(To translate, select a language from the drop-down menu a the top of the page. Para traducir, seleccione un idioma del menú desplegable en la parte superior de la página.)
LEA Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Service
Pursuant to the Federal American Rescue Plan Act, Section 2001(i)
Introduction and Background
As announced in the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE)’s April 28, 2021 broadcast
, in March 2021 President Biden signed the Federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act
, Public Law 117-2, into law. The ARP Act provides an additional $122 billion in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) to States and school districts to help safely reopen, sustain the safe operation of schools, and address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s students. As with the previous ESSER funds available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA), the purpose of the additional funding is to support local educational agencies (LEAs) in preparing for and responding to the impacts of COVID-19 on educators, students, and families. Additional information on ARP ESSER may be found in the NJDOE’s funding comparison fact sheet
Section 2001(i)(1) of the ARP Act requires each LEA that receives ARP ESSER funds to develop and make publicly available on the LEA’s website, no later than 30 days after receiving ARP ESSER funds, a plan for the safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services for all schools (Safe Return Plan) A Safe Return Plan is required of all fund recipients, including those that have already returned to in-person instruction. Section 2001(i)(2) of the ARP Act further requires that the LEA seek public comment on the Safe Return Plan and take those comments into account in finalization of the Safe Return Plan. Under the interim final requirements published in Volume 86, No. 76 of the Federal Register
by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE), an LEA must periodically, but no less frequently than every six months through September 30, 2023, review and, as appropriate, revise its Safe Return Plan.
Pursuant to those requirements, LEAs must submit to the NJDOE and post on their website their Safe Return Plans by June 24, 2021. The NJDOE intends to make LEA ARP ESSER Fund applications available in EWEG on May 24, 2021 and LEAs will submit their Safe Return Plans to the NJDOE via EWEG. To assist LEAs with the development of their Safe Return Plans, the NJDOE is providing the following template.
This template incorporates the federally-required components of the Safe Return Plan. The questions in the template below will be included in the LEA ARP ESSER Fund application in EWEG. LEAs will submit responses to the questions within the LEA ARP ESSER Fund application in EWEG by June 24, 2021. The NJDOE hopes that this template will allow LEAs to effectively plan for that submission and to easily post the information to their websites as required by the ARP Act.
Note that on May 17, 2021, Governor Murphy announced
that upon the conclusion of the 2020-2021 school year, portions of Executive Order 175 allowing remote learning will be rescinded, meaning that schools will be required to provide full-day, in-person instruction, as they were prior to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. The NJDOE and New Jersey Department of Health will share additional information regarding State requirements or guidance for health and safety protocols for the 2021-2022 school year as it becomes available.
LEA Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services
LEA Name: Greater Brunswick Charter School
Date (06/14/2021) Date Revised (08/11/2021):
1. Maintaining Health and Safety
For each mitigation strategy listed below (A–H), please describe how the LEA will maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and other staff and the extent to which it has adopted policies, and a description of any such policies, on each of the following safety recommendations established by the CDC.
- Universal and correct wearing of masks
The Greater Brunswick Charter School will require mask wearing inside our school and on buses until such time as the Governor’s Executive Order provides us to amend this requirement.
Greater Brunswick Charter School Students
will be required to wear their mask:
- On the bus to and from school
- Entering and leaving the school
- In the classroom
- During any physical movement
- Considerations will be made per grade level for instructional purposes.
- Face covering breaks will be provided during breakfast, lunch, and outdoor activities.
- Considerations will be made when needed in accordance with: IEP, 504, IHP (Individual Health Plan)
Currently the CDC does not recommend use of face shields as a substitute for face coverings.
Greater Brunswick Charter School Staff
will be required to wear Face Masks as follows:
- Entering and exiting Greater Brunswick Charter School facilities
- Within the classroom or office
- During times of transition in the hallways
- Whenever social distancing cannot be maintained
Exceptions to requirements for face coverings may include, but are not limited to:
- Doing so would inhibit the staff member’s health
- Extreme heat outdoors
- Staff seated and eating in designated areas
- Staff member has a documented medical condition that prevents the wearing of a mask
Greater Brunswick Charter School requires all Visitors to Wear a Mask:
- If a visitor refuses to wear a face covering, the visitor’s entry to the school/district facility will be denied.
- Greater Brunswick Charter School will have protocols and procedures in place to accommodate individuals who are unable to wear a face mask due to documented medical conditions. Accommodations may include virtual options or other non-admittance protocols. Documentation will be required or Face Masks MUST be worn.
