NOTE: This document is based upon current guidelines and recommendations from the NYS Department of Health and the NYS Education Department. It is a living document and is subject to updates as more information becomes available.
To help inform our reopening plan, the District has sought feedback and input from stakeholders, including administrators, faculty, staff, parents/guardians of students, local health department officials and health care, community members. Engagement efforts included online surveys, virtual meetings and one-on-one conversations.
The District 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 district website at www.carmelschools.org and will be updated throughout the school year, as necessary, to respond to local circumstances. The plan can also be translated into other languages, via the Google Translate feature available on the district website.
As part of its planning for the reopening of schools and the new academic year, the District has developed a plan for communicating all necessary information to District staff, students, parents/guardians, visitors and education partners and vendors.
The District 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. We will use existing communication channels – including the website, our robo calling system, our email newsletter, phone calls, mail, and our social media accounts – 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.
Carmel Central School District Communication Goals:
- To encourage all students, faculty, staff, and visitors through verbal and written communication (e.g., signage) to adhere to NYSED, CDC, and DOH guidance regarding the use of acceptable face coverings - a face mask covering the nose and mouth, when a social distance cannot be maintained.
- To provide regular updates about health and safety, scheduling, and all other information faculty, staff and families should be aware.
- To provide information to families through a wide array of platforms including mail, email, telephone calls, text messaging, social media and website postings.
- To provide information on how families can access technology and receive technical support to assist with utilization and maintenance of equipment.
Carmel Central School District developed communication materials accordingly, including the creation of sample messages/letters for COVID-19 cases or potential cases for various school audiences. We will utilize communication methods used by the District to inform the school community. Information will be dispersed in a variety of platforms that include:
- District website
- Call list/ROBO Call
- Email blast
- Online training
- Correspondence (letters) to homes
- Social media accounts used by district
Clear messaging will be prepared and consistently communicated before re-entry, on the first day, during the first week, throughout the first month, and continuously throughout the year. Minimum monthly communication will provide information on the following topics:
- Who to contact with questions, concerns or suggestions. Empower people to make a positive difference and communicate the expectation for them to do so.
- The facts as we currently know them (NYSDOH, CDC).
- The importance of social distancing, monitoring symptoms of COVID-19 and when to stay home.
- Set protocols for entrance (screening) and the review process for staff calling in sick. Constant reminders for staff to stay home if they feel sick.
- Encourage and implement social distancing in bathrooms, break rooms, hallways, etc. Installing social distancing markers on the floors, etc.
- Practice proper hand hygiene. Staff is allowed to use hand sanitizer, but hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is still more effective. Hand sanitizer works best on clean hands.
- Encourage and practice proper respiratory etiquette (i.e., coughing or sneezing into your elbow if a tissue is not available).
- Encouraging personal responsibility for yourself and your work area.
- Educating the school community on district policies/procedures, including how to properly wear and dispose of a face mask/respirator.