The health and safety of our students, our staff and their families are our top priority. We want students and employees to feel comfortable and safe returning to school campuses. Our reopening plan incorporates recommendations and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED).
The following protocols and procedures will be in place for the 2020-21 school year should in-person schooling resume. Anyone with questions or concerns should contact our COVID-19 safety coordinator at or 518-438-7895 x 212.
For more information about how health and safety protocols and trainings will be communicated to students, families, and staff members, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.Health checks
The school as developed resources to educate parents/guardians and staff members regarding the careful observation of symptoms of COVID-19 and health screening measures that must be conducted each morning before coming to school. The resources include the requirement for any student or staff member with a fever of 100°F or greater and/or symptoms of possible COVID-19 virus infection to not come to school. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list of Coronavirus symptoms was used to develop these resources.Temperature Screening Protocols
Academy of the Holy Names will implement the following practices to conduct mandated health screening.
Students, employees, visitors, contractors, and vendors will use screening software to check for temperature and COVID symptoms. This screening will be completed and reported via the software before coming to school each day.
Anyone not completing the screening prior to arrival will be screened upon arrival during temperature check. On entrance any student needing additional screening will be discrete directed to the isolation room where the screening will be quickly completed. The screening data will be collected and maintained electronically (cleared or not cleared only) by the COVID Coordinator.
If a student presents with a temperature of 100.0 F or higher or with COVID symptoms, she will be isolated, and her parents will be called to take her home.
The COVID Coordinator will review and follow up on all health data. This will include information entered on the screening platform as well as additional information supplied by students and/or families. Students and staff will notify the COVID Coordinator when they develop symptoms or if their health status changes during or outside of school hours at 518-438-7895 x212.
Students or staff who experience symptoms while at school will be directed to the school nurse.
Daily reminders each morning will be provided to all students and employees to complete the screening tool.
For in-school temperature screenings of students and staff upon arrival at school, staff will be designated to supervise students waiting for temperature checks so that social distancing requirements will be maintained. Markers will be placed in the breezeway and front hallway to indicate 6 ft distancing. Instructions for self-screening will be posted near the mounted self-temperature scanners. The use of mounted self-temperature scanners will reduce exposure for staff members.
Anyone self-screening upon entry to the building, who registers out of temperature range, will be directed to the designated area for additional screening. Designated staff who are monitoring social distancing will be provided appropriate PPE.
There will also be a mounted thermometer outside the nurse’s office for self-screening. The nurse will be provided an adequate supply of PPE.
Social distancing, face coverings & PPE
The school has developed a plan with policies and procedures for maintaining social distancing of all students, faculty, and staff when on school facilities, grounds, and transportation.
Directional arrows will be placed in all hallways to limit traffic flow. Maximum capacity signage will be posted. In the Commons there will be markers to indicate the number of chairs at each table and where they should be placed. All rooms will be set up with only the number of chairs/desks for maximum capacity. Marking will be provided to indicate appropriate social distancing (6 ft).
Proper face coverings must be worn at all times. For those medically unable to wear face coverings, accommodations will be made on an individual basis. Face coverings will be worn at all times except when eating.
Students, staff, and visitors to our school will be expected to wear face coverings indoors and outside, including on the school bus. Students will be allowed to remove face coverings during meals if they maintain appropriate social distance.
Students and staff will be required to wear a face covering in all common areas (e.g., entrances and exits, Student Commons, Riley Auditorium, Gymnasium) and when traveling around the school.
Face coverings will be provided to students and staff, if needed, at no cost. Acceptable face coverings for COVID-19 include, but are not limited to, cloth-based coverings and surgical masks that cover both the mouth and nose.
An employee is allowed to wear his or her own acceptable face covering if s/he chooses. Employees with healthcare provider documentation stating they are not medically able to tolerate face covering will not be required to do so.
Face coverings may be challenging for students (especially younger students) to wear in all-day settings such as school, so there may be periods of time when masks are not worn.
Face coverings should not be placed on:
- Children younger than 2 years old
- Students where such covering would impair their health or mental health, or where such covering would present a challenge, distraction, or obstruction to education services and instruction
- Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious
- Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance
The school will instruct students, parents/guardians and staff, contractors, and vendors on:
- The proper way to wear face coverings
- Washing hands before putting on and after removing their face covering
- Proper way to discard disposable face coverings
Training will be provided to all students, families and employees about social distancing and face coverings. This will be done through training videos that will be posted. Everyone completing the training must provide documentation of completion. Adequate supplies of PPE will be maintained per NY State guidelines. PPE will be obtained through OGS or other vendors.Infection Control strategies
Wall mounted, self-dispensing hand sanitizer will be available throughout the building. Additional hand sanitizer will be available in classrooms. Students will be encouraged to carry their own hand sanitizer. Infection control will be maintained through strict social distancing and PPE. Restroom occupancy will be limited according to social distancing requirements, and restrooms will be monitored the requirements are met.
Classrooms will be set up to permit only the appropriate number of students as per NYSED and NYDOH guidance.Facility Alterations and Acquisition
Classrooms will be re-configured to allow for appropriate 6 ft. social distancing requirements. Student desks will face front. Excess furniture will be removed from classrooms.
Classrooms, Student Commons, and Riley Auditorium will be used for meals and snacks by students and staff to allow for appropriate social distancing during lunch time.
With small class sizes and a large physical plant, we will not have alterations to the facility that will affect means of egress, fire alarm system or lighting. If these plans change, the school will consult with local municipal officials.
With small class sizes and a large physical plant, we will not have a need to increase square footage. Should the need arise, the school will consult with the local municipalities and/or code enforcement officials and follow all applicable codes.
Tents for Additional Space
Plumbing Facilities and Fixtures
The school will provide the appropriate number of toilet fixtures and drinking fountains per code. Drinking fountains have touchless bottle fillers.
The buildings water system has been flushed prior to the return of staff to the building. Half of the sinks in multiple person bathrooms will be shut off to encourage social distancing. Masks will be required in bathrooms at all times.
In shared bathrooms, every other bathroom stall will be locked, and every other bathroom sink will be covered. Signage and markers will be used to reduce restroom occupancy at any given time and supervision will be provided as feasible.
The school will maintain code required ventilation and increased ventilation with outdoor air to the greatest extent possible by opening windows and doors while maintain health and safety protocols.
Ventilation systems are maintained by an outside contractor. If any changes in filters are recommended, our service provide will replace the current filters. Weather permitting, exterior room windows will be opened.
New Technology for Air Purification
Management of Ill Persons, Contact Tracing and Monitoring
The school requires students, faculty, or staff members who develop COVID-19 symptoms during the school day to report to the nurse’s office. If there are several students waiting to see the school nurse, students must wait at least 6 feet apart. The school has designated areas to separate individuals with symptoms of COVID- 19 from others until they can go home or to a healthcare facility, depending on severity of illness. One area will be used to treat injuries, provide medications or nursing treatments, and the other area will be used for assessing and caring for ill students and staff. Both areas will be supervised by an adult and have easy access to a bathroom and sink with hand hygiene supplies.
The health office will be used to treat injuries, provide medication or nursing treatments. The faculty room will be re-configured to assess, care for and isolate ill students and staff with COVID related symptoms. This space meets the requirements for an isolation room.
These spaces can be supervised by the nurse at the same time. Social distancing will be maintained by marking 6 ft of separation for cots, chairs, etc.
Ill students will be dismissed through the front door and will be met there by a parent. Parents picking up a student who is being dismissed from the health office will not be permitted in the building. We will follow health guidelines of City School District of Albany, including the use of the school district form for risk assessment.
PPE requirements for school health office staff caring for sick individuals includes both standard and transmission-based precautions. In areas with moderate to substantial community transmission, eye protection (e.g., goggles or face shield) should be added. When caring for a suspect or confirmed individual with COVID-19, gloves, a gown, eye protection, and a fit-tested N-95 respirator will be used, if available. If an N-95 respirator is not available, a surgical face mask and face shield will be used.
School health office cleaning will occur after each use of cots, bathrooms, and health office equipment (e.g., blood pressure cuffs, otoscopes, stethoscopes). Health office equipment will be cleaned following manufacturer’s directions.
Disposable items will be used as much as possible (e.g., disposable pillow protectors, disposable thermometers, disposable thermometer sheaths or probes, disposable otoscope specula).Aerosol Generating Procedures
Respiratory treatments administered by nurses generally result in aerosolization of respiratory secretions. These aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) potentially put healthcare personnel and others at an increased risk for pathogen exposure and infection. The school requires the following PPE to be worn during AGPs: gloves, N-95 or a surgical mask with face shield, eye protection and a gown. PPE will be used when: suctioning, administering nebulizer treatments, or using peak flow meters with students who have respiratory conditions.
Treatments such as nebulized medication treatments and oral or tracheostomy suctioning will be conducted in a room separate from others with nursing personnel wearing appropriate PPE. For nebulizer treatments, if developmentally appropriate, the nurse will leave the room and return when the nebulizer treatment is finished.
Cleaning of the room will occur between use and cleaning of the equipment should be done following manufacturer’s instructions after each use.If Students or Staff become Ill with Symptoms of COVID-19 at School
The school requires students or staff with a temperature, signs of illness, and/or a positive response to the questionnaire to be sent directly to a dedicated isolation area where students are supervised, prior to being picked up or otherwise sent home. Students will be supervised in the isolation area while awaiting transport home and will be separated by at least 6 feet. Students will be escorted from the isolation area to their parent/guardian. Students or staff will be referred to a healthcare provider and provided resources on COVID-19 testing.Return to School After Illness
The school has established protocols and procedures, in consultation with the local health department(s), about the requirements for determining when individuals, particularly students, who screened positive for COVID-19 symptoms can return to the in-person learning environment at school. This protocol includes:
- Documentation from a health care provider following evaluation
- Negative COVID-19 diagnostic test result
- Symptom resolution, or if COVID-19 positive, release from isolation
The school will refer to DOH’s “Interim Guidance for Public and Private Employees Returning to Work Following COVID-19 Infection or Exposure” regarding protocols and policies for faculty and staff seeking to return to work after a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or after the faculty or staff member had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19.
The school requires that individuals who were exposed to the COVID-19 virus complete quarantine and have not developed symptoms before returning to in-person learning. The discharge of an individual from quarantine and return to school will be conducted in coordination with the local health department.
The Albany County Department of Health will be notified of all positive or presumed positive cases per their guidelines, and the school will follow it guidance regarding protocols and safety measures to be taken for containment.
If a large-scale testing will need to be conducted at the school, the school administration will work with the following provider:
Albany County Department of Health COVID testing (888) 364-3065
The school will notify the state and local health department immediately upon being informed of any positive COVID-19 diagnostic test result by an individual within school facilities or on school grounds, including students, faculty, staff, and visitors of the school.
To assist the local health department with tracing the transmission of COVID-19, the school has developed and maintained a plan to trace all contacts of exposed individuals in accordance with protocols, training, and tools provided through the New York State Contact Tracing Program.
Schools may assist with contact tracing by:
- Keeping accurate attendance records of students and staff members
- Ensuring student schedules are up to date
- Keeping a log of any visitor which includes date and time, and where in the school they visited
- Assisting the local health departments in tracing all contacts of the individual in accordance with the protocol, training, and tools provided through the NYS Contact Tracing Program
If/when COVID-19 cases are discovered in the school, the school will consult with the Albany County Health Department and follow its guidance.
Confidentiality must be maintained as required by federal and state laws and regulations. School staff should not try to determine who is to be excluded from school based on contact without guidance and direction from the local health department.
For more information about how COVID-19 containment efforts will be communicated to students, families, and staff members, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.School Closures
A closure refers to contingency plans, protocols, and procedures for decreasing the scale or scope of in- person education and/or closing the school. The school will collaborate with the local health department to determine the parameters, conditions or metrics (e.g., increased absenteeism or increased illness in school community) that will serve as early warning signs that positive COVID-19 cases may be increasing beyond an acceptable level.
Such conditions may include the following:
- Schools will close if the regional infection rate rises over 9% after Aug. 1. Schools will close if the 7-day rolling average of the infection rate is above 9%.
- Schools in regions in Phase 4 can reopen if the daily infection rate remains below 5 percent using a 14-day average, unless otherwise directed from the Albany County Health Department. If the infection rate rises about 9%, schools must wait until the 14-day average is below 5%. The school will be notified by the Albany County Health Department 518-447-4580
- Once schools open at Phase IV below 5% for a 14-day rolling average, schools can remain open even if the rate continues to rise about 5% until it reaches 9% for the 7-day average.
- If absentee rates impact the ability of the school to operate safely.
The school may modify operations prior to closing to help mitigate a rise in cases or for medically vulnerable students and staff if they are participating in in-person activities. The school will consuls with the medical director and the local department of health when making such decisions.
For more information about how school closure information will be communicated to students, families, and staff members, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.Health Hygiene
The school will emphasize healthy hygiene practices for students and staff by providing initial and refresher education in hand and respiratory hygiene, along with providing adequate supplies and time for frequent hand hygiene. Signs will be posted throughout the school (e.g., entrances, restrooms, cafeteria, classrooms, administrative offices, auditorium, custodial staff areas) and regular messaging will be shared with the school community. Signage will be used to remind individuals to:
- Stay home if they feel sick.
- Cover their nose and mouth with an acceptable face covering when unable to maintain social distance from others or in accordance with any stricter policy implemented by the school.
- Properly store and, when necessary, discard PPE.
- Adhere to social distancing instructions.
- Report symptoms of, or exposure to, COVID-19.
- Follow hand hygiene, and cleaning and disinfection guidelines.
- Follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette.
Students and staff must carry out the following hand hygiene practices.
- Wash hands routinely with soap (any kind) and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Dry hands completely after washing. Use paper towels to dry hands if available instead of a hand dryer if they are available.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. Hand sanitizer should be rubbed on the hands until it is completely absorbed. DO NOT dry hands if sanitizer is used.
Hand washing should occur:
- Before and after eating (e.g. snacks and lunch).
- After going to the restroom or after assisting a student with toileting.
- After using a tissue.
- Before and after using shared materials.
- Before and after putting on or taking off face masks.
