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Valley Stream Central High School District Reopening Plan


 

Introduction

Committee Members

Health and Safety

Transportation

Facilities

Child Nutrition

Social Emotional Well-Being

Budget and Fiscal Matters

Technology and Connectivity

Teaching and Learning

Special Education

Bilingual Education and World Languages (ELL)

Staffing and Human Resources


 

Introduction

On Monday, July 13, 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 region 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 districts have been instructed to prioritize efforts to return all students to in-person instruction, the district is also planning for remote/distance learning as well as a for a hybrid model that combines in-person instruction and remote learning. Parents will always have the choice to remain in the remote learning model. Your Principal will be in touch with you regarding whether or not you desire to opt in/out of remote/in-person learning for your child.

The plan outlined here is for the reopening of schools in the Valley Stream Central High School District for the 2020-21 school year, following the building closure related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan includes procedures that will be followed in the following schools:

  • Central High School
  • Memorial Junior High School
  • North High School
  • South High School

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).

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 schools.

The Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction or his designee will serve as the district’s COVID-19 Coordinator and will work closely with our local health department. He will serve as a central contact for schools and stakeholders, families, staff and other school community members and will ensure the district is in compliance and following the best practices per state and federal guidelines.

On July 16, 2020, the New York State Department of Education released guidance to help schools and school districts plan to reopen, whether that occurs in person, remotely or in a combination of the two (hybrid model). The guidance encourages community involvement and allows for flexibility so that districts and schools can assess their unique situation and develop a plan that best meets the needs of their school community.

Over the past several weeks, various committees have been discussing reopening plans as they relate to:

  • Health and Safety
  • Transportation, Facilities and Child Nutrition
  • Social and Emotional Well-Being
  • Budget and Fiscal Matters
  • Technology and Connectivity
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Special Education
  • Bilingual Education and World Languages
  • Staffing and Human Resources

The information gathered during our community ThoughtExchange is being used to inform the work of our committees. Over a two-week period, 2,293 participants shared 3,045 thoughts which were rated 79,482 times in response to the question: What do we need to consider to make sure you feel safe and supported as we plan for an eventual return to the classroom? The information gathered from Exchange is being incorporated into our planning.

We anticipate submitting our Reopening Plan to the State Department of Education on July 31. The plan will be posted on our website and shared with the community. Governor Cuomo has announced that he will be deciding as to whether or not schools can re-open during the first week of August. As always, the health and safety of our students and staff remains our top priority. We look forward to seeing everyone in September, assuming we can have a safe return to our classrooms. Please note that this plan is subject to revision as additional information becomes available.

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Committee Members

The Valley Stream Central High School District would like to thank the following people who served on the Reopening Plan committees for their input, thoughtfulness and diligence in helping to plan for a safe, effective return to school.

Dr. Bill Heidenreich, Superintendent of Schools

Mr. Christian Bowen, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction

Dr. Wayne Loper, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations

Mr. Clifford Odell, Assistant Superintendent for Personnel and Administration

Dr. William Bushman, District Director of Special Education

Dr. Jennifer DiMaio, District Director of Instructional Services

Dr. Adam Erdos, District Director of Fine and Performing Arts

Mr. Jim Nothel, Director of Facilities

Mr. Scott Stueber, District Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics

Ms. Kelly Whitney-Rivera, District Director of Guidance and Chief Information Officer

Ms. Christine Alkin, Assistant Business Official

Mr. Dave Buxbaum, Director of Security

Mr. Steven Caruso, Information Technology Specialist

Ms. Dina Innella, Purchasing Agent

Ms. Beata Walerych, BOCES Environmental and Safety Officer

Mr. Richard Adams, VSTA President

Dr. Richard Addes, Medical Examiner

Dr. Joseph Pompilio, Principal

Mr. Bret Strauss, Principal

Ms. Rachel Green, Principal

Ms. Maureen Henry, Principal

Ms. Jacquelin Allen, Assistant Principal

Ms. Jennifer Buonaspina, Assistant Principal

Mr. Robert Milani, Assistant Principal

Mr. Garrhett Schneider, Assistant Principal

Mr. John Squadrito, Assistant Principal

Ms. Robin Small, Assistant Principal

Ms. Georgeann Christianson, School Psychologist

Dr. Stephanie Haag, School Psychologist

Ms. Kaitlin Kehoe, School Psychologist

Dr. Jennifer Shindman, School Psychologist

Mr. Ron Ambrosio, Chairperson

Ms. Camile Andriano, Teacher

Ms. Jeanette Azzaretto, Chairperson

Ms. Vanessa Barbone, Teacher

Ms. Connie Choinski, School Nurse

Ms. Taylor Connolly, Chairperson

Ms. Karen Cooney, Guidance Counselor

Ms. Stacey Cotten, Chairperson

Mr. Edward Curran, Chairperson

Ms. Patrice Davidson, VSTA Vice President

Ms. Maureen Duda, Chairperson

Mr. Ralph Garcia, Head Custodian

Ms. Kathleen Gray-Paolillo, Teacher

Ms. Padma Nathalie Khan, Parent

Ms. Madonna Lynn, Teacher

Ms. Cathy Madonia, Teacher

Ms. Melissa Mazzeo, Teacher

Mr. Michael McQuillan, Teacher

Ms. Laura Mesa, Guidance Counselor

Ms. Alison Mulkeen, Teacher

Ms. Sangeeta Pandit, Parent

Mr. John Pandolfi, Chairperson

Ms. Alexandra Panos, Guidance Counselor

Ms. Mary Parisi, Chairperson

Ms. Cristina Paul, Teacher

Ms. Jennifer Paul-Manges, Social Worker

Ms. Laura Santamaria, Teacher

Ms. Kathryn Sciocchetti, Guidance Counselor

Ms. Nakeshia Smith-Farnum, Chairperson

Mr. Angelo Stanco, Chairperson

Ms. Maritza Suarez, Chairperson

Ms. Elizabeth Swinton, Chairperson

Mr. Patrick Tirino, Teacher

Ms. Maritza Tuohy, Chairperson

Ms. Laura West, Chairperson

In addition to committee members listed above, 1,079 parents/guardians, 316 faculty/staff, and 651 students provided input via the ThoughtExchange platform. The following is a word cloud of ideas that were shared in the ThoughtExchange.

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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 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.

The Valley Stream CHSD will provide information using the current available technology. Administration will communicate plans and procedures for staff utilizing District email and/or Microsoft Teams when appropriate. Students and Families will be notified of COVID-19 procedures and protocols using SchoolMessenger and information will be posted and updated on the District website (www.vschsd.org). Information posted on the District website related to COVID-19 will be provided in a variety of languages. 

Signage will include the following

  • Stay at home if you feel sick
  • Cover your nose and mouth with acceptable face covering when unable to properly social distance
  • Properly store and, when necessary discard PPE
  • Follow hand hygiene, and cleaning and disinfection guidelines
  • Follow respiratory hygiene and coughing etiquette


Observing for signs of illness in students and staff:
Any student or staff member with a fever of 100°F1 or greater and/or symptoms of possible COVID-19 virus infection should not be present in school. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) keep an up to date list of symptoms of Coronavirus on its website. This list is not all inclusive as some individuals may display other symptoms or none at all. As of 7/13/2020, the following are listed as the most common symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills (100°F or greater)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting; and/or
  • Diarrhea


Other signs of any type of illness such as those outlined below should also be observed.

  • Flushed cheeks
  • Rapid or difficulty breathing (without recent physical activity)
  • Fatigue, and/or irritability; and
  • Frequent use of the bathroom

Students and staff exhibiting these signs with no other explanation for them should be sent to the designated isolation area supervised by the school health office for an assessment by the school nurse. Our nurses will continue to receive training through the Nassau County Department of Health on best practices.

