St. Mary’s Institute Reopening Plan
LAST UPDATED: August 7 at 2:50 pm
The following template was created by the Capital Region BOCES Health-Safety-Risk and Communications Services and adapted by the Catholic School Office to assist schools in crafting their required school reopening plans following the COVID-19 closure. The outline fully incorporates the reopening guidance from the State Office of Religious and Independent Schools. To promote accessibility, reopening plans must be posted as HTML text directly onto a web page on the school’s public website and not as a PDF, Word document, Google Doc or other format. Include (on the web page) information about whom to contact if someone has difficulty accessing the plan.
Since the announcement to develop a reopening plan, the Pastor, administration, and a designated emergency response team have been working on formulating a plan based on guidelines from federal and state agencies, gathering stakeholder feedback, and adjusting the plan details accordingly. It is important to note that this plan can change as new guidance is released. It is also possible that there may be a need to alternate between in-person and remote learning throughout the year due to recommendations and guidance from our partnering agencies, and stay-at-home orders from the Governor.
The health and safety of our students, staff, and families are paramount to a successful learning environment. Please know that it is with hope and prayer that by careful planning and due diligence, students and employees will feel comfortable and safe returning to our school community.
On Monday, July 13, 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that school districts in New York can follow plans to reopen for in-person schooling in September if COVID-19 infection rates stay at 5% or lower in a given region.
Determinations will be made by regions about opening and closing schools as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. If a region is in Phase 4 and has a daily infection rate of 5% or lower over a 14-day average, schools in that region could hold in-person instruction. If daily infection rates exceed 9% over a seven-day average, however, schools in that region would not reopen. Similarly, should a region see such an average after reopening, schools in that region would also be directed to close.
While schools have been instructed to prioritize efforts to return all students to in-person instruction, the school is also planning for remote/distance learning, as well as a hybrid model that combines in-person instruction and remote learning. Parents will always have the choice to remain in the remote learning model. Parents who choose the remote learning model must know that the student will be held to the same grading practices as students who are attending in person. It is important to note that if you decide it fits your family's needs to participate in the remote learning model, you must commit to this option for the entire first marking period (10 weeks). If you choose to send your child back to school, the earliest they can attend in person will be the start of the second marking period. To utilize the remote learning model parents/guardians must submit a written request to the Principal by August 24th. Any additional required information will be provided after the initial request is put into writing.
The plan outlined here is for the reopening of St. Mary’s Institute for the 2020-21 school year, following the building closure related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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 the school campus. Our reopening plan incorporates recommendations and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), New York State Reopening Guidance for Religious and Independent Schools, the Religious Services Guidelines on the New York Forward websiteand the New York State Education Department (NYSED).
It is possible that we may need to alternate between in-person and remote learning throughout the year due to recommendations and guidance from our partnering agencies, and stay-at-home orders from the Governor. The level of infection, the spread of the virus and response to the disease in our community will be at the forefront of our decision making as we move to open our school.
Sherri Kruger will serve as the school’s COVID-19 Coordinator. Sherri Kruger, our school nurse, will work closely with our local health department and will be responsible for communicating with the administration and parents should there be a case of COVID-19 on the campus. She will serve as a central contact for stakeholders, families, staff and other school community members and will ensure the school is in compliance and following the best practices per state and federal guidelines. Her contact information via email is email@example.com. Her phone number is: 518-842-4100 ext. 16.
● Communication/Family and Community Engagement o School Closure
● Health and Safety
o Health Checks
o Health Hygiene Practices
o Social Distancing
o Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Face Coverings
o Management of Ill Persons, Contact Tracing and Monitoring
o Cleaning and Disinfecting
o School Safety Drills
o Vulnerable Populations/Accommodations
o Visitors on Campus
● Facilities Guidance
o Infection Control Strategies
o School Safety and Emergency Drills
o Meals Onsite
o Meals Offsite/Remote
o School Food Authorities (SFA)
o School Bus
o School Bus Staff
o Students on Transportation
● Religious and Independent School Schedules
o In-person Instruction
o Remote/Hybrid Instruction
o Technology and Connectivity
● Athletics and Schools Activities
o Faith Formation
o Interscholastic Athletics
● Bilingual Education and World Languages
Communication/Family and Community Engagement
To help inform our reopening plan, the school has sought feedback and input from stakeholders, including administrators, faculty, staff, students, parents/guardians of students, local health department officials and health care providers, employee unions and community groups. Engagement efforts included online surveys, virtual forums/meetings and one-on-one conversations with teachers and parents.
The school remains committed to communicating all elements of this reopening plan to students, parents and guardians, staff and visitors. The plan is available to all stakeholders via the school website at https://www.saintmarysinstitute.com/, and will be updated throughout the school year, as necessary, to respond to local circumstances. The link to the plan appears on the website homepage under the section titled “Reopening Plan”.
As part of its planning for the reopening of school and the new academic year, the school has developed a plan for communicating all necessary information to school staff, students, parents/guardians, visitors and education partners and vendors. The school will use its existing communication channels – including Swiftreach and Mailchimp – as well as appropriate signage and training opportunities to support the dissemination of consistent messaging regarding new protocols and procedures, expectations, requirements and options related to school operations throughout the pandemic.
The school is committed to establishing and maintaining regular channels of communication and has reviewed and determined which methods have proven to be the most effective in communications with our school community. The school will rely on Swiftreach and Mailchimp to communicate news, requirements and updates related to reopening and in-person instruction, including social distancing requirements, proper wearing of face coverings and proper hand and respiratory hygiene. The information that we will share will be based on state guidance and input from the Emergency Response Team, but not limited to various stakeholders, online surveys, virtual forums/meetings, and one-on-one conversations with teachers and parents.
