The Windsor School

The Windsor School Reopening Plan for 2020-2021

 The Windsor School Reopening Plan for 2020-2021
Dated July 28, 2020
(to be updated as needed)


Introduction

The Windsor School is a small, private, middle and senior high school offering grades 7-12 located in Flushing, Queens. We have prepared this comprehensive plan for reopening in compliance with the New York State Education Department and NY State Department of Health standards for the year 2020- 21. As a school offering an average of 10 students per class, we are in a good position to address the needs of families, students, and faculty for the coming year. It is our plan to conduct daily in-person classes for our students, providing schools in our region are given clearance by the Governor to have students in attendance. We will also have in place a full remote learning plan in the event we are mandated to close our school at any point during the upcoming school year. While there are certainly challenges ahead, we feel ready to meet them by having a comprehensive plan in place to identify and isolate any possible risks to our school community and at the same time, continue a safe learning environment for our students and staff.

The report was produced by administration, guidance, faculty from each academic department. It was undertaken in conversation with families through individual phone calls and email. It is always the mission of The Windsor School to be completely transparent when making school-wide decisions, which is why staff, students and their families played an important role in creating our school reopening plan.


Communicating our Plan to Family & Community

The Windsor School maintains a healthy dialogue with its school community and will utilize all our usual communication methods to message out our reopening plans, as well as safety information pertaining to reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection. In addition to our website we use both Instagram and Facebook to reach our families.

Specifically, we will:

  • publish our reopening plans on our website and update them as they evolve.
  • provide resources and education on COVID-19 prevention and safety, including information on CDC and DOH COVID-19 guidelines.
  • ensure that students and faculty are trained in how to follow COVID-19 prevention protocols safely and correctly, including but not limited to hand hygiene, proper face covering wearing, social distancing, and respiratory hygiene.
  • use verbal and written communication (e.g., signage) to encourage all students, faculty, staff, and visitors to adhere to CDC and DOH guidance regarding the use of PPE, specifically acceptable face coverings, when social distance cannot be maintained.


Section I: Health and Safety Admittance to the Building

For the safety of our students and faculty, only faculty, staff, and students will be permitted to enter the building. Non-student family members, vendors, contractors, or other individuals will not be permitted entry without prior permission from a member of the Administrative Team.

Health Checks
Mandatory Daily Online Screenings

For those entering the building, including students, faculty, staff, and where applicable, contractors, vendors, and visitors, The Windsor School will implement mandatory health screening to identify any individuals who may have COVID-19 or who may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus.

All individuals entering the building must have their temperature checked upon arrival each day. If an individual presents a temperature of greater than 100.0°F, the individual will be denied entry into the facility, or sent directly to a dedicated area prior to being picked up or otherwise sent home.

Our screening program will have the following components:

  • Daily screening questionnaire filled out upon arrival. This form will be required for any student enrolled in the school or faculty member who would normally be present at the school, whether or not they are in attendance that day.
  • For faculty and other adults, the questionnaire will provide a short list of adult-specific symptoms or situations that might indicate a COVID-19 + status, and the individual will certify whether or not any apply to them that morning. The short list of symptoms/conditions in the questionnaire will include (but is not limited to):
    • Having knowingly been in close or proximate contact in the past 14 days with anyone who has tested positive through a diagnostic test for COVID-19 or who has or had symptoms of COVID-19;
    • Having tested positive through a diagnostic test for COVID-19 in the past 14 days;
    • Having experienced any symptoms of COVID-19, including a temperature of greater than 100.0°F, in the past 14 days;
    • Having traveled internationally to or from a state with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 per the New York State Travel Advisory in the past 14 days;
  • For students, the questionnaire will provide a short list of symptoms or situations that might indicate a Covid+ status, similar to the ones outlined above, but also including child-specific symptoms.
  • These forms will be updated periodically to make sure they reflect any updated understandings of the Covid-19 as expressed by the CDC and/or DOH.
  • The school will not retain individual medical or health information from the questionnaire. Only the “clear/not clear” status of the individual as determined by the questionnaire will be available to the school or kept on file.
  • A daily temperature check will be taken of all faculty and students using handheld temperature “gun.”
  • An immediate review will be conducted each morning of all the data from the forms by the staff responsible for attendance, including follow-up calls to families of students who are not in school that day if those families have not already submitted their daily form. In the case of children who have stayed home, the follow-up call will include a reminder that any child presenting with a fever of 100.0°F or above must stay home for at least 14 days from the time of the onset of the fever.
  • Reporting of any “not clear” statuses (of students who have been turned away or have stayed home) to the Medical Director for follow-up according to DOH guidelines.