Students and staff are required to notify their teacher/immediate supervisor when they develop symptoms or if their answers to the daily health questionnaire change during or outside school hours.

School staff will be aware of the symptoms of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19 which is a serious condition associated with COVID-19 in children and youth. Schools will notify the parent/guardian if their child shows any of the fol­lowing symptoms and recommend the child be referred for immediate follow up with a healthcare provider:

  • fever
  • abdominal pain
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • neck pain
  • rash
  • bloodshot eyes
  • feeling extra tired


Symptomatic students and staff must be
assessed by the school nurse (registered professional nurse, RN) or medical director in an isolation area. If a school nurse or medical director is not available, ill students and staff will be sent home for follow up with a healthcare provider. Our nurses will continue to receive training through the Nassau County Department of Health on best practices.


Daily Health Screenings for Staff
must be conducted. Health checks include taking of temperature and responding to the following questions:

  • Have you knowingly been in close or proximate contact in the past 14 days with anyone who has tested positive through a diagnostic test for COVID-19 or who has or had symptoms of COVID-19?
  • Have you tested positive through a diagnostic test for COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
  • Have you experienced any symptoms of COVID-19, including a temperature of greater than 100.0°F in the past 14 days? and/or
  • Have you traveled internationally or from a state with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 per the New York State Travel Advisory in the past 14 days?

To promote social distancing, Daily Staff Sign-in Sheets will be placed in each department office so that staff do not have to congregate in the Main Office during traditionally high-volume times. The four questions outlined above as well as an attestation statement will be included at the top of Staff Sign-in Sheets indicating that the staff member’s initials represent that they:

  • Are present at work
  • Have conducted a self-screening at home
  • Are cleared to be at work based upon the self-screening

All Staff Sign-in Sheets will be brought to the Main Office daily by the Department Supervisor and kept on file in the building. 

  • District/school plan requires that ill students and staff be assessed by the school nurse (regis­tered professional nurse, RN) or medical director and that if a school nurse or medical director is not available, ill students and staff will be sent home for follow up with a healthcare provider.

Parents/Guardians are responsible for ensuring their children do not exhibit any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 each day prior to coming to school. If a child exhibits any unexplainable signs, that child should not come to school. Students will have their temperatures taken using the Scholarchip System upon entering the buildings.


Observing for signs of illness in students and staff:
Students and staff are required to notify their teacher/immediate supervisor when they develop symptoms or if their answers to the daily health questionnaire change during or outside school hours.


Symptomatic students and staff must be
assessed by the school nurse (regis­tered professional nurse, RN) or medical director and that if a school nurse or medical director is not available, ill students and staff will be sent home for follow up with a healthcare provider.

All guests, visitors, contractors and vendors to the school will be required to complete a health screening asking the following questions: 

  • Have you knowingly been in close or proximate contact in the past 14 days with anyone who has tested positive through a diagnostic test for COVID-19 or who has or had symptoms of COVID-19?
  • Have you tested positive through a diagnostic test for COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
  • Have you experienced any symptoms of COVID-19, including a temperature of greater than 100.0°F in the past 14 days? and/or
  • Have you traveled internationally or from a state with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 per the New York State Travel Advisory in the past 14 days?

There will be a check at the bottom of the form to indicate “Clear” or “Not Clear”. If anyone responds that they are “Not Clear” to enter the building they will be denied access.

The Valley Stream CHSD will provide parents/guardians information regarding identifying symptoms of COVID-19, how to protect yourself and others, and what to do if you are sick, as per the CDC. Information will be provided in multiple languages.

The District will ensure the availability of appropriate supplies to support healthy hygiene behaviors (e.g., soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels, disinfectant wipes, and tissues) and strategically place supplies in areas where they may be frequently used. Building custodial staff will conduct hourly checks of the facilities and refill supplies at the point of use. Students and staff will be trained on proper hand washing techniques and frequency.

Students and staff will be required to wear masks when social distancing of 6’ or more is not feasible. Classroom seating will be spaced 6’ apart. Seating/desks will be turned so all desks are facing the same direction (rather than facing each other).

The District will use visual aids to illustrate appropriate spacing and traffic flow throughout the school building.

Common seating areas will be reconfigured by spacing out furniture to minimize crowding. Common seating areas will be closed if it is observed that social distancing is routinely compromised. No one should be moving or rearranging furniture in the buildings.

The District is working with the Department of Homeland Security to determine if it can divide entry points, rather than funneling all students through the same entry space.

The District will provide frequent reminders for students and staff to stay at least 6 feet apart from one another when feasible.

The District will mark 6 feet of spacing to remind students and staff to always stay 6 feet apart in lines and at other times they may congregate (e.g., during lunch, arrival and dismissal, restrooms, locker rooms, etc.).

Staff will monitor arrival and dismissal to curtail congregating and ensure students go straight from vehicle to their classroom, and vice versa.

The District will discontinue self-service food or beverage distribution in the cafeteria. Meals, snacks, and beverages served at school must be individually packaged, wherever possible. Where individual packaging is not possible, food and beverages must be served directly to students. As always, ensure the safety of children with food allergies.

The District will discontinue activities that bring together large groups of people or activities that do not allow for social distancing, including assemblies, in-person field trips, large group use of equipment simultaneously, etc.

The CDC considers the following individuals to be at high risk for severe illness due to COVID-19:

  • Persons 65 years who have underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well-controlled, including
    • Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
    • Serious heart conditions
    • Compromised immune system
    • Severe obesity (body mass index of 40 or higher)
    • Diabetes
    • Chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
    • Liver disease
    • Hemoglobin disorder

The District will create a process for students/families and staff to self-identify as high risk for illness due to COVID-19. Upon receiving requests for alternative learning arrangements or work reassignments, such as remote learning work, modified educational or work settings, or providing additional PPE to individuals with underlying conditions, the District will evaluate the students IEP or 504 plans and accommodate students special health care needs and update as needed to decrease their risk for exposure of COVID-19. Any staff member indicating that they require accommodations should contact their Building Principal and/or the Personnel Office. Once the request is made the district will engage in the interactive process as outlined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Parents/guardians may opt to enroll students in distance learning programs who may be medically vulnerable or otherwise unwilling to return to in-person or hybrid learning. 

All employees, visitors, and students are required to wear face coverings. Exceptions include those individuals who are medically unable to tolerate a face covering, when individuals are eating, or when breaks can be safely accommodated. Students and staff will be asked to provide their own face coverings. However, in the event someone does not have an adequate face covering, the District will provide one.

Students may be provided mask breaks when social distancing can be safely accommodated. Students should be seated while at least 6’ apart in a well-ventilated area.

The district is working with Nassau BOCES and the Office of General Services to obtain and maintain adequate supplies of cloth face coverings for school staff, students who forget their masks, and PPE for use by school health professionals.

  • If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the school:
    • A staff member or student comes into direct contact (within six feet) with a person with COVID-19, they must report such to the school District. This is immediately reported to the Department of Health. They are then disallowed from entering school property and would likely be self-quarantined by the Department of Health for 14 days.

      Subsequently, if they had entered a school or building, said building would be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before students and staff would be permitted to return. This may call for the facility to be closed for a period of time, as determined by the Department of Health.
    • A staff member or student with COVID-19 enters a school facility. This is immediately reported to the Department of Health and the school closed until the DOH assesses the situation and makes the appropriate recommendations regarding cleaning, disinfecting and possible self-quarantine of others and/or possible closing of the facility.

The VSCHSD will follow the procedures outlined in the guidance provided by the NYS Health Department to allow persons who have tested positive, completed isolation, and have fully recovered, and will not transmit COVID-19 when returning to in-person instruction. Discharge from isolation and return to school will be conducted in coordination with the local health department and the Chief School Medical Officer.

