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Gateway Group ARP Safe Return Plan
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Introduction and Background

1. Maintaining Health and Safety

2. Ensuring Continuity of Services

3. Public Comment

EWEG Copy

Introduction and Background

As announced in the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE)’s April 28, 2021 broadcast, in March 2021 President Biden signed the Federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act, Public Law 117-2, into law. The ARP Act provides an additional $122 billion in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) to States and school districts to help safely reopen, sustain the safe operation of schools, and address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s students. As with the previous ESSER funds available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA), the purpose of the additional funding is to support local educational agencies (LEAs) in preparing for and responding to the impacts of COVID-19 on educators, students, and families. Additional information on ARP ESSER may be found in the NJDOE’s funding comparison fact sheet.

Section 2001(i)(1) of the ARP Act requires each LEA that receives ARP ESSER funds to develop and make publicly available on the LEA’s website, no later than 30 days after receiving ARP ESSER funds, a plan for the safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services for all schools (Safe Return Plan) A Safe Return Plan is required of all fund recipients, including those that have already returned to in-person instruction. Section 2001(i)(2) of the ARP Act further requires that the LEA seek public comment on the Safe Return Plan and take those comments into account in finalization of the Safe Return Plan. Under the interim final requirements published in Volume 86, No. 76 of the Federal Register by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE), an LEA must periodically, but no less frequently than every six months through September 30, 2023, review and, as appropriate, revise its Safe Return Plan.

Pursuant to those requirements, LEAs must submit to the NJDOE and post on their website their Safe Return Plans by June 24, 2021. The NJDOE intends to make LEA ARP ESSER Fund applications available in EWEG on May 24, 2021 and LEAs will submit their Safe Return Plans to the NJDOE via EWEG. To assist LEAs with the development of their Safe Return Plans, the NJDOE is providing the following template.

This template incorporates the federally-required components of the Safe Return Plan. The questions in the template below will be included in the LEA ARP ESSER Fund application in EWEG. LEAs will submit responses to the questions within the LEA ARP ESSER Fund application in EWEG by June 24, 2021.  The NJDOE hopes that this template will allow LEAs to effectively plan for that submission and to easily post the information to their websites as required by the ARP Act.

Note that on May 17, 2021, Governor Murphy announced that upon the conclusion of the 2020-2021 school year, portions of Executive Order 175 allowing remote learning will be rescinded, meaning that schools will be required to provide full-day, in-person instruction, as they were prior to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. The NJDOE and New Jersey Department of Health will share additional information regarding State requirements or guidance for health and safety protocols for the 2021-2022 school year as it becomes available.

LEA Name: Gateway Regional High School (15 1517), National Park Elementary School (15 3490), Westville Elementary School (15 5740), and Woodbury Heights (15 5870)

Date (mm/dd/yyyy):        06/14/2021                                                                                                                      Date Revised (mm/dd/yyyy): 01/05/2022

1. Maintaining Health and Safety

For each mitigation strategy listed below (A–H), please describe how the LEA will maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and other staff and the extent to which it has adopted policies, and a description of any such policies, on each of the following safety recommendations established by the CDC.

A. Universal and correct wearing of masks

B. Physical distancing (e.g., including use of cohorts/podding)

C. Handwashing and respiratory etiquette

D. Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation

E. Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the State, local, territorial, or Tribal health departments

F. Diagnostic and screening testing

G. Efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students, if eligible

H. Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to the health and safety policies

2. Ensuring Continuity of Services

A. Describe how the LEA will ensure continuity of services, including but not limited to services to address students’ academic needs and students’ and staff’s social, emotional, mental health, and other needs, which may include student health and food services. (1000 character limit)

3. Public Comment

A. Describe how the LEA sought public comment on its plan, and how it took those public comments into account in the development of its plan.  Note, the ARP requires that LEAs seek public comment for each 60-day revision to the plan. (1000 character limit)

B. Describe how the LEA ensured that the plan is in an understandable and uniform format; is to the extent practicable written in a language that parents can understand or, if not practicable to provide written translations to a parent with limited English proficiency, will be orally translated for such a parent; and upon request by a parent who is an individual with a disability as defined by the ADA, will be provided in an alternative format accessible to that parent. (1000 character limit)

 

C. Briefly describe any guidance professional learning and technical assistance opportunities the LEA will make available to its schools. (0 of 1000 maximum characters used)


EWEG Copy

(1) IN GENERAL - A local educational agency receiving funds under this section shall develop and make publicly available on the local educational agency’s website, not later than 30 days after receiving the allocation of funds described in paragraph (d)(1), a plan for the safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services.

