Reopening Plan for School Year 20-21

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Updated: November 22, 2020

Table of Contents

Introduction

To assure equity in education for all students, Rosalyn Yalow Charter School’s reopening plan emphasizes returning all students to in-person instruction. The New York State Department of Health and the Governor’s office prioritize in-person instruction for students in early grades, special education students, and English language learners. All these account for 100% of  Rosalyn Yalow’s student body. Yalow’s instructional plan continues providing families with two options, a hybrid model consisting of 3 days of in-person instruction and 2 days of remote instruction, OR 5 days of fully remote instruction.

On April 23, 2020, the Rosalyn Yalow Charter School was named one of 582 high-achieving Recognition Schools, including 37 charter schools, from across New York, placing Rosalyn Yalow among the top 13% of schools in New York State.

 

As our authorizer noted:

“Recognition schools are those with high academic achievement and strong progress, that also perform acceptably for all subgroups for which they are accountable…”

 

The hybrid in-person reopening plan we have outlined reflects our continued commitment to reduce the achievement gap for all of Rosalyn Yalow students, including special education students and English language learners. In-person learning is paramount to abating learning losses experienced by many of Rosalyn Yalow’s current ELL students in both their English language development and their mastery of content area knowledge, as well as special education students.

Parent Survey

Parents are being asked to sign an online contract requesting either hybrid in-person or full-remote instruction, using portal.yalowcharter.org. The contract period is November 23, 2020–December 23, 2020. In-person remediation classes on Mondays and Wednesdays will not be offered during the November 23–December 23 period.

The school will reevaluate the hybrid instruction model on December 23 and determine whether or not to modify the model.

Social Distancing

Rosalyn Yalow will ensure that social distancing (of at least 6 ft. or a physical barrier) is maintained while in school facilities and on school grounds, including in the hallways and cafeteria, unless safety or the core activity (e.g., moving equipment, using an elevator, traveling in common areas) requires a shorter distance or individuals are of the same household. Cafeteria tables Have been retrofitted with polycarbonate dividers.  Rosalyn Yalow will prohibit sharing of food and beverages, unless students are members of the same household.

Face Coverings

Adults and students must wear acceptable face coverings, excluding students who are unable to medically tolerate a face covering. Rosalyn Yalow will train all students, faculty, and staff on how to adequately put on, take off, clean (as applicable), and discard PPE.


Students, staff, and faculty should be prepared to don a face covering if another person unexpectedly cannot socially distance; for this reason, individuals must wear face coverings in common areas, such as entrances/exits, lobbies, hallways, and when traveling around the school.  Acceptable face coverings for COVID-19 include but are not limited to cloth-based face coverings and surgical masks that cover both the mouth and nose. (Masks with built-in respirator valves are not permitted because particulates can be dispersed into common areas.)

Rosalyn Yalow will operate on a no mask, no entry policy. Students must wear a face covering to ride the school bus and wear it while entering, exiting, and seated. The school will provide temporary masks when necessary, but all adults and children are advised to have their own masks.

Hygiene, Cleaning and Disinfection

Yalow’s two campus buildings were deep cleaned before teachers and students returned to school in September 2020.

Rosalyn Yalow will exceed hygiene, cleaning, and disinfection requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health (DOH) to identify cleaning and disinfection frequency for each facility type.  Rosalyn Yalow will provide and maintain hand-sanitizer stations throughout the school. Rosalyn Yalow will conduct nightly and mid-day cleaning and disinfection for frequently touched surfaces, including desks, cafeteria tables, and door handles.

Rosalyn Yalow’s disinfection protocol exceeds CDC guidelines by using UV-C lamps with ozone each evening for disinfecting every classroom and the cafeteria. UV-C lamps with ozone kill all airborne viral, bacterial, and fungal agents, the most germicidal effect in the ultraviolet spectrum.

Rosalyn Yalow will rely on NYCDOE Pupil Transportation to ensure that school bus companies and personnel follow all appropriate guidelines for cleanliness.

