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) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED).
The following protocols and procedures will be in place in all Capital Region BOCES schools for the 2020-21 school year should in-person schooling resume. Training will be provided to all staff and students regarding all aspects of required health and safety protocols.
Staff members with questions about the plan should contact the following individuals:
- Health Screening and/or Human Relations: Carol Ratigan, Director of Human Resources and Health Screening Monitor at email@example.com.
- Site Safety Protocols: Jennifer Bennett,
Director of Management & Administrative Services and Site Safety Monitor, firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-464-5118.
- All Other Questions: Joseph Dragone, Senior Executive Officer and COVID-19 Coordinator. email@example.com or 518-860-9201.
Parents/guardians with questions about the plan should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Students with questions about the plan should contact their teacher or principal.
- Health screening
- Social distancing
- Face coverings and personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Infection control strategies
- Management of ill persons, contact tracing and monitoring
- Health hygiene
- Cleaning and disinfecting
- Vulnerable populations/accommodations
- Visitors on campus
- School safety drills
Capital Region BOCES 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 in the past 14 days 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.
Capital Region BOCES will implement the following practices to conduct mandated health screening:
- Staff, students, or a parent on behalf of their child, must complete a health screening that permits the staff member or student to attend school that day.
- The health screening must be completed every day that a staff member or child will attend school.
- The screening must occur in the morning and prior to the staff member or student’s arrival on school property.
- All staff members and essential visitors must enter the building through the main entrance and show their daily clearance upon entry.
- Student entry locations are building specific and will be posted.
The health screening will be performed using Capital Region BOCES’ health screening tool. The tool is accessed at https://entry.neric.org/crb. If a staff person or student does not have access to the internet, access to a device that connects to the internet, a thermometer or has any other circumstance that precludes them from conducting the health screening at home prior to their arrival on school property, please contact the school building’s principal. Alternative arrangements will be made to support the daily required health screening of the staff member or student that will permit attendance at school that day.
The daily health screening check will require the staff member, student, or parent on behalf of the student, to attest that:
- The staff member/student has not experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days, including:
- a temperature of greater than 100.0°F
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- repeated shaking with chills
- muscle pain
- sore throat
- new loss of taste or smell
- gastrointestinal tract symptoms
The staff member/student has not tested positive through a diagnostic test for COVID-19 in the past 14 days
The staff member/student has not knowingly been in close or proximate contact in the past 14 days with anyone who has tested positive through a diagnostic test for COVID-19 or who has or had symptoms of COVID-19
The staff member/student has not traveled internationally or from a state with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 per the New York State Travel Advisory in the past 14 days.
Students may not attend school if they have had a temperature of greater than 100.0°F at any time in the past 14 days, even if a fever-reducing medication was administered and the student no longer has a fever.  Please see the “Return to School After Illness” section of the reopening plan regarding the requirements that permit a student or staff member to return to school.
Per the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), schools are prohibited from keeping records of student, faculty, staff, and visitor health data, but are permitted to maintain records that confirm individuals were screened and the result of such screening (e.g. cleared/not cleared for entry).
Daily health screening attestations will be reviewed by the Capital Region BOCES Health Screening Monitor.
If a student arrives at school and the Capital Region BOCES Health Screening Monitor doesn’t have a record of the attestation:
- Students will be taken to a screening area so on-site screening can be coordinated in a manner that prevents individuals from intermingling in close or proximate contact with each other prior to completion of the screening .
- If more than one student is waiting to be screened, they must practice social distancing and wear a face covering.
- A Capital Region BOCES staff member will take the student’s temperature.
- A Capital Region BOCES staff member will call the parent/guardian to complete the remainder of the screening.
If any student has a temperature of 100°F or greater or who otherwise has signs of illness, and/or a positive response to the questionnaire will be sent directly to a dedicated isolation area prior to being picked up or otherwise sent home with instructions to contact their health care provider for assessment and testing.
