Adirondack Helping Hands 2020-21 Reopening Plan

NYS 5 minute Survey for AHH Reopening

128 Park Row
Cadyville, NY 12901
Phone – 518-561-6361
Fax – 518-293-5226

2020-21 Reopening Plan

School Re-Opening Plan
Submitted: 7/31/2020

Agency Name: Adirondack Helping Hands, Inc.

BEDS Code: 800000059051

Administrative Address: 128 Park Row Suite 101 Cadyville, NY 12918

Program Site Address: Same

Program(s) provided at this site:
X 4410 (Pre-school Special Education
X Special Class
X Special Class in an Integrated Setting
X Multi-Disciplinary Evaluations
 853 (School Age Special Education
 Other:

Contact Person (Name, Title): Bridget A. Benware, CEO

Contact Phone Number: 518-561-6361

Contact Email Address: bridget@adkhelpinghands.net

Website where this plan and any plan updates will be posted:
www.adirondackhelpinghands.com

INTRODUCTION
This plan was developed to conform to the guidance provided by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) in their July, 2020, document entitled: Recovering, Rebuilding, and Renewing: The Spirt of New York’s Schools – Reopening Guidance. This plan will be revised and updated as needed to adjust to changing public health conditions caused by the COVID-19 virus and all of the new requirements and regulations which may emerge over time. We solicited input and involvement from the families we serve and our staff during the original drafting of our re-opening plan. We will rely on continued input from all stakeholders as we move forward implementing this plan and as we contemplate any additions or modifications.

We know our program must be as flexible and as responsive as possible to the needs of our students, families, staff members. We will closely monitor the conditions of our community as the COVID 19 pandemic continues and the effectiveness and appropriateness of our plan. Be assured that nothing has changed our sincere commitment to our students and our determination to provide the highest possible quality of educational programming and related services even during these difficult times.

The goal of the plan is to guide the delivery of high-quality educational services as safely as possible whether that service delivery is in-person, through a remote learning platform or a blended combination of remote and in-person services. Our focus and concerns extend to the social and emotional needs of our students, families and staff members. By diligently working together and remaining focused on the outcomes we desire, we can find solutions to the many challenges ahead.

Our plan includes all the required elements identified by NYSED and follows the structure of the guidance by addressing the following areas as they apply to our students with disabilities and their families:
A. Communication/Family and Community Engagement
B. Health and Safety
C. Nutrition
D. Transportation (Provided by districts for AHH)
E. Social Emotional Well-Being
F. School Schedules
G. Budget and Fiscal
H. Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism
I. Technology and Connectivity
J. Teaching and Learning
K. Career and Technical Education (NA for AHH)
L. Athletics and Extra Curricular Activities (NA for AHH)
M. Special Education
N. Staffing
O. Teacher and Principal Evaluation System (NA for AHH)
P. Student Teaching

Any suggestions, concerns and/or questions about our plan should be directed to the contact person identified at the beginning of this document.

A. COMMUNICATION/FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

  1. What participants involved in the Reopening Plan’s creation and may be involved in any possible future revisions

• Identify the job titles/groups at your school who were involved in crafting the original re-opening plan and who will participate in future revisions of this plan:

We have been in contact with local districts, along with our health department, the state education department, our faculty, and staff to undertake the creation of this plan. Parent surveys were also conducted.

  1. Moving forward how do you plan to consistently communicate with and provide information to each of the following groups?

• Students- Because we serve young children, communication will be via parent/Legal Guardians.

• Parents/Legal Guardians- Parents will be contacted regularly either through phone, email, or google classroom. Parents are given the opportunity to indicate their preferred method of communication, which will be honored as appropriate. Agency, non-child specific updates will also be provided via social media and via our website.

• Staff-Weekly meetings with staff will provide up to date information, along with email or phone calls for any urgent information.

• Visitors-Signage will be displayed on exterior doors to indicate any protocol in place. Visitors will need to be buzzed into the building, and only if necessary. Visitors will not be allowed beyond the vestibule/front desk area at any time.

  1. Describe how you will ensure that all students are taught or trained how to follow each of the following COVID-19 protocols safely and correctly

• Hand hygiene: Child-friendly visual signage will be posted around classrooms and through hallways. Children will be taught in developmentally appropriate methods about hand washing with use of modeling and engagement in the activity during teaching. Children will be required to wash hands after toileting, upon coming indoors, whenever they are soiled, and prior to mealtimes, at the minimum.

• Proper face covering wearing: Children will be provided with masks on the first day of school, with demonstrations and developmentally appropriate instruction on use. Due to varying needs of the young children for whom we provide services, masks will be encouraged, but can’t be required. When masks are not possible, socially distanced interactions will be required.

• Social distancing: Staggered enrollment will allow for all four classrooms at our facility to be utilized daily for in-person instruction. Classrooms will be divided into cohorts and will alternate between primary teachers and TA’s and related service providers for small groups or individual sessions, based on IEP’s. Plexi-glass dividers will be placed on tables to ensure separation during centers and meals.

2 classrooms at ___918_______square feet that each house one Integrated (9160) Preschool Special Education Classroom. Maximum number of students is 14 in each room.
2 classrooms at ___783________square feet that each house one Self-Contained (9100) Preschool Special Education Classroom. Maximum number of students is 13 in each room.
Classrooms will stagger attendance so that two classrooms per day can be used for pull-out therapy or other small group learning activities. This will assist with social distancing.
All non-essential movement around school should be avoided. Children receiving a related service will be walked by a classroom support team member to the classroom housing the related service provider. Both provider and child will use hand sanitizer prior to commencing activities.
Bathroom facilities are located in the classroom for children and will be sanitized with DOH approved cleaning solutions between uses.
To go to and return from recess, should clothing change be necessary due to weather, socially distanced markers will be in the hallways to allow children to be separated while dressing/undressing.
Adequate staffing will be utilized during recess to ensure children maintain social distancing.
Nothing implemented will impact current fire and safety codes

• Respiratory Hygiene: Visual alerts will be posted at the entrance, in classrooms, and hallways to cover coughs, dispose of tissues, and perform hand hygiene after coughs. Teachers will reinforce by assisting children to conduct these tasks. Face coverings will be encouraged for any person who is experiencing respiratory symptoms, unless a child is unable to wear a mask.

