Emergencies and violent incidents in school districts are critical issues that must be addressed in an expeditious and effective manner. Districts are required to develop a District-wide School Safety Plan designed to prevent or minimize the effects of serious violent incidents and emergencies and to facilitate the coordination of the district with local and county resources in the event of such incidents or emergencies. The district-wide plan is responsive to the needs of all schools within the district and is consistent with the more detailed emergency response plans required at the school building level. Districts are at risk of a wide variety of acts of violence, natural, and technological disasters. To address these threats, the State of New York has enacted the Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE) law. This component of Project SAVE is a comprehensive planning effort that addresses risk reduction/prevention, response, and recovery with respect to a variety of emergencies in the school district and its schools.
The Herkimer Central School District supports the SAVE Legislation, and intends to engage in a planning process. The Superintendent of Schools encourages and advocates on-going district-wide cooperation and support of Project SAVE.
Plan updated 1/14/2021
- General Considerations and Planning Guidelines
- Risk Reduction/Prevention and Intervention
- Public Health Emergency Plan
General Considerations and Planning Guidelines
The Herkimer District-wide School Safety Plan was developed pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulation 155.17. At the direction of the Herkimer School District Board of Education, the Superintendent of the Herkimer School District appointed a District-wide School Safety Team and charged it with the development and maintenance of the District-wide School Safety Plan.
Identification of School Teams
The Herkimer School District has appointed a District-wide School Safety Team consisting of, but not limited to, representatives of the School Board, students, teachers, administrators, parent organizations; school safety personnel; and, other school personnel. The members of the team and their positions or affiliations are as follows:
- Zachary Abbe, Middle School Principal
- Karen Vincent, High School Nurse
- Phillip Harvey, Groundskeeper
- Brian Crandall, Board of Education president
- Michele Gilbert, Board of Education member
- Scott Petucci, Board of Education member
- Ryan Orilio, Technology Coordinator
- Sandhya Farrington, Elementary School Nurse
- Mary Tomaso, High School Principal
- Renee Vogt, Elementary Principal
- Adam Hutchinson, BOCES Safety Official
- Cristi Paragi, Athletic Director
- Laura Scalise, Teacher/Parent
- Nicholas Sheldon, Teacher
- James McKernan, Building Maintenance Mechanic
- Kathleen Carney, Superintendent/Chief Emergency Officer
Concept of Operations
- The district works with each building leader and building safety team to develop the individual Building-level Emergency Response Plans. The district uses the SHELL template procedure as a standard guide in all plans for emergencies. The building level crisis teams implement the building level plans as appropriate with coordination from the district as appropriate.
- The plan is developed in conjunction with the district safety team, which includes administration, school nurses, bargaining unit members, board members as well as the BOCES regional safety officer and School Resource officers. The district posts its safety plan to the district website and holds a hearing annually to provide an opportunity for public feedback and input.
- The district uses the SHELL template in response to emergencies.
- The superintendent will be notified by phone or email upon activation of the School Emergency Response Team. The building principal will determine which method is used to notify the superintendent based on the urgency of the emergency.
- In most emergencies, the school will use its own and local resources to work through the crisis. In the event of catastrophic events the district would seek logistical and financial support from the county and state to develop a plan to return to normal operation.
Plan Review and Public Comment
- Pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulation, Section 155.17 (e)(3), this plan will be made available for public comment at least 30 days prior to its adoption. The district-wide plan may be adopted by the School Board only after at least one public hearing that provides for the participation of school personnel, parents, students and any other interested parties. The plan must be formally adopted by the Board of Education.
- Full copies of the District-wide School Safety Plan and any amendments will be submitted to the New York State Education Department within 30 days of adoption.
- This plan will be reviewed periodically during the year and will be maintained by the District-wide School Safety Team. The required annual review will be completed on or before July 1 of each year after its adoption by the Board of Education. A copy of the plan will be available at the District Office located at; District Office, 801 West German St., Herkimer, NY 13350.
Risk Reduction/Prevention and Intervention
A. Prevention/Intervention Strategies
The district uses many methods of improving communication among students and between students and staff, and reporting of potentially violent incidents by students, teachers or other school personnel and visitors to the school including threats by students against themselves, which may include threats of suicide, such as the establishment of:
- Peer mediation programs,
- Extended day and other school programs,
- Established an online anonymous reporting mechanism for school violence and bullying,
- Implemented a district wide SRO program,
- Prevention program in collaboration with Herkimer County,
- DARE Programs,
- Treaty Programs in conjunction with Catholic Charities,
- Districtwide social emotional learning programs.
The district will use an annual climate survey to assist in the assessment and effectiveness of the school safety plan.
Training, Drills, and Exercises
- The district will provide online or in person training annually in multi-hazard school safety procedures for staff and students. The district will conduct 12 emergency training drills annually with 8 occurring in the fall semester and 4 in the spring semester. The district will conduct lock down, lock out, shelter in place, hold in place and evacuation drills as required by regulation. The district will use these drills to test parent and community communication procedures and may incorporate law enforcement and other emergency service providers into these drills.
