UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT
2020-2021 - Reopening Plan
A Message from the Acting Superintendent of Schools
When I decided to convene a Reopening Task Force three months ago I immediately knew, as determined by my collaborative leadership style, that I had to include a variety of stakeholders in the decision making around this plan. Uniondale is one of the largest and most diverse districts on Long Island, and it was important that I included a representation of our diverse community on this task force. Consequently, the following stakeholders joined me in the configuration of this plan; Building Administrators, Teachers, our Scholar Board member, Parents and Community Leaders. By so doing, we were able to consider all perspectives and voices.
As we worked to design our plan the COVID-19 pandemic reaffirmed something that we have always known with complete certainty: our schools are a prominent and irreplaceable part of our scholars’ lives and our community as a whole. Our scholars and their families rely on them to provide essential services that go far beyond academics. Services such as after school clubs, athletics, etc. While many parents are anxious to have our scholars back in school, it would be irresponsible to do this until we are confident it is completely safe to do so. By including stakeholders with expertise in a variety of substantive areas, we were able to elicit the critical input we needed to inform the decision-making that went into this plan.
That is why our plan proposes three possible reopening scenarios: in-person instruction, virtual instruction, and a combination of the two. COVID-19 has had a particularly difficult impact on our community– in terms of health, employment, and our scholars’ ability to receive a rigorous education. Some of our scholars did not have access to the internet or the devices they needed to meaningfully participate in virtual instruction. This kind of unequal access to resources occurs far too often and continues to strengthen my resolve to ensure equity for all of our scholars.
I am sincerely appreciative of all of our Reopening Task Force participants for their time and valuable contributions to this plan, with a sincere note of appreciation to Principal Dexter Hodge for his extraordinary leadership in overseeing every aspect of this work, Paul Gibson for sharing the wider community’s thoughts and concerns, Sylvia Kallich for representing the school district on the New York State committee, Adeola-Tella Williams (UHS), Valerie Desroleaux (THMS) and Janel Benny (NPS) for collaborating with me on the many curriculum decisions and Dr. Andrea Silverstein, our editor-in-chief.
In Service for Children,
Date of publication July 13, 2020
Title of publication - Uniondale Union Free School District 2020-2021 Re-Entry Plan
Committee Chairpersons - Ms. Rhonda Taylor and Principal Dexter Hodge
Researcher/Editor - Dr. Andrea Silverstein
Scheduling - Principal Juanita Bryant-Bell, Principal Elaine DeBono, Ms. Debbie Pfeiffer, Dr. Clinton Grant, and Principal Mark McCaw
Health and Safety- Ms. Sylvia Kallich, Mr. John LaBare, and Ms. Valerie Desrouleaux
Transportation - Dr. Lynnda Nadien and Dr. Jack Abramowitz
Facilities - Mr. John LaBare, Mr. Sergio Argueta, and Dr. Frantz Dorsainvil
Nutrition - Ms. Alexa Price
Teaching and Learning - Ms. Rhonda Taylor, Ms. Adeola Tella-Williams, and Ms. Janel Benny
Digital Learning and Access- Ms. Ana Ritter
Budget/Finances - Mr. Steven Epstein
Social-Emotional Needs - Ms. Carol DelValle, Ms. Stacie Reid, and Dr. Estrella Olivares-Orellana
Bilingual/MLL (Multi-language Learners) - Mr. Pierre Rancy
Special Education - Mr. Shelby Streeter
Staffing/Human Resources - Dr. Myrtle Dickson
Summary - Principal Dexter Hodge
Table of Contents
The implementation of this School Reopening Plan is subject to change based on directives from the New York State Department of Education (NYSED) and Governor Andrew Cuomo. The plan is based on the best available information and conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan will evolve and be adjusted when information becomes available as the status of the COVID-19 pandemic changes.
The Uniondale School District’s planning process is based on the most current Center for Disease Control projections. Possible scenarios for COVID-19 cases include:
New York State has decided that all schools will reopen for Pre-K through Grade 12 in September 2020. The Uniondale School District will continue to update faculty, staff, scholars, parents/guardians and community members about the plans for the 2020-2021 school year through an array of communication methods including (but not limited to) postings on District and School Websites, Board of Education meetings, PowerSchool Parent Portal, School Messenger, Electronic Boards, Social Media, scholar and parent emails, text messages, and newsletters. The Uniondale School District will update these communication outlets as needed. All communications will be translated into the languages spoken at home among families and the community (English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole). Surveys will be distributed periodically to collect and analyze data from staff, parents, and scholars to ensure their input is considered in all planning.
Additionally, staff members will be encouraged to share plans and subsequent updates in their Google Classrooms, Remind Apps, PowerSchool Parent Portal, and other methods of communication. Local health departments, local health care providers and other health-related entities will be updated through the office of the Administrative Assistant for Health Services. Unions and community-based organizations will be updated by the Superintendent’s office.
