2021-22 School Opening Plan

COVID-19 Safety Protocols

 

UPDATE: As of September 17, 2021

All students in Grades K-12 will be required to wear a mask at all times with mask breaks being provided for students by faculty and staff throughout the school day. Also, we will utilize outside time whenever possible to provide breaks for students.

 


 

AS OF SEPTEMBER 5, 2021:  

Students in the Greater Johnstown School District will return to 100% in-person learning for the 2021-22 school year on Tuesday, September 7. We remain focused on student learning and experiences while prioritizing the health and safety of our school community. The District’s COVID-19 protocols and mitigation strategies will be based on the most current local data which can be found here, and in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local guidance to limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep our students in school. 

COVID-19 related safety protocols will be updated on this page as the District receives additional federal, state and local guidance.

Masks

Updated September 17, 2021:

  • All students in Grades K-12 will be required to wear a mask at all times with mask breaks being provided for students by faculty and staff throughout the school day. Also, we will utilize outside time whenever possible to provide breaks for students.

Physical Distancing

  • Physical distancing will be implemented to the extent possible. NYS Department of Health guidance recommends:
    • Distance of at least three feet between students;
    • Distance of at least six feet between students and adults, and between adults who are not fully vaccinated.

Sports & Activities

  • For indoor sports, everyone (athletes, coaches, spectators) must wear a mask, except for athletes who are actively participating in game play.
  • Masks are not required for outdoor sports and activities, however physical distancing is encouraged.

Transportation

  • All individuals must wear a mask while riding the bus, including students, drivers, and other school personnel and volunteers.
  • Students will not be permitted on a school bus without a mask. A mask will be provided to any student who needs one.

Meals & Cafeteria Use

  • Breakfast and lunch will continue to be provided to all students in the district, free of charge. 
  • Students will eat meals in the cafeteria with assigned seating.
  • Physical distancing will be implemented to the extent possible.
  • Cafeterias will be cleaned in-between each meal service.

Programs & Instruction

  • 100% of students will be in school full-time, learning in person.
  • Remote instruction will be provided only to students who must quarantine as directed by the local Department of Health.
  • In the case of a school closure because of a public health emergency, GJSD is prepared to provide K-12 remote instruction.
  • If your student has a unique situation that requires additional consideration, please contact their building principal.

Technology

  • All K-12 students have been provided with a Chromebook device.
  • Google classroom remains the primary platform for all GJSD K-12 classes.

Physical Education Classes

  • Whenever possible, physical education classes will be held outdoors.
  • For indoor PE Classes, masks are required by all individuals when physical distancing cannot be reasonably maintained.

Special Education

  • Services to students with disabilities will be provided in accordance with their Individualized Educational Plan (IEP).

Music

  • For indoor music classes and activities, masks are required by all individuals when physical distancing cannot be reasonably maintained.
  • Whenever possible, protective equipment such as instrument masks, bell covers, and other equipment will be used.

Cleaning & Sanitizing

  •  Regular cleaning and disinfection of District spaces and buses will be conducted daily.
  • Highly trafficked areas and touchable surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the school day.
  • School spaces associated with a positive COVID-19 case will be cleaned and disinfected immediately.

Ventilation

  • Schools will follow all ventilation protocols, including mechanical and natural ventilation where appropriate.
  • Ventilation strategies include bringing fresh outdoor air into the building by opening multiple doors and windows and using child-safe fans to increase airflow.
  • During transportation, the windows on buses will be cracked open or opened.

Communication

  • Updates to these protocols will be posted on the district website and communicated to families via ParentSquare.
  • Families are urged to make sure their ParentSquare account reflects their most up-to-date contact information, and check that their notification settings reflect how they wish to receive messages from GJSD.

COVID-19 Reporting

Timely reporting of COVID-19 cases will continue to be a critical component of our District’s ability to reduce transmission risk.

Although families will no longer be required to complete a daily screening questionnaire, parents/guardians should keep children home if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, including fever of 100.0 or higher, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion/runny nose, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea. Students and staff who present with COVID-19 symptoms during the school day will be isolated and sent home within 30 minutes.

