Herkimer Central School District’s Reopening Plan is now available. Read more about reopening | Review the complete plan

Health and Safety

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).

The following protocols and procedures will be in place in all district schools for the 2020-21 school year should in-person schooling resume. Anyone with questions or concerns should contact our COVID-19 Safety Coordinator at rmiller@herkimercsd.org..

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.

To ensure employees and students comply with communication requirements, Herkimer Central School District will:

  • Post signage throughout the buildings to remind personnel to adhere to proper hygiene, social distancing rules, appropriate use of PPE, and cleaning/disinfecting protocols.
  • Establish a communication plan for employees, visitors, and parents/guardians with a consistent means to provide updated information. This will be accomplished through:
    • Website
    • Email
    • Social media
    • Print copy mailings
    • Voice and/or video messaging
    • Traditional media outlets
  • Maintain a continuous log of every person, including staff, workers, and visitors, who may have close contact with other individuals at the work site, school, or area; excluding deliveries that are performed with appropriate PPE or through contactless means.

If a worker or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the school district must immediately notify state and local health departments and cooperate with contact tracing efforts, including notification of potential contacts, such as workers or visitors who had close contact with the individual, while maintaining confidentiality required by state and federal law and regulations.

Index

Daily Health Screening | Social Distancing | Personal Hygiene | Visitor and Vendor Practices | Training | Space Design and Capacities | Suspect or Confirmed COVID Cases | Contact Tracing | Return to School After Illness | Closure Considerations

Facility Entry

To ensure all faculty, staff, students, and visitors comply with physical distancing requirements, anyone within Herkimer Central School District facilities will practice social distancing expectations:

  •       Multiple student and staff entrances will be established to control the number of people egressing through any given door at a time, and to manage the direction and flow of traffic.  All others will enter through the main entrance.
  •       A face covering must be worn by all individuals, students, staff, and visitors on Herkimer Central School District property when social distancing cannot be maintained.
  •       Proper face covering includes, but is not limited to, a surgical mask, cloth mask, balaclava or bandana and must completely cover the individual’s mouth and nose.
  •       A plastic face shield alone is not an acceptable face covering.
  •       All individuals may choose to utilize their own face covering, however face coverings can and will be provided by Herkimer Central School District daily.

return to index

Daily Health Screening

Students

Families will conduct a daily COVID screening of students at home. In the event of a YES response, a student should remain home. The absence should be reported to the school in accordance with the district attendance policy.

  • Students will be screened for temperature before entering their designated classroom.
    • Parents are encouraged to monitor for temperatures and symptoms prior to sending their student on a bus, however students will be screened at arrival for temperatures. Parents will be provided with information about how to conduct a health screening.
  • Students will be signed in and accounted for as without fever/symptoms and able to attend school through attendance roll.

Staff

Staff should complete this screening at the time that they arrive at work, prior to entering the building.

  •   Staff will be required to monitor their own temperatures prior to arrival on campus and throughout the day.  Anyone whose symptoms response changes from a NO to YES during the day, must contact their supervisor immediately and await further instruction.
  • All staff must sign in and out of each building each time they enter or leave.
  • For multiple visitors entering the building simultaneously, they will be required to stand at the marked out locations on the floor, maintaining social distance until they can be signed in and screened.
  • Corridors will be created (outside, but preferably covered) where individuals can enter the facility when in-person screening is utilized.
    • Multiple lines and entrances will be coordinated, if needed to reduce crowding.
    • Markings (whether in tape or otherwise) will be placed on the ground or in the corridor to indicate six (6) foot lengths to provide for greater social distancing for individuals while in line.
  • Only after all individuals have been accounted for, cleared through the medical screening and wearing proper face coverings, will access to the building be granted.
  • Should a person fail the medical screening, specific procedures should be followed. Please reference the Suspect or Confirmed COVID-19 Case section for guidance.

Visitors

Prior to entering all Herkimer Central School District locations, individuals must complete a medical screening process.

