main content starts here

Health & Safety

Back to Reopening Plan homepage | Health Checks | Social Distancing, Face Coverings and PPE | Infection Control Strategies | Management of Ill persons, Contact Tracing and Monitoring | Health Hygiene | Cleaning & Disinfecting | Vulnerable Populations/Accommodations | Visitors on Campus | School Safety Drills

The health and safety of our students, our staff and their families is our top priority. We want students and employees to feel comfortable and safe returning to school campuses. Our reopening plan incorporates recommendations and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), DOSH Public Employee Safety & Health and the New York State Education Department (NYSED).

The following protocols and procedures will be in place in all district schools for the 2020-21 school year should in-person schooling resume. Anyone with questions or concerns should contact our COVID-19 safety coordinator at jennabongermino@ncolonie.org or 518-785-8591 ext. 3133.

For more information about how health and safety protocols and trainings will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.

Health Checks

The district has developed resources to educate parents/guardians and staff members regarding the careful observation of symptoms of COVID-19 and health screening measures that must be conducted each morning before coming to school. The resources include the requirement for any student or staff member with a fever of 100°F or greater and/or symptoms of possible COVID-19 virus infection to not come to school. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list of Coronavirus symptoms was used to develop these resources.

The North Colonie CSD will implement the following practices to conduct mandated health screening.

  • Self-attestation form – Staff must complete daily and prior to arrival at work. 
  • For those without internet access, kiosk stations will be available for attestation completion upon arrival at their school building.
  • Temperature checks will be conducted at home for all staff and students prior to entering the main school building. Visitors will have their temperatures checked prior to admittance into the building. 
  • Staff members whose temperature is 100°F or greater must remain home.
  • Visitors whose temperature is 100°F will be denied admittance to the building.
  • Students with 100°F temperature or higher will be sent to the nurse’s office for further evaluation and his/her/their parent/guardian will be notified.
  • Students and staff must maintain social distancing protocols while waiting to be screened. Signage on the floors and walls will indicate appropriate social distancing requirements. 
  • As supervision of students will be needed to ensure proper social distancing and general supervision, staff members will be assigned this duty daily. 
  • Staff members who are assigned to perform temperature screenings will be trained by a school nurse to ensure proper execution of the check and the requirement for confidentiality. 
  • All staff members performing temperature checks will be required to wear appropriate PPE, including: masks, gloves and a face shield. If requested, gowns will be provided as well. The Director of Custodial Services is responsible for ensuring that appropriate levels of PPE is available for all that need it.
  • If a student becomes ill during the day, he/she/they will be required to report the school nurse immediately for evaluation. Staff members who become ill should leave the building as soon as practicable, minimizing contact with others and notify their supervisor immediately. He/she/they are to remain out of work until such time as the symptoms are gone and he/she/they can answer “no” to the self-attestation questions.
  • Records regarding temperature screenings for staff, students and visitors will be maintained for one (1) year. Information recorded will include their name, date and pass/fail. No records of the actual temperature will be kept.
  • Parents/guardians will be provided information about health screenings and their responsibilities prior to the start of the 2020-2021, via the website, direct mail, school messenger and the parent portal.
  • Additional information can be found at: New York Forward Pre-K to Grade 12 School Guidelines

Screening Questionnaire – The District will implement a screening application tool for all staff and students to complete prior to arrival at school, including temperature checks. For those who fail to complete the screening, the nurse will follow up with these students to ensure they do not have symptoms. 

Students/staff suspected of having COVID-19 must be assessed and evaluated by the Registered Nurse. Each individual showing signs of COVID will be isolated in a room or area separate from others, with a supervising adult present. Students/staff will be assessed privately and should they be found to show symptoms will be required to return home. If multiple students are suspected of having COVID-19, they may be in the isolation room provided they can be separated by at least six (6) feet until parent pick up is available. Parents will be contacted for immediate pick up, and students will be escorted from the isolation area to the parent/guardian.

The School Nurse will distribute to the parent/guardian our District protocol on the next steps once he/she/they pick up the student. The parent/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. Symptomatic students or staff members must follow the CDC’s “Stay Home When You Are Sick” guidance unless otherwise directed by a healthcare provider or the local department of health.

Additional screening or temperature checks will be conducted if the student/staff show signs during the school day.

