• Health & Safety 

    The health and safety of our students, our staff and their families is our top priority. We want students and employees to feel comfortable and safe returning to school campuses. Our reopening plan incorporates recommendations and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED).

    The following protocols and procedures will be in place in all district schools for the 2020-21 school year should in-person schooling resume. Anyone with questions or concerns should contact our COVID-19 safety coordinator at jsapienza@voorheesville.org or HOTLINE FOR COVID-19 - 518-765-3314 ext.207

    For more information about how health and safety protocols and training will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.

    Travel and Quarantine

    NYSDOH - Quarantine for Community Persons Exposed to COVID-19 (March 10, 2021)

    Consistent with recent CDC guidance, asymptomatic individuals who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to quarantine during the first 3 months after full vaccination, if the following criteria are met:

    • Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2- doseseries, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine); AND
    • Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series; AND
    • Have remained asymptomatic since last COVID-19 exposure.

    NYSDOH - Quarantine Restrictions on Travelers Arriving in New York State Following Out of State Travel (March 10, 2021)

    • Teachers, school employees, and child care workers must quarantine for a minimum of 3 daysafter returning to New York from a non-contiguous state due to the nature of education and child care services, and the risk and difficulty of adherence to the guidelines that govern such exemptions, and must be tested on day 4 after arriving, pursuant to EO 205.2. Although such workers are essential, the travel advisory exemption for essential workers does not apply to teachers, school employees, or child care workers, due to the sensitivity of these congregate settings, unless they are fully vaccinated.

     

    Health checks

    The district has developed resources to educate parents/guardians and staff members regarding the careful observation of symptoms of COVID-19 and health screening measures that must be conducted each morning before coming to school. The resources include the requirement for any student or staff member with a fever of 100°F or greater and/or symptoms of possible COVID-19 virus infection to not come to school. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list of Coronavirus symptoms was used to develop these resources. 

    The Voorheesville Central School District will implement the following practices to conduct mandated health screening.

      • The District is utilizing a computer based electronic survey that staff and students (parents/guardians) and visitors must attest to and complete prior to entering any of the district buildings. The survey can be found on the district website under staffing: https://www.voorheesville.org/domain/57.  The application that must be filled out and submitted can be found here:https://entry.neric.org/vcsd.  Families, students, and staff are encouraged to bookmark or move the application to your homepage for easy access. If after the completion of the survey, you are deemed not able to enter the building or proceed for regular attendance, the attendance secretary or building administrator must be notified.
      • If students or staff do not have the ability to complete an at home screening at home through electronic means, they are asked to call the building office with their health affirmation or complete a paper affirmation and send it to the school with their student.
      • In the event that groups forget to do the survey, or do not have internet access at home, the following procedures will be followed. The district will do an initial survey to identify families who may not be able to complete the survey each day.  Students who do not do the survey prior to arrival will be identified and will report to a confidential screening location to complete a paper copy of the survey under trained district staff supervision.  


    Protocols and Procedures for Health Safety:

    • Daily temperature checks and completion of the screening questionnaire provided in the New York Forward Pre-K to Grade 12 School Guidelines for staff, contractors, vendors, and visitors Staff and contractors may utilize the district application or applications approved by the contractor’s organization.  Temperature checks should be done by the individual.  If temperature checks and the screening questionnaire are not done prior to entering the building, they will be done immediately upon entrance. Visitation will be permitted by appointment only. Visitors are to report to the main entrances/main offices to utilize a computer station to complete online screening application.
    • Daily temperature check and completion of the screening questionnaire (mentioned above) for students [prior to arrival/at school]
    • Students or Parents/ Guardian are to do a temperature check for themselves/child(ren) prior to their arrival to school or on the school bus using the online screening application.
    • It is imperative for the health and safety of the school community that people are diligent and honest with the recording of the temperature.  A student should not have a fever reducer given to them and they must be at least 3 days fever free prior to returning to school. 
    • Families unable to conduct online screenings will be identified via confidential survey. Each building will have remote private in-person screening areas to conduct in-person screenings prior to the start of each in-person school day. Attendance personnel will identify students that have not had screenings completed prior to the start of classes for that day whenever possible and paper copies will be provided.
    • Voorheesville Central School District will have the ability to conduct in-person screenings as well as on-line surveys. In-person screenings will be conducted in a method that will maintain each student’s right to confidentiality as well as maintaining equity for all students. Voorheesville Central School District will also conduct temperature audits by randomly selected groups of students upon entry to district buildings.
    1. Confidential in-person screenings will be performed by school nurses and/or trainees as soon as possible each school day.
    • The screening data collection method will be the online survey application. Attendance personnel will be responsible for the collection of data and reporting information to Building Principals. 
    • Each building will have two isolation rooms designated to house students that may have screened positive for signs and or symptoms of COVID 19.  Screened students will be escorted to the screening room while arrangements are made for dismissal. The building Principals will schedule supervision for isolation areas.
    • The Voorheesville Central School District requires students, and staff to notify the district if they develop symptoms or if their answer to the questionnaire changes outside of school hours. Students and staff should report this information by calling 518-765-3314 ext. 207 and leaving a message on the Covid-19 reporting hotline.
    • The Covid-19 hotline will be managed by The District Covid 19 Safety Officer, School Nurses, and Superintendent Of Schools.
    • Staff and Students must notify their building Nurse if they experience Covid -19 symptoms.
    • Parents/ Guardians will be notified weekly by Building Principal’s of screening methods or changes in any policies or protocols.

    Principals will have a student supervision schedule to supervise students awaiting screening

    • Supervisor will make sure students awaiting screening maintain social distance
    • School nurses will conduct trainings for staff who will conduct health screenings
    • Each district building currently has 5 thermometers
    • District is in the process of obtaining an ample supply of PPE to be utilized by screeners as well as school personnel providing other required medical services.

    Temperature screening protocols: Temperature screenings will be conducted by School Nurses in a designated area of each school’s health office. The temperature screening areas will be isolated in a specific area with appropriate barriers that adhere to CDC guidelines.  In the event that circumstances arise so that additional screeners are needed, each building will have additional screeners trained by School Nurses to conduct temperature screenings. All screeners will utilize maximum PPE which includes mask, shield, gloves, and gowns.

    Social distancing, face coverings & PPE

    The district has developed a plan with policies and procedures for maintaining social distancing of all students, faculty, and staff when on school facilities, grounds and transportation.

    • The Requiring of Masks: 
      • If a student is not medically exempt from wearing a face mask and refuses to comply, the parent/guardian will be contacted and the student will be sent home for the remainder of the school day.  If the student continues to refuse the wearing of a facemask, they will be transitioned to remote learning for the remainder of the current school quarter (High School) and trimester (elementary).
      • If a Visitor or Contractor is not medically exempt and refuses to wear the mask, they will be prohibited from entering the building or doing business in person.
      • If a staff member is not medically exempt and refuses to comply with the face mask requirements, they would be subject to reprimand or disciplinary consequences. 
      • Cloth face masks that cover both the nose and mouth that include, but are not limited to, homemade sewn masks and surgical masks. Bandanas,  gaiters, and masks with an exhalation valve will not be allowed beginning on Tuesday, September 29th.

    District Social Distancing Protocols and Procedures:

    • Rotating in-person student schedule for grades 7-12
    • Push in model of instruction will be utilized wherever possible
    • One way traffic pattern with signage delineating direction
    • 6 feet separation markings in hallways and entrances/exit routes
    • Maximum occupancy has been established for all in-person learning spaces and rooms will be labeled with maximum occupancy signage.
    • All classroom desks will be facing one direction
    • Staggered transitions will be implemented wherever possible
    • Additional entry points for student arrivals and dismissals 

    Face coverings will be required to be worn by staff and students throughout the majority of the day, whether indoors or outdoors. This includes during instruction, supervision, and in common areas even when social distancing is available, as well as when riding the school bus, working in outdoor instruction areas, and walking in the hall. Students will be allowed to remove face coverings during meals and for mask breaks so long as they maintain appropriate social distance. Students who are unable to medically tolerate a face covering will not be required to wear one.  For those students/staff who are medically unable to wear face coverings, the district will provide face shields.