The District will create a schedule for routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces and shared equipment throughout the day using EPA-approved disinfectant. Daily logs will be maintained. The frequency of disinfection will be increased during high-activity periods during the school day. The custodial staff will ensure there is adequate ventilation when using these products and will not use them when students are present. 

The District will discourage the use of items that are difficult to clean or disinfect. Electronic devices such as computers and calculators will not be shared.

The VSCHSD will implement their 8 evacuation and 4 lockdown drills in a modified manner that minimizes the risk of spreading infections. Students will be instructed that if it was an actual emergency that the required evacuation or lockdown, the most imminent concern is to get to safety.

The District will conduct drills on a “staggered schedule,” where classrooms evacuate separately rather than all at once. During lockdown drills, students will maintain social distancing and wear masks. Instructors will review the procedures that must be followed during and actual lockdown procedure. Appropriate social distancing will be kept during the evacuation. If school resumes under a hybrid model, the administration will ensure that all students will be provided the required participation in the drills.

The Valley Stream Central High School District has partnered with Valley Stream UFSD 13 to provide child care programs.

The District will identify a point of contact for each school building in collaboration with building or district school nurses. This person will communicate concerns, challenges, and lessons learned related to COVID-19 preventive activities as needed with staff, students/families, school and district leadership, and local health officials.

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Transportation, Facilities, and Child Nutrition

Utilizing the recently provided New York State Education Department’s “Reopening Guidance,” the Transportation, Facilities, and Nutrition Reopening Committee has developed the following plan.

Transportation

School Bus Requirements

  • The district 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 at all times on school buses (e.g., entering, exiting, and seated) and should maintain appropriate social distancing to the extent practicable.
  • Students who are able will be required to wear masks and social distance on the bus to the extent practicable; 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 districts 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 district whose schools are meeting in in-person sessions.
  • All students are entitled to transportation by the 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 Mandatory Requirements

  • School bus drivers, monitors, attendants and mechanics shall perform a self-health assessment for symptoms of COVID-19 before arriving to work. If personnel are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19 they should notify their employer and seek medical attention.
  • School bus drivers, monitors, attendants and mechanics must wear a face covering at all times.
  • 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 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.
  • Transportation staff will be encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water before and after am and pm runs to keep healthy and prevent the spread of respiratory and diarrheal infections from one person to the next.


Students on Transportation Mandatory Requirements

  • All parents/guardians will be required to ensure their child/children are not experiencing any signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and do not have a fever of 100 degrees or more prior to them boarding their method of transportation to school.
  • Students must wear a mask on a school bus if they are physically able. Students who are unable to medically tolerate a face covering, including students where such covering would impair their physical health or mental health are not subject to the required use of a face covering.
  • Students must social distance (six feet separation) on the bus to the greatest extent possible.
  • Students who do not have a mask will not be denied transportation. Rather, students who do not have masks will be provided one by the driver/monitor/attendant.
  • Students with a disability which would prevent them from wearing a mask will not be forced to do so or be denied transportation.
  • Siblings or children who reside in the same household will be encouraged to sit together.
  • Students who are unable to medically tolerate a face covering, including students where such covering would impair their physical health or mental health are not subject to the required use of a face covering. In such a situation the seating will be rearranged so the student without a mask is socially distanced from other students to the greatest extent possible.
  • Students who are transported in a mobility device should use seating positions that social distance to the greatest extent possible.
  • Students will be reminded of the bus rules, (e.g. not to not eat or drink on the school bus) which would require them to remove their mask.
  • Students will also be reminded to follow social distancing protocols as they embark and disembark the bus.


Pupil Transportation Routing

  • If the school district 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 district whose schools are meeting in in-person sessions when/ if the district is not.
  • The school District will fulfill all existing mandates regarding the safe and effective transportation of students who are homeless (McKinney-Vento), in foster care, have disabilities and attend non-public schools and 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
  • The District will strongly suggest that students who use mass transit wear masks and practice social distancing.


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Facilities

Personal Protective Equipment

The District will procure Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) utilizing the SED Reopening Guidance’s recommendations. Said PPE will consist of, but is not limited to:

  • Student, Teacher, School Nurse\Health Provider and Staff Masks
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Disposable Gowns
  • Face Shields
  • Eye Protection


Cleaning and Disinfection

The District has created a cleaning and disinfection plan utilizing specific guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). School wide cleaning includes classrooms, offices, restrooms, cafeterias, libraries and other areas utilized by the District’s stakeholders. The cleaning and disinfection plan is based on doing the following:

  • Normal routine cleaning with soap and water will decrease how much of the virus is on surfaces and objects, which reduces the risk of exposure. Frequent disinfection of surfaces and objects touched by multiple people:
  • Disinfection using US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved disinfectants against COVID-19. Where disinfectants are used, products will be registered with EPA and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
  • If EPA-approved disinfectants are not available, alternative disinfectants can be used (e.g., 1/3 cup of bleach added to 1 gallon of water or 70% alcohol solutions).
  • High touch surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected frequently though out the day. Examples of high touch surfaces include:
  • Students will not be present when disinfectants are in use.
  • The District will maintain logs that include the date, time, area and scope of cleaning and disinfection.
  • Cleaning plans will include considerations regarding the safety of custodial staff and other people who are carrying out the cleaning or disinfection.
  • A schedule for more frequent cleaning and/or changing heating/air conditioning system filters has been established.
  • Exterior high touch surfaces made of plastic or metal, such as grab bars and railings will be cleaned routinely.
  • In order to disinfect areas frequently, staff may be reassigned, or additional staff may be required.


School Health Office Cleaning

School health office cleaning and disinfecting will occur after each use of:

  • Cots
  • Bathroom
  • Health office equipment (e.g. blood pressure cuffs, otoscopes, stethoscopes, etc.)


Schools/Offices

The District will follow health guidance related to social distancing and other safety measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the greatest extent possible. To meet the requirements of said guidance, the District will rearrange, re-purpose and alter existing physical spaces within the buildings.


General Health and Safety Assurances

The District will follow all guidance related to health and safety. This includes meeting social distancing requirements to the greatest extent possible and cleaning frequently touched spaces regularly to prevent spread of infection.


Fire Code Compliance

The District assures that should any alterations to the school be made the proposed changes will be presented to the Office of Facilities Planning (OFP) review and approval.


Doorways

Many stairs 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 will remain unchanged. Fortunately, they need not be touched during normal use.


Emergency Drills

The Districts will conduct standard operations and procedures to the best of their abilities without deviating from current requirements. Fire (evacuation) Drills and Lockdown Drills are required by Education Law and regulation and the Fire Code and will be conducted without exceptions. Social distancing during the evacuation drills will be observed to the greatest extent possible.


Ventilation

  • The District will maintain adequate, code required ventilation (natural or mechanical) as designed.
  • The District will increase the fresh air ventilation rate to the extent possible to aid in maintaining a healthy indoor air quality.


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Child Nutrition

The District will provide for the ability to seamlessly transition food service operations to an onsite or off-site student meal delivery system or operate both at the same time. This may include utilizing State waivers and updating school policies, standard operating procedures, and trainings to ensure compliance with Child Nutrition Program requirements.