Any family who may be unable to complete the screening form prior to arrival for any reason, (internet down/ parents out of town and other family attending to child care) that child/family will be requested to come to a designated location where a staff member will conduct the screening in a confidential manner with one student/family at a time and allowed to return to class a timely as possible.

The building secretary or designee will be responsible for reviewing the results of the screening application and communicating with the school nurse to follow up with those that did not complete the daily attestation.

The school nurse will be the direct contact for all students/families for reporting of any potential or suspected COVID symptoms. Staff reporting symptoms will contact the Director of Human Resources. The school nurse will work in conjunction with the COVID Coordinator regarding any students with symptoms.

Top of page

Social Distancing, Face Coverings, and PPE

The district has developed a plan with policies and procedures for maintaining social distancing of all students, faculty, and staff when on school facilities, grounds and transportation.

Some of these policies include: use of signage to denote six (6) foot social distancing, directional arrows in the hallway and maximum capacity of smaller spaces.

Students, staff and visitors to our schools will be expected to wear face coverings indoors and outside, including on the school bus, when six-foot physical distancing is not possible. Students will be allowed to remove face coverings during meals and for short breaks so long as they maintain appropriate social distance. Students who are unable to medically tolerate a face covering will not be required to wear one.

For those medically unable to wear face coverings, accommodations will be discussed and provided, if appropriate (e.g., face shields).

Because students and staff will need to be prepared to wear a face covering if another person unexpectedly cannot socially distance, they will be required to wear a face covering in all common areas (e.g., entrances and exits) and when traveling around the school.

Face coverings will be provided to students and staff, if needed, at no cost. Acceptable face coverings for COVID-19 include, but are not limited to, cloth-based coverings and surgical masks that cover both the mouth and nose.

Employees are allowed and encouraged to wear their own acceptable face covering. Employees who are not medically able to tolerate a face covering must provide medical documentation to the Human Resources Director. Upon receipt, the Human Resources Director will contact the employee to discuss possible accommodations. 

Face coverings may be challenging for students (especially younger students) to wear in all-day settings such as school. Short periods of time when masks are not worn will be provided (mask breaks), provided social distancing of students and staff can be maintained.

Face coverings should not be placed on:

  • Children younger than 2 years old
  • Students where such covering would impair their health or mental health, or where such covering would present a challenge, distraction, or obstruction to education services and instruction
  • Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious
  • Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance

The district will instruct students, parents/guardians and staff, contractors and vendors on:

  • The proper way to wear face coverings
  • Washing hands before putting on and after removing their face covering
  • Proper way to discard disposable face coverings

Top of page

Infection Control Strategies

The district will employ several infection control strategies in order to reduce the possible spread of infection. 

  • Points of entry and exit will be clearly labeled to ensure a smooth flow of traffic in and out of the buildings.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be available at the entrance to each building and located throughout the buildings as well.
  • Bathrooms will be cleaned and sanitized routinely, on a specific schedule and as needed.
  • Bathrooms and other sinks will be equipped with paper towels, rather than hand dryers to reduce the airborne contaminants.
  • In areas where staff will be closer than six (6) feet, dividers will be installed.
  • Student arrival, dismissal and room changes, where practicable, will be on a staggered schedule to reduce the possibility of clustering.

NCCSD Facilities and Custodial staff have been going to the schools and meeting with the Principals to go over room capacity that allows proper 6 foot distancing. This is done on a room by room basis with the distances properly measured and adjusted by the needs of the room. This provides an understanding of proper room capacity and training for building level employees on how the rooms need to be set up. We do not see any rooms where an occupancy of greater than 49 is expected. All rooms are being set up with a lower than normal occupancy because of the need for 6 foot distancing and proper egress is being maintained.

Facility Alterations and Acquisition

The only change to space utilization at NCCSD will be a reduction in occupancy to allow for proper social distancing. Means of egress, fire alarm protection, lighting will be unaffected. The percentage of outside air for the ventilation system will be increased. The only changes requiring a submittal to OFP will be our large space rooms, these are explained below.

  • The District’s Architects, CSArch is reviewing our planned uses of gyms, cafeterias, libraries and auditoriums. Any intended use of moveable partitions will be submitte by CSArch to SED on Form FP-AU for approval.
  • CSArch’s review of our gyms, cafeterias, libraries and auditoriums will focus on emergency egress paths being maintained, lighting, ventilation and proper fire alarm coverage. The floor plan will include proper spacing for students so social distancing can be maintained and submitted to OFP for approval. We do not have any alterations planned to accommodate social distancing in our schools.