In support of remote learning, the school will make computer devices available to students and teachers where appropriate on a needs basis based upon parent/guardian request. The school will provide students and their families with multiple ways to connect with teachers during remote learning, including providing set class schedules/times so that students can attend class(es) on a regular basis, utilizing the Zoom platform so that students can interact with both the teacher and his/her classmates, making the teacher available to reinforce instructional needs and/or provide enrichment opportunities. Students will be challenged to perform to the same standards as if they were attending school daily. Teachers will guarantee that students are exposed to a minimum requirement of 180 minutes per day of teacher - student interaction.
The school will use existing internal and external communications channels to notify staff, students and families/caregivers about in-person, remote and hybrid school schedules with as much advance notice as possible. Swiftreach will notify parents through text, email and/or a phone call recording. We will also utilize Mailchimp to send out email notifications. The school website will also serve as a platform for communication.
The school is committed to ensuring that all of its students and their families are taught and re-taught new expectations related to all public health policies and protocols. As part of this continuous training, the school will assess the best approach to communicating the information for each students’ age group and will provide frequent opportunities for students to review these policies and protocols. This targeted education will help ensure that all students and their families know what is expected of them as they successfully return to the school setting. These trainings will cover:
● Hand hygiene - School nurse will provide direct instruction to each classroom on procedures to appropriately hand wash. Teachers will monitor and reinforce proper hand washing techniques. Teachers will ensure students wash their hands before and after consuming food as well as after using the restroom. There will be signage posted throughout the building to serve as reminders. The school is committed to following the CDC guidance:
● Proper face covering procedures (how to wear and remove) - The school nurse will provide instruction to each classroom teacher and student. Teachers will be expected to reinforce proper mask wearing techniques. Signage will also be posted around the school building. Additional masks will be available in the event that a student forgets and/or misplaces their mask. The school is committed to following the guidance contained on the following CDC sites:
● Social distancing - The classrooms will be set up for 6 ft of personal space for each student. Masks will be worn throughout the school day, with breaks built in for students to remove their mask. Hallways will be marked for one way traffic. The school is committed to following the CDC guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/social-distancing.html
● Respiratory hygiene -The school nurse will provide instruction to each classroom teacher and student. Teachers will be expected to reinforce proper hygiene practices. The school is committed to following the CDC guidance:
● Identifying symptoms - Parents will be provided an online self-attestation form to be completed daily prior to entry into a school setting, including a school bus. If a student is unable to attend due to demonstrated symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough, headache, sore throat, gastrointestinal tract symptoms, parents/guardians must call the school nurse at the contact numbers outlined above. St. Mary’s Institute will assume responsibility to check the temperatures of each student on a daily basis. The school is committed to following the CDC guidance to inform about COVID - 19 symptoms:
The school will create and deploy signage throughout the school building (as stated referenced above) to address public health protections surrounding COVID-19. Signage will address protocols and recommendations in the following areas:
● Proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
● Acceptable face coverings and requirements related to their wear
● Hand washing
● Adherence to social distancing instructions
● Symptoms/prevention of COVID-19
In addition to signage, the school will encourage all students, faculty, staff and visitors through verbal and written communication to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DOH guidance regarding the use of PPE through additional means such as Swiftreach to notify parent/guardians (through text, email and/or a phone call recording) about the CDC guidance. Daily announcements, emails and one-on-one conversations will also serve to communicate information. Additionally, the school website will also serve as a platform for accessing links the the CDC website (such as those referenced above)
The school is committed to creating a learning environment that protects student and staff health, safety and privacy. Our school will operate under a standard procedure for addressing situations in which an individual has tested positive for COVID-19 or appears symptomatic. These procedures are outlined in the Health & Safety section of our reopening plan https://www.saintmarysinstitute.com/healthsafety.
The school will share with all stakeholders its protocols and safety measures regarding containment through the school handbooks, Swiftreach, and the school website. In the event that a student or staff member is sick or symptomatic, notification to exposed individuals will occur pursuant to the state’s contact tracing protocols as implemented by the local health department. The school will not notify the wider community unless specifically directed to do so by local health officials.
The school is preparing for situations in which the school building needs to close due to a significant number of students or staff testing positive for COVID-19 or a considerable regional increase in COVID-19 cases.
The Montgomery County Department of Health will continue to provide weekly updates to the district on COVID-19 infection rates and precautionary measures.
The school may choose to modify operations prior to closing to help mitigate a rise in cases. The school will consult the school nurse, administration and the Montgomery County Health Department when making such decisions.
School building administrator will communicate with the superintendent or his designee regularly and, if needed, will consider closing school if absentee rates impact the ability of the school to operate safely. The district will utilize existing early dismissal procedures if the move to virtual instruction is determined to happen during a school day. The safety of staff and students, along with the ability to communicate with families will weigh heavily into the decision to close during a school day. If the decision is made to close while students and staff are not present in the buildings (after school hours, weekend, holiday), the school will utilize the school messenger system to notify staff, students, and family of the move to virtual instruction.
Health and 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 the school campus. Our reopening plan incorporates recommendations and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), New York State Reopening Guidance for Religious and Independent Schools, the Religious Services Guidelines on the New York Forward website and the New York State Education Department (NYSED).
The following protocols and procedures will be in place for the 2020-21 school year should in-person schooling resume. Anyone with questions or concerns should contact our COVID-19 safety coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-842-4100 ext. 16.
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 https://www.saintmarysinstitute.com/communication of our reopening plan.
The school 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.
St. Mary’s Institute will implement the following practices to conduct mandated health screening.
Onsite health screenings will be conducted by the school nurse and support staff at a predetermined entry area(s). Parents/guardians will be instructed in health screening requirements by video/in person appointment prior to the start of the school year.
St. Mary’s Institute’s Health Check Procedures include the following:
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 upon arrival/at school.
Daily temperature check and completion of the screening questionnaire daily for students upon their arrival at school.
For anyone who cannot complete the questionnaire, a paper form will be utilized. No health check data will be stored.
