Dear TAOTS Families,                                                                                                                 

September 10, 2021

I just wanted to take this opportunity to welcome you back to school.  We are truly excited and blessed to have the opportunity to safely return back to school.  Our parent coordinator, Ms. Appelbaum, has been communicating with you weekly to assure that we keep you updated and informed with the latest information for a smooth return to in person learning. 

Here at TAOTS, we are committed to establishing  a strong partnership with our families because we know that by working together we will be able to create an optimal learning environment for our students. We ask that you keep open lines of communication with us here at TAOTS so that we are meeting the individual needs of your child. We can be reached at admin@taots.org 

As information is constantly being updated it is imperative that we continue to keep ourselves informed by listening to the news, reading our weekly Parent Coordinator’s emails, and visiting our school’s website www.taots.org as well as the DOE’s Information Hub https://infohub.nyced.org/school-year/school-year-2021-22/school-health-policy

We will keep our students safe and healthy by closely following and implementing the most updated NYCDOE School Health Guidelines and protocols. 

Below I have included the latest school health policy that was updated on September 8, 2021.  The School Health Policy was developed collaboratively with labor unions, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), and NYC Test + Trace Corps (T2).  

I am also attaching the complete DOE Homecoming and Safety Booklet which outlines the 2021 DOE Commitment to Your Child’s Health and Safety. https://www.schools.nyc.gov/…/doe-homecoming-health-and-safety-guide

Staying Healthy While at School

Vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are at low risk of symptomatic or severe infection.

Currently, people 12 years and older are eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. Schools can promote vaccinations among teachers, staff, families, and eligible students by providing information about COVID-19 vaccination, encouraging vaccine trust and confidence, and establishing supportive policies and practices that make getting vaccinated as easy and convenient as possible.

In partnership with the DOHMH, the NYCDOE is emphasizing the use of multiple layers of protection against COVID-19 and encouraging those who are eligible to get vaccinated. Strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 include:

·         Properly wearing a face covering at all times when on DOE property;

·         Increasing ventilation, wherever possible;

·         Washing and sanitizing hands regularly;

·         Staying home when sick, after being in close contact with a person with COVID-19, or if someone in your household is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms;

·         Ensuring students maintain a distance of at least three feet from other students; and most importantly,

·         If eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, getting the vaccine.

Physical Distancing

Following CDC and NYSED guidance, schools should provide a minimum of three feet of physical distancing, where possible. Both the CDC and NYSED emphasize that physical distancing requirements should not prevent students from fully returning to school this year. 

For certain activities, including lunch, additional safety measures will be used. When eating, students must maintain three feet of physical distance and should be seated in such a way that they are facing away from one another. For example, students may sit on a single side of a cafeteria bench, three feet apart. Schools may utilize other spaces, including but not limited to classrooms, auditoriums, gyms, and outdoor spaces for cafeteria use.

Face Coverings

Mandatory use of face coverings must be enforced for all individuals while on school property, on school buses, and on any school-sponsored transportation, regardless of the individual’s COVID-19 vaccine status. A face covering is any well-secured cloth or disposable mask that covers a person’s nose and mouth. A face covering with an exhalation valve or vent cannot be used on school property as exhalation valves allow unfiltered exhaled air to escape to others. Face shields are not appropriate substitutes for face coverings.

COVID-19 Surveillance Testing

Regular COVID-19 testing provides school communities and public health experts with valuable information. Every school, starting in grade 1, will have 10% of their consented, unvaccinated student population selected twice a month for ongoing random surveillance testing. Families can give consent for testing through their  student’s New York City Schools Account (NYCSA)

Daily Health Screenings

Operationalizing Health Screenings

To ensure that staff and students do not report to school if they have or potentially may have COVID-19 or are feeling ill, a health screening must be completed, ideally at home, by all students, staff, and visitors before entering NYCDOE school facilities.

Student Pick Up

If a student fails a health screening or shows symptoms of COVID-19, the student will be assessed by the nurse on site. If it is confirmed that the student is showing symptoms of COVID-19, the guardian of the student must be immediately contacted and advised to pick up the child. If the guardian cannot be reached, the school must contact the emergency contacts on the student’s Blue Card. 

Student Shows Symptoms of COVID-19 While at School

All schools must have an area designated to hold students who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, but this room can be used for other purposes when not holding an ill student. Schools and campuses should decide on space that can be used; this designated area may be the nurse’s examination room or medical room, if it is available at the time. Regardless of the designated area, the space must be thoroughly cleaned after holding a student who showed signs of COVID-19. No additional staffing is needed for this designated space, as the nurse or campus health care professional will assess potentially ill students.  

I conclude by assuring you that at TAOTS we will work together with you in partnership to effectively implement all safety and health guidelines as outlined by the NYCDOE. Stay tuned as we will continue to provide updates on school health and safety guidelines throughout the school year so that our students and our entire school community stay safe and healthy. 

In addition, I am attaching our 2021-2022 TAOTS Parent Handbook.  Kindly take some time to read this informative resource,  as it contains important school policies and procedures that are specific to our NYCDOE school.