NBPS SAFE RETURN PLAN
UPDATED October 2023
The New Brunswick Public Schools Safe Return Plan is an addendum to the District’s Emergency Operations Plan. This Safe Return Plan is a follow-up to the District’s Pandemic Crisis Preparedness Plan (Public Health-Related School Closure Plan), and includes specific steps and standards provided in the Road Forward: Engage, Recover and Reimagine, Education in New Jersey.
New Brunswick Public Schools will continue to implement all safety guidelines and protocols mandated by the CDC and Department of Health in conjunction with local and district policies, and will adjust according to community COVID-19 transmission and vaccinations.
The Plan presents guidance related to four key subject areas:
- Conditions for Learning (Operations/Facilities)
- Leadership and Planning (Operations/Governance/Health and Wellness)
- Policy and Funding (Governance)
- Continuity of Learning (Instruction/Technology)
Planning, Coordination & Evaluation
- The District’s Safe Return Plan is an addendum to the Emergency Operations Plan and follows the District’s implementation of the District’s Re-entry Plan and Pandemic Crisis Preparedness Plan (Public Health-Related School Closure Plan).
- Coordinated school re-entry planning must occur across the entire school system and in conjunction with community partners, including:
- Local county public health agencies;
- Local emergency management agencies;
- Community hospitals;
- Community healthcare providers;
- Local & county government officials;
- Local faith-based institutions;
- Union representatives;
- Health insurance companies; and
- Local charities and other civic organizations.
Communications and Planning
Infection Control Policies and Procedures
The District follows a Pandemic Early Prevention Detection Plan inclusive of Infection Control Procedures (ICP). The Infection Control Procedures (ICP) provide six levels: planning, taking advanced precautions, keeping alert, preparing for possible school closures, implementing full activation of Pandemic Plan for school closure, and recovery.
EMERGENCY RESPONSE TASK FORCE
Dr. Aubrey Johnson, Superintendent
Dr. Iris Forde, Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services
Zuleima Perez, Director of Human Resources
Virginia L. Hill, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction
Richard Jannarone, Business Administrator/Board Secretary
Frank LoDolce, Director of Facility Design & Construction
John Soulias, Director of Security
Marilyn Crawford, Head Nurse
Andrew Levine, Director of Innovation and Technology
Lee Tiru, Supervisor of Transportation
Patrick Wagener, General Manager of Food Services
- The District’s Re-entry Steering Committee is responsible for leading the work of the Re-entry sub-committees whose focus is to examine the possibilities of what schooling may look like following the pandemic and develop and implement solutions to issues related to:
- The Re-entry subcommittees are made of district administrators from different areas of expertise and content including members of the District’s Pandemic Response Plan. The sub-committees are responsible for developing the District’s Re-entry Plan. The Re-entry Committees are listed below; committee chairs are in bold.
NBPS RE-ENTRY COMMITTEES
- Dr. Aubrey Johnson, Superintendent of Schools
- Nicholas Bozza, Vice Principal, New Brunswick Middle School
- Dr. Andrea Fontenez, Director of Bilingual & ESL
- Juan Perez, Vice Principal, Redshaw Elementary School
- Dr. Aubrey Johnson, Superintendent of Schools
- Virginia L. Hill, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction
- Dr. Iris Forde, Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services
- Norma Jackson, Vice Principal, New Brunswick Middle School
- Andrew Levine, Director of Technology
- Eduardo Talero, Data Center Supervisor
- Carla Segarra, Director of Digital Learning & Innovation
- Virginia L. Hill, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction
- Meegan Adames, Principal, New Brunswick P-TECH
- Dr. Cesar Cabrera, Director of Special Education & Support Services
- Erica Campbell, Principal, Pathways Middle School
- Dr. Andrea Fontenez, Director of Bilingual & ESL
- Kawanna Jenkins, School Counselor, New Brunswick High School
- Carla Segarra, Director of Digital Learning & Innovation
- Nadine Sanchez, Director of Curriculum & Instruction
- Steven Suznovich, Vice Principal, New Brunswick High School
- Richard Jannarone, School Business Administrator/Board Secretary
- Meegan Adames, Principal, New Brunswick P-TECH
- JoAnn Kocis, Principal, Lincoln School and President, New Brunswick Leadership Association
- Melissa Vega, President, New Brunswick Education Association
- Dorenia Villalona, Assistant School Business Administrator for Operations
- Frank LoDolce, Director of Facility Design & Construction
- Richard Jannarone, School Business Administrator/Board Secretary
- Dr. Carl Bampoe-Parry, Vice Principal, New Brunswick High School
- Michael Chiodo, Principal, Woodrow Wilson School
- Mike Gluck, Manager of Operations
- Melissa Parisi, Director of Early Childhood
- Dr. Vanessa Pellington, Director of Assessments, Planning & Program Evaluation
- Javier Gómez Blanco, Assistant School Business Administrator
- Zuleima Perez, Director of Human Resources
- Alba Lugo, Vice Principal, New Brunswick High School
- Christine Damasceno, Vice Principal, New Brunswick High School
- Dr. Shawn Stokes, Supervisor of Special Education
- Ellen Treadway, Principal, Blanquita B. Valenti Community School
- Marilyn B. Crawford, Head Nurse, District
School level “Return to School Committees” have also been developed. These committees consist of School Administrators, teachers, support staff, and parents. The committee's primary role is to develop, communicate and assist in implementing procedures and processes related to school operations, instruction, wellness, facilities, and technology. Specific responsibilities include the following:
- Decide a plan/methods to communicate on an ongoing basis with parents/guardians and school stakeholders
- Determine imperative transportation needs and examine solutions
- Determine school schedule as more information is provided regarding school format
- Review chain of command for complaints/refusal to participate in school
- Establish accountability and expectations for distance learning/virtual instruction
- Determine remediation methods suitable for distance learning/in-person, consider currently available supports
- Identify targeted areas and skills for teachers to focus on
- Track failure rates
- Determine best practices for instruction
Local Wellness - Physical & Emotional
- Identify support staff and their roles
- Identify and create a digitally accessible resource base of mental health resources and partners
- Review and reinforce any protocols to enter the building
- Review protocols for school staff to evaluate physical and mental health status of staff and students.
