July 31, 2020

Pursuant to the Department of Health’s Interim Guidance for In-Person Instruction at Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem has developed an individual plan for reopening and operating during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Our plan meets the standards set forth in the guidance and reflects engagement with school stakeholders and community members, including but not limited to administrators, faculty, staff, students, parents/legal guardians of students, local health departments, local health care providers, and affiliated organizations. Specifically, our plan covers: (1) reopening of school facilities for in-person instruction, (2) monitoring of health conditions, (3) containment of potential transmission of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and (4) closure of school facilities and in-person instruction, if necessitated by widespread virus transmission.

 I. Reopening Of School Facilities For In-Person Instruction

Capacity:

We will phase in our students by allowing the older grades to reenter school on date Sept. 9, 2020 and allowing the younger students to reenter school on later date Sept 10, 2020. Additionally, throughout the year, the older boys will begin at 7:40 AM while the younger boys will begin 9:00 AM in order to allow spaced out arrivals. This will only be for dismissal times. We will spread out dismissal at 3 different intervals. The youngest children will be dismissed at 3:00 PM, the middle school will be dismissed at 4:30 PM, the older boys (JHS Division) will be dismissed at 5:30 PM and our High School Division will be dismissed at 6:00 PM daily (i.e. 4 days a week. Fridays and Sunday will have a different schedule).

We have ample space to allow for proper social distancing and safety considerations applied to allow for 100% attendance from Day 1.

Social Distancing:

All students, faculty and staff will maintain appropriate social distancing, which means six feet of space in all directions between individuals or use of appropriate physical barriers between individuals (may include strip curtains, cubicle walls, or other impermeable divider or partition) unless safety or the core activity (e.g., instruction, using an elevator, traveling in common areas) requires a shorter distance or individuals are of the same household. Students, faculty, and staff will use face coverings and PPE made available by the school, when not social distancing.

Public group gatherings like School assemblies will be cancelled for this coming school year. Mealtimes in our school dining hall will be spread out to allow for social distancing. If not possible, meals will be served in the classrooms.

PPE and Face Coverings:

PPE and face coverings will be used when social distancing is not being practiced. Students, faculty, staff, and other individuals will be directed to use facemasks and appropriate signage will be placed throughout the building.

Soap dispensers will be located on every floor –as well as Hand Sanitizing dispensers.

Before and Aftercare Programs: 

All social distancing policies and procedures that apply to our regular school program will apply to our before and aftercare programs as well.

Vulnerable Populations:

To the greatest extent possible, we will make accommodations for vulnerable students to allow them to participate in educational activities which may include extra PPE or social distancing for the particular student or teleconferencing and/or distance learning, when appropriate. Vulnerable faculty and staff will be encouraged to wear extra PPE such as gloves (also provided by the school) and/or face shields as appropriate.”

Extracurricular Activities:

Extracurricular activity will be minimized and when they will occur, proper social distancing and/or face coverings will be required. All interscholastic sports will be cancelled until further notice.

Field Trips:

Field trips will generally be limited. When field trips will occur, students, faculty and staff will be asked to social distance and/or wear appropriate face coverings as the situation dictates. Visitors will be limited, and facemasks will be required of visitors as well as temperature checks.

Transportation:

All individuals will wear acceptable face coverings. Students whose physical and mental health would be impaired by wearing a mask will not be required to do so. All buses which are used every day will be cleaned/disinfected once a day. High contact spots will be wiped down after the morning or afternoon runs depending upon the disinfecting schedule. School buses will not be permitted to be equipped with hand sanitizer nor will staff carry personal bottles of hand sanitizer with them on school buses.

School bus drivers, monitors, attendants and mechanics will wear a face covering, will be trained and provided periodic refreshers on the proper use of personal protective equipment and the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, will perform a self-health assessment for symptoms of COVID-19 before arriving to work and will notify their employer and seek medical attention if they are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19.

Transportation departments/carriers will provide Personal Protective Equipment such as masks and gloves for bus 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. Bus drivers, monitors, and attendants who have direct physical contact with children will wear gloves.

