The American Rescue Plan (ARP) provides federal resources to support states and local school districts. Recent federal guidance clarifies that districts submit to the state of Ohio a plan that fulfills the requirement that districts publish local “Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plans” by June 24, 2021. Each district school should then post the plan on its local website and then submit the plan to the Ohio Department of Education by June 24. This overall plan is being built upon existing district plans that address many of the elements of the federal requirements.
As such New PhiladelphiaSchool has organized this plan to include the current and prior health and safety plans developed in collaboration with local departments of health. Since the district already has existing remote learning plans, continuous improvement plans, Covid Safety Plans, and other similar plans that encompass aspects of these requirements they are listed below and comprise the requirements to address Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan. Those previously developed plans together with the below aspects meet the relevant requirements of the federal assurances.
POLICIES FOR INCORPORATING MITIGATION STRATEGIES
Describe to what extent the following policies have been adopted to incorporate the following CDC Mitigation Strategies and provide a description of any policies being implemented:
A. Universal and correct wearing of masks
The New Philadelphia City Schools Board of Education adopted Policy EBEA Use of Face Coverings on July 30, 2020, and updated it on August 17, 2020. Implementation began immediately after adoption. The district notified staff, parents, and students of the policy requirements through all District emails, postings on our website, building signage, and school communications. Changes were made consistent with directives from the Ohio Department of Health Orders, the Tuscarawas County Health Department, and the City of New Philadelphia Health Department.
B. Physical distancing (e.g., including use of cohorts/podding)
The New Philadelphia City Schools reopened to in-person instruction for the 2020-2021 school year with 3 ft. social distancing in all school facilities. Students were placed in cohorts to limit close contacts and to have the ability to move to hybrid-learning and 6 ft. social distancing if needed. Beginning with the 2021-2022 school year, social distancing will be encouraged and utilized where feasible. The District provided plastic desktop shields/barriers for all students to utilize.
C. Handwashing and respiratory etiquette
Signage with illustrations of proper handwashing etiquette is posted in each restroom and throughout the buildings in locations with sinks. Hand sanitizer is available in each room and throughout the entire building. Videos and messaging by our School Nurses were shared with all students and staff to encourage proper hand washing and respiratory etiquette.
D. Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation
The New Philadelphia City Schools implemented several new cleaning procedures including misting of classrooms, frequent disinfection of restrooms and high-touch surfaces, and the installation of numerous hand sanitation stations Buses are sanitized by school bus drivers after each route. The district’s maintenance and facilities department reviewed and addressed ventilation in buildings where needed.
E. Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the State, local, territorial, or Tribal health departments
The New Philadelphia City School District follows the guidance and orders of the Health Department with regards to quarantining. The New Philadelphia City Schools conducted its own contact tracing of all students and employees, in consultation with the Tuscarawas County Health Department and the New Philadelphia Health Department. All quarantines and positive cases were documented and sent electronically to the appropriate health department. The school district provided constant updates to the appropriate health departments, staff, and families when positive cases were identified.
F. Diagnostic and screening testing
Health Screening Protocols/System - All students, staff, and visitors were required to complete the COVID19 health screener through Quickscreen by Luminaire before entering a New Philadelphia City School District facility or school transportation.
G. Efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students, if eligible
The New Philadelphia City School District participated in vaccination clinics for the Moderna vaccine on February 5, 2021, and March 5, 2021. Staff and eligible students had the opportunity to receive the Moderna vaccine at a clinic on May 28, 2021, and June 25, 2021. The District also shared information with all families regarding other vaccine clinics throughout the area.
H. Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to the health and safety policies
The district provided additional plexiglass screening when needed for students with disabilities who were either unable or had difficulty wearing face coverings. Individual student needs were addressed through consultation with the Student Services Department.
SAFE RETURN TO IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION
Safe Return to In-Person Instruction Plans approved by the New Philadelphia City School District Board of Education.