- Determine well-being of students by grade/classes
- Review plans for use and sanitization of student and faculty restrooms
- PPE plans for staff members and students
Local Building Facility Functioning
- Entry/exit points - review and clarify procedures to enter and exit the building
- Examine building room usage - How can your building accommodate the most current restrictions
- Plan for events that usually require larger gatherings, ie: lunch, gym classes, entry into the building
- Consider any staff currently working in confined spaces
- Review location of nursing office to ensure guidelines can be followed in the space
- Device Dissemination
- Tracking of student technology needs/repairs
- Review and refine procedures based on the success of current instructional schedule and practice
New Brunswick Public Schools enrolls close to 9,143 students from preschool through grade 12. Reflecting the multicultural nature of the community, approximately two-thirds of the students speak one of 29 languages other than English at home.
District Demographic Profile
Number of Students
State Funded Preschool
Low Socioeconomic (LSE)
Students with Disabilities
English Language Learners (ELLs)
Data as of 09/05/2023
New Brunswick Public Schools re-entry committees are working diligently to construct a learning plan for in-person instruction for all students and staff in this academic school year. This plan ensures the health and safety of our students and staff as well as provides for a conducive teaching and learning environment for all teachers and students.
Our preliminary decisions are grounded in the guidance provided by the New Jersey Department of Education, The Road Forward: Engage, Recover and Reimagine, Education in New Jersey, survey results from our parents and teachers, and school configurations. Our Safe Return Plan is flexible and subject to change pending the current health pandemic, state and city guidelines, and individual school decisions based on school-level surveys and needs.
Effective September 2021, the district resumed with a 100% in-person instructional model for all New Brunswick students. The model follows the traditional instructional schedules in place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Per Board Policy 2425, New Brunswick Public Schools’ Emergency Virtual Instruction Plan would be implemented during a district closure lasting more than three consecutive school days due to a declared state of emergency, declared public health emergency, or a directive by the appropriate health agency or officer to institute a public health-related closure.
The District provides academic support programs outside of school hours to ensure all students have literacy, mathematics, and science support by a certified teacher. These programs assist students in reaching their educational goals, enhancing learning progress, and attaining learning standards, in an accessible and encouraging way. The District also provides summer enrichment programs in grades K-8 as well as summer course offerings to students in grades 9-12 who need to recover credits in courses required for graduation or would like to earn high school credits to accelerate learning.
In addition to providing academic supports, the District is committed to providing mental health services and supports to our staff, students and their families. Students with disabilities will be receiving related services during the summer months such as occupational, physical, and speech therapy.
In the New Brunswick Public Schools, measures have been put in place in our schools to provide continuity of teaching and learning for ALL learners by taking the following steps:
- Identifying vulnerable students
- Assessing students’ learning loss and progress
- Identifying intervention programs and services
- Creating and implement individualized plans
Identifying Vulnerable Students
- Using elearning data and notes from 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 to identify focus students for additional supports and interventions using a tool such as the district identification and tracking spreadsheet
- Using a tool such as the district identification and tracking spreadsheet to assess and plan according to students’ learning progress and loss while considering the following:
- Encourage effective use of formative assessments by teachers
- Promote short, quick teacher generated or teacher personalized assessments
- Utilize parent feedback through conferences, phone calls, back to school night and other communication opportunities to develop and monitor plans with parents
- Resources for data collection include: BSI progress monitoring, TS Gold filters, Google Classroom rubrics, Feedback through Google Classroom, Weekly kindergarten surveys, District progress reports (SPED/BILINGUAL), Mid-year Data to Entry GAPs, district common assessments
Creation and Implementation of Individualized Learning Plans
- Conduct student surveys and interviews to determine strengths and needs of students to develop and refine instructional models
- Individualized students plans will be uploaded into a designated folder in the portfolio tab of OnCourse (SIS)
- Provide students with student-pacing plans that help the student track what they need to do to be successful in their coursework
Develop and Identify Intervention Programs and Services
- Implementation of multi-tiered systems of support where students were identified using multiple measures to provide Tier 3 interventions for WIN (What I Need) instructional period.
- WIN period provides students with high-quality intervention to strengthen conceptual and procedural knowledge to close an existing gap so that students can accelerate their learning.
