ECELC In-Person Educational and Safety Plan
The ECELC Educational and Safety Plan has been written in compliance with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education guidelines and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Guidance on Special Education Services using the following guiding principles:
- The health and safety of students, staff and families is our highest priority
- In-person instruction will be prioritized for preschool students, especially those with disabilities
- Continuous learning and growth for all students must be maintained despite fluctuating circumstances
- Safety and health practices to mitigate virus spread must be balanced with developmentally appropriate practice which develops essential social-emotional competencies and fosters learning
Student schedules have been adjusted to ensure all children with disabilities gain preschool experience four half-days per week. These students will also be offered instruction and services remotely each Wednesday. Remote instruction schedules will be offered to families, coordinated by the classroom teacher prior to the start of school during individual remote orientation appointments.
Peer model students without disabilities will attend three or four half-days per week and will not receive remote instruction on Wednesdays.
School start/end times:
AM half-day session - 9:15am-11:45pm
PM half-day session - 1:15pm-3:45pm
Full day session - 9:15am - 3:45pm (NECC students only)
Daily lessons and activities will be designed by the classroom teacher to foster physical distancing in the most effective way to mitigate virus spread while continuing to help children enjoy their day, support the development of social-emotional competencies, and foster learning.
- Students will be supported to maintain 6ft of physical distance from other students when outdoors and at other times when feasible. Students will be supported to maintain at least 3ft of physical distance from other students consistently throughout the day while engaged in all types of activities.
- Students will have individual seating during Circle Time and Story Time spaced a minimum of 3 ft apart using individual, labeled carpet circles and/or cube chairs.
- Classroom groups will be considered a “cohort” and will not mix with other groups.
- For safety reasons, adults (teachers, assistants, therapists, Principal) will be in close proximity to students while supporting them in learning activities, providing special education services and traveling from point A to point B.
Hygiene and Cleaning
Maintaining a clean school environment for teachers and students is of utmost importance. Cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting of toys, any shared materials and high touch surfaces will be intensified.
- Student activity tables and chairs will be wiped down between student use. A thorough cleaning of student tables, chairs and bathrooms will be conducted between class sessions.
- Custodial support will be increased to assist with increased cleaning needs
- Each classroom will have a utility sink for regular washing of play items.
- Any items that come into contact with bodily fluids (saliva, mucous) will be immediately removed from circulation until they can be washed/sanitized properly. Each classroom will have a separate bin designated for these items.
- Regular inspection and disposal of paper-based materials that are damaged or soiled will be conducted.
Minimized Sharing of Materials
- Students will be provided individual craft supplies (crayons, makers, glue, paint, paper etc.) for arts and crafts activities. These will be labeled and maintained for their use only.
- Students may be provided individual sensory materials (play-dough, sand, finger paint). Shared use of common sensory materials will be prohibited. These items will be discarded after each use.
- Easily cleaned items (plastic, wood) may be shared within classrooms, however, students will be required to wash or hand sanitized prior to playing with shared materials. These items will be cleaned and sanitized prior to use with another group of students.
- Children’s books and paper-based materials may be shared, as these items are low risk for transmission of the virus.
All classrooms, offices and common areas will have hand sanitizer dispensers, containing sanitizer consisting of at least 60% alcohol. These will be kept out of reach of the students. Students will utilize these with adult support and close supervision. Each classroom has two sinks for handwashing purposes. Students and staff will wash hands and/or use sanitizer consistently at the following times:
- Upon entry and exit from the program space
- Before and after eating
- After sneezing, coughing or nose blowing
- After toileting or diapering
- After touching or cleaning surfaces that may be contaminated
- After using shared equipment or materials
- After assisting children with hand washing
- Before entering vehicles used for transportation of children
- After handling a face covering
- After changing gloves
All staff and students are required to wear face coverings. Students are required to have a mask and wear it to the greatest extent possible, with the exception of eating, or during water/mask breaks. Students who are unable to wear a mask at any time due to a disability or medical condition will require a mask exemption letter from a physician to be kept on file at school. This will communicate to staff that building mask tolerance should not be worked on with the child. Students who are not yet wearing masks consistently, who are working to build mask tolerance, DO NOT need a letter from a physician, as they are not exempt from wearing a mask. Staff will be working with them to develop and increase mask tolerance while at school. If a non-exempt child fails to make progress toward mask tolerance within a two week period of time, a physician’s note may be requested. If a student does not have a face covering, he/she will be provided with a face covering by the District.
Please scan and email physician’s notes to o’email@example.com or drop it off at school by pulling up to the front curb, calling the main office at (508) 790-6493 and following the directions given.
