Health & Safety

Vaccination

    • Vaccination is currently the leading public health preventative strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic, and has a significant impact on COVID transmission (those who are vaccinated can still contract COVID-19, but the vaccine significantly diminishes severe illness and death). Achieving high levels of COVID-19 vaccination among eligible students as well as teachers, staff, and household members is one of the most critical strategies to help schools safely resume full operations.
    • Vaccination is not required for school attendance or employment. Unless there is a NYS law or federal law requiring employees to be vaccinated, we will comply with the law and engage in collective bargaining around the topic (in relation to if staff were required to obtain the vaccine).
    • The health requirements and recommendations in this document do not discern between those who are and are not vaccinated and will apply to all (unless otherwise noted). Since managing a different set of rules for each would prove to be implausible, the health and safety measures we are putting in place will apply to everyone regardless of their vaccination status.

Transmission Level Designation

    • Ontario County Public Health data will be used to determine our CDC transmission level designation as either Low, Moderate, Substantial, or High Transmission. 

Masking

    • Masking requirements are dependent on Ontario County’s CDC transmission level designation (low, moderate, substantial and high).
      • Indoors
        • Low  — Masking is strongly encouraged but voluntary as long as social distancing can be maintained.  Masking will still be required in general student areas and hallways. In classrooms that contain students who are medically fragile, masks must always be worn, with select mask breaks, even during low transmission rates.
        • Moderate, Substantial and High — Masking is required (breaks afforded when 6-feet apart social distancing can be maintained; mask removal at meals).
      • In the Cafeteria
        • Low, Moderate, Substantial and High — Masking is not required while seated and eating; students will be cohorted.
      • On the Bus
        • Low, Moderate, Substantial and High — Passengers and drivers must always wear a mask on school buses.
      • Outdoors¶
        • Low, Moderate, Substantial and High — Masks are not required, but are recommended for unvaccinated individuals.

Physical Distancing & Cohorting

    • Social distance requirements are dependent on Ontario County’s CDC transmission level designation (low, moderate, substantial and high).
      • Low — No distancing requirements, including music and physical education.
      • Moderate, Substantial and High — 3-feet distancing requirement where practicable, including music and physical education.
    • Cohorting is an approach which will take place in schools/classes where practicable. The use of cohorting can limit the spread of COVID-19 between cohorts but will not replace other prevention measures within each group. Cohorting people who are fully vaccinated and people who are not fully vaccinated into separate cohorts is not recommended.
    • It is the school’s responsibility to ensure that cohorting is done in an equitable manner that does not perpetuate academic, racial, or other tracking, as described in the U.S. Department of Education COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 1.

Occupancy Limits

    • Low, Moderate, Substantial, and High — Outdoor occupancy limits are eliminated.
    • Low — Indoor occupancy limits are eliminated. 
    • Moderate, Substantial or High — Indoor occupancy will include a minimum of three feet of physical distancing or between individuals not from the same household. 

Screening/Health

    • A daily screener will no longer be necessary; rather, reminders will be made to students and staff that they must stay home if they are exhibiting symptoms and call the school and their pediatrician for next steps. 

Testing

    • The district may initiate voluntary surveillance testing if we are in a substantial and/or high transmission zone. No decision has been made regarding this up until this point. Part of it is linked to state and federal requirements as well as potential for grants.
    • Prior to any student testing written parental consent will be obtained.
    • At any level of community transmission, screening testing will be offered in conjunction with the County Health Department to all teachers and staff who have not been fully vaccinated. 
      • CDC recommendation is that to be effective, the screening program should test at least once per week, and rapidly (within 24 hours) report results. 
      • Screening testing more than once a week might be more effective at interrupting transmission. 