The parent survey indicated a strong preference for scholars to participate in virtual learning rather than attending in-person instruction
Signage will be displayed throughout all school buildings and offices to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the appropriate health protocols as well as updates on the status of a change in the scheduling of schools (ex. Moving from an in-person model to a virtual learning model). All staff and scholars will receive training on safely and correctly following new COVID-19 protocols including but not limited to hand hygiene, wearing of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), maintaining social distancing, and respiratory hygiene.
This Reopening Plan was submitted to NYSED as per their directives on July 31, 2020 and to the Department of Health as required. This document is available for viewing on school websites in English, Spanish, and Haitian/Creole.
The Uniondale School District will continue to engage with our education partners as part of this important process. This Reopening Plan is for grades Pre-K to 12 for the 2020-21 school year. This plan is founded on the following three principles:
• The safety of scholars, staff, parents, and community members is our priority
• Scholars’ learning will continue in a rigorous and curriculum-aligned manner
• The allocation of federal and state funding to support our schools will be thorough and comprehensive and utilize grants and other resources
This plan balances the need for standardized approaches in some areas while also providing flexibility to deliver instruction in alternate settings. As we approach the new school year, the protocols provided in this draft plan will be updated as circumstances change.
Reopening Instructional Plan
Below are sample schedules for elementary, middle, and high school scholars:
Pre-K - 2nd Grade
Sample of an Elementary Virtual Learning Schedule
Below is the Daily Middle School Sample Schedule for Virtual Learning. Scholars will follow their regular schedule and log into Google Classroom during each of their scheduled classes:
Tech Ed 8
Living Environment Regents
Social Studies 8
*2:00 – 3:00 Once a week, scholars will engage in social/emotional
Uniondale High School Virtual Learning Schedule
Below is the Daily High School Sample Schedule for Virtual Learning. Scholars will follow their regular schedule and log into Google Classroom during each of their scheduled classes.
It is imperative that all stakeholders plan and prepare for all of these three scenarios as the COVID-19 pandemic may change at any time and school authorities may be required to transition from one scenario to another with short notice. Whereas, the Uniondale School District is guided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED), moving from one scenario to the next based on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in our school community is the determination of Governor Andrew Cuomo.
For the upcoming 2020-21 school year, the Uniondale School District will ensure that every scholar continues to learn. This includes scholars with disabilities, English Language Learners, and scholars enrolled in a variety of rigorous and CTE programs.
Supporting the return to in-person classes will take the collective efforts of the Board of Education, Superintendent, school administrators, teachers, staff, scholars, parents/guardians along with local and state agencies, working together to ensure adherence to CDC measures and NYSED regulations in place. The Administrative Assistant for Health Services will serve as the COVID-19 Resource Liaison. Parents/guardians play a critical role as they support actions in the home (such as keeping scholars home when sick and seeking testing if symptoms develop) that ultimately keep other scholars and staff safe. The school nurse will instruct parents on how to identify signs of illness in their child that require their child to remain at home.
Return to in-class learning is dependent on the number of COVID-19 cases in the school community. If there are areas with a high rate of COVID-19 cases, in-person instruction may transition to virtual instruction. We will continue to monitor and share information about COVID-19 cases in the Uniondale School District. Confirmed cases will be monitored in real-time to inform proactive responses in localized areas of the district, Nassau County, and New York State. Additionally, the Administrative Assistant for Health Services will monitor local hospital capacity and share her findings with local health authorities, the Superintendent and the Reopening Committee.
The return to in-class learning is not without risk of infection transmission. By bringing many people together in a closed setting, such as a school, we acknowledge that cases and even outbreaks of COVID-19 may occur. Public health and district officials will be monitoring the situation closely and be ready with a plan that enables a rapid response to cases of COVID-19 in a school. This response plan will strongly recommend the easily accessible and expedient testing to parents, rapid close contact identification, and immediate quarantining.
To ensure the success of this plan, we will provide on-going training for staff and scholars on how to properly follow all aspects of the Reopening Plan.The Uniondale School District will maintain a supply of masks for staff and scholars who are not in possession of their own mask as well as enhanced PPEs for use by school health professionals and others working within close proximity to scholars. All stakeholders must wear a face covering when social distancing cannot be maintained. In partnership with our local organizations, we will implement The Covid-19 Uniondale Community Challenge which will include a series of events and challenges that promote community awareness of the need to wear masks, maintain social distancing, and properly wash our hands. In the beginning of the school year, each school will allocate time (i.e., advisory period, morning meetings, lunch time) to conduct on-going training to educate staff and scholars on how to slow the spread of the virus. The material will be presented in various methods such as skits, commercials, and announcements. This will be conducted by the Health and Safety Committee via:
Pre-K and elementary schools will promote the Uniondale Jr. Knights Superhero program which emphasizes the importance of following health and safety protocols.
UNIONDALE JR. KNIGHTS WEAR MASKS! UNIONDALE JR. KNIGHTS SOCIAL DISTANCE!
