Health & Safety
Health & Safety
- All staff will be trained on identifying the symptoms of COVID-19.
- Anyone suspected to have symptoms of COVID-19 in the building will be evaluated by the School Nurse.
- Students and staff with symptoms of COVID-19 will be sent home and will be instructed not to return until cleared by a health care professional.
- Information will be provided to families (via letter, phone calls, and/or website) about the symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do if a student or person in the household has a symptom.
- Signage will be placed throughout the building reminding students and staff of COVID-19 symptoms.
Health Questionnaire / Screening:
- Designated entrances will be assigned to students, staff and visitors to conduct health and/or temperature screens.
- Temperature checks are required by everyone entering the building (staff, students, and visitors).
- Visitor access will be limited to visitors who cannot conduct business remotely.
- Individuals with a 100 degree Fahrenheit temperature will not be granted access to the building.
- Staff performing health screens will be trained in accordance with CDC guidelines and will be provided appropriate PPE (face shield, gloves, and gown).
- A non-touch – walk up scanning thermometer will be used to take temperatures to reduce close contact between students and staff.
- The health questionnaire will be hosted on an online platform and will be required by all staff and visitors prior to entry into the building. Students may periodically complete the questionnaire.
- The health questionnaire will be compliant with NYSED and DOH guidelines.
- Parents and guardians will be provided with the questions so that they can evaluate their students before sending them to school.
- Staff & visitors with positive health screens (i.e. a 100 Degree Fahrenheit temperature or answered yes to any of the health questionnaire questions) will not be permitted to enter the building.
- Students with positive health screens (i.e. a 100 Degree Fahrenheit temperature) will be placed in a quarantine area, supervised by the Nurse or their designee, until dismissed by the parent.
- If the parent requires the student to take public transit, the student will be provided with a facemask (if needed) and instruction on how to ride public transit safely.
Reliance on Social Distancing
- In addition to performing health screens as described above, ALH will socially distance students and staff at all times while on school property. This includes in classrooms, the cafeteria (Union), hallways, and outside the school. ALH has revised arrival, dismissal, and hallway procedures to reduce congregation and maintain social distancing.
Use of Barriers/Partition Controls for conducting temperature screenings
Use of Personal Protective Equipment when Barriers/Partition Controls are not available
- Refer to Health Screening.
Healthy Hygiene Practices
- Refer to Hand and Respiratory Hygiene Sections
- ALH has secured signage to post in all high traffic areas and bathrooms that will inform students and staff about healthy hand hygiene practices.
- Training will be provided to staff and students on the proper way to wash hands.
- Hand sanitizer will be made available in all classrooms, offices, and common spaces (i.e. hallways, cafeteria, and building entrances).
- All individuals entering ALH will be directed to sanitize their hands when they enter the building, classroom, or when touching common surfaces.
- To reduce the spread of germs all individuals will be required to wear a face covering when in the building.
- Face coverings can be removed during facemask breaks, eating / drinking, and when alone in an office / classroom.
- Information on how to properly wear and clean facemasks will be provided to students and staff.
- ALH will provide students and staff with a disposable facemask, should a person’s facemask become soiled or in any way not suitable for use.
- Signage will be posted reminding students and staff on how to prevent the spread of germs through coughing and sneezing.
- All trash cans in ALH are non-touch.
- ALH has secured an adequate supply of tissues for staff and student use.
- ALH will socially distance students and staff at all times while on school property. This includes in classrooms, the cafeteria (Union), hallways, and outside the school.
- ALH has revised arrival time so that students can only enter the building once teacher’s are in the classroom (approximately 7:30am). Students will not be permitted to enter the building prior to teachers.
- ALH has identified that classrooms can seat 2-12 students while keeping students 6 feet apart and facing the same direction. ALH’s academic schedule will allow students to properly social distance in classrooms.
- Additional staff will be assigned hallway and parking lot rotations to ensure social distancing is practiced during student arrival and health screening.
