Protocol for Prevention of Spread of Pandemic Illness Plan for COVID 19 as of 8/16/2021
P.G. Chambers School
Protocol for Prevention of Spread of Pandemic Illness Plan for COVID 19 as of 8/16/2021
(This plan is compliant with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control; New Jersey Department of Education; New Jersey Department of Health and informed by the American Academy of Pediatrics; American Federation of Teachers; Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Hanover Township Health Department and the PGCS medical director. The plan will be updated as guidelines and recommendations change.)
TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF OUR STUDENTS, CHILDREN, AND STAFF, P.G. Chambers School has completed significant changes to the building and the school environment. For a complete list, please see the end of this document.
ON-SITE PROGRAM SCHEDULE
School program resumed on-site services during 2020 ESY using a hybrid model with one cohort on-site Mondays and Tuesdays, and a second cohort on-site Thursdays and Fridays. The school program re-opened on 1/19/2021 with the option for students to participate on-site 5 days per week from 9:00-1:30.
2021 ESY School services provide the option for students to participate on-site 5 days per week from 9:00 to 1:30 on Mondays and Fridays and from 9:00 to 3:00 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Remote services have remained an option for students throughout the pandemic. The State of New Jersey has announced that the option of remote learning will not be offered starting in the fall 2021, unless students are required to quarantine due to the positive case(s) of COVID-19. Fall 2021 classes will resume for all students, five days a week, from 9:00 to 3:00.
Kids Count Child Care reopened with 3 day/week services in July 2020 and 5 day/week services in September 2020. The program will close permanently after Friday, August 27, 2021.
Early Intervention began center-based services as an option for families starting in July 2020. This option was removed in April 2021 in favor of in-home services.
• Families of students returning to the building receive a communication packet containing:
– All forms – universal health, updated immunizations, medication permission forms, emergency care and seizure action forms to be returned on or before the first day of in-person attendance. – Please note that beginning in the fall of 2021, doctor notes will not be required for return to school. • Students are not required to wear face masks unless they are ill and need to be transported through the school building to the nursing office or to the main exit. All students, with the exception of those with documented medical exemption, are encouraged to wear masks for increasing periods of time throughout the school day. Documentation of mask wearing duration began 3/1/2021 for a sample period. A second sample period to examine student mask wearing will be put in place mid-September.
• Alternative bibs are provided for the children who would normally wear cloth bibs to help with containment of secretions.
• Children who have needed nebulizer treatments in the past, are required to have inhalers with spacers (with doctor’s orders), due to the potentially infectious aerosol produced by nebulizers.
• Updates to our protocols and plans will be posted on the P.G. Chambers School website. The Paradigm Apprise Alert system will provide immediate notifications for schedule changes or closure information, as needed.
All staff members are encouraged to speak with their physician to determine if they are a good candidate for vaccination. If so, they are encouraged to be vaccinated as soon as possible. Regardless of vaccination status, all employees must follow the protocol, including compliance with PPE, handwashing, social distancing, etc. The exception is that quarantine times will be adjusted based on current NJDOH and CDC guidelines.
When getting tested, staff, students and children should use the PCR or NAAT tests. Results from other types of tests are not reliable and will not be accepted.
Unvaccinated staff and students will be required to quarantine after travel or primary exposure with some exceptions. Those fully vaccinated (two weeks past final dose) and those who have had a positive COVID diagnosis within the past 90 days must monitor symptoms and may be required to show proof of negative COVID test (see travel section below.) Proof of vaccination status and/or diagnosis may be required by nursing.
Staff or students who are unvaccinated will be required to quarantine after a primary exposure. A fourteen-day quarantine is required.
STAFF and FAMILY TRAVEL: We ask that all staff and families consider the CDC guidance on travel and notify nursing of airline travel in advance of trip. The CDC strongly advises people to delay travel until they are fully vaccinated. Travel: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers | CDC Staff and families should follow the recommendations from the CDC. In addition, we strongly encourage staff to review the State Department travel advisories specific to the destination country in advance of booking and embarking on international travel. International Travel (state.gov)
• Vaccinated travelers traveling internationally: obtain a PCR test 3-5 days after returning to the United States. Return to school can occur after a negative result from this test and with no symptoms of COVID-19.
