Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf

2020-2021 School Reopening Plan

- 4201 Schools

New York State Education Department - 2020 Reopening 

Teaching and Learning

 

Guiding Beliefs: 

  • All students should feel safe, engaged and excited about learning 
  • A positive routine and welcoming environment is key to supporting students in any format
  • Relationships are at the heart of teaching and learning
  • Flexibility and and preparation for alternate models of teaching and learning will ensure the least amount of disruption for students 
  • Individual student needs and equity must be put at the center of all learning experiences.   

Mill Neck Manor is planning for three possible scenarios to begin the 2020-2021 school year considering the ever-changing nature of this pandemic. Bringing students back to campus in a safe manner will be done in phases with verified safety protocols in place throughout each step. Initiating on-campus services with essential services and small numbers will give us the opportunity to bring students back in a safe and highly controlled manner that is verified and refined through practice.  No matter which phase or models are used to instruct the students, our goal is to continue to provide high-quality education while maintaining safe environments for all students and staff members.  

Figure 1. Safety Protocols Chosen or Recommended by Staff Members

As we begin the 2020-2021 school year, the Mill Neck Manor academic plans will continue to follow New York State Education Department (NYSED) guidelines, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, the New York State Department of Health guidelines as well as the Governor’s mandates. These plans include protocols for on site, remote, and hybrid instruction. On site openings will begin in phases. Regardless of the method of instruction, the school will remain anchored as a community through daily virtual assemblies. 

School will remain in session during normal school hours from Monday through Friday each week, with several safety-related changes and protocols in places for student cohorts that may attend in person.  All teachers who are responsible for classes are licensed under NY State Education Department and are able to manage face-to-face, remote learning or a hybrid model.   Staff are expected to become proficient in the use of the main platforms and will continue to receive assistance in learning to utilize these with ease.

Mill Neck Manor School has a continuity plan that was created in March and has been altered throughout the spring and summer to match the changing needs of the students and the goals based on the Governor’s mandates as well as the requirements outlined by SED. The application of the school continuity plan is outlined in a differentiated and departmentalized ACCESS plan.

Following the re-opening timeline, by mid-August, the school will determine a more exact schedule for classroom schedules and September openings. All programs will begin with virtual training and orientations in September to prepare for potential reopenings. 

The school curriculum and programs of study will continue to adhere to the NYS learning standards, with additional emphasis on Social-Emotional Learning. Teachers will be provided with additional training in online instruction as well as encouraged to provide flexibility in assignments and deadlines. IEP and any special requirements, program modifications or accommodations will also be consistent over all types of instructional models.

FULL TIME DISTANCE LEARNING

All students will be issued a school Chromebook and/or iPad.tudents’ local districts may also provide devices and Wi-Fi as needed.  Students' parents will sign an “acceptable use agreement”.  Students/parents are expected to adhere to all expectations outlined in the agreement when using the device and/or accessing the school’s technological resources.

TECHNOLOGY AND 1:1 DEVICES

Mill Neck Manor is in compliance with  federal and state laws related to data privacy and security of  student technology use, including NY Education * 2-d and Part 121 of the Commissioner’s Regulations.

If there are any problems with the device and should there need to be a device repair or replacement, the family should email homeroom teachers, who will fill out tech support tickets. IT Department will provide tech support, and the school support team will track the process. 

COMMUNICATION/FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

The school has an important role to play in educating and communicating with our school community to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Using Blackboard Connect, Class Dojo, Google Applications, and through community Zoom assemblies  Mill Neck Manor provides regular updates about health safety, the reopening plan of the school, expectations and protocols for the school, and other relevant information. 

Figure 1. Safety Protocols Chosen or Recommended by Staff Members
Figure 1. Safety Protocols Chosen or Recommended by Staff Members

For the purpose of initial planning--information was collected from stakeholders using surveys, focus groups, and phone interviews in English and Spanish.  Hearing from all of the school’s stakeholders is necessary for a successful school reopening, therefore, we will continue to provide a variety of means of communication where families, community and others can offer feedback or ask questions.  As we prepare for reopening, Mill Neck Manor will create videos, posters, and actual live practices to explain to students how to follow the new COVID-19 protocols safely and correctly.  These include hand washing, wearing masks (uniquely designed plastic masks that allow our Deaf students and staff to visually communicate appropriately), social distancing and general hygiene (protection during sneezing, coughing, etc.). During previous remote learning, the school communicated with parents using ASL/English/Spanish videos posted on our Vimeo page and regular posts on Class Dojo with a variety of language translations available. In addition to videos, the school provided live training and community assemblies. These practices, along with lessons integrated into classroom instruction, will continue to prepare students for safe returns to campus.

Figure 1. Safety Protocols Chosen or Recommended by Staff Members

Social Emotional Well-Being 

Mill Neck Manor will provide students and staff with extra social and emotional support as they return to school for the 2020-2021 school year, including an initial and prolonged re-entry orientation. This will focus on time for building strong/supportive relationships, healing and coping strategies, establishing new routines and check-ins.

Figure 1. Safety Protocols Chosen or Recommended by Staff Members

Mulit-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) 

The Student Support Team will be ready to assist students and staff in need. The Student Support Team includes a social worker, counselor, nurse, audiologist, ASL interpreter, and Spanish interpreter. The updated remote Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) will include a screening tool for identifying the needs of returning students, followed by a strong set of universal (Tier 1) interventions to support the social/emotional well-being of all students and staff.  Furthermore, each student will receive the level and type of support needed (secondary, Tier 2, and tertiary, Tier 3, intervention) based on individual circumstances. A regular check-in process will be employed for students at all levels. Weekly progress reports for all students and schoolwide snapshots will be maintained to guide interventions and ensure that student needs are being addressed.

Community Partnerships 

Mill Neck Manor  will create partnerships with local agencies and will be maintained to secure additional assistance in this regard. Continuously updated resources are available online as well as through the school’s social worker or counselors.

Shared Decision-Making Teams/Advisory Councils 

A variety of  forums and data collection methods will be used to inform school decision making in respect to maintaining positive school climates, addressing the social and emotional needs of students and staff, building resilience, and providing staff members with related professional development.