  • The District will provide all students enrolled in the School Food Authority (SFA) with access to school meals each school day. This will include:
    • Students in attendance at school
    • Students learning remotely
  • The District will address all applicable health and safety guidelines.
  • The District has developed a plan to protect students with food allergies if meals are provided in spaces outside the cafeteria.
  • The District will train students on protocols and procedures for adequately performing hand hygiene before and after eating and that food and beverages should not be shared.
  • The District has developed a plan to adequately clean and disinfect the cafeteria prior to the next group of students arriving for meals is conducted.
  • The District will ensure compliance with all Child Nutrition Program requirements.
  • The District will communicate with families about school meal service, eligibility, options, and changes in operations through multiple means in the languages spoken by families.
  • The District will utilize a variety of communication methods (e.g., website, social media, emails, robocalls, newsletters) to ensure communications are translated into the languages spoken by families in the District.
  • The District will provide multiple opportunities for families to complete meal benefit applications.
  • The District will make applications available online and at the front office of each school site.


Meal Service

  • The District will properly train staff and ensure the use of PPE and social distancing to the greatest extent possible during meal prep and delivery and receiving and storage.
  • The District will ensure meals meet meal pattern requirements.
  • The District will ensure adequate meal counting procedures are implemented for meals served outside of the cafeteria should this be required.
  • The District has developed how to handle transactions that normally would occur in a cafeteria line – how payments will be collected, receipts issued, and money secured.
  • The District will ensure children with special dietary needs (e.g., food allergies) are be accommodated.
  • The District will strongly encourage the use of the online school payment system.


Meals Consumed Onsite

  • The District will assess where meals are served (classroom, cafeteria, other) in order to promote social distancing.
  • The District will remove or suspend the use of share tables, salad bars and other self-service refrigerators and buffets for food and condiments.
  • The District will discourage food sharing between students.
  • The District will ensure custodians properly clean and disinfect tables, chairs and other frequently touched hard surfaces between groups of students.
  • The District will provide physical distancing guides in food service areas such as:
    • Tape on floors
    • Signage
    • Remove tables and replace with individual desks
    • Place meals on a counter or tray line for quick pick up
    • Establish “Grab and Go” kiosks
    • Establish student meal pick up at alternative locations
    • Coordinate with school personnel in order to meet the feeding safety needs of students with disabilities


Meals Consumed Offsite (with election of waivers)

  • The District will ensure adequate service methods (grab and go, curb-side pick-up, etc.) are available.
  • The District will determine if there are students who are unable to access school meal distribution sites and identify ways to address these gaps.
  • The District will provide for bulk meals packaged in boxes or containers for multiple days of meals picked up/delivered at one time.
  • In hybrid situations, where students are attending in person and remotely, the District will provide for an area with cones or signs where families can easily pull in to receive foods away from where students will be entering.
  • The District will place meals for curb-side pick-up on a table or place in the trunk of the vehicle.


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Social Emotional Well-Being

The Valley Stream Central High School District acknowledges that all community members have been impacted on a social-emotional level over the past six months. While these experiences have varied in intensity and have all ended with a variety of short-term and/or long-term effects, we are committed to supporting all community members leading up to, during, and after our return to school. As a result, we have put together a team consisting of School Counselors, School Social Workers, School Psychologists, Department Chairs, Building Administrators and a Parent representative in order to ensure that Social Emotional Learning (SEL) strategies are being implemented in a way that communicates that emotional well-being and learning are a priority in our reopening plan.


Prior to opening

  • With uncertainty and anxiety at an all-time high, our initial focus in addressing our community’s social emotional needs is to try to get a sense of the level of trauma our students, families, staff and faculty have experienced. A variety of steps in accomplishing this, the first of which is a brief Social Emotional Health Survey that will be distributed to students, parents, staff and faculty in the first week of August. This will give us the initial data that we will need to identify and begin to incorporate strategies and tools into the comprehensive school counseling plan for the 2020-2021 school year to meet our community-wide Social Emotional Learning (SEL) needs.
  • Simultaneously, we will be launching a multidisciplinary Summer Bridge Program that has been put together based on student and parent needs that have been self-reported to our PPS Staff over the past three months. The program will include approximately nine student forums on a variety of topics, ranging from How to Deal with Uncertainty to How to use Microsoft Teams. Additionally, there will be two parent forums focusing on how we are making sure the building is safe for their children and successfully supporting their children in the transition back to school. These workshops will be created and facilitated by the district’s PPS Staff, teaching staff, and Administration in collaboration with outside community-based organizations and medical professionals. An additional component to the Summer Bridge Program is a resource page linked to our district website. This page will provide students and families with a variety of tools and activities from different content areas (Fine and Performing Arts, Health and Physical Education, Special Education, and English as a New Language) from evidence-based programs that can be used to support their social emotional needs.


Re-entry

Staff Re-entry

  • To deepen our staff and faculty’s understanding of mental health, well-being, trauma-responsive practices, restorative practices, and SEL our committee is proposing that time be devoted during Superintendent’s Conference Day to focus on their wellbeing and professional development. Teachers will need time to acclimate to their new surroundings, become comfortable with new procedures, and regain a sense of safety, comfort and trust in the school environment. They also need opportunities to build their professional skills in understanding and supporting inappropriate student behaviors and root causes. This will enable them to help support students’ individual needs and address those causes, rather than react negatively to those behaviors. 
  • The PPS staff will meet and review data gathered from the surveys that were sent out over the summer and adjust the comprehensive school counseling plan for the 2020-2021 school year to meet current needs. The plan will be reviewed to make sure that we are implementing a Multi-tiered System of Supports framework, SEL, mental health and wellbeing school wide that is accessible by all students. In addition, we will select a universal screener to be administered to all students district-wide with parental consent approximately six weeks into the school year to help further identify students’ needs. These needs will then be the driving force behind creating additional tier one, two and three activities and services to address the needs and support the students in the community.
  • Physical space and a list of resources will be made available to all staff and faculty to help them navigate their feelings regarding re-entry and dealing with traumas that they have experienced during this time.


Student Re-entry

  • On the first day of school students will have a “Welcome Back” SEL lesson that will take place in their 1st period class. This lesson will be created collaboratively by the SEL reopening committee and will serve as an initial “check-in” to create a safe, encouraging and supportive space for students to thrive in both emotionally and academically.
  • Small check-in groups will be created, to focus on SEL. They will meet weekly for 30 minutes and be facilitated by PPS staff and faculty. Topics covered will include but not be limited to coping strategies, mindfulness, brain breaks, team building etc. These groups will be used throughout the year to implement the SEL, school counseling curriculum and activities. 
  • A universal screener will be distributed to all students school-wide with parental consent approximately six weeks into the school year to help identify student needs. The data collected from this screener will then be the driving force behind creating additional tier one, two and three activities and services to address the community.
  • The committee will revisit a partnership with Northwell Health to ensure access for our students, parents, staff and faculty to outside mental health services, in addition to other community-based organizations.


After Re-entry

  • As the school year progresses and we, as a school community, being to create and acclimate to a new normal, we will need continued professional development for staff and faculty on topics such as mental health, well-being, trauma-responsive practices, restorative practices, and SEL.
  • To sustain a caring, supportive, and encouraging climate SEL instruction will continue small group check-ins on a weekly or monthly basis as needed. In addition, there will be ongoing tier two activities and interventions such as small group counseling sessions, as well as tier three activities and interventions such as individual counseling as needed with referrals to outside community-based organizations, mental health counselors, and medical facilities.
  • Continued development of partnerships with outside community-based agencies and medical facilities to meet the needs of our students, parents, staff and faculty should be a priority throughout the 2020-2021 school year and beyond.


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Budget and Fiscal Matters

Utilizing the recently provided New York State Education Department’s “Reopening Guidance” the Budget and Fiscal Committee has developed the following plan.

Please note that it is still unknown as to the true impact COVID-19 will have on the economy and ultimately the school District’s finances. Many questions still exist as to if and how school will reopen. As such, determining the true fiscal impact is impossible. 


