Health, Safety & Facilities Summary

  • Updated 8/28/2020

    Health, Safety & Facilities Summary


    Screening & Monitoring

    • Staff and parents/guardians will be educated and instructed to stay home or keep their child home if they are sick. They will be required to stay home if they observe the following signs of illness: rapid or difficulty breathing (without recent physical activity); flushed cheeks; fatigue, and/or irritability; and frequent use of the bathroom
    • All employees, parents, regular contractors, and all visitors to the building will be required to complete a mandatory health screening assessment at home, including a temperature check. This will be completed using a computer or smartphone at There will also be temperature scanning kiosks at the entrances.
    • Employees and parents will be required to certify “No” to all of the following in order to be permitted access to school buildings:
      • If they have had any of the following COVID-19 symptoms in the past 10 days or at a level of severity or frequency that is more than typical for the individual: fever or chills (greater than or equal to 100°F ), cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea
      • If they have had a positive COVID-19 test in the past 10 days
      • If they had close contact (defined as being within 6 feet for 10 minutes or more) with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case in the past 14 days
      • If they have traveled internationally or from a state with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 per the New York State Travel Advisory in the past 14 days
    • Kiosks that check temperatures will be placed at school entrances
    • Hand-held temperature scanners will be available in multiple places in each building
    • Random temperature checks will take place daily as students and staff enter the buildings
    • If an individual presents with a temperature of greater than 100.0°F, the individual will be denied entry into the facility, or sent directly to a dedicated area prior to being picked up or otherwise sent home.


    Self-Reporting Exposures and Infections

    In the event a student or district employee tests positive for COVID-19 or is exposed to a person who tests positive for COVID-19, the parent, student or district employee should immediately notify the district by contacting the nurse’s office at the school that the student attends or the employee works in.


    Management of Sick Persons

    In the event a person becomes ill with COVID-like symptoms while at school, the following procedure will be followed:

    • The person will be moved to a predetermined isolation room or area to separate anyone who exhibits COVID-like symptoms.
    • The person will be assessed by a registered nurse at the school.
    • The school nurse will complete documentation alerting parents/guardians to the symptoms that were observed in their child at school.
    • Transportation arrangements will be made to transport the sick person home or to a healthcare facility.
    • Areas used by a sick person will be closed off and not used again before cleaning and disinfection.
    • When possible, custodial staff will wait 24 hours (or as long as possible) before cleaning and disinfecting the area in accordance with procedures contained in this plan. If it is not possible to wait 24 hours, wait as long as possible.
    • Persons who had close contact (defined as interactions within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 will be advised to stay home and self-monitor for symptoms and to follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop. If a person does not have symptoms, they will be instructed to follow appropriate CDC guidance for home isolation.
    • Sick staff members and children will be advised not to return until they have met CDC criteria to discontinue home isolation.

    In the event that the school is notified that an employee or student has been exposed to COVID-19 and is quarantined, or if a family member has been diagnosed with or presumed to have COVID-19 and/or is being isolated, the following procedure will be followed:

    • Personnel and students with known exposure to someone with diagnosed or presumed COVID-19 will be instructed to self-quarantine at home for 14 days.
    • If a student is excluded from school due to COVID-19 symptoms or has had a positive COVID-19 test, his or her siblings or other students living in the same household will be questioned, and if they exhibit symptoms, they will also be excluded from school. If they do not exhibit symptoms, they may still be excluded from school and asked to self-quarantine.
    • The custodial staff will be informed so that all desks, lockers, and workspaces of the person are thoroughly disinfected. If the school is not open when notification occurs, the custodial staff will wait 24 hours or as long as possible prior to disinfecting and instead will block off the area so that others do not have contact. However, if that is not possible or school is in session, the cleaning will occur immediately.


    Contact Tracing 

    The Westchester County Department of Health has the primary responsibility for contact tracing for public schools in Westchester County. Effective contact tracing is a joint collaborative effort, however, and the Dobbs Ferry School District will assist this important work by providing staff and student lists, schedules and other information necessary to identify exposed individuals.