- Programs for students in K-8 include remedial instruction offered through an explicit teaching model utilizing resources from Leveled Literacy Intervention, Supporting Ongoing Achievement Responsively (SOAR), Learning Ally, Scholastic Literacy Pro, Wilson Fundations, and First In Math.
- A Project-based learning program, which includes crafted instructional time for Math and Reading support for students in grades K-8, is being offered to address student interests, areas of need and provide social and emotional support.
- The High School Counseling department analyzed data to assess credit loss and shortages. Students who require courses to graduate are immediately placed in an appropriate credit recovery program. Students in grades 9-12 are participating in credit recovery opportunities provided by instruction through an online learning platform, our CARES High School and through Individualized Learning Opportunities.
- Implement Extended School Day opportunities for students beginning October 2021. Instruction will be tailored to meet the needs of specific groups of students, in small cycles that can be continued or updated as needed.
- Development of Social Emotional Learning Units to re-engage students, rebuild relationships, and create a foundation for academic learning
- This work will support the social and emotional well-being and learning needs of our students, acknowledge trauma students may have faced during school closure, prepare for the potential trauma of returning, and recognize and fortify educators’ and staff’s strengths.
Implement Intentional Curriculum Planning, Assessment and Documentation
- Intentionally select tasks and/or activities based on what students are ready to learn by planning purposefully with goals in mind for each student based on their specific needs.
- Developing Project-based learning opportunities will allow students to explore interdisciplinary units and topics across the various content areas.
- Teachers also have the ability to assess students in multiple forms and to provide opportunities for student choice. This approach will also address the diverse learning styles of all students.
- Teachers also have the ability to assess students in multiple forms and to provide opportunities for student choice. This approach will also address the diverse learning styles of all students.
- Provide students with a variety of ways to be assessed formatively and summatively
- Revise and implement updated testing procedures for the following:
- Child Study Team Evaluations
- Bilingual Testing and Placement
- State Testing
- District Assessments
Ensuring Equitable Practices in Instruction
- Use a variety of tools to evaluate our resources and guidance with respect to equity considerations
- Culturally Responsive Practices Crosswalk with Danielson Framework for Teaching
- Content Area Look Fors
- C&I and building administrators will evaluate the district instructional practices to ensure the work put in place is an equitable process for the New Brunswick Public Schools.
- In collaboration with the Human Resources Department, ensure the hiring of a diverse workforce.
- The District has launched several E-Rate projects for increased bandwidth:
- Increased district bandwidth to two 10GB (Altice Router Lease) in January 2021. This upgraded the previous 1GB circuits in the district at the High School and 268 Baldwin Street to 10GB circuits.
- Optimum WIFI Coverage Map for NBPS - Maps detail areas where NBPS students are unable to access Optimum WIFI throughout the City.
Grades Pre-K-12 1:1 District-Issued Device Models
- Pre-K, Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2 Student Devices
- All students in Pre-K, Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2 will be using a 1:1 cart model in the classroom.
- Should devices have to go home with students, they will be capable of connecting to WIFI including home networks, Optimum WIFI, and hotspots. Classroom teachers will have the flexibility to send students home with devices as needed.
- Carts and devices will be prepped by the Technology Department, organized and separated by school/homeroom, and delivered to schools for distribution at schools.
- Students in grades 3-12 will be expected to bring devices to school fully charged while in session. Certain elementary schools have moved to a 1:1 cart model in grades 3-5.
- Grades 6-8 1:1 Verizon Innovative Learning (VILS) CTL Chromebooks - Only for students in New Brunswick Middle School, Blanquita B. Valenti, McKinley
- Upon delivery of student Chromebooks from CTL, the technology team will prep all devices based on most current student rosters in each building.
- Device distribution will follow the guidelines of VILS plans and procedures including Verizon Memorandum of Understanding, Digital Citizenship requirements, and district processes.
- VILS Chromebooks are LTE enabled and do not require Optimum internet service.
- Student Device Breakage, Repair, and Replacement
- Every school will have a repository of loaner devices that will be housed in the media center (or other location based on school).
- The Technology Department will track devices and send out for repair, if possible, and manage device inventory. Devices deemed beyond repair are inventoried, deprovisioned in Google Admin Console, and once board approved sent out to an approved recycling company.
- In an effort to communicate policies associated with student and staff device usage, signature confirmation will be requested on the District Acceptable Use Agreement.
- Devices have been identified using a unique barcode tied to the device serial number. Barcodes have been affixed to the back of each device for tracking and inventory purposes.
- Upon the issuing of a Chromebook, all students and staff are required to sign in to the device with their district username and passcode. The login records the user signed in to the device in Google Admin Console and allows for accurate tracking of both the user and Chromebook issued.
- The district continues to utilize GopherIT, which allows for enhanced reporting capabilities of all Chromebooks that are active and managed by the Google Admin Console.
Instructional Technology & Professional Development
- A technology resource page is available for parents and staff on the District’s website with core guidance and information on the following:
- Menu with subscription information guided by videos, newsletters, how-to guides, etc.
- Parent University was created to provide informational sessions for parents to be updated on current use of technology, curriculum, and subscriptions in the district.
- With our new partnership with Verizon Innovative Learning Schools and Verizon Innovative Learning Labs, we will be providing staff professional development through Verizon at the middle school levels to learn how to utilize instructional technology effectively. The models are used to help support personalization, collaboration, and enhance student engagement through the use of technology. It also provides our students with new elective courses and a flexible environment with emerging technologies that can be utilized during the instructional day and afterschool.