School District Fiscal Preparedness

The Valley Stream Central High School District is in excellent financial health. The District’s undesignated/unreserved fund balance stands at 4% and our Reserve Funds all contain healthy balances, which have prudently been set aside for times of fiscal hardship. As such, should any fiscal challenges arise the District is fiscally prepared.

State Aid

Pandemic Adjustment and CARES Act Funds

State Aid was reduced in the 2020-21 school year by a total of $1.13 billion through a “Pandemic Adjustment,” which reduced school district aid allocations. However, the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) allocated each district an amount of federal funding equal to the “Pandemic Adjustment” deduction, effectively negating this State Aid reduction.


Potential Further Aid Reductions

The 2020-21 Enacted Budget also included provisions that will allow the Director of the Budget, subject to amendment by the Legislature, to reduce appropriations across any and all program areas of the State budget should actual revenues come in at levels that are below the assumptions made in the Executive Budget. State Aid cuts to school districts have been spoken of since. However, it is widely believed that much of this is political maneuvering in order for the State to secure another round of Federal stimulus money such as the aforementioned CARES Act funding. Regardless, the District stands fiscally prepared to withstand a State Aid cut.

The District has realized costs for supplies as the District has had to procure PPE supplies for our students, staff, and other stakeholders. Specifically, hand sanitizer; paper towels; tissues; cleaning and disinfecting supplies; masks and more. In addition, the District has had to hire temporary security guards to secure our facilities and grounds during COVID-19. Luckily, these costs are expected to be reimbursable through FEMA. The District has now completed the set-up process and will be submitting all costs incurred through June 30th as our first cost submission. The Business Office will continue to track all COVID-19 related costs and submit them as long as this funding opportunity remains available.


Fiscal Considerations

The following fiscal considerations may arise depending on the return to school plan that is implemented. However, the District’s $126,060,126 budget has the flexibility to adapt to the majority of these circumstances should they be realized.

  • Additional teaching staff and or Teaching Assistants may be required to provide student instruction.
  • Custodial and maintenance staff duties are being reviewed. Staff may be reassigned, or additional staff maybe required to ensure our facilities are properly cleaned and sanitized.
  • Additional Nursing Staff may be required to properly monitor health checks for students and staff entering the building, as well as properly caring for any who arrive with COVID-19 related symptoms.
  • Additional Security Staff may be required to ensure social distancing and adherence to face mask requirements.
  • Additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies may be required.


Budget and Fiscal Reopening Plan

The Committee will continue to meet and discuss all financial aspects associated with reopening the Districts schools. Ultimately, the Budgetary and Fiscal Plan is to:

  • Adapt the District’s current budget to a modified instructional plan should one be implemented.
  • Maximize FEMA and other grants to offset COVID-19 related costs.
  • Monitor State Aid and maximize all funding opportunities available (e.g. building, expenditure-driven aids, etc.).


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Technology and Connectivity: Digital Access and Equity

Device and Connectivity Needs

  • Students: Our re-opening plans were developed based upon survey data from parents/students gleaned in March of 2020 to determine connectivity and device needs. When the initial school shut down occurred, we immediately surveyed the school community to determine which families/students needed access to devices and internet access. As a result of the survey, we distributed over 500 laptops to students and provided internet access via Altice/Optimum mobile hotspots to 25 students who responded that they did not reliable access to internet in their homes. Following passage of the 20-21 school budget, the district invested in the purchase of 4700 new HP laptops in order to support a 1:1 device initiative for all students grades 7-12. A survey sent in July 2020 will help us identify the internet needs of our student community; included in the survey are questions regarding access to highly reliable internet at home, meaning internet that can be accessed through the school issued device and used in conjunction with other devices in the home. Students with unreliable internet access will be assisted by the school district in the purchase of WIFI hotspots using Title IV funding.
  • Teaching Staff: All full-time and half-time teaching staff were provided and trained to use a Microsoft Surface for instructional purposes prior to the school closure. During the closure, PPS staff, including all school counselors, psychologists, and social workers were issued Microsoft Surfaces as well. A survey sent in July 2020 will help us identify the device and internet needs of our staff; included in the survey are questions regarding staff access to a device that can be utilized on a daily basis in order to engage in remote instruction (in the case of teaching assistants, aides, and part-time teachers who were not issued Microsoft Surfaces) and access to highly reliable internet at home. We will use the results from the staff survey to identify additional devices that need to be distributed to staff as well as internet hotspots that need to be purchased. 


Professional Development

  • Prior to Remote Learning: Prior to and throughout the 19-20 school year, staff were trained in instructional uses of Microsoft Teams and migrated to the use of the platform during the remote learning period.
  • During Remote Learning: Ongoing technological support from our BOCES Model Schools trainer occurred during the remote learning period, in addition to support provided on the district, building, and department level through ongoing professional development meetings during the remote learning period. Teacher leaders, department chairpeople, district directors, and outside trainers participated in a professional development day for staff on June 15th where instructional staff self-selected two workshops from a menu of 34 choices focusing on different uses of instructional technology to support remote learning. The offerings included various workshops for conducting live, synchronous learning and best practices for utilizing Microsoft Teams for instructional purposes. 
  • Preparing for the 2020-2021 School Year: In the summer of 2020, using BOCES Model Schools trainers, we offered two workshops for instructional staff to improve their instruction, and focus on best practices for remote/online learning using Microsoft Teams. First, a three-week course entitled Teams Boot Camp was intended for beginning and intermediate level technology users to set up their Teams, make use of conversations, assignments, chats, and other features of Microsoft Teams to engage students and improve remote learning. Secondly, a more intensive six-week course entitled Best Practices for the Digital Classroom was offered to guide teachers through more advanced uses of Teams, such as channels for live meetings, hyperdocs, and integrations of 3rd party applications such as Wakelet, Flipgrid, and more. Due to a high demand from interested teachers, more than 125 participants registered and participated in this ongoing professional development. 


Instruction for Students to Build Digital Fluency

IT will create a library of videos to support the instructional platform utilized by our district (Microsoft Teams) and teachers will introduce applications and uses of Teams with students as they are needed in class. 


Information Technology (IT) Support

  • IT Staff: Passage of the 2020-2021 school budget also resulted in the approval of additional technology support positions for all schools in the district, resulting in 2 technology staff per school for the 20-21 school year. Technology staff will be able to assist with student and staff technology and repair needs as well as supporting instructional technology software and hardware, such as Microsoft Teams.
  • Tech-Savvy Staff: Each school will utilize their technology specialists (TA and IT staff) as well as our district wide IT staff to provide ongoing support to students, teachers, and families. Departmental leaders and designees will provide models of content appropriate technology and turnkey that knowledge at monthly professional development meetings throughout the school year. 
  • Student Technology Support and Video Library: The IT department will create a video library of helpful videos that provide training and support for staff, families and students regarding the use of district wide devices and Microsoft Teams. These videos will be linked to the district website and families/students will have access to a support email address to problem shoot their individual issues. 


Ensure Student Data Privacy

Our Data Privacy Officer will work with Nassau BOCES to ensure that all programs purchased by the district and utilized by staff follow the regulations of Education Law 2-d.


Streamlining Tools

  • As recommended by multiple stakeholders, school level staff will work with teachers to streamline the number of tools and applications students will be expected to utilize. By setting Microsoft Teams as our learning platform, students have a consistent platform that will be utilized in all of their courses.


Support and Flexibility

  • Students will be supported by their teachers on a daily basis following the remote learning schedule of 30 minutes of live instruction. This consistent approach will help students build a rapport with their teachers and peers, communicate consistently, and engage in multiple modalities of learning. 
  • Pupil personnel services will work in conjunction with teaching staff to identify students who may need flexibility due to inequities in their personal life. Teachers understand that printing documents may create a system of inequity – this is another reason using the digital learning platform of Microsoft Teams is useful. Utilizing this platform allows for digital communication and instruction and nearly eliminates the need for printing at home.


