged closure, many of our students and staff will require social-emotional support to help them re-engage and re-enter work and school. As a District, our commitment is to create emotionally and physically safe, supportive and engaging learning environments promoting all students’ social and emotional well-being and development. The pandemic has elevated the role of leaders in creating conditions helping students practice empathy, create social bonds across distance and adapt to new learning experiences. Counselors, school based health programs, and wrap around supports will play an extremely important role in the adjustment period when buildings reopen and access to school counselors and school-based health programs will be invaluable supports to our students. Before school resumes, school administrators, teachers and mental health practitioners (school counselors, school psychologists and/or school social workers) should meet to create an asset map of already existing foundational assets within school districts and community-based organizations, and build upon them. In addition, it will be critical to determine students who might be at risk for needing mental health support. School counselors and administrators will be equipped with tools and information needed to see each child through a social emotional lens. We remain committed to supporting all students and maintain our whole child commitment as well as equipping all staff to connect, heal, and build capacity to support our students. Supports will include resources from Ramapo for Children, Orange County Mental Health, and Access: Support for Living, which are already being implemented in the district. Additionally, all district employees have access to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which offers many free services including face-to-face and virtual counseling. Information about all social-emotional supports will be made widely available to the Pine Bush Central School District community through our website, www.pinebushschools.org. We are committed to developing/making accessible family/caregiver-appropriate social and emotional learning (SEL) content to be used during all phases of our re-entry.
Transitions are important every year, and they will be even more important this fall returning from continuous remote learning to in-person instruction in buildings or a phased in approach to in-person instruction. The Pine Bush Central School District will support transitions in a culturally responsive manner and engage students, families, and communities in the process of identifying needs and supports. Transitions take many forms and include returning to school in the fall, moving from one grade band to another, or dealing with the varying emotional needs as a result of the pandemic.
The following considerations guided our building level planning:
Emotional reactions to coming out of quarantine may include:
- Mixed emotions, including relief after quarantine
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
- Stress from the experience of monitoring yourself or being monitored by others for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
- Sadness, anger, or frustration because friends or loved ones have unfounded fears of contracting the disease from contact with you, even though you have been determined not to be contagious
- Guilt about not being able to perform normal work or parenting duties during quarantine
- Other emotional or mental health changes.
Addressing Social-Emotional Health
- Establish/sustain a culture that supports and emphasizes mental health services available for faculty, staff, students and families
- Explore the use of Restorative Practices (use of healing/restorative circles for both staff and students)
- Assist in adequate training for staff/faculty as requested to assist them in understanding:
- Social Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies; self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making
- The warning signs for quarantine related mental health needs
- How to access crisis support and other mental health services.
What Mental Health Professionals Can Do in Schools
- Educate staff, parents, and students on symptoms of mental health needs and how to obtain assistance
- Promote social emotional learning competency and build resilience
- Help ensure a positive, safe school environment
- Teach and reinforce positive behaviors and decision-making
- Encourage good physical health
- Help ensure access to school-based mental health supports; facilitate the expansion of school-based mental health supports.
Beginning April 12, 2021, the Pine Bush Central School District will be offering two options for all students to Return to More Learning.
CHOICE #1: In-Person: Students will attend 4 days per week, in-person, Tuesday through Friday. Monday will be remote for all students. Most work will be completed asynchronously, with teachers being available at predetermined times. All elementary students will begin synchronously at 9 am.
CHOICE #2: All Virtual School: Students will attend remotely 4 days per week, Tuesday through Friday. Monday will start synchronously for all students. Most work will be completed asynchronously, with teachers being available at predetermined times. All elementary students will begin synchronously at 9 am.
Beginning Monday, May 17, 2021, all students will return to school for 5 days per week.
When in class, whether virtual or in-person, students will follow their regular schedule and receive direct, live instruction from our teachers. Our goal is to maintain a balanced curriculum to the greatest extent possible.
When students are engaged in physical activity, six (6) feet between students will be maintained.
For information about how school schedule information will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the Communication section of our reopening plan.
Attendance, Attendance Reporting and Chronic Absenteeism
Attendance and Attendance Reporting
All schools in the Pine Bush Central School District will take daily attendance whether school opens in September in-person, hybrid, or remote. Attendance policies and procedures will be communicated with families and students prior to the start of the school year or if the instructional model changes during the year. Communication will take the form building level parent letters/newsletter, robocalls, emails, text messaging, and/or social media. Teachers will record daily attendance in SchoolTool, our student management system based on the required daily scheduled student contact and engagement. Daily reports will be generated to identify students who are absent and/or chronically absent. Contact with the families will be made regularly to determine reasons for absence and needs or barriers the student may have to participate in lessons.