- Visitors under the age of 2 are not required to wear a facemask.
- Physical distancing (e.g., including use of cohorts/podding)
- Greater Brunswick Charter School will provide for social distancing within the school to the maximum extent practicable, until such time as the Governor’s Executive Order provides us to amend this requirement. The school footprint can accommodate all students with a physical distance of 3 feet; therefore, cohort groupings are not needed.
- School administrators will monitor the physical layouts of each classroom to ensure proper social distancing. Students will have a designated chair/table within their classrooms. To the maximum extent practicable chairs/desks will not be used by other students at the Elementary Level within the grade level classroom. Middle School students will have an assigned desk/chair in each academic classroom setting. Student movement within the school will be designed to reduce the amount of exposure and minimize the mixing of students to the maximum extent practicable.
- Handwashing and respiratory etiquette
- District administrators in conjunction with the Custodial Department will continue to support healthy hygiene behaviors by providing adequate supplies at the District’s expense, including soap, hand sanitizer with at least 60 % alcohol (for staff and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer), paper towels, tissues, disinfectant wipes, and cloth face coverings (as feasible).
- Supplies are located in each classroom, at entrances/exits of the building, and near the bathrooms throughout the building.
- Kindergarten children ages five and younger are supervised when using hand sanitizer. If washing with soap and water is not possible, washing with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol).
- Handwashing signs will continue to be placed in all restrooms reminding users of proper handwashing techniques.
- Handwashing signs will also continue to be placed in and around all designated eating areas reminding staff/ students to wash their hands before and after eating.
- Designated times to wash hands:
- Start of Day
- Before and after eating snacks particularly if hands are sticky, greasy or soiled
- After bathroom use or helping a student use the toilet
- Transitions (i.e. after outdoor activities, between classes)
- Physical Activity – PE &/or Recess
- After sneezing, wiping, & blowing noses
- Staff are expected to wash and wear the face covering daily. Greater Brunswick Charter School will maintain a supply of disposable and reusable face coverings in order to provide for a staff member or student that does not have their own.
- Greater Brunswick Charter School will continue to maintain a supply of disposable gloves and individual hand sanitizer to provide for a staff member who requests such supplies.
Greater Brunswick Charter School will continue to follow CDC Guidance for Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette:
- Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation
- The school custodians will continue to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily or between use as much as possible. Use of shared objects (e.g., gym or physical education equipment, art supplies, toys, games) will be limited when possible.
- School bus drivers will continue to practice all cleaning and safety actions and protocols as indicated for other staff (e.g., hand hygiene, cloth face coverings).
- The Head Custodian will continue to implement a schedule for increased, routine cleaning and disinfection. This schedule will be communicated to the Education Director/principal prior to the start of the school year.
- The Head Custodian will ensure safe and correct use and storage of cleaning and disinfection products, including storing products securely away from children, and will ensure the use of products that meet EPA disinfection criteria.
- Cleaning products will not be used near children, and staff will ensure that there is adequate ventilation when using these products to prevent children or themselves from inhaling toxic fumes.
- On a regular basis, all HVAC filters will continue to be changed by the District’s HVAC Maintenance vendor. The District’s Head Custodian will check the Building Management System (BMS) on a daily basis to ensure the functionality of all systems. Custodial staff will also pay close attention to damper functionality. Teaching staff will be allowed to open windows whenever weather permits as well.
- Air purifiers are available in confined classroom spaces.
- Water bottle fillers, replacing traditional water fountains, will be used throughout the facility for contactless hydration stations.
- Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the State, local, territorial, or Tribal health departments
The Greater Brunswick Charter School District Planning Team, in accordance with guidance from the CDC, NJDOH, and OCHD will continue to implement procedures and protocols to assist the local DOH with Contact Tracing. These protocols and procedures will include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Identified criteria to activate Contact Tracing
- Designate Staff to carry out Contact Tracing
- Adherence to all HIPAA and FERPA Laws and Regulations
- Requirement for School Nurse, School Safety Specialist, and other designated staff to be determined to complete the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Contact Tracing course or refresher course on contact tracing.
- Communication procedures, protocols, templates for notification to OCHD, Staff, Families, Community.
- Communication procedures and protocols for Self-Reporting by Students, Families, Staff.
- Adherence to COVID-19 Regional Risk Matrix in regards to isolation and quarantine.
Procedures for caring for students and staff who have the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Providing masks for the affected to wear.