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Teaching and Learning

The Valley Stream Central High School District’s re-opening plans are tiered and allow for multiple scenarios, i.e. in person, remote, and hybrid. In all scenarios the focus of instruction is having students meet the outcomes set for each content area by the current New York State Learning Standards. Equity is at the heart of all instructional models; beginning with the distribution of devices to all students that will permit them to fully engage in all learning scenarios to the greatest extent possible, allowing access to in-person schooling for all students when permissible and feasible, and working individually with each student to monitor progress throughout the year. The schedules prescribed for each model are based upon reflection from the 2019-2020 remote learning period and discussions with shareholders and are aligned to each child’s academic program while allowing for regular and substantial interaction with appropriately certified, highly qualified teaching personnel. At the heart of all plans is the clear communication of expectations for students and families, and the two-way communication between families and school. Parents are encouraged to communicate with staff using phone and email, students will continue to communicate with staff using Microsoft Teams, and the district will continue to utilize SchoolMessenger, ThoughtExchange, and updates to our district website to communicate with families and support the home-school connection.


Considerations

Our re-opening plans consider the needs of all students while adhering to all established regulations and guidelines. Teaching staff will work closely with pupil personnel services, families, and students to develop plans for those students who need additional social, emotional, and/or academic support to ensure success in the 2020-21 school year. We understand that with the school closure of 2019-20, students will need an additional adjustment and acclimation period as we re-enter school. We will begin the school year with a realistic and positive mindset about student learning loss and based on recommendations from the Social-Emotional Learning Committee, will focus on allowing students to reacclimate, socialize, and feel safe and comfortable in their school buildings. In order to prepare teaching staff for the different scenarios of instruction and to promote best instructional practices for the 2020-21 school year, we will begin the year with two Superintendent’s Conference Days (September 1 and 2, 2020). Staff will share best practices regarding the different models of instructional delivery, receive self-selected professional development to support their teaching practice and social-emotional health, and identify training needs for the upcoming year. As we identify professional development needs, specifically those related to the use of instructional technology, we will continue to provide teacher training utilizing our departmental, building, and district level technology experts and BOCES Model Schools Trainers to provide training and guidance during the school day as well as at monthly professional development meetings. Finally, we will provide training and support for students and families utilizing videos uploaded to our district website and access to a support email address that can be used for individual issues. 


In-Person Instructional Model:

An in-person model will focus on a readjustment to the school setting following a prolonged absence. Instructional and pupil personnel staff will work collaboratively, following the recommendations of the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) committee, to help students make a smooth adjustment back to the classroom and school building. During the remote learning period and at the conclusion of the 2019-20 school year department chairpeople worked collaboratively to identify possible gap areas, and to pre-teach topics and skills that students would need to be successful in the 2020-21 school year.

  • All students will receive a personal device that teachers will employ during in-person instruction. Teachers will train students on the utilization of the device in order to align classroom instruction with the on-line environment in preparation for potential school closures.
  • Classrooms will be set up to accommodate students to be socially distanced at the prescribed 6-feet, per the Opening Guidance document. The exceptions to this are outlined below in the “12 Feet Social Distancing” bullet point.
  • Arts Classrooms
    • Per the Guidance Document (p. 99), “Arts classrooms, sinks, costumes, instruments, mirrors, props, and other shared materials and surfaces (will) be cleaned following appropriate CDC State and local guidelines. This includes drying racks, changing rooms, easels, stage/dance studio floors, and music stands.”
  • Singing (Chorus) and Wind Instruments (Band)
    • See pp. 99-100 of the Reopening Guidance document, “Responsible Parties should ensure that a distance of twelve feet in all directions is maintained between individuals while participating in activities that require projecting the voice (e.g., singing), playing a wind instrument” (band). Small group lessons will be established to allow students to continue instruction and allow these ensembles to have some semblance of regular rehearsals, and prepare for long established concerts and events, even if they are held in a virtual environment.
    • Marching Band will not be able to rehearse in any live format before September 21st, in alignment with the same prohibition under which football is operating.
  • High Touch Supplies
    • To the extent possible, students will be given “high touch supplies” such as, but not limited to, scissors, markers, pencils, erasers, etc. to limit sharing. Some of these supplies will also be able to be brought home in the event that schools are closed at any time in the future.
  • No Sharing of Instruments
    • As a practice, the sharing of instruments has long been very limited in the Valley Stream CHSD.
    • Wind instruments have never been shared.
    • Additional string instruments have been purchased to make certain that all students will be assigned their own instrument.
    • Percussionists will have their own sticks and sharing of mallets will be curtailed and occur only after hand washing/sanitizing and mallets are wiped down as well.
    • Pianos will be included in regular cleaning practices in the schools.
    • Guitars are not shared.
    • With the start of the one-to-one initiative the need for computer labs in the electronic music classes is now, hopefully, obviated.
  • 12 Feet Social Distancing
    • See above (Singing and Wind Instruments) for the effects of the 12-feet social distancing recommendation on Chorus and Band classes. If outdoor options are available (i.e.: tents, bleachers) Band classes would more easily be able to take advantage of them. Chorus classes could also do so, given that electrical power and sound reinforcement could be provided.
    • Theater and Dance classes will also abide by these recommendations.
    • In Physical Education, as recommended on p. 102 of the Guidance document, there will be an onus placed “on individual pursuits or skills rather than traditional team sports or activities (e.g., dance and rhythms, exercises without equipment, fitness, mindfulness, outdoor pursuits, track and field, throwing underhand, kicking, and target games)”. Furthermore, per the Guidance Document, “games and activities that require no physical contact and do not require students to be in close physical proximity to each other” will be emphasized. Outdoor classes will help to accommodate the larger space needed to accommodate appropriately socially distanced classes.


Remote Instructional Model

  • During the remote learning period of 2020, each building created a schedule for teacher contact time based on grade level and content area. Following feedback from teachers, students, and families, the district will move to a condensed bell schedule in our remote instructional model (see schedule below). This schedule allows students and teachers to simulate their school day in thirty-minute blocks of live instruction with fifteen minutes between classes. This will permit students to take a break from screen time and readjust before the next class. Classes will be hosted on the Microsoft Teams platform and teachers will engage students in live instruction on a nine-period day schedule, which matches their assignments for the in-person schedule. Mirroring the schedule will allow for a transition into and out of school if periods of opening and closing continue through the school year, and will allow students consistent access to their teachers, peers, and curriculum. The focus in the remote instructional model will be progressing through the learning standards for each course and preparing for year-end summative assessments of learning, i.e. AP, Regents, 7th and 8th grade state, and locally developed final examinations. Using the consistent platform of Microsoft Teams, teachers will design lessons that allow for assessment, student feedback, and progress tracking. Extra help will be available to students three days a week (Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday) for 30 minutes at the end of the school day, same as the in-person schedule. Similar to the remote learning period of the 2019-20 school year, pupil personnel staff will continue to reach out to students and families and support and monitor their academic progress and social/emotional well-being.