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

    An employee is allowed to wear their own acceptable face covering if they choose. Employees with healthcare provider documentation stating they are not medically able to tolerate face covering will not be required to do so.

    Face coverings may be challenging for students (especially younger students) to wear in all-day settings such as school, so there may be periods of time when masks are not worn. 

    Face coverings should not be placed on:

    • Children younger than 2 years old
    • Students where such covering would impair their health or mental health, or where such covering would present a challenge, distraction, or obstruction to education services and instruction
    • Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious
    • Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance 

    The district will instruct students, parents/guardians and staff, contractors and vendors on:

    • The proper way to wear face coverings
    • Washing hands before putting on and after removing their face covering
    • Proper way to discard disposable face coverings


    Infection control strategies

    • Students will remain in cohort pods for as much of the day as possible, with teachers rotating to those cohort learning spaces in an effort to limit students’ contact with others.

    • Any space that is used by multiple classes of students will be cleaned and disinfected between groups.

    • Students will be assigned work spaces within the classrooms, and travel between different parts of the school will be minimized to avoid cross contamination. In addition, students will eat in classrooms.

    • Student classrooms will be at roughly 50% capacity. Desks will be spaced 6 feet apart and approximately 12 to 15 desks will be in each room.

    • Student supplies will be individually assigned.  Items will be disinfected between student use.

    • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer stations will be provided in areas of congregation and in classrooms.

    • Students will be 6 feet apart during instruction as per guidance from the CDC

    • Students and staff will wear masks throughout the day.


    Facility Alterations and Acquisition

    To increase instructional space during the school day, cafeterias, large group instruction areas (music instruction rooms, technology rooms,etc.) the auditorium, school gymnasiums,etc will be reconfigured to hold classes following the social distancing requirements per CDC and DOH.


    Plumbing Facilities and Fixtures:

    • Drinking fountain spouts should not be used for mouth use. Students are to use paper provided cups that will be at fountain stations and dispose of the cup in the receptacle at the station.  Drinking fountains will be cleaned frequently.
    • Students will be encouraged to bring personal water bottles and use the water bottle filler application when possible.
    • Distance markers will be placed on walls and floors to delineate appropriate social distancing.
    • Restroom capacity will be reduced to provide for proper social distancing. 


    Space Expansion

    The district has not ruled out the use of outside building use, such as a lease or community partnership. 

    Tents for Additional Space

    The district is exploring the possible use of tents during the warmer months for instructional purposes. 

    Ventilation

    The district currently uses MERV 8 filters.  These filters have a 90 percent efficiency on particles that are 3 to 10 micrometers in size. The district is evaluating areas within the district that can receive MERV 13 filters.  Areas that have large air handlers are most likely able to handle MERV 13s.  An example is a large and small gym at the elementary, the middle school wing, the PAC, High School gym.  This information is subject to change dependent on the current review process.

    The district’s procedure for changing filters is as follows:

    • Filters will be changed every three months.
    • Staff will wear masks and gloves during the filter changes.  The old filter will be bagged and the gloves used will be discarded with the bag.  Hand sanitation will occur and a new filter will be installed.

    Additional ventilation procedures:

    • The district will begin the year with 100 percent fresh air being brought into all areas in the district.  This program will continue until the outside temperature reaches 50 degrees.  When the temperature reaches 50 degrees the computer program will incrementally follow the temperature drop until the unit hits manufacturing settings near 40 degrees. When the temperature goes below 40 degrees, fresh air intake will range between 20% and 45% dependent on the code requirements and the date of installation.
    • The 100% fresh air being brought in goes through the heating and cooling systems that are a part of the univentilatros or air handlers. 
    • Building Exhaust fans will be at 100% when the building is occupied.
    • Classroom doors will be partially or fully open to increase airflow and exhaust effectiveness.
    • Classroom windows will be partially or fully opened. 