Students will be supervised while waiting for in school temperature screening to ensure social distancing
All staff conducting training will be properly trained by the school nurse.
The process will be executed quickly and efficiently to ensure little/no class time is
missed. Staff will use PPE and/or barriers to conduct the screenings to the greatest
All hard copy screening tools will be shredded within 24 hours of review.
The isolation from others and immediate dismissal from school if an individual has a
temperature of 100°F or greater or has a positive response to a screening question.
Parents/guardians of students and staff notify the school nurse via telephone (at above
referenced number) or email when they develop symptoms or if their answers to the
questionnaire change during school hours.
Sue Megna will be in charge of reviewing the incoming reports of screening by staff and
parents/guardians and attesting that they are completed.
If outside of school hours parents/guardians and staff should notify Sue Megna
email@example.com who will communicate with the Principal.
Daily reminders will be sent through Swiftreach to staff and parents/guardians of the health
In-school temperature screening protocols, include:
● Staff supervision of students who are waiting their turn
● Student social distancing requirements
● The school nurse is responsible for training for staff members who perform temperature
● School nurse with guidance from administration will ensure that there are sufficient supplies for
● Utilization of PPE or barriers for staff members conducting the screening
Health Hygiene Practices
The school 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:
Stay home if they feel sick.
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.
Properly store and, when necessary, discard PPE.
Adhere to social distancing instructions.
Report symptoms of, or exposure to, COVID-19.
Follow hand hygiene, and cleaning and disinfection guidelines.
Follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette.
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 they are available.
● 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.
The COVID-19 virus spreads from person to person in droplets produced by coughs and sneezes. Therefore, the school 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 Communication/Family and Community Engagement section https://www.saintmarysinstitute.com/community of our reopening plan.
The school 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 school has measured and divided all hallways that support appropriate social distancing with two way movement. Arrows will be placed on the floor to direct staff, students, and visitors which way they should be moving through the buildings. Areas that do not support socially distanced two way movement will be designated with arrows and signage as one way. Bus pickup and student drop off/pick up will be spaced out across available entrances and exits to limit the number of individuals entering the building at each location. Signage is being placed throughout the school building to reinforce social distancing and room capacity. Classrooms have been measured and desks placed in a socially distanced manner.
Regardless of whether 6 feet of social distancing can be maintained, proper face coverings must be worn at all times in the classroom as well as in common areas such as hallways or school buses. There will be built in mask breaks, at the teachers discretion, for younger students (EC through Kindergarten.) Older students (grades 1-8) will have time built into the daily schedule, to allow their masks to be removed for a scheduled period of time. The frequency of these breaks will be variable based upon the student’s age. Regardless, emphasis is placed on maintaining cohorts that allow for social distancing for the majority of the school day. The school will follow all recent guidance from Montgomery County Department of Health, NYSED, NYS Department of Health and the CDC regarding proper procedure if and when a staff, student, or visitor presents documentation of a condition that requires a mask exemption from their primary care provider, however the requirement for a clear face shield will be made in these referenced cases. PPE will be provided, prior to entry into the building, for any student, staff or visitor who does not have an adequate face covering.
The availability of safe transportation and local hospital capacity in consultation with local department of health officials were considered in the development of this reopening plan.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Face Covering
Students, staff and visitors to our school will be expected to wear face coverings indoors and outside, including on the school bus, at all times, regardless if six-foot physical distancing is possible. Students will be allowed to remove face coverings during meals, instruction, and for short breaks (based on teacher discretion and age level) 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. However, students and adults with medical exemptions for face masks will be required to wear a clear face shield.
Because students and staff will need to be prepared to wear a face covering if another person unexpectedly cannot socially distance, they will be required to wear a face covering in all common areas (e.g., entrances and exits) and when traveling around the school.
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 for abbreviated periods of time to allow for breaks as referenced above.
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
● Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious
● Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without
The school 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
The school nurse will utilize videos as a training method for the proper way to wear and handle face coverings. The school will consider sending videos out to families and staff prior to the start of school to help them prepare for the changes occurring this year. All protocols will be reviewed on the first day of school in classrooms, then periodically as refresher. This method can be used for hand and respiratory hygiene, as well as social distancing.
Management of Ill persons, Contact Tracing and Monitoring
The school 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 school 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.
The school isolation area is the Alumni Office located off the main hallway. The room is equipped with proper ventilation, a bathroom and hand washing station/basin.
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 suspect 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 when: 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 school 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.
Return to School After Illness
The school 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:
Documentation from a health care provider following evaluation
Negative COVID-19 diagnostic test result
Symptom resolution, or if COVID-19 positive, release from isolation
The school 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 school requires that individuals who were exposed to the COVID-19 virus complete quarantine and have not developed 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.
Any individual who is symptomatic upon arrival will not be allowed to enter the building. They will be promptly sent home with instructions to contact their health care provider.
Students and faculty who become symptomatic during the school day will be isolated and escorted to the quarantine room (as referenced above).
Monitoring will take place, utilizing full PPE following the recommended CDC precautions until transportation arrives. Instructions to contact their health care provider will be given to parents/guardians, including the potential for a COVID-19 test. The DOH will be notified. School Nurse will assist with tracking/contact tracing as recommended including notification of parents/guardians as recommended by the DOH.
Students, faculty, staff will have to submit documentation from their health care provider that they can return to school per the DOH guidelines. If recommended, a person(s) needs to have a negative COVID-19.
If necessary, individuals will have the opportunity to learn or work remotely for the recommended DOH quarantine period. The physician and the local health dept. will make the determination that they can be discharged from quarantine and if the person(s) require further recommended testing.
When referring, sourcing, and/or administering testing, the school will work with the following providers:
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:
Montgomery County Department of Health (518-853-3531)
Public Health Director- Sara Boerenko, LCSW
The school 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.
To assist the local health department with tracing the transmission of COVID-19, the school 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.