  • Visitors will have their temperatures taken upon arrival.  For multiple visitors entering the building simultaneously, they will be required to stand at the marked out locations on the floor, maintaining social distance until they can be signed in and screened.
  • Corridors will be created (outside, but preferably covered) where individuals can enter the facility when in-person screening is utilized.
    • Multiple lines and entrances will be coordinated, if needed to reduce crowding.
    • Markings (whether in tape or otherwise) will be placed on the ground or in the corridor to indicate six (6) foot lengths to provide for greater social distancing for individuals while in line.
  • Only after all individuals have been  accounted for, cleared through the medical screening and wearing proper face coverings, will access to the building be granted.
  •  Should a person fail the medical screening, specific procedures should be followed. Please reference the Suspect or Confirmed COVID-19 Case section for guidance.

Social Distancing

  • All individuals on Herkimer Central School District premises must maintain social distancing and face covering when social distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Proper social distancing is defined as a six (6) foot separation between individuals. When social distancing is practiced, such as in an isolated office or large meeting space, the individuals may remove their face covering. However in common areas, such as breakrooms, hallways or bathrooms, the face covering must be worn.
  • Ensure six (6) foot distance between personnel, unless safety or core function of the work activity requires a shorter distance. Any time personnel are less than six (6) feet apart from one another, personnel must wear acceptable face coverings.
  • Tightly confined spaces will be occupied by only one individual at a time, unless all occupants are wearing face coverings. If an area is occupied by more than one person, keep occupancy under 50% of maximum capacity.
  • Social distance separation will be marked or labeled using tape or signs that denote six (6) feet of spacing in commonly used and other applicable areas on the site (e.g., clock in/out stations, health screening stations, reception areas).
  • In-person gatherings will be limited as much as possible and we will use tele- or video-conferencing whenever possible. Essential in-person gatherings, such as meetings, will be held in open, well-ventilated spaces with appropriate social distancing among participants.
  • Designated areas for pick-ups and deliveries will be established, limiting contact to the extent possible.

Personal Hygiene

Hand washing – Students and staff must practice good hand hygiene to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Schools should plan time in the school day schedule to allow for hand hygiene.

  • Hand hygiene includes:
    • Signage encouraging hand washing and correct techniques;
    • Traditional hand washing (with soap and warm water, lathering for a minimum of 20 seconds), which is the preferred method.
    • Adequate facilities and supplies for hand washing including soap and water;
    • Use of paper towels or touch-free paper towel dispensers where feasible (hand dryers are not recommended as they can aerolize germs);
    • Use of no-touch/foot pedal trash can where feasible;
    • Extra time in the schedule to encourage frequent hand washing.
  • Students and staff should wash hands as follows:
    • Upon entering the building and classrooms;
    • After sharing objects or surfaces;
    • Before and after snacks and lunch;
    • After using the bathroom;
    • After helping a student with toileting;
    • After sneezing, wiping, or blowing nose or coughing into hands;
    • Anytime hands are visibly soiled;
    • When handwashing is not available use a hand sanitizer;
  • Hand Sanitizer – At times when hand washing is not available students and staff may use a hand sanitizer. In order for the sanitizer to be effective it must contain a minimum of 60% ethanol or 70% isopropyl alcohol. It should be noted the sanitizers are flammable and students must be monitored and supervised when using these. Using hand sanitizers should include:
    • Signage should be placed near sanitizer dispensers indicating proper hygiene practices;
    • Placement of sanitizer dispensers should be located near entrances and throughout common areas.

Visitor and Vendor Practices

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 and parent/guardian visitors will be required to wear face coverings and will have restricted access to our school buildings.

Visitors

  • All visitors must be wearing proper face covering prior to entering any building and it must be worn at all times when a six (6) foot social distance cannot be maintained.
  • All visitors check in for temperature screening and to fill out the COVID-19 CHECK-IN SCREENING which can be found by scanning the QR Code posted on all doors. The visitors must sign in with their identification through the VisitU system for a visitor badge. This will indicate to all other security locations that the visitor has been screened.
  • No visitor should enter a building unless necessary. All meetings should be held outside or via virtual meetings when possible.
  • All visitors must sign in and out at the main entrance of each building stating their destination at that building for contact tracing. All visitors should be accompanied by a staff member.
  • Should a visitor become ill while on campus, they must alert the staff member they are visiting to report the issue and then immediately seek medical attention.
  • Visitor information is stored digitally on a secure database accessible to the COVID-19 Coordinator, as well as all building administrators.