 Interim Guidance for In-Person Instruction at Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, NYS Department of Health, p.19
 Interim Guidance for In-Person Instruction at Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, NYS Department of Health, p.19
 Interim Guidance for In-Person Instruction at Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, NYS Department of Health, p.19; State Education Department Issues Guidance to Reopen New York State Schools p.21
Students must notify their teacher or principal if they develop symptoms or if their answers to the health screening change during or outside school hours. Staff members must notify their principal and email email@example.com if they develop symptoms or if their answers to the health screening change during or outside school hours. Guests must follow the notification instructions they received upon entry to the building if their answers to the health screening change during or outside their visitation hours.
Capital Region BOCES reserves the right to check the temperature of staff, students or visitors at any point during the school day if an individual is demonstrating COVID-19 symptoms.
Capital Region BOCES requires social distancing of all students, faculty, staff and visitors when in school facilities, grounds and transportation in accordance with agency guidance.
Students, staff and visitors to our schools will be expected to wear face coverings at all times, indoors and outside, including on the school bus and in classrooms, even when six-foot physical distancing is possible. Students will be allowed to remove face coverings during meals, instruction, 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.
Face coverings and related necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided to students and staff, if needed, at no cost. Staff and students are allowed and encouraged to use their own acceptable face covering. 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. An employee or student is allowed to wear their own acceptable face covering if they choose. Employees with healthcare provider documentation stating they are not medically able to tolerate face covering will not be required to do so.
Face coverings may be challenging for students (especially younger students) to wear in all-day settings such as school, so there may be periods of time when masks are not worn.
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
Various infection control strategies that will be in place, including, but not limited to, sinks that are supplied with soap and paper towels, alcohol-based hand rub dispensers, dividers in certain areas and other strategies as outlined in agency guidance. Staff and students will be trained in proper hand hygiene and respiratory practices.
Plumbing Facilities and Fixtures
In classroom drinking fountains will only be used when dispensing into a cup, water bottle or other container.
Adequate, code required ventilation (natural or mechanical) will be maintained as designed. Ventilation with outdoor air will be encouraged to the greatest extent possible (e.g., opening windows and doors) while maintaining health and safety protocols, particularly for younger students. HVAC units will be serviced and maintained including proper filtration requirements considering the capability of the system.
CRB requires students, faculty, or staff members who develop COVID-19 symptoms during the school day including a temperature, signs of illness, and/or a positive response to the screening tool report to the nurse’s office for evaluation and potentially be directed to a supervised isolation area prior to be picked up or otherwise sent home. Staff experiencing symptoms should also immediately notify their principal and email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If there are several students waiting to see the school nurse, students must wait at least 6 feet apart with appropriate face covering. Capital Region BOCES 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 demonstrating COVID-19 symptoms. Both areas will be supervised and have access to a bathroom and sink with hand hygiene supplies. Students and staff who are determined to have COVID-19-like symptoms will be referred to their healthcare provider and provided resources on COVID-19 testing upon leaving the building.
Location of the COVID symptoms isolation and treatment/medication area in each Capital Region BOCES school:
- Albany Career & Technical School: Room C1W (isolation), Nurse’s Office (treatment)
- Schoharie Career & Technical School: Room 101 (isolation), Nurse’s Office (treatment)
- Mohonasen Career and Technical School (CAT): Room 199 (isolation), Nurse’s Office (treatment)
- Maywood School: Room 12 (isolation), Nurse’s Office (treatment)
- Airline Drive Academy: Room 203 (isolation), Nurse’s Office (treatment)
Personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements for school health office staff caring for sick individuals include both standard and transmission-based precautions. If conditions rise to the level of moderate to substantial community transmission as designated in collaboration with local health officials, eye protection (e.g., goggles or face shield) will 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, etc.)