Illness, Quarantine & Isolation

    • Students, teachers, and staff who have symptoms of infectious illness, such as influenza (flu) or COVID-19, should stay home and will be referred to their healthcare provider for testing and care. 
    • The district will allow flexible, non-punitive, and supportive paid sick leave policies and practices that encourage sick workers to stay home without fear of retaliation, loss of pay, or loss of employment level and provide excused absences for students who are sick. The district will ensure that workers are aware of and understand these policies.
    • If a child displays COVID-19 symptoms from the CDC list, they will be sent to the school nurse’s office.
    • An isolation room staffed with an adult will be used for students with COVID-19 symptoms. Parents will be directed by school officials to contact their healthcare professional to seek further medical follow-up.
    • Staff with COVID-19 symptoms will leave the building immediately and inform their immediate supervisor and the COVID-19 coordinator. The staff member will be directed to seek medical follow-up.
    • The decision of whether a test needs to be conducted will be decided by the school physician or the Ontario County Department of Health.
    • Isolation: Anyone (students, faculty and staff) testing positive for COVID-19 will be ordered by the county health director to isolate in their home for 10 days from onset of symptoms or from date of test if no symptoms. It is not recommended that a positive case re-test for it will not take the case out of isolation.
    • Quarantine: A legal order will be issued from the county public health director to quarantine at home for 10 days from exposure to a positive case.
      • Asymptomatic vaccinated individuals are not required to quarantine if exposed to a positive case. (Per CDC “should” mask for 14 days indoors and get tested between days 3 and 5. If negative, no need to continue to mask.)
      • Anyone being within 6 feet of a positive case for at least 15 minutes unmasked while that person was infectious, will be quarantined for 10 days (indoor or outdoor contact).
      • Students fully masked at 3 feet (and 6 feet) will NOT be identified as a proximate contact as of May 27, 2021. Both the case and the contact must have been masked.
      • Students eating at 6 feet unmasked will not be identified as a close contact as of May 27, 2021.
      • A positive case in a 2nd grade classroom and below will be decided on a case-by-case basis after a discussion with the teacher and administrator. The whole class may need to be quarantined if there were lapses in masking and distancing.

Contact Tracing

    • The district will continue to collaborate with state and local health departments, to the extent allowable by privacy laws and other applicable laws, to confidentially provide information about people diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19. This allows identifying which students, teachers, and staff with positive COVID-19 test results should isolate, and which close contacts should quarantine. 
    • Public Health staff will conduct an interview with all positive individuals (or parent/guardian if the case is under 18 years of age) to ascertain if there are contacts (individuals who were exposed) of the case that need to be quarantined. This is a telephone interview.

Disabilities or Other Health Care Needs

    • The district will provide accommodations, modifications, and assistance for students, teachers, and staff with disabilities and other health care needs when implementing COVID-19 safety protocols, including:
      • Working with families to better understand the individual needs of students with disabilities.
      • Remaining accessible for students with disabilities:
        • Helping provide access for direct service providers (DSP) (e.g. paraprofessionals, therapists, early intervention specialists, mental health and healthcare consultants, and others). 
        • If DSPs who are not fully vaccinated provide services at more than one location, asking whether any of their other service locations have had COVID-19 cases. 
        • Ensuring access to services for students with disabilities when developing cohorts.
      • Considering having teachers and staff wear a clear or cloth mask with a clear panel when interacting with young students, students learning to read, or when interacting with people who rely on reading lips.
      • Using behavioral techniques (such as modeling and reinforcing desired behaviors and using picture schedules, timers, visual cues, and positive reinforcement to help all students adjust to transitions or changes in routines).

Hand-Washing & Respiratory Etiquette

    • People should practice hand-washing and respiratory etiquette (covering coughs and sneezes) to keep from getting and spreading infectious illnesses including COVID-19. Schools will monitor and reinforce these behaviors and provide adequate hand washing supplies, and:
      • Teach and reinforce handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
      • Remind everyone in the facility to wash hands frequently and assist young children with handwashing.
      • If handwashing is not possible, use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol (for teachers, staff, and older students who can safely use hand sanitizer). Hand sanitizers will be stored up, away, and out of sight of young children and will be used only with adult supervision for children under 6 years of age.

Cleaning

    • Faculty will be provided cleaning supplies and will be encouraged to clean periodically throughout the day. 
    • Custodial staff will clean high touch surfaces throughout the day and do a deeper cleaning each night.
    • Cleaning staff will continue maintaining cleaning logs for all spaces. 

Ventilation

    • Improving ventilation is an important COVID-19 prevention strategy that can reduce the number of virus particles in the air. 
    • Along with other preventive strategies, including wearing a well-fitting, multi-layered mask, bringing fresh outdoor air into a building helps keep virus particles from concentrating inside. This can be done by opening multiple doors and windows, using child-safe fans to increase the effectiveness of open windows, and making changes to the HVAC or air filtration systems.
    • During transportation, windows will be opened or cracked in buses and other forms of transportation, if doing so does not pose a safety risk. Keeping windows open a few inches improves air circulation.
    • Windows will be opened in classrooms, at least partially, all year round.
    • Outside air will be cycled in at the higher levels as we did last school year.
    • Highest rated compatible MERV filters for our systems will be used; filters will be changed more frequently than standard.
    • In classrooms with air conditioning, schools will consider turning off the AC in order to open the windows depending on weather and other factors. 
Last Modified on October 13, 2021