The Nassau County Department of Health will collaborate with Central and building administration to identify risks and mitigation strategies which may include temporarily suspending in-person class in a specific school and/or throughout the district. All stages and phases of pandemic response and recovery, call for schools to comply with the Center for Disease Control (CDC), state, and local guidelines. Our schools will also provide reasonable accommodations for staff and scholars at higher risk for severe illness and promote behaviors that reduce spread, such as social distancing, frequent hand washing, the use of face coverings, and proper hygiene when using restrooms. The Uniondale School District will provide reasonable accommodations to scholars who are at high-risk for COVID-19 or live with a person who is considered at high-risk for COVID-19. These accommodations may include the offering of a virtual learning platform, individualized learning materials, and other individualized resources.
Temperature checks will be conducted by security officers as scholars and staff enter the building. Staff members who present any of the symptoms below will be denied entry and advised to seek advanced medical care. There will be a room designated for any scholar who presents any of the symptoms listed below:
Adult monitors such as lunch monitors will supervise the flow of scholars using the restroom to ensure appropriate social distancing protocols. A schedule for frequent cleaning of the restrooms and high touch areas will be created and monitored by the head custodian. The document will be posted on the back of each bathroom door and custodians will inspect and clean the bathrooms throughout the day. Once they have inspected and cleaned the bathroom, they will sign the document in the appropriate time slot.
With minimal extra-curricular activities, the custodian’s shift will start earlier with minimal interruptions. This will allow them to effectively clean the building at the close of the school day.
The head custodian will provide detailed information to the Director of Facilities and Operation regarding any issues such as the need for additional supplies. Scholars will primarily be working on computer devices and we are minimizing the sharing of learning materials such as art supplies, books, and other classroom materials. Much of our textbook inventory will be replaced with “e-books”.
Health and Safety measures will be addressed in both in-person and virtual instruction.
Families and staff are strongly encouraged to report cases of COVID-19 infections and/or exposure. Families and staff should follow the established reporting protocol and immediately report to building administrators who will then notify the District’s Administrative Assistant for Health Services.
Contact Tracing – Contact Tracing is the process used to identify those who have come into contact with people who have tested positive for many contagious diseases, including COVID-19. It is a long-standing practice and is an integral function of local health departments. In partnership with our local health agencies (i.e., South Nassau Community Hospital) and local testing locations, the Uniondale School District will monitor the spread of the virus by maintaining detailed documentation via contact tracing. We will look closely at our staff and scholars who have underlying conditions and implement protocols for handling confirmed cases as well as methods to help minimize the spread in the community. We will continue to uphold all HIPAA/FERPA laws as mandated as Federal law.
The Administrative Assistant for Health Services has created a health questionnaire to serve as one of the screening tools in an effort to collect information to ascertain if an individual (staff, scholar, or visitor) exhibits symptoms related to COVID-19, has been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, or has been in an area where there are high levels of positive COVID-19 cases. The Administrative Assistant for Health Services will collect the data from each building daily. After analyzing the data and if there is a need for action to be taken, the Administrative Assistant for Health Services will alert the building administrators and the building nurse with instructions on how to proceed. The link to each form can be found on each school’s website. The purpose of the form is for staff, visitors, community members, and vendors to self-certify that they are well and healthy, to the best of their knowledge, to be at the worksite among healthy staff members and scholars. Additionally, there will be designated areas in each building to quarantine scholars and staff who are symptomatic.
The Nursing staff and building administrators will collaborate with parents to ensure the monitoring of scholars’ re-entry following quarantining. It is critical that all stakeholders communicate to ensure the safety of families, staff, and scholars. Confidentiality will be exercised in all aspects of the health plan.
The following protocols are in place for a staff member or scholar returning to school after exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19: If the person is not diagnosed by a healthcare provider (physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant) with COVID-19, they can return to school/work:
Anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 by a healthcare provider based on a diagnostic test or anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 must consult with their medical provider prior to reporting to school/work. They may return to school/work when the following conditions are met:
The most effective method to stop the spread of the virus is to mandate frequent hand-washing with soap and water. It is for this reason, middle and high schools will install sinks in the cafeteria/GP Rooms. The elementary school classrooms will use the existing sinks and bathrooms inside the classrooms and in the hallways.
Planning will allow for social distancing to the maximum extent possible. The Uniondale School District will also minimize the use of shared objects, ensure indoor facilities have adequate ventilation, prepare and maintain hand sanitizing stations, and mandate that scholars, faculty, and staff wash hands frequently and practice social distancing. For example, using the recommended 6-foot social distancing, a classroom seating plan may resemble the design below:
Student Flow, Entry, Exit, and Common Areas – The Uniondale School District’s reopening plan will establish the process and location for scholar, faculty, and staff health screenings. This will include providing physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signs on walls, to help ensure that staff and scholars remain at least six feet apart. Additionally, the flow of movement in the hallways will be designed to minimize exposure between individuals. The plan includes (but is not limited to):
The Uniondale School District will adopt a policy for adhering to safety measures and respectfully screening scholars and employees for symptoms of and history of exposure to COVID-19. Scholars, faculty and staff with symptoms related to COVID-19 must be safely and respectfully isolated from others. If an administrator and/or the school nurse becomes aware that an individual who has spent time in a district facility tests positive for COVID-19, the Nursing Supervisor must immediately notify local health officials, staff, and families of a confirmed case while maintaining confidentiality.
