Safety protocols

Students and staff will return to campuses with increased health and safety measures in order to combat the effects of COVID-19 in our schools. District leadership has received input from all stakeholders and engaged in meaningful conversations with health authorities to create a reopening plan with safety and health at the forefront.

Following are the return to onsite work protocols for ECSD buildings. Since this is an ever-changing situation, the District may need to change protocols at any time to address specific needs and circumstances in order to protect the health and safety of students, employees and the community. Please note, health guidance cannot anticipate every unique situation. As a result, ECSD will continue to consult available guidance through governmental agencies and other information deemed relevant to monitor the situation. The District will comply with applicable federal and state employment and disability laws, workplace safety standards and accessibility standards to address individual needs.

It is important to remember the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread by infected persons who have few or no symptoms.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Schools are required to comply with the Governor’s Executive Order regarding the wearing of masks. Students and staff are expected to wear face coverings during school hours. This requirement is subject to change.

• Masks include non-medical grade disposable face masks, cloth face coverings (over the nose and mouth), or full-face shields to protect eyes, nose, and mouth.

• Staff and students will appropriately wear face coverings at all times that social distancing is not possible.

• Students will wear face coverings in hallways, common areas and during arrival and dismissal.

• Students will not be required to wear face coverings while eating but will be distanced 6 feet apart.

• Individual needs regarding face coverings will be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Requests for accommodations should be submitted to the building principal.

The Elmira City School District has written protocol to address visitors, guests, contractors, and vendors to the school which includes health screening.

The District will minimize visitors to the building to only essential workers allowed to enter the site. Those deemed essential will be screened and names will be recorded by trained personnel prior to entering and having student or staff contact.

Preparation for the Re-Opening of School

ECSD will ensure all staff, resources and supplies are prepared for opening school, including but not limited to assigning sufficient staff to carry out re-opening, ensuring proper training and stocking inventory of necessary supplies, such as personal protective equipment (PPE).

The Elmira City School District will 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. The District has collaborated with County Officials to properly secure a 90-day supply of PPE.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidance, recommendations and resources to assist with plans and protocols for health and safety.

Before schools re-open, ECSD will implement health and safety plans that include:

• Adequate supply inventory (e.g., PPE, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, etc.)

• Cleaning products approved by governing authorities and per guidelines from the Environmental Protection Agency

• Compliance with CDC, Health and Human Services, the NYSED and Department of Health and other jurisdictional policies

• Staff trainings for observing students or other staff members for signs of any type of illness such as flushed cheeks; rapid or difficulty breathing (without recent physical activity); Fatigue, and/or irritability; and Frequent use of the bathroom.

• Communication of procedures and expectations upon entering facilities and throughout buildings

• Written protocol and display of appropriate signage to instruct staff and students in correct hand and respiratory hygiene. The District will place consistent signage based on CDC recommended guidelines throughout all of our 14 facilities

• Written protocol to ensure all persons in school buildings keep social distance of at least 6 feet whenever possible. The District has posted consistent signage based on CDC recommended guidelines throughout all of our 14 facilities.

• Written protocol detailing how the District/school will provide accommodations to all students and staff who are at high risk or live with a person at high risk. The District will follow ADA guidelines to make reasonable accommodations for all students and staff.

• Written protocol requiring all employees, adult visitors, and students to wear a cloth face covering whenever social distancing cannot be maintained. The District is requiring all students, staff and visitors who are able to wear a mask when unable to properly social distance. Proper signage will be displayed at all entrances to inform all students, staff and visitors of the expectations.

School Safety Drills

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 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; and If schools re-open with a “hybrid” in-person model, such as one where students attend school alternate school days to reduce the occupancy of the school building, we will be certain that all students are receiving instruction in emergency procedures, and participating in drills

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

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

Cafeteria Expectations 

Student   • Students will be expected to follow school guidelines for cafeteria procedures.
• Students will be seated according to a seating plan for students consistent with social distancing guidelines
• All students are expected to wash hands or use hand sanitizer prior to eating.
• Students are encouraged to read and adhere to the expectations and posted directional prompts/signs to ensure for proper social distancing.
Parent    • At this time, due to COVID-19, mealtime visitors will not be permitted in the school cafeterias.
• Parents are encouraged to speak to their children about safety protocols and social distancing.
• Parents are asked to read and be familiar with all school communication regarding health and safety protocols.
• Parents should talk to their students about COVID-19 symptoms and prevention strategies.
Staff    • Signs will be posted on the walls and floor to ensure appropriate social distancing in cafeteria lines.
• A seating plan for students eating in the cafeteria will be followed for social distancing.
• Assigned staff supervises students in cafeteria lines and ensures that students maintain desired social distance.
• A seating plan for students will be followed for social distancing.
• We will monitor students while in the cafeteria to ensure social distancing.

Recess and Playgrounds

Administrators will provide training for staff on guidelines and procedures associated with outdoor play and student activities. Administrators will develop a schedule for students to access the playground equipment. Staff will monitor students to ensure safety guidelines are followed. Each school building will consider multiple mitigation factors when establishing a recess schedule. Options will include but not limited to; limiting the number of students per recess group, staggered schedules, structured recess and consistent cohorts to be utilized. Additional cleaning of playground equipment will occur daily.

After-School Enrichment Programming

The Elmira City School District has written plan for District-run before and aftercare programs.

ARCADE, ESAP and APEX will adhere to all building guidelines and safety precautions after the school day that are in play and in school plans during the day. Program coordinators will communicate with building principals regularly to ensure fidelity. All after-school program will be able to provide services in-person or remotely.

Hallways and Lockers

To prevent congregating during transition times, students will not be assigned an academic locker. Students will be permitted to bring backpacks to class.

• Students are expected to observe and follow school hall traffic flow directions while maintaining social distancing
• Students and staff must wear face coverings in the halls and avoid gathering in large groups during passing periods.
• Visual markers will be developed to help students maintain physical distances and adhere to established School
traffic flow in hallways.
• Traffic patterns will be established throughout the School that separates individuals to the greatest extent possible