  • Surveys
  • Focus Groups
  • 1:1 Interviews
  • Administration and Union Meetings
  • Town Halls

Professional Development for Staff  

Professional development opportunities will address topic related to personal, student and community well-being such as:

  • Trauma responsive practices
  • Social emotional learning
  • Remote learning best practices
  • Restorative practices
  • Mental health education
  • Culturally and linguistically responsive practices 
  • Anti-bias and Anti-racism

School Schedules 

Through staff surveys, we have determined that less than 15% of staff members prefer to begin the school year on campus, with 33% preferring a hybrid model and 39% preferring to remain fully online (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Staff Preferences for School Reopening Models

Figure 1. Safety Protocols Chosen or Recommended by Staff Members

About 30% of the parents preferred that school remained remote, 30% wanted a mix of remote and on-campus, 10% wanted full-time on campus and 30% wanted others.  (See Figure 2)

Figure 2:   Parents Preference for School Reopening Models

 

Figure 1. Safety Protocols Chosen or Recommended by Staff Members

As of March 2020, Mill Neck followed NYSED directives by preparing a program to remotely meet student academic, social and emotional needs to the greatest extent possible. More than 75% of staff members determined that online schooling was at least partly beneficial to students during this period. Mill Neck will continue to provide remote education with additional training for teachers in online instruction and student engagement while working to phase in on-campus classes. (See Figure 3)

Figure 3. Staff Perceptions of Online Schooling Benefit for Students

 

Figure 1. Safety Protocols Chosen or Recommended by Staff Members

As Mill Neck students come from varying school districts throughout Long Island as well as New York City, their school districts are setting their programs up in a different manner, to match the needs of their communities. Mill Neck’s programs will be informed by these models while based on the guidance from CDC and NYS DOH. While online learning appears to have been beneficial to students, there are also concerns about loss of learning. More than 75% of staff reported that students experienced some degree of learning loss during remote schooling (See Figure 4). 

Figure 4: Staff beliefs about students’ learning loss

Parents were mostly split about how they felt remote instruction was with their child. (See Figure 5).

Figure 5. Parents’ Perception of Difficulty of Remote Instruction

 

Figure 1. Safety Protocols Chosen or Recommended by Staff Members

While online learning has been beneficial for our students, it has not been ideal. Preparing for an eventual return to school remains a viable and necessary goal. In order to achieve this goal, students and staff must comply with safety protocols. The majority of staff members reported that it would be extremely difficult to manage both physical distancing compliance (See Figure 6) and mask compliance (See Figure 7). 

Figure 6. Staff Perception on Maintaining Physical Distancing Compliance (Easy to Difficult)

Figure 1. Safety Protocols Chosen or Recommended by Staff Members

Figure  7.  Staff Perception on Maintaining Mask Compliance (Easy to Difficult)

Figure 1. Safety Protocols Chosen or Recommended by Staff Members

To address safety concerns and mitigate the impact of school closures, Mill Neck will begin a phased approach to opening campus:

  • Essential services
    • Administration
    • Resource Management
    • Tech Support
  • Setting up clinical spaces and classrooms
  • Opening an audiology clinic
  • Openingodel service rooms
  • Openings of other on-site classrooms and programs

These model rooms will be set up following health and safety protocols for 1:1 sessions such as evaluations, related services, and individual and/or small group instruction. As these practices are adopted and verified by staff members and administrators, they will be integrated into the evolving policies. These expectations will be communicated to students, staff, and families--and reinforced through training and assessments to ensure compliance.

While preparing for on-campus instruction, Mill Neck Manor will consider ways to lessen the number of students and staff in the facilities and on the grounds such as:

  •  Seeking alternative spaces in the community to allow for more in-person instruction
  • Adjusting class or work hours and where possibly appropriate
  • Limited in-person presence of only staff who are necessary to be at school during normal school hours
  • Maintain or increase remote workforces to follow social distancing guidelines
  • Stagger schedules and allow more passing time between classes to reduce congestion in the hallways
  • Shift the design of school schedules to accommodate social distancing guidelines by varying when cohorts learn (full time in-person learning for younger students and part-time distance learning for older students)

Mill Neck Manor is considering the following options should they be necessary or prove to be safe:

  • Phased return to campus with modifications that meet the State and local health requirements
  • Return students to campus by age and a slow integration of other students
  •  Schedule cohorts of students on campus at various times
  • Alternating days for our students
  • The use of distance learning to lower the campus population
  •  Extending the calendar year and day schedule

Each of these plans will be discussed with staff and parents following the Governor’s mandates and COVID-19 circumstances.. Regardless of the instructional model, the priority remains equity and access for all students.

Figure 1. Safety Protocols Chosen or Recommended by Staff Members

As per state requirement, the school must report students with more than 9 unexcused absences. These students may lose credit for courses. Chronic absences may impact student placement and tuition funding. Most importantly, chronic absences will prevent student learning and growth.  Mill Neck Manor will do its utmost to ensure students are able to attend classes no matter the format to avoid chronic absenteeism.

Health and Safety on Campus  

All of our Mill Neck families and staff are eager to have schooling return to “normal” but are aware that the health, safety and well-being of the students and staff teaching and learning in our school is paramount. The Center for Disease Control has shown that physical distancing and the use of face coverings has slowed the rate of COVID-19 infections but not until a vaccine is found will we be able to relax our vigilance. Even when health officials announce it is safe to reopen, Mill Neck Manor will take precautions and navigate slowly in bringing everyone back to school to limit the transmission of COVID-19.  

Mill Neck Manor presents this reopening plan to you although we are aware that it will evolve over time as we a) learn more about the transmission of the virus, b) amend  our plan to stay in compliance with special education law, c) listen to the needs of of our families and staff and d) adapt our policies and procedures as we learn from ours and other schools’ experiences.  Know that we will gradually move forward responsibly and safely to reopen our school and are grateful as you walk with us on this new and ever-changing path.  