    Management of ill persons, contact tracing and monitoring:

    The district requires students, faculty, or staff members who develop COVID-19 symptoms during the school day to report to the nurse’s office. If there are several students waiting to see the school nurse, students must wait at least 6 feet apart. The district has designated areas to separate individuals with symptoms of COVID- 19 from others until they can go home or to a healthcare facility, depending on severity of illness. One area will be used to treat injuries, provide medications or nursing treatments, and the other area will be used for assessing and caring for ill students and staff. Both areas will be supervised by an adult and have easy access to a bathroom and sink with hand hygiene supplies. 

    VCSD Elementary Campus:

    • Covid-19 symptom isolation area: Room 203
    • Treatment/medication area: Room 209 (interior office will be a clean room)

    VCSD Secondary Campus:

    • Covid-19 symptom isolation area: HS Conference Room
    • Treatment/medication area: Nurses Office

    PPE requirements for school health office staff caring for sick individuals includes both standard and transmission-based precautions. In areas with moderate to substantial community transmission, eye protection (e.g., goggles or face shield) should be added. When caring for a suspected or confirmed individual with COVID-19, gloves, a gown, eye protection, and a fit-tested N-95 respirator will be used, if available. If an N-95 respirator is not available, a surgical face mask and face shield will be used.

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

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

    Aerosol Generating Procedures

    Respiratory treatments administered by nurses generally result in aerosolization of respiratory secretions. These aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) potentially put healthcare personnel and others at an increased risk for pathogen exposure and infection. The district requires the following PPE to be worn during AGPs: gloves, N-95 or a surgical mask with face shield, eye protection and a gown. PPE will be used during the following procedures: suctioning, administering nebulizer treatments, or using peak flow meters with students who have respiratory conditions. 

    Treatments such as nebulized medication treatments and oral or tracheostomy suctioning will be conducted in a room separate from others with nursing personnel wearing appropriate PPE. For nebulizer treatments, if developmentally appropriate, the nurse will leave the room and return when the nebulizer treatment is finished. 

    Cleaning of the room will occur between use and cleaning of the equipment should be done following manufacturer’s instructions after each use.  

    If Students or Staff become Ill with Symptoms of COVID-19 at School

    The district requires students or staff with a temperature, signs of illness, and/or a positive response to the questionnaire to be sent directly to a dedicated isolation area where students are supervised, prior to being picked up or otherwise sent home. Students will be supervised in the isolation area while awaiting transport home and will be separated by at least 6 feet. Students will be escorted from the isolation area to their parent/guardian. Students or staff will be referred to a healthcare provider and provided resources on COVID-19 testing.

    For more information for staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 and when to return to work please see the following link from DOH: Interim Guidance for Public and Private Employees Returning to Work  Following COVID-19 Infection or Exposure

    Return to School After Illness

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

    1. Documentation from a health care provider following evaluation 
    2. Negative COVID-19 diagnostic test result 
    3. Symptom resolution, or if COVID-19 positive, release from isolation 

    The district will refer to DOH’s “Interim Guidance for Public and Private Employees Returning to Work Following COVID-19 Infection or Exposure” regarding protocols and policies for faculty and staff seeking to return to work after a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or after the faculty or staff member had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19.

    The district requires that individuals who were exposed to the COVID-19 virus complete quarantine without experiencing any symptoms before returning to in-person learning. The discharge of an individual from quarantine and return to school will be conducted in coordination with the local health department.

    COVID-19 Testing

    In the event of a positive COVID-19 test of a student or faculty member, parents in the building will be notified with a letter sent home with their student. An alert will also be issued to parents on the district website and dispersed through district electronic communication tools.  

    Relevant Covid-19 updates will be provided on the District’s website. The superintendent will provide weekly or as needed, updates via SNN.

    In the event that a large-scale testing will need to be conducted at the school, the district administration will work with the following providers:

    Access Health Systems, Albany County Health Department, Center for Disease Control

    Contact Tracing

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

    Contact Tracing for the district will begin once the Albany County Department of Health as a confirmed positive test from the lab.  The DOH will then start the process of notifying the school district and working with all individuals.The district has been advised not to begin any contact tracing or quarantining  until the district has had a conversation/confirmation with the Department Of Health.  