Vendors

  • All vendors must be wearing proper face covering prior to entering any building and it must be worn at all times when six (6) foot social distance cannot be maintained.
  • All vendors who enter the building must comply with the Visitor protocol outlined above.
  • No vendor should enter a building unless necessary for completion of their job.
  • All vendors must sign in and out at the main entrance of each building stating their destination at that building for contact tracing. All visitors should be accompanied by a staff member.
  • Should a vendor become ill while on campus, they must alert the staff member they’re visiting to report the issue and then immediately seek medical attention.
  • Vendor information is stored digitally on a secure database accessible to the COVID-19 Coordinator, as well as all building administrators.

Training

Herkimer Central School District will train all personnel on new protocols and frequently communicate safety guidelines. Training on the precautions listed below will be conducted either remotely or in person. Social distancing and face coverings will be required for all participants if training is conducted in person. Training material is designed to be easy to understand and available in the appropriate language and literacy level for all workers.

Herkimer Central School District will ensure all students are taught or trained how to follow new COVID-19 protocols safely and correctly, including but not limited to hand hygiene, proper face covering wearing, social distancing, and respiratory hygiene. Additional training will be provided in:

  • Prevention of disease spreads by staying home when they are sick.
  • Proper respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Avoiding the use of communal objects. If communal objects must be used, provide information on proper disinfection procedures between use. Examples of communal objects include, but are not limited to, other workers’ phones, desks, offices, computers or other devices, other work tools and equipment.
  • Provide employees and students with up-to-date education and training on COVID-19.
  • Risk factors and protective behaviors (i.e., cough etiquette and care of PPE).

More information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools.html

Training for Screeners

Herkimer Central School District will identify individuals familiar with CDC, OSHA protocols, and DOH guidelines in each building who will be trained screeners. Screeners will wear appropriate employer-provided PPE, including at a minimum, a face covering, temperature screenings and social distancing. If social distancing or barrier/partition controls cannot be implemented during screening, PPE should be used when within six (6) feet of a student.

Training topics for all staff and substitutes

Signs and Messages

Signs will be posted in highly visible locations (e.g., school entrances, restrooms) that promote everyday protective measures and describe how to stop the spread of germs (such as by properly washing hands and properly wearing a cloth face cover).

When Students Eat in Classrooms

  • Train teachers on food allergies, including symptoms of allergic reactions to food.
  • Train all non-food service staff on any meal service-related activities they will be responsible for.

https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/foodallergies/pdf/13_243135_A_Food_Allergy_Web_508.pdf

Space Design and Capacities

General Office Area

  • All offices will be limited to 50% the rated occupancy for the space. Offices must normally maintain a minimum of 150 sq. ft. per individual.
  • Where applicable, all offices and small spaces will be limited to one (1) individual at a time.
  • In a multiple occupant office, occupancy will be reduced to 50% normal load in addition to maintaining at least 6 ft of separation between individuals.
  • Additional protective barriers such as polycarbonate screens or strip curtains will be utilized to create a physical separation without hindrance to egress or airflow.
  • Workstations will be reconfigured so that employees do not face each other, or establish partitions if facing each other cannot be avoided
  • Face coverings should be worn in these multiple use office settings.
  • Additional breaks may be allotted to allow individuals time to leave the space to remove their masks. Specific determination of these conditions will be determined by the individual’s program supervisor.
  • Where possible Herkimer Central School District will:
    • establish additional shifts to reduce the number of employees in the worksite at one time
    • stagger shift start and end times greater than normal when possible (while still ensuring safe operations), to eliminate employees from congregating during the shift change-over, and from overcrowding at entrances and exits
    • reduce tasks requiring large amounts of people to be in one area.
  • Employees will be encouraged to use virtual meeting tools, including phone and virtual teleconference, in lieu of in-person meetings, whenever possible
  • If in-person meetings are essential, consider limiting meetings to 10 people or less depending on local, state, and federal guidelines.

