skip to main content

 

INTRODUCTION

Our primary commitment is to the students and families we serve. Our priority must be keeping them safe. When the 2020-2021 school year begins, school will look much different than previous years due to COVID-19 and the health and safety measures that continue to evolve. This School Reopening Plan will define clear guidance for the reopening of our five schools and aligns with the regulations developed in collaboration with NYSDOH and the NYS Education Department.

The areas outlined in this plan represent the myriad considerations West Hempstead will address to reopen schools safely and to sustain their safe operation. It is important to note that our plan has a strong focus on academic instruction to enhance student learning. In addition, we have addressed the social-emotional needs of our students within our plan.

This plan includes procedures that will be followed in the schools listed below as well as District Office:

To be clear, the health and safety of our students, our staff, and their families is our top priority. We have developed a plan that intends to ensure that students and employees 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 will 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 decision making as we move to open our schools.

Mr. Daniel Rehman, Superintendent, will serve as the district’s COVID-19 Coordinator. 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.

Of course, as with every plan being developed throughout New York State, this document is fluid and will change as necessary based on guidance from the state, CDC, and NYSED and in consideration of our families and our staff. We strongly believe the services described throughout this plan are in the best interests of our students, families, staff, and community.

The 2020-21 school year will be our time to recover, rebuild, and renew the spirit of the West Hempstead UFSD and community. Working together, educators, students, parents, and community members will continue to address this challenge with #RamResolve.

#RamResolve. People may assume that it is just about being physically steadfast. It is in part, but it is also about having anything you want if you are willing to work for it. It is about the willingness to take care of yourself physically as well as the need to read, write, and think critically daily. It is about creating physical and mental sweat. Producing it and capitalizing on it. It is about the willingness to engage in thoughtful debate and making a stand for the principles in which you believe. #RamResolve is about bringing your best forward each day to the hallways and classrooms in our five buildings (or virtually if need be). It is not about where you start, but where you end. More importantly, it is about the journey and your willingness not to avoid the obstacles but realize the obstacle is the way. It is about no limits and no excuses.

On or around July 17, 2020 NYSED issued a survey through the SED Monitoring and Vendor Reporting System (“the Portal”) to collect essential information about the comprehensive Re-Opening Plans developed for the 2020-21 school year. Specifically, by July 31, 2020 the District completed the survey to provide NYSED with:

  • a link to our website where our school plan has been publicly posted; and

  • a set of mandatory assurances completed by the Chief Executive Officer affirming that the District will address, in each re-opening plan, all of the mandatory elements outlined in the guidance document.

As well, we completed a short companion Department of Health survey on the New York Forward website.

COMMUNICATION/FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Regular and frequent communication between schools, families, and the wider community has always been an essential element of effective family and community engagement. According to NYSED guidance, we must sign an assurance that our plan includes provisions to meet the following communication requirements:

  • Responsible Parties must engage with school stakeholders and community members (e.g., administrators, faculty, staff, students, parents/legal guardians of students, local Health departments, local health care providers, and affiliated organizations, such as unions, alumni, and/or community-based groups) when developing reopening plans.

  • Plans for reopening should identify the groups of people involved and engaged throughout the planning process.

  • Responsible Parties must develop a communications plan for students, parents, or legal guardians of students, staff, and visitors that includes applicable instructions, training, signage, and a consistent means to provide individuals with information.

  • Responsible Parties must ensure all students are taught or trained how to follow new COVID-19 protocols safely and correctly, including but not limited to hand hygiene, proper face-covering wearing, social distancing, and respiratory hygiene.

  • Responsible Parties must encourage all students, faculty, staff, and visitors through verbal and written communication (e.g., signage) to adhere to CDC and DOH guidance regarding the use of PPE, specifically acceptable face coverings when a social distance cannot be maintained.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

The health and safety of the children and adults in our schools are paramount. Health and safety considerations must always come first in every decision made and every action taken by our schools and district.

Whether instruction is provided in-person, remotely, or through some combination of the two, schools have an important role to play in educating and communicating with school communities about the everyday preventive actions they can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Prevention is accomplished by following the recommendations of health authorities in the following areas:

  • Health Checks;

  • Healthy Hygiene Practices;

  • Social Distancing;

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Cloth Face Coverings;

  • Management of Ill Persons; and

  • Cleaning and Disinfection.

We will continually monitor the CDC and DOH websites to keep current with the latest COVID information and guidance. Other health and safety requirements include:

  • Our plan has been developed in collaboration with the district director of school health services to instruct staff to observe for signs of illness in students and staff and requires symptomatic persons to be sent to the school nurse or other designated personnel (See below for more information).

  • Our plan has a written protocol for daily temperature screenings of all students and staff, along with a daily screening questionnaire for faculty and staff and periodic use of the questionnaire for students. (See below for more information).

  • Our 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. (See below for more information).

  • Our plan has written protocols requiring students or staff with a temperature, signs of illness, and/or a positive response to the questionnaire to be sent directly to a dedicated isolation area where students are supervised, before being picked up or otherwise sent home. (See below for more information).

  • Our plan has written protocols to address visitors, guests, contractors, and vendors to the school, which includes health screening.

  • Our plan has a written protocol to instruct parents/guardians to observe for signs of illness in their child that require staying home from school. (See below for more information).

  • Our plan has written protocols and appropriate signage to instruct staff and students in correct hand and respiratory hygiene. (See below in Facilities section for more information).

  • Our plan has written protocols detailing how the district/school will provide accommodations to all students and staff. (See below for more information).

  • Our plan has written protocols requiring all employees, adult visitors, and students to wear a cloth face-covering whenever social distancing cannot be maintained. (See below for more information).

  • Our plan has written protocols regarding students taking mask breaks. (See below for more information).

  • We have obtained an adequate supplies of cloth face coverings for school staff and students, and PPE for use by school health professionals.

  • Our plan has written protocols for actions to be taken if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the school. (See below for more information).

  • Our plan has written protocols that comply with CDC guidance for the return to school of students and staff following illness or diagnosis of a confirmed case of COVID-19 or following quarantine due to contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. Return to school will be coordinated with the local health department. (See below for more information).

  • Our plan has written protocols to clean and disinfect schools following CDC guidance. (See below in Facilities section for more information).

  • The District has a written plan for district/school run before and aftercare programs. (See Appendix for SCOPE Protocols).

  • The Superintendent will be the designated COVID-19 safety coordinator whose responsibilities include continuous compliance with all aspects of the District’s reopening plan, as well as any phased-in reopening activities necessary to allow for operational issues to be resolved before activities return to normal or “new normal” levels.

Health Checks

Parents/guardians and staff members will be provided resources to educate them regarding the careful observation of symptoms of COVID-19 and health screening that must be conducted each morning before coming to school. Parents/guardians and school staff will be instructed that any student or staff member with a fever of 100°F 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.

As well, we will work with the staff to observe 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.

Students and staff exhibiting these signs with no other explanation for them will be sent to the school health office for an assessment by the school nurse. If a school nurse is not available, the school may contact the parent/guardian to come pick up their ill child or send the staff member home. Health screenings, including daily temperature checks and completion of a screening questionnaire, are required for staff, contractors, vendors, and visitors. Students are required to have a daily temperature check and periodic completion of a screening questionnaire. Anyone who has a temperature of 100°F or greater or has a positive response to the screening questionnaire will be isolated from others and sent home immediately. Students will be supervised in the isolated area while awaiting transport home. We will refer such persons to a healthcare provider and provide resources on COVID-19 testing.

Students and staff are required to notify their school when they develop symptoms or if their answers to the questionnaire change during or outside school hours. We will set up a means to collect this information.

Staff is asked to complete the required screenings before arrival at school, and parents/guardians are asked to screen their child before sending them to school. We understand and will communicate to parents/guardians that screening by the parent/ guardian before school is preferred in lieu of temperature checks and symptom screening being performed after arrival to school. Screening of students includes a daily temperature check and periodic completion of a screening questionnaire.

A screening questionnaire may be used to determine whether an individual has:

  • 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;

  • tested positive through a diagnostic test for COVID-19 in the past 14 days;

  • experienced any symptoms of COVID-19, including a temperature of greater than 100.0°F in the past 14 days: and/or

  • has, in the past 14 days, traveled internationally or from a state with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 per the New York State Travel Advisory issued by the NYSDOH on June 24, 2020.

Per NYSDOH, schools are prohibited from keeping records of student, faculty, staff, and visitor health data (e.g., the specific temperature data of an individual), but are permitted to maintain records that confirm individuals were screened and the result of such screening (e.g., pass/fail, cleared/not cleared).

Hand Hygiene

Students and staff must practice good hand hygiene to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. We will strongly consider planning time in the school day schedule to allow for hand hygiene. Hand hygiene includes:

  • Traditional hand washing (with soap and water, lathering for a minimum of 20 seconds), which is the preferred method;

  • Use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers (60% alcohol or greater) when soap and water are not available, and hands are not visibly dirty.

Respiratory Hygiene

Our reopening plan includes processes and procedures for respiratory hygiene. The COVID-19 virus spreads from person to person in droplets produced by coughs and sneezes. Therefore, students and staff must cover their mouths or noses with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and dispose of the tissue appropriately. If no tissue is available, using the inside of the elbow (or shirtsleeve) to cover the mouth or nose is preferable to using the hands. Always perform hand hygiene after sneezing, coughing, and handling dirty tissues or other soiled material.

Use of Nebulizers in School for Asthma Symptoms

  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, nebulizer treatments at school should be reserved for children who cannot use or do not have access to an inhaler. We will obtain the appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) for staff who administer nebulizer treatments and peak flow meters for students with asthma. PPE for use when administering nebulizer treatments or peak flow meters to students with asthma consists of gloves, medical or surgical facemask, and eye protection. During the COVID-19 pandemic, if a nebulizer treatment or use of peak flow meter is necessary at school for a student, the number of people present in the room should be limited to the student and the staff member administering the treatment or peak flow meter. If appropriate based on the student's age and level of maturity, the staff member could leave the room and return when the nebulizer treatment is finished. After the nebulizer treatment or use of peak flow meter, this room should undergo routine cleaning and disinfection.

  • We will encourage parents to supply MDI-inhaler vs. albuterol vials used with a nebulizer for asthma treatment as feasible.

Social Distancing

Social Distancing also called “physical distancing,” means keeping a six-foot space between yourself and others. We will enforce social distancing in all school facilities and on school grounds.

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

Students and staff with symptoms of illness will be sent to the health office. Ideally, a school nurse (Registered Professional Nurse, RN) will be available to assess individuals with chronic conditions such as asthma and allergies or chronic gastrointestinal conditions, which may present as the same symptoms as COVID-19 but are neither contagious nor pose a public health threat.

