Bridge Academy Reopening Plan: 2020

Date of Submission: 7/23/2020
LEA Name: The Bridge Academy
Reopening Plan Point of Contact: Rachel Allison
Contact Email: rachel.allison@bridgeacademy.org
Contact Phone: 203-336-9999
LEA COVID-19 Health and Safety Compliance Liaison: Caroline Braglia
Liaison Email:  caroline.braglia@bridgeacademy.org

 

Priorities
Fall Reopening Model 
  • We have created three plans for reopening: Full in-person, a hybrid model and full Distance Learning.  Our plans can be viewed here:
  • All students will be given gmail accounts and chromebooks on the first day of school to ensure they are prepared for Distance Learning.  If there is no in-person school, staff will be in the building to distribute chromebooks to families.  If families have no way of getting to school chromebooks will be delivered.
  • All parties are ready to admit students on the first day of school following appropriate protocols.  However, we realize that our plans must be flexible to allow for adjustments to the State’s reopening plan due to COVID transmission data.  All staff have been told to regularly check email throughout the summer to be available for planning meetings and Professional Development as necessary and weekly emails are being sent to update all community members including families and Board members.
  • Google Meets meetings have been held with staff and families and more will be scheduled as our plans for reopening evolve. 
  • The majority of work given in school will be assigned through Google Classroom so that, should the school or State need to move to a blended model or full-time Distance Learning, the transition from in-person to at-home will be smooth. 
  • We have created schedules that allow all students to be grouped with the same cohort all day and at lunch to reduce the risk of transmission.  Our inclusion model for students with Special Education needs will mean that such students will be educated for the majority of their day with their peers.
Temporarily Choosing Not to Participate
  • We will honor the decision of families who choose to participate in online rather than in-person learning. 
  • Students who choose to remain at home will be assigned work through google classroom.  
  • Our survey data shows that at this point, 19% of our population are not comfortable returning to in-person school.  With permission, we would like to revise our full in-person schedule to shorten the day by an hour to allow teachers time to monitor and support students working online. 
  • Families have been notified that with teachers in the building instructing full-time, we will not be able to offer the high level of online monitoring and support we did during our months of Distance Learning.
School Liaison, Communication Plans, and Data Collection
  • Rachel Allison, school principal, will act at School Liaison, with support from Tyrone Elliott, Director, and Caroline Braglia, the school nurse.
  • All communications for staff will be done through email and, if possible, in-person meetings.  If staff can’t meet in-person we will continue to meet regularly through Google Meets.
  • Communication with families will take place through email, texting, mail, Facebook and phone, in English and Spanish where applicable. 
  • Communication with students will be made in-person in school and through Google Classroom messages and email.
  • In addition to communicating through email, text, Facebook and mail, prior to reopening, both our Middle and High Schools will hold community meetings through Google Meets to communicate information about the start of school and be available to answer questions and listen to concerns.  Such meetings will be offered periodically throughout the year any time there is a significant policy change and upon reentry if we close temporarily during the year. 
  • We will keep families updated about school events through email and texts once a week; additional emails, texts, handouts, social media posts and mailings will be sent any time critical information regarding policies, protocols, or health data changes. 
  • Families will receive texts, emails, and letters home through students and mail about changed policies, the need to cancel classes, or other changes or restrictions. 
  • Plans will be made easily accessible on our website, communicated through email, text, and social media and sent home with students and through mail.
  • We sent surveys to families and students during Distance Learning in order to improve online instruction should schools have to close again.  We have also sent a survey outlining what in-person school will look like in the fall and the safety protocols we will have in place. The survey asks families if they will send their children to school under these circumstances, if not, what would make them feel comfortable sending their children to school, and what their thoughts, concerns, suggestions and questions are around reopening.   In addition, we have sent the State Distance Learning Survey to all families and staff and look forward to their feedback.

 

Operation Plan
Facilities
  • Surveys have been sent to all families in order to confirm their intent to participate or not participate in in-person school and this data will be used to determine facilities and operation planning. 
  • All extra furniture (e.g. tables, etc.) will be removed to allow for maximum social distancing in each classroom.