Positive Screens

Any individual, who screens positive for COVID-19 exposure or symptoms, if screened at the school, will immediately be sent home with instructions to contact their health care provider for assessment and testing. Students who are being sent home because of a positive screen (e.g., onset of COVID-19 symptoms) will be immediately separated from other students and supervised in a safe, contained area until their parent/legal guardian or emergency contact can retrieve them from school. The school will immediately notify the state and local health department about the case if the individual’s diagnostic test results are positive for COVID-19.

If an individual’s responses to any of the aforementioned screening questions changes, such as if they begin to experience symptoms, including during or outside of school hours, they must report immediately to the medical director for follow-up.

Teachers will receive training prior to the start of the school year in how to identify symptoms of Covid19, and will refer any students they see exhibiting such symptoms to the medical director.

The Windsor School will follow the local DOH requirements for determining when individuals, particularly students, who screened positive for COVID-19 symptoms can return to the in-person learning environment. At a minimum, a return to school will require documentation from a health care provider evaluation, negative COVID-19 testing, and symptom resolution.

Protections for Individuals Conducting Screenings

The Windsor School will ensure that any personnel performing in-person screening activities, including temperature checks, are appropriately protected from exposure to potentially infectious individuals entering the facilities. Personnel performing screening activities will be trained by individuals (identified and approved by The Windsor School) who are familiar with CDC, DOH, and OSHA protocols.

Screeners will be provided and use PPE such as a face mask, rubber gloves.

Staff and Student Testing

Following strong recommendations by the CDC and NYSED, The Windsor School does not require routine mandatory COVID-19 testing or antibody testing of students, faculty, and staff as a screening mechanism. The decision of whether a test needs to be conducted should only be determined by a healthcare provider or the local department of health. The Windsor School may, however, require testing to prove that an individual who has previously tested positive for COVID-19 while at school is “clear” to return to the building.

Management of Ill Persons

The Windsor School has developed protocols for caring for a student, faculty, or staff member who develops COVID-19 symptoms during the school day. These protocols include:

  • a dedicated isolation area to separate students, faculty, or staff with symptoms of COVID- 19 from others until they can go home or to a healthcare facility, depending on severity of illness.
  • plans to ensure that symptomatic students who are waiting to be picked up remain under the visual supervision of a staff member who is socially distanced.
  • cleaning and disinfection as specified by CDC guidelines.

Immediate Response and Cleaning Protocols

If COVID-19 cases are discovered at school, the immediate response will include closing off areas or classes where individuals were infected and engaging in a process of “deep cleaning” either in the affected area, portions of the school, or more broadly the entire school, as determined in consultation with DOH guidelines or conversations with our local DOH contact.

Contact Tracing Support

In the case of an individual testing positive, The Windsor School is required by NY State to support the DOH in tracing all contacts of the individual, in accordance with the protocols, training, and tools provided through the New York State Contact Tracing Program. Confidentiality will be maintained as required by federal and state law and regulations. The Windsor School is also required by law to cooperate with state and local health department isolation and quarantine efforts.

Whereas State and local health departments will implement monitoring and movement restrictions of COVID-19 infected or exposed persons, The Windsor School is responsible for notifying faculty or families of students that they have come into close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19. Please note that medical privacy laws explicitly prohibit The Windsor School from revealing the name of the individual who tests positive for COVID-19. We may only reveal that the student or faculty member has come in close or proximate contact with an unnamed person, and how we came to know this information (school tracking systems, governmental contact tracing, or another mechanism).

Returning to School

If a person is not diagnosed by a healthcare provider (physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant) with COVID-19 they can return to school:

  • once there is no fever, without the use of fever reducing medicines, and they have felt well for 24 hours.
  • if they have been diagnosed with another condition and have a healthcare provider written note stating they are clear to return to school.