- Continue our goal of establishing student led technology teams at the middle school levels through the VILS model.
- Creating a sustainability plan at the district and school levels to support the VILS extension status that provides action items for professional learning, consistent access to technology, family engagement, etc for participating VILS middle schools.
- Technology Newsletters are provided monthly to support and enhance technology usage in instruction as well as to highlight technology initiatives across the district.
- Professional development continues to be offered to help support instruction and a website with key information has been provided to support substitutes in the district.
- New Teacher Orientation includes a segment on instructional technology to support teachers with the use of new subscriptions and how to find the resources needed to learn how to utilize the different tools.
- Given the likelihood of returning to school in a full in-person environment, the District will return to the use of all normal attendance procedures. Should there be any policy changes, they will be communicated to school leaders and families.
- To continue its recruitment efforts, the District participated in several online career fairs to build its applicant pool. District administrators utilized the Virtual Interview Process to interview candidates. Additionally, the Human Resources Department developed and implemented a remote onboarding process, which the Board approved.
Extra Curricular Activities/Athletics
- CDC social distancing policies will continue for student-athletes. New Brunswick athletics will allow spectators for indoor/outdoor sporting events. The NJSIAA and NJDOH have updated specific guidelines and recommendations. The number of spectators allowed in attendance will be full capacity for sports events held during the fall, winter, and spring seasons when feasible.
- The High School and Middle School athletic seasons and bus schedules will be based on the latest guidelines and recommendations from the NJSIAA and NJDOH.
- There are currently many health updates to policies in place for athletes/coaches. This includes Covid testing, COVID- 19 questionnaires, health history updates. Additional sanitizing/PPE guidelines have been developed and are to continue daily by athletic trainers for athletic practices and games.
- Play It Smart program will be mandatory for all athletes and at-risk students. Academic tutoring and conferencing will be provided by counselors and staff.
- Facility use such as locker rooms / restrooms will need to be sanitized/disinfected after all events/practices.
- All policies for athletics being utilized are exact guidelines in accordance with protocol issued by the NJSIAA and the NJDOH.
- The District continues to follow Student Attendance Policy 5200 and Regulation 5200.
- Teachers will continue to record student attendance on a daily basis in OnCourse.
- For technical assistance, teachers may continue to contact the Data Center Team via email at email@example.com.
- The Data Center will support schools in updating daily and period attendance as needed. Principals are to follow Student Attendance Change Log Procedure to update student attendance when needed. Upon receipt of a school’s completed log to update daily or period attendance, the Data Center Team will review the student attendance data for that school and make changes/updates accordingly.
Resource: NJDOE Chronic Absenteeism Guidance
New Student Enrollment
- New student registrations will continue to be processed remotely following the NBPS Remote Registration Process.
- Out of district transfers will continue to be processed remotely following the NBPS Remote Student Transfer Process.
- All staff are to continue to sign in and out during your assigned hours using the Frontline Time and Attendance Platform online. If you experience any issues you should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The District will revert back to pre-pandemic food preparation and feeding programs. All students will receive breakfast and lunch in school. Students arrive and receive breakfast and eat in the classroom. During lunch, students will be separated to achieve the required distancing between students and/or plexiglass guards will be installed on the cafeteria tables where needed.
- Transportation will continue to be provided for all students who are eligible for transportation and while adhering to CDC guidelines. The schedules of the busses will be configured to meet the needs of each school. In an effort to ensure the safety of all students during the period of the pandemic, New Brunswick Public School District will follow the Student Transportation Protocol.
- All information is communicated with families through the school website, social media, and other communication tools including SchoolMessenger and TalkingPoints. The District website, which is translatable to Spanish as well as a variety of other languages, includes a designated advisory page that will house all information for the community. The information posted on our district website is also ADA compliant as the text can be picked up by screen reader software.
- In addition, as major updates are available, parent informational sessions are held both at the school and district level to provide our parents/guardians with opportunities to ask questions. The District makes every effort to provide communications to families in both English and Spanish to the greatest extent possible.
- Monitoring of cleaning/disinfectant supply usage is in place to facilitate the District’s goal of maintaining a 6 month inventory of cleaning and disinfecting supplies.
- We continue to follow our written multilevel cleaning and disinfecting procedures (Spanish) for cleaning and disinfecting all occupied spaces (offices, classrooms, halls, bathrooms, playgrounds, etc.). These procedures are aligned with the CDC guidelines and best practices.
- Written cleaning and disinfecting procedures for re-entry have been put in place to notify school-based janitorial, and administrators of any changes in cleaning guidelines issued by the District or in response to OSHA and CDC revised guidance. It is expected that this guidance will be updated in real-time based on circulating levels of the virus in local areas. In anticipation of this, we have established a “sign off” process for documenting that the new information has been read and understood by all custodial staff.
- Clear Acrylic Guards
- Guards have been installed at Security Desks in all district facilities.
- Guards have been installed at Main Office counters in all district facilities.
- Isolation Rooms
- At least two Isolation rooms or areas have been identified or modified/constructed at all district schools. Where possible, these rooms have direct access to outside entrances.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Face Masks
- Reusable washable face masks have been provided to all district staff. A sufficient supply of disposable masks are also available for staff and students.