  1. Describe how you will use verbal and written communication to encourage students, staff and visitors to adhere to Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Department of Health (DOH) regarding the proper use of face coverings when social distancing is not possible: CDC and DOH guidelines will be disseminated to families of children attending our program prior to starting school. Additionally, guidelines will be posted on entrance doors. Front entrance staff will require staff, parents, and visitors to abide by face covering rules to be allowed into the building.
  2. Describe how you will provide communications in languages other than English-A child’s family will receive correspondence in their primary language. Entrance postings will also include languages other than English.
  3. Describe how you will communicate with members of the school community with visual and/or hearing impairments- Staff is being provided with masks with transparent material to allow for lip-reading. Additionally, if a member of the school community who comes to our building indicates a visual or hearing impairment, we will provide a means, via technology at our school, to ensure his/her understanding.

B. HEALTH AND SAFETY
NOTE: Students and staff will return to in-person instruction only when governmental authorities permit in-person education. Additionally any return to in-person instruction will necessitate that the school’s leadership also determines the number of students and staff allowed to return in person based on: the ability to maintain social distancing; the availability of PPE, including the availability of cloth face coverings and face masks; availability of safe transportation; local hospital capacity according to the local Department of Health

  1. Describe your plan/protocol to instruct staff to observe for signs of illness in students and staff and requires that symptomatic persons to be sent to the school nurse or other designated school staff member-Staff will be trained on screening for COVID-19 symptoms. If at any time a child or adult presents with symptoms, he/she will be sent to the designated staff member to have the child picked up from school, or the adult will be sent home. Medical follow up and documentation will be required to return to school. The child or adult will be isolated from other staff and children while waiting to leave the building.
  2. Describe your school’s protocol for daily temperature screenings of all students and staff, along with a daily screening questionnaire for faculty and staff and periodic use of the questionnaire for students.-Families will be required to take their child’s temperature prior to sending him/her to school. A temperature of 100.0 or higher will require the child to stay home. Medical documentation to return to school may be required. Additionally, prior to entering school, each child and staff’s temperature will be taken by school personnel with a no-touch thermometer. Any temperature of 100.0 or higher will require isolation until the child can be picked up, or the staff member can exit the building. A health screening will be done on each child daily, as required under daycare regulations. Additionally, staff will screen themselves daily, as well, prior to coming to the school.
  3. Describe your school’s plan to have ill students and staff assessed by the school nurse or other qualified medical professional engaged by the school. Confirm that if a qualified medical professional is not available at the school that the ill student and/or staff member will be sent home for follow up with a health care provider. See 1 and 2
  4. Describe your school’s protocol requiring students or staff with a temperature, signs of illness, and/or a positive response to the questionnaire to be sent directly to a dedicated isola¬tion area where students are supervised, prior to being picked up or otherwise sent home. See 1 and 2
  5. Describe your school’s protocol for how you will conduct health screenings of visitors, guests, contractors, and/or vendors to the school. Visitation within the school will not be allowed. Parents/guardians coming to pick up or drop off child or items will need to wear a mask and must remain in the vestibule/front desk area and maintain social distancing. Vendors will not be allowed in the building and will leave items in a designated area. Contractors or repair personnel will have a temperature taken by school personnel prior to entrance and will be required to wear a face covering and maintain social distancing.
  6. Describe your school’s protocol to instruct parents/guardians to observe for signs of illness in their child that require staying home from school. Parents/ guardians receive a handbook, and attest to abiding by all policies and procedures by signing both the policies and procedures form and a health and safety form.
  7. Describe your school’s protocol and appropriate signage you use to instruct staff and students in correct hand and respiratory hygiene. Health and safety policies will be reviewed, and agreed upon via signature, with all staff. Signage will be displayed on exterior doors to indicate any protocol in place, along with in classrooms, hallways, and staff areas, as well as in all restrooms.
  8. Describe how your school plans to ensure that all persons in school buildings keep a social distance of at least 6 feet whenever possible. Signage will be posted at entrance and throughout the building as a reminder of the policies set forth by DOH. This will also be reviewed and agreed upon with all staff.
  9. Describe your school’s protocol explaining how your school will provide accommo-dations to all students and staff who are at high risk or live with a person at high risk. Any child who lives with a family member with high risk will have the option to enroll as virtual/distance learning only. Should the family choose to send the child, risks will be reviewed to ensure they understand.
  10. Describe your school’s protocol requiring all employees, adult visitors, and students to wear a cloth face covering whenever social distancing cannot be maintained. Our school will require all employees, adult visitors, and students, when the preschool child is able to tolerate one, to wear a cloth face covering at all times within our building, which will be indicated in policies and posted on entrance doors.
  11. Describe your school’s protocol for allowing students to take “mask breaks”. -Students who are able to wear masks during the day will be allowed to take masks off for mealtimes, whenever they are causing distress due to developmental needs, and between each transition to a new activity, if needed, for 1-5 minutes, in a designated, socially-distanced area. Additionally, once seated in their own seat, they may take off face coverings while seated, as long as social distancing is maintained.
  12. Describe your school’s plan for obtaining and maintaining an adequate supply of cloth face coverings/masks for school staff, students who have forgotten their masks as well as all of the PPE needed by your school’s health professionals. Cloth face coverings and shields have been provided to all staff and will be washed nightly by school personnel. Additional extra masks are available for forgotten masks, or damaged masks, and inventory will be taken weekly to ensure an adequate supply at all times. Our school does not employ a health care professional.
  13. Describe what actions your school will take if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the school. Should a confirmed case of COVID-19 occur:
    • The classroom in which the individual with the confirmed case of COVID-19 is in will be immediately closed off. Windows and doors will be opened to circulate fresh air.
    • We will communicate with families and staff that a Positive COVID-19 case has been determined in the center.
    • The building will be dismissed and closed for a minimum of 2 to 5 days, and virtual instruction will commence.
    • The building will be cleaned with disinfecting methods approved by OCFS and EPA. AHH will work with the county health department, OCFS and other
    community officials to determine a reopening date.
    • AHH will stay in communication with families and staff about reopening for in-person education.
  14. Describe your plan that complies with CDC guidance for the return to school of students and staff following illness or diagnosis of confirmed case of COVID-19 or following quarantine due to contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. Include in your description how you plan to coordinat¬e with the local health department.
    A child with confirmed COVID-19 may return to our program when he or she has met ALL the CDC criteria for discontinuation of home isolation listed below:
    • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) AND
    • At least 14 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. AND
    • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
    • OR Test-based strategy. A child with confirmed COVID-19 who had symptoms may return to the childcare program when he or she has met ALL the CDC criteria for discontinuation of home isolation listed below:
    • Resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications AND
    • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath)
    • AND Negative results of an FDA Emergency Use Authorized molecular assay for COVID-19 from at least two consecutive upper respiratory swab specimens collected at least 24 hours apart.