  • Class desks will be arranged in a forward facing way and often in a U shape to allow for maximum distance between teacher and students.  Square tables in the Art room will be replaced with desks so that students can face the same direction.  All staff will be issued face shields for those times when they may need to remove their masks to instruct students. 
  • Floor markings have been placed in the halls and cafeteria to ensure appropriate traffic patterns and social distancing.
  • Markings on seats in the cafeteria will show students which seats are available to sit in to maximize social distancing. 
  • An isolation room has been identified for those experiencing symptoms.
  • An air purifier has been purchased for the isolation room
  • Stop the Spread signs have been placed in classrooms, hallways, bathrooms and offices at levels accessible to all.
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers will be affixed to walls outside each bathroom, throughout hallways, and in classrooms.  
  • Our maintenance crew has been cleaning and disinfecting the building and running faucets and flushing toilets all summer.  Cleaning and disinfecting will continue through the opening of school. 
  • Bathrooms and high-touch areas are cleaned multiple times a day; a log is kept of all bathroom cleaning times. 
  • Training of staff, including lunch staff, paraprofessionals, substitutes, and office staff, on health and safety protocols will be held on Google Meets prior to the opening of school.  If necessary, several trainings will be held to accommodate staff schedules.  Staff hired after the original trainings will be updated on an individual basis.
  • Orientation days at the beginning of the school year will include the training of students in health and safety protocols.
  • Reviews of health and safety protocols will be held for families through email and Google Meets and materials will be sent to all families.  
  • All such trainings will be repeated throughout the first months of school as needed and will include information on:
    • Social distancing
    • Cleaning protocols
    • Hygiene practices
Daily Operations
  • Stable cohorts, not based on any demographic or disability, for both our full in-person and hybrid models have been created and will be maintained throughout the day including at lunch. For full in-person school, this will mean 25 students in each cohort; for our hybrid model this will mean 13 students in each cohort.
  • With family input, same-grade siblings have been moved to the same cohort. 
  • All class cohorts will be dismissed from class and school one at a time and foot-traffic patterns will be in place to reduce the risk of transmission in hallways. 
  • Students will wipe their desks clean using an EPA approved cleaner upon entering and leaving every class. This will ensure that desks are clean and will also give students a sense of control and responsibility over their surroundings. 
  • In order to allow for non-academic social time and learning, after school clubs will be offered.  When necessary, clubs will be held in rooms and spaces (e.g. the cafeteria and gym) that allow for greater social distancing.  Some clubs will alternate days to allow for smaller groupings.  All clubs will follow social distancing protocols including mask-wearing.  Sports will not be offered due to the challenge of wearing masks and the close physical contact they entail.
  • The school is prepared to adjust plans based on health indicators and guidance from health officials. 
  • Any decisions made about school cancellations or closures will be made with the guidance of the school nurse and local health officials.  
  • Non-essential visitors and gatherings such as whole school assemblies will not be allowed in school.
  • The school will work with the State and National governments to secure the necessary funding for operating safely.  For example, COVID-19 funds have been used to purchase chromebooks for all students.  Portable hotspots have also been purchased to support online learning for students without wifi. 
Child Nutrition
  • All students will be offered free breakfast and lunch.  Breakfast will be served in classrooms.  Spaces will be designated in the cafeteria during lunch for each cohorted group. Only two to three cohorts will be in the cafeteria at a time and each cohort will be required to sit together in designated spots.  
  • All meals will comply with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s regulations and policies for school meals.  
  • All meals served will be counted and claimed according to National School Lunch and Breakfast program guidelines. 
Transportation
  • All eligible students will be offered transportation to and from school following the guidelines set forth by the host district.
  • All students and staff will be required to wear masks while riding the bus. 
  • Students will be loaded onto the bus from the back to the front and unloaded from front to back.
  • Family members will sit together on the bus. 
  • The school will supply the bus drivers with masks so that not having a mask is not a barrier to attending school. 
Health Practices and Protocols
  • Students will be educated on the new health expectations in a variety of ways: through emails and mailings home before school begins; through signs throughout the building; thorough direct instruction by teachers, administrators and the school nurse; and through frequent reminders throughout the year. 