- To reduce congregating and hallway crowding at dismissal, students will be dismissed via multiple exterior doors. All doors will be monitored by staff during dismissal.
- Should FLEX time be permitted, students staying after school for FLEX / extra help will remain in classrooms until dismissal has concluded.
- 90% of ALH’s students take public transportation. To promote student safety, parents will be encouraged to pick up and drop off students. Students will be instructed on how to safely use public transportation.
- To the extent possible ALH will limit movement from between classes. When students and staff do have to move throughout the building, they will be required to walk in designated lanes and maintain social distancing. Staff will monitor the hallways to ensure compliance.
- Access to bathrooms will be via the school’s hall pass system. Bathroom access will be restricted to no more than 3 individuals in multiple use bathrooms.
- To further maintain social distancing:
- All classrooms and offices (whether occupied or unoccupied) will remain locked.
- Locker use will be suspended.
- Large events, such as our Family BBQ and assemblies, will be suspended until further notice.
- Internal staff meetings will be held via phone or video conferencing when social distancing guidelines cannot be met.
- To the extent possible, school business with external community members (such as parent meetings, district office meetings, etc.) will occur via phone or video conferencing.
Medically Vulnerable/High-Risk Groups
- ALH recognizes that there are community members who may be or have family members at increased risk for COVID-19 and may need added provisions for social distancing. Reasonable accommodations for these individuals will be evaluated on an individual basis and in consultation with health care providers, school officials, and/or parents/guardians. Accommodations may include, but are not limited to, fully remote learning or work, additional PPE, or increased social distancing measures.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- ALH will be providing PPE for all staff and students. Specifically ALH will make available:
- Disposable facemasks for students, staff and visitors.
- Reusable facemasks for students and staff.
- Face shields for staff requiring close contact with students for students and staff that cannot wear a facemask (official documentation will be required).
- N-95 ventilating masks for staff that are in contact with suspected COVID-19 positive cases.
- Protective Nitrile gloves for staff.
- Gowns for staff that are required to be in close contact with individuals.
- All staff and students will receive information and/or training on how to properly wear, clean (if applicable), and properly dispose of PPE.
- Individuals that refuse to wear or cannot use PPE will not be allowed entry into the building.
- Students refusing to wear PPE will be required to complete all classes virtually.
Aerosol Generating Procedures
- If needed, respiratory treatments will be administered by the Nurse.
- Proper PPE will be provided to the Nurse to conduct these treatments since the treatment can result in aerosolization of respiratory secretions.
- The Nurse will be provided with the following PPE to conduct these treatments:
- N95 or surgical facemask or face shield
- Eye protection
- Treatments will be conducted in the Nurses’ office.
- The Nurse’s office will be cleaned after each procedure.
- Per CDC recommendations, during the COVID-19 pandemic that respiratory medications utilizing metered dose inhalers (MDI) with a spacer or valved holding chamber be used over nebulizer treatments whenever possible.
- Nebulizer treatments will be reserved for children who cannot use an MDI (with or without spacer or valved holding chamber).
Cloth Face Coverings
- Cloth face coverings protect other people in the event the wearer is unknowingly infected by the virus. Per CDC guidance ALH will require all individuals in the building to wear a face covering.
- Students and staff will be allowed to remove a face covering during approved “face mask breaks,” when alone in an office or classroom, and when eating or drinking.
- Reusable cloth face coverings will be provided to all staff and students.
- Students and staff will be able to wear their own personal reusable face covering as long as it does not negatively impact the educational environment.
- Disposable face masks will be made available to students, staff, and visitors forget, soil, damage, or wear an inappropriate cloth face covering.
- All staff, students, families and visitors will receive information and/or training on how to properly wear, clean (if applicable), and properly dispose of a face covering. In addition individuals will be informed to wash hands before putting on and removing a face covering, and not to share face coverings.