An employee with confirmed COVID-19 may return to work when he or she has met ALL the CDC criteria for discontinuation of home isolation listed below:
• Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) AND
• At least 14 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. AND
• At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
OR Test-based strategy. An employee with confirmed COVID-19 who have symptoms may return to work when he or she has met ALL the CDC criteria for discontinuation of home isolation listed below:
• Resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications AND
• Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) AND
• Negative results of an FDA Emergency Use Authorized molecular assay for
COVID-19 from at least two consecutive upper respiratory swab specimens
collected at least 24 hours apart.
An employee with confirmed COVID-19 who has not had any symptoms may return to work when:
• He or she provides evidence of a negative COVID-19 test and are symptom free before returning to work, AND,
• At least 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 viral test AND
• Have had no subsequent illness AND
• Are exhibiting no signs of illness

Child or staff without symptoms in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19
If a child or staff comes in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 they will need to stay home and quarantine until 14 days after last exposure and need evidence of a negative COVID-19 test and are symptom free before returning to school/work. Additionally:
• At least 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 viral test AND
• Has had no subsequent illness AND
• Are exhibiting no signs of illness

  1. Describe you school’s protocol to clean and disinfect the school following CDC guidance. The school will disinfect following CDC guidance as follows: Prior to cohorts switching rooms, all surfaces/materials will be disinfected. Bathrooms and sink areas will be disinfected after each use. High-touch areas will be disinfected hourly, or more as needed. Additionally, sanitizing will occur each night after school, and Wednesdays, which are remote learning days, will allow for extra sanitizing of all areas in the school. Additionally, air purifiers will be in each classroom to ensure air filtration. Windows will be opened whenever possible to allow fresh air circulation.
  2. Describe how you will conduct required school safety drills (i.e., fire drills, lockdown) with the modifications which will be necessary to ensure social distancing between persons. Safety drills will be modified to allow for social distancing. Each adult will hold the hand of two children. The adult will remain in shield and mask, and children will be encouraged to wear their masks. These groups will then keep 6 feet between them while exiting, entering, and standing outside. Once the drill is over, all parties will wash their hands. Shelter in place will occur in cohorts with adults keeping children 6 feet apart while in their safe space in the classroom. Adults will surround the perimeter of the space.
  3. If your school operates before or after school care, describe you plan to implement health and safety protocols. Our UPK contract requires before and after care for their children, which means up to 6 children will be in after care on all in person days. The same protocols will be implemented as within the typical classroom day, as enrollment for after care will be smaller than the standard cohort group.
  4. Identify by name, title and contact information the COVID-19 safety coordinator your school has selected to be responsible for continuous compliance with all aspects of the school’s reopening plan, as well as any phased-in reopening activities necessary to allow for operational issues to be resolved before activi¬ties return to normal or “new normal” levels. AHH’s safety coordinator will be: Brady Channell-Childcare Director-brady@adkhelpinghands.net/518-561-6361

C. NUTRITION
Adirondack Helping Hands is a 4410 approved program, and thus is not mandated to provide meals to students. However, we do provide meals to children while on-site. This process is fully addressed in Section J, number 10.

D. TRANSPORTATION
If arriving by county-supplied busing, children arriving for the Self-Contained classroom will be dropped off at the front entrance to their teacher and support staff. All support staff will wear face coverings, including shields. Children arriving for the Integrated classroom will be dropped off at our rear entrance to their teacher and support staff. This will reduce crowding in one area at a given time. Prior to entrance, children will be kept socially distanced with multiple adults, will have temperatures taken, and will use hand sanitizer. Children will place personal belongings in individual cubbies, maintaining social distance in the hallway with adult assistance and will wash hands upon entrance to the classroom. At dismissal, children will board the bus in the same fashion, using hand sanitizer prior to getting on the bus.

If arriving by self-transport, children will be walked individually to the front entrance, where parents will leave their child with an Adirondack Helping Hands’ staff member. Temperature will be taken prior to parents leaving. Parents will not be allowed to escort children beyond the front vestibule.

E. SOCIAL EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING
Social-Emotional well-being is at the forefront of Adirondack Helping Hands’ philosophy. This is discussed in detail in sections J and M

F. SCHOOL SCHEDULES
School Schedules
1.) Describe any planned changes to class hours for students or work hours for staff:
Adirondack Helping Hands special education classrooms will run from 8:00-1:00 Monday through Friday, with approximately an additional half hour on either side for UPK students. Teachers will be responsible for working with their students the entire five hours that they are on site. No breaks or prep time will be allotted during this time. On the days when students are not at school, teachers will be responsible for group and individual teletherapy sessions that address IEP goals. On Wednesdays, AHH will utilize this day as a remote learning day. Students will receive packets that will be sent home that will address their individual needs. Teachers will use this day as prep and planning time as well as to collaborate with other related service providers in their classroom. Additionally, 1:1 aides will be responsible for assistance with assembling packets and assisting teachers in any way needed. Additionally, that day will be used for additional sanitizing of all spaces. All staff will be mandated to be off-site by 4:00 pm and not allowed back in the building until 7:00 am the following day. This will allow 15 hours between when our building is occupied and not occupied by any individuals.
• School enrollment will be reduced by 50 % in the building. Proposed Enrollment:

12:1:1 A 13 students/5 staff with related providers working in and out of the classroom-related providers make up 4 additional staff Attending in-person on Monday and Tuesdays Wednesday remote instruction
Thursday/Friday-virtual live teletherapy sessions as well as recorded lessons
6:1:1 A 14 students/5 staff with related providers working in and out of the classroom-related providers make up 4 additional staff Attending in-person on Monday and Tuesdays Wednesday remote instruction
Thursday/Friday-virtual live teletherapy sessions as well as recorded lessons
12:1:1 B 13 students/5 staff with related providers working in and out of the classroom-related providers make up 4 additional staff Attending in-person on Thursday and Fridays Wednesday remote instruction-Monday and Tuesday-virtual live teletherapy sessions as well as recorded lessons
6:1:1B 14 students/5 staff with related providers working in and out of the classroom-related providers make up 4 additional staff Attending in-person on Thursday and Fridays Wednesday remote instruction
Monday/Tuesday-virtual live teletherapy sessions as well as recorded lessons

• Staff members will remain with the same group of kids daily.
• Children will remain with the same group of children all day.
• Children will not mix with other classrooms
• No visitors will be allowed in the building
• Plexiglass is placed at the front desk.

2.) Describe how you will limit in-person presence to only those staff members who are necessary to be at school during normal school hours:
In an effort to reduce the number of staff on-site we will rotate classes that will be on-site on any given day. Two days per week one self-contained and one integrated class will be on-site. Wednesdays will be used for remote learning and deep cleaning our center then the following two days our other self-contained classroom and integrated class will be on site. We will require that only staff that are teaching in-person be present in the building on these days. On the days that a 1:1 aide’s student is not present we will require that aide to come into the building to assist in cleaning and any additional help a classroom may need in regards to toileting, dressing for outside and changing center time materials to keep them sanitized. Staff will be reduced by 50% each day with this model.

3.) Describe how you will stagger schedules or make other time adjustments to reduce congestion in hallways, walkways, and/or buildings:
Children will enter the building using two different entrances. One classroom will enter the main part of the building the other classroom will utilize the back entrance of the building. Hallway traffic will be reduced to related service staff moving from classroom to classroom and when children transition to outside. Outdoor times will stagger by 60 minutes to allow enough time for children to use the playground, allow for sanitizing of equipment, and to transition back into their classroom without any other classroom in the hallway. Each class will be assigned separate entrances and exits that will be specific to their classroom.

4.) Describe any planned use of “cohorts” or class schedules to accommodate social distancing:
Cohorts will be determined and implemented immediately. Due to reduced number of classes in the building on any given day, two classrooms per class will be utilized to encourage social distancing during all daily activities. The children will rotate between their two designated classrooms to ensure all aspects of their IEPs are targeted. The TA will be given a detailed, specific lesson plan highlighting how IEP goals can be met through center time and free play. The related service provider(s) will provide a push-in model unless it is determined that the child’s goal can best be met outside of the classroom. The special education teacher will move throughout both rooms to ensure IEP goals are targeted and met throughout each in-person school day.
Squares will be clearly marked for students to sit on that will allow for social distancing between peers during circle times. Students will be encouraged to put their mask on while transitioning in the hallway to the next room. Handwashing will occur when changing rooms, and rooms will be sanitized prior to new cohort arrivals, and sooner as necessary.

5.) Describe how you will communicate with families, including those who use a language other than English, and staff when schedules need to be changed/adjusted or instruction transitioned back to all remote:
Communication with families will occur via a class dojo app, google classroom, Facebook, daily updates on our website as well as individual phone calls to parents if none of these platforms are available to them. Teachers will contact families prior to the school year to determine what platform will work with parents and if alternate accommodations need to be made for them for communication. All information will be provided in the family’s primary language.

6.) Describe how your scheduling decision and instruction models promote equity and access a priority for all, including English language learners, those experiencing homelessness and students with disabilities:
The scheduling decision was based solely on the regulations set forth by DOH and NYSED regarding social distancing regulations. To ensure adequate social distancing measures, staggered enrollment is necessary. This decision allowed for at least some in-person instruction, which is critical for all children coming to our program.
Our instructional model includes theory and practice from researched based programs to include the PLAY project, Handwriting without Tears and the Creative Curriculum. These research-based philosophies encompass meeting each individual student where they are at. It takes into account the child’s social emotional well-being, their cognitive abilities and interests. We feel confident that utilizing all of these programs will promote a well-rounded education for each student that participates in our program. Additionally, the PLAY project philosophy focuses heavily on parent coaching. This will ensure that our practices carried out in our classroom are carried out in the home as well.

G. Budget and Fiscal

1.) Have your internal budgeting and expense reporting been adjusted and expanded to forecast, track and account for COVID-19 related expenses?
Our bookkeeper and accountant are working seamlessly to account for all unexpected and necessary expenses that have been incurred since COVID-19. To ensure safety for all staff and students a significant amount of expenses (that were not originally planned) have been incurred. These costs will be tracked and reported as typical for 4410 approved programs.

2.) Describe any of the possible additional revenue sources you might tap into to meet the added expenses related to meeting COVID-19 related costs: Adirondack Helping Hands is a 4410 approved program who solely provide EI and PS services, which are directly contracted through municipalities. This is thus the only source of income our agency is allowed, and what is necessary for continued operations.

3.) Briefly outline some of the steps you will take to maintain high levels of student enrollment:
Consistent, constant communication with each family is how Adirondack Helping Hands plans to maintain high levels of student enrollment. Communication will occur via phone calls, emails, updates on our website and communication through class dojo. Additionally, a rich academic experience is planned for all students, regardless of method of delivery.

