Communication/Family and Community Engagement

This reopening plan was created in collaboration with all stakeholder groups. Parents and family members completed a Parent Survey, and a Parent Forum was held to answer questions and gather input prior to finalizing this plan. The school’s Crisis Intervention Team held meetings over a period of several months to outline and finalize various aspects of this plan. The School Board met on several occasions to review this plan prior to its finalization. The entire faculty held several meetings so that their input and feedback could be integrated into this plan. Finally, this plan was reviewed and approved by the Pastor and Principal prior to being submitted to the State Office of Religious and Independent Schools, and includes aspects of the school’s reopening document that was previously submitted to the Department of Health. 

The school remains committed to communicating all elements of this reopening plan to students, parents and guardians, staff and visitors. The plan is available to all stakeholders via the school website at www.hsseg.com/reopening, and will be updated throughout the school year, as necessary, to respond to local circumstances. The plan may also be accessed by going to the main home page www.hsseg.com and clicking on the tab for “Reopening” at the top of the page. The plan will appear as a PDF, and will also be available in HTML text. Parents and family members may also request a paper copy from the school office. Every effort has been made to ensure that the plan is accessible to all individuals.

As part of its planning for the reopening of school and the new academic year, the school has developed a plan for communicating all necessary information to school staff, students, parents/guardians, visitors and education partners and vendors. The school will use its existing communication channels – including Email Distribution Lists; SchoolClosings Network which posts to local TV and radio stations; Swift K-12 Emergency Communication System for Calls, Text, and Email; school Facebook page; and individual teacher communications – as well as appropriate signage and training opportunities to support the dissemination of consistent messaging regarding new protocols and procedures, expectations, requirements and options related to school operations throughout the pandemic.

The school is committed to establishing and maintaining regular channels of communication and has reviewed and determined which methods have proven to be the most effective in communications with our school community. The school will rely on hard copy distribution to students and families, email communication from the main office and teachers, and use of the Swift K-12 Emergency Communication system for calls, texts, and email to communicate news, requirements and updates related to reopening and in-person instruction, including social distancing requirements, proper wearing of face coverings and proper hand and respiratory hygiene. The information that we will share will be based on state guidance and the input of our stakeholder groups and individuals such as the Pastor, Parish Manager, Trustees, School Board, Crisis Intervention Team, Faculty, Parents and Family Members.

In support of remote learning, the school will make computer devices available to students and teachers where appropriate. The school has already sent and received the results of a survey to define expectations for families’ needs in terms of devices the school would need to help procure. The school will endeavor to provide families with a device upon request, and may request the return of the device at the end of the school year, or at any point in between. 

The school will provide students and their families with multiple ways to contact teachers during remote learning, including email communication, messages left with our main office that are received remotely, and communication in the Google Classrooms. Teachers may elect to schedule phone or video meetings with families upon request.

The school will use existing internal and external communications channels to notify staff, students and families/caregivers about in-person, remote and hybrid school schedules with as much advance notice as possible. The channels/methods used to communicate may include, but are not limited to: Email Distribution Lists; SchoolClosings Network which posts to local TV and radio stations; Swift K-12 Emergency Communication System for Calls, Text, and Email; school Facebook page; school website; and the Faculty and Staff Phone Tree.

The school is committed to ensuring that all of its students and their families are taught and re-taught new expectations related to all public health policies and protocols. As part of this continuous training, the school will assess the best approach to communicating the information for each students’ age group and will provide frequent opportunities for students to review these policies and protocols. This targeted education will help ensure that all students and their families know what is expected of them as they successfully return to the school setting. These trainings will cover:

The school will create and deploy signage throughout the school building to address public health protections surrounding COVID-19. Signage will address protocols and recommendations in the following areas: 

In addition to signage, the school will encourage all students, faculty, staff and visitors through verbal and written communication to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DOH guidance regarding the use of PPE through additional means such as email communications from the main office; hard copies sent home with students; our website and social media; during announcements, prayer services, liturgies, and other virtual gatherings of the community. 

The school is committed to creating a learning environment that protects student and staff health, safety and privacy. Our school will operate under a standard procedure for addressing situations in which an individual has tested positive for COVID-19 or appears symptomatic. These procedures are outlined in the Health & Safety section of our reopening plan at www.hsseg.com/reopening.

The protocols and safety measures for containment are outlined in this plan, and will be communicated to all families using the methods described above should a situation arise that results in containment protocols and safety measures being implemented. In the event that a student or staff member is sick or symptomatic, notification to exposed individuals will occur pursuant to the state’s contact tracing protocols as implemented by the local health department. The school will not notify the wider community unless specifically directed to do so by local health officials.

School Closures

The school is preparing for situations in which the school building needs to close due to a significant number of students or staff testing positive for COVID-19 or a considerable regional increase in COVID-19 cases.

Any suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 that is reported to the Safety Coordinator will immediately result in a phone call to the Rensselaer County Department of Health (RCDOH) by the Safety Coordinator, who will ensure that the school follows the guidance of the RCDOH moving forward regarding containment, closing sections of the building or the building itself, quarantine and isolation, cleaning and disinfecting, contact tracing, and any other directives from the RCDOH. Each report of a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 would result in a phone call being made to RCDOH by the Safety Coordinator or Designee. The reporting of multiple suspected or confirmed cases could result in the closure of the entire building, to be determined by the Safety Coordinator in consultation with the RCDOH.

The school may choose to modify operations prior to closing to help mitigate a rise in cases. The school will consult the Rensselaer County Department of Health (RCDOH) when making such decisions.  

The school building administrator will communicate with the superintendent or his designee regularly and, if needed, will consider closing school if absentee rates impact the ability of the school to operate safely. The school will examine the levels of in-person attendance and the nature of the absenteeism for faculty and staff as well as students, and will consult with faculty and staff, the Superintendent's Office, and the Pastor, in determining when a school closing (in whole or in part) is necessary due to absenteeism and its impact on the ability of the school to operate safely. In a closure, the school would communicate how remote learning would occur, and if, how, and when childcare for essential workers would be offered.

Should the building need to be closed during off-hours (outside of 7:30 am to 5:30 pm on a school day), communication regarding a closure would be communicated in the ways described in the above sections, specifically through the use of the school’s emergency communication system. In the event of an orderly closure during a school day, a determination would be made in consultation with the parties described above. Should a portion of the building close and a select group of students or cohorts be required to leave the building, the Safety Coordinator and Designees would communicate with all families and outline the dismissal process. Should the entire building closure, the same procedures would be communicated. Following the successful closure of the school building, additional information would then be communicated to school community members regarding the various aspects of the closure, remote learning, cleaning and disinfecting, and a timeline for possible reopening, along with any other relevant information.

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