CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 (COVID-19) FAQ
The District will continue to monitor, plan and respond accordingly to the evolving situation related to the Coronavirus as guided by local, state and national health and government officials. The District has put together the following information related to COVID-19 to address community questions and concerns. This page will be continually updated as new information becomes available.
CLEANING AND DISINFECTING OF FACILITIES:
Q: How are the school facilities being cleaned and disinfected? What new cleaning protocols have been implemented to mitigate the spread of communicable illness?
A: District custodians continue to vigorously clean and disinfect all buildings throughout the school day and every evening.
- The District cleaning protocols meet the newly-issued State guidance.
- The District uses a hospital-grade disinfectant for cleaning of hard surfaces.
- Additional daytime cleanings have been scheduled.
- The District has purchased new devices using electrostatic cleaning technology to disperse disinfectant into classrooms and other large areas, which is being added to the cleaning protocol.
- Additional hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed in high traffic areas in all buildings and the District continues to convert to a Purell brand (70% alcohol) hand sanitizer.
- Signage with reminders and instructions on hand washing have been posted in all buildings.
Q: How and with what frequency are the cafeterias being cleaned and disinfected?
- Aramark has confirmed all prep spaces, serving lines, utensils, and equipment are cleaned at a minimum between service periods and at the end of the day, following the wash, rinse, sanitize standard.
- The Aramark staff test the sanitizer concentration multiple times throughout the day to ensure it is at the proper concentration to be effective.
- Food service workers have also been retrained on proper methods and frequency of hand washing.
Q: How and with what frequency are the buses being cleaned and disinfected?
- Huntington Coach has implemented a system to clean and disinfect the buses every day with EPA-approved products.
- Should the District become aware of a child who rides a bus and presents with flu symptoms, Huntington Coach will immediately take the bus out of service for deep cleaning.
- Bus drivers have been educated on the proper prevention of the spread of all airborne illnesses and will be required to provide medical clearance from a doctor prior to returning to work following a sick leave.
PERSONAL PREVENTION METHODS
Q: What are the most effective prevention methods?
A: Good handwashing and cough/sneeze etiquette remain some of the most effective ways to spread communicable illness and teachers continue to stress their importance to students.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
- Cover mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, using a sleeve or tissue;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
- Stay home if you feel ill;
- Students need to be fever-free for at least 24 hours before returning to school after an illness.
Q: Can my child wear a face mask to school?
A: Paper face masks do not offer significant protection against infection. They may help avoid giving an illness to others, but are not effective at protecting healthy persons from airborne exposure. Anyone who feels ill should remain at home, not attend school with a mask. The Surgeon General of the US has recommended against wearing masks as a preventative measure for persons not in a healthcare environment. The CDC has stated the following:
“You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. The use of facemasks also is crucial for health workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a healthcare facility).” https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#protect
Q: What will happen if a student comes to school with flu-like symptoms?
A: School nurses are closely monitoring for flu-like symptoms. Students who are ill will be sent home.
CHANGES TO SCHOOL PROGRAMMING AS A PREVENTION METHOD:
Due to the closure of Nassau County schools through April 1, 2020, all activites and events during this time have been canceled. Please expect additional changes to the District calendar as the situation continues to evolve. School buidings will be communicating directly with parents on cancellations and changes to school programs.
Q: Are any changes being made to school events where community members are invited to attend?
A: Governor Cuomo recommended avoidance of dense gatherings of people, and Dr. Anthony Fauci from the National Institutes of Health recommended that the elderly and those with underlying health conditions avoid travel and large gatherings. Accordingly, we are reviewing the upcoming events at all schools to provide alternatives for those who should not, or choose not to attend.
- As elderly persons and those with underlying health conditions are the most at risk, members of these groups wishing to attend any District events open to the community are strongly cautioned not to do so.
Q: Are field trips being rescheduled?
A: Field trips will be evaluated on an individual basis. We will confer with the Health Department on the planned destinations to help determine if any adjustments need to be made.
Q: What will happen to scheduled athletic events with students from other districts that have closed due to a confirmed case of COVID-19?
A: No students who have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be permitted to play in an athletic event. The decision to participate in an athletic event by a district that was closed rests with that district. All Districts are being notified by the Nassau County Department of Health if there are any staff or students who have tested positive, or who need to be self-quarantined as a precautionary measure. They would not be permitted to participate.
Q: Can I keep my student home from school?