If a school nurse is not available, we will isolate and dismiss any student or staff member who has a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19 that are not explained by a chronic health condition for follow up with a health care provider.

We will follow Education Law § 906, which provides [w]henever...a student in the public schools shows symptoms of any communicable or infectious disease reportable under the public health law that imposes a significant risk of infection of others in the school, he or she shall be excluded from the school and sent home immediately, in a safe and proper conveyance.

The director of school health services shall immediately notify a local public health agency of any disease reportable under the public health law. The director of school health services, or other health professionals acting upon direction or referral of such director, may make such evaluations of teachers and any other school employees, school buildings and premises as, in their discretion, they may deem necessary to protect the health of the students and staff.

Students suspected of having COVID-19 awaiting transport home by the parent/guardian will be isolated in a room or area separate from others, with a supervising adult present utilizing appropriate PPE. Multiple students suspected of COVID-19 may be in this isolation room if they can be separated by at least 6 feet [or if all such students are wearing appropriate face coverings].

When we encounter students or staff who become ill with symptoms of COVID-19 while at school, we will follow the following CDC and NYSDOH recommendations:

  • Closing off areas used by a sick person and not using these areas until after cleaning and disinfection has occurred;

  • Opening outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area;

  • Waiting at least 24 hours before cleaning and disinfection. If waiting 24 hours is not feasible, we will wait as long as possible;

  • Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, such as offices, classrooms, bathrooms, lockers, and common areas.

    • Once the area has been appropriately cleaned and disinfected, it can be reopened for use.

    • Individuals without close or proximate contact with the person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 can return to the area and resume school activities immediately after cleaning and disinfection.

    • We will refer to DOH’s “Interim Guidance for Public and Private Employees Returning to Work Following COVID-19 Infection or Exposure” for information on “close and proximate” contacts.

    • If more than seven days have passed since the person who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 visited or used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection are not necessary, but routine cleaning and disinfection should continue.

If a separate room is not available, we will either keep at least a 6-foot distance between ill students or staff members and other persons. If they cannot be isolated in a separate room from others, we will provide a facemask (e.g., cloth or surgical mask) to the student if the ill person can tolerate wearing it and does not have difficulty breathing, to prevent the possible transmission of the virus to others while waiting for transportation home. Where possible, we will follow the guidance in the NYSED Reopening Guidance document, which recommends that:

    • Students should be escorted from the isolation area to the parent/guardian;

    • The parent or guardian be instructed to call their health care provider, or if they do not have a health care provider, to follow up with a local clinic or urgent care center;

    • Symptomatic students or staff members follow CDC’s Stay Home When You Are Sick guidance unless otherwise directed by a healthcare provider or the local department of health. If the student or staff member has emergency warning signs such as trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to arouse, bluish lips or face, call 911 and notify the operator that the person may have COVID-19;

    • School staff 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. We 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

We will call for emergency transport (911) following district policies, for any student showing any of these emergency warning signs of MIS-C or other concerning signs:

      • trouble breathing

      • pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away

      • new confusion

      • inability to wake or stay awake

      • bluish lips or face

      • severe abdominal pain

If a student or staff member reports having tested positive for COVID-19, a school administrator or his/her designee may notify the local health department to determine what steps are needed for the school community.

Return to School after Illness from, or Exhibiting Symptoms of, COVID-19

We will follow CDC guidance for allowing a student or staff member to return to school after exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. If a person is not diagnosed by a healthcare provider (e.g., physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant) with COVID-19, they can return to school:

  • Once there is no fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines, and they have felt well for 24 hours;

  • If they have been diagnosed with another condition and submit a healthcare provider written note stating that they are clear to return to school.

If a person is diagnosed with COVID-19 by a healthcare provider based on a test or their symptoms or does not get a COVID-19 test but has had symptoms, they should not be at school and will be required to stay at home until:

  • It has been at least ten days since the individual first had symptoms;

  • It has been at least three days since the individual has had a fever (without using fever-reducing medicine); and

  • It has been at least three days since the individual’s symptoms improved, including cough and shortness of breath.

School Closures

  • We will collaborate with our local health department to determine the parameters, conditions, or metrics (e.g., increased absenteeism or increased illness in school community) that will serve as early warning signs that positive COVID-19 cases may be increasing beyond an acceptable level.

  • We will consider closing school if absentee rates impact the ability of the school to operate safely. We may choose to modify operations before closing to help mitigate a rise in cases. We may consult our medical director and/or the local department of health when making such decisions.

Accommodations for Staff

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified some medical conditions that may place individual employees at higher risk for serious illness if they contract COVID-19. Persons in these groups should consult with their healthcare provider regarding prevention:

  • Individuals age 65 or older;

  • Pregnant individuals;

  • Individuals with underlying health conditions including, but not limited to:

  • Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma

  • Serious heart conditions

  • Immunocompromised

  • Severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 or higher)

  • Diabetes

  • Chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis

  • Liver disease

  • Sickle cell anemia

Medical conditions placing employees at higher risk may be disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504). If an employee requests an accommodation due to their high-risk condition or disability, the District will follow its established ADA procedures and engage in the interactive process to identify potential accommodations.

Accommodations for Students

Students with disabilities, including those who may be at higher risk if they contract COVID-19, may be entitled to new or different accommodations. Medically complex children who have neurologic, genetic, metabolic conditions, or who have congenital heart disease are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 than other children.

Students with special needs or students who are medically fragile may not be able to maintain social distancing, hand or respiratory hygiene, or wear a face covering or mask. Parents/ guardians need to work with their child’s healthcare providers so that an informed decision can be made on how best to meet the child’s needs at school while protecting their health and safety.

Students requesting accommodations should contact the District immediately by submitting a written request to Ms. Bridget Karis, Director of Pupil Personnel Services Written requests will enable the District to proactively identify such students and refer them for evaluation for Section 504 or special education eligibility if they are not yet identified. For already identified students with disabilities, the student’s 504 team or Committee on Special Education (CSE) will gather the appropriate health documentation to determine what changes in instruction may be required due to the student’s health needs, including the provision of remote instruction or homebound services if appropriate.

Cleaning and Disinfection

The CDC provides Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection with specific guidance for schools along with the Cleaning and Disinfection Decision Tool to aid in determining what level of cleaning and/or disinfection is necessary. School-wide cleaning will include classrooms, restrooms, cafeterias, libraries, playgrounds, and buses. The guidance provides a general framework for cleaning and disinfection practices. The framework 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;

  • Disinfection using US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved disinfectants against COVID-19. Where disinfectants are used, products should be registered with EPA and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Frequent disinfection of surfaces and objects touched by multiple people is important;

  • When 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). We will not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products. This can cause fumes that may be extremely dangerous to breathe in. We will keep all disinfectants out of the reach of children;

  • We will identify cleaning and disinfection frequency for each facility and area type; and

  • We will maintain logs that include the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection in a facility or area.

High touch surfaces may be cleaned and disinfected frequently though out the day. Examples of high touch surfaces include:

  • Tables;

  • Doorknobs;

  • Light switches;

  • Countertops;

  • Handles;

  • Desks;

  • Phones;

  • Keyboards and tablets;

  • Toilets and restrooms; and

  • Faucets and sinks.

  • We will follow our established schedule for cleaning and/or changing heating/air conditioning system filters;

  • We will follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfection of electronic devices such as laptops, iPads or Chromebooks, keyboards and computer mice, etc., between use;

  • Shared wind musical instruments should be cleaned between use per the manufacturer’s directions;

  • Playgrounds should be cleaned per CDC Guidance.

  • Shared athletic/gym equipment (e.g., balls, protective gear) should be cleaned between use per manufacturer’s directions.

  • We will provide for the cleaning and disinfection of exposed areas in the event an individual is confirmed to have COVID-19, with such cleaning and disinfection to include, at a minimum, all heavy transit areas, and high-touch surfaces as well as follow CDC guidelines.

School Health Office Cleaning

School health office cleaning will occur after each use of:

  • Cots;

  • Bathroom; and

  • Health office equipment (e.g., blood pressure cuffs, otoscopes, stethoscopes, etc.) will be cleaned following the manufacturer’s directions.

We will use disposable items as much as possible, including:

  • Disposable pillow protectors; or

  • Disposable thermometers, or disposable thermometer sheaths or probes, and disposable otoscope specula.

More information on cleaning health office equipment is on the New York State Center for School Health’s website under COVID-19.

  • Undated cleaning equipment such as, but not limited to, backpack disinfectant spray.

  • Hand sanitizer available throughout common areas. It should be placed in convenient locations, such as a building, classroom, and cafeteria entrances and exits (hand sanitizer containing 60%).

  • A touchless hand dryer will be installed in bathrooms. In bathrooms where touchless hand dryers cannot be installed, hand sanitizer dispenser will be installed next to the existing hand dryer.

  • Removal of mouth nozzles on water fountains or signage use to encourage the use of the water-bottle refilling station on all water fountains.

  • Ensure running of warm water in all bathrooms and available sinks.

  • Hand-washing schedule for all students:

    • Students grades K-5, minimum of washing of hands every 2 hours, before and after snack and lunch

    • Students grades 6-12, minimum of washing hands in Art, Science, PE classes, before and after lunch. Encourages students to wash hands in classrooms where sinks are available.

  • Limit on the number of personal items and furniture other than student and teacher desks, allowed in classrooms, office, and communal spaces.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

We have reviewed the OSHA COVID-19 guidance for information on how to protect staff from potential exposures, according to their exposure risk pursuant to their Exposure Control Plan. The OSHA guidance also sets forth when PPE is needed by staff pursuant to the OSHA standards. We will follow CDC recommends that school-based health personnel use Healthcare Facilities: Managing Operations During COVID19 Pandemic Updated June 29, 2020 guidance when providing care to ill persons as part of infection control protocols:

  • Licensed healthcare professionals must utilize standard precautions at all times;

  • Transmission-based precautions should be used when assessing persons suspected of having COVID-19;

  • We will ensure we have adequate supplies of PPE for use by school health professionals to assess and care for ill students and staff members.

Cloth Face Coverings

Cloth face coverings are meant to protect other people in case the wearer is unknowingly infected but does not have symptoms. Cloth face coverings are not surgical masks, respirators, or other medical personal protective equipment. We will require that all staff, students, and building guests wear a face covering at all times. However, if face coverings are to be worn by all individuals at all times, staff should allow students to remove their face covering during meals, and for short breaks, so long as those students maintain appropriate social distance.

Acceptable face coverings include but are not limited to cloth-based face coverings (e.g., homemade sewn, quick cut, bandana), and surgical masks that cover both the mouth and nose.

We will provide acceptable face covering to employees and students and have an adequate supply in case of need for replacement per Executive Order 202.16. We will allow an employee to wear their acceptable face covering but will not require that they supply their face coverings. Employees with healthcare provider documentation, stating they are not medically able to tolerate face covering, will not be required to do so.

