COVID-Reopening Info2020-09-14T18:23:12+00:00

APTS REOPENING INFORMATION

REOPENING PLAN OF ACTION

 

Click on the icon above to review APTS’s Reopening Plan.

Alan El Tagi, CEO & Co-Founder

The mandated closure of Virginia school buildings on March 17, 2020 presented many new challenges for APTS families and staff. While navigating alternative avenues of instruction and support for our students, APTS has looked forward to the day when our school buildings could safely reopen. That day has arrived. APTS intends to resume in-person instruction on September 8, 2020.

I am excited to share with you APTS 2020 School Reopening Plan of Action. Please be assured that our top priority will always be the health and safety of the families we serve and our staff. We recognize the importance of reopening our school to in-person learning safely. Our plan has been developed thoroughly based on guidance from the state and local level as well as input from our families and staff members. The information will provide you with clear guidance on how we will open our doors safely and in accordance with CDC and VDH guidelines.

In these quickly evolving times, please understand that this plan is fluid. Changes are expected based on any updated federal, state, and local recommendations and feedback from our families, staff, and partners. We look forward to continuing to serve our students, families, and community.

Sincerely,

Alan El Tagi

Students and staff will begin to return to buildings with increased health and safety measures in place. APTS leadership has received input from local health departments, families, and other stakeholders to create a reopening plan that prioritizes the health and safety of our students and staff. APTS is dedicated to providing high quality instruction and behavioral support regardless of the delivery model.

Modified schedules

To limit the number of people in APTS buildings at one time, students will have a modified schedule. Group A students will attend in-person instruction from 8:00 am to 11:00 am. Group B students will attend in-person instruction from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm. The time between groups will allow for safe transitions and thorough cleanings. Families will be notified of their child’s assigned group prior to the scheduled return date of September 8, 2020. For transportation information, families should reach out to their child’s county representative. This schedule is subject to change based on changing environmental conditions and input from students, families, staff, and counties. Every effort will be made to notify the necessary parties in advance of any adjustments in scheduling.

For the portion of the day that the students do not receive in-person instruction, independent material and activities will be provided to complete at home and staff will be available to virtually support. Additionally, these times will be utilized for the virtual provision of any related services, behavioral consultation, and remediation.

APTS is committed to making available 100% virtual learning to families who choose to continue receiving virtual instruction.

Sanitation, cleaning, and disinfection protocols

APTS will follow the CDC guidelines for all cleaning and disinfection of schools. Teachers, staff, and contracted cleaning companies will work together to ensure the building is thoroughly cleaned in accordance with the CDC guidelines. If a positive COVID-19 case is found, APTS will follow the guidance of the local health department to determine the areas of the school/building that require deep cleaning and determine if a school or office closure is needed to complete the cleaning.

Increased training for staff and students

All APTS staff members will be required to complete a comprehensive building reopening orientation prior to the reopening of the school building to students in the following areas: cleaning, PPE, social distancing, symptom recognition, health screening and more. This training will be delivered virtually and in-person. Families and students will also receive important information throughout the reopening process via mail, email, the APTS website and social media.

Screening procedures

Students’ temperature will be checked daily at the school entrance. Additionally, students should be asked about and observed for symptoms of COVID-19. Any students exhibiting a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19 will be pulled aside or escorted to the quarantine room, and parents will be notified to come pick the child up immediately. Staff will be required to self-screen prior to coming to work and keep a record of their self-screening to be reviewed periodically at random.

Face coverings

Face coverings will be required for staff. Students will be encouraged, but not required to wear a face-covering. Staff will be provided with a cloth face mask to be washed daily. Personal protective equipment will also be available for staff to wear when social distancing cannot be maintained including surgical masks, gloves, gowns, and face shields.

Social distancing

Maintaining at least 6 feet of distance between individuals is one of the key strategies for reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. APTS staff and students will be asked to maintain this distance whenever possible. Our hope is that making environmental changes such as spacing desks, providing floor markings, and installing signage, will serve as a reminder that distance should be maintained.

We recognize that social distancing may not always be able to be maintained. APTS has requested a variance from the state of Virginia regarding the recommended social distancing measure of 6 feet as the population of students served by our program may require staff to be in close proximity to provide necessary support.

APTS will also seek to minimize movement of students within the school by limiting movement of students and staff between classrooms, having a designated staff complete non-contact lunch delivery, and creating site-based procedures to direct foot traffic throughout the building and ensure restrooms can be used with appropriate social distancing and cleaning protocols.