• Unvaccinated travelers traveling internationally: obtain a PCR test 3-5 days after returning to the United States. Given a negative result and no symptoms of COVID-19, return to school after 10 days, on the 11th day.
• Vaccinated travelers traveling domestically: monitor for symptoms, no testing required.
• Unvaccinated travelers traveling domestically: obtain a PCR test 3-5 days after returning from your trip. Given a negative result and no symptoms of COVID-19, return to school on the 8th day. Testing and quarantine are not required when traveling within the 5-state region (NJ, NY, CT, PA, DE.)
• Everyone, please be alert to the level of COVID spread in the areas where you are traveling and please diligently monitor for symptoms.
DAILY – PRE-SCREENING
All parents have the responsibility to assess their child and take their temperature (without medication) BEFORE sending them to school.
All staff members have the responsibility to do a self-assessment and take their own temperature (without medication) BEFORE leaving home.
Fever is not always present in cases of COVID-19. OTHER SYMPTOMS include: • Cough • Congestion • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing • Atypical vital signs – BP, Pulse, Respirations, Pulse Ox • Chills • Muscle pain • Sore throat • New loss of taste • New loss of smell • Rashes • Unexplained red or pink eyes • Gastro intestinal involvement. • ANYONE WHO IS SICK AND/OR IS EXHIBITING FEVER OR OTHER COVID 19 SYMPTOMS IS NOT PERMITTED TO ENTER THE BUILDING, unless there is a documented diagnosis that accounts for the symptoms being experienced.
Another screening criterion is related to travel; see Travel section. In addition, all staff are asked daily if they have been exposed to someone with a possible or confirmed COVID diagnosis. Until proven otherwise, all exposures – possible or actual – are considered as actual exposures.
YES responses to any of these questions require the staff member to contact nursing prior to entering the building. Staff may be asked to stay home or quarantine, depending on the situation. Please note that, consistent with NJ guidelines for essential personnel, H&S committee may consider shorter quarantine time frames should staffing require such.
ENTERING THE BUILDING Anyone entering the building is screened for COVID 19. Beginning fall 2021, staff may use the screening app to pre-screen from home.
• Daily temperatures are taken for staff and students. Staff complete a brief screening related to COVID 19 – staff members answering any question with a “YES” must leave the building and call nursing to discuss the situation before possibly reentering the building. Staff members’ initials signify the veracity of answers. Staff screenings are reviewed promptly but no later than by 10 am each day.
• If signs, symptoms or exposure are expressed during screening, the individual is asked to leave for self-quarantine, notify nursing, and to pursue testing according to the CDC and Hanover Township Health Department guidelines.
In addition, for STAFF, PRIVATE DUTY NURSES AND ANY OTHER ADULT VISITORS:
• Close fitting face masks (double masks are highly recommended) are donned before entering building, regardless of vaccination status.
• All adults use hand sanitizer upon entering the building.
• No scarfs to be worn in the school.
• Long hair to be pulled back and tied up.
• Everyone is encouraged to bring minimal personnel belongings into the building.
In addition, for STUDENTS:
• Backpacks and multiple bags are discouraged.
• When driven by family (rather than bus), student will be greeted by staff at the car and escorted to the screening area. Parents are asked to exit their vehicles to remove the student from their car.
• Students wash hands upon arrival in the classroom.
IF CLEARED TO ENTER BUILDING:
• Staff go to work area and wash hands before beginning the day.
• Students are brought to classroom and have hands washed and any belongings placed in cubbies. All lunch boxes are stored in individual cubbies and sent home at the end of the day.
• Student medications are retrieved by nurses upon arrival. Medications are in a clear bag (provided by the nursing department), labeled with child’s name. Medications are returned to child’s lunchbox prior to dismissal.