- Building level teams track the drills using an online database and these will create reports that the district level safety team may review. The district safety team meets in the fall to coordinate and plan for evacuation drills.
- All hall monitors are teachers or licensed teaching assistants who receive training at the building level for the duties and responsibilities in emergencies. The district’s school resource officers receive training within the law enforcement agency they work for and have building specific responsibilities in emergencies. The SROs participate in all emergency drills throughout the year.
Implementation of School Security
The district uses single point of entry security protocols during hours of operation. All visitors to the building must sign in and receive a photo name badge. Further visitors to the building must have an appointment and be escorted to their appointment by an employee. All entrance ways and corridors are monitored by camera as well as many exterior areas of the building. Each building has an SRO assigned to the building by the Herkimer Police Department.
Vital Educational Agency Information
The district uses a district wide student database to maintain accurate student and staff population information. We have a contract transportation arrangement and we meet annually to discuss our transportation requirements. Transportation staff are included in all safety drills involving changes to dismal or arrival of students. The district produces directory each year with contact information for key officials in each school.
B. Early Detection of Potentially Violent Behaviors
The district uses the child study teams in each building to identify students who are struggling in school for a variety of reasons. These teams might identify and refer students for counseling where a more thorough understanding of the underlying dynamics might be clarified. The school resource officers work with staff and students on a see something/say something program where safety issues might be identified and diffused. Our school counselors and social workers also work with staff and students to identify and diffuse safety issues.
C. Hazard Identification
The district has multiple building where hazards could arise: Herkimer High School, Herkimer Elementary School, and the Bus Garage. In addition to these areas the district has athletic facilities in East Herkimer adjacent to the Elementary school, Brookwood park located in the Village of Herkimer and playground areas located at the Elementary facility, the district holds many activities at Harmon Field in Village of Herkimer as well as off-site athletic fields, buses, and off-site field trips. Further the district has many students attending BOCES part or full time as well as students attending other area schools. The building level teams work to develop plans which incorporate the many intricacies which occur within the building regarding student location throughout the day.
A. Notification and Activation (Internal and External Communications)
- Generally the building principal or superintendent will contact law enforcement in the event of a violent incident. Other staff may call 911 to contact police in the event they become aware of a violent incident.
- The internal communication surrounding a disaster or violent situation may use multiple forms of communication including phones, intercoms, email, and radios. Building level teams and plans includes more specific roles and responsibilities.
- The district uses an online system to call/text/email parents in the event of an emergency which might impact dismissal or arrival. The district works with its public relations coordinator to use local news outlets and social media to communicate these messages as well.
B. Situational Responses
The district’s multi-hazard response plans will follow SHELL for taking actions in an emergencies such as:
- Threats of Violence
- Explosive/Bomb Threat
- Natural/Weather Related
- Hazardous Material
- Civil Disturbance
- School Bus Accident
- Gas Leak
- Others as determined by the District-wide School Safety Team
Responses to Acts of Violence: Implied or Direct Threats
Describe the district’s policies and procedures for responding to implied or direct threats of violence by students, teachers, other school personnel and visitors to the school. The following types of procedure(s) could be used by the district:
- Use of staff trained in de-escalation or other strategies to diffuse the situation.
- Inform Building Principal of implied or direct threat.
- Determine level of threat with Superintendent/Designee.
- Contact appropriate law enforcement agency, if necessary.
- Monitor situation, adjust response as appropriate, include the possible use of the Emergency Response Team.
All staff are trained in protocols for violent or implied violent situations and the district will implement appropriate SHELL procedure.
Acts of Violence
The district will use its code of conduct in response to acts of violence and the following procedures might be used:
- Determine level of threat with Superintendent/Designee.
- If the situation warrants, isolate the immediate area and evacuate if appropriate.
- Inform Building Principal/Superintendent.
- If necessary, initiate lockdown procedure, and contact appropriate law enforcement agency.
- Monitor situation; adjust response as appropriate; if necessary, initiate early dismissal, sheltering or evacuation procedures.
Identify the district’s selection of appropriate responses to emergencies, including protocols for responding to bomb threats, hostage takings, intrusions and kidnappings. The following protocols are provided as examples:
- Identification of decision-makers
- Plans to safeguard students and staff
- Procedures to provide transportation, if necessary
- Procedures to notify parents
- Procedures to notify media
- Debriefing procedures
Arrangements for Obtaining Emergency Assistance from Local Government
The district will obtain assistance during emergencies from emergency services organizations and local government agencies. The following types of arrangements may by the district:
- Superintendent/Designee in an emergency contacts dispatch point or 911 center for fire or EMS response.
- Superintendent/Designee contacts the mayor of the village of Herkimer and the supervisor of the town of Herkimer as well as the County Executive.
Procedures for Obtaining Advice and Assistance from Local Government Officials
The district will obtain advice and assistance from local government officials including the county or village officials responsible for implementation of Article 2-B of the Executive Law. These procedures for obtaining advice and assistance from local governments during countywide emergencies could include the following:
- Superintendent/Designee in an emergency will contact emergency management coordinator and/or the highest-ranking local government official for obtaining advice and assistance.
