District administrators are working against the clock to create Goshen’s Reopening Plan that must be submitted to the State Education Department by the end of the month.
At this time, approximately 70 volunteers of students, alumni, parents, teachers, staff members, board members and administrators have met to share ideas about the reopening of schools in the fall. These volunteers make up the membership of the District Reopening Committee’s six sub committees, chaired by a district faculty member or administrator, to discuss every aspect of the school reopening process in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the sub committees
During sub committee meetings, district officials shared the guidelines that districts must adhere to in order to open schools, set forth by the NYS Department of Health (DOH), and outlined potential reopening considerations (in-person instruction, remote instruction, or a combination/hybrid model) for the fall. The Reopening Committee also considered feedback and data gathered from recent online surveys for parents, students and employees.
“There is still much consideration and planning that must be done before a finalized reopening plan can be submitted to the State,” said Interim Superintendent Daniel Connor. “However, I want the school community to know that we are hard at work creating a plan that provides a high-quality education, promotes the social-emotional and physical well-being of all of our students and staff, and remains consistent with the guidelines provided to us by health and government officials.”
“We understand that many families have strong feelings about the reopening of school, and are trying to develop a plan that is responsive to each family’s unique needs and circumstances,” Connor said.
NYS Department of Health Guidance Required for Schools to Reopen
The Department of Health released a lengthy document outlining steps schools must implement in order to reopen in the fall. [View the NYSDOH Guidance Document] Some main guidelines include:
- To be worn at all times by all individuals when six feet of social distancing can’t be maintained (except when eating/drinking, during instruction with social distancing, and during short breaks), and must be worn on the bus.
- Face coverings will be provided to students and staff, but individuals may wear their own as long as the masks cover both the nose & mouth.
- Extra face coverings will be available in each building.
Appropriate Social Distancing
- Six-feet of space between individuals is needed in classrooms (12-13 students)
- Looking into adding physical barriers in classrooms where needed to provide for 12-13 seats
- Space out seating in cafeteria, place tables/seating outside
- PE classes outside
- Investigate outdoor tents for extra space
Hygiene, Cleaning & Disinfecting Practices
- Follow DOH hygiene/cleaning practices; Rigorous and ongoing cleaning and disinfecting
- Display CDC-provided signage; teach proper hand washing & appropriate face covering placement (nose & mouth)
- Soap, paper towels & hand sanitizer readily available
- Daily disinfecting using both DOH-approved cleaners & misting equipment & solutions
- Daily cleaning of restrooms & fixtures
- Regular cleaning/disinfecting of frequently touched areas (i.e., desks, cafeteria tables, main office counters, door handles, etc.)
- Consider closing drinking fountains
Daily Health Screenings
- Temperature reading of each individual prior to entering building; 100 degrees or greater go to nurse/designated area; staff to return home
- Remote/electronic screening questionnaire for staff, daily
- Rely on at-home checks, too. If a child has a fever, please do not send him/her to school. We will communicate this regularly.
- The district must notify the state and local health departments when they’ve been informed of any staff member or student who tests positive for COVID-19.
- Must adhere to the NYS Contact Tracing Program protocols & health department isolation/quarantine efforts.
- Confidentiality to be maintained, per federal and state regulations
Increase ventilation as much as possible
- Open windows & doors (without compromising safety) to increase airflow in buildings and rooms.
- Guidance has not been received that the district needs to change its current ventilation system.
- Face coverings MUST be worn on the bus at all times by all individuals.
- Household members share the same seat on the bus.
- Social distance as much as possible; use every other seat but contingent upon bus population density.
- Students must ride the same bus every day, and there will be limited options for drop off and pick up locations.
- Strongly encourage parents to provide their own transportation to and from school if possible.
- Parent survey to include questions about who will rely on bus transportation next year.