    If a community member/ staff member states that they have a confirmed case and the district was not notified by the Department of Health.  The district is to contact the Department of Health immediately to notify/look for confirmation. Albany County Department of Health (518)447-4580.

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

    Districts may assist with contact tracing by:

    1. Keeping accurate attendance records of students and staff members
    2. Ensuring student schedules are up to date 
    3. Keeping a log of any visitor which includes date and time, and where in the school they visited
    4. Assisting the local health departments in tracing all contacts of the individual in accordance with the protocol, training, and tools provided through the NYS Contact Tracing Program

    If/when COVID-19 cases are discovered in the school, in consultation/notification with the local health department, the district will do the following: 

    • If there is a confirmed case, by DOH, and they have been on premises, the impacted building may close/ move to virtual for at least 24 hours in consultation with DOH. According to current regulations, DOH of health will consult with the district and provide guidance to reopen fully or partially dependent on the possible spread of the virus.
      • If this notification occurs while school is in session, the district will do an early dismissal.  Parent notification will occur through SNN, use of One Call Now, local media outlets, and the district website.
    • The district will close the room(s) where the infected individual spent time until the room has been sanitized and reviewed by the facilities director.
    • Building health staff will manage students and staff who report symptoms of COVID-19.  A list will be provided to the Albany County Department of Health with timely updates of any positive cases in staff/students.
    • Students and staff with symptoms consistent with those of COVID-19 and who may have had contact with the original carrier,  will be isolated in an area, with adult supervision, until they may be signed out by a parent/guardian.  If a person presents with a temperature, they will be sent to a dedicated area to wait for pick up or immediate medical care. 


    The district has requested guidance on percentage thresholds for closure/ move to full virtual for the county and at the community level. As of August 12, 2020,  The Department Of Health is currently compiling guidance for local school districts and is creating a flow chart of how contact tracing/communication will occur.  

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

    For more information about how COVID-19 containment efforts will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.

    School Closures

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

    At a the minimum, the following conditions may warrant reducing in-person instruction or closing the school:

    All aspects of reduction and closure will be in consultation with state and local health department,

    • Schools will close if the regional infection rate rises over 9% after Aug. 1.
    • Schools will close if the 7-day rolling average of the infection rate is above 9%.
      • Schools in regions in Phase 4 can reopen if the daily infection rate remains below 5 percent using a 14-day average, unless otherwise directed from the Albany County Department of Health. 
      • If the infection rate rises about 9%, schools must wait until the 14-day average is below 5%
      • Once schools open at Phase IV below 5% for a 14-day rolling average, schools can remain open even if the rate continues to rise about 5% until it reaches 9% for the 7-day average.
      • School will be notified by the Albany County Department of Health  on the situation.
      • School administrators will monitor  absentee rates and if they  impact the ability of the school to operate safely. 
      • The district may  modify operations prior to closing to help mitigate a rise in cases. If infection rates are rising above 5%; modifications may occur with rotating days of instruction for or a reduction of grade levels for in-person instruction.
      • All decisions will be made with consultation of the District Medical Director and Albany County Department of Health.


    Health Hygiene

    The district will emphasize healthy hygiene practices for students and staff by providing initial and refresher education in hand and respiratory hygiene, along with providing adequate supplies and time for frequent hand hygiene. Signs will be posted throughout the school (e.g., entrances, restrooms, cafeteria, classrooms, administrative offices, auditorium, custodial staff areas) and regular messaging will be shared with the school community. Signage will be used to remind individuals to:

    1. Stay home if they feel sick.
    2. Cover their nose and mouth with an acceptable face covering when unable to maintain social distance from others or in accordance with any stricter policy implemented by the school.
    3. Properly store and, when necessary, discard PPE.
    4. Adhere to social distancing instructions.
    5. Report symptoms of, or exposure to, COVID-19.
    6. Follow hand hygiene, and cleaning and disinfection guidelines.
    7. Follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette.


    Hand Hygiene 

    Students and staff must carry out the following hand hygiene practices.  