Space Expansion

There is no planned expansion to NCCSD buildings to accommodate adapting to COVID-19 requirements. If a need was to arise it would properly be submitted to OFP for review. The District’s architect’s would be involved in this process if a need arises and all proper codes and submittal processes with OFP would be followed. This includes if a need for temporary spaces like tents was identified, all applicable codes and submittal processes would be followed. 

Plumbing Facilities and Fixtures

Restroom social distancing will be ensured through making fixtures that are too close together without proper dividers are unavailable for use. A physical barrier will not allow access to fixtures that are not 6 feet apart without barriers. After the bathrooms have been properly set up for distancing we will review to see if we have been able to maintain the proper amount of toilet fixtures. Where possible barriers will be installed to maintain fixtures and proper signage will be installed in the bathrooms.

Touch free paper towel dispensers are currently in use within the NCCSD. Where hand dryers have been installed they will be deactivated and touch free paper towel dispensers installed.

The NCCSD is increasing the amount of touch free bottle filler within the District and also working towards increasing the amount of touchless water faucets in bathrooms. The proper amount of drinking fountains will be maintained throughout the District.

Ventilation

NCCSD ventilation, heating and cooling systems are being studied by Guth DeConzo Consulting Engineers. They are performing a study backed by NYSERDA to look at adjusting HVAC systems to recommended COVID-19 operation. Currently they have identified that NCCSD will easily be able to increase ventilation/outside air to buildings. They have also identified that our current systems can handle increased filtration and the District moving towards using all MERV-13 filters for the opening of the 2020-21 school year. Adequate, code required ventilation, will be maintained or surpassed for the 2020-21. The full expectation is that the use of outside air will be significantly increased. Additionally, staff will be encouraged to open windows to increase fresh air to classrooms whenever possible.

New Technology for Air Purification

Guth DeConzo Consulting Engineers are looking at multiple new technologies for the NCCSD that will improve air purification. These technologies are primarily focused on reducing transmission of COVID-19. The technologies will also address the transmission of other viruses. This will provide the NCCSD with immediate improvements to air handling systems as well as long-term recommendations for future installations.

Top of page

Management of Ill Persons/Contact Tracing

The district requires students who develop COVID-19 symptoms during the school day to report to the nurse’s office. If there are several students waiting to see the school nurse, students must wait at least 6 feet apart. The district has designated areas to separate individuals with symptoms of COVID- 19 from others until they can go home or to a healthcare facility, depending on severity of illness. One area will be used to treat injuries, provide medications or nursing treatments, and the other area will be used for assessing and caring for ill students and staff. Both areas will be supervised by an adult and have easy access to a bathroom and sink with hand hygiene supplies.

  • Blue Creek Elementary School – Nurse’s Office – Room #15 
  • Boght Hills Elementary School – Nurse’s Office – Room #3
  • Forts Ferry Elementary School – Nurse’s Office -Room #114
  • Latham Ridge Elementary School – Nurse’s Office – Room #29A
  • Loudonville Elementary School – Nurse’s Office – Room #10 
  • Southgate Elementary School – Nurse’s Office -Room #17
  • Shaker Junior High School – Nurse’s Office -Room #C105
  • Shaker High School – Nurse’s Office – Room #E255 

Staff members who develop COVID-19 symptoms while at work are to remove themselves from the work environment as soon as immediately practicable, go home and contact their supervisor immediately.

PPE requirements for school health office staff caring for sick individuals includes both standard and transmission-based precautions. In areas with moderate to substantial community transmission, eye protection (e.g., goggles or face shield) should be added. When caring for a suspect or confirmed individual with COVID-19, gloves, a gown, eye protection, and a fit-tested N-95 respirator will be used, if available. If an N-95 respirator is not available, a surgical face mask and face shield will be used.

School health office cleaning will occur after each use of cots, bathrooms, and health office equipment (e.g., blood pressure cuffs, otoscopes, stethoscopes). Health office equipment will be cleaned following manufacturer’s directions.

Disposable items will be used as much as possible (e.g., disposable pillow protectors, disposable thermometers, disposable thermometer sheaths or probes, disposable otoscope specula).