Food Services:

Meals will be served in our school dining hall. Appropriate social distancing will be maintained and measures to protect students with food allergies when providing meals in spaces outside the cafeteria, including appropriate staff training, will be maintained. Students will perform hand hygiene before and after eating by washing their hands. Appropriate hand hygiene will be promoted through signage and teacher reinforcement and the sharing of food and beverages will be discouraged through the same means. Additionally, cleaning and disinfection prior to the next group of students arriving for meals, if served in the same common area, will take place.”

All students enrolled in the SFA will have access to school meals each school day. This includes students in attendance at school, and students learning remotely. We will comply with Child Nutrition Program requirements; and our communication coordinator will communicate with families through multiple means in the languages spoken by families.

Emergency Drills:

Fire (evacuation) Drills and Lockdown Drills will be conducted without exceptions in accordance by the State Education law and Fire Code regulations.

Dormitory:

For our dormitory, we will limit capacity to 50% of capacity per dorm room and will enhance cleaning and disinfection. Appropriate social distancing, use of acceptable face coverings in common areas, restrictions on non-essential gatherings and activities, limited access by students to other residential facilities, restrictions of visitors, special housing considerations for students who are immunocompromised or who have an underlying health condition, separate living spaces for persons undergoing isolation or quarantine, and a modified set of rules for students to follow will be enforced.

All students and faculty will be screened upon return, and there will be diagnostic testing for any students or faculty members who screen positive for potential COVID-19 infection upon return, especially including any individuals with recent international or long-distance travel, or travel from designated states with widespread community transmission of COVID-19, as identified through the New York State Travel Advisory. Isolation or quarantine of individuals residing on school grounds, if necessary, will be carried out in consultation with the local health department, which will specify where individuals will be residing and the support system that will be implemented to meet daily needs.

The plans will include measures to monitor and provide medical care and other health services to students who test positive and are in isolation, need more advanced medical care, or who are awaiting test results. A plan will be put in place for how students should safely depart residence halls in the event of a closure.

Mental Health, Behavioral, and Emotional Support Services:

Teachers will be trained to observe for signs of mental, behavioral, and emotional issues with students.  Such students will be referred for evaluation and proper next steps will be taken. We have a multiple group of MSW’s on site from different agency such as the DOE sponsored counselors, Counterforce, private agencies etc. who will be constantly available to monitor all mental health issues referred by the school Admin or the teachers.

Communication:

There will be timely emails/newsletters sent out to parents and staff with updates and applicable instructions. Teachers and students will be trained in proper social distancing and hygiene protocol. Appropriate signage will be placed throughout the building and informational material will be kept for distribution in the main office. Parents will be notified as to all the safety regulations now being required for the school to follow.

Parents and guardians will be notified and required to sign an affidavit acknowledging their understanding and accepting of school safety policies.

Weekly emails will be sent home from staff addressing any additional issues that may arise.

Rabbi Y. Ginzberg and Rabbi M. Tuchman will be the designated coordinators and the main point of contact upon the identification of positive COVID-19 cases and will be responsible for subsequent communication. They will be responsible for answering questions from students, faculty, staff, and parents or legal guardians of students regarding the COVID-19 public health emergency and the plan implemented by the school.

Continuity of Learning:

Our school will ensure learning will continue throughout the coming school year. Primarily, we will prepare for in-person instruction and will allow for remote instruction, such as teleconferencing and ZOOM conferencing, if the need occurs. Hybrids of the two will also be made available when appropriate. There will be clear opportunities for instruction that are accessible to students.  Students and their families/caregivers can contact the school and teachers with questions about their instruction and/or technology via the main office number.

Attendance Taking:  

The school will collect and report daily teacher/student engagement or attendance, regardless of instructional setting via email and/or direct contact between the teacher and principal.

II. Monitoring Of Health Conditions

The facilities have been properly disinfected and appropriate signage and disinfection stations have been set up throughout the building. Furthermore, we have procured the proper amount of PPE and face coverings for our students, faculty, and staff. We have also installed soap dispensers and hand sanitizing stations on each floor.

We have also set up twice daily temp. checks to be taken place in each classroom.