The school may assist with contact tracing by:
Keeping accurate attendance records of students and staff members
Ensuring student schedules are up to date
Keeping a log of any visitor which includes date and time, and where in the school they visited
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 with the local health department, the school will do the following:
● Follow all County, State, and CDC guidance regarding the closing of classroom(s)
● Utilize maintenance staff and our Ryobi One Fogger machine to ensure impacted rooms are
● Follow all County, State, and CDC guidance regarding contact tracing, and impacted
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 based on 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 https://www.saintmarysinstitute.com/communityengagement.
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 school 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 minimum, the plan will incorporate the following:
● 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 LOCAL (insert county) health department.
● 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: Sara Boerenko from the Montgomery County DOH on the situation.
● School administrators should consider closing school if absentee rates impact the ability of the
school to operate safely.
● Schools may choose to modify operations prior to closing to help mitigate a rise in cases. If
infection rates are rising above 5%; consider modifying school operations for medically
vulnerable students and staff if they are participating in in-person activities.
● Schools should consult their school nurse and/or the local department of health when making
● School administration, in consultation with stakeholders from the Montgomery County
Department of Health will work to determine which operations will be decreased, or ceased, and which operations will be conducted remotely. In each case, the district will communicate through known and approved channels to conduct orderly closures which may include phasing, milestones, and involvement of key personnel.
For more information about how school closure information will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section https://www.saintmarysinstitute.com/communityengagement
Cleaning and Disinfecting
The school 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 that include the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection.
Examples of facility types where cleaning and disinfection frequency will be distinguished include:
● 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
● Computer labs
● Science labs
● Maintenance offices and work areas
● Bus Garage
● Buses, school vehicles
● 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 school 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 should 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 school will ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of restrooms. Restrooms should be cleaned and disinfected more often depending on frequency of use.
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 https://www.saintmarysinstitute.com/community of our reopening plan.
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 to provide reasonable accommodations that ensure these individuals are able to safely participate in educational activities. Families will be allowed to opt out of in-person instruction and choose a virtual model if they feel that their child is at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness (as referenced above). Faculty and staff members can request a meeting with administration (along with support of the Catholic School Office) to have a discussion regarding their individual situation.
Visitors on Campus
No outside visitors or volunteers will be allowed on the school campus, except for the safety and well-being of students. Parents/guardians will report to the front office and not go beyond unless it is for the safety or well-being of their child. Essential visitors to facilities will be required to wear face coverings and will be restricted in their access to our school building. To the extent possible, meetings will be conducted virtually either online or via telephone. If a meeting is unable to be held virtually, social distancing and PPE protocols will be followed by all participants.
Visitors must follow all safety protocols as listed above.
In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection in the school, facilities operations will be geared toward meeting social distancing requirements and cleaning frequently touched spaces regularly. In carrying out projects or tasks supporting infection control, requirements will be met for changes associated with building spaces. Plans for changes or additions to facilities will be submitted to comply with the requirements of the 2020 New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (BC) and the State Energy Conservation Code.
The function, position and operation of stairs and corridor doors, which have closers with automatic hold opens (and are automatically released by the fire alarm system), will remain unchanged.
The school plans to meet the deadline for submission of Building Condition Survey or Occupational Safety Inspections on time.
Upon reopening, the school plans to increase ventilation, to the greatest extent possible.
The school will revisit Emergency Response Plans, protocols, and procedures and make modifications in light of COVID-19.
Facilities reopening plan and activities, which will occur including:
● Fire Code Compliance: The construction, alteration, relocation, enlargement, replacement, repair, equipment, use and occupancy, location, maintenance, removal, and demolition of every building or structure, and every appurtenance connected or attached to any building or structure, must comply with the requirements of the 2020 New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (BC), except as specified in 19 NYCRR 1221.2(d). Such activity may require building permits and review by local municipalities and/or code enforcement officials to ensure such compliance. Schools should consult their local authority that has jurisdiction for code enforcement. Changes or additions to facilities may require review by local municipalities and/or code enforcement officials to ensure such compliance.
● Doorways: stair and corridor doors have closers with automatic hold opens. These doors are normally held in the open position and are automatically released by the fire alarm system. The function, position, and operation of those doors must remain unchanged. Fortunately, they need not be touched during normal use.
● Time Management: Student schedules will be managed so that time and schedules reduce student use of the corridors. Students will remain in classrooms/cohorts with teachers interchanging throughout the school day.
● Leave Doors Open: To reduce the spread of the virus from touching door levers and knobs, doors may be fixed in the open position. This is only permitted at doors without door closers and doors which are not fire rated.
● Plastic Separators: The use of light-transmitting plastics will be utilized in locations where social distance or mask requirements cannot be complied with or easily regulated (e.g., to separate individual lavatory sinks from each other). Light-transmitting plastics must comply with Building Code Section 2606.
● Alcohol-Based Hand Rub Dispensers: Religious and independent schools should assess each building’s capacity to provide adequate hand washing facilities and determine if the use of alcohol-based hand rub dispensers is required. Alcohol-based Hand-Rub Dispensers are permitted to be installed in rooms and corridors in limited quantities in accordance with the 2020 Fire Code of New York State (FCNYS) Section 5705.5.
● Work with engineers to establish proper filtration requirements (e.g., filters that your HVAC
system can handle).
● If making alterations to the configuration of existing classrooms or spaces or the introduction of
temporary and/or movable partitions, the change(s) will be submitted to the local municipality
and/or code enforcement officials for review.
● Minimum number of toilet fixtures are available for use in a building is established in the
● The school will reduce the number of drinking fountains available, in order to facilitate frequent
cleaning. The school will make more touchless water bottle filling stations and/or water coolers available. However, drinking fountains are a code required plumbing fixture. One fountain will be available for each one hundred occupants.
● Maintain adequate, code required ventilation (natural or mechanical) as designed.