 

20-21 Bell Schedule

Period

Current Schedule

Proposed Remote Schedule

Later Open Remote Schedule

0

 

Extra Help Electives/

Small Group Fine & Performing Arts

Extra Help/Meetings

1

7:50 - 8:38

8:00 – 8:30

9:00 – 9:30

2

8:42 - 9:23

8:45 – 9:15

9:45 – 10:15

3

9:27 - 10:09

9:30 – 10:00

10:30 – 11:00

4

10:13 - 10:55

10:15 – 10:45

11:15 – 11:45

5

 10:59 - 11:41

11:00 – 11:30

12:00 – 12:30

6

11:45 - 12:27

11:45 – 12:15

12:45 – 1:15

7

12:31 - 1:13

12:30 – 1:00

1:30 – 2:00

8

1:17 - 1:58

1:15 – 1:45

2:15 – 2:45

9

2:02 - 2:43

2:00 – 2:30

3:00 – 3:30

10

2:43 – 3:13

Extra Help x2/Meetings x1

2:43 – 3:13

Extra Help x3/Meetings x1

_


Hybrid Instructional Model

  • Our hybrid instructional model will provide access to students attending live instruction, in school buildings on a rotating basis while simultaneously providing access to students to attend virtually via Microsoft Teams. To allow for social distancing students will be split into two cohorts and brought into the schools on an A/B schedule. These groups will be created based on student surnames. Since our school schedules operate on a two-day scheduling cycle, we are essentially creating a rotating four-day scheduling cycle: Cohort A Day 1, Cohort B Day 1, Cohort A Day 2, Cohort B Day 2. Students in school will follow the normal bell schedule. Teachers will follow distancing guidelines, as suggested in the guidance document and outlined above, in school and engage students in regular school, in-person instruction. Students at home, working remotely, will follow the remote bell-schedule (which is aligned to the normal bell schedule) and attend truncated 30-minute classes. During those 30 minutes, the teachers will work with all students — those at home and in school — to move curriculum forward synchronously using the Microsoft Teams platform through a computing device provided to all students in the district. Students on their in-school days will have an additional 11-12 minutes each class period to work with teachers, receive additional support in their academic classes, and address social/emotional concerns such as building relationships with the peers and teachers and reacclimating to the in-school environment after months away. The rotation of cohorts of students to in person instruction will allow students to develop their school routines, adapt to their schedule, and transition back and forth from in person to remote learning. Extra help will be available to students three days a week (Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday) for 30 minutes at the end of the school day, same as the remote and in-person schedule. This hybrid model will focus on preparing students with the skills and abilities — including knowledge of content and online platforms and other instructional technologies — needed to allow them to work remotely in real-time with their peers regardless of whether they are attending in-person or on-line, and to further their learning through assignments and assessments that are aligned with New York State Learning Standards.
  • Our hybrid instructional model will bring certain populations of students back into school every day. These are students for whom remote learning, due to specific educational, learning, academic, and/or linguistic barriers, has been exceptionally difficult to enact successfully. Specifically, students with disabilities enrolled in the Life Skills and Self-Contained programs, along with entering and emerging level English Language Learners will attend in class school on a daily basis, even when a hybrid model is enacted.


Physical Education

  • In-person learning: as mentioned above, physical education in person will focus on individual pursuits outdoors that allow students to maintain 12 feet of distance in all directions for activities of the aerobic nature.
  • Remote learning: physical education teachers will engage in live instruction according to the schedule described above. Teachers will work to determine which daily classroom routines and procedures can be safely translated into remote activities.
  • Hybrid model: students attending school in person will have physical education classes which allow for the recommended 12 feet of distancing and individual based activities. Students working from home in the hybrid model will work for the class period from a menu of activity choices reported in log version to their physical education teacher and/or assigned on Microsoft Teams.


Career and Technical Education (CTE)

The CTE Department will evaluate curriculum and prioritize learning and activities in the Cosmetology and Culinary Arts programs that must be done in person in order to monopolize on instructional time and pacing. Similarly, pacing for curriculum that can be done remotely will be adjusted to match the re-opening scenario that is utilized. Where possible and practical, the district will provide students with “to go” kits that will allow them to work hands on during remote learning. Materials and surfaces will be decontaminated and cleaned according to our health and safety regulations and teachers will utilize Microsoft Teams for remote and hybrid instruction to keep students on pace and moving through instruction synchronously. 


Academic Intervention Services (AIS)

Students in grades 7 and 8, including students with disabilities and English Language Learners, who are at risk of not achieving State Learning Standards in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, and/or Science are entitled to receive Academic Intervention Services in accordance with Commissioner’s Regulations 100.2(ee) and will continue to receive these services in all re-entry scenarios in their mathematics and ELA classes. Absent New York State Assessments in 2019, students in need of AIS will be identified using students’ scores on multiple measures of student performance, including but not limited to 2019 New York State Assessments, benchmark examinations in the content areas, and grades/portfolio data from the elementary schools. 


Grading

Determination of grading policy is the purview of the Board of Education of the Valley Stream Central High School District. Given the flexible instructional models of the upcoming school year, schools and departments will develop grading policies that relate to each model and are clear and transparent to students, parents, and caregivers. These policies will align clearly to the outcomes of each course and the State’s learning standards. 


Assessment

  • Our plan for assessment will:
    • Utilize the functions of Microsoft Teams and other instructional technology to focus on preassessment and embedded formative assessment to inform instruction.
    • Build in time and opportunities during the school day and during professional development time to collaborate and plan for the creation of preassessments. Many teachers and departments have engaged in professional development this summer to begin this planning. 
    • Meet the testing accommodations to which students with disabilities are entitled as per their individualized educational plans.
    • Utilize in-person and remote assessment options that are appropriate for the level, course, and ability level of the students. Assessments will prepare students for summative assessments and help students achieve New York State learning standards.


Libraries

School libraries are an integral part of the learning ecosystem, and school library media specialists play an essential role in helping students gain information, media, and digital fluency skills. Digital library resources and databases will continue to be available to all students and accessed through the links on our district website. Library media specialists will work collaboratively with teachers and students to support research and literacy and provide support using Microsoft Teams.

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Special Education

  • All Students, regardless of classification, placement or need for related services will receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), whether through in-person, remote or hybrid instruction.
  • All parents will be notified of their child’s placement, mode of instruction and schedule, in compliance with their child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP), as it is to be implemented under the District’s Re-Opening Plan. These notifications will be provided in the parent’s preferred language or mode of communication.
  • The Director of Special Education, as the representative of the Committee on Special Education (CSE), will communicate regularly with all Educational Service and Related Service providers in order to ensure that all IEP services are being addressed and that progress monitoring is taking place and being communicated.
  • Access to testing accommodations, program modifications, instructional technology and assistive technology will be made available to all classified special education students, in accordance with their IEPs.
  • Documentation of programs and services offered to parents and provided to students with disabilities will be provided to parents in their preferred language using Propio translation services for oral communication and Google Translate for written documents.
  • Generic electronic computing devices will be provided to all students. In addition, where deemed necessary by the student’s IEP, specialized hardware and software will be made available to students with disabilities.
  • As long as schools are deemed safe for in-person instruction, students with disabilities whose IEPs call for them to be educated in a specialized (self-contained) classroom setting, will be scheduled for in-person instruction on a daily basis. These will include students who are Alternately Assessed and attend a Life Skills Curriculum Program.
  • Students whose IEPs call for Resource Room or Integrated Co-Teaching Services will be provided with in-person instruction on the same schedule as their non-classified peers.
  • Students with disabilities will attend in-person instruction with their non-disabled peers in accordance with their IEPs, in order to ensure Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) provisions.
  • Related services will be provided through an in-person model, to the greatest extent possible, when students are in attendance at school. Remote and Teletherapy services will be provided when in-person services are not feasible.
  • Progress Monitoring will be documented for each student, whether instruction is in-person, remote or hybrid. This data will be utilized to determine the effectiveness of the student’s educational program and to document progress made towards attaining IEP Annual Goals.
  • The need for Compensatory Services will be determined by Special Education Teachers and Related Service Providers, based on direct observation and/or evaluation using standardized measures.
  • Initial Eligibility Evaluations, Annual and Triennial Revaluations will be conducted in person, unless schools are ordered closed due to an outbreak of the virus. When practical, remote evaluations will be utilized.
  • Committee on Special Education meetings will be held in-person, via teleconference or via video-conference, in order to ensure compliance with required timelines for completion.