- Reusable and disposable masks are available for students.
- All employees and students will receive instructions on how to properly wear face coverings/masks.
- All employees and students will be made aware of district approved face coverings/masks and PPE.
- Based on the CDC’s data related to transmission levels and other guidance, current mask requirements will be announced / posted . Two options for mask requirements have been established. “Mask Optional, but strongly encouraged” and “ Masks Required”. If required all students, visitors and staff will be required to wear face coverings/masks while in any District facilities unless doing so would inhibit the individual’s health, the individual under two years of age, or other exceptions outlined in NJDOE’s guidance apply. Necessary accommodations will be provided for young students or students with disabilities.
- If required, students and staff will be allowed to take face mask breaks following the established Mask Break Procedure.
- Clear Face Shields & Gloves
- Sufficient inventory of clear face shields and gloves are in the District's warehouse and are available for staff, as needed. A supply of disposable masks are also available.
- Wall-mounted hand sanitizers are available in every classroom. Additionally, touchless sanitizer stations will be at entrances and central locations.
- Handheld spray bottles containing District approved disinfectant cleaner are available in every classroom as well as other District Departments such as Main Offices, Payroll, Human Resources & Superintendent’s Office. This is not to replace the need for daily cleaning and sanitizing by the custodial staff, but to provide district staff with a way to spot clean items if they wish.
- Working with a team composed of the District and School Administration, Security and the Facilities Department, a signage plan was developed based on the individual requirements of every school. Taken into consideration was limiting access points and standard school safety procedures. After the overall plan was developed, the installation of Social Distancing and Safety Requirements signage was implemented. Anticipating the need to adapt with changing conditions, the District has outfitted itself with inhouse printing capabilities and associated consumables. Prior to re-entry, a facility walk-through with the same team will be scheduled to ensure that the classrooms, common spaces, and the exterior are ready for staff and students.
- Regular HVAC filter changes will continue. Where applicable, all HVAC units will be upgraded to the manufactures highest recommended MERV filters.
- There will be heightened monitoring of Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning systems for proper operation.
- Prioritization of repairs will be given to requests related to hand washing locations.
- The district will participate in the Developing Resiliency with Engaging Approaches to Maximize Success Program (DREAMS Program) DREAMS is grounded in the Nurtured Heart Approach (NHA) model where we will work to:
- Create safer schools through Trauma Foundational Training
- Promote and utilize shared Nurtured Hearth Approach language and lens
- Connect community providers to local schools to create lasting partnerships.
- School Social Workers will engage in NHA E-Courses and workshops which will lead to training NHA certifications.
- School Social Workers will then lead this work in the district and be the drivers of the NHA initiative.
- The District continues to review and update curriculum to ensure that all students engage in learning about mental health and social emotional supports.
- The District will host parental engagement opportunities with a focus on mental health and social emotional learning.
- The District will partner with EPIC Lifestyle Solutions to help us connect as a community while we engage in an annual wellness program. The wellness activities will include managing Your Health Profile, well-being step and activity challenges and other opportunities to educate and engage everyone about their health and wellbeing.
Pandemic Early Prevention Detection Plan
- Per Board Policy 1648.14, the District has developed a COVID-19 Plan, which includes policies and procedures to minimize the risk of transmission to COVID-19, in accordance with OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS).
- Upon re-entry, the District will continue to follow the Pandemic Early Prevention Detection Plan inclusive of Infection Control Procedures (ICP). The Infection Control Procedures (ICP) provide six levels: planning, taking advanced precautions, keeping alert, preparing for possible school closures, implementing full activation of Pandemic Plan for school closure, and recovery.
Infection Control Procedures (ICP)
Specific Action Items by School Pandemic Response Level
Level 1 - Plan
L1-1. Review district emergency response and infectious disease policies and procedures for necessary
L1-2. Develop a plan for moving students from one area of the school to another (isolation of sick
students until picked up) and moving well students from one school to another, if necessary.
Level 2 - Take advanced precautions
L2-1. Follow identified precautionary measures.
L2-2 Educate parents about the importance of keeping children home when they are ill.
L2-3. Identify an isolation room in each school.
Level 3 - Keep alert (initiate surveillance & heightened awareness)
L3-1. Implement prevention strategies to make the school environment conducive to good hygiene.
Level 4 - Prepare for possible school(s) closure
L4-1. Institute procedures to identify staff and students showing influenza or COVID 19 symptoms.
Level 5 - Implement full activation of Pandemic Plan - School Closure
L5.1. Close school(s) as directed by the Health Department or other authorized agencies.
Level 6 - Recovery
L6-1. Be prepared for additional waves of infections.
L6-2. Evaluate the success of The Pandemic Plan and adjust, as needed.
Guiding principles for organizations working in coordination with local public health officials: “Recognize, Respond, and Report”
- Ensure established Infection Control Procedures are followed.
- Self-administered daily universal COVID-19 symptoms screening. Employee Health Screening Contract
- COVID-19 rapid antigen home testing kits will be distributed to employees and students upon request.
- Diagnostic COVID-19 screening will be performed on students and employees who develop COVID-19 symptoms while in school/work.
- The school nurse will enter COVID-19 testing results into “Simple Report” electronically.
