Re-Opening Update

Welcome to the NSHA Covid Information Center.  Explore this page for information and policies relevant to the 2020-2021 school year as well as important updates for students, faculty and families.  If you have any questions about information contained, please contact a member of our NSHA Administration.

  • To teach and support each student towards attaining academic excellence and their true potential, while also nurturing their social-emotional growth
  • To provide a safe, secure and supportive environment for each of our students and faculty members
  • To instill in our students a sense of responsibility and understanding of how they individually impact on safety and welfare within and beyond our community
  • To serve as an ir miklat – a place of spiritual and psychological refuge for our students, faculty and families during extremely trying times, giving emotional support to all

Based on guidance from New York State, the CDC and our medical consultant, Dr. Sharon Nachman, we have developed health and safety protocols built around five key components:

  1. Observing mandated and recommended health guidelines
  2. Requiring masks for all students in grades PreK-8, faculty and essential visitors.
  3. Conducting daily health screenings
  4. Following protocols for handling possible and confirmed Covid-19 exposures
  5. Practicing good hygiene standards

A) Commitment to Mandated and Recommended Health Guidelines

NSHA as an institution, as well as every individual school family, must abide by guidelines provided by New York State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We must partner together to protect the safety of our students, faculty, families and communities. NSHA reserves the right to remove any student, faculty member or family from in-person learning based on behaviors deemed to be presenting risk to our NSHA community. 

B) Mask Requirement for Students, Faculty and Essential Visitors

Wearing masks has been identified by the CDC as “one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting.” 

  • Masks must be worn appropriately (covering both nose and mouth) by all students in grades PreK-8 from the time they board their bus, carpool etc until the end of the school day. This includes, but is not limited to, while in classroom during instruction, in restrooms, during Learning Lab small group/individual learning etc. Teachers will schedule designated mask breaks, such as during snacks, lunch etc.
  • We understand that wearing a mask throughout the day may be onerous, however, given its proven efficacy in slowing and stopping the spread of COVID-19, it is an essential component of our school safety protocol. Students who are unable or repeatedly unwilling to wear masks throughout the school day will be required to remain at home and learn remotely. 
  • The most important way to prepare your child to return to school is to make sure that he/she is accustomed to wearing a mask. By the time school begins, ensure your child has a mask that he/she is comfortable wearing for extended periods of time. Students will be required to have 3-4 masks on hand daily as mask efficacy is reduced when the mask becomes damp or wet. Please ensure your child has enough masks to meet this requirement by sending at least 5 extra masks on the first day of school to be kept at school and additional masks in your child’s backpack each day.
  • All faculty and staff for grades T-8 will be required to wear masks throughout the school day and will have the additional option of wearing clear face shields.
  • All teachers will have a body microphone to amplify their voice. Faculty who instruct students with hearing impairments will be equipped with specialized facial PPE to ensure they are effectively protected while also meeting the needs of their students.

C) Student and Faculty Health Screenings

  • NSHA is requiring a PCR Nasal Swab test for all students and faculty in grades T-12. Please note that depending on how things evolve within our community, NSHA may require COVID testing for all students and faculty from time to time during the school year. In the event we deem this necessary, parents will be notified via email and on our reopening website.
  • Parents must submit an online health screening questionnaire every school day between 6am-7:30am which will be monitored by our staff. Students whose parents have not submitted the daily screening may not be allowed into the building.
  • Parents must take their children’s temperature prior to going to school each day. Students with a temperature of 100.0 F and above may not be sent to school.
  • School staff will additionally take every student’s temperature before he/she enters the building. Students with 100.0 F and above may not enter the building. School health professionals and administrators may use discretion to not admit a student who does not have fever but who displays symptoms or behaviors indicative of potential illness.
  • Any student, faculty or staff member presenting or reporting COVID symptoms at school will be relocated to a designated isolation space within 15 minutes of the administration being informed of a fever or COVID symptom event. Our school nurse, wearing appropriate PPE will promptly assess the student, faculty or staff member. A parent or designated adult will be notified to immediately pick their child up from school and the need for urgent assessment by the child’s medical provider. Any staff or faculty member who leaves school presenting COVID symptoms must be assessed by his/her medical provider and may not return unless they submit written clearance from their physician.
  • Any student who has been sent home due to health concerns, regardless of whether the student has a temperature of 100.00 F or above, must be seen by a pediatrician and will not be permitted to return to school without written clearance from a pediatrician.

D) Protocols for Possible and Confirmed COVID-19 Exposure

NSHA will follow all local and State mandates related to COVID exposure. We will work closely with our medical consultant Dr. Sharon Nachman for any case by case questions and we reserve the right to amend NSHA policies. Please review the detailed policies regarding illness, fever and possible and confirmed COVID-19 cases and exposure located in the COVID Addendum of the Parent and Student Handbook.