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to addressing chronic absenteeism, Pine Bush Central School District is committed to providing interventions to prevent and address health-related and mental health chronic absenteeism. We recognize that many factors will influence student attendance, and may be greatly impacted by the instructional models provided; in-person, hybrid, and remote.
The Pine Bush Central School District addresses chronic absenteeism as follows.
1. Nurture a culture of attendance
- Communicate clearly to families and students what the attendance policy is and expectations for participating based on the model of instruction
- Explain the importance of attendance to the entire school community
- Track daily attendance, tardies, and student engagement in one central, secure location with a tool that helps you can quickly see how these data points impact student behavior.
2. Early Identification and Intervention
- Each school regularly monitors attendance data and communicates with parents about issues as they arise.
- Use data to identify which students are at risk, so you can intervene before isolated absences become chronic absenteeism.
- Establish intervention plans; parent phone call, home visit, counseling, instructional modifications, engage community partners, etc.
3. Create a more positive school culture and a focus on engaging instruction
- Evaluate and address your students’ engagement in learning
- Provide teachers and school leaders with multiple levels of support to help students stay more engaged and act positively.
- Help students achieve positive social and emotional character development, while reinforcing the behaviors that make up your ideal school culture.
- Use goal-based incentives and rewards to motivate attendance and positive student behaviors where age appropriate.
Technology and Connectivity
Access to technology is essential for the successful roll-out of this plan. The Pine Bush Central School District has been committed to ongoing planning and implementation of district technologies to ensure equitable access for staff and students. The team has initiated plans that are mindful of student home access to reliable internet and computers.
- The Pine Bush Central School District recently gathered data and asked teachers and families to identify their level of access to devices and high-speed broadband from their residence. Answers indicated that 72.54% of students have access to a device. 34.12% of those students share with someone else in the household. While 99.63% of respondents indicated they have internet access, almost 28% of those respondents indicated they sometimes have trouble connecting. The district will continue to assess the ongoing needs of our families for technology and connectivity (survey, interviews, school outreach, etc.) In the event, students and/or teachers do not have access, the district will take the necessary steps to meet their needs where plausible.
- Conduct and/or maintain an inventory of equipment and other assets.
a. Identify which students, families, and staff have district assets in their possession.
- Procure, manage and/or maintain hardware, software, licenses, learning management systems, etc. to support and improve virtual instruction and student engagement.
- Identify professional learning needs for teachers and continue to support their development of skills and pedagogy in a virtual learning environment.
- Continue our “Help Desk” system for parents/students/teachers to report technical issues that might be experienced during remote learning. Communicate protocols to these stakeholders to inform them in advance of how to gain assistance in such cases.
Pine Bush Central School District will provide all students with access to learning materials and resources. Further, the district will support teachers through professional development on pedagogical methods that enable students to participate in multiple ways, so that they can demonstrate mastery of Learning Standards in remote or blended models through the use of both synchronous (i.e. Google Meet) and asynchronous technologies (i.e. Google Classroom). Our three instructional technology coaches will support teachers in their application of these principles. In the event students do not have sufficient access to devices and/or high-speed internet, the district will provide the students with alternate methods to access materials and instruction, i.e. pick up materials at school, drop off materials to students’ homes, etc. The district will also schedule opportunities to connect with families to educate them on how to use the technologies and connect to the instructional activities.
Teaching and Learning
In an effort to assure high-quality teaching and learning, a continuity of learning plan has been developed for the 2020-21 school year. This plan considers and plans for teaching and learning in-person, remotely, and through hybrid models of instruction. Our plan assures that instruction is aligned with the New York State Learning Standards and assures equity as well as quality for all learners.
Equity is at the heart of all school instructional decisions. All instruction in our district will be designed so that whether it is delivered in-person, remotely, or through a hybrid model due to a local or state school closure, there are clear, comprehensive, and accessible learning opportunities for all students. Such opportunities will be aligned with state standards. Our teaching and instructional plan outlines routine, scheduled times for students to interact and seek feedback and support from their teachers. Our plan is centered on instruction and academic programming that includes regular and substantive interaction with an appropriately certified teacher regardless of the delivery method (e.g., in person, remote or hybrid). Our teaching and learning plan includes a clear communication plan for how students and their families/caregivers can contact the school and teachers with questions about their instruction and/or technology. This information will be accessible to all, available in multiple languages upon request, widely disseminated, and include clear and multiple ways for students and families to contact schools and teachers (e.g., email, online platform, and/or by phone) in an effort to assure learning for all.
