Avenues has developed a thoughtful and comprehensive plan to how we will approach safety on our campus as a whole as well as in individual classrooms. This plan takes into account proven global practices that are designed to protect our students and faculty by eliminating mixing of students outside their classroom cohort ("pod"), reduced density of students in classrooms, promoting proper hand hygiene, enhanced ventilation and cleaning protocols, and utilizing state-of-the-art technology for monitoring health while maximizing the learning experiences that comprise an Avenues education.
Prior to Start of School
TestingClick to read more
We have updated our policy to now require that all students have a test for COVID-19 before the first day of school. The reason for this change is that when we first published our guidance, the CDC and State were asking that schools not require testing due to concerns of overwhelming the testing system or using up valuable tests for asymptomatic individuals. As we have been monitoring the testing conditions in NYC and elsewhere in the US, we are now confident that options are available to handle more widespread testing and provide a quick turnaround time for results. To that end, we will now require a negative test from all students in order to enter the building on September 8. In addition to all colleagues being required to be tested, we believe also testing students for re-entry will strengthen our ability to reopen safely by adding another layer to our multi-pronged plan. We will continue to enhance our plan as new options become known and available.
Students: All students who are attending in -person classes at the New York campus should have a COVID-19 test done as close to the first day of school as is possible but to still have results submitted to Avenues by September 7. Please check the local turnaround times at the testing site you use to ensure that test results can be obtained no sooner than August 28 and no later than September 7 . AON, Studio and @Home students are not required to be tested.
Test results should be uploaded to Magnus
Options for testing - please note that a saliva test or frontal lobe test is fine. The test does not need to be a nasopharyngeal swab (NPS) test.
Private physician or clinic: you can contact your family doctor to see if they are offering tests.
Testing site: Free testing is available in a variety of locations (hospitals, urgent care such as CityMD, drive through/mobile testing, etc.) Test turnaround times have decreased significantly in NYC (95% of test results are back within 72 hours). You can find a testing site by clicking on these links: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut.
At home saliva test: Vault Health is offering an FDA authorized saliva testing kit that is shipped to your home. You make an appointment to connect via zoom with a test supervisor to make sure the sample collection is done correctly and then you send the sample back in the packaging provided to their lab and receive results in 48-72 hours after the sample is received. The cost of the test is $150 and Vault provides a receipt that can be submitted to your insurance company for potential reimbursement. More details can be viewed here.
If you are experiencing any type of financial hardship and need assistance paying for a test, please email email@example.com.
If you are currently out of New York State and returning from a state that is on the list requiring a 14-day quarantine, your child should not be tested until five days after returning to New York. If you are currently in a state that is not on the travel advisory list and are returning to New York right before the first day of school, you can have your testing done wherever you are, as long as it is no sooner than August 28.
Colleagues: We will require all Avenues New York employees to be tested within 5-10 days of returning to campus and we will plan on a re-testing protocol with timing TBD based on availability and public health conditions. All results must be reported to the Director of People and Culture at firstname.lastname@example.org immediately. [See Colleague tab for more details]
Antibody Tests: In general, a positive antibody test is presumed to mean a person has been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, at some point in the past. However, currently there is insufficient scientific data to prove whether someone will definitely be immune and protected from reinfection if they test positive for antibodies to the virus. Therefore, we will not use the results of antibody tests to make determinations about individual students’ or colleague schedules and colleagues with a positive antibody test will still be responsible for getting COVID-19 tests.
In the event of a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis for a student, families will be responsible for procuring proof of two negative tests in order to return to campus (see section in Health Office - Conditions for Return). In the event that there is a need for large-scale student testing on campus based on guidance from the Department of Health, the Director of Operations will be responsible for developing the plan for sourcing and administering testing.
Health FormsClick to read more
In order to ensure that Avenues is in compliance with the NYS Department of Health guidelines, annual health exams and immunizations will be required for all students. All health forms are due no later than August 15, 2020 for the 2020–21 school year. Returning families will have until December 31, 2020 to have an updated physical. Students will be excluded from school if they do not have the appropriate immunizations or health examination forms in Magnus.
Age-appropriate immunizations will be required within 14 days of the first day of school for students to attend or remain in school. The list of required immunizations for the 2020-21 school year can be found here.