Conference Rooms

  • Will limit in-person meetings (refer to NYS guidance), if virtual meetings are not feasible.
  • If meetings are to occur in person, they will be conducted in a quick manner.
  • Social distancing among participants will be required.
  • Lingering and socializing before and after meetings should be discouraged.

Break Rooms and Lunch Rooms

  • 6 ft. separation must be maintained when consuming food or drink.
  • Staff are advised to take their lunch and breaks in their private offices or classrooms, in their vehicles, or outside at a picnic table throughout the campus.
  • Staggered break schedules may be utilized to assist with separation concerns.
  • If staff wish to take breaks together they must do such in a large space or outside, where at minimum 6ft. of separation can occur.
  • Amenities that are handled with high contact frequency, such as water coolers, coffee makers, and bulk snacks will be replaced with alternatives where possible.
  • Communal meals will not be provided to employees, and food will not be available in common areas where employees may congregate.

Copier Rooms/Areas

  • Congregating in copier rooms/areas is discouraged.
  • Cleaning supplies will be provided at copier stations.
  • Staff are encouraged to wipe down touch surfaces post and prior use.

Elevators

  • One person in an elevator at a time.
  • Personnel must wear acceptable face coverings when in common use areas.
  • Elevators will be frequently disinfected.

Restrooms

  • Student access to corridors and bathrooms will be limited to ensure that social distancing can be preserved where possible.
  • In special circumstances where a student must be assisted in the use of the lavatory, the adult present must be wearing all applicable personal protective equipment including a face covering and when medically applicable, the student will be wearing a proper face covering as well.
  • Signage will be posted on entry indicating social distancing guidelines for bathrooms with multiple stalls.

Hallways/Stairwells

● Where feasible hallway traffic may be limited to single flow direction.
● Where single flow is not applicable, bi-direction traffic will be permitted.
● Directional flow will be identified by indications on the floor/stairs.
● Adequate distancing will be obtained between all individuals by taped off lanes on the corridor floors/ stair treads.
● All individuals must also allow for adequate space between when traveling in the same direction.

Classrooms

  • Occupancy in each classroom will be specific and determined based off of the overall square footage of the space.
  • Each student, teacher and support staff will receive not less than 6 ft. of separation from others.
  • Additional considerations will be taken to account for space utilized for classrooms and teaching material.
  • Overall class sizes will be reduced to accommodate all safety parameters.
  • Students, teachers and support staff will be required to wear a proper face covering.
  • Where possible special teachers and PPS staff will travel to the classroom to provide instruction.
  • Restrict items in the classroom to that of obvious use.
    • Remove any unnecessary furniture, and any soft surfaces that are difficult to disinfect, to the largest extent possible

Nurse Stations

  • All students and staff are required to wear appropriate face coverings.
    • N95 Respirator use for nurses should be limited to situations of suspected COVID-19
    • Nurses must receive proper training and fitment of N95 Respirators prior to use.
  • Where applicable, nurse stations have been reconfigured to:
    • Maintain social distancing of no less than 6ft.
    • Create “sick” and “well” zones.
  • Students that receive daily medication should be treated separately from students presenting with symptoms of illness.
  • Nebulizer treatments should be conducted in a separate isolated space with adequate fresh air circulation.
  • Physical separation will be achieved by utilizing:
    • Individual exam rooms
    • Polycarbonate barriers
    • Retractable dividing curtain walls.
    • Isolation Rooms
  • Individuals presenting with symptoms representative of COVID-19 should be immediately isolated to reduce risk of transmission.
    • A separate room will be utilized where applicable (see below).

Isolation Rooms

  • Where applicable, separate, independent room/s with a door in close proximity to the exterior will be utilized for quarantining individuals who present with symptoms representative of COVID-19.
  • Where excess space is not available. Nurse stations will be equipped with dividing curtains allowing for both a physical divide and at minimum 6ft of separation.
  • These rooms will be identified, and the locations communicated to staff as needed.

Reception Areas

  • Where a multi-entrance design is used, surveillance cameras will be used to monitor all entrances.
  • They will serve as the primary location for accounting for all individuals entering and exiting the building.
  • Polycarbonate barriers have been installed to protect all individuals.
  • Floor demarcations have been installed to indicate where visitors shall stand to maintain social distance.
  • Visitors will be directed to maintain social distance, whether seated or standing.
  • Frequently touched materials such as magazines have been removed.