If a person is diagnosed with COVID-19 by a healthcare provider based on a test or their symptoms, or does not get a COVID-19 test but has had symptoms, they should not be at school and should 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.

Face Coverings & Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)
Who Must Where Them and When

All persons in the building who are not maintaining a social distance of 6 feet must wear a face covering indoors as a general rule. This applies to all students, faculty, staff, and any other individuals in the building.

A face covering must always be worn when entering “public areas” such as hallways, stairwells, bathrooms, or other spaces multiple individuals or groups may pass through, or in situations where social distancing may be difficult to maintain, such as riding in elevators, entering/exiting classrooms with others, or in narrow halls and passageways. Individuals should have their face covering with them at all times, as they must be prepared to put them on if someone else who is unmasked/uncovered is unexpectedly unable to socially distance (as when stepping into an elevator).

Exceptions to general face coverning are outlined below.

  • Students working quietly at their desks in classrooms that allow for proper social distancing may take mask breaks.
  • A student who is having difficulty breathing should immediately be given a mask break and if the difficulty continues, be evaluated by the medical director.
  • Students may remove their mask to eat provided that it is done in an area of the school determined to have the appropriate capacity for social distancing during mealtimes.
  • A teacher has discretion in determining if a student is safe or not to remove their mask, as all teachers receive training on COVID-19 specific hygiene.

What Types of Face Covering and Protection are Appropriate
General Guidelines

Acceptable face coverings for COVID-19 include but are not limited to cloth-based face coverings and surgical masks that cover both the mouth and nose.

Provision of Face Coverings

Each family is encouraged to purchase or make five cloth face coverings (one for each day of the week) per student.

For students who forget their face covering, the school will have a supply of disposable surgical masks on hand.

Face coverings should be washed, disinfected, or replaced after each day’s use and must not be shared. Students and families should take responsibility for maintaining their individual face coverings. The CDC provides guidance on its website for additional information on cloth face coverings and other types of PPE, as well as instructions on use and cleaning.

The Windsor School will provide all students and faculty with training on how to adequately put on, take off, clean (as applicable), and discard PPE, including face coverings.

Handwashing

The Windsor School follows all hygiene requirements as advised by the CDC and DOH. These include:

  • Training all students, faculty, and staff on proper hand and respiratory hygiene, including providing information to families and guardians on ways to reinforce this at home;
  • Creating extra time in the schedule for handwashing, especially after restroom breaks and before and after lunch;
  • Installing touchless hand sanitizer dispensers filled with at least 60% alcohol-based sanitizer for areas where handwashing is impractical;
  • Providing hand sanitizer and wipes in common areas or near shared workplace items (copy machines, computers).

Cleaning & Disinfection

The school’s custodial staff is primarily responsible for cleaning and disinfection. A comprehensive COVID-19-specific cleaning plan per State guidelines has been developed for the school. Per DOH guidelines, custodial staff will keep logs that include the date, time, and scope of custodial cleaning and disinfection. In addition to the work of the custodial staff, classrooms and common areas will be stocked with child-safe, CDC-approved disinfectant spray so that teachers can also contribute to cleaning efforts at periodic intervals during the day. Extra time has been built into the schedule for hygiene maintenance—handwashing and the disinfection/cleaning of surfaces.

In addition to these measures, the following extra steps will be taken in classrooms, offices and common areas:

  • Touch-free amenities, such as hand washing soap and paper towel dispensers have been installed where possible.
  • Water drinking fountains will be closed. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to bring their own labeled water bottles to school.
  • Custodial staff will keep logs that include the date, time, and scope of custodial cleaning and disinfection.

Food Service

The Windsor School does not have a cafeteria, and students eat their lunch, which was prepared for them at home, while seated in the student lunchroom. This coming year, the following adjustments will be made to our normal lunchtime routines.

Students will:

  • wash hands before and after eating.
  • sit a minimum of six feet apart while eating.
  • refrain from sharing food or drinks of any kind with each other.