We recognize that face coverings may be challenging for students (especially younger students) to wear in all-day settings such as school and that scheduling mask breaks are important. Face coverings will not be placed on:

  • Students where such covering would impair their health or mental health, or where such covering would present a challenge, distraction, or obstruction to education services and instruction;

  • Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious; or

  • Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face-covering without assistance.

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

  • The proper way to wear face coverings;

  • Washing hands before putting on and after removing their face covering;

  • The proper way to discard disposable face coverings;

  • The importance of routine cleaning of reusable face coverings; and

  • Face coverings are for individual use only and should not be shared.
    Information and resources to assist schools in instructing on the proper use and cleaning of facemasks are on the CDC webpage on cloth face coverings.

Students and staff may use alternate PPE (i.e., face coverings that are transparent at or around the mouth) for instruction or interventions that require visualization of the movement of the lips and/or mouths (e.g., speech therapy). These alternate coverings may also be used for certain students (e.g., hearing impaired) who benefit from being able to see more of the face of the staff member.

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing is a public health function performed by local public health departments to trace all persons who had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. This allows public health officials to put in place isolation or other measures to limit the spread of the virus. We will cooperate with state and local health department contact tracing. We will assist public health departments in knowing who may have had contact at school with a confirmed case by making reasonable efforts to:

  • keep accurate attendance records of students and staff members;

  • ensure student schedules are up to date;

  • keep a log of any visitors which includes the date, time and location in the school they visited; and

  • Assist local health departments in tracing all contacts of the individual at school in accordance with the protocol, training, and tools provided through the New York State Contact Tracing Program. We understand that this does not mean we are required to have staff members take the contract tracing program. Questions should be directed to the local health department.

We further understand that confidentiality must be maintained to the fullest extent possible as required by federal and state laws and regulations and that our staff should not try to determine who is to be excluded from school based on contact without guidance and direction from the local department of health.

Health Physicals and Screenings

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the effect it is having on healthcare providers, SED released the memo Health Examinations in Light of COVID-19 Pandemic, which provides direction to schools when students are delayed in obtaining required health physical examinations, along with information on the required health exam form Required NYS School Health Examination Form. We will follow the guidance and directions in that memo.

The memo states:

  • Schools are to continue to accept proof of a health examination regardless of the form it is completed on for exams conducted on or before January 31, 2021;

  • Parents/guardians are provided with additional time to provide the completed health exam to the school;

  • Student athletes are able to participate in the fall 2020 sports season even if they do not have a current health examination if they meet certain criteria;

  • Beginning February 1, 2021 health examinations for schools are to be completed on the NYS Required Health Examination Form or an electronic health record equivalent form. This directive may change depending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in the fall; and

  • Hearing, vision, and scoliosis screenings will be waived for the 2020-2021 school year due to the COVID-19 crisis, unless such screening has otherwise been deemed necessary, pursuant to an amendment to Commissioner’s Regulations section 136.3(e).

FACILITIES

Safety Drills and Emergency Drills

Education Law § 807 requires that schools conduct eight evacuation and four lockdown drills each school year. We will continue to complete our drills as required. We will conduct standard operations and procedures to the best of our abilities without deviating from current requirements. Fire (evacuation) Drills and Lockdown Drills are required by Education Law and regulation and the Fire Code, and they will be conducted without exceptions. Fire Code Section 404 requires that schools maintain Fire Safety, Evacuation, and Lockdown Plans, and these plans include how lockdown and evacuation drills are conducted. All members of the school community will wear masks during any required emergency drills unless otherwise excused.

General Health and Safety Assurances

We will follow all guidance related to health and safety. This will include meeting social distancing requirements and cleaning frequently touched surfaces regularly to slow the spread of infection.

Fire Code Compliance

Changes or additions to facilities require review by the Office of Facilities Planning (OFP) since all spaces to be occupied by public school students and staff must meet the requirements of the 2020 New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (BC) and the State Energy Conservation Code. In our plans, we would provide assurances that, should alterations be made, we will submit the proposed changes to the OFP for review and approval - just as with any other project.

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.

Inspections

The statute has not been changed to provide an extension to the submission deadline for the Building Condition Survey or Visual Inspections. These deadlines will be met.

Lead Testing due in 2020

At present, the statutory requirement that lead testing occurs in 2020 continues. NYS DOH regulation 67-4, Lead-In-Water Testing, requires lead-in-water testing to be conducted when the building is “normally occupied.” That sampling should not be conducted when the building is vacant or has been vacant for an extended period due to COVID-19 closure. Simulation of “normally occupied operation” for lead-in-water testing is not permitted. NYS DOH advises that schools follow recommended procedures to the extent possible to provide clean and safe drinking water upon reopening. We will follow these recommended procedures to the extent possible.

Water Flushing Program

The COVID-19 closing of school buildings beginning in the 2019-20 school year caused a reduction in normal water use. To minimize the risks associated with water that has been stagnant for lengthy periods, and to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff, the District has implemented a water flushing program, following Center for Disease Control (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and SED guidelines.

Ventilation

We will follow the following ventilation requirements in the NYSED Reopening Guidance, including the following:

  • Maintain adequate code required ventilation (natural or mechanical) as designed.

  • Exhaust schedule-adjusted in each building to run for longer periods.

  • All windows in classrooms, hallways, and offices will remain open during the school day (whenever practical).

  • All classroom and office doors must remain open.

If other air cleaning equipment is proposed, we will submit any such proposal(s) to OFP for review and approval. We will increase the fresh air ventilation rate to the extent possible to aid in maintaining healthy indoor air quality.

Communal Spaces:

  • Where feasible, buildings will put in place measures to reduce bi-directional foot traffic using tape or signs with arrows in hallways, or spaces throughout the school, and post signage and distance markers denoting spaces of six feet in all commonly used areas and any areas in which lines are commonly formed, or people may congregate.

  • We will limit the use of and the number of students at activity tables.

  • Classroom desks should be separated as classroom space and furniture allows.

  • Every other locker will be used at the Middle School and High School (as practical).

  • Locker rooms will be closed. Students will not be required to change for Physical Education (PE) class but are expected to wear clothes to school that is conducive for PE activities. PE classes will be encouraged to hold outdoor activities daily.

  • We will limit the number of students in bathrooms at the same time. Each school building will determine the monitoring system.

  • Lunch periods

    • We will use a mix of indoor and outdoor available monitored space during lunch periods.

    • Alternative, available, and monitored indoor space can be consistent during lunch periods.

    • Each building will consider having lunch in their assigned classrooms.

    • We will have a staggered lunch and recess.

    • Service staff will be required to wear face shields.

    • Prohibit the sharing of food and beverages (e.g., buffet-style meals, snacks), unless individuals are members of the same household.

    • Increase cleanings between lunch periods.

  • Waiting areas before, during, and after school will be organized outdoors, weather permitting. Ground markings will be used to organize the outdoor space to maintain social distancing.

    • In the event of poor weather conditions, students will be separated into available large, monitored indoor space.

  • Outdoor instruction is encouraged and will be monitored by building administration.

Signage

  • Signs throughout the school buildings will regularly share messages with the school community, consistent with DOH COVID-19 signage regarding public health protections against COVID-19.

  • Signage will be used to remind and encourage individuals to:

    • Stay home if they feel sick.

    • Cover their nose and mouth with an acceptable face covering when unable to maintain social distance from others or in accordance with any stricter policy implemented by the school.

    • Properly store and, when necessary, discard PPE.

    • Adhere to social distancing instructions.

    • Report symptoms of, or exposure to, COVID-19, and how they should do so.

    • Follow hand hygiene and cleaning and disinfection guidelines.

    • Follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette.

  • Signage will also be used to help reduce bi-directional foot traffic.

CHILD NUTRITION

As part of our child nutrition program, we will:

  • Provide all students enrolled in the SFA with access to school meals each school day. This will include:

  • Address all applicable health and safety guidelines.

  • Protect students with food allergies if we are providing meals in spaces outside the cafeteria.

  • Include protocols and procedures for how students will perform hand hygiene before and after eating, which will be taught by staff and administration, posted signs, and a video that will be created. As well, we will be discussing the sharing of food and beverages with students and staff as this needs to be discouraged.

  • Clean and disinfect cafeteria spaces before the next group of students arriving for meals, if served in the same common area. (See FACILITIES section for more information).

  • Ensure compliance with Child Nutrition Program requirements.

  • Communicate with families through multiple means in the languages spoken by families (messaging system, website, social media, mail, and email.)

TRANSPORTATION

  • Able students will be required to wear masks on the bus.

  • All buses (conforming and non-conforming to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Standards, as well as type A, C, or D), which are used every day, will be cleaned/disinfected once a day. High contact spots will be wiped down after the am and pm run depending upon the disinfection schedule. (For example, some buses might be cleaned between the am and pm runs while other buses may be cleaned/disinfected after the pm run).

  • School buses will 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 will not carry personal bottles of hand sanitizer with them on school buses.

  • We will fulfill 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.

School Bus Staff

  • 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 will be required to notify their employer and seek medical attention;

  • School bus drivers, monitors, attendants, and mechanics must wear a face-covering along with an optional face shield;

  • Transportation staff (drivers, monitors, attendants, mechanics, and cleaners) will be trained and provided periodic refreshers on the proper use of PPE and the signs and symptoms of COVID-19;

  • Transportation departments/carriers will provide PPE 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 will wear gloves.

Students on Transportation

  • As was outlined in the Health and Safety section of this plan, all parents/guardians will 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 before 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;

  • We will not deny transportation to students who do not have a mask, but will instead have one provided to the student so that the student may receive transportation services;

  • We will not force students with a disability, which would prevent them from wearing a mask to do so or deny transportation to that student.

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.

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING

  • Our district-wide and building-level comprehensive developmental school counseling program plan, developed under the direction of certified school counselor(s), is reviewed and updated to meet current needs. The BOE has approved it.

  • The district has an established School CounselingAdvisory Council, comprised of families, students, members of the board of education, school building and/or district/charter leaders, community-based service providers, teachers, certified school counselors, and other pupil personnel service providers including school social workers and/or school psychologists to inform the comprehensive developmental school counseling program plan. Our council meets periodically to review the current plan and make revisions based on the current needs of the students.

  • We will continue to provide resources and referrals which are available on our school website to address the mental health, behavioral, and emotional support services and programs as we have in the past. Our resources include community outreach and organizations which provide support programs to families, standards-based mental health curriculum maps for each grade level within our district. If we are in a distance learning situation, the support staff will contact families regularly to check-in and provide information via phone, email, and Google Classroom.