H. ATTENDANCE AND CHRONIC ABSENTEEISM

1.) Describe how you intend to collect, document and report daily teacher/student/family engagement or attendance regardless of the instructional setting (in-person or remote):
In-person attendance will be taken per child each in-person school day. Attendance for virtual learning will be done daily, as well. The teachers will collect attendance that will include children participating in live sessions as well as completing assigned lessons. Related service providers will document as usual for both in-person and virtual learning therapy sessions. This information will be shared with our County representatives and CPSE chairs on a monthly basis, or sooner should a child miss 3 consecutive days in either setting.

2.) Briefly describe how you will develop/sustain positive relationships with student/families to promote attendance and participation:
Adirondack Helping Hands will work with each individual family to ensure that they understand the importance of their child receiving their education. This relationship will begin initially with a phone call and/or welcome email. We will then provide a virtual meeting where we will show each child his/her classroom via google classroom. Each of the related service providers will be introduced during this meeting. The goal will to be to establish initial rapport with each family. After that, we will continue to educate and support families in developing consistent participation. Each family will have their own plan that will be developed during the first few weeks of school to best meet their needs.

3.) Briefly describe outreach efforts when students and families are not participating in remote learning:
In addition to the child’s teacher and support staff, Adirondack Helping Hands will have a counselor on-site each day as well as our daycare director. These staff will be utilized to help trouble shoot with families to ensure high attendance for both in-person and virtual learning days. They will all collaborate to reach out via phone, email and/or at the child’s home to offer assistance to ensure that each child in our program is receiving a quality education from us.

4.) Describe how you will involve the CPSE/CSE if students are not participating in remote learning:
CPSE will be notified via call or email if non-participation of their student is high, defined as three consecutive missed sessions.

5.) Describe how your outreach to families who speak languages other than English:
Adirondack Helping Hands will utilize the local college Plattsburgh State University to contract with them as necessary to meet the needs of any family who does not speak English. PSU offers a foreign exchange student program and has many students who speak fluently in languages other than English. In the past we have utilized Plattsburgh State to aid in this hurdle. Additionally, any correspondence sent home will be in the family’s primary language.

6.) Are your staff members periodically reminded of their responsibility as mandated reporters to contact the Department of Social Services if they suspect child abuse or neglect?
Adirondack Helping Hands will continue to comply with the OFCS regulations and guidelines. This information is shared annually when reviewing policies and procedures to ensure all staff understand and thus agree to abide by the regulations.

I. Technology and Connectivity

1.) Describe how will your school initially gather and periodically update information on the level of access students and staff members have to devices and high speech broadband ad their places of residence:
Adirondack Helping Hands’ re-opening survey included families’ access to internet and technology. Adirondack Helping Hands’ teachers and staff will be in contact regularly with all enrolled families to ensure families have appropriate access to technology. Additionally, administration will work with staff members who are providing virtual therapy sessions to ensure that they have access to high speed internet and a computer.

2.) Describe how you will address the need to provide devices and internet access to students and staff members who do not currently have access:
Adirondack Helping Hands will collaborate with the child’s home district to ensure they receive the access to which they are entitled. Staff members who need access to technology can use our school’s equipment.

3.) What multiple means of participation might you employ so that students can participate and demonstrate mastery of the Learning Standards in remote and blended models when they may not yet have sufficient access to devices or high-speed internet?
Should a family not have adequate access to devices or high-speed internet, AHH will collaborate with the child’s home district to assist in such access. Should the family continue to have difficulties, or prefer to utilize distance learning, regular phone calls with parents will occur, and packets will be provided and collected to gather data to ensure Learning Standards are being mastered.

4.) Describe your plans for professional development in effective practices during remote instruction and learning:
Professional development in effective practices during remote instruction will be a top priority at AHH. Administration will ensure that each teacher and related service provider obtains at minimum 10 hours of professional development workshops directly related to effective practices in remote instruction annually, or more if needed.

5.) Describe your plan for providing information technology (IT) support to families and staff members who are experiencing IT issues and challenges:
Due to the size of AHH, all IT issues will be handled through the administration. Staff will contact administration as soon as an issue is noted so a resolution can be made. Teachers will be encouraged to have ongoing communication with parents to ensure that they have adequate technology. In the event that a family incurs any difficulties with technology they will be directed to administration and handled on a case by case basis so that the child’s district can be informed. Families will be made aware of how to get in touch with administration if necessary, via email and/or phone.

6.) Describe how you will ensure data privacy and security:
The formats utilized by classroom teachers for distance learning will be HIPPA compliant, unless a family chooses an alternate method. The family would then need to sign an agreement, which would indicate their understanding of the risks associated with that platform and their agreement to use it instead. Additionally, internet usage at AHH is protected by a firewall, which is monitored by our contracted IT provider.

7.) Describe how you will assess the effectiveness of the digital tools and platforms you are using/will use:
A survey will be offered to families periodically to ensure that the technology and tools we are using are effective for the families to whom we are providing services. This survey will include a parent’s perspective on their child’s attentiveness during sessions, willingness to participate, and gauge their thoughts on how their child is performing. Additionally, progress reporting will be done quarterly, as usual, to ensure that the child is making gains and meeting IEP goals.

J. TEACHING AND LEARNING

1.) Briefly describe your continuity of learning plan should state or local conditions warrant moving from in-person, blended and/or all remote instruction.
Our blended instructional days will mimic as much as possible our in-person days. For example, we will hold a live circle session at 9:00 and our final circle of the day will be held live at the same time as well. Related staff will try to fill in as much as possible between those times that replicates what times they see a child typically in-person. Additionally, we will require all related service staff to provide reteaching in their specific domain that directly supplements what the special education teacher is focusing on that week. This will ensure seamless transition from one method to another, when necessary.

2.) Will instruction, regardless of the modality used, remain aligned with the outcomes in the New York State Learning Standards?
Yes

3.) Describe how your school will promote equity by making sure that all students have opportunities to access routinely scheduled instruction, interaction, feedback and support from teachers:
All live lessons will be posted to our YouTube channel and uploaded to our webpage for easy access for parents, should they not be able to participate in the live sessions. Additionally, remote learning packets will include worksheets and craft activities, with supplies, to promote engagement and academic success will be given to students on a weekly basis. Teachers will continue to serve as a liaison between families and administration, should problems arise, to ensure all children are provided with the same accessibility.