Hygiene Cleaning and Disinfection:

School wide cleaning and disinfection will take place on a daily basis with cleaning products approved by the CDC for use against COVID-19.

Screening:

Health screenings, including temperature checks, of students, faculty, staff and, where applicable, contractors, vendors, and visitors will take place daily. Individuals will have their temperature checked each day. If an individual presents a temperature of greater than 100.0°F, the individual will be denied entry into the facility or sent directly to a dedicated area prior to being picked up or otherwise sent home.

We also require a full medical clearance report from every child’s medical physician prior to beginning the school year.

We will use a daily screening questionnaire for faculty and staff reporting to school and periodically use a questionnaire for students. Remote health screening (e. by electronic survey, digital application, or telephone, which may involve the parent/legal guardian) before an individual reports to school, will be implemented if and when appropriate.

Testing Protocols:

Staff and students will be referred to their primary care physicians for diagnostic testing for COVID-19, in consultation with local health department officials, when needed. Symptomatic individuals, close contacts of COVID-19 suspected or confirmed individuals and individuals with recent international travel or travel within a state with widespread transmission of COVID-19 as designated through the New York State Travel Advisory will be encouraged to be tested by their primary care physician before such individuals return to school.

Testing Responsibility:

 “The local health department along with Hatzalah ambulance service (who will supply medics, PA’s etc.) will be the community organization primarily responsible for referring, sourcing, and administering testing.”

Early Warning Signs:

We will follow the metrics signs established by state and local health departments that will serve as early warning signs that positive COVID-19 cases may be increasing beyond an acceptable level.

Communication:

There will be timely emails/newsletters sent out to parents and staff with updates and applicable instructions. Teachers and students will be trained in proper social distancing and hygiene protocol. Appropriate signage will be placed throughout the building and informational material will be kept for distribution in the main office.

Rabbi Y. Ginzberg and Rabbi M. Tuchman will be the designated coordinators and the main point of contact upon the identification of positive COVID-19 cases and will be responsible for subsequent communication. They will be responsible for answering questions from students, faculty, staff, and parents or legal guardians of students regarding the COVID-19 public health emergency and the plan implemented by the school.

III. Containment: Response and Prevention

School Health Offices:

If an individual develops symptoms of COVID-19 during the school day, he/she will be isolated from everyone and, in the case of a student, arrangements for the child to be taken home quickly will be made”

Isolation:

Individuals who screen positive or those who become symptomatic while at school will be isolated and, in the case of a student, arrangements for the child to be taken home quickly will be made.

Collection:

Parents or guardians will be contacted and told to pick up their child. They will also be instructed that the child see a health care provider.

Infected Individuals:

Individuals that have tested positive must recover and cannot transmit COVID-19 will be allowed to return to in person learning. This will be conducted in coordination with the local health department.

Exposed Individuals:

Individuals who were exposed to the virus must complete quarantine before returning to in-person learning. This will be conducted in coordination with the local health department.

Hygiene, Cleaning, and Disinfection:

We will adhere to hygiene, cleaning, and disinfection guidance set forth by DOH and CDC.

Contact Tracing:

We will support our local health department in contact tracing efforts.

Communication:

We will share protocols and safety measures with all relevant parties, including but not limited to, emails, newsletters, mailers etc.

IV. Closure and Contingency Plans

Closure Triggers:

In consultation with state and our local health department, we will identify conditions that may warrant reducing in-person education or closing of the school, and we will plan for an orderly closure with them.

Operational Activity:

Operations will be decreased and ceased via phases and milestones as the specific situation arises and determinations as to appropriate closures or partial closers will be done in consultation with the local health department.

Communication:

All changes and updates will be communicated to staff and parents and all other relevant individuals via emails, mailers, posters, signage, text messages, phones calls and our school website, as appropriate.

Continuity of Learning:

Our school will ensure learning will continue throughout the coming school year. Primarily, we will prepare for in-person instruction and will allow for remote instruction, such as teleconferencing or ZOOM, if the need occurs. Hybrids of the two will also be made available when appropriate. There will be clear opportunities for instruction that are accessible to students.  Students and their families/caregivers can contact the school and teachers with questions about their instruction and/or technology via the main office number.