School Closure Protocols

Short-Term Closure

If confirmed cases are identified, the school might need to implement short-term closure procedures regardless of community spread if an infected person has been in a school building. In the event of a short-term closure, classes in the division will transition to distance learning. If this happens, CDC recommends the following procedures regardless of the level of community spread:

The school administration will notify local health officials and coordinate with them to determine a course of action for the school.

The CDC recommends that the school dismiss students and most staff for 2-5 days. This initial short-term dismissal allows time for the local health officials to gain a better understanding of the COVID-19 situation impacting the school. This allows the local health officials to help the school determine appropriate next steps, including whether an extended dismissal duration is needed to stop or slow further spread of COVID-19. The school will make decisions about extending school dismissal or temporarily dismissing divisions to stop or slow the further spread of COVID-19 in the community based on the recommendations of local health officials.

  • Local health officials’ recommendations for the scope and duration of school dismissals will be made on a case-by-case basis using the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and the specific cases in the community.
  • During school dismissals, all extracurricular group activities, school-based afterschool programs, and large events will be canceled.
  • Staff, students, and their families will be discouraged from gathering or socializing anywhere. This includes group child care arrangements, as well as gathering at places like a friend’s house, or a favorite restaurant.

Long-Term Closure
If schools in New York City are closed by local or state officials for an extended period of time due to increased infection rates, all classes will transition to distance learning. The school has provided extensive professional development opportunities to prepare faculty to make this transition and students will use online platforms in each division while they are learning in-person in order to create a more seamless transition for students.

Technology Protocols for School Closure
At any point that a decision is made to shift to full distance learning, the school will inform all families of the date and reason for the change and each division will follow up with grade-specific expectations and any schedule modifications. Schedule modifications will be made to allow for a balance of synchronous and asynchronous learning to accommodate developmentally appropriate screen time recommendations.
If school shifts to an online-only format for an extended period, the existing virtual classrooms and device loans will support a smooth transition to distance learning. Teachers will use the virtual classrooms to share assignments, resources, and lessons and to communicate with students and families. The school will provide teachers with Zoom and Google Meet to conduct synchronous learning according to the schedule published by each division. These live sessions will be supplemented with asynchronous learning facilitated by the virtual classroom software.

Facilities Access During School Closure
During school dismissals, after cleaning and disinfection), the school may stay open for staff members (unless ill) while students stay home. Keeping facilities open:

  • allows teachers to develop and deliver lessons and materials remotely, thus maintaining continuity of teaching and learning and
  • allows other staff members to continue to provide services and help with additional response efforts.

Decisions on which, if any, staff should be allowed in the school will be made in collaboration with local health officials.