The school calendar typically includes one or more staff-only days before students arrive at school. Acknowledging the challenges that our teachers and staff have faced this spring delivering remote instruction under stressful circumstances, the district will provide these in-service days prior to students starting school and focus on providing support to staff in the areas of social-emotional health, curricular changes and technology integration.
As we enter the new school year, teachers will be encouraged to spend time building relationships, supporting students with the transition back to school, and teaching social distancing etiquette at developmentally appropriate levels.
Whether teaching in the remote or in-person/hybrid learning model, certain groups of students will be prioritized for in-person learning to the greatest extent possible. This includes, but is not limited to, special education students, English language learners, students who did not engage in remote learning during the spring of 2020, and students with technology or connectivity needs.
Assessing student learning gaps or areas of need will be critical. Formative assessment before a unit of instruction to assess student understanding of pre-requisite skills will be common practice.
Acknowledging that the typical content in a given grade level or course may need to be adjusted, content will be prioritized to ensure that students receive instruction for the prioritized learning standards, key understandings, and skills necessary for students’ success in future study.
Grading practices will follow a standards-based framework designed to provide direct feedback regarding students’ mastery of course content.
For information relating to teaching and learning in BOCES special education and Career and Technical Education programs, please see the Orange-Ulster BOCES website, http://www.ouboces.org/.
Upon reopening, the number of students in each of our classrooms will be reduced to adhere to CDC guidance regarding proper social distancing. Class size will reflect the choices made by parents for their children in grades PK-8, as well as take into account the need to ensure that students’ desks/seats are positioned no less than six feet apart.
Accommodating a six-foot radius around students may necessitate the identification of additional rooms and common-area spaces that can be converted into elementary classrooms.
All instruction will continue to be aligned to the New York State Learning Standards.
Our schools will minimize the movement of students. This potentially means having students eat lunch in their classroom instead of the cafeteria and eliminating assemblies, field trips and other large-group activities. Special area subjects (e.g., art, music, physical education) may be pushed into the classroom or offered remotely. Whenever possible students will utilize outside space for physical education instruction. We will adhere to 12 feet between students when engaging in physical activity.
To the extent possible, students will remain in small cohorts if/when leaving the classroom, such as for recess or any necessary transition, so as to reduce their exposure to additional students.
For information on school schedules, visit the School Schedules section of our reopening plan.
Given the possibility that communities may experience spikes in COVID-19 cases at any point during the school year, which may prompt short or long-term school closures, our district has developed a learning model and schedule that can continue as is in a fully remote environment.
Instruction will prioritize core subject areas of ELA and Math and will include other subjects equitably, whether students are in the hybrid or all virtual model. Considerations will be given to prioritizing the use of hands-on, project based learning activities to the extent possible. All instruction will continue to be aligned to the New York State Learning Standards.
As noted previously, student schedules will remain the same whether instruction is in-person or remote so that students do not encounter conflicts wherein synchronous lessons for different subjects are offered simultaneously.
Remote learning opportunities for secondary students will include a greater emphasis on synchronous instruction, with teachers finding ways to provide live instruction and lessons to students. While recording of live lessons is still essential for students unable to attend at a scheduled time, teachers will ensure that their students are directly engaged with them and their class peers in experiential learning on a regular basis.
To ensure high-quality remote learning experiences, we will standardize the use of a single online learning platform, to the extent possible, and develop a common, coordinated set of guidelines for teachers to follow when using the platform with students.
Grading practices will follow a standards-based framework designed to provide direct feedback regarding students’ mastery of course content.
For information on school schedules, visit the School Schedules section of our reopening plan.
For information about how remote/hybrid instruction information will be communicated to students and families, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.
Career and Education Education (CTE)
While planning for CTE instruction, whether in-person, remote or hybrid models, Pine Bush Central School District has collaborated with Orange-Ulster BOCES to ensure high school instructional plans are aligned. OUBOCES has developed models that ensure NYS Learning Standards, applicable industry certification requirements, clinical and work based learning hours have been met. In addition, their plans follow all NYS/DOH health and safety guidelines and social distancing.
Athletics and Extracurricular Activities
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) has delayed the official start date of the Fall 2020 sports season until Monday, September 21. The NYSPHSAA Officers’ decision also includes:
- Cancel NYS Fall Regional and State Championship events
- Waive seven-day practice rule to enable greater opportunities for local participation
- Maintain current practice requirements
- Encourage geographic scheduling for games & contests
- Schools would have the option, if permitted by state officials, to offer off-season conditioning workouts
If the Fall sports season is further interrupted or impacted by the COVID-19 crisis (i.e. state official guidance, school closings, cancellation of high-risk sports, etc.) then a condensed seasons plan will be implemented. This plan takes into consideration the competitive and interactive aspects of each sport and would include the following, with the stipulated dates being tentative.