Top of page

Aerosol Generating Procedures

Respiratory treatments administered by nurses generally result in aerosolization of respiratory secretions. These aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) potentially put healthcare personnel and others at an increased risk for pathogen exposure and infection. The district requires the following PPE to be worn during AGPs: gloves, N-95 or a surgical mask with face shield, eye protection and a gown. PPE will be used when: suctioning, administering nebulizer treatments, or using peak flow meters with students who have respiratory conditions.

Treatments such as nebulized medication treatments and oral or tracheostomy suctioning will be conducted in a room separate from others with nursing personnel wearing appropriate PPE. For nebulizer treatments, if developmentally appropriate, the nurse will leave the room and return when the nebulizer treatment is finished.

Cleaning of the room will occur between use and cleaning of the equipment should be done following manufacturer’s instructions after each use. 

If Students Become Ill with Symptoms of COVID-19 at School

The district requires students with a temperature, signs of illness, and/or a positive response to the questionnaire to be sent directly to a dedicated isolation area where students are supervised, prior to being picked up or otherwise sent home. Students will be supervised in the isolation area while awaiting transport home and will be separated by at least 6 feet. Students will be escorted from the isolation area to their parent/guardian. Students will be referred to a healthcare provider or local health department should they not have a health care provider and provided resources on COVID-19 testing.

Top of page

Return to School After Illness

The district has established protocols and procedures, in consultation with the local health department(s), about the requirements for determining when individuals, particularly students, who screened positive for COVID-19 symptoms can return to the in-person learning environment at school. This protocol includes:

  1. Documentation from a health care provider following evaluation
  2. Negative COVID-19 diagnostic test result
  3. Symptom resolution, or if COVID-19 positive, release from isolation

The district will refer to DOH’s “Interim Guidance for Public and Private Employees Returning to Work Following COVID-19 Infection or Exposure” regarding protocols and policies for faculty and staff seeking to return to work after a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or after the faculty or staff member had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19.

The district requires that individuals who were exposed to the COVID-19 virus complete quarantine and have not developed symptoms before returning to in-person learning. The discharge of an individual from quarantine and return to school will be conducted in coordination with the local health department.

Top of page

COVID-19 Testing

Should a student/staff member show signs or symptoms of potential/presumed COVID, the following protocol will be followed by the Registered Nurse as directed by our Medical Director:

  • The student/staff member will be separated from others and should symptoms be present, he/she/they will be instructed to return home.
  • All parties will be instructed to call their healthcare providers for possible office assessment or testing. 
  • The school nurse will distribute a copy of the District’s Protocol Sheet to the parent/guardian outlining the proper procedures.
  • The school nurse will follow up with the family.
  • The District will follow all the latest NYS DOH and CDC guidelines.
  • The District will seek guidance from our Medical Director and local Health Department regarding any situations that warrant it. 

In the event that a large-scale testing will need to be conducted at the school, the district administration will work with the following providers:

  • Albany County Department of Health: 518-447-4580
  • School Physicians: Dr. Steffani Cotugno & Dr. Arthur Lee, health@ncolonie.org

Contact Tracing

The district will notify the state and local health department immediately upon being informed of any positive COVID-19 diagnostic test result by an individual within school facilities or on school grounds, including students, faculty, staff, and visitors of the district.

To assist the local health department with tracing the transmission of COVID-19, 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. 

Districts may assist with contact tracing by:

  1. Keeping accurate attendance records of students and staff members
  2. Ensuring student schedules are up to date
  3. Keeping a log of any visitor which includes date and time, and where in the school they visited
  4. 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 a confirmed case of COVID-19 is discovered, the district will contact the local health department to receive guidance. The rooms/wings where the infected person was located will be immediately closed and will not be allowed to reopen until full disinfection of the area has taken place.

Confidentiality must be maintained as required by federal and state laws and regulations. School staff should not try to determine who is to be excluded from school based on contact without guidance and direction from the local health department.

For more information about how COVID-19 containment efforts will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.

Top of page

School Closures

A closure refers to contingency plans, protocols, and procedures for decreasing the scale or scope of in- person education and/or closing the school. The district will collaborate with the local health department to determine the parameters, conditions or metrics (e.g., increased absenteeism or increased illness in the school community) that will serve as early warning signs that positive COVID-19 cases may be increasing beyond an acceptable level.