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. Capital Region BOCES requires the following personal protective equipment (PPE) be worn during AGPs: gloves, N-95 or a surgical mask with face shield, eye protection and a gown. Personal protective equipment (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 a staff member or student is exposed to COVID-19, Capital Region BOCES and local health officials requires that they complete quarantine and have not developed symptoms before returning to in-person learning/work. Steps that need to be met include:
- Tracking the status of students diagnosed or not diagnosed by a healthcare provider (physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant) with COVID-19 after experiencing symptoms, receiving a test etc., and those who have indicated close or proximate contact and are or are not symptomatic is the responsibility of the school nurse at the building level in collaboration with the school administration.
- Tracking the status of staff diagnosed or not diagnosed by a healthcare provider (physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant) with COVID-19 after experiencing symptoms, receiving a test etc., and those who have indicated close or proximate contact and are or are not symptomatic is the responsibility of Capital Region BOCES’ Human Relations department.
- Once the school nurse or Human Relations department has been informed about a potential or verified case of COVID-19 via in person self-reporting, positive attestations, county notification etc., they should immediately contact Joe Dragone, COVID-19 Coordinator.
Based on diagnosis, symptoms of exposure to COVID-19 the following protocols apply:
If a person is not diagnosed by a healthcare provider (physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant) with COVID-19 they can return to school:
- Once there is no fever, without the use of fever reducing medicines, and they have felt well for 24 hours, and;
- If they have been diagnosed with another condition and has a healthcare provider written note stating they are clear to return to school.
If a person is diagnosed with COVID-19 by a healthcare provider based on a test or their symptoms or does not get a COVID-19 test but has had symptoms, they should not be at school and should stay at home until:
- It has been at least ten days since the individual first had symptoms;
- It has been at least three days since the individual has had a fever (without using fever reducing medicine); and
- It has been at least three days since the individual’s symptoms improved, including cough and shortness of breath.
If a person is diagnosed with COVID-19 by a healthcare provider based on a test or their symptoms or does not get a COVID-19 test but has had symptoms, they should not be at school and should stay at home and may not return to work/school until:
- They have completed at least 10 days of isolation at home from the onset of symptoms or 10 days of isolation after the first positive test if they remain asymptomatic (this applies whether the employee is symptomatic or asymptomatic) ;
- It has been at least three days since the individual has had a fever (without using fever reducing medicine), and;
- It has been at least three days since the individual’s symptoms improved, including cough and shortness of breath.
If a person has had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time and is experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms:
Please note:The New York State Department of Health considers a close contact to be someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 10 minutes starting from 48 hours before illness onset until the time the person was isolated.
- The person may return to school upon completing at least 10 days of isolation from the onset of symptoms.
- The Albany or Schoharie County Health Department should be contacted if the extent of contact between an individual and a person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 is unclear.
If a person has had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time and is not experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms:
- The person may return to school upon completing 14 days of self-quarantine.
Please note: All of the above protocols will be implemented in coordination with the Albany or Schoharie County Health Department. The discharge of an individual from quarantine and return to school will be conducted in coordination with the local health department. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides specific guidance for individuals who are on home isolation regarding when the isolation may end.
 State Education Department Issues Guidance to Reopen New York State Schools (July 16, 2020)
In order for a staff member or student to return to school after experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or testing positive, they must provide documentation from a health care provider following an evaluation, a negative COVID-19 diagnostic test result, and symptom resolution, or if COVID-19 positive, release from isolation.
In the event that a large-scale testing will need to be conducted at the school, Capital Region BOCES administration will work with the Albany and Schoharie County Department of Health to support implementation.
Capital Region BOCES 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 Capital Region BOCES.
To assist the local health department with tracing the transmission of COVID-19, Capital Region BOCES 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.
Capital Region BOCES may assist with contact tracing by:
- Keeping accurate attendance records of students and staff members.
- Ensuring student schedules are up to date.
- Keeping a log of any visitor which includes date and time, and where in the school they visited.
- Assisting the local health departments in tracing all contacts of the individual in accordance with the protocol, training and tools provided through the New York State Contact Tracing Program.
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.