Mill Neck Manor’s Director of Nursing will be responsible to continuously comply with all aspects of the school’s reopening plan as well as any phased-in reopening activities necessary to allow for operational issues to be resolved before activities return to normal or “new normal” levels.  Mill Neck has designated our Director of Nursing to be the coordinator and the main contact person, should there be an identification of a positive COVID-19 case and will be responsible for any further communication to the families and community.  Additionally, working alongside the Director of Nursing will be the Superintendent of the school who will be responsible for answering questions from families, faculty, staff or students regarding the COVID-19 public health emergency and what plans will be implemented by the school – all as directed by the DOH

Mill Neck Manor is working on a potential plan for a school-run before care and aftercare program for children of staff to alleviate absences and inability to run the program efficiently.  This would be developed should the state go to a remote or hybrid learning system.

Summary of Requirements for the School to Reopen 

Health and safety considerations are always first in Mill Neck’s  decision-making about reopening the school and the following factors will be considered to determine if/when and to what extent it is appropriate to phase in in-person instruction:

  • Ability to maintain physical distance in the school by students and staff
  • PPE and face covering availability for all persons entering and remaining in the building
  • Availability of safe transportation (accomplished by each local district who transports the students)
  • Capacity to increase schoolwide cleaning and disinfection
  • Local hospital capacity (reaching out to our local DOH)
  • Feedback from the school’s stakeholders

Health and safety protocols are designed to prioritize the health of  Mill Neck staff and students; prevent the transmission of COVID;  keep the school and campus environment healthy and clean;  provide remote learning opportunities for students who are at high risk; and mandate daily health screenings for staff and students upon arrival.  

To communicate these protocols, Mill Neck Manor has or is creating and will distribute policies requiring:

  • Steps and schedule for cleaning and disinfecting the building in accordance with the US Center for Disease Control
  • Recording and maintenance of adequate supplies of cloth face coverings for school staff, students who forget their masks and PPE for use by school health professionals.
  • Accommodations to all students and staff who are at high risk or live with a person at high risk.
  • Directions on when and how students will be allowed to take mask breaks.
  • Parents observe signs of illness in their child that require staying home from school.
  • Visitors, guests, contractors and vendors to the school must participate in a health screening.
  • All employees, visitors and students wear a cloth face covering whenever social distancing cannot be maintained.
  • All persons in the school building to maintain social distance of at least 6 feet whenever possible.
  • Daily temperature screenings of all students and staff along with daily screening questionnaires for faculty and staff and periodic use of the questionnaire for students.
  • Students or staff with a temperature, or a positive response to the questionnaire be sent directly to the isolation area.   Students will be supervised prior to being picked up or otherwise being sent home.
  • All ill students and staff to be assessed by the school nurse and if the nurse is unavailable, ill students and staff will be sent home for follow-up with a healthcare provider.
  • Actions to be taken if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the school.

School policies to prevent the spread of COVID-19  follow the recommendations of local and national health authorities and address the following areas:

  • Health Screening
  • Health Hygiene Practices
  • Social Distancing
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Face Coverings
  • Management of Ill Person
  • Cleaning and Disinfection

Home Health Screening 

Families are expected to monitor their children for symptoms of COVID-19.   Children with symptoms of COVID-19 must be kept home and should not get onto a bus, attend school or participate in school-related activities.

According to the CDC, most afflicted children are asymptomatic or present with mild symptoms which may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.   Children showing the symptoms listed below should not attend school  and should contact their primary care physician, particularly if they exist in combination and/or persist.

  • Fever (over 100.4 F) or chills
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Flushed cheeks
  • Rapid or labored breathing
  • Fatigue and/or irritability
  • Frequent use of the bathroom
  • Breathing Shortness of breath or difficulty
  • Cough

Every student will have his/her temperature checked each day at home prior to getting onto a school bus or entering the school building.   The family will be required to answer six screening questions  online or sign a paper available at the school. 

  1. Has the students experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 (listed above) in the past 14 days?
  2. Has the student tested positive through a diagnostic test for COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
  3. Has the student 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/had symptoms of COVID-19?
  4. Was your child in another state other than MA, CT, NJ or PA, for more than 24 hours?
  5. Was your child in another state other than MA, CT, NJ or PA, for less than 24 hours?
  6. You checked the COVID Zone Address Lookup and you live in an orange, red, or yellow Hot Spot.  https://covidhotspotlookup.health.ny.gov/#/home

Those who display a temperature of 100.4 F or higher or if any questions are answered in the affirmative on any given day, the student should not board a school bus or come to school.  

Daily Health Screenings and Temperature Checks for Students at School 

All students will wear a face mask, have their temperature checked and hands sanitized upon arriving on campus and before they enter a building.  Parents will be educated to observe the students  for signs of any illness.   

If  any of the symptoms are noted, 

  1. He/she will be placed in a designated isolation area where he/she will be assessed by the school nurse and then supervised by a staff member prior to being sent home.
  2. It is MANDATED that a parent and /or appointed person come to the school to pick up their child.  No options can be made as  Mill Neck has no infirmary and cannot ensure the medical safety of the child.  
  3. The parents of the children and the school staff who had direct contact with the affected student will be informed
  4. The student’s family must contact their primary health care provider for further assessment and, as warranted, follow local health department guidelines for 14-day isolation (or as otherwise directed). 
  5. All spaces where the child was present that day will be cleaned and disinfected.  If test results show the child tested positively for COVID-19, staff, families whose children might have been exposed to the child, and local authorities will be informed. 

Health Screenings and Temperature Checks for Staff and School Visitors

Prior to entering any campus building,  each staff member is required to daily complete a confidential health screening form with the same six questions noted earlier either online or physically hand in a signed form upon arrival.   All staff will be wearing a face mask, have their temperature checked and sanitize their hands upon arriving on campus and before they enter a building.  If a staff member has reported in the affirmative to any of the five items on the form, he/she must remain home and contact the Human Resources office for additional direction.  