• Student temperatures are re-checked mid-day, and more frequently as indicated.
IF ILLNESS NOTED UPON ARRIVAL AT SCHOOL:
• Anyone with a temp of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or above, or exhibiting any COVID 19 symptoms not attributable to another condition as determined by nursing, is sent home for a minimum of 72 hours fever free without fever reducing medication. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/end-home-isolation.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fprevent-getting-sick%2Fwhen-its-safe.html
• Staff members are asked to leave and contact their physician. After nursing assessment, if it is deemed they are unable to drive themselves home, a contact is called to pick them up or an ambulance is called.
• Private Duty nurses are expected to follow the same protocol. Private duty nurse will be isolated with their student if they arrive together using the same transportation. If they arrived separately, they would be isolated separately. They will contact their agency. Agency will arrange transportation for nurse. School will contact parent to pick up student.
• Students who exhibit symptoms don a mask for transport to the nursing office’s isolation room for further assessment. If the child has a private duty nurse, he/she would remain with the child during isolation. Pending symptoms, parent is contacted to pick student up. If necessary, student is transported to the hospital via ambulance. Student dons a mask once leaving the nursing office to exit building.
• Further action is determined in consultation with nursing personnel who ensure compliance with the Hanover Township Health Department and current CDC guidelines.
A doctor’s note and a negative COVID test may be required to return to school depending on symptoms of illness.
IF ILLNESS NOTED ONCE AT SCHOOL:
• If staff suspects a student illness, they should call a nurse to come to the student and conduct an assessment. If needed, the nurse places a mask on the student and escorts him/her to the isolation room.
• Staff/Students are placed in isolation room for assessment.
• If deemed necessary to leave the school, the above protocol for staff and students is followed.
• Guidance from the Hanover Township Department of Health is followed once a student or staff has been reported ill with COVID 19 symptoms.
ISOLATION (located in nursing office):
• Isolation door is to remain closed during room use. Back door of isolation room is to be opened for ventilation.
• In the event of an emergency, if a child needs a nebulizer or suctioning, the isolation room would be used with the door closed and the back door ajar for ventilation.
• Once room is unoccupied it is cleaned and disinfected prior to next use.
RETURN TO SCHOOL: • In the event of general illness, staff and students are permitted to return after being fever free for 72 hours. Without a fever, staff and students may return after recovery. • If diagnosed with COVID 19, staff and students (who have isolated for a minimum of 10 days following diagnosis or onset of symptoms) are permitted to return after being fever free for at least 72 hours.
In the event of POSITIVE COVID 19 CASE IN SCHOOL:
• NJDOE guidelines will be followed.
• The Hanover Township Department of Health (HTDOH) will be contacted to inform them when a decision to close one or two classrooms is made. In the event total school closure is considered, we will consult with the HTDOH and follow their guidance and directives.
• In the event a classroom or the school is closed, the HTDOH and the State DOE will be notified using their required form.
• In the event a classroom or the school is required to close, virtual instruction will be provided for all affected students for the duration of the closure. However, beginning in September 2021, telehealth will no longer be an option allowed by the NJDOE.
• Current guidelines are followed in consultation with the HTDOH.
• PGCS Nursing department executes contact tracing for all positive COVID cases.
CLEANING AND SANITIZING
• Janitorial staff use an antimicrobial disinfectant cleaner (CDC approved Lemon E or comparable CDC approved sanitizer) on all surfaces, bathrooms, floors, light switches, doorknobs, handrails, and mats, on a daily basis.
• Rugs are vacuumed daily with a hepa-filtered vacuum.
• Consistent with CDC guidance dated 4/21, fogging with a CDC approved sanitizer is done (when space is empty) in affected areas after a confirmed or suspected case is identified. Fogging will also be done between uses of the isolation room.
• It is essential that surfaces, materials and equipment be cleaned and disinfected between use. All staff participate in cleaning and sanitizing.
