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2020/2021 school year questions answered

At the end of school in June, we projected our enrollment for September to be 12 students. Over the summer months, 23 potential new resident students were added to the 12 , increasing our total possible enrollment to 35. During these last few weeks this number has fluctuated and is now at approximately 29-30. With the presence of COVID-19 and the need to social distance, it was obvious that we would need additional classroom space. We identified and researched space in the area and are now in the process of securing a site approved by the State Education Department. Our plan is to lease a classroom at the Most Holy Trinity school in East Hampton. Having this additional space will support our intention to offer a consistent in-person, full day every day instructional program where children will learn in a safe, socially distanced environment.

During the course of the school day, the Kindergarten program requires more space. In addition, at the time this decision was made, the K-1 group had and still has the potential to be the larger of the two groups.

There will be a minimum of three adults assigned to each site each day.

We will continue to work on providing an educational program that is both stimulating and rewarding while meeting or exceeding the health and safety standards that have been set for us to follow. Yes, we will be social distancing, and yes, we will be wearing masks/face coverings, and yes, we will be washing our hands more than ever before and yes, we will be adding barriers that protect our students and staff. However, you can be assured that we will work extra hard to provide an environment where children will be successful as they learn and grow.

We are not looking to use a fogging device but rather a portable air recirculating system that contains a HEPA filter. The air is filtered through the HEPA filter on its way back into classroom space. In addition, windows will be “cracked” open to permit fresh air to be circulated into and out of the classroom.

Yes, paper books will continue to be used. According to the American Library Association, it is recommend that schools refrain from utilizing sprays/disinfectants on books in an attempt to disinfect them. Rather, the Association recommends that library books, upon their return to the school, should be placed in isolation for a period of time before they are redistributed to other children. Our sense is that books that are assigned to individual students for their regular use (i.e.; text books, workbooks), will not require isolation as they stay with the individual Frequently Asked Questions 2 student. Library books on the other hand are read and returned to school and then will be isolated before redistribution as recommended by this Association.

Depending on the source, there have been different views on what’s the best age to require children to wear masks/face coverings. However from just about everything that we have read, masks/face coverings along with knowing the signs of the illness, social distancing, symptom isolation, and hand and respiratory hygiene, are the best ways to mitigate COVID-19. With this in mind, we will attempt to have everyone in the school wear masks/face coverings as much as possible, in a reasonable and responsible way. This will include numerous mask breaks during the course of the day. For additional information regarding children wearing masks, please refer to the attached document entitled “Pediatricians Answer Top 10 Questions Regarding Masks in Children,” written by the American Academy of Pediatrics-Chapter 2.

“Pursuant to New York State Department of Health guidance, schools must ensure that appropriate social distancing (i.e.; 6feet/barriers) is maintained between individuals while in school facilities and on school grounds unless safety or the core activity requires a shorter distance.” At our classroom sites, desks will be placed 6 feet apart and polycarbonate/acrylic barriers will be placed on desk/table tops. When 6 feet social distancing cannot be maintained, all students and staff will be wearing masks/face coverings.

As mentioned in our Reopening Plan, we contract with the Sag Harbor UFSD for the transportation of our students. According to the Sag Harbor Reopening Plan…”Disinfectant wipes will be provided to each bus so that they can be wiped down during and between bus runs. The buses will be equipped with gloves, sanitation spray, and towels for deep cleaning after each morning and afternoon run.”

Yes, the bus driver will have a new mask for the child to wear and they will be able to board the bus.

Other than physical space, everything else will not change. Our teachers, teacher aids, student aid, secretary, nurse and special area teachers will remain the same. All educational opportunities remain available to students in both locations.

The Sagaponack Board of Trustees has made a commitment to explore options to be able to accommodate this new level of student enrollment and will commence this review in early fall.

By establishing two distinct student cohorts, students in grades K and 1 will be attending school in the Sagaponack School building and students in grades 2 and 3 will attend school in a classroom at the Most Holy Trinity School, we have reduced the number of children/adults that students come in contact with each day. This can also be seen in our student transportation program. We have addressed this topic while the children are in school under our care. Perhaps parents may wish to organize common play-dates and the like to address this topic outside of school. The school can assist in communicating this information but will rely on parents to plan and implement the activities, etc.

While our desire will always remain to be one school at one location, we will have to wait for further guidance from the New York State Education Department as well as the New York State Department of Health to make that determination. Currently, by offering our instructional program in two distinct locations, we are able to address the required need to maintain social distancing, etc., a major factor in splitting our program into two locations.

New York State schools are held to strict guidelines and regulations when it comes to using tents for instructional space. We have purchased a canopy (for shade) that will cover the two picnic tables at the Sagaponack School and will look to do the same for the classroom at Most Holy Trinity.

Sagaponack does not offer a lunch program. In past years, some students brought food into school that would be heated in the micro-wave. This school year we will not be using the microwave so all student lunches will need to be “ready to eat”. Also, students will eat at their desks and not at the group tables. Finally, there will be no sharing of food during lunch or snack.

To minimize children gathering around the water dispenser, parents are encouraged to send their child into school with a water bottle that is already filled. A Teacher Aide will assist children to refill during the day if needed.

Any staff member with a temperature of 100 degrees or above, or is exhibiting signs and symptoms of COVID-19, will be sent home or to an emergency health care facility immediately. We will follow the directives of the New York State Department of Health.

Any student with an oral temperature of 100 degrees or above, or is exhibiting signs and symptoms of COVID-19, will be sent home. The student will be directed to an isolation area and remain there until a parent arrives at the school to pick-up their child. The child will be asked to contact their child’s physician and report any COVID-19 diagnosis to the school as soon as possible. A doctors’ note must be provided for the student to return to school.

Recognizing that an individual may have been wearing a mask for an extending period of time prior to being scanned for a temperature reading, it would seem reasonable to rescan that individual a few minutes later. An isolation area will be available for this individual to rest/relax prior to being rescanned.

Yes. In addition to pre and post snack/lunch, bathroom use and recess, other times for hand washing will take place regularly. Proper hand washing instruction will be scheduled as well.

All staff will have their temperatures checked daily in addition to attesting to several questions about the status of their health and travels outside of New York State.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines Close Contact as being within 6 feet of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 for at least 10 minutes or more starting from 2 days before illness onset (or for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated. Close Contact can be considered if someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 coughed or sneezed on you or shared food.

The employee would be considered a close contact of the spouse, and would be subject to a quarantine of 14 days from last contact with the spouse. The employee may return to work after completion of the quarantine period; no test is necessary unless the employee develops symptoms.

Students and staff with symptoms of illness should not attend school. it is recommended that individuals and/or families consult their medical provider to determine if COVID-19 testing is warranted. Note: notification and contact tracing is initiated upon receipt of a positive COVID19 test result. No action is taken for suspected cases. Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 should follow the established CDC/NYS Department of Health guidelines for ending isolation. All residents who test positive are monitored daily by the Suffolk County Health Department contact tracing staff and will receive a letter from the Suffolk County Health Department confirming release from isolation. Students and staff with other illnesses (e.g., cold, flu, strep throat, etc.) should follow existing school practices regarding return to school. It is recommended that staff and families consult with their medical provider for guidance. Depending upon the extent of the original symptoms, a doctor’s note may be needed for readmission to school.

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