Should a staff person display a temperature above 100.4 F at work or show other symptoms, 

  1. The person will be sent home and must adhere to designated return-to-work- protocol before returning to school.  
  2. The staff member  must contact their primary health care provider for further assessment and, as warranted, follow local health department guidelines for 14-day isolation and receive two negative COVID tests, the second test being taken at least four days after the first. 
  3. All spaces where the staff member was present that day will be cleaned and disinfected. 
  4. If test results show the staff member tested positively for COVID-19, other staff members, families whose children might have been exposed to the staff member, and local authorities will be informed so contact tracing can be done. 

To minimize exposure to the highest  extent possible, non-essential workers are restricted from the DEC during program hours.  State regulations require that all non-program workers are unable to enter the building at that time.  

All essential visitors (i.e. for emergencies) or any other necessary visitor will have their temperature checked upon arriving on campus and before they enter a building, will disinfect their hands and be required to wear a mask.  If the visitor displays a temperature of 100.4 F or higher 

  1. Will be denied entry into the building and will be requested to leave campus.  
  2. Should a visitor display symptoms after spending some time on campus, they person will be told to leave campus and  contact their primary health care provider for further assessment. 
  3. All spaces where the visitor was present  will be cleaned and disinfected.  
  4. Any persons who had direct contact with the visitor will be informed 
  5. The individual will be responsible to contact the school with the results of their COVID-19 test.  
  6. If test results are positive for COVID-19, staff, families whose children might have been exposed to the visitor, and local authorities will be informed so contact tracing can be done.  . 

Facilities 

As students and adults return to campus for in-person instruction, it will be very important the physical spaces they occupy are set up and maintained in a way that provides the maximum possible protection from spreading the coronavirus.

Mill Neck Manor will follow health guidance related to social distancing, as mentioned earlier,  and other safety measures to insure that we can prevent the spread of COVID-19.  To achieve these goals, Mill Neck is re-configuring all spaces within the building as well as altering existing spaces throughout our campus.

Any potential changes within the school building due to COVID-19 health and safety requirements will be in compliance with the State Education Department, with all fire safety regulations, all building codes and would be reviewed by Nassau County and/or code enforcement officials to ensure compliance.    Any physical changes, relocations, enlargement, replacement, repair, equipment, use and occupancies, maintenance, removal, and demolition of the building will comply with the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code.  Any changes or additional Mill Neck Manor will continue to make sure that the function, position and operation of fire doors will remain unchanged and will work if set off by a fire alarm and they will not be touched during normal use.  Mill Neck will continue to conduct standard operations and procedures.   Fire (evacuation) Drills and Lockdown Drills are required and they will be completed as listed in the Fire Code Section 404.  Mill Neck Manor will maintain the Fire Safety, Evacuation and Lockdown plans and how we conduct these drills will be modified (plans will be explained but children will not hold hands as normally required, masks would not be removed, etc…).

If Mill Neck Manor determines a need for new construction, renovations, alterations or major repairs in excess of the limit as determined by NY State, we will submit a Capital Project Request for a program and fiscal review and a written approval.  Mill Neck Manor may not open in any new facilities without receiving prior approval from the NY State Education Department via an application to modify an existing program.  No program changes having to do with facilities may be accomplished without approvals from the State Education Department or requests to the Capitol Project office in Albany.

Mill Neck Manor will create arrangements to reduce the transmission of the infection through:

  • Leaving Doors Open – to reduce the spread of the virus from doorknobs, doors, levers, windows, etc., all doors will be kept in an open position.   
  • Plastic Separators – light-transmitting plastics will be placed in locations where social distancing or mask requirements cannot be easily regulated.  These plastics comply with Building Code Section 2606.

Dividers at Doors and Other Point of Congregation – Mill Neck will use dividers at places to control movement where students and staff normally line up or where overcrowding may occur.  We will consult the Nassau County enforcement officials – to ensure that these dividers will not obstruct escape during an emergency.

POLYCARBONATE SHIELDS & PHYSICAL BARRIERS

Mill Neck Manor School will insure that Polycarbonate (or comparable) shields have been or will be placed in higher-traffic offices as needed.  Physical desk barriers may also be used in classrooms to assist in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

FACILITY ALTERATIONS AND ACQUISITION

Mill Neck Manor may elect to use other available space for teaching within the school to increase the capacity for adequate social distancing – including the auditorium, cafeteria and library.  Other spaces may be considered as long as it’s created to come to code. Mill Neck Manor may increase its space by adding building additions, leased space – transportable classroom units or spaces such as tents, if necessary.  Mill Neck Manor will check to make sure that the areas of egress, the fire alarm system, ventilation and lightning will continue to be within code if these steps are taken.

GYM

Mill Neck Manor will not engage in activities promoting physical contact until further notice. Outdoor spaces will be used when possible. Stationed or shared equipment must be cleaned prior to and after use. Activities involving individual exercise, yoga, running/walking, jump roping and other non-contact activities may be explored and are encouraged.  For students participating in aerobic physical activity, a distance of 12 feet between them must be maintained.

PLAYGROUNDS

Playgrounds may be used by a limited number of students/classes at one time when all safeguards are in place.   Students will be instructed and reminded to wash their hands before and after using playground equipment and to maintain appropriate social distancing, as modeled by their teachers or school staff in advance.

RESTROOMS

Physical barriers exist between toilets in all students' bathrooms.   In those bathrooms where sinks are not six feet apart, either barriers will be installed or sinks will be turned off.

Monitors and/or signage will assist in minimizing restroom occupancy at any given time.   Sign-in/sign-out logs will be maintained in the event that contact tracing is needed at any point.

VENTILATION

Mill Neck Manor will increase the fresh air ventilation rate to the extent possible to aid in maintaining healthy indoor air quality.  Mill Neck Manor will optimize its HVAC system by creating a schedule to consistently and continually change the filters and checking the balance system within the building.

Required Square Footage

Mill Neck Manor is reconfiguring its space to ensure appropriate social distancing is maintained by all persons in the school or on the school grounds. Mill Neck will follow New York code which sets standards for individual rooms based on the room’s function: 20 square foot per person, 15 SF per person for cafeterias, 50 SF Vocational and Special Education, 150 SF for offices and 5-15 SF at the gymnasium.

