Health and Safety

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Health and Safety
All staff and students in the District will be required to follow the health and safety guidelines set forth in this section of the reopening plan. This includes all BOCES staff and students, contractors, interns, student teachers, and all contract employees and visitors. 

Our school nurses will remain in contact with families regarding your child’s specific needs. Please email your school nurse if you need to pick up medication or have a particular question or need. Our nursing staff will continue to stay informed and participate in updates on the emerging developments which may impact our school community.

School Nurses
Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, Donna Malia, RN 
George Washington Elementary School, Christina Doupis, RN 
Lincoln-Titus Elementary School, Daniella Ferreira RN 
Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, Mary Beth Guyett, RN 
Van Cortlandtville Elementary School, Robyn Butlien, RN 
Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School, Laura DeFina, RN and Maria Zorabedian, RN
Lakeland High School, Dineen DeVito, RN 
Walter Panas High School, Wendy Kopec, RN 
 

Important note: If your family is experiencing a crisis or medical emergency, please use 911 services.

The District, in consultation with our District Physician, has developed protocols that promote the health and safety of students and staff. Please review the following information regarding COVID-19  and the steps we will follow while children are in school. People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported, ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms include fever (fever is 100.0 F or above) or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. We understand that these symptoms are very common complaints for school-age children, however, under the current circumstances, we must respond to any and all potential COVID-19 symptoms.

Persons at High Risk
Currently, information available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) indicates that people who are 65 years of age and older and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Since the CDC is constantly updating the categories of conditions that fall into high-risk categories, please refer to their website for the most up-to-date information on conditions that put people at increased risk of developing severe cases of COVID-19. 

The district will identify persons at high-risk utilizing the following procedure:

 For Students:

  • Parents of students in high-risk categories, or with household members in high-risk categories, will send a letter to their School Nurse identifying the student’s medical condition with the following information:
  • If additional considerations or alternate supports are requested.

For Staff or Employees:

  • Employees must notify their supervisor and request the appropriate form document from the Human Resources Department should they need to request a reasonable accommodation.
  • The employee must provide documentation from their healthcare provider, including the completion of the district request form, to substantiate the request and anticipated duration of the request. Documentation is subject to verification and review by the school physician. Such information will be maintained as confidential, consistent with applicable state and federal laws.  
  • Reasonable and appropriate accommodations will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Reasonable accommodations may include additional PPE as well as the installation of physical barriers. Other reasonable accommodations may also include leaves of absence (paid or unpaid) and requests to transfer to other job titles for which a person is qualified. Requests for reasonable accommodations will be considered and granted based upon individual circumstances and district needs, in a manner that permits it to continue to fulfill its core function of education students. It is understood that many job titles require the employee to physically report to work and that there is no opportunity for remote work under ordinary circumstances.
  • Employees should be aware that, in certain instances, a Fitness for Duty examination may be necessary should a reasonable basis exist to conduct such evaluation.
  • Accommodations will be reviewed periodically and supporting documentation must be submitted on an as-needed basis, but no less than annually. 
  • Staff should notify their supervisor if they have any questions about a specific scenario not directly addressed above.

Screening and Monitoring

Screening

In order to be in attendance at school on any given day:

  • All students must have their temperature taken at home by a parent/guardian and complete the District's daily COVID-19 screening slip. Please do not give your child any fever-reducing medication before coming to school.
  • Students and staff are required to confirm that they have not developed acute onset (sudden and serious) symptoms from the list above in the past 24 hours.
  • Students and staff have not tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
  • Students and staff have not been in close contact with a documented COVID-19 case in the last 14 days.
  • Students and staff have not traveled internationally or to any state that will require quarantine, in the last 14 days.

Students exhibiting any of the above symptoms or answering yes to any questions must stay home. If symptoms last 24 hours or less, students can return to school the following school day. If symptoms linger for more than 48 hours, parents should contact their child’s healthcare provider for guidance.In an effort to screen building occupants prior to their arrival at school, the district will implement an electronic reporting procedure for employees and students must bring a completed Daily COVID-19 Screening slip to school.

In an effort to screen building occupants prior to their arrival at school, the district will implement a screening procedure that students and staff will be required to respond to daily.