• Vital Oxide will be used during the day – by spraying and wiping hard surfaces, or by spraying onto a cloth and wiping more delicate surfaces – on all high frequency used surfaces, equipment, bathrooms, changing tables, computers, phones, etc.
• Lysol (or comparable) will be sprayed into the air during the day between students in the bathrooms, between staff in office or treatment areas, and as needed between uses throughout the building.
– Staff will wash hands frequently, and assist students in washing theirs, with antimicrobial soap. https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html
In addition to frequent cleaning with Vital Oxide throughout the day, classroom staff will do a final, end of day cleaning, spraying on diluted 1:9 Vital Oxide to all non-porous surfaces in the bathroom and classroom. After one minute, the surface can be wiped dry.
UNIVERSAL PRECAUTIONS AND PPE:
• All staff members are required to follow universal precautions.
• All staff will be required to wear close fitting two-ply cloth face masks in conjunction with social distancing (while entering/exiting the building and in adult-only spaces such as non-treatment offices and adult bathrooms). Staff members are required to add a charcoal filter (provided by Nursing) or KN95 masks while walking throughout the first floor and while working directly with students. KN95 and surgical masks will be provided by the school. Staff may wear their own masks in compliance with above. Cloth face masks need to be laundered daily. Surgical masks, charcoal filters, and KN95 masks must be discarded when wet or soiled; otherwise, they can be stored in a paper bag and reused.
• A re-usable face shield is provided to each staff member who has direct student interaction.
• Large T shirt coverings are provided for toileting a student, feeding, and assisting with up close ADL’s.
• Disposable gloves are provided.
• Shoe and hair covers are provided for staff use as needed or requested.
• Hand sanitizer stations are located at entry doors and in each office and classroom.
MAINTAINING SMALL GROUPS:
• Students remain in classrooms with minimal movement throughout the building. Spacing of children is monitored and 6 feet distancing is maintained when feasible.
• Distancing guidelines are not implemented during assistance with ADLs and individual student supports.
• Every effort is made to minimize the number of staff members interacting with each class and to minimize the number of classes each staff member supports.
• Related services are offered in the mini-motor gym, PT gym, PE gym, and resource room. Speech offices will be used on a 1:1 basis when needed. These spaces and equipment are cleaned between students by the treating therapists.
– Bicycling and walking programs are conducted in large gyms, outside in learning park, the playgrounds, or around the building perimeter. Internal hallways can be used for therapy, as needed and as social distancing allows.
• Outdoor space is used as much as possible weather permitting. After therapy sessions, hands of student and therapist are washed before returning to the classroom.
• Changes to teacher, paraprofessional, and therapist student assignments may be required in order to prioritize safety.
• Students have snack and lunch in their classrooms with seating distanced at a minimum of 6 feet. Students do not use the cafeteria.
• All field trips are postponed until further notice.
TRAFFIC FLOW IN BUILDING
• Traffic flow in hallways is one-way. The back staircase is two way. The front staircase is one-way down, and restricted for therapy use during the school day, except in the case of an emergency. Markers are placed in hallways and stairwells to indicate direction.
VISITORS are KEPT TO A MINIMUM:
• No volunteers, interns, graduate students, bus personnel, non-emergency related repairmen, or non-essential staff are allowed in the building when students are present.
• Parent drop off and pick up are arranged outside.
• District observations are supported as required.
• IEP meetings occur virtually as often as possible.
• No in-person conferences or educational seminars will be held.
• Kids Count Child Care parents and children use Learning Park doors for drop off and pick up.
• Kids Count Child Care staff use bathrooms on second floor.
Essential visitors are required to be screened upon entering the building and to don a mask and use hand sanitizer.
• Meetings continue virtually unless room allows for social distancing.
REDUCING STAFF IN BUILDING/OPTIONAL TELEWORK if applicable to job function:
• High risk staff members may be able to work from home.
• Staff who do not need daily student contact may be able to work from home.
• Early Intervention and development staff will continue to work from home.