A: We will continue to treat absences outside of mandated school closures with compassion and empathy.
- Any student who is absent for medical reasons or due to a quarantine related to Coronavirus, or any student whose physician is recommending absence due to underlying medical reasons, will be treated as an excused absence.
- Any student absent by family choice due to concern about Coronavirus will count as an unexcused absence, but the District will not impose any penalty on students.
- In the case of unexcused absences, arrangements cannot be made for daily lessons to be sent home, but teachers will work with students to catch up once they return to school.
- We are examining the flexibility within state regulations for when extended absences would trigger the requirement to initiate a home-schooling plan, or require re-enrollment of a student.
Q: Can you provide an online learning option for students who are uncomfortable coming to school or for families with elderly relatives at home?
A: The District has been actively working to develop online learning opportunities for students should we be faced with the need to close schools on short notice due to a health issue. However, we are unable to offer a comprehensive option for students to study from home while schools remain open. Any student absent by family choice due to concern about Coronavirus will count as an unexcused absence, but the District will not impose any penalty on students.
CONTINUITY OF INSTRUCTION:
Q: Does the District have a plan in place for online learning in the event schools need to be closed for an extended period of time?
A: The District has made a number of strides with technology and we have built on our advances, including the successful 1:1 Chromebook initiative, to address continuity of instruction.
Learning from home for students will begin on Thursday, March 19, 2020. Please see the section labeled "March 17, 2020 Learning from Home" on the District's COVID-19 Information Page for more information on how students can access online learning.
Q: What should I do if I believe I may have been exposed to COVID-19 or if I believe I am aware of someone who has been exposed to COVID-19?
A: You should call the hotline set up by the Department of Health at 1-888-364-3065, as well as your healthcare provider if you are symptomatic.
Q: How does the self-quarantine program work? Who monitors people who are self-quarantined?
A: It is the responsibility of the Nassau County Health Department to monitor the self-quarantine program.
- The Nassau County Health Department works closely with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and are informed daily of any persons who may need to self-quarantine.
- The Health Department will inform school districts, on a daily basis, if there are any persons who should not attend school.
- The Health Department will check daily on individuals under quarantine.
Q: What happens when someone is confirmed to have a case of COVID-19?
A: The person is evaluated by their physician or hospital and appropriate medical interventions are taken. Individuals not requiring hospitalization may be asked to self-quarantine until the disease has resolved. The Department of Health will immediately conduct a “contact investigation” to identify others the person has come into contact with and provide appropriate notification. These secondary individuals may be required to self-quarantine for up to 14 days. The school district will be notified by the Department of Health of any confirmed cases within the District.
Q: Is a child who has been in a home with a self-quarantined person allowed to come to school?
A: Yes. The New York State Department of Health will determine whether family members of a person under self-quarantine should have restricted movements. If the Department of Health does not impose any restrictions, the District cannot impose its own restrictions on any child’s access to school because a family member was self quarantined and the child was not.
Q: How often should I expect an update from the District?
A: The District is committed to sharing information with the community as it becomes available. The superintendent will be communicating frequently by email and using the District website to disseminate information. A dedicated page of the District website contains all information shared with the community regarding COVID-19, as well as helpful resources and links to credible sources of information.
This page will be updated multiple times per day, even if only to reaffirm that no cases have been identified in Syosset.
Q: How will I be notified if school is closed or events are canceled?
A: Any information regarding school closures and/or adjustments to school programming will come directly from the District. In addition to phone calls, email and text, the dedicated page of the District website and the District Facebook page will be utilized to communicate any changes to normal school scheduling.
OFFICIAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION:
Q: What sources is the District relying on for updates, information and guidance?
A: On a daily basis, we are working with the District medical director and closely monitoring and abiding by all guidance from the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), New York State Education Department (NYSED), and the Nassau County Department of Health.
Q: How can I access the most up-to-date and credible sources of information?
A: State and local health departments and the Office of the Governor
- Office of the Governor
- Centers for Disease Control
- NYS Health Department
- Nassau County Health Department
- World Health Organization (WHO)
TALKING TO CHILDREN ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS:
Q: How can I explain COVID-19 to my children? What can I do to ease their anxiety and address their concerns?
A: It is important to model calm behavior, keep an open line of communication and help children attain a fact-based understanding of the situation in a developmentally appropriate manner. The following resources may be helpful for discussions with your children regarding the coronavirus and addressing any concerns they may express: