This page will keep you informed about how AHN is planning for the re-opening of school in the fall. We'll be posting regular updates here during this unprecedented period of change.

COVID-19 Community Pledge

  • Click to download the COVID-19 Community Pledge
    To engage all students in our school community in a united effort to keep themselves and each other healthy, we ask that each student download, read, and sign the COVID-19 Community Pledge and that parents sign it as well.  Once signed, please return it to the school by September 1 via mail or email:
    Academy of the Holy Names
    1075 New Scotland Road
     Albany, New York  12208
    or email to nmartino@ahns.org

Information and Forms to Download

AHN Reopening Plan

July 31, 2020

On Monday, July 13, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that schools in New York can follow plans to reopen for in-person schooling in September if COVID-19 infection rates stay at 5% or lower in a given region.

Determinations will be made by region about opening and closing schools as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. If a region is in Phase 4 and has a daily infection rate of 5% or lower over a 14-day average, schools in that region could hold in-person instruction. If daily infection rates exceed 9% over a seven-day average, however, schools in that region would not reopen. Similarly, should a region see such an average after reopening, schools in that region would also be directed to close.

While schools have been instructed to prioritize efforts to return all students to in-person instruction, the school is also planning for remote/distance learning as well as a for a hybrid model that combines in-person instruction and remote learning. Parents will have the choice to remain in the remote learning model, and the school will ask them to choose in-person or remote learning for a semester at a time.
The plan outlined here is for the reopening of school at Academy of the Holy Names for the 2020-21 school year, following the building closure related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan includes procedures that will be followed at
Academy of the Holy Names
1075 New Scotland Road
Albany, New York 12209
518-438-7895
www.ahns.org

The health and safety of our students, our staff and their families is 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).
It is possible that we may need to alternate between in-person and remote learning throughout the year due to recommendations and guidance from our partnering agencies, and stay-at-home orders from the Governor. The level of infection, the spread of the virus and response to the disease in our community will be at the forefront of our decision making as we move to open our schools.

The school nurse and an administrative assistant will serve as the school’s COVID-19 Coordinators. They will work closely with our local health department and will serve as the central contact for stakeholders, families, staff and other school community members and will ensure the school is in compliance and following the best practices per state and federal guidelines. Their contact information will be provided on our website.

Academy of the Holy Names is committed to providing an outstanding education in a safe and healthy environment. Following all available guidelines from the CDC, the NYSDOH, the NYSED, the NYSPHSAA and consultants from Independent Schools Management, our fourteen-member task force has worked diligently throughout the summer to create a flexible plan that will allow for in-person, remote, or hybrid learning.

Plan Outline

Communication/Family and Community Engagement
Health & Safety
  • Health checks
  • Social distancing, face coverings & PPE
  • Infection control strategies
  • Management of ill persons, contact tracing and monitoring
  • Health hygiene
  • Cleaning and disinfecting
  • Vulnerable populations/accommodations
  • Visitors on campus
  • School safety drills
  • Facilities
  • Child Nutrition
    • Meals onsite
    • Meals offsite/remote
  • Transportation
  • Social Emotional Well-Being
  • School Schedules
  • School Activities
    • Extracurriculars
    • Childcare
  • Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism
  • Technology and Connectivity
  • Teaching and Learning
  • In-person Instruction
  • Remote/Hybrid Instruction
  • Special Education
  • Bilingual Education and World Languages
  • Staff
    • Teacher and Principal Evaluation System
    • Certification, Incidental Teaching and Substitute Teaching

Communication/Family and Community Engagement

To help inform our reopening plan, the school has sought feedback and input from stakeholders, including administrators, faculty, staff, parents/guardians of students, local health department officials and health care providers. Engagement efforts included online surveys, virtual meetings, videos, and one-on-one conversations.

The school remains committed to communicating all elements of this reopening plan to students, parents and guardians, staff, and visitors.

The plan is available to all stakeholders via the school website at www.ahns.org , and will be updated throughout the school year, as necessary, to respond to local circumstances. The link to the plan appears on the website homepage. Every effort has been made to ensure that the plan is accessible to all individuals.

As part of its planning for the reopening of schools and the new academic year, the school has developed a plan for communicating all necessary information to school staff, students, parents/guardians, visitors and education partners and vendors. The school will use its existing communication channels – including the Weekly Watch, the web site, email and text alerts– as well as appropriate signage and training opportunities to support the dissemination of consistent messaging regarding new protocols and procedures, expectations, requirements and options related to school operations throughout the pandemic. If needed, the school will provide translation into other languages.