- Parent/Guardian Student Health Screening Contract for students.
- The school nurse will submit the weekly CDRSS COVID-19 and Influenza-like Illness surveillance report electronically .
- School nurses will communicate, collaborate, and coordinate surveillance, epidemiology, and containment activities with public health authorities.
- The school nurse will report suspected COVID-19 outbreaks to the local department of health.
Surveillance and Epidemiology
- School nurses and district approved staff will use the NBPS COVID-19 Reporting spreadsheet to specifically monitor students and staff reporting positive cases of COVID-19. The timing, specifics and scope of surveillance activities will be conducted under the supervision and close coordination of the local health department.
- The number of reported positive COVID 19 cases (by school) will be tracked daily by the building’s school nurse and reported weekly via CDRSS.
- The number of influenza cases will be reported weekly via CDRSS by the school nurse.
- Measures to be undertaken to limit the spread of germs amongst students and staff. These include “social distancing” or “non-pharmaceutical interventions” and the following
- Increase separation between students;
- Utilize hand, cough and sneeze hygiene;
- Make daily announcements to remind students of the importance of hand washing and coughing/sneezing etiquette;
- Display virus prevention signage throughout each building;
- Disinfect containment surfaces;
- Provide parental, employee and student communication about prevention, detection and management as needed;
- Provide COVID-19 Rapid Antigen home test for parents to use at home.
- Provide COVID-19 Rapid Antigen home test to those reporting as close contacts.
- Offer COVID-19 diagnostic screening testing to individuals who develop COVID-19 compatible symptoms while in school/work.
- Educate parents about the signs and symptoms of COVID 19 and other viral/respiratory illnesses and the importance of keeping children home when they are ill.
- Students, employees and visitors will be required to wear CDC approved face covering, when required.
- Identify unvaccinated students, medically fragile students and staff; and
- Utilize isolation areas as needed for suspected communicable illness/diseases.
- Encourage the use of air purifiers in classrooms and offices.
- Procedure developed for handling students and staff who have the signs and symptoms of influenza/COVID-19. These include:
- Provide masks for those with symptoms to wear;
- School nurse will wear PPE;
- Place potentially compromised students and staff in an isolated area with adequate ventilation;
- Discharge sick students and staff as soon as possible; and
- Refer to their medical provider for evaluation and clearance to return to school/work as needed;
- If there is a positive case, the school nurse must notify the building administrator(s)Head Nurse and Head Custodian
- The head nurse will notify the Superintendent, the Health Benefits Coordinator and the Director of Facilities.
- The Middlesex County Department of Health will advise the District of recommended building closure.
- Director of Facilities notifies the Head Custodian of the building, who initiates sanitizing.
- As long as routine cleaning and disinfecting have been done regularly (at least daily), additional cleaning measures are not necessary..
- If routine cleaning has not occurred or the COVID-19 case is in school on the day the positive test is reported, all areas used by the COVID-19 case will be closed off. Air circulation will be increased in the area if possible and wait 24 hours after the last day the COVID-19 case was in the area before cleaning.
- Post building closure signs on authorized and predetermined entry and exit doors in English and Spanish when needed.
Diagnostic and Screening Testing
- Two types of COVID-19 screening testing will be available for employees and students as needed. Asymptomatic and diagnostic COVID-19 screening will be available for all employees and students.
- Asymptomatic screening will be used as a mitigation strategy to identify individuals with the COVID-19 virus but show no signs of illness. The purpose of asymptomatic screening is to identify asymptomatic positive SARS-CoV-2 cases and prevent school transmission. Students and employees will receive COVID-19 Home Testing Kits with instructions to self test if they’re identified as a close contact.
- Diagnostic screening will be used as a mitigation strategy to identify individuals that present with COVID-19 symptoms. This type of screening will be used to determine if an employee with COVID-19 like symptoms test positive for SARS-CoV-2. The results from this type of testing combined with the results of the clinical assessment completed by the school nurse will be used to determine if an employee or student can remain in school or be excluded and referred to their primary health care provider for follow-up.
- COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Home tests will be provided to parents and employees upon request. These test kits shall be used to determine if SARS-CoV2 virus is present in students and employees that present with COVID-19 like symptoms.
Vaccination Efforts for Staff and Students
The District has coordinated and continues to collaborate with various agencies to facilitate COVID and flu vaccinations for staff and students (6 months and older) who are eligible and wish to get the vaccine. So far, through this effort, we have assisted over 2,000 of our staff, relatives, students, and parents with receiving the COVID 19 vaccine and over 500 of our staff, relatives, students and parents with receiving the flu vaccine.
Information is provided on our website to assist staff with vaccination. Efforts made to educate employees, parents and students about the safety of COVID vaccines by offering virtual educational sessions on COVID vaccines in partnership with Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health and St. Peter’s University Hospital.
Mitigation Measures, Including Social Distancing
- Implement prevention strategies to make the school environment conducive to good hygiene:
- Remind students and staff to clean their hands and make sure they have the supplies to do so by making soap, alcohol based hand sanitizer, paper towels, and sinks accessible;
- Remind students and staff to cover noses and mouths with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing and have tissues readily available. Make sure tissues are available in all classrooms and common areas such as libraries and cafeterias and remind students and staff to dispose of used tissues in waste receptacles;
- Conduct frequent sanitary, health & safety inspections of the schools. Encourage staff and the custodial team to wipe down any surfaces that may have been contaminated by saliva or other respiratory secretions.