The Uniondale School District will adhere to required facilities cleaning practices and procedures, and any new specific requirements of the local health department as they arise. The Uniondale School District will also develop a schedule for increased routine cleaning and disinfecting, especially of frequently touched surfaces and objects, and sanitize bathrooms daily and between use as much as possible.
Uniondale Union Free School District
PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE – CLASSROOM INSPECTION FORM
Building / Wing Number:
Class Type (check one)
Condition (check one)
Good Fair Poor
Doors and Hardware
Good Fair Poor
Floor Covering (carpet)
Good Fair Poor
Floor Covering (VCT/lino)
Good Fair Poor
Good Fair Poor
Walls and Paint
Good Fair Poor
Good Fair Poor
Good Fair Poor
Good Fair Poor
Switches and Covers
Good Fair Poor
Outlets and Covers
Good Fair Poor
Good Fair Poor
Good Fair Poor
Good Fair Poor
Good Fair Poor
Good Fair Poor
Blackboards and Whiteboards
Good Fair Poor
OVERALL CONDITION OF CLASSROOM (check box) Good Fair Poor
Inspected by (print name):
Recess/Physical Education – The Uniondale School District will complete an inventory of outdoor spaces and mark off areas to ensure separation between scholars. Recess must be staggered by groups and staff must disinfect playground equipment and other shared equipment between use. The Uniondale School district will also consider closing locker rooms and encouraging scholars to wear comfortable clothing and safe footwear to school so they can participate in physical education classes without needing to change.
It is recognized that there will be some public health measures that are more easily adopted in elementary schools (such as cohorting scholars by class) than in middle or high schools. It is important to remember that we are not relying on one single public health measure to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the school setting. The risk of a COVID-19 outbreak is less likely the more public health measures are implemented and protocols followed. Reducing the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks in schools will require the dedication and support of the Uniondale Board of Education, administration, faculty, staff, scholars, and parents/guardians.
When In-person instruction resumes, there will be measures in place to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. These strategies include:
•Routine screening for all faculty, staff and scholars such as daily temperature checks
•Enhanced environmental cleaning and disinfecting recommendations, including daily cleaning for all areas of the school, bathrooms and high-touch surfaces cleaned several times a day and a regularly scheduled deep cleaning when faculty, staff, and scholars are not present
•Strict stay-at-home policy for any faculty, staff, or scholars exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 (even if symptoms resemble a mild cold)
•Physical distancing protocols
•Reorganization of classrooms and offices to allow for more physical space
•Cohorting of scholars by class where possible
•Hygiene expectations when entering the school and classrooms, and before and after eating
•Continual reminders of the importance of respiratory etiquette (e.g. cover coughs and sneezes, avoid touching the face and disposal of used tissues promptly, followed by hand washing)
•Faculty, staff, and scholars will be mandated to wear face coverings daily
•A no sharing policy will be enacted to ensure that all scholars are in possession of their own supplies
•Where sharing of equipment is required, the equipment should be cleaned between uses
•Guiding foot traffic flow through entrances and hallways by using markers on the floor or pylons/barriers to minimize the transmission of germs (ex. one-direction hallways)
•Establishing protocols for parent drop off and pick-up
•Eliminating large gatherings such as assemblies
Sneeze guards will be installed at locations where school operations and activities require staff and scholars to make face to face contact with each other. Locations include security/reception desks/counters/windows, main office reception counters, server lines, cashier stations, library checkout counters, teacher desks, and student workstations, etc.. The NYSED Manual of Planning Standards-1998 (MPS) sections S205-2 & S205-3 require plastic materials that are incorporated into construction to meet certain fire tests. Exit enclosures shall be Class A. corridors shall be Class B and rooms and spaces shall be Class C. Additionally, new alcohol-based Hand-Rub dispensers will be installed. These dispensers are in accordance with FCNYS2020 Section 5705.5.
There are no “COVID-19 Reopening” project submissions at present. All buildings in the school district are in compliance with the 2020 Building Condition Survey and Visual Inspection. Dividers will not be installed in classrooms, libraries, cafeterias, auditoriums, gymnasiums, doors, and other points of congregation. Additionally, the district Reopening Plan does not include the use of tents.
