2021-22 Planning for Re-Opening of Schools
PRSD COVID Protocols Update - March 8, 2022
Last week, the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Education Department in a joint memorandum, issued new guidance for schools across the state. These updates reaffirm the removal of the statewide universal masking mandate in schools and on school transportation effective beginning on March 2.
The District has updated its COVID-19 protocols based upon the updated guidance received from the NYS Department of Health after consultation with the PRSD School Health team, our School Physician Dr. Cindy Padre, and our administrators. A copy of our updated protocols can be accessed at the following link: March 8, 2022 COVID Protocols Update
Mask Update Effective March 2, 2022
At a press conference held Sunday, February 27, 2022, Governor Hochul announced that the mask mandate for schools will be lifted, effective Wednesday, March 2, 2022. This much anticipated change is greeted with relief and hope as we continue to transition out of the pandemic. The Governor made it very clear that anyone wishing to continue to wear masks should be able to do so. The District fully supports the Governor’s lifting of the mandate, as well as the decision of any student, parent, or staff member to continue to wear a mask if they wish. On March 2, 2022 we will become a mask-optional district.
The announcement did not cover some of the finer points of information surrounding COVID protocols that have been in place, such as close contacts, social distancing and quarantine. We expect to have more information and guidance in the next week when these questions are likely to be addressed. When we receive this guidance, another communication will be sent to our entire school community.
COVID-19 Exposure, Isolation and Quarantine Information
If you believe your child has been exposed to COVID-19, please contact your healthcare provider, and school nurse for guidance . Please click on the following link for more information: RCDOH - COVID-19 Exposure- Isolation- Quarantine Information 9-9-21
Any student that is required to quarantine due to an exposure at school will receive additional information from the school administrator.
Any further questions related to potential exposure, testing, contact tracing or quarantining should be directed to the RCDOH at (845) 238-1956.
Test to Stay Program - February 2022
The Pearl River School District has implemented a Test to Stay program for unvaccinated students who are exposed to COVID-19 in school and would be required to quarantine for a minimum of 5 days. Under this plan, unvaccinated students who have no symptoms of COVID-19 would be allowed to attend school and certain afterschool activities if they participate in COVID-19 testing administered by the parent, under the supervision of the school nurse.
The PRSD Test to Stay plan has been approved by the Rockland County Department of Health.
For complete information, please click on the following links:
School Health Committee Recommendations
Following their discussion, the School Health Committee compiled recommendations for the 2021-22 school year. Please review their recommendations below:
Daily Attestation - During the 2020-21 school year, parents were required to complete a daily attestation for each child attending school. This upcoming school year, it is recommended that parents receive guidelines for keeping their children home when they are exhibiting signs or symptoms of COVID-19 and submit one form attesting that they have read and understood the guidelines.
Cleaning Practices - All cleaning and disinfecting practices implemented in the 2020-21 school year will continue this school year. Cleaning materials for desks will be readily available in each classroom.
Handwashing and Sanitizers - Students will be strongly encouraged and frequently reminded to wash their hands properly and use hand sanitizer throughout the day. Hand sanitizing stations will be accessible and available for student and staff use. (Parents who do not want their child to use hand sanitizer can send a letter to their school nurse and principal).
Symptoms of COVID-19 - Any student with symptoms of COVID-19 must remain out of school. Students may return to school with a negative PCR or NAAT test, must remain fever-free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication, and have symptom resolution. Any student who develops symptoms in school will be isolated and a parent/guardian will be called to pick up the student.
Visitors to Schools - Visitors during school hours will be limited. School events during the day will be held outdoors if possible. After-school and evening events may be held indoors with an audience provided that we can keep students and staff separated from event attendees. Each evening event will be held on a case-by-case basis.
Back-to-School Nights - This school year’s Back-to-School Nights will be held virtually. Parents will receive information from their child’s school on how to log in to their child’s classes in order to attend.
Sharing of Materials - For this school year, the committee’s recommendation was to allow the sharing of materials (i.e. toys in a kindergarten classroom, lab equipment, etc.) in conjunction with proper hand washing/hand sanitizing before and after use.
Disposable Desk Covers - Disposable desk covers will not be used as they were last school year. However, cleaning materials that were available last year will be provided in each classroom.
Social Distancing - Students will be seated three or more feet apart whenever possible. During lunch, students will be seated six feet apart whenever possible.
Ventilation - All spaces used by students and staff will have HEPA filtration units. Unit ventilators will be serviced according to their seasonal schedule and made ready for the start of school. In addition, new window screen installation allows for open windows and the circulation of fresh air. All elementary school classrooms will have air conditioners for the start of the new school year as we transition from summer to fall.
Quarantining of Students and Staff - Students and staff that are vaccinated will not be required to quarantine if exposed. These individuals will be required to wear a mask for 14 days. For lunch periods and instrumental periods where masks are removed, special arrangements will be needed for those individuals to be appropriately distanced from others. Vaccinated individuals should get tested for COVID-19 three to five days after exposure.
Please note: This summer, the CDC modified who would need to quarantine if exposed to a positive case of COVID-19. The CDC now states that students who wear masks properly and consistently do not need to quarantine unless they are closer than three feet apart. This is a substantial change from last year where anyone exposed to a case that was six feet or closer in distance was required to quarantine.
Further information will be forthcoming from building principals regarding school-specific procedures such as arrival and dismissal procedures, locker usage and lunch procedures.
Thank you to the members of the school health committee for their time and input in our discussion and making recommendations for the upcoming school year. Committee members included administrators, faculty, staff and parents as follows: School Principals Kathleenann Cool and Susanne Pariot; District Administrators Diana Musich, Ann Marie Tromer, Robert Roelle and Jamie Haug; Teachers Kevin O’Connor, Devin Stone, and Cathleen Finnican; Teaching Assistants Kathleen Benn and Karen Solimano; School Nurse Roseanne Daly; Secretary Michelle Zeppetella; Parents Patricia Reilly, SNP, Dr. Dawn Tobin-Holt, Patti Scherer, Maria Coyne, and Jessica Bocchino; and School Physician, Dr. Cindy Padre.
Start of School Year Protocols
Effective immediately, in accordance with the Commissioner's Determination issued pursuant to 10 NYCRR 2.60, any person over the age of 2 (including all students, personnel, teachers, administrators, contractors, and visitors) must wear masks at all times indoors in P-12 school buildings, regardless of vaccination status. People with medical or developmental conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask may be exempted from mask requirements, as documented by a medical provider. People do not need to wear masks when eating, drinking, singing, or playing a wind instrument; when masks are removed for these purposes, individuals must be spaced six feet apart. All mask requirements must be applied consistently with any state and federal law (e.g., Americans with Disabilities Act).
The Pearl River School District will return to full in-person learning for all of our students in grades K-12 on September 1, 2021. We will follow social distancing protocols of three feet wherever possible to accommodate all of our students in their classrooms. We will not offer an optional remote learning platform, however, we will support our students with remote learning in cases of quarantine.
The School Health Committee met several times in August to review the logistics of our return to five-day, in-person instruction. The committee carefully reviewed the health and safety guidance issued by the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the New York State Education Department. These federal and state recommendations and mandates provide mitigation strategies to minimize the threat of COVID-19 in our schools. The recommendations made by the School Health Committee can be found below.