- The district has identified resources for an emergency from the following agencies: Red Cross, fire department, police department, MOVAC, medical centers and religious organizations.
District Resources Available for Use in an Emergency
Identify the district resources which may be available during an emergency, which could include the identification of resources, such as facilities, buses and trucks.
Procedures to Coordinate the Use of School District Resources and Manpower during Emergencies
The superintendent or designee is authorized to allow district resources to be used in the event of an emergency. The district superintendent or designee will coordinate the use of district resources including staff assignments and facility use during emergencies.
Protective Action Options
The district will take the following actions in response to an emergency where appropriate: school cancellation, early dismissal, evacuation, and sheltering. Examples of actions could include the following and could be made in cooperation with local emergency responders:
- Monitor any situation that may warrant a school cancellation – superintendent, town highway supervisor and district facility director.
- Make determination – superintendent.
- Automated phone system contacts staff and families.
- Contact local media – superintendent or designee.
- Monitor any situation that may warrant a school cancellation – superintendent, town highway supervisor and district facility director.
- Make determination – superintendent.
- Automated phone system contacts staff and families.
- Contact local media – superintendent or designee.
Evacuation (before, during and after school hours, including security during evacuation and evacuation routes)
- Determine the level of threat – Superintendent/Designee.
- Contact Transportation Supervisor to arrange transportation – superintendent/designee
- Clear all evacuation routes and sites prior to evacuation.
- Evacuate all staff and students to pre-arranged evacuation sites.
- Account for all student and staff population. Report any missing staff or students to Building Principal.
- Make determination regarding early dismissal – superintendent
- If determination was made to dismiss early, contact local media to inform parents of early dismissal. The district also uses its Robo calling systems at these times to keep parents and staff informed.
- Ensure adult supervision or continued school supervision/security.
- Set up an information center so that parents may make inquires as to the situation.
- Retain appropriate district personnel until all students have been returned home.
Sheltering sites (internal and external)
- Determine the level of threat – Superintendent/Incident Commander/Designee.
- Determine location of sheltering depending on nature of incident.
- Account for all students and staff. Report any missing staff or students to designee.
- Determine other occupants in the building.
- Make appropriate arrangements for human needs.
- Take appropriate safety precautions.
- Establish a public information officer to provide information and current status of the situation to parents and other inquiring parties.
- Retain appropriate district personnel until all students have been returned home.
District Support for Buildings
The district will support the building Emergency Response Teams throughout any emergency by providing needed staff and equipment and coordinating with emergency services personnel. The Post-Incident communication and debriefing will be managed by the superintendent or designee.
Disaster Mental Health Services
The district will assist in coordinating with other area agencies and schools to ensure that adequate school counseling services are available post incident for staff, students and families. The district will debrief after any incident to make modifications to the safety plan as necessary to improve the effectiveness and reliability of the plan.
Public Health Emergency Plan
This document is written with the current understanding of the state and federal guidelines for operating schools in a pandemic which are always in flux as the science and knowledge changes. The plan does not supersede changes to these guidelines, and the district will adhere to state and federal guidance in place at the time of operation.
This Public Health Emergency Plan is built upon the components already existing in our District-Wide School Safety Plan that also incorporates our Building-Level Emergency Response Plan(s). It is a flexible Plan developed in collaboration with a cross-section of the school community and public health partners and will be updated regularly to reflect current best practices. This plan will be included as part of the overall exercise of the District-Wide School Safety Plan. The District-Wide School Safety Team assumes responsibility for development and compliance with all provisions of this Plan and implementation at the building level through the Building-Level Emergency Response Team.
Effective April 1, 2021, Labor Law §27-c, amends Labor Law §27-1 and adds a new provision to Education Law §2801-a. Labor Law §27-c requires public employers to develop operation plans in the event of certain declared public health emergencies. Education Law §2801-a requires school districts to develop plans consistent with the new Labor Law requirement. The new law requires public employers to prepare a plan for the continuation of operations in the event that the Governor declares a public health emergency involving a communicable disease. Educational institutions must prepare plans consistent with Labor Law §27-c as part of their school safety plans pursuant to newly added subsection (2)(m) of Education Law §2801-a. The Plan addresses the required components in the sections as noted below:
- A list and description of positions and titles considered essential with justification for that determination.
- The specific protocols that will be followed to enable non-essential employees and contractors to telecommute.
- A description of how the employer will, to the extent possible, stagger work shifts of essential employees and contractors to reduce workplace and public transportation overcrowding.
- Protocols to be implemented to secure personal protective equipment (PPE) sufficient to supply essential workers with 2 pieces of each PPE device needed for each work shift for at least six months. This must include a plan for storage of such equipment to prevent degradation and permit immediate access in the event of an emergency declaration.
- Protocols to prevent spread in the workplace in the event an employee or contractor is exposed, exhibits symptoms, or tests positive for the relevant communicable disease. Such protocols must include disinfection of the individual’s work area and common areas. It must also address the policy on available leave with respect to testing, treatment, isolation or quarantine.