Responsible Restart Plan for the 2020-2021 school year
Remote Learning Plan
Extended Learning Plan
PLAN TO ADDRESS CONTINUITY OF ACADEMIC AND NON-ACADEMIC SERVICES
Supporting the academic and social-emotional growth of all students remains a priority as we recover from the pandemic. Regardless of the learning model, students will continue to receive and have access to all student services.
The New Philadelphia City School District provides a multi-tiered system of interventions to address the academic and behavioral/social-emotional needs of all students. Each building has a process of screening and identifying students in need of interventions. Interventions are designed and implemented and monitored for effectiveness in order to support growth in targeted areas. If you have concerns regarding your student’s academic growth or social-emotional development, please contact your building principal to determine the next steps in the referral process.
Special Education Services
The District’s special education staff, including school psychologists, intervention specialists, and related service personnel will continue to work with parents, students, and teachers to determine the need for special education services. Students who receive special education services will continue to be provided these services as defined by their Individualized Education Plans. For specific details on how a child’s Individualized Education Plan will be implemented under parents are directed to contact the Special Services Office.
English Learner Services
Students qualifying for English language support and services will continue to receive these services. To review a student’s English Language Plan parents are directed to contact the child’s ELS case manager.
Students eligible for gifted services via Clusters in Math and/or ELA (grades 3-5) will receive services by a licensed Gifted Intervention Specialist during the school day. Students in grades 6-8 who are eligible for gifted services will be enrolled within advanced and accelerated math and English Language Arts courses via any of the instructional models employed for the school year. Students in grades 2 and 5 are assessed for possible gifted identification. For additional information about gifted screening, identification, and/or services, please contact Assistant Superintendent, Amy Wentworth.
Social-Emotional needs will be determined through small and class counseling lessons, student self-identification, Panorama SEL survey results, parental input, and teacher identification.
The district’s social worker has coordinated services with outside agencies in addition to providing repeated training for staff. In addition, the district has trained staff at each building in Crisis Response for student and staff needs. The district has provided in-class lessons for students in K-5 through the use of school counselors and mental health agencies. The District has school counselors in place at the Middle School and High School. Parents are directed that if a child requires this level of support, please contact the school principal or social worker.
School Counselors work in each of our buildings and are an integral part of a student’s educational environment. School counselors can support transitions and are available to students in need of immediate assistance with behavioral or social-emotional concerns. Regardless of the learning model (remote, hybrid, all-in), counselors can help students with the following:
-Short term counseling
-Referrals for long-term counseling
-Academic achievement strategies and academic planning
-Managing emotions and using interpersonal skills
-Planning for college and other post-secondary options.
-Parents are directed that if a child is experiencing anxiety related to the return to school or you have any other concerns about the child’s social-emotional development to contact the school counselor.
The District is serviced by a team of health professionals, including two full-time school nurses, to ensure that student health needs are met at every building. Our health professionals will follow the Department of Health and CDC Guidelines related to COVID-19 and will assist administrators and staff in understanding and implementing those guidelines. Each school will have a response plan and a designated isolation area for students or staff that develop signs and symptoms of COVID-19 illness at school. Our staff will also continue to administer daily medications, if needed, and attend to injuries or illnesses that might occur at school. Mandated health screenings will also be completed with appropriate safety precautions in place. Parents are directed that if a child has any specific concerns regarding a child’s health to contact a District Nurse.
The district has provided free lunch offerings for all students K-12 in the 2020-2021 school year and will continue to do so in the 2021-2022 school year. The district has repeatedly updated the P-EBT documentation to provide additional support to students and families.
PLAN REVIEW & PUBLIC INPUT
The district will periodically review all key aspects of this plan at least every six months for the duration of the ARP ESSER grant period (i.e., through September 30, 2023), and revise its plan as appropriate. Plan review will include but is not limited to collaborative work by the district administrative team, district operations team, and building and department leadership teams.
The district has gained a great deal of public input regarding COVID planning through district-wide surveys to parents as well as preparatory and planning sessions with parents and health officials that included feedback and input in regards to facilities and health practices. In addition, the district takes into account whether revisions are necessarily based on feedback at public board meetings and correspondence with parents and local health officials.