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Reopening Schools-Safety Update
Reopening Schools-Safety Update
Angelina Maloney
Tuesday, July 21, 2020

BRUNSWICK CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

Brittonkill

Dr. Angelina Maloney, Superintendent


July 21, 2020

Dear Brunswick CSD Families and Caregivers:

I hope this communication finds you healthy and well. During these past few months, the world as we knew it has changed and I thank you all for your support and commend you for your perseverance.

Over the past couple of months, our District has been busy planning for the future. Collectively, we have been researching and planning, with the safety of our students and staff always foremost in our mind, while seeking the best way to educate our students.  It is, and always has been, our desire to educate our students in person. 

As you know, given the dynamic nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York State is requiring schools to develop plans for several scenarios. The plans must address three scenarios - full reopening, remote learning, and a blended approach of both. Using the required guidance and feedback,we will make a decision about how Brunswick CSD  will open schools in September as soon as possible. This is an important decision for your family, and we hope to be able to provide as much information and high-quality educational programming as possible.

Last week, the New York State Education Department issued a 144-page guidance document for school districts as they consider how to safely reopen schools in September. You can find this guidance on our website at https://www.brunswickcsd.org/article/273196?org=bcsd

The district is required to submit a comprehensive plan by July 31. We anticipate that Governor Cuomo will then publish a decision on whether schools will be allowed to reopen in September and under what conditions.  We have solicited formal and informal feedback from families and staff.  We thank all of those community members that have provided input thus far and will be offering more opportunities for feedback between now and the submission of our plans.

Currently, we are pouring over the guidance to determine how many children can be in the classroom, on a school bus, and other areas of the school, at one time. This information will directly impact our reopening plans.  In addition to this guidance, we are consulting with our Medical Director, Rensselaer Co. Department of Health, Questar III Health and Safety Specialists, and our insurance carriers.

We have several sub-committees working on various components of the plan.  One area that I would like to share with you is the area of safety.  Here are some of the resources that are or will be used in the 2020-2021 school year:

1.  Electrostatic sanitizers have been used throughout the District. These units disinfect all classrooms, hallways, and common areas beyond normal cleaning protocols.

2.  Portable disinfecting foggers will be used to sanitize buses.

3. State Recommended MERV-13 Filters will be ordered for each school nurse’s office.

4.  There will be a room in each building, separate from the nurse’s office, that will be designated for individuals with symptoms of COVID-19.

5.  The District is supplying N95 masks for our school nurses and they will be fitted by a health and safety expert.

6.  Surgical masks are available now and more have been ordered for use on an as-needed basis.

7.  Reusable, cloth masks have been ordered for employees who want one.

8.  The District has a supply of hand sanitizer including a 55 Gallon Drum from NYS and 200 small containers to be spread widely throughout the District.  Additional hand sanitizer has been ordered.

9.  Infrared/touchless thermometers have been ordered with some currently onsite for employees.

10. 30 polycarbonate sheets and a bender to create barriers will be used to protect our employees where appropriate. Plexiglass is not permitted due to fire code regulations.

11.  We have several touchless hand-sanitizing stations.

12.  We have several water bottle filling stations however students will be permitted to bring their own water from home.

13.  Appropriate signage for social distancing, COVID-19 awareness, and handwashing will be placed strategically throughout all buildings. Multiple entrances will be used. Disposable aprons have been ordered for our food services workers.

14.  We are exploring an app for students and staff to self-report information for COVID screening.

15.  A dedicated email for COVID-19 related issues and questions has been set up. It is: covidhotline@brunswickcsd.org

The above list is the starting point for safety in our schools.  Many of these items are hard to secure but we are working with as many local vendors as possible.  This is only one area of our planning. We are also looking at curriculum, social-emotional learning, benchmarking to determine academic student needs,  instructional delivery, pupil transportation, and foodservice.

The uncertainty around COVID-19 as well as the family planning necessary for the fall is extremely stressful for everyone.  We are very aware of this and will do everything within our authority to minimize this angst.  Please look for the feedback sessions and do not hesitate to reach out.  It is our hope to provide as much personalization in the return to school plans as possible.

Thank you for your continued support and patience as we all navigate through these unprecedented times together.

Sincerely,

Dr. Angelina Maloney

Superintendent of Schools