GST BOCES Reopening Information and Plan
Greater Southern Tier BOCES Reopening Plan
July 31, 2020
Community and Family Engagement
In the development of this Plan, the BOCES has engaged with the following school stakeholders and community members: administrators, faculty, staff, students, parents/legal guardians of students, local health departments, local health care providers, the Greater Southern Tier BOCES Educational Association, the Greater Southern Tier BOCES Support Staff Association and the Greater Southern Tier BOCES Teacher Aide Association.
The BOCES will provide regular communications to students, parents or legal guardians of students, staff, and visitors, including the following: (1) applicable instructions to individuals about BOCES' plan and protocols for reopening, (2) training to applicable students and staff and signage regarding hygienic practices to reduce COVID-19 spread and transmission, (3) encouragement to students, faculty, staff and visitors to adhere to CDC/DOH guidance regarding the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), specifically face coverings when distance of 6 ft. cannot be maintained, and (4) regular weekly email to students and staff with updated information. Signage will be posted in the following areas: entrances, restrooms, cafeteria or other dining areas, classrooms, administrative offices, auditorium and janitorial staff areas.
The BOCES will ensure all students, faculty and staff 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, how to adequately put on/take off/clean (as applicable/discard PPE, social distancing, and respiratory hygiene.
BOCES' communications pursuant to this plan will be provided in the language(s) spoken at home among families and throughout the school community. This plan will be accessible to those with visual and/or hearing impairments.
The BOCES has designated Doug Johnson, Director of Employee Relations, as its COVID-19 Safety Coordinator. Such Coordinator has the following responsibilities:
- Be the main contact upon the identification of positive COVID-19 cases and to be responsible for subsequent communication.
- Answering questions from students, faculty, staff, and parents or legal guardians of students regarding the COVID-19 public health emergency and plans implemented by the BOCES.
- Ensuring continuous compliance with all aspects of the BOCES' reopening plan, as well as any phased-in reopening activities necessary to allow for operational issues to be resolved before activities return to normal or "new normal" levels.
- Monitoring the CDC and DOH websites to keep current with the latest COVID information and guidance.
The BOCES affirms that it has reviewed and understands the State-issued guidance on reopening schools and has submitted its reopening plan prior to reopening its educational programs. The BOCES will conspicuously
post its completed reopening plans in its educational programs and on the BOCES website for faculty, staff, students and parents/legal guardians to access.
This Plan will be effective on the first day of student attendance in September 2020 and expire on the last day of student attendance in June 2021 unless extended by order of the Governor of the State of New York, the New York State Commissioner of Education, or the New York State Board of Regents.
Health and Safety
In developing this Plan, the BOCES has reviewed and considered the following factors in determining the number of students and staff allowed to return and resume in-person instruction: ability to maintain appropriate social distance, PPE and cloth face mask availability, availability of safe transportation, and local hospital capacity (in consultation with the Chemung and Steuben County Departments of Health).
Protocols to Observe Signs of Illness in Students and Staff
In collaboration with the BOCES' director of school health services, the BOCES has developed the following protocols to instruct staff to observe for signs of illness in students and staff:
Isolating and Transporting Those Who are Sick
- Staff and students should not come to school if he or she is ill, and they should notify school officials (e.g., the designated COVID-19 point of contact) if he or she becomes ill with COVID-19 symptoms, test positive for COVID-19, or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 symptoms or a confirmed or suspected case.
- If a staff member is ill or recognizes an ill student, immediately separate staff and student with COVID-19 symptoms (such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath) at school. The sick individual should be isolated promptly in a room separate from others. If a separate room is not available, maintain at least a 6-foot distance between ill persons.
- Individuals who are sick may be evaluated by the school nurse (or designated personnel). The school nurse must wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE) (see below) when dealing with a sick individual. After such evaluation by school nurse (designated personnel) student or staff member maybe dismissed to home or to a healthcare facility depending on how severe his or her symptoms are.
- School administrators, school nurse, or other designated personnel should identify an isolation room or area to separate anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms. School nurses and other designated personnel should use Standard and Transmission-Based Precautions when caring for ill students or staff. Please see section on Implementing Use of Personal Protective Equipment and Hand Hygiene. If ill student is not wearing a procedural facemask, they must be given one to wear immediately.
- If it is determined that the ill student or staff needs to be transported home or to a doctor, PPE must be used by transporting party. If school official is calling an ambulance or bringing someone to the hospital, try to call first to alert them that the person may have COVID-19.
Recognizing students and staff that are ill
- What to look for (Signs):
- Persistent cough
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Runny nose
- Fever or chills
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Muscle or body aches
Implementing the Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Hand Hygiene
- School nurse or designated personnel attending to ill student or staff must be wearing proper PPE especially if he or she is within 6 ft. or less distance of each other.
- PPE consists of a procedural facemask (Cloth face covering are NOT PPE and should not be worn for the care of ill students or staff). Gloves should be worn when dealing with ill students or staff.
- Gloves should be non-sterile, nitrile or vinyl in composition. They should be disposed of after each use, and hand hygiene needs to be performed immediately afterwards.
- Hand hygiene should be performed before and after all contact with ill student or staff. Proper hand hygiene consists of using an antibacterial hand sanitizer (ABHS) with 60-95% alcohol or washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If hands are visible soiled, use soap and water before returning to (ABHS).
