• (607) 272-3110
  • info@cascadillaschool.org
  • Ithaca, New York, USA

COVID-19 Plans

Reopening Safety Plan
2020-2021

Updated: September 1, 2021

Introduction

Cascadilla School is committed to providing the best education for all its students. To ensure a safe learning environment for students, faculty, and staff, Cascadilla School will follow all the guidance, protocols, and procedures set in place by NYSED, Local and State DOH, and the CDC. We promise to keep our community well informed, educated, and participating in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.

Below are the major areas of concern for reopening. Each section addresses the school’s commitment to maintaining proper health standards while providing in-person quality education. 

Reopening

Communication:

Cascadilla School has always and will continue to maintain excellent communication with and between students, families, faculty, and staff. Given our small size we can contact individuals personally as well as through the following means:

  • Phone (including phone trees for both faculty and students)
  • Mailings
  • Email
  • WeChat and text messaging
  • The Cascadilla School website
  • Facebook
  • Zoom meetings
  • Signage

Families and students will be receiving information about reopening via email and posted to our website. Reminders to read this information will be sent to students and families via text messaging (WeChat) and Facebook with links to the website. 

Reopening information communication will include, but will not be limited to, instructions and training for how to follow COVID-19 protocols safely and correctly. Communications will encourage all to follow CDC and DOH guidelines for health, hygiene, and safety.

Families will have clear and effective ways to connecting with Cascadilla School to ask questions and give feedback.

To coordinate communications, Cascadilla School has assigned Jenna Kendall, Director of Student Services, as coordinator of communications for families and students as well as faculty and staff.

Capacity

  • Faculty and staff — Maximum 15
  • Student body — Maximum 50
  • Cascadilla School will stager entry and exit times to allow for social distancing (see Operating Activity)
  • Faculty and staff will report to Cascadilla School one week prior to the start of classes to participate in orientation and training

PPE and Face Coverings

  • All students, faculty, staff, and other individuals are required to wear a mask, or an appropriate PPE face covering must be used to protect against the transmission of the COVID-19 virus when on school grounds and in school facilities.
  • There will be a No-Entry Policy for anyone that does not have an appropriate PPE. This policy will be posted at entry points with a procedure to follow if a person needs a mask.
  • Cascadilla School will provide a disposable mask to any person that does not have an appropriate face covering.
  • Cascadilla School will provide faculty and staff with training in the use and disposal or laundering/disinfection of PPE. Protocols and procedures outlined by the CDC will be utilized in training as well as daily use.
  • Cascadilla School will provide training to all students during orientation in the proper use and disposal or laundering/disinfection of PPE. Protocols and procedures outlined by the CDC will be utilized in training as well as daily use. 
  • Additional PPE will be available for faculty and staff should they require additional coverage beyond the mandatory face covering (gloves, gowns, face shields, goggles, etc.).
  • As N95 respirators become more available, Cascadilla School will encourage and prioritize their use. Training of use and disposal will be made available during orientation. 

Social Distancing and Cohorting

  • 3ft. of physical distance between students, combined with indoor mask wearing, will be observed unless safety or necessary activity requires a shorter distance.
  • Cohorting, or the keeping people together in a small group and having each stay together throughout the entire day, may be used as an alternative method of social distancing.
  • Any time members of the Cascadilla community are less than 3ft. apart from one another, everyone must wear a mask or acceptable face coverings.
  • Tightly confined spaces will be occupied by only one individual at a time unless occupants are wearing face coverings. If occupied by more than one person, all persons will observe the posted occupancy. 
  • Cascadilla School will post social distancing markers using tape or signs that denote 6ft. of spacing in commonly used and other applicable areas.
  • Specific areas in the building have been identified as potential areas of congestion and protocols for social distancing in these areas will be addressed with faculty and students during orientation.
  • Cascadilla School has established a designated area for pick-ups and deliveries, limiting contact to the extent possible.