Social/Physical Distancing

Mill Neck Manor will carefully plan how many students and staff can be in the school at one time based on the size of the classrooms and ability to comply with safety protocols.  When surveying school staff, 84%  of the 65 respondents reported the safety protocol that made them most comfortable working face to face with students was compliance with physical distancing with wearing masks a close second with 81%.  Other preferred protocols include barriers between workspaces (65%) and rotating/staggered schedules (59%).   

Social distancing mechanisms will be initiated  on campus beginning with the list below: 

  • In-person gatherings will be limited and tele- or video-conferencing utilized whenever possible
  • All people on campus and in the school will maintain at least a six-foot distance
  • Occupancy kept under 50% of maximum if more than 1 individual in space
  • Small spaces that cannot assure  six- foot social distancing will not be used by more than one person
  • Social distancing post/makers made to signify 6 feet of spacing in commonly used areas
    • Hallways and staircases, utilizing separate staircases for ascending and descending
    • Cafeteria lines
    • Entrance
    • Lobby from door to waiting area
    • Outside and inside restrooms
    • Gymnasium
  • Sneeze guard dividers for labs and speech therapy rooms and computer science
  • Remove reception desk from front lobby and replace with distancing markers
  • Preschool additional tables in auditorium lobby
  • Essential in-person gatherings in open, well-ventilated spaces with distancing.
  • Will explore teaching classes outside in protected spaces
  • Elementary student lunch in classroom
  • Secondary and staff lunch with social distance markers in cafeteria
  • Designated area for pick-ups and deliveries to the school will be delivered at the dock in rear
  • Time Management – times in the hallways will be staggered to ensure that no students are in hallways at the same time of day to reduce congestion and maintain social distancing.
  • Locker use on the second floor will be suspended until further notice. 
  • Mill Neck Manor will make every effort to limit nonessential movements.   For example, special area teachers will visit classrooms, as opposed to students participating in the activities in another designated room
  • If personnel are less than 6 feet apart, they must wear face coverings.  Instances where this is necessary:
    • Walking in hallway
    • Going to bathroom
    • Ordering/picking up food
  • Mill Neck Manor will designate certain hallways or staircases as one-way and/or create “lanes” in hallways using color tape, floor markings or directional arrows, depending on the width of corridors involved.   Additional signage will be placed on walls for visual referencing.

Protective Equipment and Maintenance (PPE)

Mill Neck Manor will require that students and staff wear face coverings when in school.  Mask “breaks” will be included for students throughout each day.  The duration and timing of mask breaks may vary based on the time of year and individual classroom circumstances. Children may come to school wearing cloth-based or surgical masks but within the school building, alternate face coverings will be distributed to both students and staff..  Mill Neck has arranged to purchase face coverings that are plastic so that they are visible to all and your facial expressions are clear as well as lips for use with Deaf students and staff.

Please see attached Appendix - How to Wear and Remove Face Covering.  This flyer describes how to wear your face covering correctly, how to wear a face covering to protect others and how to take off your cloth face covering carefully, when you’re at home.   We ask that all students, faculty, staff and visitors adhere to the CDC and DOH guidance, specifically acceptable face coverings.

Mill Neck Manor will provide one reusable mask to every student and staff member and will maintain its supply throughout the year via recommended procurement protocol.  Replacements will be on hand and available, as needed, in the nurse’s office, the principal’s office or the superintendent’s office.  Students may wish to supplement Mill Neck Manor’s provided masks with/rotate in use of additional masks brought from home

The proper manner in which to wear a mask and discard those that are disposable will be reviewed and reinforced as needed with students and staff.

 Mask exceptions may include:

  • Any students with health or other documented conditions that make wearing a face covering a risk to their health
  • Situations in which students are performing tasks that cannot be completed while wearing a face covering (eating, drinking, etc)

The school will also make  available for students and staff  disinfectant wipes, antibacterial soap, disposable paper towels, hand sanitizer, and hand hygiene stations at the entrance of the school and various locations throughout the DEC.

In addition to virtual training, written safety protocols will be distributed to staff, parents, and students, and signs will be posted throughout the campus. All communications – verbal, written or signage adheres to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health (DOH) guidance memos on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), specifically acceptable face coverings.  

Cleaning and Disinfecting/Hand and Respiratory Hygiene

Mill Neck Manor will adhere to hygiene and sanitation requirements from the CDC and DOH, maintaining on-site logs of date, time, and scope of cleaning in different areas throughout the school.  Staff and students will be trained on hygiene and cleaning.  

  • There will be no sharing of objects and discourage touching of shared surfaces. Wear gloves or sanitize hands when contact occurs.
  • Common objects shared between people and plans to ensure safety:
    • Computers: wipe down between use
    • Toys: put aside toys after single use. Wash toys and daily before next use.
    • Sporting equipment: put aside equipment after single use. Wash equipment before next use.
    • Books: students will be given their own textbooks and discouraged from sharing
    • Class/school library books will be lent to one student/teacher per week. Books will not be re-distributed until more than 3 days after use. Whenever possible, students will have access to virtual books and their own collection of paper books.
  • Limit recreational and physical education/therapy activities to limited contact and use of equipment.
  • Antiviral wipes will be available in all classrooms and therapy rooms and replenished routinely for use in cleaning computers and other devices.
  • Teachers will maintain individual logs for toys, computers, and other items.
    • The school  will provide and maintain hand hygiene stations, including handwashing with soap, water, and paper towels, or an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
    • Indicate where products will be located:
      • Disinfectant dispensers will be available in all visible sightlines.
      •  Soap dispensers and paper towels will be available in all bathrooms, nurse’s office, administrative offices, science room, art room, and life skills room as well as the first floor classrooms that have sinks, including Infant Toddler classrooms.
    • Mill Neck Manor will create a protocol for individually assigned Chromebooks and iPads for home and for school.  For any devices used in the classrooms, they will be wiped down daily.
    • Regular cleaning  and disinfecting:
      • Light Switches and Door Knobs: teachers and staff members will be solely responsible for using light switches and door knobs. Both items will be wiped down in the middle of the day and the end of the day.
      • Banisters: will be wiped down on a daily basis. All students/staff will be required to disinfect hands after using stairs.
    • Custodial staff will be provided with daily checklists for inspecting assigned areas and will remain diligent in terms of the following:
      • Regular cleaning and disinfection of all the building using EPA-approved disinfectants against COVID-19
      • Cleaning of desks and cafeteria tables between successive used by different individuals or cohort
      • Bathroom Hardware: will be cleaned every hour

Hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed in cafeterias and outside all classrooms and offices that do not have sinks.  The solution in the dispensers contains 65% alcohol, which is appropriate for schools.  Please note that handwashing (20 seconds or more) is preferred over use of sanitizer and will not be encouraged routinely.  A parent can inform the school that he/she doesn’t want their child to use alcohol-based hand sanitizers by written instruction to the school nurse. Mill Neck Manor will make the appropriate hand-washing accommodations for the child in response.

Age appropriate decal signs, reminding all individuals of the importance of and proper procedures for hand-washing/sanitizing and respiratory etiquette (ie, covering mouth or nose with a tissue or shirtsleeve), have been or will be placed in each classroom throughout the school.  The school will share similar information with the parent. Administrators and teachers will teach and assist students in assimilating proper protocol at the elementary level or wherever needed

School Health Offices: Cleaning the nurse’s office will occur routinely after use of a cot, bathroom and health office equipment.  Disposable items should be used whenever practicable.

Transportation

Protocol for Students Arriving to School by Personal Transportation 

Prior to arrival to campus, the parent completes a health screening attestation statement that must be completed and returned prior to arrival electronically.  This must be done the SAME DAY. If the parent does not have access to technology, they may complete the paper form and give it to a staff person by hand. If the parent does not sign the attestation form or the child lives in a hot zone, the appointment is cancelled.

A staff member will pick up the child from the car.  The child, who is masked, is then accompanied by the staff person to the main entrance of the school and the parent stays in the car.

The parents cannot be with the child during the session.

At the entrance of the school, the student’s temperature is taken, their hands are wiped with Purell alcohol hand sanitizer, the teacher signs their name in the log.

The child must wear their mask at all times.

The child is accompanied to their classroom.  Prior to the student entering the classroom, the staff person knocks or flicks the light to make sure the teacher is wearing his/her mask and is prepared to meet with the student (the classroom door and a window will be open).

Tutoring session commences with the student sitting within Plexiglas dividers.

When the class is finished, the child will be chaperoned to the exit, the staff member will log the child out, and the child will be escorted to the parent’s car.

For Students Arriving to School by Bus

Mill Neck Manor does not provide school transportation.  Each school district is responsible to transport the child from their district back and forth to Mill Neck Manor.  It is the responsibility of the district to insure the health and safety of each student and to set up a protocol to insure that each bus passes the State DOH regulations.  The school will communicate with districts, families, and the DOH to review best practices in transporting students from a wide network of communities. 

We will be requesting information from each company as to their protocols for transporting our students.  The use of masks are highly recommended from the time a student is picked up to when the child is left at school, but as these companies are independent of our school, we cannot require any policies.  

Mill Neck Manor suggests the following protocols for its students to ensure their safety:

  • Masks should be worn by the students during the rides to school and from the building to their home
  • Drivers, matrons, 1:1 assistants should wear masks throughout their ride to and from school when in the presence of students
  • Social distancing should occur on the buses to the maximum extent practicable.   Students should be assigned seats for the morning and afternoon bus routes.   Members of the same household should board buses and may be seated together.   Additional time may be needed to maintain social distancing.  Signage on the buses should be used to encourage healthy hygiene practices.  Students should not be permitted to eat or drink on the buses.
  • Bus companies need to determine the maximum load based on social distancing.  Seats should not have more than one student in it
  • If a student does not wear a face covering, it will affect the seating of the bus in order to place a student further from other students and staff
  • Students who choose to remain on a full distance learning schedule, should not preclude the right possessed by those students to return to the hybrid schedules.   These adjustments may happen.
  • Drivers should take students' attendance on all routes.  If a student is not scheduled on a specific day, should not be permitted to ride on the bus, unless the change has been officially made

If child stays home due to COVID-19--they are to remain home.  If able, they can participate in remote learning.

Reporting Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 Cases and Contract Tracing 

If any COVID-19 test returns positive of a child, staff member or visitor on campus, Mill Neck Manor will follow local and state guidelines for reporting confirmed positive cases of COVID-19.   They will notify the pertinent health department (s) of any positive COVID-19 diagnostic test result for an individual who was present within the school, including students, faculty and staff and visitors.  All reports will be made in compliance with FERPA and Education Law ~2-d.  

Mill Neck Manor will collaboratively and confidentially with local public health officials as outlined by the New York Contact Tracing Program: 

  1. NYS Contact Tracing:  518-387-9993
  2. NYS Contact Tracing Information:  https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/new-york-state-contact-tracing
  3. NYC Test and Trace Corps at:  CovidEmployerReport@nychhc.org

In an effort to assist the state and local health departments in knowing who may have had contact at school with a confirmed case, Mill Neck Manor will:

  • keep accurate attendance records for students and staff
  • ensure that student schedules are up to date
  • keep an accurate log of visitors, including date, time and location visited

Confidentiality in this regard will be maintained, as required by federal and state law and regulations.

With respect to confirmed positive cases or metric-based warning signs, the designated school personnel will consult with the state and/or local health department to determine whether to close a specific area in response, or in the cases of broader infection, an entire school.  Should the school be closed in their entirety, the school will maintain continuity of learning and services remotely while the school is cleaned and disinfected.

Return to School/Work Protocols

The CDC recommends 14 days of quarantine after exposure based on the time it takes to develop illness if infected. Mill Neck Manor will follow similar protocol as prescribed by the state and/or local health departments, for staff seeking return to work and students returning to school after suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or after the staff or student had close or proximate contact with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19.