    • If a student, faculty or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, we will immediately notify the Westchester Department of Health.


    • Contact tracers will tell potentially infected persons that they were exposed; they will not disclose the identity of the person to whom they were exposed.


    • Individuals who are exposed to someone with COVID-19 will be required to quarantine for 14 days from the day they were last exposed. Please note that a negative test does not release an individual from quarantine.


    Returning to School 

    The following procedure will be followed for allowing persons to return to school following illness, diagnosis of a confirmed case of COVID-19, or following quarantine. Once a student or employee is excluded from the school environment, they may return if they satisfy the recommendations of the CDC and NYSDOH. As of October 2, those guidelines are:

    • Symptomatic and untested: Persons who have not received a test proving or disproving the presence of COVID-19 but experience symptoms, may return to school if all the following conditions are met: 
      1. At least ten (10) calendar days have passed since symptoms first appeared; and
      2. Fever-free for at least 72 hours (without the aid of fever-reducing medicine); and 
      3. Other symptoms have improved (for example, cough or shortness of breath have improved); and
      4. Documentation of evaluation by a health care provider clearing individual for return to school

    • Symptomatic and untested but received alternate diagnosis from Healthcare Provider: If a Healthcare Provider (HCP) provides a diagnosis of a known chronic condition with unchanged symptoms, or a confirmed acute illness (e.g., laboratory-confirmed influenza or strep-throat), then persons who experience symptoms may return to school if all the following conditions are met:
      1. A note signed by the HCP explaining the alternate diagnosis is provided before returning   to school; and
      2. A note signed by the HCP explaining that COVID-19 is not suspected is provided before returning to school; and
      3. The return to school is according to the usual guidelines for the alternate diagnosis.
      4. NOTE: a signed HCP note documenting unconfirmed acute illnesses, such as viral upper respiratory illness (URI) or viral gastroenteritis, will not suffice.


    • Symptomatic and test positive: Persons who experience symptoms and who test positive for COVID-19 may return to school if all the following conditions are met: 
      1. At least ten (10) calendar days have passed since symptoms first appeared; and 
      2. Fever-free for at least 72 hours (without the aid of fever-reducing medicine); and 
      3. Other symptoms have improved (for example, cough or shortness of breath have improved); and
      4. Documentation of evaluation by a health care provider clearing individual for return to school, as well as release from isolation per DOH guidance

    • Symptomatic and test negative:  Persons who experience symptoms but test negative for COVID- 19 may return to school when all the following conditions are met:
      1.  Documentation of a negative COVID test; and 
      2.  Fever-free for at least 24 hours (without the aid of fever-reducing medicine); and 
      3. Other symptoms have improved (for example, cough or shortness of breath have improved); and 
      4. Documentation of evaluation by a health care provider clearing individual for return to school

    • Asymptomatic and test positive:  Persons who experience NO symptoms but test positive for COVID-19 may return to school when all the following conditions are met: 
      1. At least ten (10) calendar days have passed since the date of the positive test; or
      2. If symptoms develop, at least (10) days have passed since the symptoms first appeared, fever-free for at least 72 hours (without the aid of fever reducing medicine), and symptoms have improved; and
      3. Documentation of evaluation by a health care provider clearing individual for return to school, as well as release from isolation per DOH guidance 

    • Asymptomatic and close contact to a person with Covid-19: Close contact is defined by the Westchester County Department of Health (DOH) as being within 6 feet of a person displaying symptoms of or testing positive for COVID-19 for 10 minutes or longer. Persons who experience NO symptoms but have had close contact with a person with COVID-19 requiring quarantine (as defined by the DOH) may return to school upon completion of a fourteen (14) day quarantine as outlined by the CDC.
      1. If a potential exposure is at school, the DOH will determine what exposure necessitates quarantine
      2. Any exposure outside of school should be communicated to the school via the daily screening tool
      3. If a student has traveled internationally or from a state with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 per the New York State Travel Advisory, they must complete 14 days of quarantine before returning to school.

