The Susan Odell Taylor School (SOTS) recognizes that in-person learning is critical to our students’ health, well-being, academic success, and socialization. To increase the school’s ability to remain open, despite COVID-19, we are committed to adhering to multiple mitigation strategies that include vaccination, the appropriate use of face masks, physical distancing, and screening testing as a means of reducing exposures and quarantines.

The New York State Department of Health issued Interim NYSDOH Guidance For Classroom Instruction in P-12 Schools During the 2021 2022 Academic Year on September 2, 2021. The NYSDOH guidance is based on Schools Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Taylor School will continue to partner with the Rensselaer County Department of Health in the implementation of the recommended COVID-19 protocols.

 

Admittance to Buildings

Only faculty, staff, educational service providers, and students will be permitted to enter the buildings. All other visitors will require permission from the Office Manager or an administrator to enter.

Bus Transportation

The SOTS relies upon the transportation departments of our families’ districts of residence for busing.   Students and their families are expected to comply with the health and safety protocols of their public school transportation departments. 

Cleaning and Disinfection

The SOTS’s custodial staff is responsible for cleaning and disinfecting the school each day.

Students and teachers also contribute to cleaning efforts of high-touch areas at periodic intervals throughout the day. Classrooms will be stocked with a child-safe, CDC-approved disinfectant cleaner.

In addition:

  • All drinking fountains will be closed. Students should bring a labeled, filled water bottle to school each day. Water bottles can be refilled at sinks or water coolers.
  • Students will have their own personal supplies ( pencils, crayons, markers, etc.).
  • Students will be able to share some learning materials. Teachers will require handwashing/sanitizing of hands between uses.
  • Touchless faucets, soap dispensers, and paper towel dispensers have been installed in restrooms.
  • No-touch trash cans will be available in all classrooms and bathrooms.

Cohorting

The SOTS has divided our campuses into “cohorts,” which will allow students to interact with a consistent group of students each day. Each cohort has a self-contained ventillation system, as well as a separate entrance, classroom spaces, sinks, and bathrooms.

The cohorts at the Pinewoods Campus are: Prekindergarten (main building), Kindergarten (main building), the 1/2 Class (main building), the 3/4 Class (separate building referred to as “the Bungalow”). The 5/6 Class and the 7/8 Class together comprise their own cohort in the Walker Building on the Russell Sage College Campus.

Adjunct (Specials) teachers in art, gym, and music will travel between the cohorts to deliver their programs.

COVID-19 Tests

The school has both rapid antigen tests and a Point of Care PCR machine on site. Results are available in approximately 20 minutes. If your child is symptomatic, you can make an appointment for a test with our school nurse Erica Mahar. Please call the school, 518-274-4994, to set up an appointment. Appointments are available between 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm.

Exposure to COVID 19

If Your Child Was Exposed to Someone with COVID:

All students  ( vaccinated and unvaccinated) will continue to attend school. The school will determine a serial testing schedule to obtain 3 COVID tests over a 5 day period. The school will provide rapid antigen tests for this purpose.

Food

All food will be brought from home, including snacks. Students will have snack and lunch in their cohorts. Masks can be removed during eating as long as a distance of 6 feet between students is maintained.

Care Plans for students with allergies are posted in their cohorts.

Handwashing

The SOTS will:

  • Train all students, faculty and staff on proper handwashing behavior
  • Install signage depicting proper handwashing techniques
  • Create time in the daily schedule for handwashing prior to and after: use of the restroom, recess, use of shared items and equipment, eating, before/after putting on face masks, after sneezing/coughing and handling dirty tissues.
  • Handwashing is preferable to use of hand sanitizers. Touchless hand sanitizers are available to students on the Sage Campus. Teachers/staff at the Pinewoods Campus will spray students’ hands with sanitizer as necessary.

Isolation vs Quarantine

Isolation: The separation of a person or a group of people known or reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease and who are potentially infectious to those who are not infected, in order to prevent the spread of the communicable disease.

Quarantine: The separation of a person or group of people reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease but who are not yet symptomatic from others who are not known to be exposed, in order to prevent the possible spread of the communicable disese.

Masks

Masks are optional during periods of medium/low community risk.  The CDC tracker for community risk can be found here.

Physical Distancing

Members of the SOTS community will strive to maintain physical distancing of 3 feet between all students in school facilities and on school grounds, with the exception of snack and lunch. This commitment will reduce the number of students who are identified as “close contacts” and subsequently quarantined ( see EXCEPTION under Contact Tracing).