  • We will provide professional development opportunities for faculty and staff on how to talk with and support students during and after the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, as well as provide supports for developing coping and resilience skills for students, faculty, and staff. Our district will provide online training modules through the Global Compliance Network regarding best practices for schools during the COVID crisis. These training modules include what is COVID? How do you stop the spread of COVID? And best practices for schools during the pandemic. All staff members in the district will be trained via these modules. (See Appendix for professional development and school counseling plan).

BUDGET AND FISCAL MATTERS

2020-21 Enacted State Budget

Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget proposal in January 2020 initially called for a statewide increase in school aid for the 2020-21 school year of $825 million, or 3 percent. As the COVID-19 crisis emerged before the enactment of the final budget, that planned increase did not materialize, resulting in a school aid apportionment that held unrestricted funds flat for districts and maintained reimbursements at statutory levels. An increase in emergency federal funds partially offset a reduction in state-funded 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 at their bottom line, commensurate with the amount of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES Act) funds each district was projected to receive. Districts were then allocated an amount of federal funding through the combination of the CARES Act Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSERF) and the Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEERF). As a result, school districts will experience a decrease in state aid payments but will be eligible to apply for an amount from these federal grants. However, it should be noted that the CARES Act requires a portion of the funds to be used to provide equitable services to non-public schools.

Potential Further Aid Reductions

The 2020-21 Enacted Budget also included provisions that will allow the NYS Director of the Budget, subject to amendment by the New York State Legislature, to reduce appropriations across all program areas of the state budget should actual revenues come in at levels that are below the assumptions made in the Executive Budget. As of April 2020, this projected total shortfall was $13.3 billion for the 2020-21 state fiscal year. The actions noted above reduced this gap by nearly $1.2 billion. Combined with other budget actions, the remaining gap was projected to be $8.2 billion. Absent additional federal support, the Division of Budget has stated that further reductions to school aid, Medicaid, social services, and transportation might be necessary to eliminate that projected budget gap.

180 Day Calendar and Attendance Reporting for State Aid Purposes

School districts report certain enrollment, attendance, and school calendar information through the State Aid Management System (SAMS).

The minimum annual instructional hour requirement and 180 days of session requirement are also both reported through SAMS. For both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years, school districts will be required to continue the same information, based on the schedule provided for the average student, rather than reporting for each student. Under regulatory changes adopted as an emergency rule by the Board of Regents on July 13, 2020, school districts may be eligible to apply for a waiver from the minimum instructional hour requirement for both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years to the extent that “the district is unable to meet such requirement as a result of an Executive Order(s) of the Governor pursuant to the State of emergency declared for the COVID-19 crisis, or pursuant to Education Law §3604(8), as amended by Chapter 107 of the Laws of 2020, or reopening procedures implemented as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.” Successful application of the waiver will shield school districts from a reduction in aid for failure to meet the minimum instructional hour requirement. However, the 180 days of session requirement is in statute, and for the 2020-21 school year there are currently no statutory provisions that would allow a school district to provide fewer than 180 days of instruction over the course of the full school year.

 

ATTENDANCE AND CHRONIC ABSENTEEISM

  • We will be collecting and report daily teacher (AESOP)/student (PowerSchool) attendance regardless of the instructional setting.

  • Attendance of any school-age student of compulsory age, who resides in the district or is placed by a parent/guardian in another public school district, a charter school, or is placed by a district administrator or the CSE of the school district in educational programs outside the district (such as, another school district, BOCES, approved private in-State or out-of-State school, and State supported school) must be reported in SIRS;

  • Attendance must be reported by any reporting entity that is required to take attendance;

  • Resident students of compulsory age who were not in attendance in a public school, including charter schools, nonpublic school, or approved home schooling program in the current school year must be reported until they exceed compulsory school age, they no longer reside in the district, or the district has documentation that the student has entered another educational program leading to a high school diploma;

  • Students who drop out while still of compulsory school age must be kept on the school attendance register until they exceed compulsory school age or move out of the district;

  • We have and will continue to track chronic absenteeism to support our students and families. This is accomplished through regular reporting, preventive measures such as phone calls, home visits, team meetings, etc.

TECHNOLOGY AND CONNECTIVITY

  • We have surveyed families to determine of the level of access to devices and high-speed broadband all students and teachers have in their places of residence;

  • To the extent practicable, we will seek to provide devices and internet access to students and teachers who currently do not have sufficient access; and

  • We will allow for multiple ways for students to participate in learning and demonstrate mastery of Learning Standards in remote or blended models, especially if all students do not yet have sufficient access to devices and/or high-speed internet.

SCHOOL SCHEDULES AND TEACHING AND LEARNING

  • We will spend time at the beginning of the year to support the social and emotional well-being and resiliency of students before beginning to phase in academic content. We will encourage connection, healing, and relationship-building.

  • Instruction is aligned with the outcomes in the New York State Learning Standards.

  • Instruction aligned with the academic program must include regular and substantive interaction with an appropriately certified teacher regardless of the delivery method (e.g., in-person, remote, or hybrid).

  • In accordance with the Reopening Guidance from the New York State Education Department, the District will ensure continuity of learning by using the flexibility of in-person instruction combined with synchronous (distance learning that happens in real-time) and/or asynchronous instruction (lessons to provide to students who may be unable to access in real-time) (pg. 75 and 103).

  • Communication is key. We expect that staff, administration, parents, and students (depending on age) will communicate regularly. This includes, but is not limited to phone, email, Google Classroom, apps (which are Law-2d compliant), progress reports, report cards, PowerSchool, etc.





HYBRID INSTRUCTIONAL SCHEDULE

Elementary Model – Grades K-6

The Elementary Hybrid Schedule is based on the six-day cycle. The cycle days will be posted on the schools’ website and is printed on the West Hempstead District Calendar.

  • Students will be divided into two cohorts. Cohort A or Cohort B.

  • Attendance will be taken regularly.

  • Grading protocols will remain in effect.

Group A

Brick and Mortar Instruction

Cycle Days 1,3,5

Group B

Distance Learning Instruction

Cycle Days 1,3,5

Students in this cohort will come to school on cycle days 1,3,5.

Students will follow their regular school schedule

There will be time for mask breaks and hand washing while in the school building throughout the day

Students in this cohort will remain at home on cycle days 1,3,5 and participate in Distance Learning

Students and families must check their teachers’ Google Classroom accounts for asynchronous assignments and learning activities

Group A

Distance Learning Instruction

Cycle Days 2,4,6

Group B

Brick and Mortar Instruction

Cycle Days 2,4,6

Students in this cohort will remain at home on cycle days 2,4,6 and participate in Distance Learning

Students and families must check their teachers’ Google Classroom accounts for asynchronous assignments and learning activities

Students in this cohort will come to school on cycle days 2,4,6.

Students will follow their regular school schedule

There will be time for mask breaks and hand washing while in the school building throughout the day

HYBRID INSTRUCTIONAL SCHEDULE

Secondary Model – Grades 7-12

The Secondary Hybrid Schedule is based on a 2-day cycle. The cycle days will be posted on the schools’ website.

  • Students will be divided into two cohorts. Cohort A or Cohort B.

  • Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class period.

  • Grading protocols will remain in effect.

Group A

Brick and Mortar Instruction

Cycle Day 1

Group B

Distance Learning Instruction

Cycle Day 1

Students in this cohort will come to school on cycle every “day 1.”

Students will follow their regular nine period day school schedule

There will be time for mask breaks and hand washing while in the school building throughout the day

Students in this cohort will remain at home on cycle every “day 1” and participate in Distance Learning

Students and families must check each of their subject area teachers’ Google Classroom accounts for asynchronous assignments and learning activities

Group A

Distance Learning Instruction

Cycle Day 2

Group B

Brick and Mortar Instruction

Cycle Day 2

Students in this cohort will remain at home on cycle every “day 2” and participate in Distance Learning

Students and families must check each of their subject area teachers’ Google Classroom accounts for asynchronous assignments and learning activities

Students in this cohort will come to school on cycle every “day 2.”

Students will follow their regular nine period day school schedule

There will be time for mask breaks and hand washing while in the school building throughout the day

DISTANCE LEARNING INSTRUCTIONAL SCHEDULE

Elementary cycle day schedules are available in the West Hempstead District Calendar. Secondary cycle day schedules will be posted on our schools’ webpages.

  • Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class period at the secondary level and regularly at the elementary level.

  • Grading protocols will remain in effect.

Primary Model (K-3)

Intermediate Model (4-6)

Secondary Model (7-12)

AM Schedule

Morning Meeting

ELA/Literacy Block

Special Area Class

(ex: Music, Art, P.E.)

Students will follow their regular 6-day cycle school schedule during virtual distance learning instruction

Students must log in to their teachers’ Google Classrooms, and Google Meets during their regularly scheduled class times

Class schedules will be posted on George Washington’s web page

George Washington School Hours:

8:55 a.m.-3:10 a.m.

The 6-day cycle will remain in effect

Students will follow their regular nine period day 1/day 2 schedule during virtual distance learning instruction

Students must log in to their teachers’ Google Classrooms, and Google Meets during their regularly scheduled periods

Student schedules are available on the Power School portal

Middle School Hours:

7:55 a.m-2:40 p.m.

High School Hours:

7:55 a.m.-2:40 p.m.

The 2-day cycle will remain in effect

LUNCH/ SEL Check-Ins

PM Schedule

Mathematics Block

Science/Social Studies/

Small-Group Instruction

CS School Hours:

8:40 a.m-2:50 p.m.

CA School Hours:

9:05 a.m.-3:20 p.m.

The 6-day cycle will remain in effect

Traditional (Brick & Mortar) Instructional Delivery

Overview

  • Return to your assigned school.

  • The district adopted curriculum with lessons developed and taught by classroom teachers.

  • Traditional, in-person, face-to-face for grades K-12 learning following the regular student schedule and student calendar (180 days of instruction) and bell times (secondary).

  • Follow and adhere to all school building health and safety protocols and Code of Student Conduct.

What to Expect For Students

  • Students will physically come to their school for their learning.

  • Students will physically see and interact with their teacher(s) and classmates and follow their class/course schedule each day.

  • Assignments, activities, and classroom-based assessments will be developed and conducted by their teachers.

  • Special Education and ENL services will occur as outlined in student-specific plans.

  • All students will be expected to complete and submit assignments as determined by the assigned teacher.

  • Student Code of Conduct and traditional school expectations remain in effect.

  • All students will follow the assessment calendar and participate in all local and state assessments.

  • Students and families must review wellness to ensure students are well and symptom-free before coming to school each day.

  • Students and families need to adhere to all expectations to ensure the safety of all students, families, and employees.

  • Collaborative activities may look different or be lessened to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the school community.

  • Classroom spaces will be arranged to maximize social distancing and minimize any shared items.

  • Lunch schedules will be modified to maximize social distancing.

  • Large group gatherings will be reduced.