    The New York State Department of Health has provided a Screening Flow Chart to explain the process and timelines for symptomatic students and staff to return to school.

    A Note on COVID testing:

    1. Students who have been home for 10 days (either because they tested positive for COVID or they had COVID-like symptoms but were not tested) DO NOT need a negative COVID test to return to school as long as they meet all other criteria.
    2. Students who test positive for COVID must stay home for at least 10 days.  Even if they have a subsequent negative test before the 10 day period, they are not allowed to return to school.


    Healthy Hygiene Practices

    • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing 60% or more alcohol will be provided for areas where handwashing is not available/practical, including throughout common areas of all school buildings and at building entrances.
    • Elementary students will be brought to hand washing locations prior to eating or handling food.
    • Posters reminding all of the importance of handwashing steps will be installed.
    • Posters describing handwashing steps will be installed near sinks.
    • Additional handwashing stations will be placed in larger areas now used as extended learning spaces such as cafeterias, libraries, gyms and other necessary areas.


    Face Coverings

    • Face coverings must be worn by all students, staff, and visitors when in any district building and when on buses.
    • Face coverings can be removed inside the buildings only when eating or drinking and at those times individuals must maintain at least 6 feet of social distancing.
    • This District will supply all teachers and staff with 2 cloth face masks as well as 1 face shield at the beginning of the school year. The Dobbs Ferry PTSA is planning to donate 1 clear face mask to all teachers. Surgical masks will be available throughout all buildings for students or staff who have forgotten, misplaced, or soiled their face coverings.
    • Mask breaks will take place outdoors but 6-foot social distancing must be maintained on school property at all times.
    • Acceptable face coverings for COVID-19 include but are not limited to cloth-based face coverings (e.g., homemade sewn, quick cut, bandana) and surgical masks that cover both the mouth and nose. Masks with one-way exhalation valves or vents are not considered adequate for source control of COVID-19 and are strongly discouraged. Face shields worn without other face coverings are not considered adequate protection or source control against COVID-19 and should not be used.
    • Students who do not adhere to the requirement to wear a face covering may be assigned to a remote only learning option if non-compliance is continued.
    • The District will obtain and maintain adequate supplies of cloth face coverings for school staff and students who forget their masks, and adequate supplies of PPE for use by school health professionals.
    • Face shields and smocks will be utilized by staff when required to be in close contact with students and when there is a high risk of transmission of bodily fluids.
    • Students who have an IEP or 504 Plan that indicates that they are unable to medically tolerate a face covering, including students where such covering would impair their physical health or mental health, will not be subject to the required use of a face covering. Those students must provide a physician’s note, which will be reviewed by the District Medical Director.
    • The District will train all students, faculty, and staff on how to put on, take off, clean (as applicable), and discard appropriate face coverings.

    Arrival and Dismissal

    To reduce close contact of persons entering and exiting the building, the District will:

    • Stagger arrival times of both buses and parent transportation to reduce density
    • Establish designated areas for student drop-off and pick-up,
    • Limit contact and entry of parents/legal guardians into the building, to the greatest extent possible.
    • Utilize multiple supervised points of entry into each school building to reduce bottlenecks, close contact and hallway travel to classrooms
    • Require face coverings to be worn by students, staff, and parents/guardians during the arrival and dismissal process.
    • Install hand sanitizer dispensers at all entrances to each building