Infection Control Strategies
Hallways are either divided (if they accommodate social distancing) or one way throughout the building. Students’ movement through the hallways and common areas will be staggered to accommodate social distancing to the greatest extent possible. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is available throughout the building and in each classroom. Students will be asked to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer throughout the day as movement or situations change.
All instructional spaces within the school building have been measured and adjusted for social distancing in accordance with county, state, and CDC guidance. Some classrooms have been relocated to another area in the building to accommodate this change.
All spaces to be occupied by school students and staff will be designed to meet the requirements of the 2020 New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code and the State Energy Conservation Code.
Facility Alterations and Acquisition
The infection control strategies, which include changes to space utilization and/or alterations. Plan elements must include:
● Alterations to the configuration of existing classrooms or spaces will be utilized to accommodate for 50% capacity. No temporary and/or movable partitions, will be utilized in newly created spaces.
● No means of egress, fire alarm system, ventilation, and lighting will be affected.
● The school will utilize available space in the cafeteria, gymnasium and libraries (or sections
thereof), as classroom space. Minor alterations and the use of space dividers may be utilized in existing classrooms. The need for social distancing may be enhanced by alterations to the interior spaces/rooms.
Due to the size of the building, we are able to utilize the existing square footage in order to provide social distancing. There will be no expansion to our space at this time.
Tents for Additional Space
The school will not be utilizing tents for additional space under this plan.
Plumbing Facilities and Fixtures
● The school exceeds the minimum number of toilet fixtures that must be available for use in a building, as established in the building code. Barriers will be placed in between urinals to allow for adequate social distancing.
● The school will reduce the number of drinking fountains available, in order to facilitate frequent cleaning. The school will make more touchless water bottle filling stations and/or water coolers available. However, drinking fountains are a code required plumbing fixture. One fountain will be available for each one hundred occupants.
● The building has not been unoccupied, therefore the water system does not need to be flushed, all taps will be run prior to student entry.
● Best practices to implement in residential, shared (i.e., communal) bathrooms include, but are not limited to:
o Installation of physical barriers between toilets and sinks if six feet of separation is not feasible
o Use of touch-free paper towel dispensers in lieu of air dryers.
● Responsible Parties will ensure distancing rules are adhered to by using signage, occupied
markers, or other methods to reduce restroom occupancy at any given time, where feasible.
The school will maintain ventilation in the following ways:
● Maintain adequate, code required ventilation (natural or mechanical) as designed.
● Responsible Parties (e.g., Teachers, Paraprofessionals, Maintenance, and Custodial staff) should
increase ventilation with outdoor air to the greatest extent possible (e.g., opening windows and
doors) while maintaining health and safety protocols, particularly for younger students.
● The school will work with Engineers to establish proper filtration requirements that are meant
for proper air filtration.
School Safety and Emergency Drills
The school will conduct fire (evacuation) drills and lockdown drills as required by education law and regulation and the fire code without exceptions. The school 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.
Considerations for plans include:
● 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 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 each 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 will be conducted in a manner that may require full evacuation of our students in the youngest grade levels in order to instruct them appropriately.
● If school reopens with a “hybrid” in-person model, such as one where students attend school alternate school weeks to reduce the occupancy of the school building, the school must 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 setting while maintaining social distancing/using masks.
● Conducting lockdown drills on a “staggered” schedule with smaller numbers of students present
to maintain social distancing, however the school 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 an overview of how to shelter or hide in the classroom.
School meals will continue to be available to all students, including those attending school in-person and those learning remotely.
For information about how meal information will be communicated, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section https://www.saintmarysinstitute.com/community of our reopening plan.
For students onsite, meals will be provided while maintaining appropriate social distancing between students while also considering increasing access points for providing meal service. Students do not need to wear face coverings when seated and eating so long as they are appropriately socially distanced.
The school will assess where meals will be served (classroom, cafeteria, other). The school will ensure social distancing between individuals while eating in the school cafeteria. If not feasible, meals may be served in alternate areas (e.g., classrooms) or in staggered meal periods to ensure social distancing. If meals will be eaten in the classroom, classes will go through the cafeteria line one at a time and return to the classroom.
When students eat in classrooms all non-food service staff will be trained on any meal service-related activities they will be responsible for. Teachers will be trained on recognizing food allergies, including symptoms of allergic reactions to food.
Students must be 6 feet apart or be separated by a barrier while consuming meals. The school will provide physical distancing guides in food service areas such as tape on floors, signage, increase table spacing, remove tables, mark tables as closed, or provide a physical barrier between tables to ensure students are 6 feet apart when consuming meals.
Proper cleaning and disinfection of tables, chairs, and other frequently touched hard surfaces will take place in between groups of students. Cashiers and servers will place meals on a counter or tray line for quick pick up and place pre-portioned condiments on each tray.
The use of share tables and other self-service refrigerators and buffets for food and condiments is prohibited.
The sharing of food and beverages (e.g., buffet style meals, snacks) is prohibited. Adequate space will be reserved for students, faculty, and staff to observe social distancing while eating meals.
The school will coordinate school personnel in order to meet the feeding safety needs of students with disabilities.
Throughout the school, student desks will be cleaned and sanitized while students are not in the room, upon their return they will wash hands at the sink in the bathroom and eat in a socially distant manner. Students will again wash hands after eating. Supervising staff will instruct in hand hygiene, following the CDC recommended guidelines, along with posted signage. Meals will be ordered in advance and delivered to classrooms. Sharing of food and beverages will not be allowed. Students with food allergies will be provided a space within the room to eat, or, if the allergy is airborne/severe enough, be provided an alternate, supervised location to eat it.
The school does not provide meals during times of remote learning, the meal coordination is provided by the Greater Amsterdam School District (GASD) for those students receiving free lunches.
School Food Authorities (SFA)
The school will ensure all students enrolled in SFA have access to school meals each day on-site and remotely through coordination with the Greater Amsterdam School District (GASD).