- Place hand sanitizer dispensers and stations throughout schools;
- Have students and employees use hand sanitizer upon entry into schools and classrooms.
- Physical guides or markings will be placed throughout buildings to remind students and employees that social distancing is required when entering, while inside and exiting buildings.
- Posters reminding students and employees that face masks/face coverings are mandatory when needed.
- Special accommodations will be made for young students and individuals with disabilities as needed.
- Provide desktop sneeze guards for student desks upon request.
- Place air purifiers with ionizers in each classroom.
- Reduce the spread of the virus by identifying the schools’ responsibilities to the students and community:
- Set up prominent notices at all entry points to facilities, advising staff, students, and visitors not to enter if they have symptoms of influenza.
- Educate employees, students, and visitors on how to stop the spread of the virus. Signage containing information regarding hand hygiene, covering coughs and sneezes, and student spacing is placed around schools. CDC resources with this information are also distributed.
- Enforce policies and procedures for implementing containment measures as per the most recent guidance (canceling sports events and other mass gatherings when necessary).
- Ensure adequate supplies of tissues, hand sanitizer, soap and water and cleaning supplies are available to students and staff.
- Educate students and the community about COVID-19 and available vaccines and their safety via virtual presentations, district website and social media posts.
Appropriate Accommodations for Students with Disabilities with Respect to Health & Safety
- During mask mandates, all students and employees will be required to wear face coverings/masks while in any District facilities unless doing so would inhibit the individual’s health, the individual is under two years of age, or other exceptions outlined in NJDOE’s guidance apply. Necessary accommodations will be provided for young students or students with disabilities.
- Every effort will be made to train students who experience challenges with wearing a mask.
- Proper respiratory/hand hygiene will be strictly enforced.
- Protective barriers will be utilized when appropriate.
- Students with disabilities that prohibit them from wearing masks will be exempted and closely monitored in their cohorts.
- When possible, students with disabilities that prohibit them from wearing a mask will be cohorted together with the same teachers.
- Maskless cohorts will have limited mixing or no interaction with other cohorts.
- Individuals with COVID-19 compatible symptoms will be excluded until they have a negative COVID-19 test or have completed the criteria for discontinuing home isolation. Alternative diagnosis (including a positive strep or influenza test) will be accepted for return to school/work.
- Student spacing (social distancing) is a non-medical measure intended to reduce the spread of disease from person-to-person by discouraging or preventing people from coming in close contact with each other. Education on student spacing shall be distributed to all staff, students and parents.
- Student spacing strategies may include:
- Spacing students’ desks three to six feet apart, when feasible;
- Discouraging prolonged congregation in hallways, lunch rooms, etc.;
- Limiting group activities and interaction between classes;
- Recess/physical education classes shall be held in well ventilated areas (ideally outside) where physical distancing (3ft to 6ft apart) can occur. Students and staff will be allowed to take face mask breaks following the established Mask Break Procedure.
- Stagger recess and other outside activities;
- Designate a specific area for each cohort to remain in during recess and other outdoor activities;
- Monitor closely the use of locker rooms when the COVID-19 Community Level is “High”.
- Cleaning and disinfecting of locker rooms after each use;
- Utilize cones, flags, tape, or other signage to maintain 3ft to 6ft of space between student cohorts during recess and other outside activities;
- Stagger the use of playground equipment to allow for cleaning and sanitizing;
- Minimize sharing of equipment, when feasible;
- Modify gym classes, or other school activities that place individuals in close proximity; and
- Keeping students in classrooms, while teachers rotate where feasible.
- Disinfecting shared work areas, counters, railings, door knobs, hard surfaces and stairwells shall be performed more frequently during the pandemic phase.
- All custodians are assigned to either the Day shift or Mid Day shifts. Priority is the disinfecting of high-touch areas following the multilevel cleaning and disinfecting procedures
- As detailed under the “Heightened Cleaning Procedures, all custodians have written instructions in both Spanish and English detailing where to show careful attention such as to doors and door handles, stair handrails, locker doors/handles, phones and phone handles, water fountains, sink faucet handles, door push bars, paper towel dispenser handles, hand soap dispensers and other high touch items. All custodians have signed off that they have read and understand the process.
- Custodians are to focus on keeping restrooms clean and stocked with soap and paper towels.
- All hand sanitizers are to be checked and filled throughout the day.
- All occupied rooms will have cleaning logs posted to the side of the door documenting daily cleaning and follow up inspections from management.
- Preschool cleaning, as detailed under the “Heightened Cleaning Procedures, will ensure that shared objects will be disinfected daily. It is encouraged to limit the use of shared objects when possible.
- Prioritization has been given to replacement of air filters and maintenance of HVAC equipment and ongoing preventive maintenance/repair of essential life support systems such as power, heat, sewer and water.
- Air flow within buildings will be increased to the extent possible to increase circulation of outdoor air, increase the delivery of clean air and dilute any potential contaminants.
- Construction/installation of plexiglass screens to address identified needs.
- Maintenance staff has been instructed to travel individually to schools (one person per district vehicle)
- Exterior grounds keeping continues as usual with adherence to social distancing.
