UPDATE – IN-PERSON CLASSES HAVE BEEN DELAYED UNTIL TUE. SEPT. 29. ALL COHORT A & B STUDENTS WILL BE TAUGHT REMOTELY, FULL-TIME FROM SEPT. 21- 28.
September 15, 2020
Dear PS 321 Families,
Although this letter applies to families in Cohorts A and B, we are sending it to our entire list as some of you in Cohort D have asked about what we are doing in terms of health and safety. However, if you are in Cohort D, you do not need to read this letter. We will be sending out a separate letter to Cohort D, our all-remote cohort, tomorrow.
For families in Cohorts A and B, we are very much looking forward to seeing your children in school on Monday 9/21 or Tuesday 9/22. As noted in a previous email, on Monday, 9/21 Cohort B will be attending; then the regular Cohort schedule applies for the rest of the week (and subsequent weeks) with Cohort A attending Tuesdays and Thursdays and Cohort B Wednesdays and Fridays.
Setting up classes this year was more challenging than ever since we had two hybrid cohorts and each cohort for a class could only be 10-12 children. In addition, we had children changing from hybrid to remote up until today. We’ve done the best we can to meet children’s needs and make sure that children are in classes with some children they know. As in previous years, once classes are made we do not change them.
As you know, you will have a chance to meet your child’s teacher during the three orientation days, this Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
During this unique year, we are relying on parents to help us make sure that children and staff stay safe at school. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that all children arrive on time and are picked up on time. In addition, we would appreciate it if you help your child to understand why it is important to keep his or her mask on, to stay distanced from others, and not to touch others. For young children in particularly, we know that it is going to be challenging not to get a hug when they are upset! Our staff will do everything we can to make children feel supported and loved in this new environment. Please help us keep everyone safe by keeping sick children at home.
Here is some important information about logistics and safety. I will be writing you later this week with additional information about the instructional day and contact information for school administrators and counselors.
Liz Phillips, Principal
UNLIKE IN PAST YEARS ALL GRADES WILL LINE UP IN THE BACK YARD. For the first two days of school, just as we do in a normal school year, we will have a staggered entry schedule for grades K-2. On Monday, 9/21 and Tuesday, 9/22 only, we ask Kindergartners to arrive at 9:15; 1st graders to arrive at 9:00; and 2nd graders to arrive at 8:45. Children in grades 3, 4, and 5 should arrive at 8:30 daily. This schedule for the first two days will allow our upper grade children an extra 5 minutes to get out of the yard and will also mean that parents of our younger students will be able to accompany them close to their line up spots on these first two days. Beginning on Wednesday, 9/23, all K-2 students arrive at 8:40.
Your teacher will be sending you the map indicating where your child will be lining up. Each class has an assigned rectangle (painted yellow), and within each space there are dots spaced 6 feet apart so that children can maintain social distance while waiting at arrival and dismissal.
Teachers will all have signs with their names and class numbers as they wait in their rectangle for children to line up. Beginning on the first day, parents in grades 3-5 must stay against the fence on the 2nd Street side so that we can maintain social distancing for the children. Beginning on the third day (Wednesday), we ask this of all parents. PARENTS—PLEASE LEAVE THE YARD AFTER YOUR CHILDREN ARE ON THEIR LINES WITH THEIR TEACHERS.
We will have many extra adults in the back yard assisting students and families and helping classes get upstairs.
For the first two days of school, all classes will line up in the back yard. Beginning on the third day, all classes except for K-114, K-116, and K-118 will continue to line up from the back yard.
Dismissal will be from the backyard, same rectangular box, except for classes K-114, K-116, and K-118. These K classes will be dismissed through the red doors in the playground. Dismissal is at 1:50 for grades 3-5 and 2:00 for grades K-2. PLEASE MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO BE ON TIME. For parents who feel comfortable with having their older children (4th and 5th grade) self-dismiss, we encourage you to give permission for this as it will make for a less hectic dismissal time. At dismissal time, parents must stay against the fence by 2nd Street. For parents of children in grades K-2, we ask that you stand in the designated areas by the fence. There will be signs on the fence indicating this, but parents in K-208, K-214, and K-226 should wait toward the back of the fence close to the playground; 1st grade parents in the middle of the fence; 2nd grade parents closer to the entrance to the yard but not blocking the entrance.
BREAKFAST AND LUNCH
If you want your child to eat breakfast at school on her or his in-school learning days, please bring them at 8:15 to the red door on 2nd Street closest to 7th Avenue. They will be able to enter, pick up breakfast, and be supervised while eating their bag breakfast in the lunchroom. They will be socially distanced and all facing the same direction.
During in-school learning days, lunch will be either in the classroom or outside, at the teacher’s discretion. Children may bring their lunch or they can pick up a grab and go bagged lunch from various areas in the school. Kindergarten students will have lunch delivered to the classroom. Teachers of students in grades 1-5 will coordinate lunch pick up.
If you are sending lunch with your child, please make sure he/she is able to open all items you send. We recommend that you practice this in advance.
ON REMOTE LEARNING DAYS YOU CAN PICK UP A BAGGED BREAKFAST AND LUNCH FROM BETWEEN THE TWO FRONT DOORS OF SCHOOL FROM 9:00-12:00. We will send you information on how to sign up for picking up remote breakfast and lunch.
RECESS AND OUTDOOR LEARNING
Children will go outside daily. When they are outside, they will have to remain socially distanced in a relatively small area (two of the yellow boxes per class). We are purchasing equipment that children can use when outside, including hula hoops and jump ropes; at times teachers will be leading them in games.
Some classes, in addition to recess, will have time when they are participating in outdoor learning. Our PTA had purchased supplies for this including stools and headsets so that teachers’ voices can be heard outside. If your child’s class is participating in outdoor learning (beyond recess), you will receive additional information on this.
DOE regulations call for all children and adults to keep masks on when in the building, except when they are eating. Note that masks with ventilation valves are not permitted. Children should come to school wearing a mask, but if they lose it for some reason, we do have replacement masks.
There will be no regular mask breaks inside. When children go outside, if they need it they will be able to take a brief mask break. Please review this rule with your children. We will also be sharing a video on mask-wearing made by one of our teachers. Children who refuse to wear a mask will be talked to by their teacher. If they cannot be convinced to put their mask on, an administrator or guidance counselor will meet with the child. If the child still refuses to wear a mask the parent will be called and asked to pick up the child. We will try to be sensitive to the child’s needs and will certainly take extra care with our youngest children and children with special needs. However, children who repeatedly refuse to wear a mask will need to switch to all-remote instruction.
Children and adults need to be socially distanced—6 feet apart. We have floor decals in halls to help children with this.
HAND WASHING AND SANITIZING
All classrooms are supplied with hand sanitizer, soap, and paper towels. Children will wash their hands or use sanitizer before lunch and after recess. There is also hand sanitizer in public areas.
In an earlier report issued, several of our exhaust fans were either “partially operational” or “not operational.” Contractors worked in the building for several weeks and all of the exhaust fans are now fully operational. Note that a room with windows that open is considered to be properly ventilated, and most of these rooms do not have or need exhaust fans. It is rooms without windows, such as bathrooms, that are in need of these exhaust fans, and that is mainly where our exhaust fans are. We have been informed that all rooms in the main building and minischool are now properly ventilated and safe for use by staff and students.
We plan to keep windows open all year, so please make sure that your child has a sweater or sweatshirt with him or her.
QUARANTINING WHEN ARRIVING FROM ANOTHER STATE OR COUNTRY
All students who are returning from another country must quarantine for 14 days after returning from that country. Similarly, students returning from a state on the quarantine list must also quarantine for 14 days. The states currently on that list are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
There will be very limited allowance of visitors beyond the lobby. Visitors will have their temperature taken by a safety agent and they will complete a screening questionnaire. The safety agent will call the person who is being visited to come and meet the visitor.
In the case where a parent has to pick up a child early, the safety agent will call the classroom and the child will be sent to the lobby.
SCHOOL MEDICAL ROOM AND PERSONNEL
We are fortunate to have our full-time school nurse on site, Anyelina Genao-Deo. She will be reaching out digitally to parents of children who require epipens or inhalers and will include information on how you can drop off these devices in school.
You can reach Anyelina at 718-499-2412 x 1231 or 1232.
Please see the letter from the Chancellor that will be sent home on 9/16. As per that letter, parents are encouraged to have COVID-19 tests. Details are in that letter.
SUSPECTED OR CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES
The following are considered to be possible symptoms of COVID-19 by the DOE/DOH as per guidance from the nurses:
o Fever of over 100
o New onset of cough
o Loss of taste or smell
o Shortness of breath
o Chest pain
If teachers have a child with one of these symptoms, they will complete a form, contact the nurse or an administrator, and the child will be sent to either the nurse’s office (in the case of children who are asthmatic) or the isolation room. In either case, the child is supervised by a staff member and the nurse evaluates the child. After evaluating the child, if the nurse confirms the symptoms, she calls parents to pick up children. She prepares handouts for parents including a list of testing sites.
When a child is sent home due to symptoms:
o If the child has a positive COVID test the child isolates for 10 days.
o If the child has a negative COVID test the child can return when they are symptom free for 24 hours.
o If the child does not have a COVID test she/he isolates for 10 days.
If a child has exposure (more than 10 minutes) to someone who tests positive for COVID-19, that child must quarantine for 14 days.