To help inform our reopening plan, the Herkimer Central School District has sought feedback and input from stakeholders, including administrators, faculty, staff, students, parents/guardians of students, local health department officials and health care providers, employee unions and community groups. Engagement efforts included online surveys, virtual forums/meetings and one-on-one conversations.
The district 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 district website, and will be updated throughout the school year, as necessary, to respond to local circumstances.
As part of its planning for the reopening of schools and the new academic year, the district has developed a plan for communicating all necessary information to district staff, students, parents/guardians, visitors and education partners and vendors. The district will use its existing communication modes – including the district website, social media platforms, mailings, phone calls, and direct digital communication with parents via ParentSquare – 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.
Herkimer CSD Communication Goals:
- To encourage all students, faculty, staff, and visitors through verbal and written communication (e.g., signage) to adhere to NYSED, CDC, and DOH guidance regarding the use of acceptable face coverings — a face mask covering the nose and mouth, when a social distance cannot be maintained.
- To provide regular updates about health and safety, scheduling, and all other information faculty, staff and families should be aware of.
- To provide information to families through a wide array of platforms including mail, email, telephone calls, text messaging, social media and website postings.
- To provide information on how families can access technology and receive technical support to assist with utilization and maintenance of equipment.
Herkimer CSD developed communication materials accordingly, including the creation of sample messages/letters for potential shifts in and out of a fully remote learning environment based on state regulations. We will utilize communication methods used by the district to inform the school community. Information will be dispersed in a variety of platforms that include:
- District website
- ParentSquare posts
- Correspondence (letters) to homes
- Social media accounts used by district
- Town Hall Meetings (Google Meet, etc.)
Clear messaging will be prepared and consistently communicated before re-entry, on the first day, during the first week, throughout the first month, and continuously throughout the year. Minimum monthly communication will provide information on the following topics:
- Who to contact with questions, concerns or suggestions. Empower people to make a positive difference and communicate the expectation for them to do so.
- The importance of social distancing, monitoring symptoms of COVID-19 and when to stay home.
- Set protocols for entrance (screening) and the review process for staff calling in sick. Constant reminders for staff to stay home if they feel sick.
- Encourage and implement social distancing in bathrooms, break rooms, hallways, etc.
- Practice proper hand hygiene, encouraging hand-washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use of hand sanitizer when hand-washing is not feasible.
- Encourage and practice proper respiratory etiquette (i.e., coughing or sneezing into your elbow if a tissue is not available).
- Encouraging personal responsibility for yourself and your work area.
- Educating the school community on district policies/procedures, including how to properly wear and dispose of a face mask/respirator.