4.) Will all students have opportunities for regular and substantive contact with qualified instructional personnel regardless of the delivery method (remote, blended, in-person)
Yes

5.) Describe how you will engage families in the teaching and learning process:
Utilizing the research-based principles of the PLAY project, we will implement the strategies of that philosophy to improve engagement with families. This philosophy focuses on the social emotional development of children and coaching parents how to enhance this developmental domain with their child through play. Adirondack Helping Hands will periodically upload live tutorials on the website to help families use the strategies in their home. One to one parent training sessions will be offered to families that seek help or are identified as at risk. At risk families will be considered those whose family has experienced known trauma i.e., divorce, death of a parent, foster care or families who are involved with CPS. This model naturally promotes parent engagement and active involvement in their child’s learning.

6.) Describe your plan for student support and family involvement to address the specialized needs of students whose educational experiences in 2019-2020 were disrupted due to school closures and now require additional social, emotional or academic support to be successful:
Staff at Adirondack Helping Hands have been required to attend the PLAY project two-day intensive training for children with Autism. This philosophy fully supports that social emotional development MUST be strong and fully developed (in all children regardless of ability) before authentic learning can occur. Any staff member who is new or was not able to attend the live two-day workshop will be given hands on training to help support them in their understanding and implementation of the PLAY project. Trained counselors will be on-site each day to assess the emotional needs of our students as well as reach out to families who may need additional support. AHH will provide ongoing training and support to our families through live workshops that will be uploaded to the website via our YouTube channel as well as resources to read so families can access them at their leisure and when necessary.

7.) Describe how your school plans to help students to re-adjust to in-person instruction and the structure of the school:
Adirondack Helping Hands will provide multiple modalities to help students adjust to in-person via visual schedules, verbal reminders, repetition and consistency of the day every in-person school day. The virtual learning days will mimic as much as possible the in-person days.

8.) Outline some of the things you will do to create a positive school climate of safety, comfort and routine in all program models:
Adirondack Helping Hands’ prides itself on implementing a model that consistently supports the development of young children which has always placed children’s safety and comfort first. Developmentally, children learn best when routine is evident, and they know what to expect. In terms of philosophy, we will continue to provide support social emotionally by following the child’s lead, validating their feelings, and being mindful of how a child best responds to our program. When necessary behavioral plans will be implemented that will be developed with the child’s entire team. Perspective from a variety of disciplines is necessary to design the most effective behavior plan for a child.

9.) Describe how you will help staff members share information about individual needs and each student’s responses to blended, in-person and/or remote learning:
Classroom teams will continue to have weekly meetings via ZOOM where all service providers will be expected to attend. Information during these meetings will be shared regarding children’s needs and/or changes to a child’s program that may necessary.

10.) Programs for preschool students (4410s) should briefly describe how they will:
a). Manage meals without family-style service and with social distancing:
• Each meal will be prepped and prepared in the center kitchen by one designated staff member.
• Each classroom will prep for meals by disinfecting tables, chairs and countertops before and after each meal.
• Staff and students must wash hands before and after each meal.
• Children will be seated at tables with plexiglass dividers and tables will be at least 6 feet apart during meals.
their meals.
• Meals will be served by a designated staff member wearing gloves. Children, nor non-designated staff, will touch serving utensils.
• Children with food allergies will be provided a separate space to eat, with an adult. All social distancing measures will be utilized. All staff are educated on food allergies to prevent exposure and child-specific emergency plans are in place.

b). Manage toileting and hand washing when classrooms do not have adjoining sinks and toilets. NA *All classrooms have bathrooms with handwashing sinks outside the bathroom doors.

c). Implement nap time, if applicable-NA- would do not have nap times in a 5 hour day.

d.) modify center time to enhance social distancing
Center time will change to meet the guidelines as best as possible with social distancing in mind. Plexiglass dividers will be utilized and items within the center will be rotated in and out, per child, as necessary throughout center time. As much as possible, center time activities will be presented in separate bins. For example, two bins, separated by a plexiglass divider may contain dried beans. Children will individually have the opportunity to enjoy the items in the bin and once they leave the center the bin will be removed and a new, clean bin (that has not yet been utilized) will be offered. At the end of the school day used bins will be sanitized accordingly. If any items are needed to assemble a craft activity each student will be assigned a personal plastic container which will hold a glue stick, markers, crayons, and scissors-items utilized will individually be wiped down with a bleach solution and sprayed with a sanitizer before being put back in the child’s container.

e.) Avoid children having to share materials
Adirondack Helping Hands is compiling a list of items to be purchased and reduplicated for children’s use to discourage sharing and spread of germs. Items will be purchased based on ability to adequately clean the item and relevant interest of children.
f.) Follow sanitation guidelines during the day, i.e. after center time
One staff member will be assigned to each classroom on in-person days specifically designated to cleaning. This staff member will be trained on proper sanitizing protocol, and proper disposal/removal of unsanitary items.
g.) Discourage practices which encourage physical contact, i.e. partners holding hands:
Adirondack Helping Hands will strongly encourage children to keep their hands to themselves and not touch peers. The first unit of study will include an All About Me theme where physical and spatial concepts will be heavily targeted and implemented. Students will be given multiple opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge of these concepts. Several visual cues throughout the room will be utilized to help students understand these concepts as well.

11.) Describe how you will balance screen time and authentic learning experiences during remote learning periods:
Adirondack Helping Hands will implement a virtual learning lessons that encourage the child to move while participating in the session while targeting concepts (jump three times, make an X with your arms). Parents will be provided information regarding preschoolers and screen time which will define quality screen time. Quality screen time consists of highly interactive, educational screen time where teachers and related staff will utilize technology to support literacy, math, and pre-reading/writing skills. While keeping in mind a preschool age child’s attention span and need to have frequent movement breaks.