Face coverings can be disposable or reusable and will need to fully cover the nose and mouth, secure under the chin, be made with at least 2 layers of breathable material, fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face, and be secured with ties or ear loops. Based on guidance from health authorities neck gaiters, open chin triangle bandanas and face coverings containing valves, mesh material or holes of any kind will not be considered appropriate face coverings.
All ECELC students and staff will be expected to wear masks within the school building. When in outdoor spaces, when physical distancing allows, masks may be removed for a mask break. If a student needs a mask break within the classroom and they are six feet away from others, teachers may allow students to take a mask break. Teachers may take their class outside for a brief mask break (5 minutes). Students must be supervised at all times during a mask break.
Transportation is offered to students with disabilities only. Due to physical distancing guidelines, capacity on small buses is extremely limited. Families entitled to transportation for their child are strongly encouraged to drive students to and from school if possible. All students riding the bus will adhere to the transportation guidelines issued by DESE. Upon arrival, students will be released slowly to allow proper distancing when entering the building.
Families will be required to use the curb-side drop off and pick up procedure described below. Lines at the front door will not be permitted. If a child needs to be picked up early, the caregiver will be required to call the main office upon arrival and a staff member will bring the child out to the vehicle.
Families must place a car tag (school provided) in the passenger side window showing the child’s name and classroom teacher. Staff members from the child’s class will make an attempt to bring students from their class only to and from vehicles, however, other staff members may be permitted to assist when needed. Each staff member will use hand sanitizer between students, as hand-holding is necessary for safety while traveling near the road/parking lot.
The photo below shows the proper flow of traffic at drop-off and pick-up times. Students and caregivers must remain in vehicles until a staff member approaches. Adults may then get out to assist children out of car seats and hand them off to the staff member. All adults will be required to wear face coverings while assisting their child in and out of car seats during drop off and pick up.
Passing/ Transition Time
Students will remain in the classroom until a designated time for transitions such as recess or mask breaks and dismissal. They will leave the classroom in single file order and remain on the right side of the hallway, with staff support.
Student personal belongings brought from home should be clearly labeled and will not be shared among other students. Students will keep their backpacks and other belongings in a cubby, however, every other cubby will be kept empty to ensure items do not touch and a system will be developed so that students are kept 6ft apart while accessing their belongings.
Each preschool classroom has a self-contained bathroom, one student at a time will be allowed. Students will be supported by staff to engage in proper hand hygiene before and after using the bathroom.
Indoor assemblies are prohibited. Outdoor assemblies may be permitted by class/grade level with physical distancing guidelines in place.
Classroom Size and Space
Size and Assignment
- A maximum of 11 students will be assigned to each classroom (7 students with disabilities and 3-4 peer models). Enrollment of new peer model students will be extremely limited to accomplish this goal.
- Classes will be supervised by a minimum of two staff members. Students who require 1:1 support will continue to receive that support.
- Students will not be mixed among classes/groups.
- Siblings within the program will be assigned to the same class and schedule if possible.
- Classrooms will be set up to include individual seating for each student (using a combination of cube chairs and/or carpet squares) for whole group meetings (Circle Time), 4 activity stations and 1 library area - all socially distanced at 6ft.
- All soft items and items not easily washed will be removed from classrooms.
- Desks, shelving units, cabinet tops and counters will be kept clutter free so that all items in the classroom can be easily wiped down and sanitized frequently.
- Kitchen sets and play food will be removed from classrooms, as these items encourage mouthing items.
ECELC will operate with open dampers to provide as much air flow as possible without affecting recommended humidity (generally 40%- 60%) and temperature levels (generally 68-77). Air handlers will run consistently starting August 26 and windows will be opened for the day two hours prior to building occupancy and for two hours after building occupancy. All additional aspects of the district’s ventilation policy will also be followed.
Food and Beverage
Snack time for half-day students will be eliminated to reduce the frequency of handwashing necessary throughout the limited school day. Full day students should bring a bagged, cold, ready-to-eat lunch from home. Students are encouraged to bring their own water bottle. Food will not be shared between students at any time.
Social Emotional Support
Developing social and emotional competencies (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making) is the primary goal of preschool education. Growing these skills in a remote learning environment offers a unique challenge. The preschool staff will be making adjustments to teaching and modeling practices to meet this challenge which will include:
- Updating school-wide expectations for behavior to include new guidelines for safety in each environment (school, classroom, recess, bus).
- These will be directly taught, modeled and reinforced to students
- Social stories and visual aides will be created to reinforce the new expectations
- Lessons that directly teach the social and emotional competencies will be increased in frequency and modified to include new problems and peer conflicts that may arise due to new school expectations.