  • Staff will be encouraged to stay home if they are sick and parents to keep sick children home.
  • Symptoms of COVID-19 include; fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.
  • Prior to coming to school each school day, employees and students will be required to have their temperature taken at home. (A fever is considered a temperature of 100F degrees or higher.)  In addition to a temperature check, a daily health screening assessment must be completed. Employees will use an electronic screening system to manage screenings.  For students' parents/guardians will complete the Daily COVID-19 Screening slip.
  • Employees and parents and visitors will be required to certify “No” to all of the following in order to be permitted access to school buildings:
    • If they have had any COVID-19 symptoms in the past 14 days
    • If they have had a positive COVID-19 test in the past 14 days or are presently waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test
    • If they had close contact with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case in the past 14 days
    • If they have traveled to a state on the NYS travel advisory list.
  • The district employees will use an electronic screening system to manage screenings as follows:
    • Employees will be entered as contacts into the screening automation platform.
    • The screening system will be available by 4:00 AM each day.
    • Employees will be required to certify “No” to all of the questions.
    • Upon clicking the “No” certification, the employee will be prompted "you are cleared to come to school or work"

For Student screening:

  • Parents and students will be required to fill out the district Covid-19 screening slip attesting to being symptom and restriction-free.
  • Upon entering school, students will be asked to present their slip to enter.
  • Students who do not present slips will be received in a holding area while their temperature is taken and their symptoms and restrictions are confirmed by staff calling their guardian for grades K-8 or by their own report grades 9-12. These students will likely be late to class.

Self-reporting Exposures and Infections
Prior to the opening of schools,  employees and families will be advised of the requirement that individuals who are alerted that they have come into close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19 or have been alerted via tracing, tracking or another mechanism, are required to self-report to their employer at the time of alert and shall not be permitted to remain or return to the building until they have completed quarantine.

In the event a student or district employee reports testing positive for COVID-19 or is exposed to a person who tests positive for COVID-19:

  • The student or district employee should immediately notify the district by contacting:
    • The nurse's office at the school which they attend or work in
    • If not assigned to anyone school building, the employee should contact: Mary Beth Guyett, Nursing Supervisor for LCSD mguyett@lakelandschools.org 914 245-4802
  • If a student or staff tests positive for COVID-19, the district will 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.
  • The student or employee may return to school after following the return from quarantine procedures.
Management of Sick Persons

If a student becomes sick at school during the school day:
  • They will be directed to the isolation area and assessed by the school nurse. If the student is experiencing one or more COVID-19 symptom(s), as listed above, guardians will be contacted to pick up the student.
  • Once guardians are notified, the student will need to be picked up within 15 to 30 minutes. (Please ensure your personal and emergency contact information is up to date)
  • Areas used by a sick person will be closed off and not used before cleaning and disinfection.
  • When possible, custodial staff will wait 24 hours (or as long as possible) before cleaning and disinfecting the area in accordance with procedures contained in this plan. If it is not possible to wait 24 hours, wait as long as possible. See also the Cleaning and Disinfecting section.
In the event a person is diagnosed with COVID-19 the following procedure will be followed:

  • The School Physician and the Department of Health will be contacted to advise of the confirmed diagnosis and confirm which students and staff will be advised to stay home.
  • Persons who had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 will be advised to stay home and self-monitor for symptoms and to follow DOH guidance if symptoms develop.
  • Sick staff members and children will be advised not to return until they have met DOH criteria to discontinue home isolation. (14 days in duration, even with a negative test)
  • Staff and families will be notified of a positive COVID-19 case while maintaining confidentiality consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other applicable federal and state privacy laws.

In the event that the school is notified that an employee or student has been exposed to COVID-19 and are quarantined, or if a family member has been diagnosed with or presumed to have COVID-19 and/or is being isolated, the following procedure will be followed:

  • Personnel and students with known exposure to someone with diagnosed or presumed COVID-19 may return to school following clearance from the DOH. (typically after a 14 day quarantine)
  • If a student is excluded from school due to COVID-19 symptoms or has had a positive COVID-19 test, his or her siblings or other students living in the same household, they will also be excluded from school for 14 days. If they do not exhibit symptoms, they will still be excluded from school and asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • The custodial staff will be informed so that all desks, lockers, and workspaces of the person are thoroughly disinfected. If the school is not open when a notification occurs, the custodial staff will wait 24 hours or as long as possible prior to disinfecting and instead will block off the area so that others do not have contact. However, if that is not possible or school is in session, the cleaning will occur immediately.

COVID-19 Testing   
Currently, at this time COVID-19 testing is unavailable at school. Testing is readily available in our community.  Students, staff or visitors requiring COVID-19 testing should contact their Health Care Provider, a local Urgent Care or a federally qualified Health Center.

A list of testing sites can be found on the Westchester Department of Health under the testing, results, and treatment tab at
https://health.westchestergov.com/2019-novel-coronavirus

Students, faculty, and staff can also call the NYS COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-364-3065 for assistance locating a testing site.  Information may also be found at
https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/find-test-site-near-you

Contact Tracing
Contact Tracing or assessing and informing those with potential exposure is a fundamental control strategy for minimizing spread within a group or camp population. NYS DOH defines close contact as interactions within 6 feet for more than 10 minutes.

In an effort to determine the potential or confirmed case’s contacts with other students or staff members over the previous two days, the district will assist the local Department of Health including notification of potential contacts, such as students, staff or visitors who had close contact with the individual, while maintaining confidentiality required by state and federal law and regulations.