A closure refers to contingency plans, protocols, and procedures for decreasing the scale or scope of in- person education and/or closing the school. Capital Region BOCES 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, schools will close in accordance with direction from the governor and New York State Department of Health when any of the following conditions occur:
- If the regional infection rate rises over 9% after August 1:
- If the infection rate rises above 9%, schools must wait until the 14-day average is below 5% before reopening with permission from the Albany or Schoharie County Department of Health and other governing agencies.
- If the 7-day rolling average of the infection rate is above 9%.
- Capital Region BOCES will be notified by the Albany or Schoharie County Department of Health regarding the status of infection rates
- Capital Region BOCES reserves the right to modify operations prior to closing to help mitigate a rise in cases:
- If the infection rates rise above 5%, Capital Region BOCES will consider modifying school operations in consultation with the Albany or Schoharie County Department of Health.
- CRB reserves the right to close its schools in consultation with the Albany or Schoharie County Department of Health if it determines absentee rates or other conditions impact the ability to operate safely.
Capital Region BOCES 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:
- Stay home if they feel sick.
- 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.
- Properly store and, when necessary, discard personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Adhere to social distancing instructions.
- Report symptoms of, or exposure to, COVID-19.
- Follow hand hygiene, and cleaning and disinfection guidelines.
- Follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette.
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, breakfast, 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.
The COVID-19 virus spreads from person to person in droplets produced by coughs and sneezes. Therefore, Capital Region BOCES 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.
Capital Region BOCES will ensure adherence to hygiene and cleaning and disinfection requirements as advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), including “Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public and Private Facilities for COVID-19” and other guidance, as applicable. View the protocols for cleaning and disinfection.
Examples of facility types where cleaning and disinfection frequency will be distinguished include:
- Health offices, designated COVID-related isolation rooms
- Administrative offices (main office, reception area)
- Frequently touched surfaces in common areas (door handles, elevator buttons, copy machine keypads, etc.)
- Computer labs
- Science labs
- Maintenance offices and work areas
- School vehicles
- Large meeting areas
- 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.
Capital Region BOCES will provide and maintain hand hygiene stations around the school, as follows:
- For hand washing: soap, running warm water, and disposable paper towels.
- For hand sanitizing: an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol for areas where hand washing 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 will 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.
Capital Region BOCES will ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of restrooms. Restrooms will 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.
We recognize that some students and staff members are at an increased risk for COVID-19 illness, or live with a person who is at an increased risk. It is our goal that these individuals are able to safely participate in educational activities. Parents of children that are more at risk of COVID-19 have been asked to speak with their child’s doctor and/or medical professional(s) to determine the best academic and service options for their child. Staff have been notified to contact HR if they have conditions that put them at an increased risk of COVID-19. Students who have family members who are in high risk groups may also need to attend school remotely. If a child is unable to return to in-person instruction this fall, remote academic instruction and related services will be provided to meet the individualized education program (IEP) and/or instructional program to the greatest extent possible.
Persons in these groups should consult with their healthcare provider regarding prevention:
- Individuals age 65 or older
- Pregnant individuals
- Individuals with underlying health conditions including, but not limited to:
- chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- serious heart conditions
- severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 or higher)
- chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
- liver disease
- sickle cell anemia
- children who are medically complex, who have neurologic, genetic, metabolic conditions, or who have congenital heart disease are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 than other children
No outside visitors or volunteers will be allowed on school campuses, except for those individuals essential to the safety and well-being of students. Parents/guardians will report to the front office and not go beyond this space unless it is for the safety or well-being of their child. Essential visitors to facilities will be required to complete the Capital Region BOCES health screening, wear face coverings and will be restricted in their access to our school buildings.
Capital Region BOCES 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. Safety drill protocols will be modified so they can 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. Regardless of the commitment to maintain social distancing during a drill, students will be instructed that if it was an actual emergency that required evacuation or lockdown, the most imminent concern is to get to safety. Maintaining social distancing in an actual emergency that requires evacuation or lockdown may not be possible and should not be the first priority.