  • Parent meetings and/or conferences will be scheduled to occur virtually until it is deemed appropriate to have a larger number of individuals on campus.

What to Expect For Teachers and Staff

  • Teachers and instructional support staff report each day to lead and support instruction in their assigned classrooms.

  • Teachers develop and implement daily lesson plans for grade-level, standards-based instruction for students.

  • Teachers and instructional support staff differentiate and adjust instruction to meet the individual needs for student learning.

  • Teachers provide student make-up work, flexibility, and support if they are out of school for any reason.

Distance Learning

Distance Learning Overview

  • Students will maintain their enrollment status at their brick and mortar schools.

  • Students will attend school online during regular school hours and follow a standard school schedule.

  • Teachers will teach “live” each day with students daily utilizing web conferencing technology.

  • Teacher-designed lessons are delivered through Google Classroom.

  • Ongoing support services will be provided for students (e.g., counseling services, therapies, and mental health) remotely as appropriate.

  • Electronic devices will be available for check out at the school site if needed.

  • Courses will be designed to ensure rigor matches the traditional classroom setting.

  • Standards will be prioritized in the scope and sequence of instruction to support students as they enter the next grade, course level.

  • High-quality curriculum and learning experiences are designed that can be implemented in both the traditional and distance learning model.

  • Each course is aligned to NYS NGLS, and the scope and sequence will be adjusted and developed to support the prioritization of essential standards and to support the acceleration of potential unfinished learning from previous grade standards.

  • All assignments, activities, and classroom-based assessments will be developed and facilitated by assigned by the teacher.

  • All students will be expected to complete and submit assignments as determined by the assigned teacher.

  • Code of Student Conduct and all technology expectations remain in effect.

  • All students will follow the assessment calendar and participate in all local and state assessments.

  • Each morning, students are expected to be present and engage in virtual instruction each day within the designated schedule.

  • All students will be expected to adhere to daily attendance guidelines, login, and attend class during the designated times.

  • Students will access their curriculum and assignments via Google Classroom.

  • Students will utilize Google Meet for viewing live-lessons, meetings, and small group instruction.

  • Parent meetings and/or conferences will occur virtually until it is deemed appropriate to have larger numbers of individuals on campus.

  • Students who need a device will be issued one to engage in digital learning.

  • Students will also be issued any associated materials such as textbooks, art supplies, musical instruments, and other necessary materials where possible.

What to Expect For Teachers and Staff

  • All teachers have access to professional learning to prepare them for the 2020-2021 school year.

  • All professional development will be structured, organized, and maintained to provide easy access to relevant PD, resources, and tools related to pre-planning PD, and other relevant professional development offered throughout the year.

  • Guidance and resources will be shared with administrators for them to assist teachers in course development.

  • Depending on the model of delivery (traditional or distance learning), each teacher will have the ability to adapt and adjust the core resources to meet the setting and needs of their students.

  • Teachers will be expected to provide “live” instruction via web conferencing throughout the school day.

Distance Learning Parental Guidance

  • Make sure your student understands the work expectations for distance learning.

  • Maintain a daily routine around the school, instructional schedules, and schoolwork.

  • Keep in touch with your teacher(s) regularly and let them know if your child is experiencing specific challenges.

  • Talk to your child regarding how they are feeling.

  • Perform check-ins with your child regarding academics. This includes checking their Google Classroom and/or PowerSchool to ensure your child is completing assignments and making appropriate progress.

  • Seek assistance from school staff for emotional or mental health if needed.

  • Reach out to your child’s teacher or student services staff with any changes that may impact your child’s success. This way, we can develop supports for your child before the first day of school.

  • Parents may be required to pick up instructional materials (textbooks, etc.) for distance learning. Schools will contact parents if this is the case for their students.

Grades K-6

Per the Commissioner’s regulations, all students shall receive instruction that is designed to facilitate their attainment of the State learning standards. Schools must ensure that students receive high quality rigorous, standards-based instruction that will meet their academic needs and allow them to attain the learning standards in all curricular areas.

There are no subject-specific time requirements in grades K-6 for any subject, except physical education (PE) (see separate section on PE). Educational programs delivered in these grades should employ the best available instructional practices and resources and be mindful of maximizing instructional time and supports with these young learners.



Grades 7–12 – Units of Study

Per the Commissioner’s regulations Part 100.4 and 100.5, all students shall be provided instruction designed to enable them to achieve the State’s learning standards. These regulations outline specific time (unit of study) requirements for various subject areas. The unit of study definition (180 minutes per week or the equivalent) provides a framework for the instructional entitlement for our students in these grades. The intention is to provide a mandated minimum amount of instruction (contact hours) a school must provide to allow students to master a body of content in a certain subject. Under normal circumstances, in a face-to-face, in-person teaching environment, the State requires that school schedules for students be built in adherence to this time requirement.

The definition of a “unit of study” has been revised in the Commissioner’s Regulations to clarify further what may be considered in the design of such units of study.

Unit of study means at least 180 minutes of instruction per week throughout the school year or the equivalent. Equivalent shall mean at least 180 minutes of instructional time for instruction delivered in a traditional face to face model or through alternative instructional experiences, including but not limited to through digital technology or blended learning, that represents standards-based learning under the guidance and direction of an appropriately certified teacher. Instructional experiences shall include, but not be limited to, meaningful and frequent interaction with an appropriately certified teacher; academic and other supports designed to meet the needs of the individual student and instructional content that reflects consistent academic expectations as in-person instruction. Any alternative instructional experience must include meaningful feedback on student assignments and methods of tracking student engagement.

Science Laboratory Requirements

Per the Commissioner’s Regulations, courses that culminate in a Regents examination in science must include 1200 minutes of laboratory experiences. Due to the possibility of a hybrid or fully remote model of instruction as a result of COVID-19, the 1200-minute lab requirement can be met through hands-on laboratory experiences, virtual laboratory experiences, or a combination of virtual and hands-on laboratory experiences coupled with satisfactory lab reports for the 2020-21 school year. This laboratory requirement is in addition to the course requirement and entitles a student to admission to a culminating Regents Exam.

The school district is responsible for aligning laboratory experiences specific to each science course; determining the mode or modes of instruction, and identifying a viable vetted list of acceptable virtual labs or a combination of virtual and hands-on labs that a student would need to complete for each science course that culminates in a Regents examination. Schools must determine a method for students to record laboratory experiences and satisfactory lab reports. In a virtual environment, emphasis should be placed on the quality of the experience and the satisfactory completion of each laboratory experience rather than the time spent in completing such laboratory experience. Any student who has completed all laboratory experiences in accordance with teacher expectations shall be deemed to have met the 1200-minute requirement.

Physical Education

  • Per New York State Health Department Guidelines, districts and schools should ensure that a distance of twelve feet in all directions is maintained between individuals while participating in activities that require aerobic activity and result in heavy breathing (e.g., participating in gym classes).

  • Focus more 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).

  • Use games and activities that require no physical contact and do not require students to be in close physical proximity to each other.

Academic Intervention Services

Students in grades 3-8, 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 section 100.2(ee). As the New York State Assessments in grades 3-8 were not administered in the 2019-20 school year, we shall use a district developed procedure to be applied uniformly at each grade level for determining which students are entitled to such services. We will consider students’ scores on multiple measures of student performance, which include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following measures:

  • Developmental reading assessment (F & P, NWEA, etc.).

  • Benchmark and lesson embedded assessments.

  • Common formative assessments.

  • Unit and lesson assessments.

  • Results of psychoeducational evaluations.

  • Diagnostic screening for vision, hearing, and physical disabilities as well as screening for possible disabilities pursuant to Commissioners Regulations Part 117.

Three Plans:

  • WH Black: Distance Learning

  • WH Maroon: Hybrid Learning

  • WH Gold: Brick and Mortar Learning

Distance Learning WH Black Plan Grades K-3

  • All students have access to a device.

  • Students will follow a 6-day instructional schedule.

  • Classroom teachers will provide asynchronous and synchronous instruction.

  • Students will follow the same schedule in grades K-3.

  • The schedule will be posted on each primary school’s webpage and can be found in the district calendar.

  • One to one instruction, small group instruction scheduled within the hours of the school day with a focus on:

    • Assessment opportunities.

    • IEP Goals.

    • Packets for younger students - have teachers create packet work based on 5-6 weeks’ worth of curriculum for those students who may have difficulty with technology devices.

    • Each school will arrange for how work would be returned to teachers.

    • Weekly SEL check-in - classroom, lunch bunch, etc.

    • Teachers have Google Classrooms set up for the first day of school.

    • Related service providers to have kits ready to support student work at home.

    • Parents need technology training and understand work expectations.

Hybrid Learning WH Maroon Plan Grades K-3

  • Students will be divided into two cohorts: Group A and Group B, by building administration. The instructional schedule will be based on a 6-day cycle.

  • Students in Group A will attend the brick and mortar buildings for instruction and follow their instructional schedule on days 1,3,5 in the cycle. These students will participate in asynchronous learning experiences on days 2, 4, 6. Classroom teachers will design these learning activities.

  • Students in Group B will attend the brick and mortar buildings for instruction and follow their instructional schedule on days 2, 3, 6 in the cycle. These students will participate in asynchronous learning experiences on days 1, 3, 5. Classroom teachers will design these learning activities.

  • The same schedule will be followed by grades K-3.

  • The schedule will be posted on schools’ webpages.

  • ELL teachers and SWD may work with an ENL/ ICT teacher as their classroom teacher (ELL teachers who are dual certified can be classroom teachers) to further reduce the number of students in each group and/or provided additional supports for students with additional learning needs.

  • Repurpose spaces such as cafeterias, music, art, gymnasiums, etc. to accommodate smaller groups, which will be led by ELL or ICT teachers.

  • 1:1 lunch monitor for every class for coverage purposes.

  • Additional SEL activities during lunch and/or snack times. These sessions will be led by the mental health staff who are present in each of the buildings.

Brick and Mortar WH Gold Grades K-3

  • Students will follow a regular six-day instructional cycle with appropriate mask breaks and hand washing throughout the day.

  • Assessment of students to start the school year

    • NWEA.

    • Running Records.

    • F&P.

    • IEP Goals.

  • Parent training for

    • Technology.

    • Student schedules, structure, and expectations for all plans.

    • Understanding goals and data collection - surveys.

  • Appropriate PPE.

  • Maintain face coverings and social distancing.

  • Repurpose spaces as needed.

    • Cafeteria

    • Gym

    • Stellar

  • Students eat in classrooms if needed.

  • Special Area teachers to come into classrooms for (Art, PE, Music) if necessary.

  • SEL - Psychologists and Social Workers will conduct check-ins and co-teach SEL lessons with classroom teachers.

Distance Learning WH Black Plan- Grades 4-6

  • All students have access to a device.

  • Students will follow a six-day instructional schedule.