If following review of these policies you have further questions or need clarification, please contact a member of our Health Offices team or Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey Kobrin.

E) Cleanliness and Hygiene

    • Students will be prompted by faculty to wash their hands regularly throughout the day with soap and water including:
    • Before and after snack and lunch
    • After recess and Physical Education classes
    • At any time observed as necessary
  • Students will have access to hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the buildings. Additionally, we recommend that every student come to school with an individual hand sanitizer to be kept on his/her desk.
  • Nearly all bathrooms will be equipped with automatic and/or hands free flushing toilets, paper towel dispensers, and minimal touch levers or automatic sinks.
  • All water fountains will be closed or converted to filtered water dispensers. Please ensure your child brings a refillable water bottle to school daily.
  • Our facilities teams will be cleaning bathrooms, hallways and surfaces throughout the day. Classrooms will be cleaned thoroughly every evening with whole room cleaning devices specialized to reach every surface and corner. Classroom surfaces will be cleaned nightly.
  • Clear polycarbonate desk and table top barriers (described below) will be cleaned each evening.
  • Faculty members may choose to clean surfaces during the day as deemed necessary. Per State guidelines, students will not be allowed to handle cleaning materials.

A) Physical Changes to our Campuses

  • We have partnered with The Whalen-Berez Group, a firm that specializes in school design, to implement changes in our classroom and building environment for community safety. These changes include:
    • Customized desktop clear polycarbonate barriers for all student desks in grades 1-8. Every student will have an individual barrier between his/her neighbor on the front and sides.
    • Clear polycarbonate barriers at all tables utilized for Learning Labs, teacher workspaces, office areas etc.
    • 48” x 72” polycarbonate mobile shields for use by Early Childhood teachers.
    • Increased signage throughout the buildings indicating special directional changes and/or any specific safety requirements.
B) Class Structure
Due to our student and faculty utilization of masks and the implementation of individual physical inserts at each desk, we are able to keep our class sizes intact:
Students in grades Toddler – Kindergarten:
  • Will not experience changes to typical class structure.
  • Toddler and Nursery classes will include a maximum of 15 students
  • Pre-K and Kindergarten classes will include a maximum of 18 students
  • Pre-K and Kindergarten students will be encouraged to wear masks during class time but will be required to wear them for arrival, dismissal and in hallways. Teachers will wear masks during the entire day.
  • Individual classes in grades T-K will remain together throughout the day creating their own class cohort and will not intermingle with other classes.
Students in grades 1-5:
  • Will remain in the same class grouping as their cohort and physical classroom for both Hebrew and English throughout the school day. Their English and Hebrew teachers will rotate into their classrooms.
  • Class groupings will be determined by a combination of academic level and the physical classroom size.
  • Classes will range in size from 19-23 students.
Students in grades 6-8:
  • Will remain in the same class grouping as their cohort and physical classroom for all subjects throughout the school day. Instructors will rotate classrooms.
  • Class groupings will be again determined by a combination of academic level and the physical classroom size.
  • Classes will range in size from 15-21 students.
Students in grades K-8 will continue to receive differentiated instruction within their classrooms and individualized/small group support via our team of Learning Lab faculty members.  Learning Lab faculty members will wear masks and their learning spaces will be outfitted with polycarbonate barriers.
C) School Day
  • GNPS will be providing busing for Great Neck residents. All families who utilize busing service are responsible for communicating to their children how crucial it is for the safety of our community for students to follow GNPS Transportation safety protocols. This includes wearing masks at all times while on the bus in addition to the others noted in the email sent by Mr. James Popkin, Supervisor of Transportation GNPS. Any parents who choose to coordinate a carpool with other households must ensure the driver and all children wears a mask while in transit. We are all responsible for our community safety including our students, teachers, bus drivers and families.
  • We will maximize use of our outdoor spaces at all campuses. Weather permitting, lunch and recess will take place outdoors in a socially distanced manner. Classes will remain together for lunch and recess and will not intermingle with other classes.
  • Art, Music, and Computer Science specialty teachers will travel into classrooms. Any shared technology will be disinfected properly between uses.
  • Physical Education and recess will take place in a socially distanced manner in our gymnasiums or outdoors. Students will not be required to wear masks during PhysEd classes and recess which will be socially distanced.
D) Ventilation
We are currently evaluating our HVAC and ventilation systems and will be making necessary upgrades to equipment and filters. Additional ventilation equipment may be added to learning spaces as necessary.

NSHA has invested in livestreaming resources to provide a robust remote-learning program. Any faculty member who has a student engaging in remote learning will utilize a newly installed system of classroom web and audio streaming devices which will stream the teacher, smartboard and any shared screens to the student at home. The classroom’s assistant teacher will monitor the livestream to ensure that students at home may interact effectively with the head/assistant teacher and the student’s classmates to ask questions, participate etc.