As noted in the Testing section above, all test results should be uploaded to Magnus
Arrival and Dismissal Process
At Home Daily Symptom Check Click to read more
All families and colleagues will be asked to complete the daily at-home health check using the Avenues mobile app that will be provided to families and colleagues. The app will provide status on each device indicating that access is permitted. The app will provide status on each device indicating that access is permitted. Among other questions, families and colleagues will be asked to disclose if they have:
knowingly been in close or proximate contact in the past 14 days with anyone who has tested positive through a diagnostic test for COVID-19 or who has or had symptoms of COVID-19;
tested positive through a diagnostic test for COVID-19 in the past 14 days;
experienced any symptoms of COVID-19, including a temperature of greater than 100.0°F, in the past 14 days; and/or
has traveled internationally or from a state with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 per the New York State Travel Advisory in the past 14 days.
If any of the symptoms or conditions are present, the student or colleague should stay at home and they will be denied access to campus.
In addition, the app will feed a dashboard that provides entry status and reporting by person which will be reviewed by the campus Operations team to ensure we are collecting daily attestations from faculty and staff and periodic attestations from students per NYS DOH guidelines.
Transportation to SchoolClick to read more
During the first semester, we do not currently anticipate being able to offer school bus services due to our desire to limit mixing among student cohorts. When conditions permit the safe use of busses, passenger occupancy will be adjusted to 50% occupancy to allow for proper physical distancing and we will work with providers to enhance safety measures, disinfection, and fresh airflow.
Drop-Off and EntryClick to read more
Students will arrive at their designated entry-point at the appropriate time (staggered in 20-30 minute increments) per instructions from division operations that will be shared prior to the start of school. As we make a decision on the academic schedule that will be in place at the start of school, we will share detailed information on drop-off and pick-up times by grade as well as guidance for families with siblings in different grades.
We will utilize multiple points-of-entry to improve flow and reduce density. We will closely monitor density at the points of entry and utilize additional drop off stations outside the building if necessary.
Small World and Early Learning Center students will wait in designated areas by class and will be escorted to their classrooms by their teachers. We will share these designated areas where to gather outside of the campus prior to school opening.
Lower Division and Upper Division students will proceed directly to their classroom. Colleagues will be assigned to designated points throughout the building during drop off and pick up. We will create dedicated points of entry by grade level.
Students will present evidence to arrival staff that they are cleared for entry via the mobile app and all students will be required to have their temperature taken before entering campus.
If students arrive late, Small World, nursery, pre-K and K students will wait at the designated arrival stations for a teacher to take them up to their classrooms. 1st through 12th grade students will proceed to their classrooms through the designated stairs/elevators.
Temperature CheckClick to read more
Avenues will administer a temperature check with a thermal scanner prior to entering the building. Students with elevated temperatures in the initial screening will be re-checked, and if a fever is confirmed, they will be sent home with a parent or guardian. Personnel who are verifying the symptoms check on the app and administering temperature checks will be trained on the procedures in compliance with CDC, DOH and OSHA protocols and equipped with the appropriate PPE (mask, gloves and face shield).
MasksClick to read more
Masks will be required to enter the building for all students and staff (see the Campus Health and Safety Procedures - Face Masks section below for more information).
DismissalClick to read more
Students will be dismissed from the classrooms at staggered times that will be communicated to parents.
Students who are picked-up in private cars, or by their parents, will be brought to a designated staging area in the main lobby or outside area with their cohort. As parents arrive, they will be matched with their student.
“Walkers” and those responsible for getting home on their own will proceed directly out of the building upon dismissal (wearing masks and maintaining physical distance).
Campus Health and Safety Procedures
Physical DistancingClick to read more
Physical distancing will be managed by reducing density at our campus by eliminating mixing of students and large gatherings, maintaining 6 feet of distance between students outside of the classroom, and where practicable keeping sufficient space between students while in the classroom. Our approach to physical distancing within the classroom may change pending clearer guidance from the State. Additional spaces (e.g., commons, gymnasium, atriums, cafeteria) may be modified and utilized as classroom areas with flexible furniture solutions.