  • Classroom teachers will provide asynchronous and synchronous instruction.

  • Students will follow the same schedule in grades 4-6 as they would in the brick and mortar.

  • The schedule will be posted on the school’s webpage.

    • Packets for students - have teachers create packet work based on curricular units for those students who may have difficulty with technology devices.

    • Each school will arrange for how work would be returned to teachers.

    • Regular SEL check-ins and lessons will be conducted with students.

    • Teachers have Google Classrooms set up for the first day of school.

    • Related service providers to have kits ready to support student work at home.

    • Parents need technology training and understand work expectations.

  • Each period begins with a five- to ten-minute whole group mini-lesson (live or recorded).

      • Students are required to check-in to lesson to ensure attendance and accountability.

      • The remainder of the period can include conferencing in small groups and intermittent whole class check-ins.

      • The teacher will remain “live” for the entire class period.

Hybrid Learning WH Maroon Plan Grades 4-6

  • Students will be divided into two cohorts: Group A and Group B, by building administration. The instructional schedule will be based on a 6-day cycle.

  • Students in Group A will attend the brick and mortar buildings for instruction and follow their instructional schedule on days 1,3,5 in the cycle. These students will participate in asynchronous learning experiences on days 2, 4, 6. Classroom teachers will design these learning activities.

  • Students in Group B will attend the brick and mortar buildings for instruction and follow their instructional schedule on days 2, 3, 6 in the cycle. These students will participate in asynchronous learning experiences on days 1, 3, 5. Classroom teachers will design these learning activities.

  • Students will follow the same schedule in grades 4-6.

  • The schedule will be posted on the school’s webpage.

  • ELL teachers and SWD may work with an ENL/ ICT teacher as their classroom teacher (ELL teachers who are dual certified can be classroom teachers) to further reduce the number of students in each group and/or provided additional supports for students with additional learning needs.

  • Repurpose spaces such as cafeterias, music, art, gymnasiums, etc. to accommodate smaller groups, which will be led by ELL or ICT teachers.

Brick and Mortar WH Gold Plan Grades 4-6

    • All staff and students will wear a mask.

    • Students will follow their regular six-day schedule.

    • Daily attendance will be taken.

    • Ensure that from the beginning of the school year, classrooms have a robust digital presence so that if/when we need to work remotely, we are well prepared.

    • Establish a learning community both digitally through the use of Google Classroom, and in the physical classroom through valuable interpersonal instruction.

    • Focus on re-acclimating students to the physical school environment and ensuring that their social-emotional needs are met through assessment and check-ins.

Distance Learning WH Black Plan Grades 7-12

  • All students have access to a device.

  • Students will follow a two-day instructional schedule.

  • Content area teachers will provide asynchronous and synchronous instruction.

  • Students will follow the same schedule in grades 7-12.

  • Day 1 or 2 schedules will be posted on the High School and Middle School webpages.

  • Students are expected to follow their assigned schedules Monday through Friday. We will follow the High School period schedule. 7:55AM - 2:40 PM, periods 1-9.

  • Students will follow their daily schedules during virtual instructional days by logging into their Google Meet sessions. Attendance will be taken each of the class periods.

  • Students will have a Google Classroom for each of their scheduled classes. Each student is expected to check in to their courses at their assigned period each day and complete the assignments provided.

  • Google Classroom will be the main mode of instructional communication for all teachers-students.

  • Teachers and students will participate in SEL check-ins and/or lessons regularly both in small group and class settings.

  • Additional SEL sessions may be conducted by mental health staff.

Hybrid Learning WH Maroon Plan Grades 7-12

  • Students will be divided into two cohorts: Group A and Group B, by building administration. The instructional schedule will be based on a two-day cycle.

  • Students in Group A will attend the brick and mortar buildings for instruction and follow their instructional schedule on day 1 in the cycle. These students will participate in asynchronous learning experiences on day 2 of the cycle. Classroom teachers will design these learning activities.

  • Students in Group B will attend the brick and mortar buildings for instruction and follow their instructional schedule on day 2 in the cycle. These students will participate in asynchronous learning experiences on day 1. Classroom teachers will design these learning activities.

  • Students will follow the same schedule in grades 7-12.

  • Day 1 and 2 schedules will be posted on the schools’ webpages.

  • ELL and SWD students may work with an ENL/ ICT teacher to further reduce the number of students in each group and/or provided additional supports for students with additional learning needs.

  • Repurpose spaces such as cafeterias, music, art, gymnasiums, etc. to accommodate smaller groups, which will be led by ELL or ICT teachers.

  • Teachers and students will participate in SEL check-ins and/or lessons regularly both in small group and class settings.

  • Additional SEL sessions may be conducted by mental health staff.

Brick and Mortar WH Gold Plan Grades 7-12

    • All staff and students will wear a mask.

    • Students will follow their regular Day 1/Day 2 schedule.

    • Daily attendance will be taken.

    • Ensure that from the beginning of the school year, classrooms have a robust digital presence so that if/when we need to work remotely, we are well prepared.

  • Teachers and students will participate in SEL check-ins and/or lessons regularly both in small group and class settings.

  • Additional SEL sessions may be conducted by mental health staff.

Instructional Practice for all learning environment options:

All Teachers will be embedding and focusing on the following instructional practices to allow for continuity and allow for seamless instructional transition between leaning environments.

  • Google Classroom

    • Students will have a Google Classroom for each of their scheduled classes. Each student is expected to check in to their courses at their assigned period each day and complete the assignments provided.

    • Even when instruction is taking place in the building, teachers will post their assignments daily.

  • Students centered learning

    • Project Based Learning

    • Teachers must implement instructional practices that are transferable between brick and mortar and digital learning.

  • Overarching Goals

    • Skill-based instruction (overarching goals)

      • We shared the overarching goals with students and parents.

      • A possible calendar of overarching goals for teachers.

        • Change every two weeks

        • Spiral skills

        • Week 1 and 2: Mindfulness

        • Week 3 and 4: Goal setting

        • Week 5 and 6: Communication

        • Week 7and 8: Literacy

        • Week 9 and 10: Critical thinking

      • Restart every quarter.

      • Teachers can highlight skills within the assigned goal.

      • Goals/skills should spiral throughout the year.

      • Use the rubric for assessment of students’ progress and skills.

  • Visible Learning

    • Weekly use of questionings

      • What am I learning?

      • Why am I learning this?

      • How do I know if I have learned it?

    • The learning target focuses on skill, not content, which aligned with overarching goals document.

Mental Health

Available resources and referrals to address mental health behavioral, and emotional needs of students, faculty, and staff when school reopens for in-person instruction (e g., how they will identify and support students having difficulty with transitioning back into the school setting, especially given the changing school environment Any training for faculty and staff on how to talk with, and support students during and after the ongoing COVID public health emergency as well as information on developing coping and resilience skills for students faculty, and staff.

Grading

Teachers, departments, and buildings develop grading and grading policies. They are typically found in the student handbooks and are provided to each student by their teacher.

ATHLETICS AND EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

Per the reopening guidance issued by the NYS Department of Health and Executive Orders by the Governor of the State of New York, we developed policies regarding extracurricular programs. We have referred to DOH’s “Interim Guidance for Sports and Recreation During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” to assist in the development of these policies; however, interscholastic sports are not permitted at the time of publication of this guidance, and additional information on athletic activities is forthcoming.

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYPSPHSAA) has established a COVID-19 Task Force comprised of NYSPHSAA member superintendents, principals, athletic directors, and executive directors in addition to representatives from New York State Athletic Administrators Association and State Education Department. The Task Force will provide guidance when New York high school student-athletes are allowed to return to athletics. The task force is reviewing State and local health guidelines, as well as NYSED guidance, regarding the 2020-2021 school year to determine, among other things, the extent to which changes may be needed for each interscholastic sports season. The COVID-19 Task Force will continue to review all aspects of the fall 2020 season and the 2020-2021 school year related to the COVID-19 crisis, such as practice requirements, fan attendance, resocialization efforts; protocol; procedures; transportation; etc.

Considerations for Athletics and Extracurricular Activities

  • Restrict and/or limit the use of school/district facilities to the district or school-sponsored extracurricular activities and groups. If any external community organizations are permitted to use school/district facilities, schools/districts must ensure such organizations follow State and locally-developed guidance on health and safety protocols.

  • Maximize the use of technology and online resources to create or continue some extracurricular activities that may not need or has limited person-to-person contact.

Extracurricular Activities and Use of Facilities Outside of School Hours

All extracurricular activities and external community organizations that use school facilities must follow State and local on health and safety protocols and must comply with applicable social distancing requirements and hygiene protocol.





SPECIAL EDUCATION

  • The West Hempstead Union Free School District is dedicated to providing a Free Appropriate Public Education consistent with the need to protect the health and safety of students with disabilities and those providing special education and services; meaningful parental engagement regarding the provision of services to their child; a collaboration between the Committee on Preschool Special Education/Committee on Special Education (CPSE/CSE) and program providers representing the variety of settings where students are served; access to the necessary instructional and technological supports to meet the unique needs of students; and documentation of programs, services and communications with parents.

  • The West Hempstead Union Free School District has considered in-person services a priority for students with disabilities and preschool students with disabilities whenever possible and has considered contingency plans developed by the CPSE/CSE to address remote learning needs in the event of intermittent or extended school closures. Such plans are outlined below.

  • Students with disabilities in self-contained classes are scheduled to come in daily. All related services and home services will be provided in-person as long as it is safe for all parties.

  • Parents will stay informed via communication through the district correspondence and Pupil Personnel office in their preferred language or mode of communication.

  • We will follow the continuum of services as outlined by NYSED. The district will document the programs and services offered on each individualized IEP or 504 plan. We will also document programs and services offered via documentation and data collected (attendance, logs, progress reports) from each session provided to the student.

  • Students will be provided with the necessary accommodations, modifications, supplementary aids and services, and technology (including assistive technology) to meet the unique disability needs of students in accordance with their IEPs or 504 plans.

  • Below is a detailed outline of a plan in the event of intermittent or extended school closures occur.

Special Education Instruction and Related Services In The Event of Intermittent or Extended School Closure

Special Education Classes

  • Classes of 8 (CS, CA, GW & MS)- Teachers have created Google Classrooms and use the SeeSaw platform for their students. Students with more intensive needs will be given packets based on their individual goals as well and will also utilize the Google suite of online resources where applicable. Individual Task kits will be provided to students. Teachers and teaching assistants will work with students in a whole group, small group, and one on one to meet the specific needs of each student in accordance with their IEP. Students will have appropriately differentiated materials and activities specifically designed for their individual needs.

  • Special Class (12 & 15) – Teachers have created Google Classrooms for their students. Back up packets based on their individual goals will be given and will also utilize the Google suite of online resources. Teachers will work in collaboration with teaching assistants to ensure that all students are provided with appropriately differentiated materials and activities. Students and teachers will work in whole class, small groups, and one on one as needed to support student learning outcomes.

