2021-22 Reopening Plan

School logo with man in circle with lightning boltIntroduction

Unadilla Valley Central School District plans to return to full, in-person learning on Sept. 9, 2021 for students in grades PreK through 12. 

In consultation with the UV Board of Education, administrative team, school nurses, Bassett School Based Health and our local health officials, we are confident that appropriate safety protocols, including social distancing, masking, proper hygiene, training and cleaning procedures will improve our efforts to keep our school and community safe and help prevent transmission to vulnerable populations and children under 12 years old, who are not yet eligible for COVID vaccines.

In an effort to support student and staff social-emotional well-being, the COVID-19 prevention protocols, including the use of masks, will be reviewed frequently throughout the school year. This review will include consulting updated local, state and federal guidance, mandates and data. Any changes to our COVID-19 protocols will be communicated via School Messenger email and the district website. 

Based on the district’s placement (as of Sept. 7, 2021) in an area of high risk transmission, when classes resume on Sept. 9, this is what families may expect:

  • Indoor masking for all, regardless of vaccination status, with regular mask breaks, except when eating, drinking, singing or playing a wind instrument. Masks must also be worn at all times on the bus. Masks are optional outdoors and mask breaks will be provided indoors.
  • Un-vaccinated school staff must be tested weekly for COVID-19. Testing will be provided by the district in coordination with DCMO BOCES.
    • UV will maintain a capacity for student testing. Testing will be provided by the district on as-needed or as-requested basis. 
    • Daily self-health checks for everyone before entering the building. There will not be temperature checks on the bus or to enter the building at this time.
    • Everyone should expect to remain home if they are ill.
    • Physical distancing of 3 feet should be maintained when practicable for students in normal classroom settings. 
    • Physical distancing of 6 feet should be maintained when practicable between students and staff; and between staff who are not fully vaccinated. 
    • Guests are allowed on campus with a health screening. Masks are required. Guests may be limited to essential guests, as community transmission warrants.
    • Free vaccination appointments are available to school employees and students 12 and older. Please contact your county health department or call (607) 847-7500 for more information. 

    Face Coverings

    When teachers, staff, and students consistently and correctly wear face coverings, they protect others as well as themselves. Consistent and correct face covering use is especially important indoors and in crowded settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

    Acceptable face coverings for COVID-19 include, but are not limited to, cloth or disposable face coverings that cover both the mouth and nose (i.e. homemade, sewn, quick cut and bandana & disposable masks that cover mouth and nose).

    Indoor masking for all, regardless of vaccination status, with regular mask breaks.  Medical exceptions will be made on a case by case basis consistent with CDC/SED guidance.

    Indoor masking for all, regardless of vaccination status, with regular mask breaks, except when eating, drinking, singing or playing a wind instrument. When masks are removed for these purposes, individuals must be spaced six feet apart. Masks must also be worn at all times on the bus. Masks are optional outdoors and mask breaks will be provided indoors. 

    Students and staff who are unable to tolerate a face covering due to a medical condition will require documentation from a physician. Unadilla Valley CSD administration will make decisions regarding students and staff who cannot tolerate face coverings due to a mental health concern or a developmental disability on a case-by-case basis. Unadilla Valley CSD will collaborate with the home school district, which may include convening a CSE meeting to amend the IEP.

    Unadilla Valley CSD will continue to obtain and maintain an adequate quantity of personal protective equipment (PPE) used for school safety purposes.

    Social Distancing

    Maintain at least three feet of physical distance between students within classrooms when possible, and during physical education and music. If students are engaged in singing or playing a wind instrument, at least six feet of distance between students is recommended. In physical education, ensure any contact due to activities is quick and not for extended periods of time.  When outdoors, schools should encourage activities that allow for distancing and reduced contact. Physical distancing of six feet should be maintained when possible between students and staff; and between staff who are not fully vaccinated.

    Unadilla Valley CSD will create alternate plans in consultation with school health personnel on how to meet the needs of the child and staff when social distancing and face coverings are not tolerated.