Communication

Rosalyn Yalow has posted completed reopening plans at the school and on the school website for faculty, staff, students, and parents/legal guardians to access. We have engaged with school stakeholders and community members when developing reopening plans, including parents, administrators, teachers, NYCDOH, NYC Department of Education Offices of School Health, School Food, and Pupil Transportation, the NYC Fire Department, Hughes Environmental Engineering, and Montefiore Medical Center’s School Health Program, and put in place a communications plan for parents/legal guardians, staff, and visitors. Communications will be provided in the language(s) spoken at home when necessary.

Return to School

Daily temperature checks will be mandatory for every adult and child entering the building—contractors, vendors, and visitors—performed by a nurse from the NYC Department of Health (DOH). Personnel performing in-person screening will follow DOH guidelines.

 

In addition, all staff and parents will be required to complete an electronic health screening each morning prior to arriving at school using portal.yalowcharter.org to complete the COVID-19 Certification. The daily COVID-19 Certification asks staff and parents to answer the same four questions required to enter a NYC hospital (see attachment). Four “no” responses are required for staff or students to enter the school.

Rosalyn Yalow will follow the DOH requirements for determining when individuals, particularly students, who screen positive for COVID-19 symptoms can return to school. Returning to school after quarantine requires documentation of evaluation by a healthcare provider and symptom resolution, or if COVID-19 positive, release from quarantine as required by DOH and NYSED. Current DOH guidelines specify that staff and students may return to school after 10 days;  students (or staff) who were exposed to the COVID-19 virus must complete a 14-day quarantine following their first date of exposure. If they have not developed symptoms they may return to school in coordination with NYC Test and Trace and the DOH.

Quarantine

A student who screens positive upon arrival at school or becomes symptomatic while at school will be escorted to a designated isolation room and parents/guardians will be notified to pick the child up.

Facilities

Rosalyn Yalow has changed the way space is utilized within classrooms and common areas, including the cafeteria, to protect students. The School worked with HVAC engineering professionals to increase ventilation and filtration within the school to meet or exceed ventilation requirements by adding MERV 13 filters (see Ventilation, below).

Ventilation

Rosalyn Yalow will increase ventilation with outdoor air to the greatest extent possible (e.g., opening windows and classroom doors, maximizing airflow in building ventilation systems) while maintaining health and safety protocols. At the 169th Street campus HVAC filters have been upgraded to MERV 13 filters—the highest workable filtering capacity for the 169th Street system—and the MERV 13 will be changed monthly rather than quarterly.

 

The landlord of the Third Avenue campus has also upgraded to MERV 13 filters

Operational Activities

Rosalyn Yalow reconfigured all 19 homeroom classrooms to maximize space for students and teachers to move safely within the rooms. Although the footprint for each classroom is fixed, the number of students choosing in-person instruction will vary from class to class. Rosalyn Yalow uses a co-teaching model of instruction, with two teachers in each classroom, supplemented by a number of special education teachers, teachers for English language learners, and reading interventionists. Our co-teaching model remains unchanged but can accommodate the choices parents make—a teacher initially assigned to in-person instruction may be reassigned to remote instruction if a child is quarantined.

All classrooms have been retrofitted with clear protective polycarbonate barriers to enable students to more safely sit at desks. Extra furniture has been removed from classrooms to create more space. The school will be cleaned nightly, in addition to using UV-C lamps in each room to eliminate any COVID-19 particulates.

We will limit the number of parents and visitors in the building. Parents may request virtual appointments with teachers.

Remote/In-Person Instruction

Rosalyn Yalow provides families with a choice. Families may choose hybrid in-person instruction or fully remote instruction. Hybrid in-person instruction consists of 3 days of in-person instruction and 2 days of remote instruction using Google Classroom. Hybrid schedules are shown in the table below for grades K–2 and grades 3–5.

Remote instruction consists of 7–9 hours of daily instruction Monday–Friday using Google Classroom.

All teachers will be teaching in person from their respective classrooms at Yalow so that all students have an opportunity to experience that classroom community.

Rosalyn Yalow has installed video cameras to live-stream instruction from each student’s homeroom to enable real-time instruction in Core Knowledge Language Arts and Singapore math allowing remote students to see and hear one another and respond to questions asked.