Any student or staff member who exhibited symptoms of COVID-19 and was not diagnosed by a healthcare worker, may return to campus if: 

  1. they feel better after 24 hours
  2. can pass the 5 health screening questions and 
  3. have a normal temperature (without taking any medication)

Any student or staff member who exhibited symptoms of COVID-19 but was diagnosed by a healthcare provider with another condition, can return to campus with a note from the provider saying they are healthy to return to campus.

As recommended by the Center for Disease Control (July 20, 2020) if a person is diagnosed with COVID-19 by a health care provider through a test or recognized symptoms or does not get a diagnosis from a healthcare provider and has the symptoms, should stay at home 14 days of isolation and may discontinue home isolation under the following conditions: 

  1. Must be 24 hours to 72 hours fever free without taking medication to reduce fever and improvement in symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) and 
  2. At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared

If the staff or student was in close proximity to a person who tested positive to COVID-19, they should self-isolate for 14 days and monitor their symptoms. 

Mill Neck Manor continues consultation with the local health department to adapt to any changes throughout the pandemic.

Child Nutrition 

A successful nutrition program is a key component to every educational environment and the meals served protect the most vulnerable children against hunger.  Mill Neck Manor recognizes that students perform best academically when they are well nourished.  Sixty percent of Mill Neck Manor students receive free or reduced lunches and rely on the school to provide this nourishment.  

As Mill Neck Manor prepares to begin serving school meals, School Food Authorities (SFAs) will follow national, state and local health and safety guidelines. The plan must ensure compliance with Child Nutrition Program requirements.  There will be ongoing discussions to ensure that students participating in all learning models have access to healthy meals.

The traditional format of having students come to the cafeteria and to be served both breakfast and lunch as a group will be modified. Students who study remotely or through a hybrid model will be provided meals and assistance to get meals in each child’s local community when/if the students are learning remotely.  All meals will continue to comply with Child Nutrition Program requirements and all information will be shared with families through varying means (verbal, in language of the home, written form, Face-book, Class Dojo, video, etc.) as mandated by school policies regarding communication with families.  

Mill Neck Manor will send letters at the end of August (prior to the beginning of the school year) as well throughout the school year concerning school nutrition. Based on the Federal standards, families of children eligible for free and reduced meals will be notified that they can and should submit a new application prior to the opening of school as well as any time during the school year.  The application will be available on the school website for any parent to take advantage of if there is anything that has changed in their home life.  Mill Neck Manor will provide an option of obtaining electronic signatures as needed.  The school social worker will be responsible for supporting and informing families in need. 

The School Registrar will receive and respond to all communications regarding nutrition and food services from the families. The Registrar’s contact information name is included in the cover sheet for the State form and parents may contact them for any assistance.  

Mill Neck Manor distributes a form that lists information related to all food/meals:

  • Availability of meals
  • Monthly menus – in print and online
  • Payment methods – checks and cash (with the potential for an electronic system connected to our food program where parents can put a credit card in for payments for their child’s meals
  • à la carte sales
  • Students bringing food from home – availability of refrigeration and microwaving food (with the assistance of staff if needed)
  • Restrictions of visitors during meal service

Child Meal Service 

Food safety plans will include meal service in classrooms, additional meal service procedures in the cafeteria, social distancing, PPE during meal prep and delivery and receiving and storage. A meal counting procedure will be developed for meals served outside of the cafeteria.  Teacher assistants will email the exact number of meals required for each class by 10:00AM each day and which children will be eating school meals. 

Mill Neck will alter its food delivery model and will shift from a cafeteria model for Pre-K through sixth grade to a classroom delivery model based on the attendance and requests for meals.  Grades 7-12 will be served in the cafeteria while maintaining social distancing protocols. Physical distancing guides will be implemented in food service areas such as tape on floors and signage to increase table spacing, remove tables, mark tables as close or provide a physical barrier.  When distributing food, cafeteria staff will use pre-portioned condiments on each tray. Meals will be placed on a counter or tray line for quick pick up. 

All leftovers, utensils and serving trays will be disposed of after the meals in the classroom’s or cafeteria’s trash where it will be tied up and left in the hallway to be disposed of soon after.  A new garbage bag will be placed in the trash can. 

Mill Neck Manor will continue to allow students to bring their meals from home.   In all settings, supervisory staff will be aware and safe accommodations will be made for students with food allergies.  To safely monitor students eating in classrooms, all non-food service staff on any meal service –related activities they may be responsible for.  Staff members will be provided with designated tables in their classrooms or department spaces to take meals

Mill Neck Manor will complete written protocols regarding meal provision and the role of the cafeteria and SFAs, including/requiring:

  • Specific locations where meal will be served (classroom, cafeteria, other)
  • Students to be 6 feet apart or separated by a barrier while consuming meals
  • Discontinuation of shared tables, self-service refrigerators and places for
    condiment
  • Discouragement of food sharing between students

Throughout lunch periods, a schedule for clean and disinfect tables, chairs and other frequently touched hard surfaces between groups of students will be posted and signed off on daily. 

Meal Continuity and Child Care Plan

Parents will be informed of individual District “Grab-and Go” Programs. The school social worker will post on Class Dojo about resources offered, and regularly check in with families about food and social needs. Families in need will be given food deliveries from the Mill Neck pantry, once every month. 

Parents will be informed of individual District Day Care programs for children of First Responders.

Kitchen Sanitation  

Mill Neck Manor has updated its standard operating procedures for sanitation of the kitchens, cafeteria, and storage areas. Kitchen staff will use gloves when handling or delivering all foods.  Additionally, staff will use disposable aprons when handling or delivering foods.  Only the program staff and maintenance staff will be allowed to enter the kitchen and preparation areas. To keep food, students, and staff safe, equipment and supplies such as thermometers and disinfectant wipes have been purchased.  Additional barriers will be installed at the “point of sale/point of pickup”.  The school will maintain an adequate supply of face masks, soap, hand sanitizer and tissues in the food service areas.  The kitchen, its equipment, any area where food is prepared or eaten (including tables, chairs and carts that will be used to transport food throughout the building) will be routinely cleaned and disinfected throughout the day.  A chart will be posted and signed off daily with specific cleaning tasks, which staff person is responsible, when it should be done and when it is completed.  All staff will be trained on protocols of health and safety as determined by the Department of Health and CDC.  All staff will be retrained if there are any areas they might be deficient in regarding standard operating procedures.  Staff will be cross-trained to prepare for an absence or an emergency where one person needs to cover for another.