Student Reporting Procedure

If your child receives a positive COVID-19 test result, parents/guardians must immediately contact their child’s building principal:

Please provide the following information when reporting:

  • Full name of student who has tested positive
  • Student date of birth
  • Student school and grade
  • Date COVID-19 test was taken
  • Date of symptom onset (if experiencing symptoms)

Information regarding whether the student attended school in-person and/or participated in athletics, pre-season workouts, practices or games within two (2) days prior to the date that the COVID-19 test was taken and/or onset of symptoms, whichever is earlier.

Students who are identified as contacts following an exposure and required to quarantine will have access to remote learning, as long as they are asymptomatic and feeling well enough to participate in remote learning. Please allow 24 hours (on business days) from District notification of quarantine to the start of remote learning.

Staff Reporting Procedure

If you have:

  • received a positive COVID-19 test result;
  • been directed to quarantine by the Department of Health; and/or
  • been notified that you have had contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19;

send an email to Assistant Superintendent, Alicia D. Koster, at akoster@johnstownschools.org and your supervisor immediately.

Contact Tracing Procedures

1. COVID-19 cases are reported 24/7, including evenings, weekends and holidays.

As soon as a reporting phone call or email is received, the assistant superintendent and principals mobilize the District’s contact tracing team, which is composed of our school nurses and members of the administrative team.

2. The length and extent of case investigation varies with each case.

The first step is to reach out to teachers and coaches to determine where the individual was at every point during their school day on the determined exposure dates. Questions to consider include:

  • Did they ride the bus?
  • Are they an elementary school student or a secondary school student who has classes throughout the building?
  • Where and with whom did the individual eat lunch?
  • Did the individual participate in club meetings and/or sports?

3. Once the team has established where the individual had been during the exposure dates, the quarantine guidelines established by the CDC and NYSDOH are applied and contact tracing begins.

The District alerts the Fulton County Department of Health when a case is reported. According to NYSED and CDC quarantine guidance, a close contact is defined as a person who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

However, “in the K-12 indoor classroom setting, the close contact definition excludes students who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student if both the infected student and the exposed student(s) correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time.” This exemption does not apply to teachers, staff or other adults in the indoor classroom setting.

People who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine after close contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms.

4. As contact tracing gets underway, the team is able to assess impact.

At this point, it is determined how long contact tracing notification calls will take based on the number of identified contacts, what time contact tracing calls begin, the extent of the staffing impact and whether sufficient coverage is available for staff required to quarantine. School leaders rely on this information to decide whether the school is able to safely remain open for in-person learning or must shift temporarily to fully-remote operation.

5. Once the impact has been assessed, the District communicates with families and staff if contact tracing of students is required. 

Individual phone calls and the use of ParentSquare will be utilized to communicate with those impacted.

 


Easy Access Links:  COVID-19 Guidance

The District has compiled links for easy access to information from local (Fulton County Public Health), NY State (Department of Health/Governor’s office) and federal (CDC) agencies that provide COVID-19 guidance for public schools. We will continue to update this section as more information becomes available.

COVID Testing Resource

Governor Hochul Announces New Requirements and Guidance for the Safe Reopening of New York Schools (Dated September 2, 2021)

NY State Dept. of Health Commissioner’s Determination on COVID-19 Testing Pursuant to 10 NYCRR 2.62 (Dated September 2, 2021)

NY State Dept. of Health:  INTERIM NYSDOH GUIDANCE FOR CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION IN P-12 SCHOOLS DURING THE 2021-2022 ACADEMIC YEAR (Dated September 2, 2021)

NY State Dept. of Health:  COVID-19 Reporting and Testing (Dated September 2, 2021)

NY State Dept. of Health:  Commissioner’s Determination on Indoor Masking Pursuant to 10 NYCRR 2.61 (Dated August 27, 2021)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):  Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools | CDC (Updated August 5, 2021)

CDC: Your Guide to Masks (Updated August 13, 2021)

CDC COVID Data Tracker

US Equal Employment Opportunity Commision:  What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws

NY State Dept. of Health:  COVID-19 Vaccine

Fulton County Public Health

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):  COVID-19 Guidance for Safe Schools


Archived Related District Communications for 21-22 School Year:

September 6, 2021 – School Is Open: A video message from Dr. Crankshaw

September 6, 2021 – GJSD Social Contract

September 1, 2021 – School Is Open: A presentation from Dr. Crankshaw

August 13, 2021 – Back to School Expectations – A Letter from the Superintendent