  • ICT Classes – Teachers have created Google Classrooms and will also utilize the Google suite of online resources. Special Education teachers will meet with classified students in small groups and one on one in addition to whole-class lessons. All materials and lessons will be appropriately differentiated to meet the individual needs of the students in accordance with their IEP.

  • Resource Room - Teachers have created Google Classrooms and will also utilize the Google suite of online resources. The resource room will be aimed at supporting student progress toward IEP goals as well as their curricular needs inside their general education classroom.

Related Services Counseling

  • Classes of 8 – Students with more intensive needs will be offered a consultative model, in which providers will communicate directly with parents and/or guardians to offer resources and support in accordance with their IEP mandate and beyond as needed.

  • Elementary Level – All providers will be in contact with the parents and/or guardians of mandated counseling students. This contact will be in the form of phone calls and/or emails. At the provider and parental discretion, the provider may communicate directly with the student via phone call. Also, when appropriate, counseling materials and/or resources are provided for students. Individual student needs will determine the frequency and duration of communication in accordance with their IEP to the greatest extent possible. Students will have opportunities to be a part of Lunch Bunch and/or weekly SEL activities.

  • Middle School Level – All providers will be in contact with the parents and/or guardians of mandated counseling students. This contact will be in the form of phone calls and/or emails. At the provider and parental discretion, the provider may communicate directly with the student via phone call. Also, when appropriate, counseling materials and/or resources are provided for students. Middle school students, when appropriate, will have access to provider-driven online learning through Google Classroom. Individual student needs will determine the frequency and duration of communication in accordance with their IEP. Opportunities for weekly SEL activities will be built into the schedule for all students.

  • High School Level –All providers will be in contact with students and/or the parents and/or guardians of mandated counseling students. This contact will be in the form of phone calls and/or emails. At the provider and parental discretion, the provider may communicate directly with the student via phone call. The frequency and duration of communication will be determined by individual student needs based in accordance with their IEP. Opportunities for weekly SEL activities will be built into the schedule for all students.





Occupational or Physical Therapists

  • Our Occupational and Physical Therapists will provide therapies remotely (synchronous and asynchronous) and provide service packets and a list of resources to the students and their families. The therapist will utilize the Google Classroom platform and push into whole class lessons where appropriate.

Speech Services

  • The speech department will be addressing the individual needs of each classified student in the event of school closure via remote services utilizing Google Classroom and individual packets. Speech sessions will be provided both synchronous and asynchronous to provide students with meaningful therapy to the greatest extent possible. Teletherapy will be utilized. Students may be seen individually or in groups based on individual needs.

Vision and Hearing Services

  • Students will be receiving remote services via their providers, both synchronously and asynchronously. Students may also be provided with packets and utilize Google Classroom.

Students Attending Out of District Placements

  • If a student attends a program outside the district, the instruction will come directly from the out-of-district schools. West Hempstead Union Free School District will collaborate and coordinate with all OOD placements to ensure continuity of learning.

  • Home services will continue to be provided by the district remotely for the students.

Home Services

ABA, Parent Training, Behavior Intervention Services

  • ABA, Parent Training, Behavior Intervention Services, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy:

    • All home services will be provided remotely in consultation with parents via phone or a virtual platform that the agency utilizes. Services will be provided both synchronously and asynchronously in accordance with the IEP to the greatest extent possible. Providers will continue to make contact with families throughout school closure.

Annual Review Meetings

  • All annual review meetings will be conducted via Google Meets or via phone conference.

  • CPSE, kindergarten transition meetings, and out-of-district meetings will continue virtually or via phone conference.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

  • Students with disabilities will have access to high-quality programs that are designed, based on their individual needs and abilities, to enable them to achieve the desired learning results established for all students. We will be creative in ensuring that students with disabilities have opportunities for instruction with students without disabilities to the greatest extent possible consistent with their IEP, following all COVID-19 guidance regarding distancing and cohorts for contact tracing. When providing in-person instruction, we will ensure that health and safety requirements do not result in the unnecessary separation of students with disabilities from their non-disabled peers.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) Documentation

  • As West Hempstead Schools plan to reopen, students with disabilities were considered and will be provided with access to the least restrictive environment. Schedules were made in accordance with LRE. Parents were included in stakeholder meetings to discuss accessibility to the LRE.

IEP Implementation

  • Until schools return to normal operating conditions, we will continue to follow the same flexibility concerning IEP implementation for delivery of services during school closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak continues to apply to the programs and services whether delivered in-person and/or remotely (e.g., flexibility concerning the mode and/or manner; group or individual sessions; specific group size for related services, frequency, duration and location of related services, and special class size ratio, etc.).

Provisions of Services

  • Consistent with previously issued OSE guidance, we will ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, each student with a disability will be provided the special education and related services identified in the student’s IEP. During the 2020-21 school year, due to the health and safety requirements that must be in place when schools resume, we may not be able to provide all services in the same mode and/or manner they are typically provided. We will determine what methods of delivery of services will be utilized to deliver special education programs and services to meet the needs of students with disabilities in accordance with the various types of instructional models, including in-person and remote learning. When providing remote services, we will continue to use the information included in OSE’s March 27, 2020 and April 27, 2020 guidance documents to the extent applicable. Remote instruction will be both synchronous and asynchronous.

Progress Monitoring

  • Teachers and service providers will continue to collect data, whether in-person or remotely, and use this data to monitor each student’s progress toward the annual goals and to evaluate the effectiveness of the student’s special education services. Determining student progress is necessary for understanding the student’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, and for determining whether, and to what extent, the school closures may have disrupted the student’s learning. Teachers will assess the level of independence/prompting (teacher/parent) each student is working at when reporting on progress towards goals. Reports of progress to parents may be made via telephone or other electronic means if progress reporting procedures specified in the student’s IEP cannot be met with reasonable efforts.

Best Practice for Contingency Plans

  • In March 2020, NYSED provided guidance in conformance with the federal Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) that IEPs did not need to be amended as schools converted to online or virtual learning platforms. As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, CPSE/CSE has prepared for all contingencies and has considered plans to address students’ remote learning needs in the event of potential future intermittent or extended school closures. It has been outlined in previous sections of this document.

Compensatory Services

  • Because schools were required to provide FAPE consistent with the need to protect health and safety in the first instance, students may have experienced a loss of skills despite best intentions, efforts, and creative solutions when providing educational programs and services. In these circumstances, CPSEs/CSEs will make an individualized determination whether and to what extent compensatory services are to be provided once school reopens; how those services will be provided in conjunction with the school’s reopening plan and continue if the school must close again over the next school year.

IEP Implementation Documentation

  • We will review programs, services provided, and data that was collected during the closure of schools during team meetings, program review meetings, or annual review meetings. Student needs will be reviewed due to the period of remote instruction and a return to a traditional classroom environment after a period away from in-person instruction. Formative assessments and ongoing monitoring of student progress will be documented and maintained. They will be available to the CPSE/ CSE and parents, in their preferred language or mode of communication. We will document in PWNs collaboration with parents to develop any contingency remote learning plans that may be implemented during school closure. We will document the ongoing provision of compensatory services to individual students upon the reopening of schools. Documentation will then be available to parents, CPSE/CSE and other relevant parties, in their preferred language or mode of communication.

Child Find

  • As schools reopen, we will continue our responsibilities under IDEA to identify, locate, and evaluate all students with disabilities who require special education and related services while keeping in mind the impact that school closure may have had on students.

Referral

  • Before referring a student for special education, we will take into consideration all factors that may have influenced the student’s progress during school closures due to COVID-19. If the school district suspects a student of having a disability, it will refer the student for initial special education evaluation and obtain parental consent for the evaluation. However, a referral may not be warranted if the reason for underperformance is due to school closures and a change in the provision of education. All parent referrals and requests for referrals by school staff will be considered as usual per the procedures in Commissioner’s Regulations section 200.4(a).

Initial Evaluation/Reevaluation

  • Special education evaluations (i.e., initial and reevaluations) will be conducted whether in-person or remotely within required timelines and guidance from OSE. The use of technology will be considered to meet timelines for evaluations and reevaluations that must be conducted remotely. CPSEs/CSEs will review records to determine which students are due for an initial evaluation or reevaluation and will address any backlog of evaluations. We will continue to follow OSE’s March 27, 2020 and April 27, 2020 guidance to the extent applicable for conducting evaluations and reevaluations during the COVID-19 pandemic to meet the special education timelines.

Eligibility Determination/Annual Review Meetings

  • We will continue to follow the Federal guidelines for CPSEs/CSEs to meet as required, including to make eligibility determinations following initial evaluations and to review and, if appropriate, revise each student’s IEP at least annually. When conducting CPSE/CSE meetings, the parent of a student with a disability and a school district may agree to use alternative means of meeting participation requirements, such as video conferences and teleconferences.







Communication/Coordination

  • Ensuring clear, ongoing, and shared communication and collaboration is critical to ensuring equitable access to special education programs and services and the continued offer of FAPE for students with disabilities. We will continue to collaborate with parents and families to ensure that students continue to be provided FAPE consistent with the need to protect the health and safety of students and their service providers.

Meaningful Outreach and Engagement with Parents of Students with Disabilities

  • In addition to the communication efforts schools make for all students, parents of students with disabilities have a legal right to be informed regarding the identification, evaluation, educational placement, and the provision of FAPE to their child. Whether special education programs and services are provided in-person, remotely, or through a hybrid model, effective communication between West Hempstead School personnel and parents includes the following:

    • Working collaboratively and creatively to help ensure there is an understanding of our efforts to provide services consistent with the recommendations on the IEP and monitor student progress; and

    • Communicating with parents in their preferred language or mode of communication and documenting outreach efforts.

Procedural Safeguards and Prior Written Notice Requirements

  • We will continue to provide the procedural safeguards notice to parents.

  • We will continue to provide parents with prior written notice in a reasonable time before a change in the identification, evaluation, educational placement, or provision of FAPE to the student.

  • The procedural safeguards notice, prior written notice, and CPSE/CSE meeting notice may be provided to the parent by email if the parent elected to receive documents by email.

  • Prior written notice is not required if instruction or related services continue to be provided remotely or through a hybrid model because remote learning and telepractice is considered an alternate mode of instructional delivery and not considered a change in the student’s educational placement. If, however, based on current circumstances, revisions or additions to a student’s IEP need be made to continue to meet the student’s needs. At the same time, school is closed due to COVID-19, such as an increase, decrease, or change in service or program, a prior written notice will be generated.