Restrooms

  • Restrooms will be limited to half their usual capacity. Signage demarking the maximum capacity will be posted on doors.
  • Restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected frequently during the day, following recommendations established by the DOH.

Cleaning & Disinfection After a Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 Case

In the event an individual at the school is confirmed to have COVID-19 while at school, The Windsor School will immediately:

  • close off areas used by the person who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.
  • open outside doors to increase air circulation in the area.
  • wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfection. If waiting 24 hours is not feasible, we will wait as long as possible to allow aerosolized particles to settle.
  • 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.
  • reopen the area once it has been appropriately cleaned and disinfected.

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 should continue.

Social Distancing

The Windsor School will strive to maintain appropriate social distancing (6 feet) between all individuals while in school facilities and on school grounds, unless safety or the core activity (e.g., instruction, using an elevator, traveling in common areas) requires a shorter distance or individuals are of the same household. Face covering will also help address cases where six feet of distance cannot be maintained.

Space Configurations

Space configurations and usage will change for the duration of the COVID-19 period. Some of the changes include:

Classrooms

  • Desks moved to be as distant as possible, and all facing one direction so that students sit side-to-side rather than facing one another.
  • Shared surfaces or workstations will be disinfected between student use.

Common Areas

  • Hallways will be designated as “one-way traffic only,” and marked accordingly with signage and tape arrows on the floor.
  • Staircases will be designated up and down.

Music and Physical Education

A distance of twelve feet in all directions is required between individuals, with spacing marked out on the floor of a large gathering space such as the All-Purpose Room. All persons playing any musical instruments should wash their hands immediately following their instrumental play.

Arrival, Departure, and Scheduling

Entrance and exiting from the building will be through designated doorways. Parents will not be allowed inside the building.

Finalized class schedules will be distributed to students on Thursday, September 10.


Section 2: Social-Emotional Well-Being

The Windsor School realizes that it is unrealistic to expect students and staff to return to school this fall as they left it earlier this year. The last several months have been stressful and traumatic for our community as a whole. It is even more important now, than ever before, for our “Windsor family” to bind together and support each other as we heal and adjust to the new normal.

Support Team

Social emotional support begins as soon as students are greeted by staff in the morning. Our school provides a welcoming environment, where everyone knows each other by name. It flows into each classroom, where students and teachers develop strong interpersonal relationships due to small class sizes, as well as caring and invested staff.

The Windsor School is served by a certified professional School Counselor, who is available to students, families, and teachers for individual and family appointments, as well as consultation with teachers about student needs in the classroom. Our school counselor works diligently to establish rapport with students and families and will communicate important information to the necessary staff members as needed. Whether we are physically together, or transition back to remote learning, our school counselor will communicate with our families in their preferred method of contact (e-mail, text, telephone, video chat) to ensure that they are always supported. Once a month, all faculty members will meet to discuss concerns regarding individual students and share what has and has not worked in their experience.

The art room is a known as a “safe place” for students. We are proud of our arts-based curriculum, which provides students with an outlet to express and process their emotions and experiences. Our English classes utilize acting, poetry and creative writing as a means for self-expression.

School Procedures and Teacher/Staff Professional Development

  • Starting the school year slowly, prioritizing social emotional well-being to create the mental, social and emotional space for academic learning to occur.
  • Offering support to the school community through one to one meetings with our counselor
  • Engaging in a professional development segment on social emotional well-being prior to the beginning of the new school year. Allow staff members to unpack their experiences collectively.
  • Screening of all students and parents via questionnaire during our school-wide orientation to identity areas of concern
  • Review and update the Windsor School’s comprehensive developmental school counseling program plan to meet current needs.
  • Creation of a virtual school counseling office using Google slides.
  • Creation of “Counseling Classrooms” using Google classroom in the event we transition to remote learning.
  • Provide regular, on-going check-ins with all students to ensure a comfortable and successful return to the school building.


Section 3: Facilities

Utilization of Space

The Windsor School is fortunate to be housed in a modern building with ample space, high ceilings that provide extraordinary air circulation, and two large areas (All-Purpose Room and student lunch room) that provide venues for activities that may pose slightly higher risk. Our classrooms are large in size, when combined with classes capped at 10 students, proper social distancing is maintained throughout the school.