All new building construction plans have been submitted to the Office of Facilities Planning for a full code review and we have contracted with our district architect in accordance with new construction regulations. All buildings in the Uniondale School District currently meet the requirement of one drinking fountain per one hundred scholars. Additionally, the Uniondale School District has added sinks and altered bathrooms to meet the standards of the Building Code of New York State (BCNYS). Lead Water testing (as required by NYS DOH regulation 67-4) will continue to be conducted when the building is “normally occupied,” as per guidelines from the Department of Health. The district’s maintenance plan is to inspect and maintain all existing exhaust systems, unit ventilation, and air conditioning systems. We have added Merv-13 filtration and a disinfectant cleaning schedule. We will have continual operation of the systems to maintain quality air circulation and fresh air flow.
All extracurricular activities must comply with applicable social distancing requirements and hygiene protocol. External community organizations that use school facilities must follow district guidance on health and safety protocols. If guidelines are not followed, subsequent requests from CBOs to use facilities will be denied. CBOs and other before and after care providers will receive a copy of the Reopening Plan to ensure their compliance with the health and safety guidelines.
Extra-curricular activities complement scholars’ lives and are not part of the daily instructional time. Please refer to the Interim Guidance for In-Person Instruction at Pre-K to Grade 12 School during the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency sat the following website site link:
School authorities continue to have the flexibility to offer scholars extra-curricular activities. Uniondale School District is working with Nassau County Department of Health, education partners, and utilizing the NYS guidelines, to explore possibilities for athletic activities and events within the context of health measures being in place.
The transition back to sports will be guided by the regulations set forth by the New York State High School Athletic Association (NYSHSAA). Activities such as field trips, concerts, parades, graduations, and other activities where large groups of people gather will be assessed for safety risks and by the current COVID-19 rates to determine whether or not these events can take place or if an alternate virtual plan should be enacted.
These are the attendance procedures that will be used at each level for Scenarios 2 and 3:
Elementary School Attendance Procedure:
Teachers are required to take attendance via synchronous and asynchronous participation. Guidance Counselors and Social Workers will be provided with the absentee list for the day and will commence home communication to ascertain the reason for scholars’ absences. Teacher Assistants may also assist with this task. Attendance data will be shared with the attendance coordinator in each building for attendance documentation and follow up.
Middle School Attendance Procedure:
Teachers must complete attendance within the first 15 minutes of each class session in PowerSchool. Guidance Counselors will run an attendance report, sort by grade level and email to one Teacher Assistant on each grade level who will enter the attendance onto a Google spreadsheet.
Teaching Assistants open the Google spreadsheet for attendance and commence calling homes of scholars who are marked absent. As the Teacher Assistants are contacting homes, they make notations on the spreadsheet regarding the contacts. Additionally, Social Workers and Psychologists will be assigned to each grade level to assist with home contact.
High School Attendance Procedure:
Teachers must complete attendance within the first 15 minutes of each synchronous class session in PowerSchool. In cases where asynchronous instruction occurs, attendance will be recorded via assignment submission. At the end of the week, teachers will submit an attendance form for scholars with two or more absences. This data will be recorded in Google Sheets which will be shared with the attendance team who will make contact with the families to verify absences and to determine what additional assistance is needed.
When patterns of excessive absences occur, interventions are immediately put into place to support scholars and their families as well as create scholar accountability and to improve attendance. The high school has established an attendance team consisting of guidance counselors, school psychologists, social workers, and teaching assistants who monitor scholars’ attendance via attendance reports culled from PowerSchool.
Uniondale School District’s Attendance Policy provides educators with a clear method to evaluate scholars’ attendance. If a pattern of absenteeism is observed, the guidance counselor will contact the parent/guardian to ascertain the reason for the absence. If the absence is an unexcused absence, the guidance counselor and/or the social worker, and the attendance officer (UHS) will follow the appropriate protocols which include a home visit and possible subsequent CPS referral, if warranted. However, if extenuating circumstances exist, the guidance counselor and/or the social worker will consult with the family to determine what services can be provided for the scholar and their family.
The District will continue to ensure that parents have a clear understanding of scholars’ accountability in both the virtual and in-person instructional setting. Parents will be reminded of the importance of scholars having a quiet area in which to complete their work and support opportunities for success.
Scholars across the district travel to and from school through a combination of walking, drop-offs by parents/guardians, public transportation, and school bus service.The Uniondale School District will continue to fulfill existing mandates regarding the safe and effective transportation of scholars, including those who are homeless (McKinney-Vento), in foster care, have disabilities, and attend non-public schools and charter schools. Transportation will be provided to scholars with out-of-district transportation needs even when the Uniondale School District is on a virtual learning schedule.
Transportation will be provided for all eligible scholars in grades Pre-K through 2, Special Education self-contained scholars in Grades 3-5, Entering English Language Learners Grades 6-12, SIFE scholars in grades 9-12, and high-needs Special Education high school scholars. Parents of these scholars will have the option to return to in-person instruction and to refuse transportation.