The BOCES will ensure daily temperature screenings of all students and staff, along with a daily screening questionnaire for faculty and staff and periodic use of the questionnaire for students as follows:
- Students will be temperature screened by their component school districts before they reach a BOCES campus or classroom.
- Students who go directly to a BOCES campus without a temperature screening will be screened by BOCES staff upon arrival at the main office for the student's program. Students who may require screening to be completed at school will be treated in a confidential manner and must have the screening completed as quickly as possible to minimize time away from class. While waiting for screening, students will be socially distanced. Other required instructions for those conducting these screenings will include:
- Ask parents/guardians to take their child's temperature either before coming to the facility or upon arrival at the facility. Upon their arrival, stand at least 6 feet away from the parent/guardian and child.
- Ask the parent/guardian to confirm that the child does not have fever, shortness of breath or cough.
- Make a visual inspection of the child for signs of illness which could include flushed cheeks, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing (without recent physical activity), fatigue, or extreme fussiness.
- Stand behind a physical barrier, such as a glass or plastic window or partition that can serve to protect the staff member's face and mucous membranes from respiratory droplets that may be produced if the child being screened sneezes, coughs, or talks.
- Perform hand hygiene.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Put on disposable gloves.
- Check the child's temperature, reaching around the partition or through the window.
- Make sure your face stays behind the barrier at all times during the screening.
- If performing a temperature check on multiple individuals, ensure that you use a clean pair of gloves for each child and clean the thermometer thoroughly between each check.
- If disposable or non-contact (temporal or infrared) thermometers are used and there was no physical contact with the child, you do not need to change gloves before the next check.
- If non-contact thermometers are used, clean them with an alcohol wipe (or isopropyl alcohol on a cotton swab) between each student. You can reuse the same wipe if it remains wet.
- If social distancing or barrier/partition controls cannot be implemented during screening, PPE will be used when within 6 feet of a child:
- Upon arrival, wash your hands and put on a facemask, eye protection (goggles or disposable face shield that fully covers the front and sides of the face), and a single pair of disposable gloves. A gown could be considered if extensive contact with a child is occurring.
- Take the child's temperature.
- If performing a temperature check on multiple individuals, ensure that you use a clean pair of gloves for each child and clean the thermometer thoroughly between each check.
- If disposable or non-contact (temporal or infrared) thermometers are used and there was no physical contact with an individual, you do not need to change gloves before the next check.
- If you use non-contact thermometers, clean them with an alcohol wipe (or isopropyl alcohol on a cotton swab) between each client. You can reuse the same wipe if it remains wet.
- After each screening, remove and discard gloves.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol or wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Students will be screened through questionnaire periodically by their component school districts.
- Faculty and staff will be temperature screened either: (1) at home and self-reported to BOCES whether such temperature exceeds 100.0°F through a remote electronic application; or (2) upon arrival at work by assigned BOCES staff.
- Faculty and staff will complete a daily screening questionnaire through an electronic application.
- Visitors, guests, contractors, and vendors will be subject to a temperature screening and questionnaire.
A screening questionnaire determines whether the individual has:
- knowingly been in close or proximate contact in the past 14 days with anyone who has tested positive through a diagnostic test for COVID-19 or who has or had symptoms of COVID-19;
- tested positive through a diagnostic test for COVID-19 in the past 14 days;
- has experienced any symptoms of COVID-19, including a temperature of greater than 100.0°F in the past 14 days: and/or
- has traveled internationally or from a state with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 per the New York State Travel Advisory in the past 14 days.
The written BOCES' protocol on signs of illness in a parents' child that require staying home from school will be sent to parents/guardians in communications in August and/or September 2020. Parents/ guardians and staff members will be provided resources to educate them regarding the careful observation of symptoms of COVID-19 and health screening that must be conducted each morning before coming to school. Parents/guardians and school staff will be instructed that any student or staff member with a fever of greater than 100°F and/or symptoms of possible COVID-19 virus infection should not be present in school.
Students and staff are required to notify BOCES when they develop symptoms or if their answers to the questionnaire change during or outside school hours.
Management of Ill Persons
Students and staff with symptoms of illness must be sent to the health office. Ill students and staff will be assessed by the school nurse (registered professional nurse, RN) or medical director. If a school nurse or medical director is not available, ill students and staff will be sent home for follow up with a healthcare provider. The school nurse or medical director will assess individuals for 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. If a school nurse is not available, the BOCES will isolate and dismiss any student or staff member who has a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19 that are not explained by a chronic health condition for follow up with a health care provider.
Students or staff with a temperature, signs of illness, and/or a positive response to the questionnaire will be sent directly to a dedicated isolation area where students are supervised, prior to being picked up or otherwise sent home.
- School health personnel will wear PPE when assessing ill persons or conducting certain respiratory treatments.
- BOCES administration will designate 2 rooms, if available, for school health service personnel. One room will be for healthy students to obtain medications and nursing treatments. The second room will be for isolating ill persons.
- Disposable equipment and supplies will be used in the health office as much as practicable.