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Bilingual Education and World Languages (ELL)

The district will continue to serve the best interests of our English Language Learners in either of the three reentry scenarios (in person, remote, and hybrid). The department head of ENL will continue to identify possible ELLs/MLLs correctly and within the timeframe outlined by the CR Part 154 regulations, we will provide ELLs with their required instructional units of study as proscribed by NYS, and we will maintain communication with parents/guardians and other family members of ELLs to ensure that they are engaged in their child’s education and are aware of reopening plans. Communication with parents/guardians will take place in the preferred language of the family. We will prioritize the re-entry of the most impacted groups of ELLs, including SIFE, newly arrived entering level speakers, and students with disabilities in order to provide them with access to services needed to progress linguistically, academically, and social-emotionally.


Initial Identification of Potential ELLs

We will follow initial identification protocols as outlined in the Commissioner’s Regulations Part 154, based upon the type of opening we use. If we reopen using in-person or hybrid instruction, we will complete the ELL identification process within 30 school days at the start of the academic school year for all students who enrolled during the COVID-19 school closures in 2019-20, as well as those who enroll during summer of 2020 and the first 20 school days of the 2020-21 academic school year. After this 20-day flexibility period, we will return to 10-day standard of initial enrollment for all ELLs. All aspects of the initial screening process will be followed in person following the district’s safety protocols. 


Units of Study for English as a New Language (ENL)

All ELLs will be provided the required instructional Units of Study in their ENL program based on their most recently measured English language proficiency level as evidenced in their most recent NYSESLAT or their NYSITELL assessment during in-person or hybrid learning. Former ELLs at the Commanding level of proficiency within two years of exiting ELL status are to continue receiving Former ELL services in the form of Integrated ENL or other Former ELL services approved by the Commissioner under Part 154.2-3(h) during in-person or hybrid learning. Students who are entering their third year as a Former ELL at the Commanding level of proficiency in 2020-21 will continue to receive supplemental Former ELL services for the 2020-21 school year.


Communications and Language Access

All communications for parents/guardians of ELLs will be in their preferred language and mode of communication. We will continue to provide interpretation and translation through available personnel and technology, including but not limited to person to person translation, use of Microsoft Translator, the TalkingPoints app, written translation through BOCES LPAS services, and Propio phone interpretation services.


Professional Learning for Educators

We will continue to provide professional development opportunities for teachers of ELLs, in person or virtual as permissible and appropriate, in order to promote an understanding of the linguistically diverse needs of ELLs, the use of home language, and the ENL program. In order to ensure that all teachers are aware of and able to address ELL needs, all teachers and administrators will receive professional learning related to serving ELLs as required by Commissioner’s Regulations Part 154. This learning will take place in the form of in-house professional development provided throughout the year by the ENL department, outside approved conferences, and through BOCES ENL CTLE courses. In order to support teachers of ELLs as they face new challenges in helping their students as a result of the spring 2020 COVID-19 closures, we will provide targeted professional learning focused on utilizing technology to promote student independence and engagement, providing effective and meaningful feedback, and promoting peer to peer interaction. Such professional development will be supported in-house by ENL staff and through outside professional agencies, such as the Long Island Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network, regional BOCES conferences, local universities, and more. Professional development for ENL and content area teachers may focus on but is not limited to:

  • Implementing collaborative models of instruction;
  • Progress monitoring;
  • Implementing language-based strategies across a standards-based curriculum
  • Utilizing digital tools that cultivate independent learning, critical thinking, and student engagement; and
  • Building positive relationships/rapport among teachers, students, and parents/guardians.


Guiding Principles for Ensuring the Success of ELLs/MLLs

Our district will continue to utilize the statewide framework, the Blueprint for English Language Learning/Multilingual Learner Success in order to build pedagogical best practices in which every teacher is prepared to design units of study in their own content area capitalizing on the home language and the English linguistic demands of ELLs. As stated in the document, “All teachers are teachers of ELLs/MLLs and must plan accordingly.” We will continue to work collaboratively, with professional development support to meet this goal. 

 

Progress Monitoring

With the cancellation of the 2020 NYSESLAT, we must determine new methods to measure the English language proficiency levels of ELLs to ensure that students are receiving the appropriate level of instruction. Using formative and summative assessment data, as well as observational data from ENL teachers, the progress of each ELL will be monitored and evaluated formally during the school year at each student’s individual ENL family meeting. At this meeting achievement data such as report card grades, narrative information from classroom teachers, and writing samples will be evaluated to monitor progress and evaluate for academic intervention needs. We will consider using the Multilingual Literacy SIFE (MLS) Screener for all ELLs in order to establish baseline literacy levels in the home language.


Educational Technology

All students in our district, including ELLs, will receive a 1:1 device that can be utilized in order to maintain a continuity of learning in all re-entry scenarios. We will continue to utilize Microsoft Teams as our instructional platform, and teachers will build digital literacy with students through modeling of instructional technology. This will allow students to build language and content knowledge as well as technology skills that will facilitate learning in any future school closing experience. ENL and content area teachers will mainstream the applications and websites selected for instructional purposes in order to help students gain technological skills and success with online/remote instruction. 


Students with Interrupted/Inconsistent Formal Education (SIFE)

SIFE are among the most vulnerable ELL subgroups, have had a difficult time adjusting to school closures, and may not have been able to remain engaged in their learning. Pursuant to temporary emergency regulations, the time out due to school closures for COVID do not count towards the 12 months that SIFE may be enrolled in US schools prior to initial identification as a SIFE. We will continue to provide individualized and focused educational supports and scaffolded instruction for SIFE in all school re-opening scenarios for the 2020-21 school year.


Family Partnerships and Communication

We believe in a partnership with families so that parents/guardians can actively participate in and support their child’s education. We will continue to work collaboratively to foster the school-family connection, providing language and interpretation services as needed in order to meet the needs of all ELLs and allow for the most seamless reopening of school in September 2020. We will provide information to families, in their home language, on how to access technology utilized in on-line education. This information will be shared during meetings of the ENL Parent Academy, using instructional videos and Microsoft Translator as posted to our school website, and through the TalkingPoints social media network.

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Staffing and Human Resources

As our District enters the 20-21 school year it is important to note that all necessary staff, including teachers, school and district leaders and pupil personnel professionals hold a valid and appropriate certificate for their assignment. In addition, current non-certified staff are being returned and open positions are being addressed to hire support staff for instruction and building operations. Our Human Resources process has continued throughout the Spring, including the hiring of teachers, building leaders and support staff and we have done so on the same timeframes as in years past. We do not anticipate a disruption to this ongoing process and can adjust as necessary.

We will continue to utilize all available instructional options for maximizing our professional staff, including incidental teaching when determining how to staff classrooms. Additional strategies for staffing of classrooms include making use of substitute teachers where necessary and to make note of the NYS Guidelines relative to the allowable amount of days given their qualifications and teaching assignment.

Lastly, during these unprecedented times, new challenges exist in all aspects of school district operations, including supporting and evaluating professional staff. The Valley Stream CHSD will make sure that students are being taught as effectively as is practical. Therefore, pursuant to Education Law 3012-d, the District will fully implement all evaluation systems including currently approved APPR plans for teachers and administrators. These evaluation systems include student performance measures. These plans may need revisions based upon the structure of the instructional program. That dialogue will take place with the District Leadership Team and the impacted professional groups, including teacher and administrator bargaining units. The focus of any dialogue will be reviewing rubrics in collaboration with teachers and administrators to deter­mine the types of evidence that could be collected and used for evaluation in each instructional model with the priority on collecting authentic evidence of practice that can be used to provide feedback and support to our professional staff.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2020