All food service plans for the school will continue to be in compliance with current Child Nutrition Program requirements.
The school will conduct transportation activities that are consistent with state-issued public transit guidance and NYSED School Reopening guidelines. Students and school staff must wear acceptable face coverings on school buses (e.g., entering, exiting, and seated) and maintain appropriate social distancing at all times. All students who receive transportation from the public school district are encouraged to adhere to CDC and NYSDOH.
Students who are able will be required to wear masks and social distance on the bus; however, students whose physical or mental health would be impaired are not required to wear a face covering but must be appropriately socially distanced. Members of the same household may be seated within 6 feet of each other. Parents and legal guardians are encouraged to drop off or walk students to school to reduce density on buses.
All buses that are used every day by the school and contract carriers will be cleaned/ disinfected once a day. High contact spots will be wiped down after the morning (AM) and afternoon (PM) 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 drivers, monitors and attendants must not carry personal bottles of hand sanitizer with them on school buses.
Wheelchair school buses will configure wheelchair placement to ensure social distancing of 6 feet.
Whether school is in session remotely or otherwise, pupil transportation will be provided to nonpublic, parochial, private, charter schools or students whose Individualized Education Plans have placed them out of the district whose schools are meeting in in-person sessions.
All students are entitled to transportation by the public school district to the extent required by law. Transportation departments do not have the ability or the right to deny transportation for children who are in foster care, homeless or attend private or charter schools. Parents who may have missed the due date to request out of district transportation due to a reasonable excuse may file a 310 appeal with the Commissioner of Education.
School Bus Staff
School bus drivers, monitors, attendants and mechanics are required to perform a self-health assessment for symptoms of COVID-19 before arriving at work. If personnel are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, they will notify their employer as per the reporting policies and seek medical attention.
School bus drivers, monitors, attendants and mechanics must wear a face covering along with an optional face shield.
Transportation staff (drivers, monitors, attendants, mechanics and cleaners) will be trained and provided periodic refreshers on the proper use of personal protective equipment and the signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
Transportation departments/carriers will need to provide Personal Protective Equipment 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.
Please refer to individual school district plans on transportation safety guidelines and requirements.
Students on Transportation
The school will follow these protocols for how students will disembark from transportation vehicles:
● When students embark and disembark the bus, they should follow social distancing protocols. This will increase the time required to load and unload buses at schools in the morning and afternoon.
● The school should reconfigure the loading and unloading locations for students who are transported by bus, car or are pedestrians.
● Since hand sanitizer is not permitted on school buses, schools will have a policy to dispense hand sanitizer when students enter the building or classroom.
For more information about training protocol for students and staff and how transportation information will be communicated, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section https://www.saintmarysinstitute.com/community of our reopening plan.
Social Emotional Well-Being
We recognize that the social emotional well-being of our students and staff during these challenging times is critically important. The school has made available resources and referrals to address mental health, behavioral, and emotional needs of students, faculty, and staff when school reopens for in-person instructions. The school has done this by:
The school conducted a survey with a question related to social emotional well being of the students. Prior to school beginning, the school will send a notice out through all major communication channels requesting parents to inform the school of any student who may be experiencing difficulty with transitioning back into the school setting, especially given the changes in the school environment. Teachers (along with guidance from Catapult Counseling services) will be available to support and will have established contact with these families prior to re-entry to assist with the transition. All staff will be made aware of how stress and other mental health concerns may manifest in children and adolescents, and a system will be in place to communicate with the mental health staff and families.
The school has established an advisory council that involves shared decision-making and is composed of families, students, members of the board of education, community-based service providers, teachers, certified school counselors, and other pupil personnel service providers. The advisory council will inform the comprehensive developmental school counseling program plan. This program plan has been reviewed and updated to meet current needs.
The school addresses professional development 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 support for developing coping and resilience skills for students, faculty, and staff. This is addressed by:
The school will utilize the following program for handling of Social Emotional Learning and ongoing professional development resources for the staff: Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) https://casel.org/resources-covid/. This will consist of:
● Weekly professional development webinars as well as archived presentations
● 5 minute chats
● Quick checklist
● Additional surveys (for students and families)
CASEL Roadmap for resources: https://casel.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/SEL-ROADMAP.pdf
Catapult Learning will continue to provide support to our schools in the coming school year. They provide many resources on SEL and also Racism on their webpage: https://catapultlearning.com/diocese-of-albany/
Religious and Independent School Schedules
To maximize in-person instruction, schools should consider measures that can be implemented to decrease density and congregation in school facilities and on school grounds, when possible, such as:
● Finding alternative spaces in the community to allow for more in-person instruction.
● Maintaining administrative staff to assist in an increased remote workforce (e.g.,daily
procedures, lunch orders, etc) to accommodate social distancing guidelines, thereby reducing
the amount of paper/in person transactions taking place.
● Staggering schedules to reduce congestion in hallways, walkways, and buildings during
departure time from school.
● Shifting design of class schedules to accommodate social distancing guidelines, including cohorts
(e.g., alternative classroom schedules that allow Art, Music, Technology and Physical Education teachers to push into the class as opposed to moving the class around the building).
● For information about how school schedule information will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section https://www.saintmarysinstitute.com/ of our reopening plan.
Teachers will take attendance every day when in-person instruction occurs. If the school is required to move to fully virtual instruction, teachers will be required to take attendance every period, every day. This data will be recorded in Powerschool, the Diocesan wide Student Information System (SIS).
Teaching and Learning
NOTE: Much of the content in the Teaching and Learning section of this outline is from the Capital Region BOCES regional K-12 guidance created by the Assistant Superintendents for Instruction work group; it will need to be edited as needed and may not be applicable.
The school calendar typically includes one or more staff-only days before students arrive at school. Acknowledging the challenges that our teachers and staff have faced this spring delivering remote instruction under stressful circumstances, the school will focus these in-service days on providing support to staff in the areas of social-emotional health and technology integration.