Education

Signs will be posted in highly visible locations (e.g., school entrances, restrooms) that promote everyday protective measures and describe how to stop the spread of germs, such as by properly washing hands and properly wearing a cloth face covering. Regular announcements will be made to remind staff and students of appropriate hygiene and cleaning procedures.

When appropriate, students will be provided with social narratives, visuals, and routines. Staff will assist students in practicing new skills and reinforce appropriate social distancing and hygiene practices as needed.

Limited access to visitors

Visitors will not be permitted into the building when school is in session unless absolutely required. Visitors will be required to wear masks while inside the building or if they are outside the building and not able to properly socially distance. Meetings, tours, observations, etc. will occur virtually utilizing Google Suites.

Continuing to improve and further develop virtual instruction program

As APTS prepares to reopen its buildings, we remain committed to continuing to provide an increased, robust, and variable virtual experience for those students and families that are not currently available or ready to return to the physical buildings.

Schedule and distance learning

Alternative Paths Training school will welcome back students to in-person instruction on September 8, 2020. Initially, APTS will utilize modified student schedules to prioritize the health and safety of our students and school personnel.

To allow for greater social distancing, the number of students in the building at one time will initially be limited. This modified schedule will divide students into two groups, Group A and Group B. Group A students will attend in-person instruction from 8:00 am to 11:00 am. Group B students will attend in-person instruction from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm. The time before, after, and between groups will be used to ensure the safe transition of students during arrival and dismissal procedures and the thorough cleaning of classrooms and supplies.

Families will be notified of their child’s assigned group prior to the scheduled return date of September 8, 2020. For transportation information, families should reach out to their child’s county representative. The schedule is subject to change based on changing environmental conditions and input from students, families, staff, and counties.

For the portion of the day that the students do not receive in-person instruction, independent material and activities will be provided to complete at home and staff will be available to virtually support. Additionally, these times will be utilized for the virtual provision of any related services, behavioral consultation, and remediation.

APTS is committed to making available 100% virtual learning to families who choose to continue receiving virtual instruction.

Maintaining healthy operations

Steps will remain in place to protect all staff and children, as well as work to identify and support those at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Please see Appendix A for more information.

  • The CDC identifies “high risk” candidates as those whose health or medical concerns or other status, such as age, creates vulnerability to COVID-19 exposure; persons in this category are in imminent danger for succumbing to the virus, with little chance of overcoming it. Staff who identify as “high risk” will request accommodations through Human Resources and be asked to provide doctor’s notes identifying the condition as well as the accommodations they are requesting.  Accommodations will remain on file and be reviewed on an individual basis.
  • Students who have been identified as “high risk” or requiring an emergency medical action plan will be encouraged to consult with their doctor prior to returning to the physical building.  Equitable instruction will continue to be provided virtually during this time period as families consult with medical professionals. Parents and guardians of identified “high risk” students that request in-person instruction will be required to sign a medical waiver acknowledging the increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 prior to their students’ return.

Sick leave policies and practices (including return to school/work policies) will be reviewed and updated to address and include policies specific to COVID-19.

  • Students who were attending class and who have either been exposed or who contract the virus will receive their educational services from home (virtual instruction) as they are physically able to, and until total recovery.
  • Instructional staff in this disposition will self-quarantine at home, and will have the option of delivering virtual instruction, or if requested, can take sick leave.  Non-instructional staff in this disposition will self-quarantine at home, and will have the option of telecommuting, if their current job duties/role allows for it.  Where possible, the role/tasks may be restructured or modified during their recuperation period.  Also, non-instructional staff can exercise their leave option until total recovery.

Classroom modifications and structure

The classroom and building environment will be set up to encourage proper social distancing and hygiene practices. Classrooms will be decluttered to allow for easy cleaning, desks will be spaced 6 feet apart and common areas will be closed for the time being. The use of shared items will be discouraged unless thorough cleaning can occur. Teachers will inventory their materials and additional supplies will be ordered to minimize shared items.

Signs will be posted in highly visible locations (e.g., school entrances, restrooms) that promote everyday protective measures and describe how to stop the spread of germs, such as by properly washing hands and properly wearing a cloth face covering. Regular announcements will be made to remind staff and students of appropriate hygiene and cleaning procedures. Additional hand sanitizing stations will be created, and regular breaks will be provided for handwashing/sanitizing. Staff will assist students in learning hygiene procedures as needed and reinforce any health and hygiene promoting behaviors such as increased tolerance for face masks, PPE, and social distancing.