The school is committed to establishing and maintaining regular channels of communication and has reviewed and determined which methods have proven to be the most effective in communications with our school community. The school will rely on the Weekly Watch, the web site, and email to communicate news, requirements and updates related to reopening and in-person instruction, including social distancing requirements, proper wearing of face coverings and proper hand and respiratory hygiene. The information that we will share will be based on state guidance and guidance from our consultants, and the thoughtful work of the Reopening Task Force.

In support of remote learning, the school will make computer devices available to students and teachers who need them. Each student and each teacher will have a school assigned and maintained laptop for in-school and at-home use. The school will provide students and their families with multiple ways to contact schools and teachers during remote learning, including email, phone, online Zoom meetings, and parent and student portal on the school web site.

The school will use existing internal and external communications channels to notify staff, students, and families/caregivers about in-person, remote and hybrid school schedules with as much advance notice as possible. Students will receive schedules for the semester via email in August.

The school will follow its existing engagement and communication protocols with parents regarding the provision of special education services for their child. Meetings (either virtual or in-person) with parents and students covered by 504 plans will continue through the school year.
In addition, the school will make every effort to ensure that communication to parents/legal guardians is in their preferred language and mode of communication. Every effort will be made to ascertain preferred languages of parents/legal guardians and to provide translation services as necessary.

The school is committed to ensuring that all of its students and their families are taught and re-taught new expectations related to all public health policies and protocols. As part of this continuous training, the school will assess the best approach to communicating the information for each students’ age group and will provide frequent opportunities for students to review these policies and protocols. This targeted education will help ensure that all students and their families know what is expected of them as they successfully return to the school setting. These trainings will cover the following topics and will include initial orientation at the beginning of the school year, both in person and via Zoom; daily direction from administration, teachers, and school nurse; and signage throughout the building:
  • Hand hygiene. The school will promote hand washing a hand sanitizing after using tissues, bathroom, or potentially contaminated surfaces. The school will provide warm running water and soap for handwashing and hand sanitizer place in or near common areas throughout the building for hand sanitizing. Trainings will include initial orientation at the beginning of the school year, both in person and via Zoom; daily direction from administration, teachers, and school nurse; and signage throughout the building.
  • Proper face covering procedures (how to wear and remove) Students and staff will be expected to wear face coverings at all times except during eating and will provide face coverings for those students and staff who do not bring their own. Trainings will include initial orientation at the beginning of the school year, both in person and via Zoom; daily direction from administration, teachers, and school nurse; and signage throughout the building.
  • Social distancing. Students, faculty, staff, visitors, and guests will maintain 6 feet of social distancing at all times and 12 feet of social distancing for aerobic and singing activities. Trainings Hand hygiene Trainings will include initial orientation at the beginning of the school year, both in person and via Zoom; daily direction from administration, teachers, and school nurse; and signage throughout the building.
  • Respiratory hygiene. Covering the mouth or nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing will be standard practice. If a tissue is not available, then sneezing or coughing into the crook of the arm is acceptable. The school will provide tissues in each room. Trainings will include initial orientation at the beginning of the school year, both in person and via Zoom; daily direction from administration, teachers, and school nurse; and signage throughout the building
  • Identifying symptoms. The school will use screening software that will remind families and staff electronically to screen prior to coming to school and that will report the results to school. Parents will notify the school if their child develops symptoms by contacting the COVID Coordinator at 518-438-7895x 212. Trainings will include initial orientation at the beginning of the school year, both in person and via Zoom; daily direction from administration, teachers, and school nurse; and signage throughout the building:
The school will create and deploy signage throughout the school to address public health protections surrounding COVID-19. Signage will address protocols and recommendations in the following areas:
  • Proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Acceptable face coverings and requirements related to their wear
  • Hand washing
  • Adherence to social distancing instructions
  • Symptoms/prevention of COVID-19

In addition to signage, the school will encourage all students, faculty, staff and visitors through verbal and written communication to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DOH guidance regarding the use of PPE through additional means such as email messages, Weekly Watch reminders, and email alerts.