Bus routes will be determined by the addresses of scholars who are eligible to ride the bus. Routes may be staggered or adjusted depending on the scholars’ arrival and departure times.. Collaborating with transportation providers, social distancing practices such as assigned seats on buses, will be adopted to the maximum extent possible. Considerations include a fixed seating plan to assist with contact tracing. Scholars from the same family will sit together. Best practices for cleaning and disinfecting all vehicles will be implemented. Transportation providers will ensure that buses are disinfected daily and all high contact areas are wiped down after each run. Buses will be disinfected with Buckeye 22 Spray or similar products. Additionally, bus windows will remain slightly opened to provide airflow. School buses shall not be equipped with hand sanitizer due to its combustible composition and potential liability to the carrier or district. Additionally, school bus employees must not carry personal bottles of hand sanitizer with them on school buses.
All school bus drivers, monitors, attendants, and mechanics will perform a self-health assessment for symptoms of COVID-19 prior to arriving at work. Additionally, transportation providers will conduct daily temperature checks of all of their employees. Transportation providers will supply their employees with PPE such as masks and gloves. Transportation providers will also supply their employees with hand sanitizer in their dispatch offices, break rooms and bus garages. All school bus employees must wear a face covering along with an optional face shield. Drivers, monitors and attendants who have direct physical contact with a child must wear gloves. Transportation providers must train their employees on the proper use of social distancing as well as conduct refresher trainings. All employees and scholars will be required to wear masks and report any symptoms of COVID-19 to their employers, and in the case of scholars, to the school nurse. Scholars will not be denied transportation if they do not have a mask. The transportation providers will provide masks to scholars who do not have masks. Scholars with a disability that would prevent them from wearing a mask will not be forced to do so or denied transportation.
School authorities will determine transportation service levels, ensuring that all scholars legally entitled to transportation are transported in accordance with the District’s resumption plan. A new schedule of routes will be created. School administrators and the district transportation supervisor will work with transportation providers to adjust routing accordingly.
Below is an example of a proposed seating plan:
Scholars will have assigned seats, one scholar per seat as depicted. Buses will load from back to front and unload from front to back to minimize contact between scholars. Wheelchair school buses will configure wheelchair placement to ensure social distancing of 6 feet.
The Uniondale School District will continue to work collaboratively with transportation providers to ensure challenges raised by the school district are immediately resolved. Routes may be staggered to conform to social distancing guidelines.
School meals are critical to scholars’ health and well-being and the Uniondale School District considers it a moral obligation to ensure the seamless and continuous feeding of our scholars. As per the School Food Authority, breakfast and lunch will be provided for scholars daily by Whitson’s Culinary Group, the district’s food provider, whether scholars are in the school building or learning remotely. Whitson’s will continue to communicate with families through various communication modes and in families’ primary language. Scholars and their families can pick up meals on days when scholars are participating in virtual learning.
All meals are in compliance with the Child Nutrition Program requirements. Alternate spaces will be provided for scholars with food allergies who cannot eat with other scholars. All schools in the Uniondale School District are peanut-free.
Meals – If cafeterias or other group dining areas are in use, the school district will stagger eating times to allow for social distancing and disinfecting of the area between groups. Additionally, scholars must maintain social distancing during lunch periods. Scholars will receive training on the use of appropriate hygiene such as hand washing and the elimination of food and beverage sharing. Cafeteria staff must also wash their hands immediately after removing gloves and after directly handling used food service items.
Food Service and Distribution – Whitson’s, our food service provider, will continue to work with the district to assess the safest method to ensure that scholars are provided with their breakfast and lunch. This includes using roster systems to collect lunch counts, ensuring that food is delivered and maintained properly (ex. at the appropriate temperature). All meals will be prepared ahead of time (“Brown bag lunch”) and packaged individually. Employees will change their gloves after each task in the kitchen. PPE equipment will be issued to all Whitson’s employees and all employees will be trained on using PPE appropriately. The Director of Facilities has confirmed that the current barriers are sufficient in protecting scholars and staff.
Whitson’s employees will have their temperature checked daily by the school’s cook supervisor. Any employee who becomes sick during the day will be sent home. If they present COVID-19 symptoms, they must have a doctor’s note to return to work. If any Whitson’s employee is diagnosed with COVID-19, the Whitson’s District General Manager will contact the Administrative Assistant of Health Services.
Uniondale School District will consider the needs of all scholars and strive to ensure that any plans for continuity of learning are equitable and available to all scholars. The Curriculum and Instructional Committee has created a shared folder with a comprehensive and culturally relevant curriculum for all subject areas that include appropriate pacing guides, instructional technology methods, staff development opportunities, assessments, and instructional strategies for both in-person and virtual learning platforms. The purpose of the shared folder is to expand teachers’ accessibility to a wide array of standards-aligned curriculum resources to enhance their instructional practices in and out of the physical classroom.
All teachers will be expected to conduct synchronous instruction in the virtual learning format. Expectations for teaching and learning will include instructional strategies to adapt instruction from a traditional teaching model to a technology-based model. All instruction will be accessible to all students and include routine scheduled times for students to interact and seek feedback and support from their teachers.
Virtual instructional platforms may incorporate schedules that focus on specific content areas on certain times or days of the week. Considerations include eye-strain, cognitive abilities, attention span (based on age and development), and other factors.