- ALH recognizes that under certain circumstances face coverings cannot be worn. Thus ALH will comply with NYS Education Department Guidance and not require face coverings be placed on:
- Children younger that two years old
- 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
- Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance
- Transparent face coverings or face shields may be worn in lieu of disposable or cloth face coverings for instruction or interventions that require visualization of the lips and/or mouth (i.e. speech therapy or hearing impaired).
Management of Ill Persons
- Students and staff with COVID-19 symptoms will be evaluated by the Nurse.
- In an abundance of caution ALH will typically dismiss students and staff from the school who present symptoms of COVID-19.
- Students and staff that cannot immediately leave the building will be isolated until they can be dismissed.
- Students placed in isolation will be monitored by the Nurse or their designee.
- Students or staff members presenting symptoms of COVID-19 will be immediately dismissed from the school if the Nurse is unavailable to assess the individual.
- Parents/guardians will be contacted if their student is assessed for symptoms of COVID-19.
If Students or Staff become Ill with Symptoms of COVID-19 at School
- ALH will follow all guidance from the CDC and NYSDOH to manage all individuals that become ill with Covid – 19 symptoms while at school.
- School staff will immediately report any illness of students or staff to designated school staff.
- Such reports will be made in compliance with FERPA, and Education Law 2-d.
- Student assessments will occur privately in the Nurse’s office. The assessment may take place in an alternate location should the Nurse’s office not be available or travel to the Nurse’s office will create risk for greater exposure.
- Students or staff needing to see the Nurse while an assessment is occurring will be required to wait in an alternate location where social distancing can be maintained.
- The Nurse and other school health professionals assessing or providing care to ill students will be provided with PPE as outlined in the PPE section.
- Student and staff that are suspected to have COVID-19 will be isolated from the community and assessed by the Nurse.
- Staff with confirmed symptoms will be sent home.
- Students with confirmed symptoms will be isolated and supervised by an adult (with proper PPE) until dismissed by a parent/guardian.
- The parent/guardian or staff member will 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.
- ALH will obtain required information from individuals experiencing COVID 19 symptoms as required by the NYS DOH and NYSED.
- The following information will be provided to students (parents/guardians) and staff with symptoms of COVID-19:
- CDC’s Stay Home When You Are Sick guidance.
- Emergency warning signs of COVID-19.
- As recommended by the NYSDOH, students and staff suspected to have COVID-19 symptoms will not be permitted to return to the school until:
- Documentation from a health care provider is provided stating the individual is able to return to school.
- The individual has a negative COVID-19 test
- The individual’s symptoms have resolved
- In accordance with the CDC and NYSDOH recommend, ALH will:
- Close off areas used by a sick person and not use these areas until after cleaning and disinfection has occurred;
- Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.
- Waiting at least 24 hours (or 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.
- ALH will reopen areas used by a person suspected to have COVID-19 once the area has been appropriately cleaned and disinfected.
- 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.
- 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 is not necessary, but routine cleaning and disinfection will continue.
- ALH will maintain up to date information from the CDC of all COVID-19 related symptoms and emergency warning signs and make such information available to students, families, and staff. In addition, ALH will make staff 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. ALH will notify the parent/guardian if their student shows any of the following symptoms and recommend the student be referred for immediate follow up with a healthcare provider.
- ALH will call 911 for emergency transport 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, the Principal or designee will notify the Albany County Health Department to determine what steps are needed for the school community.
Return to School after Illness
- ALH will comply with CDC guidance for allowing a student or staff member to return to school after exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and/or testing positive for COVID-19.
- If a student or staff member is not diagnosed by a health care provider for COVID-19 ALH will permit a student or staff member to return to school under the following conditions:
- A health care provider has provided documentation that it is safe for the individual to return to school.
- Negative COVID-19 testing.
- Symptom resolution.
- The individual has no fever, without the use of fever reducing medicines, for 24 hours.
- The individual has felt well for 24 hours.
- The individual has been diagnosed with another condition and has a healthcare provider written note stating they are clear to return to school.