The school is committed to creating a learning environment that protects student and staff health, safety, and privacy. Our school will operate under a standard procedure for addressing situations in which an individual has tested positive for COVID-19 or appears symptomatic. These procedures are outlined in the Health & Safety section of our reopening plan.

Through pre-entry screening and conscientious follow up by the COVID coordinators of students or staff suspected to be symptomatic or who have had close contact with someone else who is, the school will move promptly to contain infection. If a student or staff member is sick or symptomatic, notification to exposed individuals will occur pursuant to the state’s contact tracing protocols as implemented by the local health department. The school will not notify the wider community unless specifically directed to do so by local health officials.

School Closures
The school is preparing for situations in which it may need to close due to a significant number of students or staff testing positive for COVID-19 or a considerable regional increase in COVID-19 cases.

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.

The school may choose to modify operations prior to closing to help mitigate a rise in cases. The school will consult its medical director and local health department when making such decisions.

School building administrators will communicate with each other regularly and, if needed, will consider closing school if absentee rates impact the ability of the school to operate safely. By reviewing which operations are essential for education to effectively continue, the administrators will make a determination as to which operations will cease and which will be carried on remotely.

If a decision is made to close, the administrators will communicate the decision to the Board, to faculty, to families and students via email, text alerts, and web site notifications, providing as much advance notice as possible so that all parties can make appropriate plans to have materials and equipment in place at home for remote learning.

Health & Safety

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.

Space Expansion
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
NA

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.

Ventilation
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
NA

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:
  1. Documentation from a health care provider following evaluation
  2. Negative COVID-19 diagnostic test result
  3. 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.

COVID-19 Testing
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

Contact Tracing
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:
  1. Keeping accurate attendance records of students and staff members
  2. Ensuring student schedules are up to date
  3. Keeping a log of any visitor which includes date and time, and where in the school they visited
  4. 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:
  1. Stay home if they feel sick.
  2. 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.
  3. Properly store and, when necessary, discard PPE.
  4. Adhere to social distancing instructions.
  5. Report symptoms of, or exposure to, COVID-19.
  6. Follow hand hygiene, and cleaning and disinfection guidelines.
  7. Follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette.
Hand Hygiene
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.
Respiratory Hygiene
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
  • Bathrooms
  • 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.)
  • Breakrooms
  • Cafeterias/Kitchens
  • Computer labs
  • Science labs
  • Classrooms
  • Maintenance offices and work areas
  • Bus Garage
  • Buses, school vehicles
  • Libraries
  • 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.

Facilities

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection in the school, facilities operations will be geared toward meeting social distancing requirements and cleaning frequently touched spaces regularly. In carrying out projects or tasks supporting infection control, requirements will be met for changes associated with building spaces. Plans for changes or additions to will comply with the requirements of the 2020 New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (BC), except as specified in 19 NYCRR 1221.2(d). The school will consult with local municipalities and/or code enforcement officials, where changes or additions to facilities may require building permits; and to ensure compliance with Building and Fire Code.

The function, position and operation of stairs and corridor doors, which have closers with automatic hold opens (and are automatically released by the fire alarm system), will remain unchanged.
Upon reopening, the school plans to increase ventilation, to the greatest extent possible. Weather permitting, exterior windows will be open to increase ventilation. Water systems have been flushed in buildings that were unoccupied.

HVAC filters have been serviced and our service provider will install COVID-19 Air Filters as required.
Every other hand washing sink will be disabled to ensure social distancing.

Child Nutrition

School meals will continue to be available to all students who are attending in person.

For information about how meal information will be communicated, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.

Meals onsite
For students onsite, meals will be provided while maintaining appropriate social distancing between students. Students do not need to wear face coverings when seated and eating so long as they are appropriately socially distanced.

The school will ensure social distancing between individuals while eating in the school cafeteria. If not feasible, meals may be served in alternate areas (e.g., classrooms) or in staggered meal periods to ensure social distancing and proper cleaning and disinfection between students.

The sharing of food and beverages (e.g., buffet style meals, snacks) is prohibited, unless individuals are members of the same household. Adequate space will be reserved for students, faculty, and staff to observe social distancing while eating meals.

Food will be distributed to students in the Student Commons and in the Riley Auditorium by food service staff. Students will eat in those locations or in their classrooms with appropriate social distancing. The extended lunch periods will allow time for hand hygiene before and after eating. Signage will be posted reminding students about hand hygiene procedures and about refraining from sharing food and beverages.