The BOCES has developed a protocol for asthma-related acute respiratory treatment care using up-to-date standard of care. [awaiting details of protocols from Guthrie to be inserted here]
If Students or Staff become Ill with Symptoms of COVID-19 at School
Whenever a student shows symptoms of any communicable or infectious disease reportable under the public health law that imposes a significant risk of infection of others in the school, he or she shall be excluded from the school and sent home immediately, in a safe and proper conveyance. The director of school health services shall immediately notify a local public health agency of any disease reportable under the public health law. The director of school health services, or other health professionals acting upon direction or referral of such director, may make such evaluations of teachers and any other school employees, school buildings and premises as, in their discretion, they may deem necessary to protect the health of the students and staff.
School staff must immediately report any illness of students or staff to the school nurse or other designated school staff. Such reports should be made in compliance with FERPA, and Education Law 2-d.
If the BOCES has two rooms for school health personnel - one room for healthy students who have injuries or need their medications or nursing treatments, and another room for assessing and caring for ill students and staff, both rooms will have a supervising adult present. If a separate room is not available, at least a 6-foot distance will be kept between ill students and other persons.
BOCES will call for emergency transport (911) following district protocols, for any student showing any of these emergency warning signs of MIS-C or other concerning signs: trouble breathing, pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face, or severe abdominal pain.
The BOCES' protocol for actions to be taken if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a BOCES educational program is as follows:
- The BOCES will immediately notify the state and local health departments about the case if diagnostic test results are positive for COVID-19.
- In accordance with CDC guidelines, the BOCES will provide for the cleaning and disinfection of exposed areas in the event an individual is confirmed to have COVID-19, with such cleaning and disinfection to include, at a minimum, all heavy transit areas and high-touch surfaces.
School Health Office Cleaning
School health office cleaning must occur after each use of a cot or a bathroom.
Contact tracing is a public health function performed by local public health departments to trace all persons who had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. This allows public health officials to put in place isolation or other measures to limit the spread of the virus. The BOCES will cooperate with state and local health department contact tracing. In case of a positive test, the BOCES will develop plans with the local health department to trace all contacts of the individual, in accordance with the New York State Contact Tracing Program.
Confidentiality will be maintained as required by federal and state laws and regulations.
The BOCES will alert individuals who have come into close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19.
The BOCES will collaborate with their local health department to determine the parameters, conditions or metrics (e.g., increased absenteeism or increased illness in school community) that will serve as early warning signs that positive COVID-19 cases may be increasing beyond an acceptable level.
Return to School after Illness
The BOCES will follow CDC guidance for allowing a student or staff member to return to school after exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. If a person is not diagnosed by a healthcare provider (physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant) with COVID-19 they can return to school:
- Once there is no fever, without the use of fever reducing medicines, and they have felt well for 24 hours,
- If they have been diagnosed with another condition and has a healthcare provider written note stating they are clear to return to school.
In accordance with CDC guidance, the BOCES' protocol for the return to school of students and staff following illness or diagnosis of confirmed case of COVID-19 or following quarantine due to contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 is as follows:
- Return to school will be coordinated with the local health department.
- A student or staff member will be allowed to return to school with documentation from a health care provider evaluation, negative COVID-19 testing, and symptom resolution, or if COVID-19 positive, release from isolation.
Hand & Respiratory Hygiene
The BOCES will provide and maintain hand hygiene stations, including handwashing with soap, running warm water and disposable paper towels, as well as an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing 60% or more alcohol for areas where handwashing is not feasible.
Students and staff must practice good hand hygiene to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Hand hygiene includes:
- Traditional hand washing (with soap and warm water, lathering for a minimum of 20 seconds), which is the preferred method.
- Use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers (60% alcohol or greater) when soap and water are not available, and hands are not visibly dirty.
- Providing hand sanitizer throughout common areas (e.g. entrances, cafeteria), near high touch surfaces.
Always perform hand hygiene after sneezing, coughing and handling dirty tissues or other soiled material.
Based on CDC guidance, the BOCES has established the following protocols to instruct staff and students in correct hand and respiratory hygiene:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wear a cloth face cover in public settings and when around people not living in their household, especially when social distancing is difficult to maintain.
- Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
- Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.
- Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough.
- Throw used tissues in the trash.
- If you don't have a tissue, use your elbow.
- Immediately wash your hands after coughing and sneezing (see above).
- Keep 6 feet of space between you and others
The BOCES will post the following signage (from the following links) from the CDC (or updated ones, as they become available) in appropriate places in its educational programs and BOCES campuses:
Social Distancing also called "physical distancing" means keeping a six-foot space between yourself and others. All persons in school buildings will keep social distance of at least 6 feet whenever possible. The
BOCES requires all employees, adult visitors, and students to wear a cloth face covering whenever social distancing cannot be maintained. Students will be permitted to take mask breaks in the discretion of faculty or administration.
The BOCES will support social distancing in all school facilities and on school grounds, including transportation whenever possible. To that end, the BOCES will:
- Ensure that student groupings are as static as possible by having the same group/cohort of students stay together.
- Stagger arrival and/or dismissal times to allow increased social distancing on buses as well as in classrooms.
- Establish designated areas for student drop-off and pick-up, limiting contact and entry of parents/guardians into the building, to the greatest extent possible.
- Reduce in-school movement where possible by keeping students within a defined area or classroom and modifying class schedules or class transitions.