- Season I (Winter Sports) Dates: Jan. 4-Mar. 13 (Week 27-36) 10 Weeks
- Sports: Basketball (girls & boys), Indoor Track & Field (girls & boys), Swimming (boys), *Wrestling, and *Competitive Cheer *Because of the high risk nature of wrestling and competitive cheer, sports may have to be moved to Season II or Season III.
- Season II (Fall Sports) Dates: Mar. 1-May 8 (Week 35-44) 10 Weeks
- Sports: Football, Cross Country (girls & boys), Field Hockey, Soccer (girls & boys), Swimming (girls), Volleyball.
- Season III (Spring Sports) Dates: Apr. 5-Jun. 12 (Week 40-49) 10 Weeks
- Sports: Baseball, Softball, Golf (girls & boys), Lacrosse (girls & boys), Tennis (girls & boys), Outdoor Track & Field (girls & boys), Unified Basketball.
The district will continue to monitor and incorporate safety measures as required (i.e. social distancing, PPE usage, and cleaning and disinfection of equipment, etc.) once permitted to transition back to participation in athletics.
When school resumes, extracurricular activities will be suspended unless they can be conducted in an environment that follows all applicable health and safety protocols.
Pine Bush Central School District’s reopening plan provides a framework to ensure that all students with disabilities continue to have available to them a free appropriate public education (FAPE) that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living in the least restrictive environment (LRE). In consideration of the health, safety, and well-being of students, families, and staff, our plan is designed to enable transitioning between in-person/hybrid and remote learning environments to ensure the provision of FAPE consistent with the changing health and safety conditions that exist.
Special education programs and services of the Pine Bush Central School District provide equity and access for students with disabilities to be involved in and to participate and progress in the general education curriculum with access to the necessary accommodations, modifications, supplementary aids and services, and technology (including assistive technology) to meet the unique disability related needs of students. While not all formats allow for maximum benefit to students, these programs and services can be provided in all formats (live-person, hybrid, or remote). The Pine Bush Central School District will document the programs and services offered and provided to students with disabilities as well as to the communications with parents in their preferred language and mode of communication (eg. Related Services Log).
The Pine Bush Central School District is committed to providing meaningful parent engagement in the parent’s preferred language or mode of communication regarding the provision of services to his/her child to meet the requirements of the IDEA. Further, we will maintain regular communication with the parents/guardians to ensure that they are engaged in their children’s education during the reopening process.
The Pine Bush Central School District will plan and support collaboration between the committees on preschool special education (CPSE) and committees on special education (CSE) and program providers representing the variety of settings where students are served to ensure there is an understanding of the provision of services consistent with the recommendations on individualized education programs (IEPs), plans for monitoring and communicating student progress, and commitment to sharing resources.
The Pine Bush Central School District will maintain records to document the implementation of each IEP. The documentation will include, but will not be limited to: a record of what instruction and services were provided, a record of any necessary formative, summative, and/or standardized assessments and their results as well as progress monitoring documentation, a record of school-family collaboration, and the provision of any additional or services necessary under these unique circumstances.
For information about meaningful parent engagement regarding the provision of services to a child to meet the requirements of the IDEA, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.
Vulnerable Students with Special Needs:
Some special needs students who are medically fragile may not be able to maintain social distancing, hand or respiratory hygiene, or wear a face covering or mask. It is important for parents/guardians to work with their child’s healthcare providers so that an informed decision can be made on how best to meet the child’s needs at school while protecting their health and safety. As these students transition back to the school environment, our trained teaching staff will plan and coordinate with the following so that a healthy transition is made:
- school health services personnel;
- special education personnel;
- Special Programs; and
Students who have family members who are in high risk groups may also need to attend school remotely.
Additional PPE for staff caring for such students will be provided on a case-by-case basis. Staffing assignments will be examined to provide ratios in compliance with NYSDOH and CDC guidelines.
Bilingual Education and World Languages
Pine Bush Central School District provides world language instruction in Spanish 7-12 and English as a New Language (ENL) instruction for ELLs K-12.
Support of English language learners (ELLs) will be comprehensive, high-quality, and culturally responsive. If we reopen using in-person or hybrid instruction we will complete the ELL identification process within 30 school days of the start of the school year for all students who enrolled during COVID-19 school closures in 2019-20, as well as all students who enroll during summer of 2020 and during the first 20 school days of the 2020-21 school year. After this 20 day flexibility period, identification of ELLs will resume for all students within the required 10 school days of initial enrollment as required by Commissioner’s Regulations Part 154.
