Q: Where and how will students in the Ichabod Crane CSD learn during the 2021-22 school year?
A: All students, grades PreK through 12, will engage in in-person learning 5 days per week. For a limited number of students with approved COVID-19-related medical conditions, we will provide non-in-person learning.
Q: What does the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) guidance say about schools for the fall of 2021?
A: The NYSDOH has not released guidance for the 2021-22 school year. Our Fall Opening Plan is based on the current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, American Academy of Pediatrics, and New York State Education Department. The key elements of this guidance are:
- Ensuring students have access to full-time, in-person learning is paramount
- If a particular COVID-19 mitigation strategy cannot be successfully implemented, school districts should put other measures in place (e.g., if 3 feet of physical distancing isn’t possible, then universal masking must be in place)
- The following COVID-19 mitigation measures, which the Ichabod Crane CSD is fully implementing:
- Masking (and masking on buses)
- Physical distancing
- Hand hygiene practices
- Respiratory hygiene practices
- Improved HVAC and filtration systems
- COVID-19 testing
- Cleaning and sanitizing procedures
- Daily symptom screening
Q: Will students and staff be required to wear masks in the Ichabod Crane CSD?
A: When indoors, all individuals (regardless of vaccination status) must wear masks including on buses. Exceptions to this are for eating, drinking, and structured mask breaks. At the writing of these FAQs (early August), outdoor mask-wearing continues to be optional.
Q: What will the physical distancing requirements be for students and staff?
A: The CDC currently recommends three feet of physical distancing between individuals. We will strive to maximize physical distance however there will always be a minimum of three feet. During meals and while unmasked, students will always be six feet apart.
Q: Will there be school-based COVID-19 testing for students and staff?
A: The Columbia County Department of Health is in the process of securing federal funding for school-based testing, which will allow the Ichabod Crane CSD to implement a school-based testing program.
In our fall opening plan, we outlined a three-pronged approach to testing. Point of Care (POC) testing is designed to provide a quick result in the case of a student or staff member who began presenting symptoms at school. General surveillance testing is used to detect asymptomatic COVID-19 infections in students and staff. Athletic Surveillance testing is based on the CDC-reported level of community transmission.
Currently, we are only implementing the testing of athletes. POC and general surveillance testing is funded through the federal ELC grant, but New York state has not yet released this funding to the local health departments. We anticipate both POC testing and general surveillance testing to begin in October. All three types of testing (POC, general screening and athletic testing) will require prior consent. At this time, we are only gathering COVID-19 testing consent forms from athletes until we begin POC and general screening testing. Those registered for a fall sport will receive a consent form in their email in the coming days.
The Ichabod Crane CSD will initiate surveillance testing when/if community transmission meets or exceeds “Moderate Transmission” in our county (10-49 new cases per 100,000 in the past 7 days). See the chart below for further information about CDC recommendations for surveillance testing:
|Total new cases per 100,000 persons in the past 7 days2||0-9||10-49||50-99||≥100|
|Percentage of NAATs that are positive during the past 7 days3||<5.0%||5.0%-7.9%||8.0%-9.9%||≥10.0%|
Q: What is the Ichabod Crane CSD doing in regard to improving ventilation and filtration systems?
A: The District conducted an inventory of HVAC systems to determine how to maximize the system’s efficiency with regard to filtration and ventilation. The inventory was completed with the help of Ichabod Crane’s Maintenance Department, mechanical engineers with CSArch, construction managers with Turner Construction and the District’s Health & Safety Specialist. Review of the equipment capabilities included representatives from Otto Building Services and Camfil USA, Inc. View the final report here.
This review showed that the district exceeded the 15 cfm standard two fold, providing 30 cfm per occupant (assuming 30 occupants for each standard classroom). The district is also reducing recirculating air as much as possible, and has extended the time the HVAC system runs – beginning one hour prior to student arrival and continuing for two hours after dismissal. This will introduce additional fresh, outside air into the building.
Most HVAC equipment can accommodate MERV 13 filters, which exceed the required minimum of MERV 8 filters. We have fitted each unit that can accommodate them with a MERV 13 filter. The inventory revealed several units in the Middle School that cannot accept a MERV 13 filter. In areas where MERV 13 filters are unable to be used, a HEPA air filtration unit will be placed in each room to enhance air filtration.