- Assign lockers or other student storage areas by cohort.
- Limit gathering in small spaces (e.g., elevators, faculty offices) by more than one individual at a time, unless all individuals in such space are wearing acceptable face coverings.
- Ensure that a distance of twelve feet in all directions is maintained between individuals while participating in activities requires projecting the voice (e.g., singing), playing a wind instrument, or aerobic activity.
- Cancel/limit student assemblies, athletic events/practices, performances, school-wide parent meetings.
- Limit visitors to school buildings.
Cloth Face Coverings
Acceptable face coverings for COVID-19 include but are not limited to cloth face coverings that cover both the mouth and nose. Cloth face coverings are meant to protect other people in case the wearer is unknowingly infected but does not have symptoms. Cloth face coverings are not surgical masks, respirators, or other medical personal protective equipment. All individuals in BOCES' facilities and on BOCES' grounds must be prepared to put on a face covering if another person unexpectedly cannot socially distance. All students and staff members must wear cloth face coverings:
- Whenever they are within 6 feet of someone;
- In hallways;
- In common areas: entrances, exits, lobbies;
- When traveling around the school;
- In restrooms; and
- In other congregate settings, including buses.
BOCES will provide an acceptable face covering to employees (and students if they forget their own) and have an adequate supply in case of need for replacement per Executive Order 202.16. BOCES will allow an employee to wear their own acceptable face covering. Employees with healthcare provider documentation stating they are not medically able to tolerate face covering will not be required to do so.
The BOCES is in the process of and will continue to obtain and maintain adequate supplies of cloth face coverings for school staff, students who forget their masks, and PPE for use by school health professionals.
Cleaning and Disinfection
The BOCES will clean and disinfect its educational programs following CDC guidance. The BOCES will provide PPE to custodial and other personnel cleaning and engaging in disinfection at the school if required by the manufacturer of the agent being used.
The BOCES will adhere to hygiene, cleaning and disinfection requirements from the CDC and DOH. School wide cleaning will include classrooms, restrooms, cafeterias, libraries, playgrounds, and busses. The BOCES will identify cleaning and disinfection frequency for each facility and area type. It will also maintain logs that include the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection in a facility or area.
The BOCES will conduct regular cleaning and disinfection of facilities and more frequent cleaning and disinfection for high-risk areas used by many individuals and for frequently touched surfaces, including desks and cafeteria tables.
The BOCES will ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of restrooms and that distancing rules are adhered to in such spaces.
The BOCES will follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning and disinfection of electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, keyboards and computer mice, etc., between use.
The BOCES will provide a daily checklist for school personnel to inspect their area and ensure they have sufficient supplies (i.e., disinfectant & microfiber rag) each day.
Medically Vulnerable/High-Risk Groups
Students with special needs or students who are medically fragile may not be able to maintain social distancing, hand or respiratory hygiene, or wear a face covering or mask.
The BOCES will accommodate the needs of students who have family members who are in high risk groups. If a parent seeks an accommodation(s) for a student, the BOCES will follow the following protocol:
- Parents/Guardians must work with and provide documentation from the family's healthcare provider(s) so that an informed decision can be made on how best to meet the family's needs.
- Special education laws must be followed if an accommodation is sought for a student with a disability.
- The BOCES (and/or the student's home school district) will make a final decision on the accommodation after input from all stakeholders.
When a student returns from homebound instruction or other remote learning back to in-person or hybrid instruction, the BOCES (and the student's home district) will plan and coordinate such transition with input from: school health services personnel, special education personnel, pupil personnel services and administration.
If the parents/guardians choose not to send their child back to school, the BOCES will provide instruction remotely if the home school district has contracted with BOCES for educational services for such student.
The BOCES will provide accommodations to staff with disabilities who are at high risk of COVID-19 infection in accordance with federal and state anti-discrimination laws. The BOCES will consider accommodations for staff who live with a person at high risk of such infection.
School Safety Drills
The BOCES will conduct required school safety drills with modifications ensuring social distancing between persons.
Fire (evacuation) Drills and Lockdown Drills will be conducted without exceptions. Fire Safety, Evacuation, and Lockdown Plans will include any changes in such plans that promote and provide for social distancing during the evacuation drills.
Before and Aftercare Programs
The BOCES does not maintain BOCES-run before and aftercare programs. If such programs are implemented by BOCES, it will develop a plan for their healthy and safe establishment and maintenance in accordance with federal and state guidelines.
The BOCES will follow health guidance related to social distancing and other safety measures that must be put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 as well as all guidance related to health and safety. This will include meeting social distancing requirements and cleaning frequently touched spaces regularly to prevent spread of infection.
The BOCES will meet all requirements associated with building space related changes that they may elect to make.
Any changes or additions to facilities must comply with the requirements of the 2020 New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (BC) and the State Energy Conservation Code and submit all changes to the Office of Facilities Planning (OFP). All new building construction and temporary quarter project will be submitted to OFP for a full code review. The BOCES will consult with OFP regarding any new facilities for leasing for a preliminary evaluation. If the BOCES' reopening includes the temporary or permanent use of tents, it will provide plans for such that adhere to the BCNYS.