- Protocols for documenting precise hours and work locations of essential workers for purposes of aiding in tracking the disease and identifying exposed workers in order to facilitate the provision of any benefits that may be available to them on that basis.
- Protocols for coordinating with the locality to identify sites for emergency housing for essential employees to contain the spread of the disease, to the extent applicable to the needs of the workplace.
- We will work closely with the Local Health Department (LHD) to determine the need for activation of our Plan. The following procedures will be followed by administrators, principals, school nurses for reporting communicable disease, including Coronavirus, Influenza, etc., and communicating with the Health Department:
- Report suspected and confirmed cases of influenza on the monthly school’s Communicable Disease Report, (DMS-485.7/93; HE-112.4/81) and submit to the LHD
- The LHD will monitor County-wide cases of communicable disease and inform school districts as to appropriate actions.
- The District Superintendent will help coordinate our Pandemic planning and response effort. This person will work closely with the District-Wide School Safety Team that has responsibility for reviewing and approving all recommendations and incorporating them into the District-Wide School Safety Plan. The school district Medical Director and nurses will be vital members of the Safety Team. Because of the potential importance of technology in the response effort (communication and notification) the school district technology director will also be an important Team member. The Human Resources Director, Business Official, Facility Director, Food Service Director, Transportation Coordinator, Public Information Officer and Curriculum Director will also be vital to the planning effort. Other non-traditional individuals may also be required to be part of the Team.
- The District-Wide School Safety Team will review and assess any obstacles to implementation of the Plan.
- The school district will emphasize hand-washing and cough/sneezing etiquette through educational campaigns including the CDC Germ Stopper Materials; Cover Your Cough Materials; It’s a SNAP Toolkit; and the NSF Scrub Clean; which can all be accessed at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/school/
- We will educate and provide information to parents, staff, and students about our Pandemic Plan and about how to make an informed decision to stay home when ill. We will utilize our website, postings and direct mailings for this purpose.
(1) Essential Positions/Titles
In the event of a government ordered shutdown, similar to our response to COVID-19 in the spring of 2020, we are now required to consider how we would prepare for future shutdowns that may occur. As part of our planning we are now required to provide information on those positions that would be required to be on-site or in district for us to continue to function as opposed to those positions that could realistically work remotely. The following information will be provided in Appendix C, Essential Employee Worksheets.
(2) Protocols Allowing Non-Essential Employees to Telecommute
Reopening Plan: Technology and Connectivity
Ensure Digital Equity for Employees
Mobile Device Assessments:
- Survey agency departmental staff to determine who will need devices at home to maintain operational functions as well as instructional services
- Conduct a cost analysis of technology device needs
Internet Access Assessments
- Survey agency departmental staff to determine the availability of viable existing at-home Internet service
- Conduct a cost analysis of Internet access needs
Providing Mobile Devices and Internet Access
- To the extent practicable, decide upon, develop procurement processes for, order, configure, and distribute, if and when available, appropriate mobile devices to those determined to be in need.
- To the extent practicable and technically possible, decide upon, develop procurement processes for, and when available, provide appropriate Internet bandwidth to those determined to be in need. WIFI hot spots and residential commercial Internet options will be evaluated for anticipated effectiveness in particular situations.
Technology & Connectivity for Students – Mandatory Requirements
- To the extent possible, have knowledge of the level of access to devices and high-speed broadband all students and teachers have in their places of residence
- To the extent practicable, address the need to provide devices and internet access to students and teachers who currently do not have sufficient access; and
- Provide multiple ways for students to participate in learning and demonstrate mastery of Learning Standards in remote or blended models, especially if all students do not yet have sufficient access to devices and/or high-speed internet.
Mobile Devices Delivery
Technology offers schools and districts increased options for continuing learning during extended closures. Technology can be leveraged in different ways to meet local needs, including but not limited to:
- Communication (e-mail, phone, online conferencing, social media
- Teacher/student and student/student interaction (office hours, check-ins, peer collaboration)
- Instruction (video/audio recordings of instruction, instructional materials, synchronous distance learning, asynchronous online courses)
- Learning Materials and Content (digital content, online learning activities)
- Additional Technology Devices Assessments:
- Identify students’ technology needs to include adaptive technologies
- Use the Asset Tracking Management System procedures to check out all mobile devices
- If a shutdown happens abruptly, plan a pick-up time and location, and arrange to deliver devices to those who cannot pick them up.
- Providing Multiple Ways for Students to Learn
- Support instructional programs as needed in preparation of non-digital, alternative ways for students to participate in learning and demonstrate mastery of Learning Standards in remote or blended models in circumstances in which students do not yet have sufficient access to devices and/or high-speed internet
(3) Staggering Work Shifts of Essential Employees – Reducing Overcrowding
Depending on the exact nature of the communicable disease and its impact, Herkimer CSD is prepared to enact numerous strategies to reduce traffic congestion and maintain social distancing requirements in order to minimize building occupancy. The following will be considered:
- Limiting building occupancy to 25%, 50% or 75% of capacity or the maximum allowable by State or Local guidance
- Forming employee work shift cohorts to limit potential contacts.