Site-based modifications such as posted signage and floor markings will also be made to encourage controlled movement and foot traffic throughout buildings. Walkie talkies will be utilized to allow for quick communication without the need to travel throughout buildings.

Evaluation of building

APTS currently maintains a comprehensive preventative maintenance schedule. Prior to opening, facilities will evaluate and complete preventative maintenance on all systems including HVAC, plumbing, and lighting. Air filters will be replaced at this time and will continue to be serviced more frequently. Water systems and features will be checked at each campus to ensure proper operation. Water bottle fill stations will remain open, however, water fountains will be disabled or otherwise secured to prevent use.

Initial cleaning

APTS has already begun the process of organizing, decluttering, cleaning, and disinfecting the classrooms, which will be completed prior to reopening. This includes removing porous materials that cannot be easily disinfected. All cleaning has been completed using CDC and/or EPA approved disinfecting agents for COVID-19.

High touch areas:
● will be identified and explained to staff to ensure awareness.

● high tech touch areas (phones, copiers, light switches, etc.) will have contact film placed over them to allow for easy and safe cleaning.

Sourcing of cleaning supplies

APTS has been able to source approved disinfectants through a local supplier.
We have made arrangements to switch to another CDC and/or EPA approved disinfectant if the supply chain is interrupted. Each campus has enough disinfectant for 1 month, with resupplies scheduled to arrive regularly.

Additional cleaning supplies will include folding tables to set up a 5 Basin Disinfecting System in each classroom for the end of the day procedures and additional basins.
APTS has been attempting to source sprayers to simplify the disinfection process, however due to backorders their arrival has been delayed.

To maintain an inventory, cleaning supplies will be given to each classroom in the morning in a clear plastic container. When a supply is empty, the classroom will radio for a refill and will turn in the empty container as they receive a new product.

Cleaning responsibility

To ensure appropriate staffing, APTS will implement an “all hands” approach where each staff member will have a shared responsibility to maintain their Zone or area while also cleaning after themself. A facilities staff member will be assigned for each building.
APTS is exploring hiring additional facilities staff to assist with school day cleanings. All APTS staff members will receive additional training on how to appropriately clean via the CDC guidelines.

APTS will contract with an outside vendor for building cleaning after school hours.

If a positive COVID-19 case is discovered, APTS will follow the guidance of the local health department to determine the areas of the school/building that may require deep cleaning and determine if a school or office closure is required to complete the cleaning.

Zone cleaning protocol

APTS will set up a zone cleaning approach where each classroom, office, hallway, and lobby will act as their own zone.

Staff assigned to a zone will complete the appropriate level of cleaning required on a regular schedule.

Facilities will be responsible for cleaning the hallways, hallway restrooms, and PRN cleaning. Please see Appendix B for details on cleaning levels.

Staff, family, and student preparation

Staff will be required to complete a comprehensive building reopening orientation prior to the reopening of the school building to students. Topics covered include proactive health strategies, cleaning protocols, responding to confirmed/suspected cases of COVID-19, behavioral supports for returning students, and supporting the social/emotional needs of students and yourself. Families and students will also receive important information throughout the reopening process including information on hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, use of cloth face coverings, staying home when sick, and encouraging physical distancing.

Staff and students will receive ongoing training and information on proactive health strategies and cleaning protocols, mental health, as well as training to address any novel situations as they arise.

Informational guides and checklists will be posted throughout the school building, sent home to staff and student families, and made available on APTS website and social media platform(s).

A full training and information list is provided in Appendix C.

Entering APTS buildings

Visitors:

APTS will place signage at all entrances requiring visitors to call front offices. Visitors will not be permitted into the building when school is in session unless absolutely required and will be required to wear masks while inside the building or if they are outside the building and not able to properly socially distance. Meetings, tours, observations, etc. will continue to occur virtually utilizing Google Suites.

Screenings:

All staff and students (or their families) will complete daily surveys confirming that they are symptom-free and that they have not been exposed to COVID-19 prior to entering any APTS building. Staff will contact the nursing department and supervisors if they are displaying COVID- 19 symptoms. Students or families will contact the nursing department or campus administration if the student is displaying COVID-19 symptoms or a fever.