Classrooms – Students will remain in their classroom groups and will not mix with other student groups.
Hallways – Hallways will be designated as one-way or delineated with clear left-lane/right-lane traffic patterns. This will be reinforced with visual signage and monitored by staff.
Stairwells – Students will be encouraged to use stairs at all times and stairwells will be designated as one-way up or down or delineated with clear up/down traffic patterns.
Elevators – Elevator use will be limited to those with physical disabilities or for facilities staff to support operations. Passengers will be limited to four and will stand in designated spots in corners as indicated by floor decals. We will dedicate certain elevators for facilities and food service to support intensified cleaning and in-room lunch and snack service.
Lockers – Lockers will not be used; students will bring all their belongings into their assigned classrooms.
Staff Areas – staff offices will be de-densified and teachers will work from their assigned classrooms or in open areas with appropriate space designated for work.
Barriers – We will install temporary barriers at security/reception desk and workspaces where physical distancing is more difficult (e.g., faculty workspaces, lunch room if used).
Hygiene Practices Click to read more
Hand Washing – We will require hand washing throughout the day to ensure that hands are washed or sanitized at least five times per day. For example, sanitizing upon building entry, after exchanging classrooms, hand-washing before lunch and snack, and prior to dismissal, etc. In addition, students will be required to wash or sanitize their hands after sneezing, blowing their nose, or removing their mask.
Respiratory Etiquette – All colleagues and students are encouraged to practice good respiratory etiquette by coughing into a tissue (or elbow / sleeve if a tissue is not available). Hands must be washed after a sneeze. We will educate and reinforce proper respiratory etiquette with visual signage throughout the buildings.
Hand Sanitizer – Touchless hand sanitizer stations will be positioned around the school in strategic and high-traffic locations (e.g., at entryways, elevator lobbies, commons, cafeteria, and near stairwells) and individual pump dispensers will be available in all classrooms. The use of hand sanitizer will be supervised for ELC and Lower Division students.
Paper Towels – Students will use paper towels in restrooms to operate any sinks, urinals, or toilets that are not configured as “touchless.” Air dryers will be disabled.
Face Masks Click to read more
All students and staff will wear face masks when they enter and are on campus, including when in classrooms. Small World through kindergarten students will enter and exit with a cloth mask while in corridors. Face masks will be used in the classroom at the teacher's direction with an understanding it may be removed on occasion due to developmental needs and readiness for young children. As health conditions improve, we may relax mask wearing in other classrooms, where students are in self-contained groups and not mixing.
Avenues will provide several reusable/washable cloth masks for each student and staff member. Families and colleagues are responsible for washing these masks daily.
Families and colleagues may provide their own reusable/washable cotton mask, but it must conform to our safety specifications based on CDC guidance:
fits snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
completely covers the nose and mouth
is secured with ties or ear loops
includes multiple layers of fabric
allows for breathing without restriction
can be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
Small World through kindergarten students will also bring a cloth bag where the mask and bag can both be washed when they return to their home. Avenues will maintain an inventory of disposable masks in the event a student or staff member soils or damages their mask.
Nurses will wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while attending to students (i.e., masks, face shields and gowns). Maintenance personnel will wear appropriate PPE when cleaning infected areas or when using electrostatic disinfectant sprayers.
Meals and SnacksClick to read more
Meals and snacks will be prepared and served in individual pre-packaged, compostable “to go” containers to avoid cross-contamination. We will continue to be able to provide accommodations for people who have food allergies. Meals will be delivered to be eaten in the classrooms (no sharing). Where a distance of 6 feet cannot be maintained between students during meals, we will have physical barriers to separate students. Students and colleagues will wipe down desks/tables before and after meals and place refuse in containers or return bins. Students and colleagues will wash their hands before meals or snacks. Kitchen, maintenance and non-classroom staff will also choose from “grab and go” options and will eat in designated spaces in the lunchroom, maintaining proper distancing.
Water BottlesClick to read more
Each student will be expected to bring a refillable water bottle each day that is clearly labeled with their name. Bottles will be refilled at filling stations throughout the building and/or in the classroom. All other drinking fountains will be disabled. Bottles must be wiped down daily with disinfectant wipes. Bottled water will not be provided as part of our lunch program in order to be environmentally sustainable.