  • Staff, students and families will receive instruction and reminders about important health protocols including but not limited to: 
    • Social distancing
    • Frequent hand washing and use of sanitizer
    • Use of face coverings that cover the mouth and nose
    • Cough and sneeze etiquette
    • Enhance cleaning and disinfection of surfaces
  • Adequate supplies of cleaning and disinfecting products have been purchased including extra masks, spray bottles, hand sanitizer and dispensers and soap. 
  • Immunizations and health assessments will be required but the school will work with families to ensure that they are completed in a timely fashion rather than exclude students who were unable to attain immunizations or  health assessments because of appointment cancellations due to COVID-19. 
Reporting Illnesses and Addressing Vulnerable Populations
  • Families and staff will be reminded of the symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and asked to perform self-assessments prior to leaving for school.  Anyone with COVID-related symptoms will be required to stay home and to report such symptoms to the school. 
  • We will continuously remind the school community to stay home if they are sick and to inform the school if they have symptoms of, have been exposed to or have tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • Known cases of COVID-19 will be reported to the local health department by the school nurse.
  • Decisions about when to allow a staff member or student to return to school will follow CDC criteria for those who have had COVID-19 and those who have been in contact with someone who has. 
  • In order to best track data and support contact tracing, we will create separate designations in Powerschool, our attendance monitoring database, for COVID-19 Positive, COVID-19  Exposed, and COVID-19 Symptoms.
Social Distancing
  • Cohorting of classes, staggering of class and school dismissals, reminders, floor markings, traffic pattern communications, removal of extraneous classroom furniture, and desk placement will be used to maintain maximum social distancing possible between individuals to reduce transmission. In our full in-person plan we will work to maintain a distance of three feet whenever possible; for our hybrid model, six feet whenever possible. 
  • Adjustments to social distancing practices will be made as necessary based on guidance from the CDC and DPH.
Use of Face Coverings, Masks, and Face Shields
  • All students and staff will be required to wear face coverings while in school and on the bus. Exceptions will be made for:
    • Anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
    • Anyone who has a medical reason making it unsafe to wear a face covering.
  • Masks will be provided to any staff member or student who does not have one.  
  • Face shields will be available for all staff and used when it is necessary to remove the mask in order to instruct.
  • Plexiglass shields will protect school secretaries at their desks
  • In recognition of the difficulty of wearing masks for hours at a time, the school will create a plan for giving students “mask breaks”. 
Health Monitoring Plan
Planning and Distribution of Information
  • Protocols for the monitoring of symptoms of staff and students will include: allowing all students who ask to see the nurse, sending all students who exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19 to the nurse, isolating students who exhibit symptoms in a room and calling for a ride home immediately, supporting the families of students with symptoms in getting tested and reporting results, monitoring the attendance of staff and students through phone calls and texts to determine if the absence is related to COVID-19, communication with the local health department about possible cases, and communicating information about any positive cases among staff and students in a way that complies with relevant privacy and health laws. 
  • We will create designations in Powerschool to document students who are out of school with symptoms and those who have tested positive in order to support contact tracing. 
Containment Plan
  • Should a staff member or student show signs or symptoms of COVID-19, there is a known exposure, or there is a member of the school community with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis we will:   
    • immediately notify the local health department and be ready to comply with requests for information to assist with contact tracing.
    • Communicate with our response team of administrators and nurse in order to appropriately inform the school community of any decisions relating to possible exposure or closure.
  • An isolation room has been identified and will contain an air purifier.  A second room is available should it be needed. 
    • Any student with symptoms will be evaluated by the nurse and a decision made in partnership with administration as to whether or not the child should be put in isolation and sent home. Symptoms that will determine this include but may not be limited to: a fever of 100 or higher; difficulty breathing; persistent cough.
    • Should a student show symptoms, they will be isolated immediately and family called to pick up the child.  
    • Families will be asked to call from their cars when they arrive to pick up their child. The child will then be escorted to the car.
    • We will work on creating a list of next steps including how to get tested to help give guidance to families of students exhibiting symptoms.
    • The school nurse will follow-up with the family of such students through phone calls every day until it is deemed appropriate for the child to return to school. 
  • CDC cleaning/disinfecting procedures will be followed should a case of COVID-19 be confirmed in the school. 
Cancellation of Classes, Remote Learning, and Reopening Plan
  • The school leadership team and nurse will work with the local health department and the CSDE to determine if it is necessary to cancel classes.