  • All staff will be asked to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms prior to coming to an APTS building by completing a screening card daily confirming that they are symptom-free and that they have not been exposed to COVID-19. Screening cards will fit in employee ID badge holders and responses will be spot checked regularly by administrative staff or school nurses. The badge will clearly indicate that the wearer has indicated that they are cleared to be in the building for that day. All staff will be required to clearly display them on their person throughout their day. Staff are directed NOT to report to an APTS building if they do not pass the screening form. Staff will be responsible for maintaining their own screening records. 

Staff and students will be required to stay home and notify the campus immediately if they are feeling unwell or displaying signs of illness.

Staff and students shall answer health screening questions/be observed and have their temperature taken prior to entering the school building. If the student/staff have a temperature of ≥100°F, their temperature may be taken again after approximately ten minutes of waiting. A hospital grade oral thermometer may be used to recheck. If the student/staff have multiple high temperature readings, they will be asked to go home for the day and follow up with a physician. Students/staff arriving late must not enter until they have their temperature taken. Front desk staff or an assigned staff member positioned outside of the building will complete the screening. Non touch thermometers will be used across all APTS buildings.

Students and staff must sanitize or wash their hands prior to or upon entering the building.

Practices inside APTS buildings:

Face Coverings:

All staff will be required to wear masks within the building and while accompanying students into and outside of the building. Staff who do not arrive at school with a mask will be provided with a disposable mask and encouraged to bring their reusable masks the following day. Staff refusing to wear a mask will be sent home on administrative leave without pay for the day.

Staff face coverings will be evaluated by the administrative and school nursing team for appropriateness and safety. Staff may be asked to change their face covering if it is determined to not meet these standards. Recommendations for acceptable face coverings will continue to be re-evaluated as new information is presented. At this time, staff may NOT wear masks with valves or neck gaiters.

All students will be advised to wear masks while in transition to and from APTS as well as within the building. Staff and students will maintain appropriate social distancing while in APTS buildings whenever possible. Staff may remove face masks while alone in private offices with the door closed but will place masks back on while transitioning within hallways or other locations that others would populate.

If another staff member approaches the staff member’s cubicle or office, both parties must be wearing their masks.

If social distancing cannot be maintained, then staff may be provided with a surgical mask. Additional protective wear including goggles/face shields and gown may also be provided when social distancing cannot be maintained during activities such as instruction, behavioral emergencies, and/or daily living assistance.

When interacting with students who are hearing-impaired or who, during the provision of services, require a view of the staff member’s mouth, staff may wear masks with a clear mouth panel.

Students will be encouraged, but not required to wear face coverings during the school day. Face coverings will be evaluated by the school nurses and administrative team for health and safety as well as appropriateness.  If a face covering is determined to not be safe or appropriate, a student may be asked to change into a disposable mask or wear a different mask. APTS staff will continue to work on encouraging and teaching appropriate mask-wearing behavior with the students.

Based on best available data regarding effective face masks and in collaboration with the local health department:

  • Students will be allowed to wear masks with valves
  • Students will NOT allowed to wear neck gaiters  

The above recommendations regarding face coverings for students will continue to be re-evaluated and updated as new research and guidelines are presented.

It should be noted, if a student displays COVID-19 symptoms they will be asked to wear a surgical mask until a parent/guardian arrives to pick the student up.

Social Distancing:

Upon transitioning into the building, students and staff will maintain appropriate social distancing of at least six feet between each student’s desk. Floor markings and signage will be installed to serve as a reminder that a social distance should be maintained.

Students and staff are discouraged from bringing outside items into the building. If students or staff bring personal items into the building, then they will be provided a bin in which to maintain their personal belongs throughout the day.

The movement of students and staff between classrooms will be limited as much as possible. Site- based procedures will be created to establish entrance and exit routes and direct foot traffic throughout the building. Site-based procedures will also be created to ensure restrooms can be used with appropriate social distancing and cleaning protocols to minimize cross contamination. Students will eat in their classroom while appropriately distanced from other students.

We recognize that social distancing may not always be able to be maintained. APTS has requested a variance from the state of Virginia regarding the recommended social distancing measure of 6 feet as the population of students served by our program may require staff to be in close proximity to provide necessary support. Please see Appendix G for detailed information.