Q: Will there be daily screening for students and staff?
A: Yes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential that students and staff remain home and get tested if they are showing signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Students and staff will be required to self-assess each morning and not come to school if they are sick.
COVID-19 symptoms that require all individuals to stay home include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Q: Will there be outdoor learning again in the Ichabod Crane CSD?
A: Outdoor learning will continue to be a priority for students’ social-emotional and academic well-being.
Q: What are the cleaning and sanitizing procedures in the Ichabod Crane CSD?
A: The CDC states that “[t]he virus that causes COVID-19 can land on surfaces. It’s possible for people to become infected if they touch those surfaces and then touch their nose, mouth, or eyes. In most situations, the risk of infection from touching a surface is low. The most reliable way to prevent infection from surfaces is to regularly wash hands or use hand sanitizer.”
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ichabod Crane CSD developed new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for sanitizing district facilities, which are well-established as part of custodial operations. High utilization touch areas and flat working surfaces, such as door handles, soap dispensers, light switches, desktops, and tabletops, are sanitized at least once every 24 hours when schools are in use. Custodial staff respond to requests for more frequent sanitizing as needed.
- Thoroughly clean any of the surfaces with a general cleaner to remove any visibly soiled areas. Use a greenback sponge and wipe the surface dry. Removing the dirt will allow the disinfectant to be effective by directly contacting the surface.
- Disinfect the cleaned surface by using a spray bottle of disinfectant. Apply the disinfectant to wet the surface thoroughly. Allow the (disinfectant) surface to remain wet (for 10 minutes) for the duration recommended by the manufacturer, then dry the surface with a paper towel. A C3 machine can be used to apply the disinfectant in bathrooms and locker rooms.
- All custodial staff have been trained and understand that these SOPs are to be carefully and thoroughly followed. In an effort to maintain fidelity to the cleaning and sanitizing procedures, custodial staff maintain accurate and up-to-date logs, which will be reviewed by supervisors daily.
- Additionally, other staff members have access to disinfectant wipes to utilize throughout the district.
Q: What will handwashing procedures look like in the Ichabod Crane CSD?
A: Students and staff are encouraged to wash their hands regularly throughout the day and must do so before and after eating, manipulating shared physical supplies, and after recess. The Ichabod Crane CSD also continues to maintain hand sanitizer stations to make hand hygiene easy for all to practice.
Q: Will the Ichabod Crane CSD offer extracurricular activities for the 2021-22 school year?
A: Yes. We will continue to offer in-person athletics, arts, and club activities for young people. If and when this changes, we will be sure to communicate with students, staff, and families.
Q: What will happen when positive COVID-19 cases arise in the Ichabod Crane CSD?
A: As individuals test positive for COVID-19, the individual or their caregiver must notify their principal, director, or nurse immediately. We then engage in a number of actions in rapid succession:
- Confirm the case through the corresponding county health department; if the individual has written/digital documentation of the case, they should share that with the principal, director, or nurse immediately, as well
- Identify close contacts and send them home if it is during the day, as possible
- Notify close contacts (if students, notify their families) about what they can expect from the health department (i.e., what quarantine mandated by the health department might look like)
- Coordinate meals and learning materials delivery, as necessary
- Commence distance learning (families should check for communication from the school/teacher)
- Clean and sanitize spaces
Our process aims to quickly identify and support the isolation and quarantine efforts of local health departments. The experiences of the 2020-21 school year allowed our teams to become well-practiced in these endeavors.
Q: Will remote learning be offered?
A: Non-in-person learning is available only for students with a medical condition documented by a NYS-licensed healthcare provider. It is important to note that remote instruction will not be carried out by Ichabod Crane CSD faculty. All students participating in remote learning will be taught by dedicated distance learning instructors facilitated through Questar III BOCES. The decision to have your child participate in remote learning is a full-year commitment.
Q: Are parents able to opt their child into non-in-person learning without medical need?
A: No. Students will need to apply and be approved following the process of review outlined below.
Q: How do students apply for non-in-person learning?
A: First, you must submit a written request to the superintendent with a doctor’s note explaining the medical reason that necessitates remote learning. This will be reviewed by the school physician and superintendent.