  • All students will be given a chromebook to bring between school and home and students will be trained from the first day of school to become proficient and comfortable with the use of email and Google Classroom so that any transition to online learning will be immediate and smooth. 
  • We will have EPA approved wipes available for staff and students to wipe down materials brought into the building such as chromebooks. 
  • A hybrid model, including class schedules that take into account alternating (A/B) classes and which students will be in school on which days, has been created so should we have to move from full in-person to the hybrid model we will be able to do so immediately and smoothly.
  • A full Distance Learning plan has been created in the event that in-person classes must be cancelled.  
  • Staff training will include discussion of individual roles and responsibilities in the event of a shutdown. Such roles will include:
    • Teachers: Instruct, provide feedback and document progress of all students through Google Classroom and Meets.  This includes maintaining a spreadsheet accessible by all staff of individual student progress or lack thereof. 
    • Paraprofessionals: Support struggling students through frequent Google Classroom messages and daily, scheduled Google Meets. 
      • This schedule will be created based on information from our previous experience with Distance Learning.  
      • Students new to the school will be added to the schedule as their needs become apparent. 
    • Administration: Monitor all student progress and communicate needs and concerns to families via phone, emails, texts and letters. Monitor online instruction. Make any necessary support and training available to staff and students. 
    • Support Staff (social workers, school counselor): Continue counseling and services through Google Meets as much as possible. Reach out to families with concerns and support (e.g. food, technology, materials).  Confer with and advise teachers, paraprofessionals and administration about student social/emotional support. 
      • When appropriate, teachers will invite support staff to “visit” their Google Meets classes to check in with students and offer activities to support mental health and anxiety reduction.
    • Maintenance: Continue to work in the building following all health and safety guidelines, cleaning and disinfecting to prepare for return to the building. 
    • Secretaries: Remain in building following all health and safety guidelines as a point of contact for families.  They will be available to dispense materials families may need to access learning (e.g. chromebooks, hotspot devices, graph paper, pens, pencils, etc.). If necessary, such materials can also be delivered to homes. 
    • Meetings: In order to continue to best support students, communicate about their needs, update staff, check on staff well-being, and collaborate on instruction, data, and planning, whether using our in-person, hybrid, or full Distance plan, we will follow this meeting schedule:
      • Middle School: All certified teaching staff will meet twice a week.  Non-certified support staff will join teachers in a meeting once a week.
      • High School: All teachers and support staff will meet once a week in grade level meetings.
      • Committee Work: Committees such as that for Climate and Culture and Attendance will continue to meet bi-weekly.
      • Administration: Administrators will continue to meet daily. 
      • Whole School: Will meet bi-weekly.
      • Professional Development: Online trainings will be offered for staff to complete independently.  We will also continue our bi-weekly schedule of whole-school professional development including, but not limited to, workshops on the use of technology to support learning, differentiation, accommodation and modification of both in-person and online instruction, and issues surrounding attendance, climate and culture.  
  • Any contemplation of or actual school closing will be communicated to and discussed with staff via email and, when appropriate, Google Meets.   
Future Planning for Remote Blended Learning
  • Surveys were conducted with families and students at the end of the 2019-2020 school year in order to gather feedback about our Distance Learning practices.  This feedback informed the school’s remote and blended learning plans for the 2020-2012 school year.
  • Plans have been created to continue instruction and learning in a blended format or entirely online if necessary.  
  • Students who must be absent for extended periods of time, or whose families choose not to have them in the building for in-person instruction, will be instructed online through Google Classroom. 
Academics
Special Education
  • All reopening plans include students eligible for Special Education and 504 accommodations.
  • As with the most recent closure, all Special Education students will work through email, Google Classroom and Google Meets with their regular education teachers, Special Education teacher and assigned paraprofessionals. Such work will be documented and all available supports communicated with families.
  • Though programming decisions will not be made based on a student’s disability, all protocols for educating students eligible for Special Education and 504 accommodations will take into consideration each student’s developmental level and skills. 
  • Student progress toward their IEP goals will continue to be discussed at meetings bi-weekly. 
  • In our hybrid model, Special Education teachers will primarily support those Special Education students who are working virtually on their online practice and review day as online work has proven more challenging than in-person instruction for many of our Special Education students.  Special Education teachers will also be available to consult with general education teachers as they instruct Special Education students in-person and online. 