12.) Describe how your program will control/limit volunteers and visitors (including parent/guardians)
At this time no visitors will be allowed on-site at Adirondack Helping Hands. Parents will not be allowed to go beyond the vestibule in the front entrance. In the event a parent needs to accompany a child for an evaluation, a temperature will be taken prior to entrance by an AHH staff member for both child and parent, the parent will be required to wear a mask for their time in the building, and the parent will remain in the evaluation room until departure.

13.) Describe some of the best practices which can inform/facilitate high-quality remote instruction:
One email per day will be sent to families at the same time with the same subject heading per classroom, so they know what to expect.
We know that children learn best in the context of relationships and through play-based, hands-on, and engaging activities. Having this knowledge, it can be difficult to facilitate these necessary and critical relationships among children and their peers and teachers. Remote learning will focus heavily on educating parents how to engage with their child in fun meaningful ways. The principles of the PLAY project will be utilized and relied on to achieve this goal.

14.) Describe your models for in person education, remote and a blended program:
Below is a table the depicts what our blended/hybrid model will look like. Should we be given the go ahead to attend all five days with all students present the number of staff and students will double. Approximately 80 people will be on-site in a fully in person scenario. This will include office staff as well as 1:1 aides. Approximately 54 students and 25 staff members will be present in the building during complete in person days. Should we be instructed to go solely remote a detailed schedule of remote learning times will be given to each parent that will include related service providers session time for teletherapy as well as the special education teacher’s daily schedule when live circle time, center and academic circles will be presented.

K. CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION
NOTE: NA-CTE does not specifically apply to 4410 programs except for the basic Learning Standards which can be achieved in remote, blended or in-person preschool instructional models.

L. ATHELETCS AND EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
NA-Athletics and extra-curricular activities are generally not part of any 4410 program

M.) SPECIAL EDUCATION
1.) Describe how your students will receive FAPE, regardless of the service delivery model they are participating in:
Adirondack Helping Hands will ensure that each child enrolled in our program with a disability will be provided the special education and related services identified in the student’s IEP, via in-person, virtual and/or remote format.

2.) Outline how your program plans to work collaboratively and communicate with the CPSE/CSE:
Adirondack Helping Hands at minimum will continue to communicate with CPSE as we always have by doing the following:
• provide monthly updates via email or phone calls to responsible CPSE regarding specific children in their district and Helping Hands program. CPSE’s will be contacted sooner whenever a need arises regarding a child in program.
• Contact the CPSE immediately via telephone is absenteeism appears chronic (greater than 3 consecutive days) and/or when a family is struggling with technology or connectivity that aids in their child participating fully in our program.

3.) Will your reopening plan ensure access to the necessary accommodations, modifications, supplementary aids and services and technology (including assistive technology) to meet the unique disability related needs of students?
Yes. Regardless of the model this will be considered with highest regard and student’s needs will be accommodated and changed as necessary throughout the school year.

4.) Describe how you could work with the CPSE/CSE to prepare contingency plans to address a student’s remote learning needs in the event of future intermittent or extended school closures:
Adirondack Helping Hands will remain transparent and upfront with all CPSE chairs whose children are enrolled in our program. We will utilize email and telephone communication to keep all chairpeople involved and consider their suggestions to best meet their student’s needs in our program. AHH will follow IEP’s regardless of method of delivery. Links on Adirondack Helping Hands’ “resource” page will be available to keep parents and CPSE chairpeople alike on the same page.

5.) Describe how your reopening plan prioritizes in-person services to the greatest extent possible for high-needs students:
Adirondack Helping Hands’ reopening plan prioritizes in-person services at a slow rate of entry with a planned reconsideration of our program model the second weekend of October, 2020. This reconsideration will include determination of more frequent in-person days at that time. COVID rates within our county will partially determine this decision as well as how able our school has been at prioritizing education, health, and safety of all staff and students within the guidelines laid out in this document.

6.) Describe your plan’s important considerations and approach to related service provision over the various models you are planning (in-person, remote, hybrid/blended).
Related service providers and their crucial role in helping children meet their goals set forth in their IEP will be working diligently to provide the greatest service delivery in every model presented. In a blended approach the service providers will be on-site for every in-person day and will provide virtual teletherapy sessions on the days the children are home to ensure that IEP frequency is met. Related services providers have been trained and are ready for an all virtual/remote learning format as well as in-person model should those models become necessary.

7.) Describe how you will assign related service caseloads and provide related services to protect the integrity of student “cohort”/ “pods”:
Related service providers will work on a rotating basis within their classrooms to ensure a reduction of number of people in a room at any given time. Alternate classroom spaces, along with an alternate separate space will be given to service providers to carry-out sessions as needed on in-person days. This space will be cleaned and sanitized between movement of therapist and children leaving/entering the room. Related service providers will provide input to their team members to best develop cohorts according to ability and IEP goals.

N. STAFFING

  1. Will all individuals hold a valid certification/license appropriate to their service assignment? Yes
  2. Will certifications and licenses be verified by the school using the internet-based tools made available by NYSED? Yes
  3. Describe any staffing changes which you might need to consider to meet instructional and operational demands during the COVID emergency period-
    NA-all staff will be required whether in-person or virtually to ensure all children’s goals can be met.
  4. Will the school be making “incidental” teaching assignments during the 2020/2021 school year? (After extensive and well-documented unsuccessful recruitment, a teacher can be given an “incidental” assignment for no more than ten (10) classroom hours per week to allow an otherwise unqualified teacher teach a subject which is not covered by their certificate.)
    AHH does not anticipate the need for “incidental” teaching assignments.
  5. Substitute teachers will have an important role to play upon reopening, especially if there are extensive or protracted staff absences or in certain staff intensive instructional models that blend remote and in-person learning.

Our school will undertake robust recruitment efforts to identify and process qualified substitutes. In the 2020/2021 school year, as permitted by NYSED, if qualified substitute teachers cannot be engaged, individuals with a high school diploma or equivalent, even those not working toward certification can first be engaged for up to ninety (90) days and then beyond the first ninety (90) day period through the end of June, 2021, as long as the superintendent documents and attests that recruitment efforts did not identify a fully qualified substitute teacher. The administration must attest to the shortage of qualified recruits initially and then at the end of the first ninety (90) day period. Recruitment efforts will be extensively documented.