Partnership and Collaboration to Reflect All Settings Where Students are Served

  • The diverse educational needs of students with disabilities are reflected through the continuum of services that are provided in a variety of settings. We are ultimately responsible for the provision of FAPE, frequent opportunities to interact with representatives from all applicable school settings will best facilitate the collective review of effective service delivery and student progress monitoring. For those students who are receiving special education programs and services in a charter school, Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) program, independent or religious school, approved school-age program serving students with disabilities, or for approved preschool special education providers contracted by the county, we will conduct outreach efforts to remain informed regarding the planned activities for the nature and delivery of instruction and related services and to identify shared resources, materials, and technology that may be available to students, as appropriate.



  • For those special education programs and services delivered via a contract with the West Hempstead Union Free School District, the provision of instruction and related services must continue to be documented by the West Hempstead Schools, BOCES program, a nonpublic school with an approved special education program, Special Act school district, State-operated school, State-supported school, preschool special class or preschool special class in an integrated setting program, preschool special education itinerant service provider, or related service provider, as applicable, so that these activities may be communicated to the school district responsible for developing students’ IEPs. This documentation is necessary for consideration when making individualized determinations as to whether changes to the IEP recommendation or compensatory services are needed, under applicable standards and requirements. Successful and continued partnerships between program providers and school districts will reflect coordinated efforts necessary to best respond to student needs.

Accommodations and Modifications

  • We have reviewed their instructional practices and has included them in this plan to account for the necessary accommodations and modifications for students with disabilities to progress in the general education curriculum. Accommodations are alterations in the way tasks and/or assignments are presented. Modifications are changes in what students are expected to learn. Both accommodations and modifications ensure equity and access to the general education curriculum in consideration of a student’s unique disability-related needs.

Supplementary Aids and Services

  • Supplementary aids and services mean aids, services, and other supports that are provided in regular education classes, other education-related settings, and in extracurricular and nonacademic settings to enable students with disabilities to be educated with nondisabled students to the maximum extent appropriate in accordance with the least restrictive environment. We will ensure students with disabilities have access to supplementary aids and services to meet their unique instructional and social-emotional needs.





Technology

  • We are aware of the students with disabilities requiring assistive technology that is used to increase, maintain, or improve their functional capabilities. Consideration needs will be given to ensure students have access to their working technology and any accompanying programs. Protocols are in place for the availability of an assistive technology service that is necessary to directly assist a student in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. We have provided parents and families via the district website with a list of individuals, including their contact information, available to respond to questions and concerns regarding the assistive technology device and/or service for their child(ren).

IEP Implementation

  • Until schools return to normal operating conditions, the same flexibility concerning IEP implementation for delivery of services during school closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak continues to apply to the programs and services whether delivered in-person and/or remotely (e.g., flexibility concerning the mode and/or manner; group or individual sessions; specific group size for related services, frequency, duration and location of related services, and special class size ratio, etc.).

Provision of Services

  • Consistent with previously issued OSE guidance, we must ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, each student with a disability can be provided the special education and related services identified in the student’s IEP. During the 2020-21 school year, due to the health and safety requirements that must be in place when schools resume, schools may not be able to provide all services in the same mode and/or manner they are typically provided. Schools will need to determine what methods of delivery of services will be utilized to deliver special education programs and services to meet the needs of students with disabilities as they plan for various types of instructional models, including in-person and remote learning. When providing remote services, schools should continue to use the information included in OSE’s March 27, 2020 and April 27, 2020 guidance documents to the extent applicable.

Progress Monitoring

  • Teachers and service providers must continue to collect data, whether in-person or remotely, and use these data to monitor each student’s progress toward the annual goals and to evaluate the effectiveness of the student’s special education services. Determining student progress is necessary for understanding the student’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, and for determining whether, and to what extent, the school closures may have disrupted the student’s learning. Reports of progress to parents may be made via telephone or other electronic means if progress reporting procedures specified in the student’s IEP cannot be met with reasonable efforts.

Compensatory Services

  • Because schools were required to provide FAPE consistent with the need to protect health and safety in the first instance, students may have experienced a loss of skills despite best intentions, efforts, and creative solutions when providing educational programs and services. In these circumstances, CPSEs/CSEs must make an individualized determination whether and to what extent compensatory services are to be provided once school reopens; how those services will be provided in conjunction with the school’s reopening plan and continue if the school must close again over the next school year.

ENL

  • Qualifying schools that reopen using in-person or hybrid instruction will be required to complete the ELL identification process within thirty school days of the start of the school year for all students who enrolled during COVID-19 school closures in 2019-20, as well as all students who enroll during summer of 2020 and the first twenty school days of the 2020-21 school year. After this twenty-day flexibility period, identification of ELLs must resume for all students within the required ten school days of initial enrollment as required by Commissioner’s Regulations Part 154.

  • Provision of required instructional Units of Studymust be provided to all ELLs based on their most recently measured English language proficiency level during in-person or hybrid instruction.

  • Maintain regular communication with the parents/guardians and other family members of ELLs to ensure that they are engaged in their children’s education during the reopening process. We will provide all communications for parents/guardians of ELLs in their preferred language and mode of communication.

Initial Identification of Potential ELLs

NYSED has approved temporary emergency regulatory changes to the ELL identification process to address the backlog of newly enrolled students. They need to complete the ELL identification process mandated by Part 154- 2.3(a) at the commencement of the 2020-21 school year.

  • Qualifying schools that reopen using in-person instruction or blended/hybrid instruction will be required to complete the ELL identification process within thirty school days of the start of the academic school year for all students who enrolled during COVID-19 school closures in 2019-20, as well as all students who enroll during summer of 2020 and the first twenty school days of the 2020-21 academic school year. After this twenty-day flexibility period, all schools that reopen using in-person or hybrid instruction will be expected to complete the identification of ELLs within the required ten school days of the initial enrollment for all students pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulations Part 154, including the ELL screening, identification, and placement processes. The initial screening process should be followed in person for new entrants following the district’s safety protocols to ensure compliance with the Governor’s Executive Orders and Center for Disease Control (CDC) health and safety guidelines after the commencement of regional reopening.

  • Any new entrant enrolling in a school district, to the extent feasible, must be provisionally placed in a bilingual education program while awaiting NYSITELL results, as this is the program of default for districts that meet the enrollment threshold set forth under Section 154-2.3(d).

Professional Learning for Educators

  • To ensure that all NYS educators are aware of and able to address ELL needs, all teachers and administrators must receive professional learning related to serving ELLs as required by Commissioner’s Regulations Part 154. We must adhere to professional learning requirements set forth under Section 154-2.3(k), pursuant to which – unless the district is eligible for and NYSED has approved a waiver – 15% of all teachers’ professional learning hours, and 50% of all professional learning hours for bilingual education and ENL teachers, must be targeted to the specific needs of ELLs.

Progress Monitoring

  • With the cancelation of the 2020 NYSESLAT, schools will use the standards that are measured via our ENL progress reports creating assessments that monitor and track students’ expected outcomes for English Language Proficiency based on grade bands that are aligned to the NYSESLAT and NYS Bilingual Common Core progressions. The progress reports were created by the LI RBERN and have been used in West Hempstead for progress monitoring for the last four years.

Students with Interrupted/Inconsistent Formal Education (SIFE)

  • SIFEare among the most vulnerable ELL subgroups, having already endured interruptions in their education prior to their arrival in NYS. Many SIFE are refugees, and others may have left family and friends behind when they immigrated to the US. While school closures have been difficult on all students, SIFE have been among those having the hardest time adjusting, and many were not able to remain engaged with their learning. In response, NYSED has approved a temporary emergency regulatory change that time out of school due to COVID closures do not count toward the twelve months that SIFE may be enrolled in US schools before initial identification as a SIFE pursuant to Part 154-2.2(y), regardless of whether they were engaged in remote schooling during that time.









STAFFING

  • All teachers, school and district leaders, and pupil personnel service professionals hold a valid and appropriate certificate for their assignment. For more information, please visit the NYSEDs data website and navigate to our “school report card.”

  • Pursuant to Education Law 3001, individuals employed to teach in New York State public schools must hold a valid certificate. School districts, BOCES, and charter schools can review the SIRS 329 Staff Certifications report, which is available in Cognos for authorized users, to ensure that teachers hold the appropriate certificates for their teaching assignments. This report is refreshed weekly and lists all valid certificates for all staff identified in the school district, BOCES, or charter school Staff Snapshot.

TEACHER AND PRINCIPAL EVALUATION SYSTEM

  • Pursuant to Education Law 3012-d, absent modification each school district and BOCES must fully implement its currently approved APPR plans in each school year.

SUBSTITUTE TEACHING

Substitute teachers may be an important resource for schools during the COVID-19 crisis and currently fall into one of the three following categories.

  • Substitute teachers with a valid teaching certificate can work in any capacity, for any number of days. If they are employed for more than forty days by a school district or BOCES in a school year, they must be employed in an area for which they are certified.

  • Substitute teachers without a valid certificate, but who are working towards certification (taking college coursework) at a rate of not less than six semester hours per year, can work in any capacity, for any number of days, in any number of school districts. If they are employed for more than forty days by a school district or BOCES in a school year, they must be employed in the area for which they are seeking certification.

  • Substitute teachers who do not hold a valid teaching certificate and are not working towards certification may work for no more than forty days in a school district or BOCES in a school year, except as described below.

  • During the 2020-2021 school year, due to the COVID-19 crisis, substitute teachers who do not hold a valid teaching certificate and are not working towards certification, but hold a high school diploma or its equivalent, may be employed by the school district or BOCES beyond the 40-day limit, for up to an additional fifty days (ninety days total in a school year), if the district superintendent (for BOCES’s and districts that are a component district of a BOCES) or the superintendent (for school districts that are not a component district of a BOCES) certifies that the district or BOCES, as applicable, has conducted a good faith recruitment search for a properly certified candidate and there are no available certified teachers that can perform the duties of such position. In rare circumstances, a district or BOCES may hire a substitute teacher beyond the ninety days, if a district superintendent or superintendent attests that a good faith recruitment search has been conducted and that there are still no available certified teachers who can perform the duties of such position and that a particular substitute teacher is needed to work with a specific class or group of students until the end of the school year.

STUDENT TEACHING

  • We will continue to welcome student teachers into schools and classrooms, whether in person or remote, during the 2020-2021 school year. Student teachers can play important roles in terms of bridging gaps related to remote/online instruction, and in supporting the teachers of record and the students, especially during these challenging times.

VISITOR, GUESTS, CONTRACTORS, AND VENDORS PROTOCOL

  1. Seek approval for the visit from the person to be visited.
  2. Complete the online Health Screening Form the morning of the visit. The link is posted here. Login as guestcovid@whufsd.com and enter 'ss' for the password. For instructions on completing the form, please click here.
  3. Arrive wearing a mask.
  4. Sanitize hands upon entry.
  5. Comply with social distancing norms.