Williamsville Central School District

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2021-2022 Williamsville Central School District
Health and Safety Measures during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Updated November 19, 2021

In this document you will find information on:

It is important to note that this is a working document and subject to change based on updated health and safety guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH), New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), and New York State Education Department (NYSED).  If guidance should change regarding athletics, the District will adjust health and safety guidelines accordingly for athletics.

2021-2022 Williamsville Central School District
Health and Safety Measures during the COVID-19 Pandemic

During the COVID-19 global health pandemic, the Williamsville Central School District’s top priority remains health and safety.  As we prepare to open our schools for full-time, in-person instruction five days a week, the District is using the following guidance documents to keep our learning environments healthy and safe for all of our students, faculty, and staff:

Health & Safety: What To Expect For The 2021-2022 School Year

All of our elementary, middle, and high schools will open for full-time, in-person instruction for the 2021-2022 school on Wednesday, September 8, 2021. Students who are enrolled in the e-Academy will begin to receive fully-remote instruction on Monday, September 13, 2021 through Erie 1 BOCES.

It is important to remember the key prevention strategies for slowing the spread of COVID-19, as shared by the CDC include but are not limited to:

  • Vaccination
  • Consistent and correct mask use
  • Physical distancing
  • Screening testing to promptly identify cases, clusters, and outbreaks
  • Ventilation
  • Handwashing and respiratory etiquette
  • Contact tracing, in combination with isolation and quarantine
  • Cleaning and disinfection

Health Screening Questionnaire and Temperature Checks

NYSDOH daily health screenings are optional.  However, the District will continue to have staff members checking temperatures as students, staff, and visitors enter the building each day to identify individuals who may have COVID-19.

Notification of a Positive Case of COVID-19 In School

If there is a positive case of COVID-19 in our schools, the District will post a letter on the District’s website informing families, faculty, and staff of the positive case.  This will also be shared in a daily/weekly COVID-19 report.

The District works in partnership with ECDOH with contact tracing to help identify close contacts who may have been exposed to COVID-19.  Only the ECDOH can issue quarantine and/or isolation orders.  If an individual is identified as a close contact to an infected individual, the school building and the ECDOH with follow-up with the parent/guardian or staff member to alert them of their exposure and next steps that must be taken.

Vaccination

Currently, individuals 5 years of age or older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

There are three COVID-19 vaccines available to individuals:

  • Johnson & Johnson (1 dose – currently approved for individuals 18+)
  • Moderna (2 doses – currently approved for individuals 18+)
  • Pfizer (2 dosescurrently approved for individuals 5+)

According to the CDC, in general, people are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks (14 days) after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks (14 days) after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

The District will continue to offer on-site COVID-19 vaccinations and will also continue to partner with ECDOH to offer off-site vaccinations for those eligible to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Consistent and Correct Mask Use

At this time, masks are required to be worn indoors by all students, faculty, staff, and visitors regardless of vaccination status. Masks with exhalation valves or vents, gaitors, bandanas, and clear face shields are not approved as proper masks. Each school will reinforce proper mask wearing for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors.  If an individual does not have a mask, one will be provided.  If an individual’s mask becomes soiled, a replacement mask will be provided.  Masks are strongly recommended but not required to be worn if outdoors.

Masks are also required to be worn on the bus regardless of vaccination status.  If a rider does not have a mask, the bus driver will provide them with one.

According to the CDC, when selecting a mask make sure it:

  • Has two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric
  • Completely covers your nose and mouth
  • Fits snugly against the side of your face and doesn’t have gaps
  • Has a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out of the mask

We remain cognizant that some individuals who are eligible for the vaccine have not been vaccinated.  With the rise in cases due to the COVID-19 Delta variant, while the rate of breakthrough infections and hospitalizations remain low for fully vaccinated individuals, COVID-19 can still be contracted and spread by fully vaccinated individuals. 

Mask breaks will take place throughout the school day.  At this time, each of our school buildings will be allowing one (1) five-minute mask break per hour.  Individuals must maintain physical distancing of at least 6-feet during a mask break.  Outdoors also provides an opportunity for a mask break.

Physical Distancing

The District will use physical distancing of at least 3-feet to the greatest extent possible in each of our school buildings as we resume full-time, in-person instruction.

Close contacts are any staff and students within 3 feet of the positive case for 15 minutes cumulatively over a period of 24 hours in the classroom. When it comes to the lunchroom, buses, and sports, close contacts are any staff or students within 6 feet of the positive case for 15 minutes cumulatively over a period of 24 hours.

To that end, seats will be assigned in classrooms, cafeterias, and on the bus.  Attendance records will be maintained to help with contact tracing in the event of a positive COVID-19 case in our schools.

Cafeterias will be used for meals throughout the school day with students sitting 3-feet apart.  At this time, students will also be allowed to face each other during the consumption of meals. For additional details on cafeterias, please contact your building principal.

As indicated in the District’s 2021-2022 instruction information, all riders, regardless of vaccination status are required to wear a mask while on the bus.

Surveillance and Proximal Testing

COVID-19 screening testing is recommended for students and staff who are not fully vaccinated at least once per week during moderate, substantial, and high transmission as per CDC guidance. Testing can provide an important prevention strategy and safety net to support in-person education in schools where the transmission risk is moderate, substantial or high. In addition, PCR tests are used for screening testing which are the most accurate COVID-19 tests available. Schools may consider multiple screening testing strategies, for example, testing a random sample of at least 10% of students and staff who are not fully vaccinated, or testing all students/staff who were in the same classroom as a COVID-19 case during their infectious period, regardless of their proximity in the classroom. ECDOH continues to work with schools to implement COVID-19 screening testing programs to those interested.

School Ventilation

The District is following and complying with CDC guidance as it pertains to proper ventilation within schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Additionally, while the usage of fans in classrooms in a COVID environment is not recommend, if classroom temperatures require air movement, fans used should not be transferring air across students. Fans should be positioned so air movement is above students and toward the classroom windows.

Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette

To help slow the spread of COVID-19, all individuals should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.  Hand sanitizer can also be used.  Hand sanitizing stations are available throughout each school building.

Handwashing and respiratory etiquette signs are available in each of the school buildings.

Staying Home When Sick

Below are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 to watch for:

-      Fever (100°F or greater) or chills

-      Cough

-      Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

-      Fatigue

-      Muscle or body aches

-      Headache

-      New loss of taste or smell

-      Sore throat

-      Congestion or runny nose

-      Nausea or vomiting

-      Diarrhea

Any student, faculty, or staff member with a temperature of 100°F or greater and/or symptoms of COVID-19 must stay home regardless of vaccination status, not report to their school building, and immediately report signs or symptoms to their child’s school attendance office/or their direct supervisor.  This also applies to any student or staff member that receives a positive COVID-19 test result.

For any student or staff member already in the building, they will be isolated immediately in a supervised designated isolation room and will be sent home immediately.  Such students will be referred to their healthcare provider and will be provided with COVID-19 testing resources.

Return to School

In accordance with ECDOH, if a student or staff member experiences symptoms, one of the three following criteria must be met before the student/staff can return to school:

  1. A negative FDA approved NAAT COVID-19 test result is provided to the school by either a parent/guardian or medical care provider.  A NAAT test is a Nucleic acid amplification test, such as a polymerase chain reaction or PCR; OR
  2. There have been at least 10 days since the onset of COVID-19 symptoms; OR
  3. A Health Care Provider provides a signed note reporting a diagnosis of a known chronic condition with unchanged symptoms, or a confirmed acute illness (laboratory-confirmed influenza, strep-throat) and COVID-19 is not suspected.  Such individuals may return to school according to usual guidelines for that diagnosis.

Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) offers free diagnostic testing to symptomatic Erie County residents and close contacts of confirmed cases.  The ECDOH COVID-19 appointment line is 858-2929.    Other local testing sites are listed at www.erie.gov/covidtestsites and https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/find-test-site-near-you

Contact Tracing, in Combination with Isolation and Quarantine

On the bus, in classrooms, and cafeteria students will be assigned seats to assist ECDOH with contact tracing in the event of a positive case of COVID-19.

ECDOH requires schools to notify the ECDOH COVID-19 School Team of all positive COVID-19 cases reported by staff, students, or guardians. The school is required to prepare a list of classroom, bus, sports, and extracurricular activities close contacts.

Close contacts are any staff and students within 3 feet of the positive case for 15 minutes cumulatively over a period of 24 hours in the classroom. When it comes to the lunchroom, buses, and sports, close contacts are any staff or students within 6 feet of the positive case for 15 minutes cumulatively over a period of 24 hours.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

The District will continue to follow health and cleaning protocol consistent with CDC guidelines to help remove germs and slow the spread of COVID-19.  The Facilities Department will make cleaning solution and/or cleaning wipes available to teachers. New York State Education Department (NYSED) guidance does not allow students to be asked to clean areas. The District will allow students the option of cleaning their space. Cleaning solution and/or cleaning wipes will be available upon request for this purpose.

Well Rooms and Isolation Rooms

One of the most important changes in our buildings is to the health offices.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, each school has established a “Well Room” and “Isolation Room.”  Well Rooms are intended for healthy students or staff members who may experience an injury during a school day, require daily medication or procedures, and other non-COVID-19 related visits.

Isolation Rooms are reserved for the care of sick individuals.  If a student or staff member shows signs and symptoms of COVID-19, they will be placed in an Isolation Room, assessed by the school nurse, and referred appropriately.