Vendors and Suppliers for all Schools 

Mill Neck Manor will contact its current vendors to find out their status, (open or closed) which could affect the food supply chain or affect the availability of services.  Any lack of services and concerns will be determined prior to the school year so alternative vendors may be found.   We will arrange for safe ways to handle deliveries so as not to cause any contaminations.  

USDA WAIVERS APPROVED FOR NATIONAL SCHOOL LUNCH AND SCHOOL BREAKFAST PROGRAM

Mill Neck Manor SFA will notify the SED Office of Child Nutrition for waivers necessary for operations

  • Non congregate Feeding
  • Meal Service Time Flexibility
  • Bulk Meals require both non-congregate and meal time waivers
  • Parent Meal Pick Up
  • Meal Pattern Flexibility
  • Offer Versus Serve Flexibility for High School

SFA will contact SED Child Nutrition Program Representation to ensure operations are within waiver allowances.

Certification, Incidental Teaching & Substitute Teaching

Mill Neck Manor ensures that all staff hold valid and appropriate certificates for teacher assignments except where otherwise allowable under the Commissioner’s regulations (ie, incidental teaching) or Educational Law.   

Appendix A. Mill Neck Manor 2019-2020 COVID-19 Academic Continuity Plan 

Due to statewide school closures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and maintain the capacity of the health care system to provide adequate care--the Mill Neck School for the Deaf will provide remote educational services for all students beginning on Monday, March 16, 2020. 

All students and their families from I/T to 12th grade will be enrolled in a Class Dojo. Secondary students will use the Class Dojo as their homeroom. Elementary students will use Class Dojo as their instructional platform. Secondary students will receive instruction through Google Classrooms. Intermediate classes will create classrooms in preparation for further closures. Following the guidelines from NYSED for home schooling, teachers will create instructional logs and develop written narratives to describe student progress. Wherever possible, teachers and service providers will collect data and/or create portfolios to demonstrate student progress. Following the guidelines from NYSED for providing special education services during the COVID-19 crisis, teachers and service providers will provide services using alternate methods and consulting

I/T teachers will post daily on Class Dojo, communicate with parents following the regular schedule of the program, and coordinate consulting services as needed with school audiologist, Spanish translator, and/or other relevant providers. 

Preschool-5th grade and special needs teachers will post daily on Class Dojo in collaboration with TAs, consult with parents 2x/week, coordinate related services as needed with audiologist, SLP/OT/PT, and Spanish translator, collect information about student progress, and coordinate a schedule for postings on Class Dojo with art, PE, and library teachers. 4th and 5th grade teachers will create a Google Classroom in preparation for extended closures. Whenever possible (with a goal of weekly), teachers will conference with students using Google Hangouts and/or platforms accessible to parents.

6th-12th grade teachers will post daily notes to families on Class Dojo, collaborate with TAs to post/respond to students daily on Google Classrooms, conduct daily group and weekly individual conferences with students on Google Hangouts, provide feedback on student work, collect data on student progress, and coordinate with related service providers to avoid scheduling conflicts. 

Related service providers will coordinate with teachers to schedule postings on Class Dojo, provide consulting to parents, and schedule conferences with students/families using Google Hangouts or platform accessible to parents.  

All school staff will participate in professional development using www.asldeafined.com to maintain and build ASL proficiency, and/or other professional development resources that may support their capacity to provide remote instruction. All staff will document a log of hours spent on school-related tasks including online instruction, preparation, and professional development.

Mental Health Plan

Due to heightened stress during an infectious outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Education recommend providing mental health support for schools and people who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis--including children and teenagers. Families, teachers and staff members providing support to others are also at risk for stress-related mental health complications. To support the needs of students, families, and staff members--Mill Neck will provide an expanded program of mental health support, care, and resources. 

During a crisis or emergency situation, the World Health Organization recommends providing appropriate mental health support by first clarifying what support is needed, and then determining as quickly as possible what resources or supports are available. To begin clarifying and addressing mental health needs--staff members will check in with each other and students on a daily basis using community circles in virtual meetings. During the working day, staff will have access to an online forum of colleagues in their department. When necessary, the school social worker, counselor, and nurse will be available to gather information and provide support.

On a regularly scheduled basis--the school counselor and social worker will be available to teleconference with students and families using Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Google Meet. When necessary, support staff will use a Spanish translator. Using Class Dojo, the counselor, social worker, and related service providers will post resources, positive messages, and opportunities for parents and families to connect for additional conferences.  

The State recommends providing explicit Social-Emotional Learning, mental health lessons, and opportunities to apply social-emotional learning in the curriculum. At the schoolwide level, daily and weekly check-ins will be embedded in all conferences, community circles, and virtual meetings. Teachers and service providers will share positive and pro-social messages, resources, and tips. Whenever necessary, teachers will provide flexibility in assignments, grading, and scheduling. At the classwide level, teachers will embed social-emotional learning in instruction and assignments--with emphasis on hygiene and sickness prevention, stress management and coping skills, and cooperation for community health. 

To field and address the range of needs for students and families, the student/family support team will maintain a list of at-risk students and families. The support team will work together to share information and resources with these families, maintaining records of progress and ongoing needs. For students with mental health or behavioral issues--student support teams will conference on a regular basis to discuss interventions and monitor student needs. For fragile students and families--resources shared will include after-hours crisis hotlines, information about district and community meal and childcare support, and/or any additional community resources that are assembled and provided through the duration of the crisis.

Meal Continuity and Child Care Plan

Parents will be informed of individual District “Grab-and Go” Programs. The school social worker will post on Class Dojo about resources offered, and regularly check in with families about food and social needs. Families in need will be given food deliveries from the Mill Neck pantry, once every month. 

Parents will be informed of individual District Day Care programs for children of First Responders.

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