Both the in-person and virtual learning platforms offer a rich and rigorous curriculum built on New York State and Next Generation Standards. Instructional practices will be adapted based on the learning platform being implemented.
The preferred scenario is that all scholars return to daily in-person instruction at the beginning of the school year. The New York State Department of Education guidelines now dictate that all New York State schools may reopen in September. However, we are unable to bring all scholars back to in-person instruction at this time due to social distancing protocols. Parents and scholars will be able to contact the school and teachers with questions regarding their instructional platform.
RTI (Response to Intervention) – RTI meetings will continue. RTI is a systematic approach to prevention, intervention, and enrichment in grades PK-12 for academics and behavior that offers educators and families a mechanism to identify individual scholars who need extra support. Each Building Support Team will utilize data-based decision-making, universal screening, collaborative problem-solving, and family engagement as critical components to improve outcomes for scholars.
The District will be guided by The New York State Education Department regarding guidelines for the administration of assessments such as:
Additionally, exams such as SAT, PSAT, and ACT will follow guidelines provided by the appropriate testing vendors.
In light of the unique circumstances for the upcoming school year, some adjustments in the administration of assessments may be made.
In light of the unique circumstances for the upcoming school year, some adjustments in reporting results from achievement tests and diploma examinations are warranted. In 2020-2021, Uniondale School District will continue to report results from appropriate available assessments. However, results will not be used to evaluate teachers and administrators or inform curriculum development given the anomaly the COVID-19 year represents.
The Uniondale School District has implemented a Technology Survey to assess scholars’ access to technology and internet connectivity. The district has distributed over 1,707 devices and identified an additional 2,297 devices for distribution. Furthermore, the district’s Instructional Technology Director will continue to ensure that all scholars have access to a device and internet connectivity to ensure seamless instruction in virtual learning settings. Additionally, we are in the process of purchasing a Google Enterprise license which will permit increased security and reporting capabilities among many features.
The district will utilize a variety of technology initiatives and instructional strategies to support scholars’ mastery of Learning Standards including (but not limited to):
Uniondale School District is aware of the challenges in accessing the internet or hotspots in some parts of the school community. While scholars without access to high-speed internet, and therefore virtual instruction, are able to continue their studies through alternative means (e.g., hard-copy course packages and communicate by phone), the Uniondale School District continues to provide access to internet service providers to offer further support and affordable connectivity within the district to those students/families that have communicated this need to us.
The Uniondale School District will continue to meet existing state aid reporting requirements. Additionally, the content of data submissions, such as the number of days in session, will remain consistent with past practice, except where modified by law, regulation or executive order.
The Grants Manager will continue to seek federal and state grants to support the mission and vision of the district. This includes COVID-19 relief grants, social-emotional-based funding, as well as grants to purchase PPEs such as face coverings, gloves, etc. and for additional staffing.
The goal for Special Education is to provide students with the least restrictive environment. As in-person and virtual learning platforms are developed for the upcoming school year, there will be consideration and planning at each and every level for scholars with disabilities.
The Uniondale School District is considering increasing in-person instruction as a priority for our high-needs scholars with disabilities whenever possible. Contingency plans will be updated to address remote learning needs in the event of intermittent or extended school closures. All scholars with disabilities will continue to have access to the necessary instructional and technological support to meet their IEP mandates. Ongoing communication will continue with parents regarding their child’s progress in their specified program.
The Uniondale School District will continue to provide scholars with disabilities their mandated services remotely and/or in person, if any services are unable to be accessed, plans will be developed to ensure their mandates are met.
In-person instruction resumes for Special Education self-contained scholars in Grades PreK-5 and high-needs Special Education high school scholars.
Virtual Instruction continues for some Special Education scholars as follows:
The District will follow the guidelines provided by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) for the provision of services to English Language Learners/Multilingual Learners (ELLs/MLLs) and World Languages scholars (i.e., scholars enrolled in Spanish and French classes) during statewide school closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak in New York State.
The guidelines include the following:
NYSED will be as flexible as federal and state laws allow regarding the provision of services to ELLs and the procedures and timelines for enrolling potential ELL scholars. Even with this flexibility, however, Uniondale School District will continue to support scholars’ continuity of learning and the diverse needs of ELLs/MLLs. The Uniondale School District will also continue to provide appropriate instruction and support to all scholars with English language acquisition needs; this requirement applies as well to those scholars for whom a formal identification process was not conducted due to the COVID-19 pandemic school closures and have not yet been formally identified as ELLs, but who may benefit from such support. The required Instructional Units of Study must be provided to all ELLs based on their most recently measured English Language proficiency level during in-person or virtual instruction.
All schools will be required to complete the ELL identification process within 30 school days of the start of the school year for all scholars who enrolled during COVID-19 closures in the 2019-2020 school year, as well as all scholars who enroll during summer of 2020 and during the first 20 school days of the 2020-2021 school year. After this 20-day flexibility period, the identification of ELLs must resume for all scholars within the required 10 school days or initial enrollment as required by the Commissioner’s Regulations Part 154.
Further, The Uniondale School District will establish regular communication with faculty, staff, scholars, and families regarding the delivery of educational services to all identified ELLs, including scholars with potential language acquisition needs who were engaged in the ELL identification process prior to New York’s school closures. Communication with parents/guardians will be provided in the home language of the scholars’ families, in accordance with federal and state requirements.
The Uniondale School District emphasizes the importance of the socio-emotional support for scholars, faculty, and staff. The Uniondale School District has created a team of stakeholders including administrators, teachers, social workers, and school psychologists to inform and sustain the Comprehensive Developmental School Counseling Program Plan. A Social Emotional Learning Officer will be identified and assigned to each building to provide support, training, professional development, crisis intervention, and related services to address social emotional wellness. Building administrators are working on designing a space in each building for this purpose.
The Uniondale School District has put in place mental health supports in recognition of the unprecedented efforts already in place to address mental wellness directly linked to COVID-19. These include (but not limited to):
The Uniondale School District has also incorporated wellness outcomes for the PreK-12 curriculum with a focus on physical and mental health. The district is prioritizing identifying for scholars and staff to be able to practice and/or address issues surrounding social-emotional wellness. All scholars will continue to be required to take and participate in physical education.
The Uniondale School District will utilize grants to fund a continuum of support services provided to scholars in an inclusive learning environment. The district is responsible for ensuring grant funding is disbursed based on the support needed by scholars to maximize academic achievement and social emotional wellness.
The Uniondale School District recognizes scholar wellness can affect classroom learning and social interactions, both of which are essential to the success of our scholars. To ensure scholar wellness, the following socio-emotional supports will be provided:
• Counseling supports
• Psychological supports
• Social-emotional supports
• Family-school liaison
• Community liaison
• Mental health workers
• Addiction supports
• Behavioral specialists
Outside agencies will be employed to support the learning environment. These agencies will also provide support for all those involved with the success of our scholars (e.g., teachers, administrators, parents, support staff,etc.). Prior to the start of the 2020-2021 school year, it is strongly encouraged that all employees complete training to broaden their understanding of interventions and support for staff and scholars who present socio-emotional issues.
Teacher evaluation is based on the Danielson Framework and is in alignment with our currently approved APPR plan which will include at least one required student performance measure. At the time of this writing, it is unknown whether or not there will be a Federal waiver of the administration of scholar assessments. Proceeding in the absence of a waiver, the District is enacting the following: reviewing the selected assessments to ensure that they are aligned with the teaching and learning plan for 2020-2021; reviewing student growth targets to ensure alignment with the District’s current instructional goals; and reviewing processes in place for measuring scholar growth. Formal and in-formal observations will continue in both in-person and virtual learning platforms. All teachers must hold valid and appropriate certificates for their teaching assignments except where otherwise allowable under the Commissioner’s regulars (e.g. incidental teaching) or Education Law.
The District recognizes that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has the ability to waive the requirements for the hiring of substitute teachers, if the Superintendent certifies that a good faith effort to hire certified substitute teachers has been unsuccessful. Recognizing that certified substitute teachers may serve to support its teaching and learning plan in important ways during the school year, the District is considering expanded use of their services in supporting teachers of record.
Reasonable accommodations will be provided for individuals that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) identifies as having a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including those employees ages 65 years and older and individuals with disabilities or serious underlying medical conditions. Documentation must be provided to support evidence of underlying medical conditions.
Staff members with underlying conditions and extenuating circumstances will submit documentation to the Office of the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources who will forward this documentation to the School Medical Director and the Administrative Assistant for Health Services. The following website describes the protocols for staff with specific circumstances - ny.gov/COVIDpaidsickleave. The Uniondale School District will provide reasonable accommodations to staff members who are at high risk for COVID-19 or live with a person at high risk for COVID-19. Accommodations may include increased use of PPEs and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
New York employees will forgo their paid sick leave benefits from New York's COVID-19 paid sick leave law if they engage in non-essential travel to high risk states (listed above). High risk states are any state that has a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or higher than a 10 percent test positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average. Please refer to the link for the specific states: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory
Efforts will be made to minimize the number of staff members traveling between two or more buildings to reduce the chance of COVID-19 transmission.
The district will evaluate the potential risks of allowing student teachers and/or student observers in our schools.
A number of factors were considered when deciding on our Reopening Instructional Plan. Schools provide more than the opportunity for traditional learning. Schools support the physical, social, and emotional well-being of all scholars. All of these factors were considered in the context of an evolving pandemic. Not offering in-person schooling to all scholars has both broad societal implications that need to be considered and risks to scholars of loss of educational and social opportunities and supports that must be weighed against the risk of infection transmission. As we continue the reopening planning process, we will keep you updated. We are grateful for the collaboration of all stakeholders as we strive to ensure the safety of all scholars and employees during these challenging times.