Students will maintain a physical distance of 6 feet when eating snack or lunch.

As the “close contact exception” does not apply to teachers, staff, and other adults, these individuals will strive to maintain a physical distance of 6 feet from students. If a physical distance of 6 feet cannot be maintained, contact should occur for a period of less than 15 cumulative minutes during a 24 hour period.

Meetings will be held virtually, if possible, including but not limited to meetings of the: faculty, Board, Child Study Team, parents/teachers, and Committee on Special Education.

Positive COVID-19 Diagnosis

Every student who tests positive for COVID, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to isolate at home for 10 days. 

COVID positive individuals may test out of isolation on days 6,7, 8, 9, or 10 if the following conditions have been met:

  • results of a negative rapid antigen test ( home test) are submitted to the school
  • all symptoms have been resolved without the use of any over-the-counter medications
  • the student continues to mask in school for the remainder of the original 10 day isolation period ( cohort will also be masking if exposure happened at school)

The decision to maintain the 10-day isolation period for individuals who test positive for COVID was based on the following factors:

  • Maximizing the potential for keeping the school open for in-person learning
  • The challenge of guaranteeing that all students are wearing “well-fitting masks” during the entire school day
  • The challenge of isolating COVID positive students during rest and/or eating (unmasked periods)
  • The age of our students

 

Remote Learning

Remote learning will be offered to students only when circumstances of isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19 occur.  

Sage Campus: Students will be able to participate in remote learning for their first day of isolation/quarantine if their parents have emailed their teachers prior to 7:30 am on the day of participation.  If teachers are notified after 7:30 am, students will be able to join remotely on the following day.

Pinewoods Campus: Teachers will need 24 hours from the time of notification of isolation/quarantine to prepare Go Bags of learning materials and activities.  Parents can make arrangements for pick up of Go Bags with the classroom teachers and/or Mariann Haggerty.

Students who are quarantined/isolated due to a COVID-19 exposure or illness will have the opportunity to participate in a modified classroom experience through remote learning. Teachers will schedule times for students to remotely attend direct instruction and daily check-in conferences . Remote learners will have periods when they are not connected to the classroom (such as snack, lunch, independent reading/writing/work, recess, specials) where they will have to complete assignments/activities on their own. The teachers and the parents of remote learners will establish a routine for picking up and dropping off instructional materials during the quarantine/isolation period.

Respiratory Hygiene

Signage promoting respiratory hygiene will be posted throughout the school. Teachers will reinforce proper respiratory hygiene behaviors.

Return to School

All individuals with new or worsening symptoms of COVID-19 must be excluded from school, regardless of vaccination status, and either a) provide a negative COVID test result, OR b) remain excluded from school for a minimum of 10 calendar days from symptom onset, prior to returning to school.

Please keep children who have tested negative for COVID but are still experiencing symptoms of infectious illness home from school.  Students must be fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medicines AND not experiencing rhinorrhea ( runny nose) or cough severe enough to make mask wear challenging or unhygenic.

Safety Drills

The SOTS will conduct 8 evacuation and 4 lockdown drills at each campus during the 2021-2022 school year. Physical distancing may be less than 3 feet; however, students will be in “close contact” for less than 15 minutes.

Signs of illness

Parents, guardians, faculty, and staff will observe for the following signs of COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills (100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Students, faculty, and staff who exhibit signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and other infectious illness, should not be present in school.

All individuals with new or worsening symptoms of COVID-19 must  be excluded from school, regardless of vaccination status.  See the Return to School section for the requirements for returning to school after illness.

Travel During COVID-19

The SOTS will follow the CDC recommendations for travel during COVID-19.  Information for travelers can be found here: Domestic and International 

Please note that remote learning is not an option during travel. 

Vaccination

The Susan Odell Taylor School Board of Trustees mandated COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment at the September 1, 2021 board meeting.

The SOTS will support opportunities for eligible students to access COVID-19 vaccination clinics in collaboration with local health partners.

Ventilation

All heating/air conditioning units have been serviced and new filters installed in August of 2021 at the Pinewoods Campus. The Sage Campus has steam radiators ( no blowing air).

Windows in classrooms and public spaces on both campuses will be open to allow fresh air to circulate. Students may choose to dress in layers as the weather turns cooler.

Gymnasium on the Sage Campus: The doors will be open to the outside when students are using the gym.