Field TripsClick to read more
Physical field trips will be suspended through the first semester.
Wellness and Movement and Athletics Click to read more
We do not intend to send students to Chelsea Piers and inter-school team sports will be suspended for the foreseeable future (at least through the first semester). Athletics will be reoriented towards athletic pursuits and fitness than can be done safely in a virtual training environment by sport. We will allow small groups to practice appropriate wellness and movement activities provided these activities are non-aerobic (e.g., yoga, stretching, walking, bar exercises, etc. ) or 12 feet of separation is maintained between students.. Mixing of groups will be prohibited. Vigorous aerobic activities in enclosed spaces that result in heavy respiratory activity will not be allowed (i.e., running on treadmill, rowing, stationary bikes, aerobic dance, etc.).
After-school ProgrammingClick to read more
After-school programming will be virtual during first semester and may resume in person for second semester if conditions allow. We are assessing demand to help determine if after-care will be provided on campus.
Facility Tours and EventsClick to read more
All external group tours and events will be suspended. All external visitors will not be allowed in student spaces. Individual admissions meetings and interviews will be held virtually.
Visitors Click to read more
We will continue to maintain strict access control to campus. Non-essential adults, including parents, will not be permitted to enter the campus except in the event of an emergency. In the interest of virus prevention, we will be extending these requirements to pick up and drop off times. Parent conferences will be scheduled virtually on Zoom.
Standard Operating Safety ProceduresClick to read more
Standard safety operations and procedures will be conducted to the best of our ability without deviating from current requirements.
Fire (evacuation) and lockdown drills will continue to take place as Education Law and regulations and the Fire Code Section 404 and must be conducted without exception.
Stair and corridor doors that have closures with automatic hold open functions and are automatically released by the fire alarm system, remain unchanged.
The Director of Operations and Administration is designated as the Safety Coordinator for the campus and will ensure compliance with the reopening plan, in partnership with the campus leadership team and the HQ global team.
Facility Cleaning and Maintenance
Our custodial protocols are designed to meet or exceed the guidelines for building sanitation and disinfecting as recommended by the relevant authorities in each of our campuses (e.g., Centers for Disease Control, NYS Department of Health) providing guidance for schools and workplaces). We have engaged a firm affiliated with Underwriter Laboratories (UL) to evaluate our cleaning protocols to ensure that our cleaning standards are at the highest level.
Daily CleaningClick to read more
Between sessions and each evening, we will wipe down all regular use hard surfaces (desk and table tops), used learning materials (e.g., toys and supplies), and high-touch points (lights switches, door handles, hand-rails/bannisters) and restroom fixtures with cleaning agents that are certified as disinfectants for coronavirus. All floors will be mopped with disinfectant cleaners and all carpets will be vacuumed. We will use electrostatic disinfectant sprayers as an additional layer to kill viruses as appropriate.
During school hours, we will monitor hallways, restrooms, and common areas and disinfect high-touch areas with increased frequency, in addition to responding to any emergency spills or bodily fluids.
All nap materials will be disinfected after each use.
Facility staff members have been trained in the proper use of disinfecting agents, cleaning techniques and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
We will maintain appropriate inventories of cleaning supplies and PPE (e.g., cleaning solvents, ready-to-use wipes, spray applications, hand sanitizer, etc.). We will continue to monitor supply chains and have additional products on-order for redundancy and backup.
We will maintain daily logs (including location, date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection) as well as identify cleaning and disinfection frequency for each facility and area type and assign responsibility to staff.
Indoor Air QualityClick to read more
We will increase the frequency of cleaning the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) ductwork and will inspect and replace all filters on an accelerated cadence. In addition, we have engaged our global HVAC engineers to evaluate options to increase fresh airflow within our facilities and are evaluating the installation of additional air purification capabilities within our system. We are also implementing overall indoor air quality testing and measurement protocols to test for particulate matter (PM2.5), moisture, formaldehyde concentration (HCHO), and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
Weather permitting, we plan to leave windows ajar to increase fresh air inflow and circulation.
