2021-2022 COVID-19 FAQ

Contents:

Where and how will students in the Berlin CSD learn during the 2021-22 school year?
What does the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) guidance say about schools for the fall of 2021?
Will students and staff be required to wear masks in the Berlin CSD?
What will the physical distancing requirements be for students and staff?
Will there be daily screening for students and staff?
What are the cleaning and sanitizing procedures in the Berlin CSD?
What will handwashing procedures look like in the Berlin CSD?
Will the Berlin CSD offer extracurricular activities for the 2021-22 school year?
What will happen when positive COVID-19 cases arise in the Berlin CSD?
Will remote learning be offered?
What is Berlin CSD’s policy for mask wearing as it pertains to outdoor sports?
Can a student continue to play sports if they are vaccinated and exposed to COVID-19?
What is Berlin CSD’s policy on quarantining?
If testing is required, will home tests be accepted?
What is Berlin CSD’s grading policy?

 

Q: Where and how will students in the Berlin CSD learn during the 2021-22 school year?

A: All students, grades PreK through 12th, will engage in in-person learning 5 days per week. For a limited number of students with approved COVID-19-related medical conditions, we will provide non-in-person learning.

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Q: What does the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) guidance say about schools for the fall of 2021?

A: Governor Kathy Hochul recently ordered the NYS Department of Health to institute a universal mask mandate for schools. She has indicated that new guidance from the NYSDOH will be forthcoming – we will update this FAQ and our Continuation of Instruction Plan as new guidance is issued. Berlin CSD’s plan is based upon NYS Education Department’s Health and Safety Guide for the 2021-2022 School Year, which is aligned with current guidance from the CDC and recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

The Berlin CSD is implementing the following COVID-19 mitigation measures:

-Masking (in school and on buses)

-Physical distancing

-Hand hygiene practices

-Respiratory hygiene practices

-Stay home when you are sick

-Potential surveillance and point-of-care testing of students and staff in schools

-Cleaning and sanitizing procedures

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Q: Will students and staff be required to wear masks in the Berlin CSD?

A: When indoors, all individuals (regardless of vaccination status) must wear masks including on buses. Exceptions to this are for eating, drinking, and structured mask breaks. At the writing of these FAQs (late August), outdoor mask-wearing continues to be optional.  An exception to this will be when a vaccinated staff member or student has been exposed to the virus, is asymptomatic, and is waiting for testing. In this case, the individual has to wear a mask outdoors as well. See NYSDOH’s full guidance on mask-wearing here.

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Q: What will the physical distancing requirements be for students and staff?

A: Students and staff will maintain 3 feet of physical distancing while in school and on school grounds wherever appropriate (e.g. common areas such as entrances/exits, lobbies, hallways, etc.).

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Q: Will there be daily screening for students and staff?

A: The Berlin CSD will no longer require students or staff to complete daily COVID screenings or temperature checks – instead, the District will send periodic reminders to monitor your child/ren’s temperature at home and be watchful for COVID-like symptoms. Visitors will still be required to fill out the COVID-screening form.

COVID-19 symptoms that require all individuals to stay home include:

-Fever or chills

-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

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Q: What are the cleaning and sanitizing procedures in the Berlin CSD?

A: The District will:

-Conduct daily cleaning and disinfection of facilities.

-Encourage teachers to have windows open and conduct outdoor instruction classes where

practical and feasible.

-Encourage bus drivers to open windows and vents, weather permitting.

The CDC states that “[t]he virus that causes COVID-19 can land on surfaces. It’s possible for people to become infected if they touch those surfaces and then touch their nose, mouth, or eyes. In most situations, the risk of infection from touching a surface is low. The most reliable way to prevent infection from surfaces is to regularly wash hands or use hand sanitizer.”

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Q: What will handwashing procedures look like in the Berlin CSD?

A: Students and staff are encouraged to wash their hands regularly throughout the day and must do so before and after eating, manipulating shared physical supplies, and after recess. The Berlin CSD also continues to maintain hand sanitizer stations to make hand hygiene easy for all to practice. See this CDC hand-washing resource page for helpful information.

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Q: Will the Berlin CSD offer extracurricular activities for the 2021-22 school year?

A: The Berlin CSD will continue to offer in-person athletics, arts, and club activities for students. If and when this changes, we will be sure to communicate with students, staff, and families.

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Q: What will happen when positive COVID-19 cases arise in the Berlin CSD?

A: As individuals test positive for COVID-19, the individual or their caregiver must notify the Berlin CSD COVID Coordinator Michele Corsey, RN at mcorsey@berlincentral.org and their building principal. We then engage in a number of actions in rapid succession:

-Confirm the case through the Rensselaer County Health Department; if the individual has written/digital documentation of the case, they should share that with the principal, director, or nurse immediately, as well

-Identify close contacts and send them home if it is during the school day, as possible

-Notify close contacts (if students, notify their families) about what they can expect from the health department (i.e., what quarantine mandated by the health department might look like)

-Notify the school’s community, post on the website, and notify other affected departments

-Coordinate meals and learning materials delivery, as necessary

-Commence distance learning (families should check for communication from the school/teacher)

-Clean spaces

Our process aims to quickly identify and support the isolation and quarantine efforts of the Rensselaer health department. The experiences of the 2020-21 school year allowed our teams to become well-practiced in these endeavors.

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Q: Will remote learning be offered?

A: A Full Remote Program through Questar III BOCES is in development for medically eligible students. This program would be a regional Full Remote Program for K-12 students taught by Questar instructors. Course options may be limited at the 7-12 level. The District anticipates making final arrangements for this program soon and will make the application available the week of Sept. 6.

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Q: What is Berlin CSD’s policy for mask wearing as it pertains to outdoor sports?

Coaches will ensure that not all students go inside at the same time to the locker room, weight room, etc. Otherwise, they would all have to quarantine if any student is positive. As a good practice, students should put their masks on if going indoors from an outdoor sporting event. Exposed vaccinated students have to play with a mask on (indoors and outdoors). Unvaccinated exposed students have to quarantine for 10 days.

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Q: Can a student continue to play sports if they are vaccinated and exposed to COVID-19?

A: A vaccinated student who has been exposed during a sport can continue to play but must monitor for symptoms. It is important for the student to continue wearing a mask (both indoors and outdoors) and remain asymptomatic. Said students should be tested on days 3 to 5. Unvaccinated students have to quarantine for 10 days.

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Q: What is Berlin CSD’s policy on quarantining?

A: The District is discussing contract tracing and quarantine protocols with the Questar Health and Safety team and the Rensselaer County Health Department. Currently, the RCDOH supports 3-day testing out for vaccinated asymptomatic individuals, and 10 days for unvaccinated individuals (with no option of testing out sooner).

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Q: If testing is required, will home tests be accepted?

A: The Berlin CSD requires rapid antigen testing or PCR test results through a lab. 

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Q: What is Berlin CSD’s grading policy?

A: The goal of the policy is to create consistency districtwide in our grading and also within departments/grade levels, in addition to maintaining flexibility for individual teachers. Click here to see the full document.

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