    • Wash hands routinely with soap (any kind) and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Dry hands completely after washing. Use paper towels to dry hands if available instead of a hand dryer.
    • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. Hand sanitizer should be rubbed on the hands until it is completely absorbed. DO NOT dry hands if sanitizer is used.

    Hand washing should occur:

    • Before and after eating (e.g. snacks and lunch)
    • After going to the restroom or after assisting a student with toileting
    • After using a tissue
    • Before and after using shared materials
    • Before and after putting on or taking off face masks
    • After coming in from the outdoors
    • Anytime hands are visibly soiled


    Respiratory Hygiene

    The COVID-19 virus spreads from person to person in droplets produced by coughs and sneezes. Therefore, the district will emphasize the importance of respiratory hygiene. 

    Students and staff must carry out the following respiratory hygiene practices.

    • Cover a cough or sneeze using a tissue. If a tissue is used, it should be thrown away immediately.  
    • If you don’t have a tissue when sneezing or coughing, sneeze into your elbow.
    • Wash your hands after sneezing or coughing.
    • Face coverings are protective. Wearing a face covering will keep the respiratory droplets and aerosols from being widely dispersed into the air.

    For more information about how hygiene information will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the (we are in the process of developing website links and training videos).

    Cleaning and disinfecting

    The district will ensure adherence to hygiene and cleaning and disinfection requirements as advised by the CDC and DOH, including “Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public and Private Facilities for COVID-19,” and the “STOP THE SPREAD” poster, as applicable. Cleaning and disinfection logs will be maintained and include the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection. 

    A list of what is sanitized nightly will be given to staff.  Items possibly touched during the day that are not on the list should be wiped down by staff or noted to custodial staff.

    Examples of facility types where cleaning and disinfection frequency will be distinguished include

    • Bathrooms
    • Athletic training rooms, locker rooms
    • Health offices, isolation rooms
    • Administrative offices (main office, reception area)
    • Frequently touched surfaces in common areas (door handles, elevator buttons, copy machine keypads, etc.)
    • Breakrooms
    • Cafeterias/Kitchens
    • Computer labs
    • Science labs
    • Classrooms
    • Maintenance offices and work areas
    • Bus Garage
    • Buses, school vehicles
    • Libraries
    • Large meeting areas (auditoriums, gymnasiums, music rooms)
    • Playgrounds (cleaning only)
    • Outdoor seating areas (plastic or metal)

    Students, faculty, and staff will be trained on proper hand and respiratory hygiene, and such information will be provided to parents and/or legal guardians on ways to reinforce this at home. 

    The district will provide and maintain hand hygiene stations around the school, as follows:

    • For handwashing: soap, running warm water, and disposable paper towels.
    • For hand sanitizing: an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol for areas where handwashing facilities may not be available or practical.
    • Accommodations for students who cannot use hand sanitizer will be made.

    Regular cleaning and disinfection of the facilities will occur, including more frequent cleaning and disinfection for high-risk and frequently touched surfaces. This will include desks and cafeteria tables, which are to be cleaned and disinfected between each individual’s use. Cleaning and disinfection will be rigorous and ongoing and will occur at least daily, or more frequently as needed.  

    The district will ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of restrooms. Restrooms are to be cleaned and disinfected continually throughout the day, depending on frequency of use.   

    Cleaning and disinfecting will differ depending on whether the surface is frequently touched during daily use and depending on whether the surface is (hard or soft). Below are some of the areas that will need to be focused on in-depth during the cleaning and disinfecting of buildings. Each school day, sporting event or after school event has unique needs that will require different cleaning solutions.

    Frequently touched surfaces:

    1. Desks
    2. Chairs
    3. Door Handles
    4. Countertops
    5. Copy Machines
    6. Computers
    7. Telephones
    8. Light Switches
    9. Handrails
    10. Elevator Buttons
    11. Restroom Fixtures
    12. Water Fountains
    13. Sinks and Fountains in classrooms
    14. Lockers and Cubbies
    15. Teachers Stations
    16. Microwaves
    17. Coffee Pots
    18. TV’S/ Remotes

    The district is exploring the efficacy of new products to help increase sanitization efforts and maximize resources including, backpack disinfectant sprayers, handheld sprayers and UV lighting.