RETURNING LOANED EQUIPMENT TO SCHOOL:
• Prior to returning to the school building, parents will bring equipment (hours/days to be determined) that is owned by School or sending district.
• All equipment will be moved inside by gloved and masked staff and remain untouched for 24 hours. After 24 hours, equipment can be cleaned and sanitized accordingly.
STAFF COMMUNAL AREAS (kitchenette, lounge, bathrooms):
• Staff stagger use of communal spaces
• Staff wash hands, wipe down chairs, tables, countertops, between use,
• Community sharing of food in all departments is not allowed.
Staff members work in other districts and child care centers. Staff must familiarize themselves with those organizations’ safety protocols and follow the PG Chambers School protocol, unless the other organization’s protocol is more strict.
The NJEIS screening check list is no longer required in advance of home visits. If, however, information is shared that indicates the staff member should not go into the home, the staff member should attempt to provide the treatment session via telehealth. In the event the child’s family member is quarantining, EI staff should not enter the home until the quarantine is over and should, instead, offer the service via telehealth.
• We ask all staff to be forthcoming in their exposure to the virus through second jobs or other activities and to be tested and self-quarantine if there has been close contact with a person testing positive for COVID 19.
• Staff should notify their supervisor of any such event.
TAKE OUT ORDERS AND DELIVERIES:
• Staff and private duty nurses will be encouraged to bring food from home, with ice pack as needed.
• Any deliveries need to be pre-paid when ordering.
• Deliveries are left outside main door on a table.
• School supply deliveries are left outside, when practical.
KIDS COUNT CHILD CARE:
Kids Count Child Care is following guidelines from the Department of Children and Families. Kids Count staff and children use a separate entrance. The School and Kids Count staff and children are not in contact with one another and do not have opportunity to mix.
Any family questions and concerns about busing health and safety protocols should be directed to the sending districts’ transportation offices.
FACILITY ENHANCEMENTS made prior to 7/20 unless otherwise noted:
• Conducted a thorough cleaning and sanitizing of the building, including all floors, walls, bathrooms, blinds, shades, furniture, and equipment. Thorough cleaning was completed again prior to opening in September 2020.
• Cleaned and sanitized its HVAC system with an EPA approved product (including all evaporator coils and blower assemblies), flushed, cleaned, and treated all condensate drain pans, inspected all fresh air intakes, and doubled our outdoor air ventilation.
• Revised our janitorial contract to ensure full compliance with government guidance including daily cleaning of surfaces with extra attention to high touch/high contact surfaces.
• Designated a room in the Nurse’s Suite to serve as an isolation room when needed; added a sink and appropriate supplies to support independent use of space.
• Purchased appropriate amounts of personal protective equipment (PPE) so that staff can wear masks, face shields, smocks, and gloves, and have access to ample supplies of cleaning supplies and sanitizer.
• Removed furniture and equipment from classrooms and treatment space wherever possible to maximize floor space in support of social distancing.
• Moved furniture and certain desk locations to ensure social distancing.
• Installed sneeze guards at reception desk and certain desk areas.
• Marked 6’ intervals on sidewalks, hallways, and in classrooms.
• Marked hallways and stairwells to create one-way traffic flow.
• Marked treatment areas in gyms that allow for 6’+ separation between students.
• Posted signs encouraging social distancing and rigorous hand washing.
• Posted quarantine/COVID 19 symptom guidelines at all entrances. • Conducted staff training on universal precautions, donning/doffing PPE, when to double glove, hand washing, cleaning protocols, social distancing. Additional, in person staff training was provided prior to September 2020 re-opening. Regular training continues to be provided as a refresher. All new personnel complete required training in the above before working with students.
• Reviewed staff screening and wellness protocols with the private duty nursing companies that serve our students.
• Assessed family technology needs for remote learning. Family technology needs were re-assessed and addressed prior to opening in September 2020.
• In January 2021, purchased air purifiers for use in Elm lobby, training rooms, resource rooms and therapy gyms, replaced student toilet seats with those with lids to allow for closure before flushing.