- Limit employee travel within the building.
- Limit restroom usage to specific work areas.
- Stagger arrival and dismissal times.
- Alternate work-days or work weeks.
- Implement a four-day work week.
- Limit or eliminate visitors to the building.
The school district will utilize these base strategies and expand upon them as necessary in order to address any public health emergency. Actual information can be found in Appendix C, Essential Employee Worksheets.
We have collaborated with our partners to assure complementary efforts. We have invited representatives from the LHD, Office of Emergency Management, Department of Mental Health and others to attend our District-wide School Safety Team meetings as needed. This will allow us to send consistent messages to the school community on pandemic related issues.
A District-wide Command Center and alternate location will be activated at the direction of the School District Incident Commander. We have established our District-wide Incident Command Structure as follows:
- Superintendent (Incident Commander)
- Elementary Administrator
- Jr./Sr. High School Administrator
- Safety Coordinator
- School Resource Officer
- District Treasurer
Building-level Command Posts and Incident Command Structures are defined in the Building-Level Emergency Response Plans. Our Incident Command System will complement and work in concert with the Federal, State, and Local Command Systems.
The school district was required to designate a COVID-19 safety coordinator (administrator), for each of its schools, whose responsibilities include continuous compliance with all aspects of the school’s reopening plan, as well as any phased-in reopening activities necessary to allow for operational issues to be resolved before activities return to normal or “new normal” levels. A similar position may be required and appointed to deal with future public health emergencies. Coordinators shall be responsible for answering questions from students, faculty, staff, and parents or legal guardians of students regarding identified public health emergencies and plans implemented by the school.
- Herkimer Elementary School COVID-19 Safety Coordinator/Administrator: Renee Vogt (alternate: Cristi Paragi)
- Herkimer Jr./Sr. High School COVID-19 Safety Coordinator/Administrator: Mary Tomaso (alternate: Zachary Abbe)
Communication will be important throughout a pandemic outbreak. It will be necessary to communicate with parents, students, staff, and the school community. Communication methods may include: websites; emails; special presentations; phones and cell phones, texting; and the public media. The district uses ParentSquare as its mass notification system. This system allows the district’s public information office and administrative team to send messages via email, text and phone to all district staff as well as parents/guardians.
A school district Public Information Officer (PIO) has been designated to coordinate this effort and act as the central point for all communication. The PIO will also retain responsibility for establishing and maintaining contact with accepted media partners. The PIO will work closely with our Technology Director to assure proper function of all communication systems. This coordination will also help assure that as many redundant communication systems as possible are available.
Continuity of operations and business office function could be severely impacted by a loss of staff. As such, our plan will include procedures for maintaining essential functions and services. This will include:
- Overall Operations: We have defined the following decision-making authority for the district: District Superintendent, Business Official, District Treasurer, Secretary to the Superintendent and The Board of Education Clerk. Recognizing the need for these essential individuals to have frequent communication we have established as many redundant communication systems as possible. Our primary communication will be through our normal phone system, followed by cell phones, e-mail and video conferencing. All personnel tasked with decision-making authority will have access to all forms of communication and will utilize as needed..
- The Business Office is essential for maintaining overall function and facilities operation. Back-up personnel will be important to maintain purchasing and payroll responsibilities. We have defined the following job titles for having back-up responsibility in these areas:
- District Treasurer
- Secretary to the Superintendent
- Board of Education clerk
Recognizing the need for job cross-training, we have trained individuals with the following job titles: District Treasurer, Secretary to the Superintendent and Board of Education Clerk on a continual training schedule. We have also established the ability to maintain these essential functions off-site from remote locations as follows: Through VPN and wireless connection we are able to fully access desktop functions to fully process payroll, accounts payable and purchase orders, as needed. These functions were all tested on February 1, 2021.
- Maintenance of facilities will be difficult with a reduced or absent maintenance staff. The Director of Facilities or back-up designee will keep the business office informed of such status and of the point at which buildings can no longer be maintained. If necessary, we will pool maintenance staff to form a mobile central team to help assist in essential building function and cleaning of critical areas such as bathrooms. Teachers may be asked to assist in this effort. If necessary, we may provide spray bottle sanitizers for each classroom teacher for doorknob and desktop disinfection only. Desktops will be misted with the provided disinfectant and left to dry. At no time will products not approved by the school district be utilized.
- Human Resources will be essential in monitoring absenteeism and assuring appropriate delegation of authority. Changes to district policies and procedures to reflect crisis response may become necessary and will be implemented by Human Resources. Human Resources will help develop the Plan, in conjunction with all bargaining units, for emergency use of personnel in non-traditional functions and changes in the normal work-day such as alternate or reduced work hours, working from home, etc. Working with administration and local officials, the Human Resources Department will help to decide if schools need to be closed.