    Visitor Management

    • Only essential visitors, including parents, will be permitted into the school buildings and all visitors will be required to wear a face covering.
    • Visitors will be asked to complete the COVID-19 Self Screening assessment prior to having access to the building. 
    • Portable hand washing stations and touchless hand sanitizer dispensers will be installed at all building entrances, check-in locations and any delivery locations such as loading docks
    • Appropriate shields or other barriers will be installed at check-in locations where it is necessary to physically separate building service staff from visitors during the check-in process
    • Visitors will be asked to clean their hands and utilize hand sanitizer upon completion of the check-in process
    • Touchless temperature kiosks will be installed at all building entrances.
    • Polycarbonate shields will be installed at all security desks.
    • Drop off procedures will be modified as follows:
      • Most drop-offs will be prohibited unless prior approval is obtained from building administrator
      • Drop off bins will be eliminated
      • Medication drop-offs should be coordinated with the school health office
      • Forgotten lunch drop-offs will be prohibited with the exception of students who may have a food allergy and cannot safely be provided a school lunch
    • A designated drop off area will be established for all deliveries (e.g., FedEx, UPS) to prevent delivery persons from entering the building


    Social Distancing

    All building occupants will be required to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from one another.  In order to accommodate social distancing in each school building, the District will take the following general actions:

    • Some large common areas such as auditoriums and gymnasiums may be repurposed as instructional spaces to accommodate a larger number of students in the same class.
    • Furnishings may be removed from rooms to maximize capacity.
    • Polycarbonate shields will be installed in areas where frequent interaction occurs, such as security desks..
    • Portable polycarbonate shields will be provided in most classrooms and other spaces for situations where teachers or related service providers must briefly move closer to students.
    • Outdoor or off-site spaces may be utilized as appropriate and if SED approved.
    • Specific isolation rooms will be designated adjacent to each school health office.
    • Any activities that require projecting the voice (e.g., singing), playing a wind instrument, or aerobic activity resulting in heavy breathing (e.g., certain activities in PE classes) will not take place in person at school.
    • The district will require face coverings and will limit gatherings in small spaces (e.g., elevators, supply rooms, faculty offices).
    • Elevators will be restricted to one person at a time.
    • All nurses, teachers, Teaching Assistants (TAs), and related service providers who may not be able to maintain a 6-foot distance due to a child’s specific needs will be provided with the appropriate PPE in order to maintain health and safety. This would include masks, face shields, gloves and in some instances, gowns.


    Hallways and Stairways

    • Face coverings will be worn when students and staff are moving throughout the buildings
    • Where possible, students will be released from classes in a staggered manner to reduce density in hallways during class changes. 
    • Floor and wall signage will be utilized to prompt distancing where appropriate, including outside classrooms where students may be required to stage during class transitions
    • Modified traffic patterns in hallways will be used to reduce density, such as:
      • One-way corridors where appropriate
      • One-way stairways where appropriate
      • Center hallway prompts (e.g., cones, floor tape) to promote maximum feasible distancing of two-way traffic


    Cleaning and Disinfecting

    The District will adhere to hygiene, cleaning, and disinfection requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New York and Westchester County Departments of Health (DOH). 

    • All classrooms and areas will be cleaned and sanitized between cohorts.
    • Classroom and office spaces will be provided with appropriate cleaning/disinfection supplies for self-cleaning of shared and frequently touched surfaces.
    • The custodial staff of each building will perform frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces throughout the school day, including: door handles, rails, counters, tabletops, bathroom fixtures, trash can lids, shared phones.
    • Once a week we will apply Clorox Total 360 (or equivalent) to most surfaces in our buildings.  
    • If buildings are closed for seven days or more, normal routine cleaning will be performed. This is because the virus that causes COVID-19 has not been shown to survive on surfaces longer than this time.
    • Cleaning (removing visible dirt or surface soil) and disinfecting (sanitizing) training will be provided to all employees. 


    Heating and Cooling 

    • The percentage of outdoor air will be increased where possible (e.g., using economizer modes of HVAC operations and discouraging use of room air conditioners)
    • Natural ventilation will be increased by opening windows if possible and safe to do so to increase outdoor air dilution of indoor air when environmental conditions allow
    • Building ventilation systems will periodically be run during unoccupied times to maximize dilution ventilation.
    • All air filters are being upgraded to MERV 11 - the highest capacity that can be handled by our HVAC systems.
    • HEPA filtered air purifiers will be installed in areas with no windows and no access to outside ventilation.
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