We continue assessing student learning to identify and support students who are struggling. In addition to Rosalyn Yalow’s 38 homeroom teachers, we have a dedicated 17-person intervention team to provide additional academic support for those who need it.  

Because of the personalized needs of individual students, targeted small-group interventions must be conducted in person. (See Special Education, p. 7, and English as a New Language, p. 8.)

Parents who believe their students need targeted interventions should consider choosing hybrid instruction.

Hybrid Instruction Model, consisting of 3 days in-person instruction at Yalow—highlighted in yellow—and 2 days remote instruction (green), begins on Tuesday, November 24, 2020, as follows:

In-person instruction (yellow): Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

Remote instructional (green) days using Google Classroom: Monday, Wednesday

Refer to the table, below, for hours of instruction by grade level.

Grades K–1

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
RemoteIn-PersonRemoteIn-PersonIn-Person
7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.7:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.


Grades 3–5

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
RemoteIn-PersonRemoteIn-PersonIn-Person
8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

 

Remote Instruction Model consisting of 5 days of remote learning, Monday–Friday

Refer to the table, below, for hours of instruction by grade level.

Grades K–1

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
RemoteRemoteRemoteRemoteRemote
7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.7:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.


Grades 3–5

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
RemoteRemoteRemoteRemoteRemote
8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Fire Safety Drills

Rosalyn Yalow will continue to conduct mandatory fire and lockdown drills according to the existing statutory schedule. Rosalyn Yalow is meeting with the Fire Department of New York to address best practices to promote social distancing during evacuation drills.

Food Service

Rosalyn Yalow partners with the NYCDOE Office of Food and Nutrition Services to provide breakfast, lunch, and snacks to students in compliance with Child Nutrition Program requirements. Students are required to wear face coverings walking to and from the cafeteria. Cafeteria tables will be cleaned using disinfectant wipes between seating of student groups. The NYCDOE provides a certified food handler to distribute student meals and assist with cleaning cafeteria surfaces.

Families choosing remote instruction will be notified about grab ‘n go locations to pick up meals.

Transportation

As of November 21, yellow bus service is still erratic; for those students in need of transportation, the NYC Office of Pupil Transportation has supplied Yalow with free student metro cards.

 

The school continues working with the Office of Pupil Transportation to ensure that students who are homeless, in foster care, or have disabilities receive safe and effective transportation as required by law (McKinney-Vento).  Students must wear acceptable face coverings at all times on public and school buses (e.g., entering, exiting, and seated), and maintain appropriate social distancing, unless they are members of the same household.

 

When full student bus service resumes later this fall, Rosalyn Yalow will rely on NYCDOE Pupil Transportation to ensure that school bus companies and personnel follow all appropriate guidelines for safety.

Mental Health, Behavioral, Emotional Support Services and Programs

The social-emotional health of our students is very important. Montefiore Medical Center’s School Health Program is partnering with Rosalyn Yalow to provide students and their families with mental health services, resources, and referrals to address mental health—behavioral and emotional. Outreach to families began on November 21, and will continue throughout the month of December. Initially, Montefiore will provide teletherapy­—via videoconference—and eventually open a satellite clinic in Yalow’s 169th St. campus. Parents must sign consent forms to begin teletherapy.

Rosalyn Yalow’s 10 in-house teacher-social workers in kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades will support students having difficulty transitioning back to in-person instruction. Faculty and staff have been trained on how to talk with, and support, students during and after the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency.

Recess

We believe in recess, and will continue to escort students outside, weather permitting. The chess team convenes on Saturdays for virtual lessons and engages in online chess tournaments with private schools.

Extracurriculars

Rosalyn Yalow’s policies about when Yalow’s after-school chess and fencing teams will resume in person continues to evolve. Considerations include social distancing, PPE usage, as well as risk of COVID-19 transmission (e.g., interscholastic sports).

Yalow’s chess team convenes Saturdays for virtual lessons and enters online chess tournaments with private schools.

Schoolwide assemblies and family gatherings have been suspended until further notice.