Continuity of instruction will need to be considered in the event of significant absences or school closure. Restructuring of the school calendar may become necessary. We will work closely with the New York State Education Department on this potential result throughout the crisis period. Some of the alternate learning strategies we have implemented to be used in combination as necessary include:
- Hard copy, self-directed lessons
- Online instruction; online resources; online textbooks
- Communication modalities for assignment postings and follow-up: telephone; Postal Service; cell phone, cell phone mail, text messages; e-mail; automated notification systems; website postings
(4) Obtaining and Storing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE and Face Covering Availability
- The school district will provide employees with an acceptable face covering at no cost to the employee and have an adequate supply of coverings in case of replacement.
- Cloth face coverings are meant to protect other people in case the wearer is unknowingly infected with an airborne pathogen (people may be infected but do not have symptoms).
- Cloth face coverings are not surgical masks, respirators, or personal protective equipment.
- Information should be provided to staff and students on proper use, removal, and washing of cloth face coverings.
- Masks are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult.
- Procurement, other than some very basic preliminary purchases will be done on a consolidated basis to ensure that the Agency is getting the most for its PPE dollars.
- Teach and reinforce use of face coverings among all staff.
- We have encouraged all staff to utilize their own personal face coverings but have secured and will provide PPE for any employee requesting such protection. Specialized PPE (N95s, face shields, gowns, gloves, etc.) may be required for specific work tasks and will be provided as deemed necessary. Those individuals that are required to wear N-95 respirators will be fit-tested and medically screened prior to use to assure they are physically able to do so. Parents will also be encouraged to provide face coverings for students however, face coverings will be provided for any student that cannot provide their own.
PPE Supply Management
The Facilities Department is working with programs to determine the overall PPE needs of the Agency. Centralized purchasing will be used when possible.
Disposable Face Covering Supplies
|Group||Quantity per 100 per group||12 week supply 100% attendance||12 week supply 50% attendance||12 week supply 25% attendance||Assumptions|
|Students||100 masks per week||1200||600||300||1 disposable mask per week per student (supplements parent provided)|
|Teachers/Staff||500||6000||3000||1500||5 disposable masks per week per teacher|
|Nurse/Health Staff||1000||12,000||6000||3000||10 disposable masks per week per school nurse|
The District-Wide School Safety Team will meet to determine the need for activation of a pandemic response based on internal monitoring and correspondence with the LHD and other experts. Each Building-Level Emergency Response Team will be informed that the Plan has been activated.
- The entire Incident Command Structure at both the District and Building level will be informed that the response effort has been enacted. These individuals will meet to discuss the Plan’s activation and review responsibilities and communication procedures.
- The PIO will work closely with the Technology Director to re-test all communication systems to assure proper function. The District-wide School Safety Team and Building-Level Emergency Response Teams will assist in this effort.
- Based on the latest information from collaboration with our partners, and to send a message consistent with public health authorities, the PIO will utilize the communication methods previously described to alert the school community of the activation of our District-Wide School Safety Plan as it specifically applies to pandemics.
- The Business Official will meet with staff to review essential functions and responsibilities of back-up personnel. Ability to utilize off-site systems will be tested. The Business Official will monitor utilization of supplies, equipment, contracts, and provided services and adjust as necessary.
- The Facility Director will meet with staff and monitor ability to maintain essential function. The Facility Director will review essential building function procedures with the Principal and command chain. Sanitizing procedures will be reviewed with teachers. The Facility Director will work closely with the Business Official or designee to implement different phases of the Plan as necessary.
- The Human Resources Director will meet with staff to review essential functions and responsibilities of back-up personnel. The Human Resources Director will monitor absenteeism to assure maintenance of the Command Structure and possible need to amend existing procedures.
- Based on recommendations from Local and State Authorities, schools may be closed. Our Plan for continuity of instruction will be implemented as previously described.
- If the decision is made to close a school building the school district will notify the NYS Education Department and District Superintendent at Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES.
(5) Preventing Spread
Confirmed Case Requirements & Protocols
Instructional programs must be prepared for outbreaks in their local communities and for individual exposure events to occur in their facilities, regardless of the level of community transmission. CDC has provided the following decision tree to help schools determine which set of mitigation strategies may be most appropriate for their current situation:
- 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 may present in similar manner to the pathogen that caused the Public Health Emergency 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 pandemic patient.
- Isolation – Suspected positive cases 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 suspected cases 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 cases, 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 who were not in close or proximate contact to the suspected or confirmed case 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 diagnostic test result by an individual in school facilities or on school grounds, including students, faculty, staff and visitors.
CDC and NYSDOH Recommendations
- Refer to DOH latest guidance.
Return to School After Illness
Herkimer CSD will comply with current state and federal guidelines in conjunction with local Department of Health guidance and directives from the school physician in regards to quarantines and return to school protocols.
Schools must follow CDC and/or NYSDOH guidance for allowing a student or staff member to return to school after exhibiting symptoms. If a person is not diagnosed by a healthcare provider (physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant) the district will comply with appropriate guidance to determine when the person may return to in-person instruction. General guidelines, subject to change, may be:
- It has been at least ten days since the individual first had symptoms;
- It has been at least three days since the individual has had a fever (without using fever reducing medicine); and
- It has been at least three days since the individual’s symptoms improved, including cough and shortness of breath.
The CDC provides specific guidance for individuals who are on home isolation regarding when the isolation may end. The district will comply with current regulations and legal orders.
- Instructional staff will call into the Absence Management System (formerly known as AESOP) when they are absent due to illness. Substitutes will be provided as necessary and as requested.
- The instructional departments will develop a plan to monitor absenteeism of staff, cross-train staff, and create a roster of trained back-up staff.
- The instructional departments will monitor absenteeism of students and staff, cross train staff, and create a roster of trained back-up staff.
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
The Human Resources Department will continue to disseminate information to employees about EAP resources. EAP is a voluntary, work-based program that offers free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees who have personal and/or work-related problems. EAPs address a broad and complex body of issues affecting mental and emotional well-being, such as alcohol and other substance abuse, stress, grief, family problems, and psychological disorders.
The school district will work with staff to make reasonable accommodations whenever possible.
New York State Contact Tracing Program
The district will ensure compliance with the New York State Contact Tracing Program.
To assist the local health department with tracing the transmission of the pathogen, the district has developed and maintained a plan to trace all contacts of exposed individuals in accordance with protocols, training, and tools provided through the New York State Contact Tracing Program.
The district will notify the state and local health department immediately upon being informed of any positive diagnostic test result by an individual within school facilities or on school grounds, including students, faculty, staff, and visitors to the district.
The district may assist with contact tracing by:
- Keeping accurate attendance records of students and staff members
- Ensuring student schedules are up to date
- Keeping a log of any visitor which includes date and time, and where in the school they visited
- Assisting the local health departments in tracing all contacts of the individual in accordance with the protocol, training, and tools provided through the NYS Contact Tracing Program
If someone tests positive for the pathogen, a Contact Tracer may connect them with the support and resources they may need through quarantine, such as help getting groceries or household supplies, child-care, medical care or supplies. The Tracer may work to identify and reach out via phone and text to anyone the positive case has been in contact with while infectious to trace and contain the spread of the pathogen.
People who have come in close contact with someone who is positive may be asked to stay home and limit their contact with others. By staying home during this time the potential to spread pathogens will be lowered.
Testing, medical and quarantine support for may be arranged as needed and available. Herkimer CSD will not release names or other personal information to anyone. Personal information is strictly confidential and will be treated as a private medical record.
Facilities: Cleaning and Sanitizing
Cleaning removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects. Cleaning works by using soap (or detergent) and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection. Visibly soiled surfaces and objects must be cleaned first. If surfaces or objects are soiled with body fluids or blood, use gloves and other standard precautions to avoid coming into contact with the fluid. Remove the spill, and then clean and disinfect the surface.
Sanitizing lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards or requirements. This process works by either cleaning or disinfecting surfaces or objects to lower the risk of spreading infection.
Routine cleaning of school settings includes:
- Cleaning high contact surfaces that are touched by many different people, such as light switches, handrails and doorknobs/handles
- Dust- and wet-mopping or auto-scrubbing floors
- Vacuuming of entryways and high traffic areas
- Removing trash
- Cleaning restrooms
- Wiping heat and air conditioner vents
- Spot cleaning walls
- Spot cleaning carpets
- Dusting horizontal surfaces and light fixtures
- Cleaning spills
The district will provide related service providers with additional cleaning supplies to ensure continuous disinfecting of classrooms and therapy rooms that service students with complex disabilities where multiple tools are used for communication, mobility, and instruction.
Smaller common areas, like kitchenettes and copy room areas, should have staggered use. If users cannot maintain six feet of distance, they shall wear a mask. Signage has been posted in common areas to remind staff of health and safety etiquette.
- Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.
- Cleaning and disinfection requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health will be adhered to.
- Custodial logs will be maintained that include the date, time and scope of cleaning and disinfection. Cleaning and disinfection frequency will be identified for each facility type and responsibilities will be assigned.
- Hand hygiene stations will be provided and maintained, including handwashing with soap, running warm water, and disposable paper towels, as well as an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing 60% or more alcohol for areas where handwashing is not feasible.
- Regular cleaning and disinfection of facilities and more frequent cleaning and disinfection for high-risk areas used by many individuals and for frequently touched surfaces, including desks and cafeteria tables will be conducted.
- Regular cleaning and disinfection of restrooms will be performed.
- Cleaning and disinfection of exposed areas will be performed in the event an individual is confirmed to have contracted the pathogen, with such cleaning and disinfection to include, at a minimum, all heavy transit areas and high-touch surfaces.
- Although cleaning and disinfection is primarily a custodial responsibility, appropriate cleaning and disinfection supplies will be provided to faculty and staff as approved by Central Administration.
- Additional paper towel dispensers may be installed in other designated spaces.
Upon request, Facilities Services will provide CDC approved disinfecting solutions for additional on the spot disinfecting. This should be done daily or between use as much as possible. Examples of frequently touched areas in schools may include:
- Bus seats and handrails.