Revised Guidelines and Procedures for Student Health Services:

All classroom staff have been trained to administer first-aid to staff and students. School nurses may be called into classrooms on an as-needed basis.

School nurses will wear cloth masks when providing any needed services within the classrooms unless additional PPE is required as set forth below.

School nurses will exclusively deliver medications to students. If a school nurse is not available, a single back-up staff that is trained in medication administration will be identified to deliver medications for that day.

Medical grade PPE will be worn by nurses if:

●  A student has COVID-19 symptoms and the nurse is needed to provide services to them

and/or to wait with them until a parent arrives.

●  A nurse is helping a student with using an inhaler or performing any other assistance

creating a risk of airborne particulates.

Nurses will request all students with prescribed nebulizer treatments bring their prescribed rescue inhaler to school. Nebulizer treatments will only be delivered if the rescue inhaler does not work and the student’s oxygen level is dropping.

Practices for Behavioral Emergencies:

Prior to school re-entry, staff will receive proactive and reactive strategy training while working with students in a least to most restrictive presentation. Physical proximity as well as physical interventions will be utilized only when immediate health or safety is compromised.

Staff members will maintain the appropriate usage of PPE during a behavioral episode. Another staff member will be available to switch if safety is compromised or PPE is removed.
Staff will have access to protective eyewear, masks (including surgical masks), and gloves.

While By-My-Side interventions will not be altered, an emphasis will be placed on body positioning, angling of staff facial proximity, use of PPE and communication between staff to encourage best practices.

Once health and safety within the environment is restored, staff members will access identified cleaning locations to clean themselves and ensure disinfection occurs.

Related Services

Services that require transitional staff (Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy) will present instruction to students within their respective classrooms. Related service providers will be encouraged to provide instruction virtually while the student remains in the classroom. If a related service provider requires to work directly with a student, they will do so in the student’s classroom and be responsible for ensuring they have properly washed and sanitized prior to entering the classroom. They will try to minimize their movements from classroom to classroom as much as possible and wear a mask at all appropriate times.

Staff members will be assigned to specific classrooms. They will remain in those classrooms during the instructional day.

Food preparation:

Students and staff will be encouraged to use cold packs to keep their lunches cold enough to be kept in the classroom or office. If a lunch requires additional refrigeration, a designated food service staff will place it in a separate plastic bag, label it and put it in the school refrigerator. Staff preparing food will be training through ServSafe to ensure safety while preparing and distributing food.

Staff assigned to food preparation will minimize contact with other staff and have no contact with students. Additional formal training and updated checklists will occur prior to school reopening. Staff preparing food will wear masks, gloves, and hair covering while preparing or handling food. Food prep staff will not enter the classrooms throughout the day and classroom staff will not enter the kitchen.

Cleaning schedules and procedures will be posted and reviewed. Please see Appendix D.

Mental health services and monitoring

School counsellors will provide mental health training and resources to staff, students, and their families prior to re-entry into the building.

Mental health resources will be made available and disseminated to staff, students, and their families on a regular basis once in-person instruction has resumed.

School counselors will continue to meet student counseling needs in-person and virtually. School counselors will also provide evidence-based resources and lessons for teachers to utilize to support the social and emotional needs of all students at APTS.

Transportation:

Community-Based Instruction (CBI) Trips:

Upon reopening, Alternative Paths will be placing CBI trips on hold until we have evaluated locations for CDC compliance, appropriateness, availability, and parental consent. APTS vehicles will not be used for CBI trips during our initial reopening.

Transportation Refusal

Alternative Paths operates both cars and vans at each location to transport students who have engaged in behavioral episodes and are not safe to transport on county vehicles. If a student is not safe to board their afternoon transportation, Alternative Paths will attempt to stabilize the student’s behavioral episode and contact the parent/guardian to arrange pick up. If the parent/guardian is not able to provide transportation due to lack of operational vehicle, an APTS car, van, or bus may be utilized if ATPS administration determines that the conditions of the circumstance, including the student’s behavior, are safe to allow transportation.

The student will be encouraged to maintain safety through proactive behavioral measures.
Staff will attempt to maintain distance; dependent upon the type of vehicle used to transport. When available, APTS will attempt to utilize the larger vehicle.

Staff will always be required to wear a mask during transportation and the student will be encouraged to wear a mask as well.

Bus Transportation:

Alternative Paths does not currently provide bus transportation on a regular basis to students.  Buses may be used in emergency situations if it is required.