The BOCES will ensure submission of detailed floorplans to OFP for review for the installation of dividers in classrooms, libraries, cafeterias, auditoriums, gymnasiums, doors, and other points of congregation.
The BOCES will ensure that all project submissions only dedicated to "COVID-19 Reopening" will be labeled as such.
The function, position, and operation of stair and corridor doors will remain unchanged.
The BOCES will ensure that the use of plastic separators will comply with the 2020 BCNYS section 2606.
The BOCES will comply with the 2020 Building Condition Survey and Visual Inspection, where applicable.
The BOCES will conduct the Lead-in-Water Testing as required by NYS DOH regulation 67-4.
All existing and new alcohol-based hand-rub dispensers will be installed in any location in accordance with FCNYS 2020 section 5705.5.
The BOCES will ensure that the existing or altered number of toilet and sink fixtures meet the minimum standards of the BCNYS. Sinks and soap will be available to building occupants at all times.
The BOCES will ensure that each building provides one drinking fountain per one hundred occupants.
The BOCES will maintain adequate, code required ventilation (natural or mechanical) as designed.
The BOCES will coordinate with home school SFA's to ensure all students enrolled with access to school meals each school day, which will include students in attendance at school and students learning remotely.
The BOCES will address all applicable health and safety guidelines through:
- Measures to protect students with food allergies if providing meals in spaces outside the cafeteria.
- Protocols and procedures for how students will perform hand hygiene before and after eating, how appropriate hand hygiene will be promoted, and how sharing of food and beverages will be prohibited (unless individuals are members of the same household).
- Protocols and procedures that require cleaning and disinfection prior to the next group of students arriving for meals, if served in the same common area.
- Compliance with Child Nutrition Program requirements.
- Protocols that describe communication with families through multiple means in the languages spoken by families.
Specifically, the BOCES will:
- Update standard operating procedures for sanitation of school kitchens, cafeterias, food warehouses, and central production kitchens.
- Identify any additional equipment or supplies such as thermometers, alcohol wipes or other equipment that may be needed to keep food, students, and staff safe;
- Install barriers at the point of sale/point of pickup.
- Have adequate supplies of face masks, soap, hand sanitizer, and tissues in food service areas.
- Routinely clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces including tables, chairs, carts used in transportation, and point-of-service touch pads.
- Use timers for cleaning reminders.
- Wear single-use gloves when handling or delivering all foods.
- Wear a disposable apron when handling or delivering foods.
- Allow only program staff, custodial staff, and approved volunteers to enter program areas.
- Evaluate staffing and make any needed adjustments.
- Ensure staff are trained on BOCES policies and protocols on health and safety.
- Review, and retrain staff as needed on standard operating procedures for food service.
- Work with food service vendors to determine the safest way to handle deliveries.
- Have supplies on hand for in person and grab and go meal delivery.
- Revise site food safety plans to include standard operating procedures for meal service in classroom, additional meal service procedures in the cafeteria, social distancing and PPE during meal prep and delivery, and receiving and storage.
- Ensure meals meet meal pattern requirements.
- Complete production records for each meal.
- Develop meal counting procedures for meals served outside of the cafeteria.
- Accommodate documented requests for children with special dietary needs (e.g., food allergies).
- Assess where meals will be served (classroom, cafeteria, other).
- Remove or suspend the use of share tables, salad bars and other self-service refrigerators and buffets for food and condiments.
- Discourage or prohibit food sharing between students (unless they live in the same household).
- Coordinate with custodians to establish sanitation procedures.
- Clean and disinfect tables, chairs and other frequently touched hard surfaces between groups of students.
- Require that students socially distance (six-feet separation) while consuming meals in school unless a physical barrier is provided.
- Provide physical distancing guides in food service areas such as: signage, increased table spacing, removing tables, marking tables as closed, or providing a physical barrier between tables.
- Plan for one class at a time to go through the cafeteria line and return to the classroom if meals will be eaten in the classroom.
- Use pre-portioned condiments that cashiers & servers place on each tray.
- Place meals on a counter or tray line for quick pick up.
- Coordinate with school personnel in order to meet the feeding safety needs of students with disabilities.
- When students eat in classrooms:
- Train teachers 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.
- Obtain or develop posters or other aids to assist non-food service staff to implement meal service.
All buses (conforming and non-conforming to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Standards, as well as type A, C or D) which are used every day by districts and contract carriers must be cleaned/disinfected once a day. High contact spots must be wiped down after the a.m. and p.m. 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 Staff
School bus drivers, monitors, attendants and mechanics must wear a face covering.
Transportation staff (drivers, monitors, attendants, mechanics and cleaners) will be trained and be provided periodic refreshers on the proper use of PPE, the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and the proper use of social distancing.
The BOCES will provide PPE such as masks and gloves for drivers, monitors and attendants in buses as well as hand sanitizer for all staff in their transportation locations such as dispatch offices, employee lunch/break rooms and/or bus garages.
Drivers, monitors and attendants who must have direct physical contact with a child must wear gloves.
School bus drivers, monitors, attendants and mechanics shall perform a self-health assessment for symptoms of COVID 19 before arriving to work.
School bus drivers, monitors and attendants must not carry personal bottles of hand sanitizer with them on school buses.