  • Mask and face-covering protocols will be tailored to student’s health and service needs.  
English Learners
  • All reopening plans include English Learners and will continue our sheltered language instruction program.
  • All English Learners will have access to the general education curriculum. 
  • All Spanish speaking families will be assigned a Spanish speaking staff member to communicate all important information by phone and email and through Google Meets when necessary.
  • English Learners who are also identified as eligible for Special Education will continue to receive all services. 
Family and Student Engagement
Family Support and Communication
  • The school will continue to comply with all federal and family engagement requirements including School Governance Councils and Title I requirements.
  • Communications will continue to be sent to all families throughout the summer through email, text and mail, letting them know about health and safety protocols, any need for school cancellation, and reminders and guidance about in-person and online instruction.  Such communication will continue throughout the year. 
  • Periodic Google Meets will be made available in order to update families and allow them to ask questions in real time.  School social workers will attend these meetings in order to be available to address social/emotional needs.
  • Spanish speaking families will receive important communication from Spanish speaking staff by phone. 
  • All important health, school closure and instruction information will be posted on our website. 
  • We will continue to survey students and families about their needs, concerns, and suggestions. 
  • We will continue to offer families technical training and support in-person following all health and safety guidelines, if we are able, and online if necessary, as part of our after school program.
  • We will continue with our plan to hold a book club for families; books will be distributed and meetings held online through Google Meets.   
  • We will continue to invite students and families to participate on such committees as Culture and Climate; meetings will be offered online and in the evenings for safety and convenience. 
Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and Mental Health
  • The decision of families not to send their children to in-person school will be honored and such children will be given assignments to complete online.  It is our goal to invite such students to Google Meets through which they will be able to attend their classes in real time. 
  • The first several days of school will consist of orientations that will review basic-school protocols and expectations as well as give students time to reacclimate to in-person school and get to know and connect with their peers and school staff. 
  • We will continue to begin each in-person day with a modified Circle of Power and Respect which will allow students time to share information and play a game before beginning the day. We will also continue to give students opportunities to practice of mindfulness and mindful meditation, both in-person and online.  
  • Information on how to relieve stress and anxiety will be sent to families.
  • Social Workers will continue to meet with individual students (following social distancing guidelines) both in-person and online. 
  • Teachers will invite school social workers to visit their classes in-person and online if necessary, to check-in and share tools and strategies for social/emotional growth.
  • The School Counselor will continue to work with students and families, both in person and online. 
  • Staff will continue to share any concerns about student physical and emotional health with the school social workers and administration.  
  • Should school move to online learning only, we will offer multiple non-academic opportunities for students to engage with staff and peers. Such opportunities may include; google meets lunch times; movie nights; game time through such sites as Houseparty, etc.
  • Staff will be reminded often about available supports such our Employee Assistance Plan. 
After School Programming
  • After school programming will continue on a case by case basis, with changes made in terms of numbers of students participating on any given day and spaces used in order to comply with social distancing guidelines. We will also limit after school programming to clubs; sports programming will not be held due to the challenge of wearing masks and the close physical proximity required. 
Career and Technical Education
  • Not applicable
Staffing and Personnel
Certification and Personnel Planning
  • All legal and regulatory requirements related to personnel, including EEOC guidance related to ADA and the COVID-19 pandemic, will be followed. 
  • Our full staff roster will be engaged; our full-time substitute teachers will continue to work daily to support staff and students. 
  • All staff have participated in individual, online year-end meetings with administration in order to gather information from all community members on actionable ideas to support a successful and smooth reopening.
  • TEAM mentoring and work on beginning teacher induction requirements will continue.
Professional Development
  • We will continue to hold bi-weekly whole-staff professional development through Google Meets to ensure safety. 
  • Mandatory training will be held online before school begins and repeatedly throughout the year. Such training will include:
    • Symptoms of COVID-19
    • Standard Public Health Protocols
    • Hygiene Practices
    • PPE
    • Reporting Illnesses
    • Supporting Social and Emotional Well-Being
  • Professional development on important topics such as instructional strategies, use of technology to support learning, behavior management, and social/emotional well-being will continue.