- If an individual 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, the individual cannot be in school and will 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.
- ALH will follow CDC guidance and require students and staff remain out of the school for 14 days if exposed to COVID-19 because it may take this amount of time to develop illness if infected.
- ALH will comply with CDC guidance and not conduct COVID-19 testing.
- ALH will not require COVID-19 testing or antibody testing on students or staff. ALH will refer to health care providers or the Albany County Department of Health for determination of whether testing needs to be conducted.
- The School Nurse will be responsible for referring and sourcing testing to be administered by local health officials in the event that large-scale testing at the school is needed.
- ALH will cooperate with local public health officials should contact tracing need to occur at the school. ALH’s attendance procedures, guest management procedures, and class scheduling procedures will assist contact tracers in identifying individuals who were potentially in contact with a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
- Should contact tracing need to occur, ALH will maintain confidentiality as required by federal and state laws. ALH will seek guidance from local health officials to determine who is to be excluded from school based on contact.
- Per NYSED Guidance, ALH will collaborate with the Albany County Department of Health to determine if there is a need to close the school. ALH will continuously monitor warning signs that positive COVID-19 cases may be increasing beyond an acceptable level (i.e. increased absenteeism or increased illness in school community).
- Per NYSED Guidance, ALH will monitor absentee rates. Should absentee rates impact the ability of the school to operate safely, ALH may choose to modify operations to help mitigate a rise in cases. ALH will consult with local health officials before making such decisions.
Cleaning and Disinfection
- ALH will continue routine cleaning during day and evening hours.
- ALH will frequently disinfect common touch areas throughout the business day: bathrooms, railings, door handles, desks, etc.
- ALH will be providing staff with disinfecting products, protective equipment, and training on how to clean their individual workspace.
- Staff will be required to clean their individual workspace (desk, phone, white boards, etc.) at the conclusion of their shift. High traffic areas will require increased cleaning.
- ALH is considering multiple in-person instruction models and identifying how support staff will assist in the cleaning of individual desks after each use.
- ALH will purchase Nanoseptic self-cleaning materials that can be placed on high touch areas (door handles, railings, etc.).
- The School Business Administrator will maintain cleaning logs and coordinate cleaning schedules with external custodial services
Health Physicals and Screenings
- In accordance with the memo entitled “Health Examination in Light of COVID-19 Pandemic”, ALH will 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.
- ALH will also follow the additional guidelines as outlined in the memo and below:
- Parents/guardians will be provided with additional time to provide the completed health exam to the school;
- Student athletes will be 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 will be completed on the NYS Required Health Examination Form
- Hearing, vision, and scoliosis screenings will not take place during 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).
- In accordance with Education Law § 807 ALH will continue to conduct 8 evacuation and 4 lockdown drills each school year.
- ALH will be modifying drills to accommodate for hybrid and remote schedules.
- Should students be remote, drills will still be conducted for staff.
- In the event of a hybrid instruction,drills will be staggered in order to allow all students the opportunity to participate in an evacuation drill and lockdown drill.
- ALH has amended the school’s evacuation and lockdown procedures to ensure social distancing is practiced during each drill. Specifically during evacuation drills, students will evacuate the building during staggered times and via multiple exits, students will be socially distanced at the evacuation sites and students will return to the building at staggered times. During lockdown drills, students will be encouraged to remain out of sight, but will not be required to move to a location where social distancing cannot be maintained.
- Despite these modifications, students and staff will be instructed that if it
was an actual emergency that required evacuation or lockdown, the most imminent concern is to get to safety; maintaining social distancing in an actual emergency that requires evacuation or lockdown may not be possible and should not be the first priority.
- Staff will be provided with training and assigned duties to ensure proper distancing is maintained during each drill
- Documentation of all drills will be maintained, and a log of all drill wills be provided annually to the state.
- Evacuation and lockdown procedures are confidential and are documented in ALH’s Emergency Response Procedures.