Eating surfaces will be cleaned and sanitized between seatings.

Meals offsite/remote
NA

Transportation

The school will conduct transportation activities that are consistent with state-issued public transit guidance and NYSED School Reopening guidelines. Students and school staff must always wear acceptable face coverings on school buses (e.g., entering, exiting, and seated) and should maintain appropriate social distancing to the extent practicable.

Students who are able will be required to wear masks and social distance on the bus to the extent practicable; however, students whose physical or mental health would be impaired are not required to wear a face covering, but must be appropriately socially distanced. Members of the same household may be seated within 6 feet of each other. Parents and legal guardians are encouraged to drop off or walk students to school to reduce density on buses.

All buses that are used every day by schools and contract carriers will be cleaned/ disinfected after each use.

School buses shall not be equipped with hand sanitizer due to its combustible composition and potential liability to the carrier or school. School bus drivers, monitors, and attendants must not carry personal bottles of hand sanitizer with them on school buses.

Wheelchair school buses will configure wheelchair placement to ensure social distancing of 6 feet.

Whether school is in session remotely or otherwise, pupil transportation will be provided to nonpublic, parochial, private, charter schools or students whose Individualized Education Plans have placed them out of school whose schools are meeting in in-person sessions.

All students are entitled to transportation by the school to the extent required by law. Transportation departments do not have the ability or the right to deny transportation for children who are in foster care, homeless or attend private or charter schools. Parents who may have missed the due date to request out of school transportation due to a reasonable excuse may file a 310 appeal with the Commissioner of Education.

School Bus Staff
School bus drivers, monitors, attendants, and mechanics are required perform a self-health assessment for symptoms of COVID-19 before arriving to work. If personnel are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, they will notify their employer as per the reporting policies and seek medical attention.

School bus drivers, monitors, attendants, and mechanics must wear a face covering along with an optional face shield.

Transportation staff (drivers, monitors, attendants, mechanics, and cleaners) will be trained and provided periodic refreshers on the proper use of personal protective equipment and the signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

Transportation departments/carriers will need to provide Personal Protective Equipment such as masks and gloves for drivers, monitors and attendants in buses as well as hand sanitizer for all staff in their transportation locations such as dispatch offices, employee lunch/break rooms and/or bus garages.

Drivers, monitors and attendants who must have direct physical contact with a child must wear gloves.

Parents/Guardians of students who receive transportation services through the public school district of residence or from CBA will receive information on protocols for transportation activities from their local school district or CBA. Academy of the Holy Names will make every effort to align schedules with these providers. The school encourages students and their families to comply with the health practices that these providers put in place, including mask wearing where it does not affect the mental or physical health of the child.

For more information about training protocol for students and staff and how transportation information will be communicated, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.
 

Social Emotional Well Being

We recognize that the social emotional well-being of our students and staff during these challenging times is critically important. The school has made available resources and referrals to address mental health, behavioral, and emotional needs of students, faculty, and staff when school reopens for in-person instructions.

Academy of the Holy Names maintains a commitment to the social emotional well-being of all members of our school community. We recognize that students have had a wide variety of experiences and stresses during this public health crisis. We are prepared to meet students where they are emotionally and to provide the support services that they need. We will use the comprehensive information provided in the NYS Education Department State Office of Religious and Independent Schools Re-Opening Guidance (July 27, 2020).

All students at Academy of the Holy Names are assigned an individual faculty advisor. Students meet with their advisor weekly to discuss academic, social, and personal issues. Advisors receive ongoing training about monitoring and identifying social emotional needs. Advisors will notify the school counselor of students in need of additional support.

The school counselor will have designated office hours for students, employees, and families. The school counselor will maintain an up to date list of referrals for anyone in need of additional support.

Information will be posted on the website about the social emotional impact of the ongoing public health crisis. Information will also be posted about a variety of referral available to members of the school community.

The Student Development Team (consisting of the school nurse, school counselor and Division Head) will continue to meet weekly to identify and discuss students of concern. All advisors will regularly complete the Advisor-Student Information Report which is reviewed by the SDT. These policies and procedures are specified in the SDT manual.

The school has established an advisory council that involves shared decision-making and is comprised of families, students, members of the board of education, school building and/or school/charter leaders, community-based service providers, teachers, certified school counselors, and other pupil personnel service providers. The advisory council will inform the comprehensive developmental school counseling program plan. This program plan has been reviewed and updated to meet current needs.