Vulnerable Populations

Rosalyn Yalow will make all reasonable efforts to accommodate all vulnerable populations, including students, faculty, and staff who might be at increased risk for COVID-19 and individuals who have reason to feel uncomfortable returning to an in-person instruction environment. Such accommodations may entail special PPE provided for students and/or staff populations. The school will communicate any policy or procedure changes accordingly.

Technology And Connectivity

Rosalyn Yalow is providing Internet service and Chromebooks to those who need them. Every quarantined child will be able to participate in distance learning.

Budget & Fiscal

Rosalyn Yalow will continue to meet existing state aid reporting requirements.  All student data reporting to NYC and NYS, such as student attendance, annual report, and related fiscal data will continue, except where modified by law, regulation, or executive order.

Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism

Rosalyn Yalow will collect and report daily teacher/student attendance for both in-person and remote-instruction and make daily phone contact with students not at the school.

Teacher Evaluation System

Rosalyn Yalow’s goal is that teachers improve their overall effectiveness in educating their students. The Rosalyn Yalow teacher evaluation system remains unchanged, and will follow the same protocols for teachers conducting in-person or remote instruction.  Teachers are evaluated on their performance, student learning, data, lesson plans, and other important instructional attributes. Teachers are evaluated both formally and informally on a daily basis—including when instruction is conducted virtually.  Data from evaluations guide teacher professional development.

Special Education

18% of Rosalyn Yalow’s students are special education students, with IEPs specifying integrated co-teaching, SETSS, or related services. All mandated services will be offered either in person or by videoconference. In-person instruction is a priority for high-need students with disabilities.

 

Integrated Co-Teaching: Grades K-1 will be provided instruction at our Third Ave Campus with a model of 1 general education teacher, 1 teacher-social worker, and 1 special education teacher. The special education teacher supports group lessons in core subjects and provides small group instruction in groups of no more than 4 (separated by polycarbonate partitions for protection).

 

Integrated Co-Teaching: Grades 2-5 will be provided instruction at our main site with a model of 2 general education teachers and 1 special education teacher. The special education teacher supports group lessons in core subjects and provides small group instruction in groups of no more than 4 (separated by polycarbonate partitions for protection).

 

SETSS Services: Students will be provided their SETSS mandate daily as recommended by their IEPs.

 

Related services: Speech, occupational therapy, counseling, and physical therapy will be provided by outside specialists assigned by the DOE to our school based on the written mandates on a student’s IEP.

 

Remote Special Education Services: Integrated co-teaching services will be provided online.  The teachers will support the students with modified lessons as specified.

 

Remote SETSS services will be provided by a special education teacher in a group session to meet the IEP recommendations.

 

Remote Related services: Speech, occupational therapy, counseling and physical therapy will be provided through teletherapy—by videoconference. The group size may vary or the service may be individual if scheduling proves difficult.  

English as a New Language

32% of Rosalyn Yalow’s current students are English language learners (ELLs). Rosalyn Yalow conducted the NYC Home Language Identification Survey (HLIS) for each student entering Rosalyn Yalow within 30 days of the start of school—October 8, 2020—to identify newly enrolled ELL students, and will test all students who enroll thereafter.

In-person learning is more effective that remote instruction to abating learning losses.

Rosalyn Yalow will provide all communications to parents/guardians of ELLs in their preferred language to ensure that they have equitable access to critical information about their children’s education. As always, Rosalyn Yalow will ensure that all ELLs are provided with the required instructional units of study in their English as a New Language (ENL) program based on their most recently measured NYS English language proficiency level.

Working With Health Authorities

If a confirmed COVID-19 case arises within a classroom it may be necessary for a class to transition to remote learning. Classroom closure triggers, however, are always evolving and will be made in consultation with DOH.

Conclusion

Rosalyn Yalow will fully implement its approved charter authorized by the New York State Board of Regents on March 2, 2020.

 

We believe that this reopening plan optimizes the health and safety of our students, teachers, and staff, given the challenges we all face due to COVID-19. We will closely monitor additional guidance and requests from all stakeholders and will update our reopening plan accordingly.  The most current reopening plan will always be posted on the school’s website.