Library Spaces

The library will only be used for scheduled, instructional purposes (not recreational reading and activities).

All soft covered surfaces that cannot be properly cleaned and disinfected have been removed, including the reading nook areas. Tables and seating have been arranged to ensure social distancing when the area is used for instruction. Directional traffic flow patterns between bookcases are visible.

The district will provide students with access to ebooks and audiobooks through Sora, and electronic research platforms to support instruction whenever possible. Students will still be permitted to borrow physical books from the school library through an electronic request system.

The following are protocols for ensuring the safety of borrowed titles:

  • Gloves will be worn by library staff to check in and safely quarantine books.
  • Books will be returned to designated book bin where students cannot access them (can be in the library or even one set up outside of the library if the library is in use).
  • Books will be checked in and left out (we can make a designated table or area) for a 3-day minimum quarantine.
  • Books may be treated with an appropriate cleaning solution or hot box when the quarantine period cannot be ensured.
  • After the 3 day quarantine, books will be returned to the shelves for checkout.

Magazine titles have been removed from circulation.

Engineering Controls

  • Alcohol based hand sanitizer will be available in each entry, all corridors, and each classroom.
  • Bathrooms:
    • Increased sanitation practices will be followed
    • Entry doors to gang bathrooms will be left open where applicable to reduce the need to touch door handles.
  • Vestibules/Reception Areas:
    • Appropriate barriers will be used to provide protection for Herkimer Central School District staff and individuals presenting
  • Water Fountains:
    • As required by New York State Code a potable water supply will be provided per 150 occupants, but not less than one source per floor.
    • To reduce cross contamination the bubbler/drink spout has been removed or disabled.
    • Automatic/touchless bottle filling equipment is installed in place of the drink spout.
    • Additional bottle filler stations will be installed where necessary.
    • These appliances will be routinely cleaned and disinfected as described in the Cleaning and Disinfection Section.
  • Floor Demarcations
    • All entrances or areas of static wait have floor signage installed allotting for a minimum of six(6) feet of separation between all individuals
    • Corridor floors and Stairway treading will be fitted with striping to indicate directional traffic flow and social distancing where possible.
    • Corridor doors will all be affixed open using electromagnetic hold-open devices to minimize the need to touch doors.

Ventilation

Herkimer Central School District will ensure sufficient ventilation and fresh air to all spaces of occupancy by means of:

  • Modifications to the Building Management Systems to allow fresh air dampers to introduce more outside air.
  • Air handling systems have been inspected for function with higher MERV rated filters.
    • Where applicable filters will be exchanged for MERV rating ranging from 11-13.
  • Spaces where fresh air is limited due to original building systems, fresh air will be introduced through open windows and doors.
    • Options for replacement and modification to existing systems will be explored.
    • Engineers will design new systems capable of increased fresh air and filtration.
  • Fan motors speeds will be increased where applicable to ensure volume and flow of 15cfm minimum.
  • More frequent maintenance and inspection of the systems will occur to mitigate extra strain on systems.
  • Filter replacement schedules will be more frequent.

Cleaning and Disinfection

The Herkimer Central School District 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 district 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 district 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 section of our reopening plan.

Disinfectants must be products that meet EPA criteria for use against SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and be appropriate for the surface.