A) Remote Learning by Family Choice or Health Safety

We expect that some families may choose to engage primarily in remote learning and that some students with underlying health concerns may choose not to attend school in person either in the short or long term. Such families should notify NSHA Administration no later than August 17th so that those students’ teachers can arrange for materials to be sent directly to the child’s home and orient the child to his/her new teachers, schedule etc. for remote learning.

B) Remote Learning While a Student is Home Due to COVID+ Test, Exposure or Any Illness

A student must remain at home and will maintain continuity of learning remotely if he/she:

  • tests COVID+; or
  • has been exposed to COVID or
  • is exhibiting any symptoms of COVID or any other illness

C) Remote Learning In the Event of School/Classroom Closure

Should we experience a class, campus or school-wide closure as mandated by the State, Department of Health or advised by our medical consultant, NSHA will convert to full remote learning within a 24-hour time period. Schedules and protocols will be shared to allow for continuity of learning within that time period.

 

A) Responsibility Outside of School

Our ability to continue in-person learning is dependent on our actions as a community both inside and outside of school. Families must abide by all CDC, local and State guidelines outside of school including, but not limited to:

  • Hygiene and cleanliness
  • Mask wearing
  • Social distancing
  • Participating in parties, dinners, events etc. without proper capacity measures, distancing or mask wearing, including children’s birthday parties and Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebrations.
  • Adherence to mandated quarantine when applicable

NSHA reserves the right to remove from in-person learning any family who is observed by the school to be violating CDC, local and/or state guidelines.

B) Travel Advisory and Mandatory Quarantine

  • New York has issued a mandatory quarantine following visits to certain states with significant community spread of Covid-19. Click here to view the list of states that meet the criteria for required quarantine. Please continue to check this list for updates as it can change.
  • If you have traveled internationally or from within one of the states that are subject to the travel advisory, you must quarantine when you enter New York for 14 days from the last travel within such designated state, provided that on the date you returned to New York such state was subject to the travel advisory requiring quarantine.
  • In light of the above,no student, faculty or staff who has traveled internationally or from within one of the designated states that are subject to the travel advisory will be permitted to enter school during the required quarantine period. Please ensure you keep this policy in mind as you make travel arrangements for your family during the last few weeks of summer as well as throughout the school year (including travel plans during the yom tovim and winter breaks) while the quarantine orders remain in effect. School start dates vary across divisions. Please ensure you are aware of the date on which you or each of your children start school and plan accordingly. 
  • Parents who have a child who is subject to quarantine, due to travel or for any other reason, as of the first day of school must contact a member of the Administration. Failure to do so places all our students and faculty at risk and may result in your child not being permitted to continue at NSHA.
  • Parents or family members of students or faculty members who have a household member who has traveled internationally or to states on the advisory list for business or personal activities should contact the Administration for guidance.

C) School Visitors

  • Only essential visitors such as therapists, contractors etc. will be allowed on to school campuses. Such visitors will be subject to PPE requirements and completion of temperature check and health screening questionnaire.

Parents will not be permitted to visit any of our three campuses at any time. All parent meetings with teachers and/or administrators will be conducted via Zoom. Parents who are picking up students will be met at their car by a security guard. There will be no exceptions to this policy. For the safety of our security personnel and our students/teachers, do not exit your car or attempt to enter any of our buildings.  

The following updates have been made to the site or school policy:

October 16, 2020: Various updates were made to our health policies for grades T-8 including:

    • ACCEPTABLE COVID TESTS
    • PROTOCOL FOR STUDENTS EXHIBITING COVID SYMPTOMS
    • MANAGING COVID SYMPTOMS WITHIN A HOUSEHOLD WHERE A MEMBER IS UNDER QUARANTINE
    • TESTING REQUIREMENTS FOR QUARANTINED CLASSES
    • MASKING POLICY FOR PRE-K AND KINDERGARTEN STUDENTS
    • ADDITION OF A COVID QUESTION CHANNEL

To read the updates, please review the communication emailed to T-8 parents on October 20th.

October 13, 2020:

  • Per our communication to parents on 10/6/20, all Pre-K and Kindergarten students will wear masks throughout the day and will be provided with socially distant mask breaks.

September 13, 2020: 

  • NSHA provided updated information on process for returning to school when presenting COVID Symptoms.  Please review the Parent and Student Handbook COVID Addendum for information located under the Quicklinks section of www.nsha.org

August 16, 2020:

  • NSHA advised parents and faculty of a mandatory PCR Nasal Swab COVID test requirement in advance of school opening. Click COVID Testing Before School Re-Opening to read the communication.
  • NSHA and Parents was advised of the GNPS Transportation service plans and released a  Transportation Survey.

Click here to view the NSHA Re-Opening Plan sent to New York State

We are not just a school – we are a community.