The school addresses professional development opportunities for faculty and staff on how to talk with and support students during and after the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, as well as provide support for developing coping and resilience skills for students, faculty, and staff. All faculty will be provided training about the social emotional impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 health emergency. This will be done through video training and in-service presentations.
 

School Schedules

The academic day will begin at 8:00 am and end at 3:00. Class periods will be 35 minutes in length with a 10-minute break between each class that allows for cleaning of classrooms and change of classrooms by students and faculty. For information about how school schedule information will be communicated to students, families, and staff members, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.

School Activites

Extracurriculars
Club moderators will examine the specific activities and goals of each club and develop a specific plan for their meetings and activities that follow all social distancing and health safety guidelines. Sports will resume for students attending in-person once allowed by the state. All athletes will follow safety protocols as outlined by the athletic oversight agencies.

Activities will be offered in a modified, socially distanced, or remote way with all appropriate health and safety protocols in place.

Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism

Attendance will be taken daily in homeroom at 8:00 a.m. if whether instruction is in person, hybrid or remote. It will be recorded in our attendance system, a report generated and reviewed each day by the Division Head. Parents/guardians will be contacted to determine the reason for the absence. In cases of chronic absenteeism, the Division Head will confer with parent/guardian to ascertain the reason for the excessive absences and to develop a plan for student to resume instruction, in either in-person, hybrid, or distance learning. Parents/guardians will be informed that absenteeism due to illness must be reported to the school, and that physician documentation is required for student to return to in-person instruction.

Technology and Connectivity

All students and teachers are issued a school-assigned laptop at the beginning of each school year. At the time of distribution, a determination is made to assure that each person has access to the internet. In instances where this is not the case, the school will provide access.

To assure connectivity whether in-school or remotely, IT staff will address issues promptly, communicate directly with student or staff member, and resolve the issues in as satisfactory a manner as possible.

Teaching and Learning

The school calendar typically includes one or more staff-only days before students arrive at school. Acknowledging the challenges that our teachers and staff have faced this spring delivering remote instruction under stressful circumstances, the school will focus these in-service days on providing support to staff in the areas of social-emotional health and technology integration. Faculty and staff will be provided multiple in-service days to familiarize themselves and train with the new technologies and adapt their instruction to meet the needs of both in-person and remote learners. Teachers will also be given training in how best to meet the social-emotional needs of their students.

These days will also be utilized for student orientation. This time will allow small groups of students to meet with their new teacher and begin to establish the relationship necessary for a successful school year. Students will have orientation in small, socially distanced groups. Particular emphasis will be placed upon building connections with teachers and classmates and addressing students social and emotional needs. Students will also be trained in new health safety protocols and necessary technologies.

As we enter the new school year, teachers will be encouraged to spend time building relationships, supporting students with the transition back to school, and teaching social distancing etiquette at developmentally appropriate levels.

When a remote or hybrid learning model is necessary, certain groups of students will be prioritized for in-person learning to the greatest extent possible. This includes, but is not limited to, special education students, English language learners, students who did not engage in remote learning during the spring of 2020, and students with technology or connectivity needs.

Assessing student learning gaps or areas of need will be critical. Formative assessment before a unit of instruction to assess student understanding of pre-requisite skills will be common practice.

Acknowledging that the typical content in a given grade level or course may need to be adjusted, content will be prioritized to ensure that students receive instruction for the prioritized learning standards, key understandings, and skills necessary for students’ success in future study.

Grading practices will follow a standards-based framework designed to provide direct feedback regarding students’ mastery of course content.

Parents will have the option, each semester, of choosing either in-person or remote learning for their daughter. At any point, parents may choose to move their daughter from in-person to remote learning.

In-person Instruction
Upon reopening, the number of students in each of our classrooms will be reduced to adhere to CDC guidance regarding proper social distancing. Class size will reflect the need to ensure that students’ desks/seats are positioned no less than six feet apart.

Accommodating a six-foot radius around students will necessitate the identification of additional rooms and common-area spaces that can be converted into classrooms.

Current staffing levels may be insufficient to accommodate the expanded number of classrooms needed to ensure social distancing. The school will monitor the classroom densities and provide supervision as necessary.

All instruction will continue to be aligned to the New York State Learning Standards.