- Affected will be quarantined in a room separate from the population of the school. (Media Center)
- The students and staff members will be discharged via the main entrance to minimize exposure to the rest of school.
- Documentation will be kept to monitor the discharge of students/staff dismissed with suspected COVID-19.
- Reports will be submitted to the Middlesex County Health Office.
- Quarantine room will be properly disinfected after a suspected case has been identified.
- Diagnostic and screening testing
The Greater Brunswick Charter School District, in accordance with guidance from the NJDOE, NJDOH, and OCHD will continue to use screening procedures for students and staff at school or work location for symptoms and history of exposure.
These screening procedures will include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Parents and staff may receive a monthly reminder to use the COVID checklist for each child/staff prior to their arrival at school to confirm that they are not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
- Document results when signs/symptoms of COVID-19 are observed
- Adhere to HIPPA/FERPA Laws
- Screening policies must take into account students with disabilities & accommodations that may be required in the screening process.
- Efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students, if eligible
The Greater Brunswick Charter School District partnered with a teacher volunteer and Eric B. Chandler Health Center to provide vaccinations to all educational staff. The Greater Brunswick Charter School District has shared local opportunities for vaccines in the community and partnered with the RWJBarnabas Health to offer eligible students and families the opportunity to receive the vaccine at GBCS on August 12 and follow-up dates as needed. Vaccination information is communicated to school staff and families via Catapult Connect.
- Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to the health and safety policies
Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities, in regards to their health and safety, will be made in accordance with their IEP, 504 plan, and/or medical orders which may include, but is not limited to, scheduling options and delivery of services options in compliance with all NJDOE regulations.
2. Ensuring Continuity of Services
- Describe how the LEA will ensure continuity of services, including but not limited to services to address students’ academic needs and students’ and staff’s social, emotional, mental health, and other needs, which may include student health and food services. (1000 character limit)
- Greater Brunswick Charter School has a variety of summer programs available to all student groups in Grades K-8 to provide for continuity of services academically, socially, and emotionally. Additional programs will be embedded within the school day and/or offered in an extended day format.
- Utilizing ESSER funds, Greater Brunswick Charter School teaching staff will be trained in Routes to Resilience - Social Emotional Learning Curriculum and grief and trauma informed practices to support students in classrooms through the Good Grief Schools organization. Parent training will be provided for trauma-informed parenting practices in the home.
- Greater Brunswick Charter School teaching staff will be trained in Social Emotional Character Development (3 hours) with the New Jersey State Bar Foundation.
- School counselors, Child Study Team members, administrators, and the school nurse will continue to meet regularly to support student needs and develop related action plans where applicable.
- Care Solace services will be available to students, parents/guardians, staff members and their families. Care Solace links people in need of social, emotional, and behavioral help with service providers.
- Utilizing ESSER funds and other Title funds, in addition to District funds, Professional Development to address Growth Mindset, Equity and Access, Trauma Informed Care, and Cultural Responsiveness will be provided to staff and implemented with students, parents, and community via best practices.
3. Public Comment
- Describe how the LEA sought public comment on its plan, and how it took those public comment into account in the development of its plan. Note, the ARP requires that LEAs seek public comment for each 60-day revision to the plan. (1000 character limit)
The Greater Brunswick Charter School District sought public comment as follows:
- Shared school community survey results June, 2021 to receive feedback in targeted areas.
- Placement of the safe reopening plan on the June, 2021 Board of Education Agenda.
- Revised plans will appear on subsequent Board of Education Agendas for public comment should revisions need to be made in 60 day increments as required.
Describe how the LEA ensured that the plan is in an understandable and uniform format; is to the extent practicable written in a language that parents can understand or, if not practicable to provide written translations to a parent with limited English proficiency, will be orally translated for such a parent; and upon request by a parent who is an individual with a disability as defined by the ADA, will be provided in an alternative format accessible to that parent. (1000 character limit)
- All information including important updates, parent/community FAQ document, presentations, vaccine information, key resources and links, and other helpful information is posted to the Greater Brunswick Charter School District Website under the Reopening of School tab. This “quick tab” is prominently placed on the District homepage for easy access.
- The Greater Brunswick Charter School Executive Director provides messages via the District communication software, website, and during her report of the Executive Director at regular Board of Trustee meetings.
- All written communications are provided for parents in English and Spanish; district staff provide oral translations where needed. Catapult Connect notifications (text messages, emails) and voice messages are also used to support understanding and help to ensure receipt of communication. Special accessibility accommodations will be made in alternative formats for parents with a disability upon request as defined by the ADA.