Hygiene, Cleaning, and Disinfection

Cascadilla School follows all cleaning protocols and procedures set out by NYSED in consultation with the CDC and NYSDOH. 

Cascadilla has and will continue to follow the guidance as outlined in the March 9, 2020, joint memo for NYSED and NYDOH titled “School (PreK-12) Guidance: COVID-19” under Appendix C.

Cascadilla School uses only NYSED, CDC, and EPA approved cleaning products to clean, sterilize, and disinfect (the list of approved products is in a link at the end of this plan).

Cascadilla School outsources school-wide cleaning to a local professional cleaning company that follows all guidelines and procedure as mentioned above. 

Between school-wide cleanings, faculty and staff will assist, sanitize, and disinfect assigned designated areas of the school building during the day. Specifically, in between classes, teachers and staff will be cleaning desks and chairs with approved cleaning products.

Proper handwashing and respiratory hygiene will be taught to all students, faculty, and staff during orientation. Training materials from CDC. Several hand washing locations are available in the school building and everyone upon entering the building will be expected to wash their hands.

Hand sanitizer containing 60% alcohol or higher will be made available throughout the school in locations where handwashing is not available. 

Restart of Building Operations

Cascadilla School will be conducting extensive cleaning and disinfecting as well as adding signage to its facilities prior to the reopening. Key facility components like the heating system are annually inspected and certified by the state. Cascadilla School does not have an HVAC system. We heat the historic building with boiler furnace system and radiators in each classroom. Cascadilla School is a well-ventilated school, and all classrooms have windows to the outside for fresh air and increased ventilation.

Vulnerable Populations

Cascadilla School’s students, faculty, and staff who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness, and individuals who may not feel comfortable returning to an in-person education environment, will be accommodated in the way that best fits their needs. Members of our community may request and be granted in-person accommodations like increased social distancing and additional PPEs.

Before and Aftercare

Cascadilla School will not be providing Before and/or Aftercare to the Cascadilla School Community. Studnets will arrive on campus no earlier than 30 minutes before the start of school and must leave campus no later than 30 minutes after their last class of the day.

Afterschool activities or extra time for help with schoolwork will be available this year. These events will be scheduled ahead of time and all rules for mask wearing and social distancing will be observed.

Extracurriculars

Cascadilla School will be offering several schoolwide extracurricular activities each semester. During these activities students and teachers will be following Cascadilla School’s protocol and procedures for mask wearing, social distancing, and respiratory hygiene. 

Transportation

Cascadilla School does not provide transportation. Students must be dropped off or picked up by a parent, guardian, or approved persons.

During schoolwide extracurricular activities that take place off-campus, Cascadilla School will provide transportation to students. Masks will be required. Pursuant to the CDC, physical distancing is not required on school buses or school vehicles.

Food Services

Cascadilla School does not provide food services or have a cafeteria.

Students are dismissed at 12:30 for a 40-minute lunch break. All students and faculty will be encouraged to bring their own lunches and eat outside observing social distancing. Handwashing will be encouraged prior to eating.

Sharing of food or beverage is prohibited. Personal items must be clearly labeled.

Initially, students will not be allowed to go to Collegetown to purchase lunch. If this policy changes after careful consideration and risk assessment, permission slips will be sent home.

Cascadilla School will be setting up areas outside for use. When this is not possible  there will be protocols to followed for indoor eating that include social distancing (minimum of 6ft distance), specific locations, and cleaning.

Upon returning to the building all students will repeat the same protocol for entering the building that they did at 8:30 am including hand washing.

Mental Health, Behavioral, and Emotional Support Services and Programs

During orientation and throughout the school year there will be presentations and communications with the entire Cascadilla School community to address all factors that affect the mental and emotional health of our population.

Cascadilla School faculty and staff undergoes professional development training to identify mental health, behavioral, and emotional issues that may arise. Clear lines of communication are established to report serious concerns by students, parents, faculty, and staff.

The Ithaca community has many excellent resources and mental health professionals available. Cascadilla School can provide information and referrals to members of our community in need.