- After coming in from the outdoors.
- Anytime hands are visibly soiled.
The COVID-19 virus spreads from person to person in droplets produced by coughs and sneezes. Therefore, the school will emphasize the importance of respiratory hygiene.
Students and staff must carry out the following respiratory hygiene practices.
- Cover a cough or sneeze using a tissue. If a tissue is used, it should be thrown away immediately.
- If you do not have a tissue when sneezing or coughing, sneeze into your elbow.
- Wash your hands after sneezing or coughing.
- Face coverings are protective. Wearing a face covering will keep the respiratory droplets and aerosols from being widely dispersed into the air.
For more information about how hygiene information will be communicated to students, families, and staff members, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.Cleaning and disinfecting
The school will ensure adherence to hygiene and cleaning and disinfection requirements as advised by the CDC and DOH, including “Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public and Private Facilities for COVID-19,” and the “STOP THE SPREAD” poster, as applicable. Cleaning and disinfection logs will be maintained that include the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection.
Examples of facility types where cleaning and disinfection frequency will be distinguished include
- Athletic training rooms, locker rooms
- Health offices, isolation rooms
- Administrative offices (main office, reception area)
- Frequently touched surfaces in common areas (door handles, elevator buttons, copy machine keypads, etc.)
- Computer labs
- Science labs
- Maintenance offices and work areas
- Bus Garage
- Buses, school vehicles
- Large meeting areas (auditoriums, gymnasiums, music rooms)
- Playgrounds (cleaning only)
- Outdoor seating areas (plastic or metal)
Students, faculty, and staff will be trained on proper hand and respiratory hygiene, and such information will be provided to parents and/or legal guardians on ways to reinforce this at home.
The school will provide and maintain hand hygiene stations around the school, as follows:
- For handwashing: soap, running warm water, and disposable paper towels.
- For hand sanitizing: an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol for areas where handwashing facilities may not be available or practical.
- Accommodations for students who cannot use hand sanitizer will be made.
Regular cleaning and disinfection of the facilities will occur, including more frequent cleaning and disinfection for high-risk and frequently touched surfaces. This will include desks and cafeteria tables, which should be cleaned and disinfected between each individual’s use. Cleaning and disinfection will be rigorous and ongoing and will occur at least daily, or more frequently as needed.
The school will ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of restrooms. Restrooms should be cleaned and disinfected more often depending on frequency of use.
For more information about how cleaning and disinfection information will be communicated to students, families, and staff members, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.Vulnerable Populations/Accommodations
We recognize that some students and staff members are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness, live with a person who is at an increased risk, or simply do not feel comfortable returning to an in-person educational environment. It is our goal that these individuals are able to safely participate in educational activities. Hence, the school will provide options for remote learning for impacted students and for working from home for impacted faculty and staff.Visitors on Campus
No outside visitors or volunteers will be allowed on school campuses, except for the safety and well-being of students. Parents/guardians will report to the front office and not go beyond unless it is for the safety or well-being of their child. Essential visitors to facilities will be required to wear face coverings and will be restricted in their access to our school buildings.
Visitors must follow all safety protocols as listed above.School Safety Drills
The school will conduct fire (evacuation) drills and lockdown drills as required by education law and regulation and the fire code without, exceptions. Schools must continue to conduct mandatory fire and lockdown drills according to the existing statutory schedule. Drills will be conducted in a manner that maintains social distancing at exits and gathering points outside the building, while still preparing students to respond in emergencies.
These are the protocols for conducting required school safety drills with modifications ensuring social distancing between persons.
- Fire Code Section 404 requires that schools maintain Fire Safety, Evacuation, and Lockdown Plans and these plans include how lockdown and evacuation drills are conducted.
- Education Law § 807 requires that schools conduct eight (8) evacuation and four (4) lockdown drills each school year. Timed fire drills will be conducted in a class period with students masked and socially distanced. The drills will be staggered throughout various sections of the building.
- Staggering will reduce the number of individuals evacuating the building
- Students will be instructed that if it was an actual emergency that required evacuation or lockdown, the most imminent concern is to get to safety; maintaining social distancing in an actual emergency that requires evacuation or lockdown may not be possible and should not be the first priority.
- Conducting drills on a “staggered” schedule, where classrooms evacuate separately rather than all at once, and appropriate distance is kept between students to the evacuation site. Staggering by classroom, minimizes contact of students in hallways, stairwells, and at the evacuation site. If conducting drills using a modified procedure, it is required that the drill be conducted with all students in the school building on that school day, it may be necessary to do so during a class period that is extended for this purpose.
- Conduct lockdown drill in classroom without “hiding”/ “sheltering” but provide an overview of how to shelter or hide in the classroom.
If the school reopens in a “hybrid” in-person model, it will be certain that all students are receiving instruction in emergency procedures and participating in drills while they are in attendance in-person.