Social distancing will be in effect with assigned seating for staff and students. Staff will utilize proactive behavioral strategies to encourage safe and cooperative behaviors. Staff on transportation will always wear masks. Students will be encouraged to wear a mask when developmentally appropriate. If students are engaging in maladaptive behaviors on these buses, additional supports including staff presence and physical interventions may be utilized to maintain health and safety.

In bus emergencies, when health and safety is at risk, staff may be required to be within the 6- foot proximity. Staff will wear a mask and utilize appropriate strategies to de-escalate the behavioral episode including verbal prompting, verbal redirection, and physical presence. By-My-Side strategies including possible physical restraint may have to be implemented to maintain health and safety. Staff will attempt to move back to 6-foot social distancing when the behavioral episode has de-escalated.

Alternative Paths will document behavioral episodes and review behavioral episodes with both operations and the behavior department to ensure best behavioral and safety practices are followed.

After any use of APTS vehicles, the vehicle will be thoroughly disinfected. All seats and surfaces will be wiped down with a disinfectant. A cleaning checklist will be maintained to ensure all areas have been cleansed.

On-Call and in-home behavior support:

Alternative Paths is committed to continuing to provide support to our students in the home setting when appropriate. In order to minimize risk, Alternative Paths is changing our current practices to allow for screening and to encourage safety.

Upon receiving a request for behavioral assistance in the home setting, the call-taker will first determine if this call is suited for APTS or if emergency services should be contacted. If the call- taker believes APTS can assist, then they will attempt to provide advice to the family or deescalate the behavioral episode verbally over the phone.

If deescalating the behavior by telephone is not possible, then the call-taker will again evaluate if emergency services should be contacted. If it is concluded that an APTS staff member can assist in the home, the call-taker will ask the family if anyone in the home has been exposed to COVID- 19 or has had any symptoms of COVID-19. The call-taker will also ask that the family members in home wear a mask at all times, maintain a clean environment that has recently been disinfected, and inform the family that a signature page will need to be signed upon staff arrival.

If the parent confirms no COVID-19 exposures, positive tests, or symptoms, and agrees to the use of a mask and signing a document, then the staff member may provide in-home support.
If upon arrival the family is not wearing masks or the staff member feels that safety is at risk, the APTS staff member shall exercise the right to discontinue support and request that the family contact emergency services.

At the conclusion of the behavioral services, the staff member will complete a Serious Incident Report and debrief with their POD Manager, Behavior Specialist, and Regional Program Director. These departments will evaluate if the family can benefit from additional support or training.

Use of building for afterschool activities and public use

APTS does not have after school, extracurricular activities, or student drivers. The school building is not open to the public or rented for any use. We will continue to monitor access to the building during non-school hours. Approval from an administrator is required for any individual to be onsite when school is not in session. Any staff arriving on campus must always wear a mask, maintain social distancing when possible, and disinfect any high touch areas with which they may have come into contact.

Participation in community response efforts

Practices for gatherings, field trips and volunteer restrictions will remain consistent with all federal, state, and local guidelines. Additionally, further restrictions will be based on APTS’ internal evaluation of the ability to maintain a safe, healthy environment during outings, parent/guardian approval, and county representative and community input. Community outings, field trips, and community-based instruction activities will initially be placed on hold upon students’ initial return to the school building and restrictions will be re-evaluated on an ongoing basis.

COVID-19 Response Team members

APTS has created a COVID-19 Action Team consisting of employees from the nursing department, central office administration, regional campus administration and Executive Level Directors.

The Action Team will meet weekly prior to, during, and after the reopening of APTS’ school buildings for students to develop, review, and revise the following practices and procedures.

Contact information for local health departments

APTS will adhere to all Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Virginia Department of Health (VDH), state, and local guidelines for contacting and reporting all suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases to the local health departments APTS will submit reports to the proper health department based on the residence of the student or staff. The phone numbers for the local health departments can be found in Appendix E.

Staff and student health and absentee monitoring

Staff and students or their parents/guardians will be required to sign a disclosure form indicating that they shall promptly notify the school nurse if they have a positive COVID-19 test, if anyone living at their residence is diagnosed with COVID-19, or if they have a known exposure to COVID-19. Additionally, all staff and student families shall notify the campus as soon as possible if the staff or student are absent for any reason.