These days will also be utilized for student orientation. This time will allow small groups of students to meet with their new teacher and begin to establish the relationship necessary for a successful school year.
As we enter the new school year, teachers will be encouraged to spend time building relationships, supporting students with the transition back to school, and teaching social distancing etiquette at developmentally appropriate levels.
The school has developed a continuity of learning plan for the 2020-2021 school year for in-person, remote, and hybrid models of instruction that is outlined in greater detail in the paragraphs that follow. To assist in the ease of transition necessary, the school will continue to utilize formats that the students are familiar working with. All relevant professional development required to guide the teachers in facilitating programming will be conducted during assigned calendar days prior to school reopening.
When a remote or hybrid learning model is necessary, certain groups of students will be prioritized for in-person learning to the greatest extent possible. This includes, but is not limited to, special education students, students who did not engage in remote learning during the spring of 2020, and students with technology or connectivity needs.
Assessing student learning gaps or areas of need will be critical. Formative assessment before a unit of instruction to assess student understanding of pre-requisite skills will be common practice.
Acknowledging that the typical content in a given grade level or course may need to be adjusted, content will be prioritized to ensure that students receive instruction for the prioritized learning standards, key understandings, and skills necessary for students’ success in future study.
Grading practices will follow a standards-based framework designed to provide direct feedback regarding students’ mastery of course content.
All students will attend in person instruction. Early Childhood through grade 8 will be attending every school day. Families who wish to have their students attend school remotely must notify the School, via the Principal, if they intend to engage fully in virtual learning by August 24, 2020. Any changes with regard to virtual instruction, or in-person instruction, may only be made at the end of each marking period to ensure continuity of instruction, with the exception of a period of medically recommended tutoring. It is important to note that the school plan can be superseded by the Montgomery County Department of Health or New York State Guidance to move to a virtual model based on the current pandemic.
If students and their families/caregiver need to contact the school and teachers with questions about their instruction and/or technology they should refer to the school website https://www.saintmarysinstitute.com/faculty under the section faculty/staff to obtain contact information for the member of the faculty/staff to handle a specific need.
Upon reopening, the number of students in each of our classrooms will be reduced to adhere to CDC guidance regarding proper social distancing. Class size will reflect the need to ensure that students’ desks/seats are positioned no less than six feet apart.
Accommodating a six-foot radius around students will necessitate the identification of additional rooms and common-area spaces that can be converted into elementary classrooms.
Current staffing levels may be insufficient to accommodate the expanded number of classrooms needed to ensure social distancing. The school is working with instructional staff to maximize live and in-person instruction while maintaining social distancing. Other technology (SmartBoards, document cameras, 1:1 Chromebooks, shared Chromebooks and/or laptops, web cameras, and Zoom conferences) will be utilized to ensure students are able to participate in either in-person or live-streamed instruction to the maximum extent possible each day. When in-person or live-streamed instruction is not possible, students will be provided video and independent study options with appropriate supports.
All instruction will continue to be aligned to the New York State Learning Standards.
The school will minimize the movement of students. This potentially means having students eat lunch in their classroom instead of the cafeteria and eliminating assemblies, field trips and other large-group activities. Special-area subjects (e.g., art, music, physical education) may be pushed into the classroom. Whenever possible students will utilize outside space for physical education instruction. We will adhere to 12 feet between students when engaging in physical activity.
To the extent possible, students will remain in small cohorts if/when leaving the classroom, such as for recess or any necessary transition, so as to reduce their exposure to additional students.
For information on school schedules, visit the School Schedules section https://www.saintmarysinstitute.com/of our reopening plan.
Early Childhood through grade 8 model for in person instruction:
● Each class is functioning as a cohort. The classroom teacher will provide whole group instruction.
● Classroom teachers will provide direct instruction in the following content areas: ELA (90 minutes) and math (60 minutes).
● Additional staff will receive direction from the classroom teacher to supervise students’ use of online learning platforms the district already utilizes such as iReady, along with science and social studies instruction as provided by the teacher.
● Cohorts will receive PE weekly, either outside in low risk, socially distant sports or in their classroom with virtual instruction from the PE teacher (as weather permits).
● Cohorts will engage in social emotional learning activities weekly virtually following the CASEL model of instruction.
● Staff will transition from cohort-to-cohort. The students will remain in their assigned room.
If applicable, teachers who are working from home will have the ability to deliver instruction virtually and will be required to follow their schedule in a manner consistent with the current instructional delivery model being utilized in the school at that time provided the school has students who require virtual instruction.For information about how in-person instruction information will be communicated to students and families, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section https://www.saintmarysinstitute.com/of our reopening plan.
Given the possibility that communities may experience spikes in COVID-19 cases at any point during the school year, which may prompt short or long-term school closures, the school has developed a hybrid/blended learning model and schedule that can continue as is in a fully remote environment.
Instruction will not only focus on “core” subject areas to the exclusion of elective courses. Consideration has been given to prioritizing hands-on and lab-based activities while students are onsite in school buildings. All instruction will continue to be aligned to the New York State Learning Standards.
As noted previously, student schedules will remain the same whether instruction is in person or remote so that students do not encounter conflicts wherein synchronous lessons for different subjects are offered simultaneously.
Remote learning opportunities for students in grades 6 through 8 will include a greater emphasis on synchronous instruction, with teachers finding ways to provide live instruction and lessons to students. While recording of live lessons is still essential for students unable to attend at a scheduled time, teachers will ensure that their students are directly engaged with them and their class peers in experiential learning on a regular basis.
To ensure high-quality remote learning experiences, we will standardize the use of a single online learning platform (Google Classroom), to the extent possible, and develop a common, coordinated set of guidelines for teachers to follow when using the platform with students. For those students who are younger, a simpler, less complex learning platform (SeeSaw) will be utilized, still focusing on a coordinated set of guidelines for teachers to follow when engaging with students.