Our schools will minimize the movement of students. This potentially means having students eat lunch in their classroom instead of the cafeteria and eliminating assemblies, field trips and other large-group activities. Special-area subjects (e.g., art, music, physical education) may be pushed into the classroom. Whenever possible students will utilize outside space for physical education instruction. We will adhere to 12 feet between students when engaging in physical activity.

To the extent possible, students will remain in small cohorts if/when leaving the classroom, such as for recess or any necessary transition, to reduce their exposure to additional students.

For information on school schedules, visit the School Schedules section of our reopening plan.

In-person instruction will occur in reduced class sizes at socially distanced spaces. Teachers will engage students in class discussions, lectures, questioning, practice exercises and assessments. Students learning remotely will be included in these classes through zoom with the zoom screen so that the teacher and in-person students can see the remote students. In-person students will eat together in cohorts as feasible. Each student will meet each week (either remotely or in-person) with her advisor.

Faculty will continue to offer extra-help opportunities and weekly advisory meetings. Both can be conducted either remotely or in person.

For information about how in-person instruction information will be communicated to students and families, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.

Remote/Hybrid Instruction
Given the possibility that communities may experience spikes in COVID-19 cases at any point during the school year, which may prompt short or long-term school closures, our school has developed a hybrid/blended learning model and schedule that can continue as is in a fully remote environment.

Instruction will not only focus on “core” subject areas to the exclusion of elective courses. Consideration has been given to prioritizing hands-on and lab-based activities while students are onsite in school buildings. All instruction will continue to be aligned to the New York State Learning Standards.

As noted previously, student schedules will remain the same whether instruction is in person or remote so that students do not encounter conflicts wherein synchronous lessons for different subjects are offered simultaneously.

Remote learning opportunities for secondary students will include a greater emphasis on synchronous instruction, with teachers finding ways to provide live instruction and lessons to students. While recording of live lessons is still essential for students unable to attend at a scheduled time, teachers will ensure that their students are directly engaged with them and their class peers in experiential learning on a regular basis.

To ensure high-quality remote learning experiences, we will standardize the use of a single online learning platform, to the extent possible, and develop a common, coordinated set of guidelines for teachers to follow when using the platform with students.

Grading practices will follow a standards-based framework designed to provide direct feedback regarding students’ mastery of course content. We will use a five-scale grading rubric based on levels of competency/mastery, which can then be aligned to numeric bands (for GPA purposes).

For information on school schedules, visit the School Schedules section of our reopening plan.

Teachers will engage students in class discussions, lectures, questioning, practice exercises and assessments. Students learning remotely will be included in these classes through zoom with the zoom screen so that the teacher and in-person students can see the remote students.

Remote students will receive teacher feedback and support through zoom meetings with the teacher, written feedback for work submitted online (through portal or smart learning suite) or email.

For information about how remote/hybrid instruction information will be communicated to students and families, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.
 

Special Education

Weekly Learning Workshop, Writing Workshop and Math Lab meetings will be available to identified students with special learning needs and/or 504 plans both in school and remotely. Math Lab and Learning Workshop Coordinators will provide regular updates to parents and guardians regarding the status of their daughters.

Bilingual Education

World language teachers will be provided with special face masks which allow students to see their teacher’s mouth.

Staff

Teacher and Principal Evaluation System
All teachers and administrators will continue to be evaluated pursuant to the school’s approved Professional Performance Review plan.

Certification, Incidental Teaching and Substitute Teaching
All teachers will hold valid and appropriate education and/or certificates for teaching assignment, except where otherwise allowable under the Commissioner’s regulations (e.g., incidental teaching) or education law.

Key References

  • State Education Department Issues Guidance to Reopen New York State Schools (July 16, 2020)
  • State Education Department Presents Framework of Guidance to Reopen New York State Schools (July 13, 2020)
  • Interim Guidance for In-Person Instruction at Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, NYS Department of Health (July 13, 2020)
  • Additional References
  • Interim Guidance for Sports and Recreation During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
  • (June 26, 2020)
  • Interim Guidance for Food Services during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.
  • (June 26, 2020)
  • Interim Guidance for Office-Based Work during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.
  • (June 26, 2020)
  • Interim Guidance for Public Transportation Activities during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. (June 26, 2020)
  • New York State Department of Health Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • New York State Education Department Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration COVID-19 Website
 

Looking to the Future- Addressing Concerns

Support During Remote Learning

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