  • Contact tracing is completed for those who come into contact with the identified COVID positive individual for the 48 hour period prior to symptom presentation or the date of COVID testing that results in a positive test result, whichever is earliest.
  • School health staff will utilize general principles of contact tracing to identify potentially exposed individuals.
  • District staff will assist the DOH in contact tracing by providing lists of potential contacts to the DOH for contact tracing interviews.
  • If the DOH identifies exposure, the district will work with the district Medical Director to identify students and staff who are at risk and recommend appropriate next steps in accordance with CDC and DOH guidelines.
Returning to School After Quarantine


Student return to school:

  • If your student is sent home sick from school, and the symptoms last less than 24 hours, your child may return to school after an additional 24 hours have passed without symptoms and if they pass the screener.
  • Students who test positive for COVID-19 can return to school when a minimum of ten days has passed since the start of symptoms, are fever free for 24 hours without medication, demonstrate improvement of symptoms, and provide written documentation from the Department of Health.If the duration of symptoms is 48 hours or more, students must have written physician clearance to return to school. A Covid test may be administered at your physician’s discretion. 
  • Students who have been identified as a potential contact of a COVID positive case by the school may return following written clearance from the Department of Health. Please find the link to the DOH clearance letter request here: https://covidreleaserequest.westchestergov.com/covidReleaseRequest/  Release DOH letters must be dated after the completion of quarantine, typically 14 days.
Healthy Hygiene Practices
The following healthy hygiene practices will be in place at all district buildings:
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing 60% or more alcohol for areas where handwashing is not available/practical, including throughout common areas of all school buildings.
  • Signage will be installed near hand sanitizer stations indicating that “visibly soiled hands should be washed with soap and water” as hand sanitizer is not effective on visibly soiled hands.
  • Employees, students, and visitors will be required to perform hand hygiene as follows: 
  • Arrival at the building.
  • Departure from the building (visitors will be encouraged).
  • Before and after eating or handling food.
  • Before and after administering medication.
  • After using the toilet or helping a child use the bathroom.
  • After coming in contact with bodily fluid.
  • After playing outdoors or in sand.
  • After handling garbage.
  • Posters describing handwashing steps will be installed near sinks
  • Additional receptacles will be placed around the facility for the disposal of soiled items including PPE
  • Additional practices are listed in each applicable section in the Operations section of this plan
Face Coverings
The following procedures regarding face coverings will be in place at all district buildings
  • Face masks will be required by all staff and students. Acceptable face coverings for COVID-19 include cloth and surgical masks that cover both the mouth and nose.  It is unacceptable to wear bandanas, neck gaiters or masks with valves.
  • The district will provide employees with two (2) reusable cloth face masks at no cost.
  • Students will be requested to wear their own facemasks to school.
  • Students will be asked to come with a backup facemask in case it is needed
  • The district will provide students with disposable facemasks if students forget to bring their own.
  • Face masks to be worn by staff and students (except where medically excused due to health or behavioral concerns.) 
  • Face masks will be required during the entire school day, including during arrival and dismissal, during hallway transitions and other building movements, during safety drills and on school buses and while in the classroom.
  • Face masks must be cleaned or replaced after use or when damaged or soiled, may not be shared, and should be properly stored or discarded.
  • Face shields and gowns will be utilized by staff when required to be in close contact with students and when there is a high risk of transmission of bodily fluids.
  • Masks may be removed by students or staff during periods when they are the sole occupant of a room, when they are outdoors and socially distanced, and while eating.

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. 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.

Stop the Spread of COVID-19 Signage
The district will install CDC-provided signage at multiple locations around each school building to:
  • Instruct building occupants on the proper way to wash hands
  • How to put on, take off and properly wear a face mask
  • How to engage in good daily hygiene measures
  • Signs located by hand sanitizer stations indicating when soap and water hand washing preferred
  • Social distancing signage
  • Directional signage for hallways
Social Distancing

All building occupants will be required to maintain social distancing of at least 6’ from one another. Additionally, other Personal Protective Equipment may also be necessary.

In order to determine how many students can fit in instructional spaces, the district will utilize the following method:

  1. Measure and record the room dimensions (width x depth)
  2. Subtract any square footage taken up by furnishings
  3. Building staff will hand measure spaces to create desk placements with six foot spacing between all persons in the space
  4. Instructional, public, and office spaces will be marked for appropriate spacing with both wall and floor signs.

In order to accommodate social distancing in each school building, the district will take the following General actions, which are detailed throughout the Operations section of this plan:

  • Some large common areas such as auditoriums and gymnasiums may be repurposed as instructional spaces to accommodate a larger number of students in the same class
  • Furnishings may be removed from rooms to maximize capacity
  • Novel use of other spaces in the building may be considered in order to accommodate quarantining of students with COVID-19-like symptoms as well as well-rooms for nursing activities.