Safe Return Plan
LEA Name: Discovery Charter School
Date (mm/dd/yyyy): 06/13/2021
Date Revised (mm/dd/yyyy): 12/6/2021
1. Maintaining Health and Safety
For each mitigation strategy listed below (A–H), please describe how the LEA will maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and other staff and the extent to which it has adopted policies, and a description of any such policies, on each of the following safety recommendations established by the CDC.
Students and staff are asked to wear a mask at all times until masking requirements are no longer required in school settings. Signage will be posted at key locations throughout the schools and disposable masks are available to all adults and children if they need one. Visitors have to wear masks as well.
If a child or adult cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, we will discuss alternative options with the family, which may be to work from home.
Adults and children may remove their masks while eating or drinking, or unless they are in gym, dance, or music class outside, or in a well-ventilated area, and at least 6 feet away from anyone else.
Our teaching spaces will be configured to ensure adequate physical distancing between students as directed by the State, the NJ department of Education, the NJ Department of Health, and/or the CDC recommendations.
Students will seat in class in such a way that they all face the same direction. The number of transitions during the day will be reduced or eliminated, if necessary, by having teachers rotate teaching spaces.
Lunch will be served in the teaching areas, and if necessary will be brought to the students as opposed to students going to get their lunch in the kitchen.
C. Handwashing and respiratory etiquette
Frequent hand-washing will be permitted and encouraged at the staff’s discretion. Hand-sanitizing stations will be available in all the teaching spaces and at the entrances of the school to be used in addition to or in replacement of hand-washing. If students change desks during the day, they will wipe their desk with sanitizing wipes which are available in all teaching areas.
Students will be instructed not to share supplies, food, or any other items during the school day.
All students are encouraged and are reminded to practice proper hygiene and respiratory etiquette. Children and adults should cough in the corner of their arm to minimize cross contamination when touching surfaces with their hands. Cleaning materials are available in all teaching areas and students using a desk previously used are instructed to wipe the desk with sanitizing wipes that are available in all teaching areas.
D. Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation
The school will be thoroughly cleaned every evening by our contractor. Our pre-pandemic cleaning routine already included the disinfection of all surfaces, but we will add the cleaning and sanitizing of all plexiglass barriers, doors, mirrors, sinks, etc. We will spray the entire school with an aerosol disinfectant after cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces.
Our landlord ensured that the HVAC system has been adjusted to import as much fresh air as it is capable of, and the filters have been upgraded to Merv-11, which is the maximum it supports.
CO2 monitors in each teaching area will help us decide when to open windows and turn HEPA air filters on, to maintain a healthy input of fresh air.
Water fountain will continue to be closed until it is deemed safe.
If anyone in the school community tests positive for Covid-19, they are to report the situation immediately to the School Nurse, the School Leader, or the Operation Manager. If they are in school, they will be put in isolation, and sent home as soon as practical. The Department of Health will be contacted to decide who needs to be quarantined and for how long.
Our attendance system allows us to identify all students sharing the same teaching space. In case of an identified positive case, we will share all the contact information with the local health department as we have done twice during the 20-21 year. All families will be informed of the situation while respecting the privacy of those involved.
F. Diagnostic and screening testing
Staff members are expected to refer any students to the office if they observe or are concerned with a student's visible symptom upon arrival or throughout the course of the day. The children's temperature will then be taken and the nurse will be involved if necessary.
If a staff member feels ill or is experiencing any of these symptoms, they are encouraged to stay home for the safety of everyone. If they feel any of these symptoms after their arrival to school, they should inform the office.
G. Efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students, if eligible
While almost all staff members have been vaccinated, additional efforts to promote vaccination among students and currently non-vaccinated staff members will be made, including promoting local vaccination opportunities, on the school website.
A parents meeting was organized with a local pediatrician to answer questions from parents about vaccination.
Children who are in need of appropriate accommodations because of a temporary or chronic health condition will be provided with compensatory educational services as identified for children with disabilities with respect to existing home instruction policy.
If required by state mandate, executive order or through guidance from the NJDOE, students who are deemed a true medical risk to attend school in-person as a result of their disability or underlying medical condition, and have an endorsed letter by a physician, will be provided with an alternative educational model as outlined through specific guidance provided to schools.. Additional accommodations can be made internally while attending in-person instruction including but not limited to waiver of any masking requirement if it inhibits one's health with appropriate medical documentation.
2. Ensuring Continuity of Services
The in-person summer 2021 program addressed both academic support and enrichment as well as the socio-emotional needs of our students.
Additional math and ELA teachers allows the school to increase the amount of team-teaching and small group instruction in order to better assess the needs of our students, and provide more effective feedback and support. Enrichment and support in math and ELA will be provided to all students in smaller groups several times a week. A one-hour advisory period in the morning provides the support needed by the student to readjust to shared learning spaces with other students. We will make an important investment in the arts to increase students' engagement and to provide them with opportunities to process some of the challenges they have experienced and strengthen their voices. The school will increase its mental Health counseling capacity as well as small group counseling and coaching opportunities, which will also be made available to the staff.
Student Health Needs
Medical screenings will be conducted by the school nurse as required.
Breakfast and lunch continue to be offered to students attending school and available for pick-up for students working remotely. The same will happen during our summer program.
3. Public Comment
The safe return plan has also been posted on the school website with an invitation to send comments.
We will continue to share our safe return plans as we monitor the situation, and parent meetings have been scheduled on 12/13/21, 1/2/22, and 1/9/22. Additional Parents Meetings will be scheduled toward the end of the summer.
The school leader updates and discuss the safe return plan with the members of the board of trustees every month.