Additional Protocol for Confirmed Case of COVID-19Click to read more
In the event of a verified infection on campus, we will isolate the relevant student cohorts and, upon review of the localization, extend closure to other parts of the campus if necessary to implement cleaning protocols and contact tracing in collaboration with local health authorities.
In response to a confirmed case, we will execute our regular cleaning protocols throughout the building, which are already designed to kill Coronaviruses. However, we will identify those specific areas (i.e., “hot spots”) where the infected person has been present (e.g., classrooms, stairwells, elevators, commons, etc.) and thoroughly clean the area and apply a fine antibacterial mist with electrostatic sprayers to ensure 100% coverage of surface areas.
Student visits - non COVID-19 relatedClick to read more
Teachers are provided with basic wellness kits with supplies needed to provide basic needs in the classroom (e.g. a bandaid). Essential visits that are not COVID-19 related (ex: injury, medication, etc.) will occur in the health office in a designated area separate from where suspected COVID-19 cases will be treated.
Student visits - potential COVID-19 caseClick to read more
All nurses will wear personal protective equipment including appropriate grade masks masks, gloves, and face shields while providing care to students. When a student comes into the office with COVID-19 related symptoms, the student will be provided with a surgical mask and immediately placed in an isolation area. The student will be assessed and if the nurses suspect a potential COVID-19 case, the family will be notified immediately. The student must be picked up within 30 minutes and the family should contact a medical provider for additional care. If any student presents with emergency COVID-19 symptoms which include trouble breathing, chest pain, etc., the nurses will contact emergency medical services (911) and then inform the family.
Isolation RoomsClick to read more
There will be multiple isolation rooms for students who are symptomatic. The room will be immediately cleaned and disinfected after each usage and cannot be used again for two hours. The nearest small group rooms to the Health Office will be used for holding students who are symptomatic.
Contact TracingClick to read more
Upon confirmation of a positive case of COVID-19 in our facility, we will trace all contacts on campus who were deemed to be in close contact with the infected individual. Close contacts are defined as follows:
Teachers/students in an enclosed space (i.e., the same classroom or working group in the case of facilities or staff) with the infected individual for more than 30 minutes.
Individuals who were within 6 feet or in face-to-face for more than 10 minutes.
We will be implementing a technology-enabled tool that leverages Bluetooth signals and our Cisco Meraki Wi-Fi access points to identify individual student locations, classroom and common area density, physical distance, and elapsed time in a location (only within the campus) to assist with physical distancing management and contact tracing. This tool will allow us to retrospectively identify areas where an infected person traveled (for enhanced cleaning) and the people who came into close contact with the individual (for notification and quarantining).
NotificationClick to read more
The Director of Operations and Administration will notify the local Department of Health, which has oversight responsibilities for schools when we have a confirmed case of COVID-19. We also will notify the “close contact” individuals that they may be at risk and request that they self-quarantine for 14 days and/or get tested no sooner than four days following exposure. Family members of “close contacts” will be encouraged to monitor for symptoms and consider getting tested. We will not disclose the identity of the infected person.
Conditions for ReturnClick to read more
Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be able to return to campus when the following conditions are met:
14 days have passed since symptom onset
Temperature is <100 degrees
Symptom-free for 24 hours without the use of medication
Negative PCR test
Documentation from a healthcare provider
Individuals who have been in close contact with an infected individual may return after they have completed the 14-day quarantine period and are not exhibiting any typical symptoms. Avenues will coordinate with the local Department of Health on individuals’ return to campus.
StudentsClick to read more
Students will be trained on hand washing techniques, proper respiratory etiquette, how to put on and remove face masks and how to maintain proper physical distance from others. We will reinforce these techniques and practices with visual signage.
Staff MembersClick to read more
Colleagues will be trained on health and hygiene measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as proper techniques for managing PPE. We will also provide procedures for how to respond to a sick student in class. We will also provide procedures for how to respond to a sick student in class, including observing signs of illness and procedures for how to send the student to the Health Office safely. Staff members who are performing in-person daily screening (temperature checks) will wear masks and gloves and will be trained in the appropriate procedures to prevent exposure to potentially infectious individuals entering the campus.
In developing these procedures, we have and will continue to consult guidance issued by local and state government agencies as well as information provided by other public health organizations. Some of the key resources include: