Hillside Board of Education
195 Virginia Street
Hillside NJ 07205-2798
Ph: 908/352-7664 X6400
Erskine R. Glover Kim Cook
Superintendent of Schools President, Board of Education
Local Education Agency (LEA) Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services
Local Education Agency (LEA) Name: Hillside Public Schools
Date: 06/14/21 Date Revised: August 31, 2021
Hillside Public School Reopening Plan School Year 20-21. School Reopening Plan
1. Maintaining Health and Safety
A. Universal and Correct Wearing of Mask
• Per Governor Murphy's Executive Order 251, students, staff, and visitors must wear Center for Disease Control (CDC)-approved facial coverings during the school day as outlined in New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) The Road Forward Health and Safety Guidance Section 1.3
• Signage conveying this requirement and the correct wearing of a mask will be posted throughout all district buildings and entryways.
• Students will be permitted to remove their masks at various times throughout the day if they remain seated and physically distanced as recommended by the CDC and NJ Department of Health.
• The District has purchased masks for all students, staff, and visitors who do not have one available.
• Where age-appropriate, teachers will reinforce/teach the proper wearing (cover nose and mouth) of masks. Staff will use signals to redirect and correct behaviors when needed.
• Administrators will monitor compliance amongst staff and students and correct non-compliance when warranted.
• Any individual who has difficulty wearing a CDC-approved facial covering due to a medical condition must provide documentation from a physician in order for an accommodation to be considered. Accommodations may include but are not limited to; the removal of the mask for individual students
• Students will be taught how to properly wash hands prior to meals, after recess, and after physical education activities.
• Students and drivers will be required to wear a mask on school buses. If the driver or a student does not have a facial covering, a mask will be available. If a mask is not available, the driver will provide a disposable mask.
B. Physical distancing
• Hillside Public Schools (HPS) will allow for social distancing within the classroom, instructional environments, and common spaces throughout the building. Student desks will be at least three (3) feet apart (when possible) for the elementary, middle, and high schools, per guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the New Jersey Department of Health.
• Students, staff, and visitors, if seated at tables, will maintain the proper social distance from one another. Demarcations will be used if necessary.
• If seated in common areas such as the cafeteria, auditorium, and library, students, staff, and visitors will maintain the proper social distance from one another based on recommendations from the New Jersey Department of Health and CDC. Demarcations will be used if necessary.
• The District will maintain social distancing practices on buses to the maximum extent practicable as recommended by the New Jersey Department of Health and CDC. Seats will be marked indicating where to sit or not sit on all buses to reinforce physical distancing.
• The District will ensure students are appropriately distanced in the cafeteria and during recess based on the New Jersey Department of Health and CDC recommendations.
C. Handwashing and respiratory etiquette
• HPS principals will ensure staff and students clean their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not readily available.
• Hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) will be made available in classrooms and common areas
• Hand sanitizing stations will be available at entrances and exits of buildings, near lunchrooms, toilets, and classrooms.
• Each school will develop procedures where students are required to sanitize or wash their hands for at least 20 seconds at regular intervals during the school day and always after using the bathroom, blowing their nose, coughing, and/or sneezing.
• School staff will promote handwashing and sanitization before and after touching shared equipment.
• Administrators will ensure school-based School Reopening Teams teach and reinforce handwashing and sanitization to staff and students.
• Administrators will monitor compliance amongst staff and students and identify and correct non-compliance when warranted.
D. Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation
• The HPS Buildings and Grounds teams have adopted enhanced cleaning/disinfecting practices as recommended by the New Jersey Department of Health and CDC.
• Facilities staff sanitize bathrooms hourly and/or between use, as much as possible using EPA-approved materials.
• Teachers and other staff members will be provided EPA-registered disposable wipes to conduct routine cleaning of objects and or surfaces (such as keyboard, desk, computer mouse) used throughout their lesson or while performing contractually obligated duties.
• Custodians and other staff will use EPA-registered cleaning supplies to clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and objects (such as doorknobs, light switches, counter/desktops, and classroom manipulatives) throughout the instructional day.
• The District's facilities manager will work with the Business Administrator to ensure adequate supplies are available to support cleaning and disinfecting practices.
• Nontoxic electrostatic sprayers will be used throughout the day, (when possible), and in the evening to clean and sanitize all classrooms, hands, and highly traveled/common areas (such as hallways, cafeteria, and the main office).
• Water and/or drinking fountains will not be used throughout the pandemic/public health emergency. Students and staff will be encouraged to bring their own water and will not be permitted to share bottles or other glass/plasticware for drinking with others.
• To enhance ventilation, the District has repaired windows and air conditioners throughout our schools. Air conditioners and windows that needed to be repaired were fixed during the summer of 2021 maintenance updates.