Students on Transportation
Students who are able will be required to wear masks and should social distance on the bus, including during the ride to and from school and while entering, exiting and seated, 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.
Students should social distance (six feet separation) on the bus whenever possible.
Students who do not have a mask will NOT be denied transportation. BOCES will provide students with a mask when they do not have one.
Students with a disability which would prevent them from wearing a mask will not be forced to do so or denied transportation.
Students will be trained and provided periodic reminders on the proper use of PPE and the signs, symptoms of COVID-19, and the proper use of social distancing.
If a school district is in session remotely or otherwise, pupil transportation must be provided (as required) to nonpublic, parochial, private, charter schools or students whose Individualized Education Program have placed them out of district whose schools are meeting in conducting in-person session education when/if the district is not.
Social Emotional Well-Being
The BOCES will review and update its BOCES-wide and program-level comprehensive developmental school counseling program plan, developed under the direction of certified school counselor(s), to meet current needs. This will be accomplished by consulting component districts' updated comprehensive developmental school counseling program plans.
The BOCES will establish a Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Implementation Team that includes representatives of key stakeholder groups (e.g., families, students, members of the board of education, BOCES leaders, community-based service providers, teachers, certified school counselors, and other pupil personnel service providers including school social workers and/or school psychologists). The SEL Implementation team will have the responsibility for long-term implementation planning and championing of systemic whole school social emotional learning. The team will consult and utilize SEL resources provided by NYSED, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), and other trusted resources to support evidence-based, equity-focused practices. In addition, the SEL Implementation Team will develop and communicate a shared vision for long-standing, schoolwide SEL that facilitates a comprehensive, coordinated multi-tiered system of support inclusive of prevention and intervention programming.
The BOCES will continue to provide resources and referrals to address mental health, behavioral, and emotional support services and programs, including the weekly EAP correspondence. The BOCES encourages employees and their family members to use the help that is offered through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Mary Wallis, BOCES Employee Assistance Specialist, can be reached at (607) 734-3014.
The BOCES will provide professional learning opportunities for faculty and staff on how to talk with and support students during and after the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, as well as provide intensive, ongoing, job-embedded professional learning for coping and resilience skills for students, faculty, and staff.
Relatedly, BOCES administrators will infuse SEL into their leadership practices and promote a culture that supports adult SEL, including encouraging and supporting staff in reflecting on their own social, emotional, and cultural competencies. Administrators will model SEL through interactions with all district students, staff, families, and communities.
Contextual Conditions and Resources
Strategies and Activities
Culture and climate data
Adult SEL personal assessment and reflection tool (CASEL)
BOCES Professional Learning Plan for SY 20-21
1.) training on 5 SEL competencies and research
2.) ongoing professional learning on Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education
3.) provide frequent opportunities for members to build supportive professional relationships to build on, better understand, and be influenced by one another's ideas and perspectives
1.) increased ability for every member to speak clearly about the value of SEL and their role in integrating SEL into their area of work
2.) increased self-awareness (I.e., biases), social awareness (I.e., cultures, values, diverse identities) and relationship skills
3.) increased collective educator/staff efficacy in relation to social emotional well-being and academic growth
Strengthen Adult SEL: social, emotional, and cultural competence
As schools devise their re-opening plans for the 2020-21 school year, plans must address resuming in-person instruction. However, scheduling decisions must be informed by health and safety standards and the most up to date guidance from the New York State Department of Health.
Students who are able to do so will be required to wear masks and social distance (six feet separation) in classrooms whenever possible. 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.
GST BOCES has an in-person school schedule planned for implementation at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year and contingent scheduling models if the situation warrants.
GST BOCES will work with all component school districts to create a schedule for hybrid instruction based upon their needs.
Priorities will be determined based upon the needs of student populations for in-person instruction. If not feasible a phased-in and hybrid model of education will be considered.
GST BOCES will have a remote instruction model, completely virtual, that will be implemented if the need arises during the 2020-21 school year.
The BOCES will employ social distancing protocols in all classrooms, hallways, and other campus areas at all times when physical distancing allows. GST BOCES will work with all the component districts to meet their needs of scheduling that may arise. This includes, but is not limited to, reduced numbers of students in classroom, staggered or rotating class schedules, distance learning or remote learning for all students, and use of other spaces on campus to create more social distancing options.
Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism
The BOCES will collect and report daily teacher/student engagement or attendance regardless of the instructional setting, including in a remote or hybrid schedule. During in-person instruction, daily attendance is taken in the student management system employed by the district, SchoolTool. In the case of a hybrid model or remote instruction, GST BOCES Student Contact Logs are to be updated daily to indicate the student participation in each instructional or related service module.
Attendance of any school-age student of compulsory age will be reported in SIRS until they exceed compulsory school age.
Students who drop out while still of compulsory school age must be kept on the school attendance register until they exceed compulsory school age or move out of the component district.
Technology and Connectivity
The BOCES will:
- Determine the level of access to devices and high-speed broadband all students and teachers have in their places of residence through surveys.
- The BOCES will loan devices to teachers who need them for hybrid or remote learning. It will loan such devices to students for hybrid or remote learning on a case-by-case basis. Teachers can access BOCES' internet through classroom use (with supervisor approval).