Grading practices will follow a standards-based framework designed to provide direct feedback regarding students’ mastery of course content.
For information on school schedules, visit the School Schedules section https://www.saintmarysinstitute.com/of our reopening plan.
● Students and teachers will follow the in-person learning schedule during remote/hybrid instruction using the previously mentioned learning platforms.
● Teachers will conduct virtual class meetings, utilize recorded video lessons, and engage in a blended model of learning in order to ensure high-quality instruction.
● In addition to the instruction aligned with state standards, teachers will hold routinely scheduled “office hours”, along with individual and small group conferences for remediation.
For information about how remote/hybrid instruction information will be communicated to students and families, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section https://www.saintmarysinstitute.com/ of our reopening plan.
Technology and Connectivity
All families and staff were provided with a survey in order to gauge the level of access to devices and high speed internet access in their places of residence. An additional survey to determine need will be conducted in the fall.
The school had the ability to address the majority of the needs and provide devices to students and teachers who did not have access during remote learning in the spring, and has additional resources should the need increase in the future.
The school’s instructional models attempt to maximize teacher-student interactions in a safe and socially distant manner. Should this model no longer be available, the district will transition to a virtual model and utilize the following platforms for instruction: Google Classroom (for grades 2 through 8) and SeeSaw (for grades EC through grade 1). If/When all efforts to provide technology to a household have been exhausted, students will be provided with delivery of instructional materials to their home, or the opportunity to pick it up.
Athletics and School Activities
School liturgy will be postponed for the startof the academic school year. The Pastor, Fr. Jeffrey L’Arche will collaborate with teachers and administration to develop a schedule to record the mass and stream it into the classrooms for students in order to support the mission and Catholic Identity of the school.
The school building does not host these faith formation activities. Therefore, this section does not need to be addressed in this plan.
Extracurricular activities will be suspended if the school is utilizing a fully virtual or hybrid model of instruction for the 2020-21 school year.
Any extracurricular activity/club that is in operation must adhere to the school’s mask policy and social distancing guidelines.
Interscholastic sports, including CYO, are not permitted at the time of publication of this guidance, and additional information on athletic activities is forthcoming.
Additional guidance on activities, third party/community access with regard to the use of school facilities will be communicated out to the community through email, social media, and Swiftreach if and when guidance from Montgomery County and/or NYS requires it.
There will be a before and after school program run by school employees this year.
The policy regarding these before and aftercare programs includes social distancing, PPE usage, cleaning and disinfection requirements, as well as risk of COVID-19 transmission. Protocols in how to maintain cohorts, if applicable, or group members of the same household will be considered.
Per the NYSDOH Guidance, interscholastic sports are not permitted at the time of publication of this guidance. Additional information is forthcoming.
The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYPSPHSAA) has established a COVID-19 Task Force composed of religious and independent school Athletic Directors and public school district administrators responsible for providing guidance to allow New York high school student-athletes to return to athletics as soon and as safely as possible.
The task force is reviewing State and local health guidelines, as well as NYSED guidance, regarding the 2020-2021 school year to determine, among other things, the extent to which changes may be needed for each interscholastic sports season.
The COVID-19 Task Force will continue to review all aspects of the fall 2020 season and the 2020-2021 school year related to the COVID-19 crisis, such as: practice requirement; fan attendance; resocialization efforts; protocol, procedures; transportation; etc. As more information becomes available it will be shared on the NYSPHSAA website.
Bilingual Education and World Languages
The procedures include the following:
● Any students who are supported through world languages and/or bilingual education will be following the plan for in-person, hybrid, and/or remote instruction as outlined in the school’s re-entry plan. Regardless of the model implemented, students’ plans will be followed with particular emphasis on any needed accommodations and modifications to ensure equity of access with regards to instruction, instructional modalities, and demonstration of learning.
● Required instructional units of study to all ELLs will be provided based on their most recently measured English language proficiency level (Greater Amsterdam School District conducts testing/support plans for ELL students) during in-person or hybrid instruction using services provided by the Greater Amsterdam School District and followed by St. Mary’s Institute teachers and support staff.
● In conjunction the school will utilize the resources available on the NYSED Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages to support developing plans for ELL students.
For information about regular communication and engagement with parents/guardians of English-language learners, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section https://www.saintmarysinstitute.com/ of our reopening plan.
● New York State Reopening Guidance for Religious and Independent Schools (July 27, 2020)
● Reopening Survey for Religious and Independent Schools (July 27, 2020)
● State Education Department Issues Guidance to Reopen New York State Schools (July 16,
● State Education Department Presents Framework of Guidance to Reopen New York State Schools (July 13, 2020)
● Interim Guidance for In-Person Instruction at Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, NYS Department of Health (July 13, 2020)
● Interim Guidance for Religious and Funeral Services and Operations of Faith-Based Institutions (June 26, 2020)
● Interim Guidance for Sports and Recreation During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (June 26, 2020)
● Interim Guidance for Food Services during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. (June 26, 2020)
● Interim Guidance for Office-Based Work during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. (June 26, 2020)
● Interim Guidance for Public Transportation Activities during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. (June 26, 2020)
● New York State Department of Health Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
● New York State Education Department Coronavirus (COVID-19)
● Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus (COVID-19)
● Occupational Safety and Health Administration COVID-19 Website
Once finalized, reopening plans must be posted on the school’s website. By August 7, 2020, schools will
need to complete a survey through the Portal, providing NYSED with:
● A link to the public website where each school plan has been publicly posted
● A set of mandatory assurances that the reopening plan includes all of the mandatory elements
outlined in the NYSED guidance
NOTE: Information submitted through the Portal will not include detailed narratives or descriptions of specific actions to be taken by a school as part of their reopening Plan; those details must be articulated in the materials that are publicly posted on the school website.
Also by July 31, 2020, schools must complete a short companion Department of Health survey that includes a link to the publicly posted plan on the district/school website.