- Buttons on vending machines and elevators.
- Classroom desks and chairs.
- Door handles and push plates.
- Handles on equipment (e.g., athletic equipment).
- Kitchen and bathroom faucets.
- Light switches.
- Shared desktops.
- Shared telephones.
- Hand sanitizer dispensers will be located and installed in approved locations.
- Hand sanitizer bottles will be distributed to staff as approved by Central Administration.
- All existing and new alcohol-based hand sanitizer dispensers, installed in any location, are in accordance with the Fire Code of New York State (FCNYS) 2020 Section 5705.5.
- Trash will be removed daily.
- Garbage cans or process for collecting trash during lunch periods in classrooms will be increased where necessary.
- No-touch trash receptacles will be utilized, where possible.
(6) Documenting Precise Hours/Work Locations of Essential Workers
It is recognized that as the work environment changes to adapt to the emergency situation and typical work schedules are modified it can become more difficult to track employees especially if they conduct work off site or in numerous locations. The ability to identify these individuals will be extremely important if contact tracing is necessary during a communicable disease crisis. Our plan to track such individuals can be found in Appendix C, Essential Employee Worksheets, page 45.
(7) Emergency Housing for Essential Employees (this is an example)
Emergency housing for essential workers is not considered to be generally required for school employees as opposed to healthcare workers and other critical care employees.
- Re-establishing the normal school curriculum is essential to the recovery process and should occur as soon as possible. We will work toward a smooth transition from the existing learning methods to our normal process. We will use all described communication methods and our PIO to keep the school community aware of the transition process.
- We will work closely with the New York State Education Department to revise or amend the school calendar as deemed appropriate.
We will evaluate all building operations for normal function and re-implement appropriate maintenance and cleaning procedures.
- Each Building-Level Post-incident Response Team will assess the emotional impact of the crisis on students and staff and make recommendations for appropriate intervention.
- The District-Wide School Safety Team and Building-Level Emergency Response Teams will meet to de-brief and determine lessons learned. Information from the PIO, Business Office, Human Resources, Facility Director, and Curriculum Supervisor will be vital to this effort. The District-Wide School Safety Plan and Building-Level Emergency Response Plans will be revised to reflect this.
Curriculum activities that may address the crisis will be developed and implemented.
Appendix C, Essential Employee Worksheets
In the event of a government ordered shutdown similar to what we experienced in the spring due to Coronavirus, we are now required to have a Plan for future shutdowns that may occur. As part of that Plan we are now required to provide information on those positions that would be required to be on-site or in district for us to continue to function as opposed to those positions that could realistically work remotely. Please provide the information requested below for your department utilizing the following guide:
- Title – a list of positions/titles considered essential (could not work remotely) in the event of a state-ordered reduction of in-person workforce.
- Description – brief description of job function.
- Justification – brief description of critical responsibilities that could not be provided remotely.
- Work Shift – brief description of how the work shifts of those essential employees or contractors (if utilized) will be staggered in order to reduce overcrowding at the worksite.
- Protocol – how will precise hours and work locations, including off-site visits, be documented for essential employees and contractors (if utilized).
Herkimer Central School District Essential Employee Determination
|Administrators||Building Management||On-site Responsibilities||TBD||Shifts will be adjusted to minimize density in time and space|
|Teachers||Student Management||On-site Responsibilities||TBD||Shifts will be adjusted to minimize density in time and space|
|LTAs||Student Management||On-site Responsibilities||TBD||Shifts will be adjusted to minimize density in time and space|
|Account clerk/Typist||Clerical||On-site Responsibilities||TBD||Shifts will be adjusted to minimize density in time and space|
|Senior Typist||Clerical||On-site Responsibilities||TBD||Shifts will be adjusted to minimize density in time and space|
|Registered Professional Nurse||Central Health Services||On-site Responsibilities||TBD||Shifts will be adjusted to minimize density in time and space|
|Licensed Practical Nurse||Central Health Services||On-site Responsibilities||TBD||Shifts will be adjusted to minimize density in time and space|
|Building Maintenance Mechanic||Maintenance||On-site Responsibilities||TBD||Shifts will be adjusted to minimize density in time and space|
|Custodian||Maintenance||On-site Responsibilities||TBD||Shifts will be adjusted to minimize density in time and space|
|Maintenance||On-site Responsibilities||TBD||Shifts will be adjusted to minimize density in time and space|
|Senior Bus Driver||Transportation||On-site Responsibilities||TBD||Shifts will be adjusted to minimize density in time and space|
|Bus Mechanic||Transportation||On-site Responsibilities||TBD||Shifts will be adjusted to minimize density in time and space|
|Bus Mechanic/Driver||Transportation||On-site Responsibilities||TBD||Shifts will be adjusted to minimize density in time and space|
|Cleaner||Maintenance||On-site Responsibilities||TBD||Shifts will be adjusted to minimize density in time and space|
Computer/AV Technician Equipment Repair
|Technology||On-site Responsibilities||TBD||Shifts will be adjusted to minimize density in time and space|