- Provide multiple ways for students to participate in learning and demonstrate mastery of Learning Standards in remote or blended models, especially if all students do not yet have sufficient access to devices and/or high-speed internet.
Teaching and Learning
The BOCES will provide 180 days of instruction each school year to their students in accordance with the BOCES regional calendar or a host site school district calendar. Instructional days shall be counted for programs that are delivered in-person, remotely, or through a hybrid model.
The BOCES' continuity of learning plan for the 2020-2021 school year is as follows:
- Our instructional plan will prioritize in-person instruction and we will plan for contingencies for remote and hybrid models based on component school districtsâ€™ needs.
- We will continue to use our existing continuity of learning plan and update this document to meet our needs through reopening.
- Instruction must be aligned with the outcomes in the New York State Learning Standards. Educators will be given opportunities to prioritize units of study to meet hands-on instructional certification standards.
- Equity must be at the heart of all school instructional decisions. All instruction will be developed so that whether delivered in-person, remotely, or through a hybrid model due to a local or state school closure, there are clear opportunities for instruction that are accessible to all students. Such opportunities must be aligned with State standards and include daily scheduled times for students to interact and seek feedback and support from their teachers.
- Instruction aligned to the academic program must include regular and substantive daily interactions with an appropriately certified teacher regardless of the delivery method (e.g., in person, remote or hybrid).
- Each instructional program must create 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 based on BOCES need, 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). Teachers will be expected to document this communication using GST BOCES Student Contact Logs.
- The BOCES will provide professional learning opportunities for faculty in prioritizing curriculum, blended learning, grading/assessment/feedback, and social emotional learning. We will also provide ongoing, classroom-based professional learning (e.g., demonstration lessons, coaching with feedback) in these areas, as needed.
- If applicable, BOCES will contract with eligible agencies, including CBOs, to provide pre-kindergarten programs. They must attest that they have measures in place to ensure eligible agencies with whom they contract will follow the health and safety guidelines outlined in NYSED guidance and required by the New York State Department of Health. The BOCES must also ensure their eligible agencies have a Continuity of Learning plan that addresses in-person, remote, and hybrid models of instruction.
The BOCES will ensure that all students receive high quality rigorous, standards-based instruction that will meet their academic needs and allow them to attain the learning standards in all curricular areas.
Programs will plan for the possible contingency of fully remote learning.
The BOCES will promptly and adequately communicate if a fully remote learning model needs to ensue. Teachers will work with students to determine the initial steps that need to be taken to move to this mode of instruction. Those serving the elementary and middle-school levels might have to consider creating instructional materials for both students and parents.
Programs will develop a reporting mechanism to track teacher/student contact regardless of the instructional setting.
The GST BOCES Student Contact Log will exist in all forums and serves as the means to document teacher/provider/student contact throughout the 2020-2021 school year.
Grades 7-12 - Units of Study
The BOCES will ensure that all students will have access to, and receive instruction from, highly qualified and certified teachers every day.
The BOCES will adhere to NYSED guidance and Commissioner's regulations to ensure that all students will have instructional experiences that meet all requirements to earn units of study in GST BOCES programming. Students will have the aforementioned opportunities in any mode of instruction, no matter if it is in-person, hybrid, or completely virtual instruction.
Programs will determine a method for students to record laboratory experiences and satisfactory lab reports. Any student who has completed all laboratory experiences in accordance with teacher expectations shall be deemed to have met the 1200-minute requirement.
Career and Technical Education (CTE)
The BOCES will ensure that CTE coursework will continue to be taught by appropriately certified CTE teachers. Instructors who are required to hold a NYS professional license for a particular content area (i.e., health sciences, barbering, appearance enhancement) must maintain such license without lapse. All CTE laboratory/clinical instruction and supervision will be delivered by the appropriately certified CTE teacher.
BOCES' CTE programming has an in-person school schedule planned for implementation at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year and contingent scheduling models if the situation warrants.
BOCES' CTE programming will work with all component school districts to create a schedule for hybrid instruction based upon their needs.
CTE programming will continue to implement virtual options to supplement curriculum throughout the 2020-21 school year. This includes, but is not limited to, field trips, simulators/simulations, guest experts or lecturers, and distance learning options.
The BOCES will collaborate with all business and industry partners to identify and ensure safe and healthy work-based learning opportunities.
The BOCES will have virtual work-based learning experiences, for all students, whenever possible.
All registered work-based learning programs will be supervised by an appropriately certified work-based learning coordinator.
The work-based learning coordinator, transition coordinator, and all other service providers will work collaboratively to design work-based learning experiences that are in line with students' individualized education program (IEP) goals.
Response to Intervention/Academic Intervention Services
The BOCES will use a BOCES-developed procedure to be applied uniformly at each grade level for determining which students will be provided and/or are entitled to Response to Intervention or Academic Intervention Services.
Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)
The BOCES will use MTSS to be applied uniformly at each grade level/program for determining instructional, social emotional, and behavioral gaps and needs for all students. Students will be supported based upon these needs and data will be reviewed regularly to close their gaps.
The BOCES will develop protocols regarding extracurricular programs including which activities will be allowed, considering social distancing, PPE usage, and cleaning and disinfection, as well as risk of COVID-19 transmission.