- Bi weekly Building & Grounds online meetings to review progress, maintenance issues and work orders.
- Multilevel cleaning and disinfecting procedures policies and practices which include (but are not limited to) on a daily basis:
- Filling of soap and hand sanitizer dispensers;
- Ensuring all paper towel holders are filled and functioning at all times;
- Sweeping and wet mopping all floors;
- Vacuuming rugs;
- Cleaning and sanitizing hard surfaces including fountains, door knobs, work areas, computer keyboards, counter tops, railings, stairwells, and writing tools;
- Cleaning and sanitizing bathrooms -toilets, sinks, walls, floors;
- Cleaning and sanitizing cafeterias - tables, chairs, food lines; and
- Cleaning vents.
Managing Illness in Staff, Students or Visitors
- In collaboration with the local Health Department, the school nurse educates staff and students regarding symptoms of illness.
- If a person becomes ill, or if someone observes that another person is exhibiting symptoms of influenza/COVID 19 at work/school, refer immediately to the school nurse.
- Encourage sick students and staff to stay home until they have been without fever (100.0 F or >) for 24 hours or as recommended by the Department of Health.
- Invoke Policy 8451 - Control of Communicable Disease about staying home and returning to school/work
- Assist with community isolation and quarantine efforts as needed;
- Arrange for meals to be delivered to families who have been affected by the virus;
- Provide virtual access to school nurses during school closure via the “Virtual Nurses Office;”
- Assist with community mass prophylaxis and vaccination efforts as needed; and
- Maintain student learning. Place students on medical home instruction, as needed, and follow Home Instruction procedures.
- Basic first aid supplies( bandaids, gauze, tissue, antiseptic wipes) and algorithms will be available for each classroom to treat minor scrapes.
- The nurse shall go to the classroom or meet students in a designated first aid area for triaging before a student travels to the health office when necessary.
- Student annual screenings will be done by classroom cohorts, during pandemic phases. Universal precautions will be practiced at all times.
- Ill students and employees shall wear well-fitting masks upon entering the nurse’s office.
- Aerosol generating procedures generate higher concentration of infectious respiratory aerosols than coughing, sneezing, talking or breathing. Therefore, it is recommended physicians prescribe metered- dose inhalers with dedicated spacers in place of nebulizer treatments. When required, nebulizer treatments must be conducted in a separate room with an open window with outside/good ventilation; nurses must wear full PPE with gown, gloves, mask, goggles or face shield. That room utilized for nebulizer treatment must be sealed and not used for 24 hours before the disinfection process is done.
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer stations are provided in each classroom, at entrances and exits of buildings, and near lunchrooms and bathrooms.
- Ensure that existing handwashing stations have soap and running water.
- Provisions have been made to facilitate student handwashing at regular intervals including before eating and after using the bathroom. Signage to encourage this practice has been installed. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are provided where soap and water is not possible.
School Dismissal and School Closure
- Selective dismissal shall be used when all or most students in the school are at higher risk for complications once exposed/infected with a highly contagious virus. This would include but not be limited to medically fragile students/staff, unvaccinated students, and pregnant students/staff.
- Reactive dismissal shall be used when many students and staff are sick and are not attending school, or many students and staff are arriving at school sick and are being sent home. In addition, if the building has been exposed to a highly contagious virus (COVID-19) or similar.
- Presumptive dismissal shall be used based on information about the spread of a virus in the region. This dismissal is most effective at decreasing the spread of highly contagious viruses. According to this protocol, the Office of the County Superintendent will notify the school district of NJDOE’s decision to close one or all schools. In the event that the State and/or NJDOE has not made a decision on school closures, the chief school administration has the authority to close their prospective schools. It is expected, however, that the decision will be made in consultation with the County Superintendent of Schools, the local health department, and the Office of Emergency Management.
- Parental and employee notification of why school dismissal and/or when school closure will occur.
- Generally, an outbreak is considered to be over when two incubation periods have passed without a new case being identified. An incubation period is defined as the time between exposure to an organism and when symptoms and signs are first apparent. Waiting two incubation periods allows for recognition of potential secondary cases - individuals that are still asymptomatic but in whom the disease may be incubating. All staff, students, and visitors shall continue to adhere to infection control precautions. School nurses will continue to closely monitor students and staff for signs and symptoms of illness.
- A disruption in one's daily routine due to effects of coronavirus, can cause post traumatic stress disorder. Counseling services will be made available to staff and students as needed. Families will be connected to community agencies to help address mental health challenges that resulted from the effects of coronavirus exposure.
- Communicate with the local health department to review recommended control measures, surveillance procedures and new strategies for prevention of communicable disease outbreaks within schools.
FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL RESOURCES AND GUIDANCE
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Considerations for Schools
New Jersey Department of Health
New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) published guidance for childcare facilities and K-12
New Jersey Department of Education
The Road Forward: Engage, Recover and Reimagine, Education in New Jersey
The Road Back: Restart and Recovery Plan For Education
Checklist for the Re-Opening of School 2020-2021
New Brunswick Public Schools
Coronavirus Safety Information & Resources
NBPS Re-entry Plan
Reference articles used to develop instructional plan:
- School Year Planning Guide - Re-entry
- Culturally Sustaining Framework
- Guidance on Culturally Responsive Sustaining School Openings