- Teachers will implement strategies to increase the focus on community building in their classrooms during the first six weeks of school, so that the students feel a deeper sense of belonging should they be required to transition to remote learning.
ECELC’s School Psychologist, Amber Camelio, will check in with students and teachers on a regular basis. If a child is in need of social, emotional or behavior support during the school day, a staff member will contact Mrs. Camelio and, when available, she will visit the classroom. She will decide what the student needs to return to learning. Caregivers are encouraged to reach out to Mrs. Camelio with any concerns or questions regarding their child’s social-emotional well-being.
- Updating school-wide expectations for behavior to include new guidelines for safety in each environment (school, classroom, recess, bus).
Nurses Facilities and Covid Space
All students, faculty and staff should remain home if at any time they are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.
Protocols for Sending Students to the Nurse
The school nurse will be notified by a staff member if a student needs medical attention. The school nurse will go to the area where the student is in need of support. If the nurse determines that the child needs to visit the nurse’s office, they will walk with the child to the office.
- If a student or staff member becomes ill at school, it is important to isolate them as quickly as possible to reduce the chance of transmission of illness to others.
- The staff member who suspects a student is ill should call the nurses office immediately and the nurse will determine whether they will go to the classroom or have the student go to the nurse’s office. The student should have a face covering/mask on.
- The student with suspected COVID-19 should wear a mask and be brought by a nurse to the COVID-19 Medical Waiting room (sick/isolation) room for assessment, or outside as per nurse’s judgement (weather dependent).
- The nurse will don required PPE as needed. The ill student or staff member will be assessed in the sick/isolation room.
- A nurse will complete an assessment of illness to determine if isolation or an immediate call to 911 is required. A nurse will stay with the student or staff member providing support until EMS arrives.
- If a child exhibits symptoms of illness the nurse will call the parent to inform of assessment findings and ask the parent if there have been any known exposure to illness.
- The parent/guardian or designee will need to pick up the child immediately.
- The ill student’s parent/guardian or staff member should call their healthcare provider for further directions.
- Custodial staff should wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting to minimize potential for other employees being exposed to respiratory droplets. If waiting 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible. During this waiting period, open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in these areas. Custodial staff should follow the CDC cleaning and disinfection recommendations for cleaning the exposed area.
- The School Nurse will call the local public health to determine close contacts within the school as needed for contact tracing for strongly suspected cases of COVID-19. She will work with them regarding any other guidance regarding possible exposures and who may need to self-quarantine within the building.
- Students or staff member will need a medical note stating they are cleared to return to school if they test positive for COVID-19 or if they are strongly suspected of having it.
- BPS nursing and administration should follow the Public Health Recommendations for Community-Related Exposure.
- Parents/Guardians should follow CDC-recommended steps for return to school. Students should not return to school until they have met the criteria to discontinue home isolation and have consulted with a healthcare provider and state or local health department.
- If a student or staff member is confirmed to have COVID-19, BPS nursing and administration should inform close contacts of their possible exposure to COVID-19 while maintaining confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- If a student or staff member calls out ill and notifies the school that they are ill at home and have COVID-19 symptoms, the nurse will instruct them to call their health care provider and take guidance from the local public health department.
Student Office Access and Appointments
Office access will be extremely limited due to the size and inability to physically distance in the reception area. Staff members will be required to use equipment in the designated staff work/lunch space only.
Copying and Supplies
Room 8 has been designated as the staff work/lunch space. Copy machines and other equipment may be used by staff as long as physical distancing requirements are met. Staff should wash hands or use hand sanitizer prior to touching shared equipment.
During this time, visitors are discouraged from entering ECELC. Visitors will only be allowed under specific circumstances. Visitors need to call the school first to notify them of the reason to come to the building. The ECELC phone number is (508) 790-6490.
All visitors who are given permission to enter the building will need to follow all of the safety guidelines below, which are posted at the entrances:
- Face masks are required for all visitors
- Social distancing of 6 feet must be maintained at all times
- Hand sanitizer should be used upon entering the school
- Do not enter if you are not feeling well
Any visitor entering a school will be required to sign in/out at the main office, so there is a record of entry and exit for safety reasons and in case contact tracing is necessary. In addition, they will need a picture ID.
If parents/guardians are dropping off a personal item for the child(ren) they will need to call the school first. Upon arrival there will be a container located near the front entrance in which the item will be left. The item will be brought into the school by a staff member and arrangements will be made for ensuring the child receives the item.