Compliance » Safe Return Plan

Safe Return Plan

LEA Name: Discovery Charter School

Date (mm/dd/yyyy):       06/13/2021                                                                             

Date Revised (mm/dd/yyyy): 11/27/2023

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.

A. Universal and correct wearing of masks

Following the CDCs recommendation, the school may require Students and staff to wear a mask at all times in school settings. Signage will be posted at key locations throughout the school and disposable masks will be available to all. Visitors would 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.

Adults and children would be allowed to 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 the distance required by the CDC.


In the absence of recommendations from the CDCs, masks are still available for students and staff, and any child or adult experiencing flu-like symptoms are encouraged to wear masks.


In other circumstances, such as unhealthy air quality due to wildfires, the school may provide masks to students and faculty to wear outside the school.

B. Physical distancing (e.g., including use of cohorts/podding)

The school has acquired class furniture that allows flexible configuration of our classrooms and would allow us to ensure adequate physical distancing between students if directed by the State, the NJ department of Education, the NJ Department of Health, and/or the CDC recommendations.


Following more recent studies, we will no longer arrange for plexiglass screens on students’ desks. If necessary, all students will face the same direction.


 The number of transitions during the day may be reduced, if necessary by having teachers rotate teaching spaces when possible.


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 are available in several locations in the school and their number may be increased to all the teaching spaces of the school to be used in addition to or in replacement of hand-washing.  If students change desks during the day, wipes may be made available in all teaching spaces so that students can sanitize their desks. Desks are sanitized every night by the cleaning crew.

Students may 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.

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,

If recommended by the CDCs the cleaning crew may 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.

Portable HEPA air filtration systems are available to cover all teaching spaces.

CO2 monitors are available and may be deployed  in each teaching area to help us decide when to open windows and when to turn HEPA air filters on, to maintain a healthy input of fresh air.

Our water fountain has been replaced by a water bottle filling station.

E. Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the State, local, territorial, or Tribal health departments

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

Families will be strongly encouraged to monitor their children everyday before sending them to school for signs of COVID-19 like symptoms.

The school has not renewed its supplies of rapid antigen tests but has the equipment available to administer rapid PCR tests and will acquire more supplies if recommended by the CDCs.

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.

If feasible and recommended by the health authorities, regular testing will be provided in school for staff members and for children. Families will be able to opt-out.

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 was made, including promoting local vaccination opportunities, on the school website.


H. Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to the health and safety policies

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

A. Describe how the LEA will ensure continuity of services, including but not limited to services to address students’ academic needs and students’ and staff’s social, emotional, mental health, and other needs, which may include student health and food services. (1000 character limit)

Academic Needs

Discovery will continue to provide a variety of socio-emotional and academic support as needed, including participation in the NJ4S program in Essex county.

The addition of an ELA and a math teacher will allow 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.

One-hour advisory period in the morning will provide the support needed by the students to readjust to shared learning spaces with other students. 

The arts will increase students' engagement and provide them with opportunities to process some of the challenges they have experienced. We will increase our mental Health counseling and coaching capacity for the students and the staff.

Medical screenings will be conducted as required.

Breakfast and lunch continue to be offered to students attending school.

3. Public Comment

A. Describe how the LEA sought public comment on its plan, and how it took those public comment into account in the development of its plan.  Note, the ARP requires that LEAs seek public comment for each 60-day revision to the plan. (1000 character limit)

The safe return plan was presented to the board and discussed with key stakeholders.  It has also been posted on the school website.

We will continue to share our safe return plans.

B. Describe how the LEA ensured that the plan is in an understandable and uniform format; is to the extent practicable written in a language that parents can understand or, if not practicable to provide written translations to a parent with limited English proficiency, will be orally translated for such a parent; and upon request by a parent who is an individual with a disability as defined by the ADA, will be provided in an alternative format accessible to that parent. (1000 character limit)
A slide presentation was developed to explain the plan and discuss it with the families of our students. Spanish translation is available on our website. If a member of the community were to need an explanation of any content within this plan, further translation can be provided orally or through assistive technologies. If a greater level of need arises the district will make its best effort to accommodate the individual and their specific request in accordance with the American Disabilities Act (ADA). An alternative format, accessibility option or accommodation would be provided.