At a minimum, the plan will incorporate the following:

  • Schools will close if the regional infection rate rises over 9% after Aug. 1. Schools will close if the 7-day rolling average of the infection rate is above 9%.
  • Schools in regions in Phase 4 can reopen if the daily infection rate remains below 5 percent using a 14-day average, unless otherwise directed from the Albany County health department.
  • If the infection rate rises about 9%, schools must wait until the 14-day average is below 5%
  • Once schools open at Phase IV below 5% for a 14-day rolling average, schools can remain open even if the rate continues to rise about 5% until it reaches 9% for the 7-day average.
  • School will be notified by: The Albany County Department of Health regarding the situation.
  • The district may consider closing school if absentee rates impact the ability of the school to operate safely.
  • The district may choose to modify operations prior to closing to help mitigate a rise in cases. If infection rates are rising above 5%; consider modifying school operations for medically vulnerable students and staff if they are participating in in-person activities.
  • The district will consult the school physician and/or the Albany County Department of Health when making such decisions.
  • The district will determine which operations will be decreased, or ceased and which operations will be conducted remotely; include a process to conduct orderly closures which may include phasing, milestones, and involvement of key personnel.

For more information about how school closure information will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.

Top of page

Health Hygiene

The district will emphasize healthy hygiene practices for students and staff by providing initial and refresher education in hand and respiratory hygiene, along with providing adequate supplies and time for frequent hand hygiene. Signs will be posted throughout the school (e.g., entrances, restrooms, cafeteria, classrooms, administrative offices, auditorium, custodial staff areas) and regular messaging will be shared with the school community. Signage will be used to remind individuals to:

  1. Stay home if they feel sick.
  2. Cover their nose and mouth with an acceptable face covering when unable to maintain social distance from others or in accordance with any stricter policy implemented by the school.
  3. Properly store and, when necessary, discard PPE.
  4. Adhere to social distancing instructions.
  5. Report symptoms of, or exposure to, COVID-19.
  6. Follow hand hygiene, and cleaning and disinfection guidelines.
  7. Follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette.

Hand Hygiene

Students and staff must carry out the following hand hygiene practices. 

  • Wash hands routinely with soap (any kind) and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Dry hands completely after washing. Use paper towels to dry hands if available instead of a hand dryer if they are available.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. Hand sanitizer should be rubbed on the hands until it is completely absorbed. DO NOT dry hands if sanitizer is used.

Hand washing should occur:

  • Before and after eating (e.g. snacks and lunch).
  • After going to the restroom or after assisting a student with toileting.
  • After using a tissue.
  • Before and after using shared materials.
  • Before and after putting on or taking off face masks.
  • After coming in from the outdoors.
  • Anytime hands are visibly soiled.

Respiratory Hygiene

The COVID-19 virus spreads from person to person in droplets produced by coughs and sneezes. Therefore, the district will emphasize the importance of respiratory hygiene.

Students and staff must carry out the following respiratory hygiene practices.

  • Cover a cough or sneeze using a tissue. If a tissue is used, it should be thrown away immediately. 
  • If you don’t have a tissue when sneezing or coughing, sneeze into your elbow.
  • Wash your hands after sneezing or coughing.
  • Face coverings are protective. Wearing a face covering will keep the respiratory droplets and aerosols from being widely dispersed into the air.

For more information about how hygiene information will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.

Top of page

Cleaning and Disinfecting

The district will ensure adherence to hygiene and cleaning and disinfection requirements as advised by the CDC and DOH, including “Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public and Private Facilities for COVID-19,” and the “STOP THE SPREAD” poster, as applicable. Cleaning and disinfection logs will be maintained that include the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection.

Examples of facility types where cleaning and disinfection frequency will be distinguished include:

  • Bathrooms
  • Athletic training rooms, locker rooms
  • Health offices, isolation rooms
  • Administrative offices (main office, reception area)
  • Frequently touched surfaces in common areas (door handles, elevator buttons, copy machine keypads, etc.)
  • Break rooms
  • Cafeterias/Kitchens
  • Computer labs
  • Science labs
  • Classrooms
  • Maintenance offices and work areas
  • Bus Garage
  • Buses, school vehicles
  • Libraries
  • Large meeting areas (auditoriums, gymnasiums, music rooms)
  • Playgrounds (cleaning only)
  • Outdoor seating areas (plastic or metal)

Students, faculty, and staff will be trained on proper hand and respiratory hygiene, and such information will be provided to parents and/or legal guardians on ways to reinforce this at home.