Suspect or Confirmed COVID Cases

  • Emergency Response – Students and staff with symptoms of illness must be sent to the health office. A school nurse (Registered Professional Nurse, RN) is available to assess individuals as chronic conditions such as asthma and allergies or chronic gastrointestinal conditions may present the same symptoms as COVID-19 but are neither contagious nor pose a public health threat. Proper PPE will be required anytime a nurse may be in contact with a potential COVID-19 patient.
  • Isolation – Students suspected of having COVID-19 awaiting transport home by the parent/guardian will be isolated in a room or area separate from others, with a supervising adult present utilizing appropriate PPE. Multiple students suspected of COVID-19 may also be in this isolation room if they can be separated by at least 6 feet. If they cannot be isolated in a separate room from others, facemasks (e.g., cloth or surgical mask) will be provided to the student if the ill person can tolerate wearing it and does not have difficulty breathing, to prevent the possible transmission of the virus to others while waiting for transportation home. Students should be escorted from the isolation area to the parent/guardian. The parent or guardian will be instructed to call their health care provider, or if they do not have a health care provider, to follow up with a local clinic or urgent care center. Other considerations include:
    • Closing off areas used by a sick person and not using these areas until after cleaning and disinfection has occurred;
    • Opening outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area
    • Waiting at least 24 hours before cleaning and disinfection. If waiting 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible;
    • Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, such as offices, classrooms, bathrooms, lockers, and common areas.
    • Once the area has been appropriately cleaned and disinfected it can be reopened for use.
    • Individuals without close or proximate contact with the person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 can return to the area and resume school activities immediately after cleaning and disinfection.
  • Notification – the NYS and local health departments will be notified immediately upon being informed of any positive COVID-19 diagnostic test result by an individual in school facilities or on school grounds, including students, faculty,staff and visitors.

Contact Tracing

Public Health Officials assume the task of contact tracing, once notified.

To ensure the school district and its employees comply with contact tracing and disinfection requirements, the Herkimer Central School District will do the following:

  • Have a plan for cleaning, disinfection, and notifying Public Health, in the event of a positive case. In the case of an employee testing positive for COVID-19, CDC guidelines will be followed regarding cleaning and disinfecting your building or facility if someone is sick. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-building-facility.html
  • Close off areas used by the person who is sick.
  • Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.
  • Wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting. If 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
  • Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person who is sick, such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment like tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and copier machines.
  • Vacuum the space if needed. Use a vacuum equipped with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, if available.
  • Consider temporarily turning off room fans and the central HVAC system that services the room or space, so that particles that escape from vacuuming will not circulate throughout the facility.
  • Workers without close contact with the person who is sick can return to work immediately after disinfection.

Return to School After Illness

The Herkimer Central School District 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 district 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 district 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.

Closure Considerations

When a person has been identified (confirmed) or suspected to be COVID-19 positive; the process In Herkimer Central School District could include:

  • Having school administrators collaborate and coordinate with local health officialsto make school closure and large event cancellation decisions.
  • Establish a plan to close schools again for physical attendance of students, if necessary, based on public health guidance and in coordination with the local DOH. Establishing a decision-making tree at the district level.
  • Develop a plan for continuity of education, medical and social services, and meal programs and establish alternate mechanisms for these to continue.
  • Implement as needed short-term closure procedures regardless of community spread if an infected person has been in a school building. If this happens, CDC recommends the following procedures:
    • Closing off areas used by ill person(s) and locking off area(s), signage can also be used to ensure no one enters the area. If possible, wait 24 hours before you clean and disinfect. If it is not possible to wait 24 hours, wait as long as possible. Do not use the area(s) until cleaning and disinfection has taken place.
    • Opening outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.
    • Cleaning staff should clean and disinfect all areas (e.g., offices, bathrooms, and common areas) used by the ill person(s), focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.
    • Communicating as soon as possible with staff, parents, and students.
  • Using DOH guidance/procedures for when someone tests positive.
    • In consultation with the local DOH, a school official may consider whether school closure is warranted and period of time (prior to re-opening) based on the risk level within the specific community as determined by the local DOH.
    • In accordance with guidance for quarantine at home after close contact, the classroom or office where the COVID-19-positive individual was based will typically need to close temporarily as students or staff quarantine.
    • Additional close contacts at school outside of a classroom should also quarantine at home.
  • Closing of schools could be a regional decision.
    • 7 metrics – NYS Dashboard
    • Schools will reopen if a region is in Phase IV and the daily infection rate remains below 5% using a 14-day average
    • Schools will close if the regional infection rate is greater than 9% using a 7-day average after August 1, 2020
  • Thresholds will be determined on a case-by-case basis dependent on the numbers (school closures may be a response).
  • Buildings may consider closing if required cleaning products (bleach and water can be used as a cleaning product) and PPE are not available.
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