  1. Staff members who are requesting an accommodation from reporting for in-person work due to concerns about their own health must notify the Human Resources department and then comply with submitting requested information before the agency can determine if a reasonable accommodation can be made based on applicable law, regulation and the agency’s needs and resources.

O. TEACHER AND PRINCIPAL EVALUATION SYSTEM
NOTE: This required section of the reopening plan is not applicable since 4410 and 853 programs are not subject to the specific laws and regulations regarding professional evaluation cited in the NYSED guidance.

P. STUDENT TEACHING

  1. Since NYSED permits and encourages it, will your school welcome student teachers during the 2020/2021 school year to participate in-person and/or remote instruction? Yes
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Adirondack Helping Hands is also proud and excited to offer the Play Project to children with Autism.  The Play Project is a research based, intensive program for young children with Autism that promotes engagement in a playful way to foster development.  Children, including children with Autism, learn best through play in their natural environment.  As Dr. Rick Solomon, the creator and founder of the Play Project says, “When you do what the child loves the child will love being with you.”   

https://www.playproject.org/

To attend one of Adirondack Helping Hands’ classrooms, a child must present with very specific needs and must be approved by the child’s school district’s Committee on Preschool Special Education.

Our classrooms provide instruction from a Special Education Teacher, Speech-Language Pathologist, Occupational and Physical Therapists, and a School Counselor, along with a Teaching Assistant. All services are received during the five-hour classroom day. Our school has two Integrated classrooms, each of which have up to 8 children with IEP’s are integrated with up to 6 neurotypical children from our community. Currently, Saranac UPK has a contract for the community placements. This setting provides children the opportunity to engage with peers while having the support of a special education teacher and other staff members to help the child meet their developmental milestones. Our school also has two self-contained classrooms, each of which has up to 13 children with IEP’s receiving all of their services. In this setting a child who benefits from repeated, small group instruction would be best suited for this classroom.  A child in this classroom may need additional support to solidify their developmental goals.  Adirondack Helping Hands utilizes the Creative Curriculum in both classrooms to help meet children’s needs. The Creative Curriculum encompasses academic and cognitive growth while the teachers and staff members alike follow the child’s lead.  Research has proven time and again that when we follow a child’s lead, the child’s foundation for learning is enhanced making higher level skills more attainable and carryover more probable.  

All staff at Adirondack Helping Hands are trained in a child-first format, where getting to know the child and building on his/her strengths is expected to help the child meet his or her developmental goals.  Adirondack Helping Hands is also proud and excited to offer the Play Project to children with Autism.  The Play Project is a research based, intensive program for young children with Autism that promotes engagement in a playful way to foster development.  Children, including children with Autism, learn best through play in their natural environment.  As Dr. Rick Solomon, the creator and founder of the Play Project says, “When you do what the child loves the child will love being with you.”   

Evaluations and Services can address needs in the following developmental domains:

•Physical skills include Fine and Gross motor, along with Sensory Function and Processing.

   ○Fine motor skills are those skills that require small muscle movements, such as pinching, grasping, and writing. Sensory Function and Processing refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses (messages relating to touch, sound, sight, smell, temperature, movement, etc.) and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. These needs would be addressed by an Occupational Therapist.

   ○Gross motor skills are those skills that require large muscle movements, such as jumping, walking, running, and throwing. These needs would be addressed by a Physical Therapist.

•Communication skills include receptive and expressive language skills. Receptive language is how a child understands language, including things such vocabulary, directions, questions, and grammatical structures. Expressive language is how a child uses language, including things such as vocabulary, asking and answering questions, and using grammatical structures. These needs would be addressed by a Speech-Language Pathologist.

•Cognitive skills include attention, thinking, problem solving, and playing. These needs would be address by a Special Instruction Teacher.

•Adaptive skills include those skills needed to take care of ones’ self, such as feeding, dressing, and toileting. These skills, depending on the significance of your child’s needs, would be addressed by either a Special Instruction Teacher or an Occupational Therapist.

•Social-Emotional skills include how a child interacts with others and expresses and understands emotions. These skills would be addressed by a Special Instruction Teacher.

   ○Parent Training- This service is available should your family feel you could benefit from additional support.

These services, depending upon a child’s age and specific needs, can be provided in a child’s home or daycare, or in a community setting.

Evaluations and Services can address needs in the following developmental domains:

• Physical skills include Fine and Gross motor, along with Sensory Function and Processing.

   ○ Fine motor skills are those skills that require small muscle movements, such as pinching, grasping, and writing. Sensory Function and Processing refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses (messages relating to touch, sound, sight, smell, temperature, movement, etc.) and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. These needs would be addressed by an Occupational Therapist.

   ○ Gross motor skills are those skills that require large muscle movements, such as jumping, walking, running, and throwing. These needs would be addressed by a Physical Therapist.

• Communication skills include receptive and expressive language skills. Receptive language is how a child understands language, including things such vocabulary, directions, questions, and grammatical structures. Expressive language is how a child uses language, including things such as vocabulary, asking and answering questions, and using grammatical structures. These needs would be addressed by a Speech-Language Pathologist.

• Cognitive skills include attention, thinking, problem solving, and playing. These needs would be address by a Special Education Teacher.

• Adaptive skills include those skills needed to take care of ones’ self, such as feeding, dressing, and toileting. These skills, depending on the significance of your child’s needs, would be addressed by either a Special Education Teacher or an Occupational Therapist.

• Social-Emotional skills include how a child interacts with others and expresses and understands emotions. These skills, depending on the significance of your child’s needs, would be addressed by either a Special Education Teacher or a School Counselor.

○ Parent Training- This service is available should your family feel you could benefit from additional support.

These services, depending upon a child’s age and specific needs, can be provided in a child’s home or daycare, in a community setting, or in one of our four special education classrooms.