2) COMMENT PERIOD.—Before making the plan described in paragraph (1) publicly available, the local educational agency shall seek public comment on the plan and take such comments into account in the development of the plan.

Support for Schools:   Describe how the LEA will support its schools in safely returning to in-person instruction and sustaining safe operation.

    How the LEA will support its schools implementing, to the greatest extent practicable, prevention and mitigation policies in line with the most up-to-date guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (''CDC'') for the reopening and operation of school facilities to effectively maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and other staff;

1) Universal and correct wearing of masks

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The districts will follow all local, state and federal guidance regarding the wearing of masks.

When required by guidance, all students and staff will wear a mask when in the school building and on school grounds.

We acknowledge that enforcing the use of face coverings may be impractical for young children or individuals with disabilities and will make accommodations, as appropriate.

Students will be permitted to remove their mask for the purposes of eating and drinking and while outside.

Masks are always required for visitors and staff unless it will inhibit the individual's health.

Individuals who cannot wear a face covering due to health reasons may be asked to wait in the school vestibule or other restricted area. If a visitor refuses to wear a face covering for non-medical reasons and if such covering cannot be provided to the individual at the point of entry, the visitor’s entry to the school/district facility may be denied.

2) Physical distancing (e.g., including use of cohorts/podding)

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The districts will follow all local, state and federal guidance regarding physical distancing.

Signage on the walls, staircases, and floors will be placed to aid in social distancing.

When social distancing is difficult or impossible, masks will be required for students, and masks are always required for visitors and staff unless it will inhibit the individual's health.  

Schools in the districts will allow for social distancing within the classroom to the maximum extent practicable. When social distancing is difficult or impossible, physical barriers such as plexiglass shields will be in-place.  

3) Handwashing and respiratory etiquette

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The districts will follow all local, state and federal guidance regarding handwashing and respiratory etiquette.

Schools in the districts maintain hand sanitizing stations with alcohol-based hand sanitizers.  Such stations are located in each classroom (for staff and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer), at entrances and exits of buildings, and near lunchrooms and restrooms.

Children ages five and younger are supervised when using hand sanitizer.

For classrooms that have existing handwashing stations, stations are prepared with soap, water, and alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

School officials have developed a school-wide plan where students are required to wash hands for at least twenty seconds at regular intervals during the school day and always before eating, after using the bathroom, and after blowing their nose, coughing, and/or sneezing.

If washing with soap and water is not possible, washing with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) will be used.

4) Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation

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The districts will follow all local, state and federal guidance regarding cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities and improving ventilation.

The schools have established cleaning/disinfecting schedules, targeted areas to be cleaned, and methods and materials to be used including:

A schedule for increased routine cleaning and disinfection.

Routinely cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that are frequently touched.  

Use of all cleaning products according to the directions on the label.

All indoor facilities have adequate ventilation, including operational heating and ventilation systems where appropriate.  Recirculated air has a fresh air component, windows will be opened, if practical, if air conditioning is not provided, and filter(s) for A/C units must be maintained and changed according to manufacturer recommendations.

5) Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the State, local, territorial, or Tribal health departments

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The districts will follow all local, state and federal guidance regarding contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine.

The school nurses have been identified as the contract tracer for each school district and have completed the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Contract Tracing Course. Additional faculty members at each school have also completed the Johns Hopkins course.  

The school nurses will be in contact with the School Safety Specialist, the nurses from our partnering school districts, and the Gloucester County Health Department regarding  the process, procedures, and expectations for contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine.

Designated areas of each building will be used for isolating students or staff members who exhibit symptoms during the school day.

Quarantined students will be allowed appropriate accommodations for virtual learning. Quarantined staff will be allowed appropriate accommodations for remote work, if their job duties allow.