All student organizations, and extracurricular clubs (FFA, HOSA, SKILLS USA, etc.), will be provided training and guidance to ensure that they are meeting all of the aforementioned protocols.
In implementing its Special Education programs, the BOCES will:
- 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 that meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living.
- Share a plan with all stakeholders that enable transitioning between in-person, remote and hybrid learning environments to ensure the provision of FAPE consistent with the changing health and safety conditions that exist.
- Address the provision of FAPE consistent with the need to protect the health and safety of students with disabilities and those providing special education services.
- Provide 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.
The BOCES has an in-person schedule planned for students in special education programs for the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year and will implement contingent scheduling models if the situation warrants. We will be in collaboration with home school districts, as well as parents/guardians regarding individual student needs.
The BOCES will provide a free appropriate public education to all students with disabilities through a combination of models of instruction that adequately take into consideration the health and safety needs of those students as well as those providing the services.
The BOCES site principals will collaborate with district stakeholders to ensure that students' services are consistent with IEP recommendations, in all settings. The GST BOCES Student Contact Log as well as IEP progress notes will be maintained uniformly. Providers will communicate the daily progress through these means in order for the CSE to be consistently aware of student progress made. The GST BOCES Director of Special Education and Itinerant Services will hold monthly meetings with all regional special education administrators and CSE Chairpersons in order to collaborate on the sharing of resources.
All students will be ensured access to the necessary accommodations, modifications, supplementary aids and services, and technology (including assistive technology) in all settings. The teachers and providers will work directly with families to communicate how these will be given and to offer suggestions when families have difficulty during remote instructional periods.
Students will receive schedules for instructional blocks as well as for related services provided in the mail in August. Principals will follow up with a welcoming letter explaining any nuances of each student's program. The participation in and communication with parents will be documented daily on the GST BOCES Student Contact Log. All contact made will take into consideration the family's preferred language or mode of communication. All communications with parents and guardians will be in their preferred language or mode of communication.
Students with disabilities will participate in rigorous coursework at their appropriate grade levels, adhering to the NYS learning standards, while taking into consideration additional, individual needs as specified on their IEPs. Students with disabilities will be given access to participate and progress in the general education curriculum. Whenever indicated on the IEP, students are able to participate in general education coursework through mainstream opportunities (remote or in-person) to access coursework with their grade level peers.
The BOCES ensures that students are being delivered special education and related services to the greatest extent possible as identified on the IEP. Staff members are expected to provide the same level of contact time with students whether in-person or remote. In the event of remote instruction, this same level of contact time will be expected from staff members, whenever the family can maintain that level of participation. Documentation of all services is kept, to further inform future decisions about compensatory services.
BOCES' staff will progress monitor in alignment with IEP goals in order to evaluate effectiveness of programming. Behavioral intervention plans and strategies to address individual goals will be adjusted as needed in all settings.
Student case managers maintain documentation related to remote instruction and share with all team members working with students in order to inform on student needs upon return to in-person instruction.
GST BOCES Student Contact Logs track all aspects of the students' instructional program, including related and transition services. These are shared with CSE chairs prior to meeting and periodically throughout the year. These inform individualize determinations for subsequent student needs.
Online learning platforms and/or hard copy files when appropriate, are kept for each student to keep examples of formative assessment and ongoing work that demonstrate student progress. These will be maintained and available to families and CSE chairs for discussion about student programming.
Ongoing communication with families, starting with a survey about desires for the upcoming school year, will happen at GST BOCES. Parent representatives from each special education site were asked to provide feedback on the reopening plan and continuity of learning plan.
Compensatory services are documented with appropriate notation on the GST BOCES Contact Log, as well as in the progress monitoring of each IEP goal.
There will be ongoing virtual meetings for parents and families to provide necessary training and updates needed to assist students during this time, in all instructional settings.
Service providers will work directly with districts and families to ensure that the necessary supplementary aides, equipment and services needed by each student is available to him/her, whether inside the school walls or while learning from home.
Bilingual Education and World Languages
If the BOCES reopens using an in-person or hybrid instruction, it 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 must resume for all students within required 10 school days of initial enrollment as required by Commissioner's Regulations Part 154.
The BOCES will collaborate with the Mid-State RBE-RN to provide professional learning and technical services at no cost to schools and districts with English Language Learners in the GST BOCES region.
The BOCES will request support from the Mid-State RBE-RN, as needed, to assist with ELL program design and planning, policies and regulations, parent involvement, translation and interpretation referrals, resources, Title III & CR Part 154 requirements and the ELL Program Evaluation process.
The BOCES will provide required instructional Units of Study to all ELLs based on their most recently measured English language proficiency level during in-person or hybrid instruction. Itinerant ENL teachers will work directly with district personnel to provide appropriate levels of required instruction.
The BOCES 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 and provide all communications for parents/guardians of ELLs in their preferred language and mode of communication.
Teacher and Principal Evaluation System
The BOCES will ensure that all teachers and principals are evaluated pursuant to the BOCES' currently approved APPR plan, including any variance applications approved by the NYS Education Department.
Certification, Incidental Teaching and Substitute Teaching
The BOCES will ensure that all teachers hold valid and appropriate certificates for their teaching assignments except where otherwise allowable under the Commissioner's regulations (e.g., incidental teaching) or Education Law.