The district will provide and maintain hand hygiene stations around the school, as follows:

  • For handwashing: soap, running warm water, and disposable paper towels.
  • For hand sanitizing: an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol for areas where handwashing facilities may not be available or practical.
  • Accommodations for students who cannot use hand sanitizer will be made.

Regular cleaning and disinfection of the facilities will occur, including more frequent cleaning and disinfection for high-risk and frequently touched surfaces. This will include desks and cafeteria tables, which should be cleaned and disinfected between each individual’s use. Cleaning and disinfection will be rigorous and ongoing and will occur at least daily, or more frequently as needed. 

The district will ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of restrooms. Restrooms should be cleaned and disinfected more often depending on frequency of use. 

For more information about how cleaning and disinfection information will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.

Top of page

Vulnerable Populations/Accommodations

We recognize that some students and staff members are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness, live with a person who is at an increased risk, or simply do not feel comfortable returning to an in-person educational environment. It is our goal that these individuals are able to safely participate in educational activities. For students requesting accommodations, please contact Casey Bardin, Director of PPS at caseybardin@ncolonie.org. For staff members, please contact Jenna Bongermino, Director of Human Resources at jennabongermino@ncolonie.org 

Visitors on Campus

No outside visitors or volunteers will be allowed on school campuses, except for the safety and well-being of students. Parents/guardians will report to the front office and not go beyond unless it is for the safety or well-being of their child. Essential visitors to facilities will be required to wear face coverings and will be restricted in their access to our school buildings. Visitors must follow all safety protocols as listed above.

Top of page

School Safety Drills

The district will conduct fire (evacuation) drills and lockdown drills as required by education law and regulation and the fire code without exceptions. Schools must continue to conduct mandatory fire and lockdown drills according to the existing statutory schedule. Drills will be conducted in a manner that maintains social distancing at exits and gathering points outside the building, while still preparing students to respond in emergencies.

  • Fire Code Section 404 requires that schools maintain Fire Safety, Evacuation, and Lockdown Plans and these plans include how lockdown and evacuation drills are conducted. Methods to promote and provide for social distancing during the evacuation drills will be determined at the building level and these modifications will be included in the Fire Safety plans.
  • Education Law § 807 requires that schools conduct eight (8) evacuation and four (4) lockdown drills each school year. When planning drills, the district will consider how each school will modify their drill procedures to minimize risk of spreading infection. Conducting drills is an important part of keeping students and staff safe in an emergency; however, steps must be taken to minimize the risk of spreading infection while conducting drills. As such, it will be necessary for each school to conduct drills during the school year using protocols which may be different from those used in the past. It will be up to each building principal to determine how these protocols may be different based on the need to maintain social distancing. Once developed, staff and students must be trained on the new procedures prior to any drill being conducted.
  • If an actual emergency arises that requires an evacuation or lockdown, the most imminent concern is the students’ safely. Therefore, maintaining social distancing in an actual emergency may not be possible and should not be the first priority. Staff and students must be trained on this exception.

Top of page

Potential Modifications to Safety Drills

  • Conduct drills on a “staggered” schedule, where classrooms evacuate separately rather than all at once, and appropriate distance is kept between students to the evacuation site. Staggering the drill schedule by classroom minimizes contact of students in hallways, stairwells, and at the evacuation site. If conducting drills using a modified procedure, it is required that the drill be conducted with all students in the school building on that school day, it may be necessary to do so during a class period that is extended for this purpose.
  • If the district reopens with a “hybrid” in-person model, schools must be certain that all students are receiving instruction in emergency procedures and participating in drills while they are in attendance in-person.
  • Lockdown drills in classroom settings should maintain social distancing and the students and staff should be using masks.
  • Conduct lockdown drills on a “staggered” schedule with smaller numbers of students present to maintain social distancing, however schools must be certain that all students are receiving instruction in emergency procedures and participating in drills while they are in attendance in-person.
  • Conduct lockdown drills in the classroom without “hiding”/ “sheltering” but provide an overview of how to shelter or hide in the classroom.

    Top of page