Pine Bush Central School District is committed to comprehensive, high-quality, and culturally responsive instruction for ENL students, we will provide the required instructional Units of Study to all ELLs based on their most recently measured English language proficiency level during in-person or hybrid instruction. Further, we will maintain regular communication with the parents/guardians and other family members of ELLs to ensure that they are engaged in their children’s education during the reopening process which includes telephone contact, text messages, social media, emails and regular mail in their preferred language. We will provide all communications for parents/guardians of ELLs in their preferred language and mode of communication.
Pine Bush Central School District will provide professional learning opportunities for our district that support best practices and equitable instruction for ELLs as well as general education students to help address learning gaps caused by the COVID-19 school closures. The district also has access to the OUBOCES Professional Learning Catalog to support teachers to assure ENL and world language instruction is personalized and research-based.
In order to assure that students have opportunities to study world languages we are prepared to teach Spanish in the in-person/hybrid and remote format upon reopening. We will provide professional learning opportunities to our district that supports best practices in all formats of instruction and cover equitable instruction for our ELLs, SWDs, and general education students who are studying world languages such as Spanish to help address learning gaps caused by the COVID-19 school closures.
Our district will support our students as they work towards earning the New York State Seal of Biliteracy. We will collaborate with BOCES to provide Seal of Biliteracy professional learning.
Through using our district and BOCES resources, we are well prepared to reopen our schools and serve ELLs and students learning world languages as they expand their skills, knowledge, and facilities with languages.
Teacher and Principal Evaluation System
All teachers and principals will continue to be evaluated pursuant to the district’s approved APPR plan. Pine Bush Central School District will consider whether their currently approved APPR plans may need to be revised in order to be consistent with their plans for re-opening under an in-person, remote or hybrid instructional model. School leaders will continue to attend annually required Lead Evaluator training.
Certification, Incidental Teaching and Substitute Teaching
All teachers will hold valid and appropriate certificates for teaching assignment, except where otherwise allowable under the Commissioner’s regulations (e.g., incidental teaching) or education law.
Student teachers from NYSED registered college or university programs can serve under the supervision of fully certified teachers in the Pine Bush Central School District. Student teachers will follow all of the social distancing, mask wearing, health status reporting, and other COVID-19 procedures that the teachers follow. Student teachers will serve under the supervision of our full time certified teachers only. At no time will a student teacher be used as a teacher of record.
The unknown vulnerabilities of our faculty and staff will be handled on a case-by-case basis with support from our Human Resources department. Accommodations, where appropriate, will be provided when and where needed. Faculty and staff will be trained in vulnerabilities outlined in guidance provided by the State Education Department and are asked to notify their supervisor with questions and concerns.
Pine Bush Central School District acknowledges that the following groups are at increased risk for complications from COVID-19 and may need added or alternative provisions for social distancing.
Persons in these groups should consult with their healthcare provider regarding prevention:
- Individuals age 65 or older;
- Pregnant individuals;
- Individuals with underlying health conditions including, but not limited to:
- chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma;
- serious heart conditions;
- severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 or higher);
- chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis;
- liver disease;
- sickle cell anemia;
- children who are medically complex, who have neurologic, genetic, metabolic conditions, or who have congenital heart disease are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 than other children.
- State Education Department Issues Guidance to Reopen New York State Schools (July 16, 2020)
- State Education Department Presents Framework of Guidance to Reopen New York State Schools (July 13, 2020)
- Interim Guidance for In-Person Instruction at Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, NYS Department of Health (July 13, 2020)
- Interim Guidance for Sports and Recreation During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (June 26, 2020)
- Interim Guidance for Food Services during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (June 26, 2020)
- Interim Guidance for Office-Based Work during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (June 26, 2020)
- Interim Guidance for Public Transportation Activities during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (June 26, 2020)
- New York State Department of Health Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- New York State Education Department Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration COVID-19 Website
Once finalized, reopening plans must be posted on the district’s website. By July 31, 2020, districts will need to complete a survey through the Portal, providing NYSED with:
A link to the public website where each school plan has been publicly posted, a set of mandatory assurances that the reopening plan includes all of the mandatory elements outlined in the NYSED guidance
NOTE: Information submitted through the Portal will not include detailed narratives or descriptions of specific actions to be taken by a school or district as part of their reopening Plan; those details must be articulated in the materials that are publicly posted on the school/district website.
Also by July 31, 2020, districts must complete a short companion Department of Health survey that includes a link to the publicly posted plan on the district/school website.