6) Diagnostic and screening testing

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The districts will follow all local, state and federal guidance regarding diagnostic and screening testing.

Before students are permitted to enter the school building, parents will be required to complete an online survey indicating that their child is not symptomatic.If a student has any of the symptoms, the parents will be advised to keep their student at home.

Before staff are permitted to enter the school building, they will be required to complete an online survey indicating that they are not symptomatic.

Staff will screen each child visually as they enter the classroom.  

If a student indicates or shows symptoms, the student will be moved to the isolation room until released to a guardian or emergency contact.

The school nurse will assist students, families, and staff with determining if further testing is needed and where testing can be performed.

7) Efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students, if eligible

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The districts will follow all local, state and federal guidance regarding vaccinations.

The school districts have hosted vaccine clinics for staff.

The school nurses are available to advise families and staff regarding obtaining vaccine appointments. Districts will host a vaccine clinic for eligible students as they’ve become available and assisted families with obtaining vaccine appointments. We will continue to do so and expand if younger students become eligible for vaccines.

8) Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to health and safety policies

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The districts will follow all local, state and federal guidance regarding accommodations for students with disabilities with respect to the health and safety policies.

Accommodations for students include relaxed requirements for masking, coaching and guidance with social distancing and hygiene, support for social emotional well-being, etc.

Describe how the LEA will ensure continuity of services including but not limited to services to address students’ academic needs and students’ and staff social emotional mental health and other needs which may include student health and food services. (0 of 1000 maximum characters used)

The districts will follow all local, state and federal guidance regarding continuity of services.

Schools have provided all students and teachers with the necessary technology, materials, and resources to meet students’ academic needs. Teachers have adapted curriculum and instruction to meet the needs of all students. Schools provide additional academic support through extended day and extended school year programming.

Schools prioritize students’ and staff’s social, emotional, and mental health. Schools have counselors on staff, as well as community partnerships for additional services for students. Schools offer Employee Assistance Programs for staff. Staff have participated in PD on meeting students' social-emotional needs, as well as their own self-care.

The school nurses and counselors are available to advise families on community health resources.

The schools have provided food services for all students throughout the pandemic.

Describe how the LEA sought public comment on its plan and how it took those public comment into account in the development of its plan. (0 of 1000 maximum characters used)

The districts will follow all local, state and federal guidance regarding public comment on the ARP Safe Return Plan.

We will continue to review with our pandemic response teams (community members, parents, etc. are included on this team).

We will post the plan on each website with a space to submit comments.

We will review at board meetings and invite public comment at meetings.

 

Describe how the LEA ensured that the plan is in an understandable and uniform format; is to the extent practicable written in a language that parents can understand or if not practicable to provide written translations to a parent with limited English proficiency will be orally translated for such a parent; and upon request by a parent who is an individual with a disability as defined by the ADA will be provided in an alternative format accessible to that parent. (0 of 1000 maximum characters used)

The districts will follow all local, state and federal guidance regarding public comment on the ARP Safe Return Plan.

We will provide translations of the plan to parents in their preferred language or format upon request.

Briefly describe any guidance professional learning and technical assistance opportunities the LEA will make available to its schools. (0 of 1000 maximum characters used)

The districts will follow all local, state and federal guidance regarding professional learning and technical assistance.

School leadership participates in all NJDOE offered technical assistance, as well as professional learning from NJPSA/FEA, NJASA, and other state and national organizations regarding effective leadership, management, instruction, and wellness during the pandemic.

Professional learning has been made available and required for all staff regarding health, safety, and prevention related to COVID19.

Professional learning has been made available and required for all staff regarding adjustments to their roles and responsibilities related to COVID19.

Professional learning has been made available and required for all instructional staff regarding meeting students’ academic needs as well as students’ social- and emotional- needs during virtual/hybrid learning.

Provide current link to the district's website where the plan is posted.

Gateway Regional https://gatewayhs.com/ 

National Park  https://sites.google.com/npelem.com/national-park-school/covid19

Westville https://www.westvillesd.com/

Woodbury Heights https://www.woodburyhtselem.com/covid-19-information