    Contact Tracing and Quarantine

    School districts must continue to report positive cases of COVID-19 to DOH. All individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must remain in isolation for 10 days from date of symptom onset or test date if asymptomatic. Consistent with CDC guidance, students in the pre-K through 12 indoor classrooms who are within at least three feet of an infected student with masking are excluded from the definition of close contact and not required to quarantine. DOH concurs with CDC guidance which recommends that fully vaccinated persons who have come into close contact with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should be tested 3-5 days after exposure. Close contacts of positive cases of COVID-19 which do not fall in the exception detailed below must quarantine for 10 days and monitor symptoms through the 14th day. Below is the CDC exemption for PreK through 12 students in indoor classroom setting:

    Exception: In the PreK through 12 indoor classroom setting, the close contact definition excludes students who were within three to six feet of an infected student (laboratory-confirmed or a clinically compatible illness) if both students correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time. This exception does not apply to teachers, staff, or other adults in the indoor classroom setting.

    UVCS will continue to assist the DOH with contact tracing. Any students who begin to exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 should remain home and seek testing. DOH recommends for any activities not in the classroom – recess, lunch, Support Services, etc. – schools keep records of seating charts and cohort students as practicable to reduce exposure and assist with contact tracing.

    School Schedules

    All classes are in-person instruction five days a week.

    School Buses and School Vehicles

    DOH concurs with existing CDC guidance that all students and adults must wear well-fitting masks while inside a bus, regardless of vaccination status. At least three feet of physical distancing between non-household members should be maintained as much as possible on a school bus. Ventilation, loading from the rear forward, and alternate window/aisle seating can also help reduce risk of transmission.

    Screening Testing

    UVCS would like to emphasize the importance of self screening. If your child exhibits any symptoms of COVID-19 please seek further evaluation from your primary care provider. 

    Unvaccinated school staff must be tested weekly for COVID-19. Testing will be provided by the district in coordination with DCMO BOCES. Vaccinated school staff must provide proof of vaccination status to the district.

    UV will maintain a capacity for student testing. Testing will be provided by the district on as-needed or as-requested basis. 

    Symptoms:

    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea

    Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette

    Covering coughs and sneezes can help keep educators, staff, and students from getting and spreading COVID-19 and other infectious illnesses. 

    Students and adults will be encouraged to wash their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; we will assist young children with handwashing; and, when handwashing isn’t possible, provide hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol for all adults and students who can safely use it.

    Layered Prevention

    Numerous mitigation measures will be implemented, and when any are to be removed based on a change in community transmission or recommendations, they will be removed one at a time to determine impact in between removals.

    Management of Ill Persons

    Any student or staff member with a fever greater than 100°F and/or symptoms of possible COVID-19 infection should not be present in school.

    Students and staff with symptoms of illness will be referred to the health office. Ill students will be assessed by the school nurse (registered professional nurse, RN) or medical director. Ill staff members will be asked to leave the building immediately and contact their primary health care provider. If a school nurse or medical director is not available, ill students will be sent home for follow up with a healthcare provider. The school nurse or medical director will assess individuals for chronic conditions such as asthma, allergies or chronic gastrointestinal conditions that may present the same symptoms as COVID-19, but are neither contagious nor pose a public health threat.

    Students with a temperature or signs of illness will be sent directly to a dedicated isolation area for an evaluation, and possible Covid test. Staff will wear protective equipment when assessing the student. 

    Whenever a student or staff member shows symptoms of COVID-19 that imposes a significant risk of infection of others in the school, the individual shall be excluded from the school and sent home in a safe and proper conveyance. The Covid coordinator will immediately notify the local public health department when a positive COVID case is reported.

    School staff must immediately report any illness of students or staff to the school nurse or other designated school staff.

    The district will provide for the cleaning and disinfection of exposed areas in the event an individual is confirmed to have COVID-19.

    Athletics Information

    Please see the following link for information on the current athletics season.

    Return to School After COVID-19 Illness

    If a person with COVID-19 symptoms is not diagnosed as COVID-19 positive by a healthcare provider (physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant) they can return to school in coordination with the local health department:

    • Once there is no fever, without the use of fever reducing medicines, and they have felt well for 24 hours; AND are able to meet at least one of the following criteria:
    • They have been diagnosed with another condition and have a healthcare provider written note stating they are clear to return to school
    • They have a negative COVID 19 test
    • They have self-quarantined for 10 days

    UNADILLA VALLEY CSD WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE CDC AND STATE AND LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT GUIDANCE. THIS PLAN IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE AS THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC PROGRESSES.