    For more information about how cleaning and disinfection information will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.

    Vulnerable populations/accommodations 

    We recognize that some students and staff members are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness, live with a person who is at an increased risk, or simply do not feel comfortable returning to an in-person educational environment. It is our goal that these individuals are able to safely participate in educational activities. Accommodation will be made where possible. The district will provide remote learning options when applicable. 

    Visitors on campus

    No outside visitors or volunteers will be allowed on school campuses unless necessary for the safety and well-being of students. Parents/guardians will report to the front office and are not allowed in other areas unless it is for the safety or well-being of their child.  Both the elementary and secondary campuses will develop protocols for visitors.  The elementary school is in the process of creating a notification system for families to reduce traveling distance from the entrance to the main office. Essential visitors to facilities will be required to wear face coverings and will be restricted in their access to our school buildings. Building entrances and main offices will have computer stations available to conduct online screenings for visitors.

    Visitors must follow all safety protocols as listed above.

    School safety drills

    The district will conduct fire (evacuation) drills and lockdown drills as required by education law and regulation and the fire code without exceptions. Schools must continue to conduct mandatory fire and lockdown drills according to the existing statutory schedule. Drills will be conducted in a manner that maintains social distancing at exits and gathering points outside the building, while still preparing students to respond in emergencies. 

    • Fire Code Section 404 requires that schools maintain Fire Safety, Evacuation, and Lockdown Plans and these plans include how lockdown and evacuation drills are conducted. Methods to promote and provide for social distancing during the evacuation drills are ultimately the district’s or other applicable school’s decision and responsibility. Those changes must be included in the Fire Safety plans.
    • Education Law § 807 requires that schools conduct eight (8) evacuation and four (4) lockdown drills each school year. When planning drills, consideration should be given to how a school may modify their drill procedures to minimize risk of spreading infection. Conducting drills is an important part of keeping students and staff safe in an emergency; however, steps should be taken to minimize the risk of spreading infection while conducting drills. As such, it may be necessary for schools to conduct drills in the school year using protocols that are different than they are used to.
    • Regardless of the modification used when conducting a drill, students should be instructed that if it was an actual emergency that required evacuation or lockdown, the most imminent concern is to get to safety; maintaining social distancing in an actual emergency that requires evacuation or lockdown may not be possible and should not be the first priority.

    The school district modifications to evacuation drill protocols may include, but are not limited to:

    • Conducting drills on a “staggered” schedule, where classrooms evacuate separately rather than all at once, and appropriate distance is kept between students to the evacuation site. Staggering by the classroom minimizes contact of students in hallways, stairwells, and at the evacuation site. If conducting drills using a modified procedure, it is required that the drill be conducted with all students in the school building on that school day, it may be necessary to do so during a class period that is extended for this purpose. (Evacuation drills at VES may need to be conducted by grade level or classrooms during an extended period of time to allow for appropriate social distancing)
    • If schools reopen with a “hybrid” in-person model, as scheduled for grades 7-12, VCSD will be certain that all students are receiving instruction in emergency procedures, and participating in drills while they are in attendance in-person.

    Modifications to Lockdown Drills may include, but are not limited to: 

    • Conduct lockdown drills in classroom settings while maintaining social distancing/using masks.
    • Conducting lockdown drills on a “staggered” schedule with smaller numbers of students present to maintain social distancing, however, schools must be certain that all students are receiving instruction in emergency procedures and participating in drills while they are in attendance in-person.
    • Conduct lockdown drills in the classroom without “hiding” “sheltering” but provide students with an overview of how to shelter or hide in the classroom.

    Understaffing

    School workers (teachers and faculty) who must gain entry to a school building for the purposes of providing remote instruction, preparing meals, and facilitating the effective operation of the school during remote instruction, are not required to receive a COVID test result prior to gaining entry to the building. While that is the best practice, it is not a requirement. Such workers are allowed to continue their activities in red, orange, and yellow zones while student instruction remains remote.