In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection in the school, facilities operations will be geared toward meeting social distancing requirements and cleaning frequently touched spaces regularly. In carrying out projects or tasks supporting infection control, requirements will be met for changes associated with building spaces. Plans for changes or additions to facilities will be submitted to comply with the requirements of the 2020 New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (BC) and the State Energy Conservation Code.
The function, position and operation of stairs and corridor doors, which have closers with automatic hold opens (and are automatically released by the fire alarm system), will remain unchanged.
The school plans to meet the deadline for submission of Building Condition Survey or Occupational Safety Inspections on time.
Upon reopening, the school plans to increase ventilation, to the greatest extent possible. Water systems will be flushed in buildings that have been unoccupied.
The school will revisit Emergency Response Plans, protocols, and procedures and make modifications in light of COVID-19.
The facilities reopening plan and activities, which will occur include:
- Doorways: Corridor doors have closers with automatic hold opens. These doors are normally held in the open position and are automatically released by the fire alarm system. The function, position, and operation of those doors will remain unchanged and will not be touched during normal use.
- Time Management: School leaders will manage time and schedules to reduce student use of the corridors. The traditional practice of changing classes between periods results in congested hallways and may make social distance challenging. Special area teachers in the areas of Spanish and Art will travel to grade level classrooms for instruction. Music instruction will occur in the classroom when singing is not involved. When singing occurs students will be placed 12 feet apart allowing for social distancing. Physical Education instruction will take place outside as much as the weather allows. When unable to go outside PE will take place in the school gymnasium allowing for the required 12 foot distancing. Teachers will be required to check school hallways before exiting classrooms with students to ensure that only one cohort is in the hallway at a time.
- Leave Doors Open: To reduce the spread of the virus from touching door levers and knobs, doors may be fixed in the open position. This is only permitted at doors without door closers and doors which are not fire rated.
- Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer: Sanitizer will be available in all classrooms and in shared spaces such as hallways, entrance points, the gymnasium, cafeteria, and Parish Center.
- Drinking Water Facilities: Mouth pieces on water fountains will be covered and removed from use. Students will be allowed to use water fountain filling stations to fill water bottles. All students will be required to bring a water bottle from home.
- Maintain adequate, Code required ventilation (natural or mechanical) as designed: Teachers will be required to open classroom windows whenever possible throughout the day, but at a minimum of 15 minutes prior to student arrival and after student dismissal.
Infection Control Strategies
Infection control strategies that will occur include, but are not limited to:
- Special area teachers will travel to the students rather than the students exiting their cohort space.
- Regular hallway checks by teachers to ensure that only one cohort uses the shared space at a time.
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer in all classrooms and shared spaces.
- The installation of floor/ground markers to alleviate congregating at building entrance points, bathrooms and shared spaces.
- Training and continual reminders will be given to all students, faculty and staff on proper hygiene, social distancing, and proper use of PPE throughout the school year.
Facility Alterations and Acquisition
At this time St. Pius X School will not be alternating or acquiring additional space within our facility.
St. Pius X School will not expand square footage of our facilities.
Tents for Additional Space
St. Pius X School intends to use (2) 20x30 tents for various purposed throughout the school day for times such as, but not limited to, arrival and dismissal, lunch periods and classroom use.
St. Pius X has applied for the necessary permits from the Town of Colonie Building Department. The tents will be inspected at least twice during its period of use tents being used. The tent will not be used more than 180 days. The tent will be sited [including guy lines] at least 20 feet from the property lot line, buildings, other tents. The tent will be anchored against wind and collapse. The tent fabric will be flame resistant, have such a certificate, and be so labelled in conformance to the NFPA 701 Standard. A portable fire extinguisher will be provided.
Plumbing Facilities and Fixtures
St. Pius X School’s plan for available facilities and fixtures:
- Bathrooms will be monitored for capacity and will be disinfected regularly by our custodial staff throughout the day.
- Mouth pieces on water fountains will be covered. Students will be encouraged to use filling stations with water bottles brought from home.
St. Pius X School’s ventilation will be maintained or enhanced in the following ways:
- We will maintain adequate, code required ventilation (natural or mechanical) as designed.
- Teachers and Administration will increase ventilation with outdoor air to the greatest extent possible (e.g., opening windows and doors) while maintaining health and safety protocols.
School Safety and Emergency Drills
St. Pius X School will conduct fire (evacuation) drills and lockdown drills as required by education law and regulation and the fire code without exceptions. The school must continue to conduct mandatory fire and lockdown drills according to the existing statutory schedule. Drills will be conducted in a manner that maintains social distancing at exits and gathering points outside the building, while still preparing students to respond in emergencies.
- Fire Code Section 404 requires that schools maintain Fire Safety, Evacuation, and Lockdown Plans and these plans include how lockdown and evacuation drills are conducted. Methods to promote and provide for social distancing during the evacuation drills are ultimately the district’s or other applicable school’s decision and responsibility. Those changes must be included in the Fire Safety plans.
- Education Law § 807 requires that schools conduct eight (8) evacuation and four (4) lockdown drills each school year. When planning drills, consideration should be given to how a school may modify their drill procedures to minimize risk of spreading infection. Conducting drills is an important part of keeping students and staff safe in an emergency; however, steps should be taken to minimize the risk of spreading infection while conducting drills. As such, it may be necessary for schools to conduct drills in the school year using protocols that are different than they are used to.
- Regardless of the modification used when conducting a drill, students should be instructed that if it was an actual emergency that required evacuation or lockdown, the most imminent concern is to get to safety; maintaining social distancing in an actual emergency that requires evacuation or lockdown may not be possible and should not be the first priority.
St. Pius X School modifications to evacuation drill protocols may include, but are not limited to:
- Conducting drills on a “staggered” schedule, where classrooms evacuate separately rather than all at once, and appropriate distance is kept between students to the evacuation site. Staggering by the classroom, minimizes contact of students in hallways, stairwells, and at the evacuation site. If conducting drills using a modified procedure, it is required that the drill be conducted with all students in the school building on that school day, it may be necessary to do so during a class period that is extended for this purpose.
- If school reopens with a “hybrid” in-person model, such as one where students attend school alternate school weeks to reduce the occupancy of the school building, the school must be certain that all students are receiving instruction in emergency procedures, and participating in drills while they are in attendance in-person.
Modifications to Lockdown Drills may include, but are not limited to:
- Conduct lockdown drills in classroom settings while maintaining social distancing/using masks.
- Conducting lockdown drills on a “staggered” schedule with smaller numbers of students present to maintain social distancing, however the school must be certain that all students are receiving instruction in emergency procedures and participating in drills while they are in attendance in-person.
- Conduct lockdown drills in the classroom without “hiding”/ “sheltering” but provide an overview of how to shelter or hide in the classroom.