• The District has purchased air scrubbers to remove air pollution, surface contaminants, and dust while enhancing air quality in areas needed.
• The HPS facilities team will ensure ventilation systems are operating correctly and increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible, for example, by opening windows and doors. If doing so poses a safety or health risk to children using the facility, windows, and doors cannot be left open.
• Rooms that lack proper ventilation will not be used throughout the pandemic/public health emergency.
• Suppose a confirmed COVID-19 positive case impacts an HPS facility. In that case, the District will thoroughly clean and disinfect the facility according to guidelines from the CDC and New Jersey Department of Health.
• The areas used by the individuals with COVID-19 will be closed off, and the District will clean and disinfect the area to minimize the potential for exposure to respiratory droplets. Outside doors and windows will be opened (when possible) to increase air circulation in the area.
• Facilities staff will clean and disinfect all areas (e.g., offices, bathrooms, and common areas) used by the impacted persons, focusing on frequently touched surfaces in high volume areas (common spaces).
• If surfaces are dirty, the surfaces will be cleaned using EPA-approved cleaning agents before disinfecting the area.
E. Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the State, local, territorial, or Tribal health departments.
• All school district administrators, school safety specialists, nurses, and any other staff deemed appropriate by the school district will be provided information regarding the role of contact tracing in keeping school communities safe. Our school nurses will provide training.
• Quarantine rooms have been established in all HPS facilities.
• Contact tracing procedures will be consistent with guidance from the CDC and the New Jersey Department of Health.
• The District's Pandemic Response Team, consisting of school nurses, will coordinate with local health officials to address any COVID- 19 suspected cases.
• The District will require students and staff, unless fully vaccinated and asymptomatic, to stay home if they have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 within the past 14 days. If someone in their household is being tested for COVID-19 due to illness, students and staff should stay home until test results are received.
• Families and staff are required to report COVID-19 exposure and cases to the school nurse and principal.
• Contract tracing is the responsibility of the student/employee's local health department and will be conducted by school nurses when warranted. District health care workers (school nurses) will honor all requests for assistance with contact tracing.
• Upon learning of a COVID-19 case for someone who has been in the school, the District's health staff will notify local health officials and any individuals who have come into "close contact" with the impacted individual. Local health officials will advise district administrators to determine a course of action.
• In collaboration with local health officials, nurses will advise students, staff, and families on the length of their quarantine period.
• The District will coordinate with local health officials regarding closure decisions due to possible COVID-19 exposure and the communication of those decisions. The Superintendent will notify the Board of Education before communicating with staff, parents, and students.
• Local health officials' recommendations for the scope (i.e., a single classroom, school, or the entire District) and duration of school closure will be made on a case-by-case basis using the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and the specific cases in the community.
• The District's Pandemic Response Team will consider a closure for students and staff if warranted. Students and staff would revert immediately to the District's remote instruction program, if necessary.
• The District will maintain the confidentiality of the student or staff member, in such cases, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.
F. Diagnostic and screening testing
• To gain access to HPS facilities throughout the pandemic/public health emergency, all HPS employees and parents/guardians of students must complete a COVID -19 Symptom-Free Pre-Screening Questionnaire before reporting for "in-person" instruction. Parents/Guardians can complete the Pre-Screening Questionnaire through the parent portal in GENESIS. A hard copy will be provided for families or staff who do not have access to GENESIS and kept on file. Employees and staff will complete the form via email.
• Parents will be instructed to keep their child home if they are ill, have a temperature of 100 degrees or greater or are displaying other COVID-19 symptoms.
• Staff will be instructed to stay home if they are ill, have a fever, or are displaying other COVID-19 symptoms.
• All staff, students, and visitors will have their temperature checked before entering the building.
• Upon arrival, an approved school staff member will visually check visitors, students, and staff for symptoms safely and respectfully and according to applicable privacy laws and regulations. All screening protocols will consider accommodations for students with disabilities.
• Each school has a designated room identified as a "Quarantine Room." Students and staff displaying two or more symptoms will be examined by a nurse and remain in the "Quarantine Room" until medically cleared to report to class or work. If a staff member is not cleared, the staff member will be sent home. If a student is not cleared, they must remain in isolation with continued supervision until their parent or caretaker arrives to take the student home.
• The District and each school will report COVID-19 activity weekly unless otherwise advised by the Board of Education and Superintendent.
• Any student sent home for a medical exclusion due to exhibiting symptoms will continue their daily education virtually until they are medically cleared to return to school. In collaboration with the local health department, school nurses will advise parents where and when to go for COVID-19 testing, if needed.
G. District efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students, if eligible.
• The District will partner with local, county, and state organizations to promote vaccination events for educators, other staff, and eligible students.
• Vaccination events, upon board approval, will be hosted in HPS facilities in collaboration with local, county, and state organizations.
• The District will post-vaccination events on our website and send email notifications about vaccination events to parents, students, and staff.
H. Appropriate health and safety policies accommodations for children with disabilities
• The District deems it necessary to acknowledge that enforcing face coverings may be impractical for children with pre-existing health conditions or individuals with disabilities. The school-based Child Study Team (CST) case manager, Section 504 Coordinator, or Pandemic Response Teams will provide accommodations to children with disabilities or pre-existing medical conditions. Upon review and authorization by the Superintendent/Board of Education, accommodations such as allowing children with disabilities to unmask may be permitted, as long as they can maintain appropriate physical distance.
• Prescreening entry protocols such as temperature checks and visual symptom checks for COVID-19 will be modified for students with disabilities if deemed necessary by the CST, Section 504 Coordinator, or Pandemic Response Teams.
2. Ensuring Continuity of Services
A. Continuity of services, including but not limited to services to address academic, social-emotional, and mental health needs.
• The Hillside Public Schools has remained committed to adopting and implementing nationally ranked rigorous, coherent, culturally relevant K-12 curriculum resources in core content areas (ELA, Math, Social Studies, and Science) to accelerate learning and mitigate learning loss.
• The District will implement a minimum of 80 minutes of ELA instruction for students in K-6th grades. A minimum of forty minutes of instruction will be dedicated to differentiated, small group instruction that incorporates leveled literature to support guided and independent reading, skill acceleration, and remediation. • The District will implement an 80-minute Math instructional period for K-6th grades, with 20 minutes dedicated to small group differentiated instruction using an adaptive curricula resource focused on skill acceleration and remediation based on student performance on formative assessments.
• Students in 7th - 12th grade who need additional support during the school day, based on formative assessments, will be offered an additional period of ELA and Math (elective) aimed at accelerated learning and building skills.
• The District will offer "in-person" after-school enrichment/acceleration programs to address the academic needs of K-12 students
• High school students will be offered before and after-school "in-person" credit recovery programs during the 21-22 School Year (SY).
• Throughout the 21-22 SY, students determined eligible by benchmark assessment outcomes and school-based student support teams will be provided tutoring and additional support by Tutored by Teachers, a virtual 1 to 1 tutor provider, or tutoring provided by Superintendent approved HPS teachers.
• "In-person" ESY programs will be offered for students with Individual Educational Plans.
• Throughout the 21-22 SY, speech, counseling, occupational and physical therapy will be implemented following CDC guidelines and NJ Health Department recommendations.
• If permitted by the NJDOE, teletherapy will be offered for students with pre-existing medical conditions that prevent them from attending "in-person" counseling, speech, physical and occupational therapy.
• English Learner (EL) students in grades K-12 will receive instruction based on their instructional learning plan and NJDOE standards.
• The District will implement student advisory periods focused on mindset and social-emotional learning to support all students' mental health and build college, career, and life literacies readiness skills.
• Staff will continue to receive training in trauma-informed instruction and understanding the Collaboration for Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) social-emotional learning framework and associated resources to teach Social Emotional Learning (SEL) skills during advisory.
• The District will implement school-based Student Support Teams that partner with external SEL organizations and counseling services to offer mental health and other support to Tier II and III students in need. I&RS/504 Student Support Teams (SST) subcommittees will develop, monitor, and implement plans to address bullying, suicide prevention, bias, anxiety, hope, fear, and resilience.
• The District will provide school-based SST teams with job embedding training and coaching in this 3-tiered support model to regularly practice and reflect on social-emotional learning competencies and the school's climate and culture.
• HPS teachers and SST will be provided professional development on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and ways to address them when working with students effectively.
• Throughout the 21-22 SY, all staff will be offered mindfulness training focusing on self-management and CASEL's social-emotional learning competencies for adults and students. Teachers and students will be offered workshops on self-care strategies throughout the school year.
• Students eligible for free or reduced lunch who may have pre-existing medical conditions that prevent them from returning for "in-person" instruction will be provided school breakfast and lunch during meal distribution times established by the District.
3. Public Comment
A. Inclusion of public comment in the development of the reopening plan
This plan will be posted on our website and emailed to families. The public will be provided an email address where they can make comments on the plan. The Superintendent and Board of Education will review public comments and incorporate recommendations if the recommendations are consistent with guidance from the New Jersey Department of Health, CDC, and New Jersey Department of Education.
The District will ensure this plan is translated into languages that reflect our student population (Spanish, French-Creole, Portuguese). As per ADA guidelines, parents who need this plan shared orally, can direct their request to the school principal or their designee.