Safety Drills

The Windsor School will conduct (8) evacuation and (4) lockdown drills implementing proper social distancing guidelines. Students and faculty are to maintain a distance of six feet when they gather on the sidewalks outside for our head count, and by reviewing where each class should gather in order to preserve maximum distance.

Ventilation & Plumbing

The Windsor School has very good air circulation, including an exclusive outdoor-intake HVAC system with enhanced (HEPA) filtration. Teachers will be trained and instructed to leave their classroom doors open throughout the day, increasing air-flow throughout the building.


Section 4: Fiscal and Data Collection Compliance

The Windsor School will continue to collect data and provide fiscal and other information as required by the State.

Attendance

The school collects attendance data every day, both for in-person and remote learning settings. Attendance records are collected and maintained as outlined in our school’s Student Handbook.

Chronic Absenteeism

The Windsor School will work to identify any children at risk of becoming chronically absent due to sickness, family situation, or other circumstances, reaching out to families and providing educational support services that include:

  • check-ins with the subject teacher to provide work at a rate and level that is appropriate to the student’s situation.
  • additional support from our Guidance Counselor, if needed.
  • help obtaining the necessary technology to ensure continuity of learning.

To achieve these goals we will use phone or email to engage and converse with family members and students who are experiencing difficulty.


Section 5: School Schedules

The Windsor School’s plan is to open, Monday through Friday, with 100% attendance for in-person instruction. However, we will continue to monitor guidelines issued by New York State, not only in September, but throughout the year.

The Windsor School will prepare for two possible scenarios:

  • In-Person Instruction: 5 days per week with all students in attendance
  • Remote Learning: 5 days per week, synchronous instruction, following student schedules

Planning has been made to allow for a smooth transition at any time from one learning model to another.

Extracurricular

Our ability to provide extracurricular activities will be guided this year by DOH guidelines as well as common sense preventative measures. At the time of this writing, interscholastic sports are prohibited.


Section 6: Technology and Connectivity Access

The Windsor School is conducting surveys of its parents and faculty to determine what access they have to technology and the internet.

Platforms and Security

The pivot to online learning presented The Windsor School with a challenge that will have lasting effects on our school infrastructure. One of the positive outcomes has been in nudging us to use Google Classroom as an online platform for teachers to communicate with families and upload assignments that students can access in a single place.

Last year we elected to use Google Meet as our video conferencing platform and we plan to utilize it again for the 2020-2021 school year.

Education for Families and Teachers

Last Spring our tech team did a tremendous job providing support for both families and teachers as we pivoted rapidly to remote learning. We are now in a stronger position to offer our families the support they need if and when instruction moves to remote learning.

Similarly, teachers are relatively well-equipped for remote learning. Professional development on the pedagogical side of remote learning will be provided throughout the school year.


Section 7: ELL Services

The Windsor School’s student body consists of around 20% of families for whom English is not their home language. Our ENL certified teacher works closely with our English Language Learners and their families. When needed, important school documents are translated into various World Languages for our students’ families.


Conclusion

The Windsor School is confident we are well-positioned to return to an in-person scenario in the Fall. Our large modern school building allows for hygienic airflow and our small class sizes make the spatial aspect of social distancing relatively easy for us to implement. We anticipate that the further release of guidelines from both the city and state will cause us to revise this document. We will maintain updated copies on our school website and forward updates to our Windsor Community as they become available.


COVID-19 Resources for Families and Communities


New York State Department of Health
Find all health-related information about the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in New York State.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO)
Find information about the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), including how to protect yourself, learn about the symptoms, and find federal guidance for travel, schools, child care, businesses, employers, and other community organizations.

NYS Center for School Health
Visit the NYS Center for School Health website for additional resources from the NYS Department of Health, the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other nationally vetted resources.

Resources for Mental Health and Talking to Young People About COVID-19
Feeling anxiety amid a global pandemic is normal and natural for everyone. As the adults, it’s critical that we take care of our own mental and physical health, and that will help us to better support our young people. These resources offer guidance for self-care as well as strategies for talking about COVID-19 honestly and effectively with young people.