If a staff member has an unplanned absence and does not notify his/her direct supervisor, then campus staff will call the individual and ask specific screening questions developed by the nursing department to ascertain if the staff member is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. If the staff member is unable to be reached, then APTS will contact the individuals listed as the staff member’s emergency contact.

If a student has an unplanned absence, the student’s parent/guardian will be contacted immediately to ascertain if the student’s is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. If the student’s family is unable to be reached, the student’s county representative will be contacted. The student’s county representative will be updated on any COVID-19 related health concerns.

Communication strategies

Staff will be trained prior to the reopening of the school building on the updated practices and procedures within their campuses.

All COVID-19 practices and procedures will be made available by e-mail to APTS families and will also be located on the APTS website.

APTS will follow the direction of the local health department to communicate suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 to families and staff while maintaining and adhering to HIPAA and FERPA regulations.

Policy for those suspected of contracting COVID-19

APTS will follow detailed procedures if a staff member or student is suspected to have been exposed to COVID-19 or is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 per the local area health department’s recommendation. COVID-19 Response Teams established at each campus/building will assist with quick, efficient, and informed responding. These procedures include:

●  Immediately removing the student/staff to the designated isolation area, with staff support, as needed;
●  Notifying the parent/guardian to pick up the child in the designated time frame;●  Collaborating with the local health department to complete contact tracing;

●  Notifying staff and families in accordance with the health department’s recommendations; and

●  Providing guidance on criteria to return to school based on guidance from the local health department.
Comprehensive COVID-19 response procedures can be found in Appendix F.

(Please view full document for information in the appendix)

APTS will provide an increased, robust, and variable virtual experience for those students and families who are not currently available or ready to return to the physical buildings.

For those families choosing for their child to remain on virtual instruction, the hours of direct instruction will increase to 3 hours per day starting September 8, 2020.

Our dedicated staff will continue to encourage students’ critical and creative thinking while providing engaging and interactive activities that allow for review, practice, and continued learning of knowledge and skills through virtual learning sessions and assignments mailed/emailed to students’ homes. In addition, lessons and activities will address IEP goals, as appropriate to each student to meet their areas of academic needs.

Lessons may assist students in learning hygiene procedures as needed and reinforce health and hygiene promoting behaviors such as increased tolerance for face masks, PPE, and social distancing. Lessons may also work toward increasing task completion/attention to task in a virtual learning model.

Please refer to APTS updated distance learning plan for more detailed information.

APTS will follow the guidance of the local health departments as well as any directives from the Commonwealth of Virginia to determine which conditions will trigger a reduction in in-person classes as well as a complete school building closure.

Multiple options may be considered including but not limited to: Students attending in-person instruction for less time/days per week, reducing the number of students attending in-person instruction, and a return to complete virtual instruction until circumstances allow the physical buildings to reopen.

 

Please click icon above to view the FULL reopening plan with appendix information. 

INSTRUCTIONAL PLAN

 

Click on the icon above to review APTS’s Instructional Plan.

PURPOSE OF THE APTS COVID RESPONSE LEARNING PLAN

The Alternative Paths Training School (APTS) COVID Response Learning Plan has been developed to communicate to stakeholders our approach to providing continuity in students’ learning, behavior support, and social-emotional support. APTS is committed to providing support using multiple means of communication and work assignments during the transitional period as we return to a more traditional academic model. Our dedicated staff will provide a variety of instructional methods to assist and support APTS’ development of new curriculum while continuing to develop students’ critical and creative thinking skills, appropriate interactions, and academic and behavioral growth. This instruction will be provided using virtual instruction and supports or, in person instruction, dependent upon the student’s and family’s needs as determined by their IEP teams. Based on mandates and/or recommendations by the federal, state, and local government, these services will remain fluid to meet students’ needs while maintaining health and safety requirements outlined by the CDC. We recognize that all APTS stakeholders have been affected by the challenges of the current pandemic; therefore, we will continue to plan, discuss, and assess the students’ schedules to ensure health and wellness while providing curriculum to meet their individual needs and supports. APTS remains true to its mission as we …” provide students with the knowledge and practical skills essential for their successful integration into the community.” The decision to reopen the physical buildings has been very challenging for APTS’ Leadership. Since our top priority is now, and has always been, the health and safety of our students and staff, APTS sought much guidance and input from local public health officials as it was critical in our planning. Given the needs of our students, the grave consideration of public health risks, and the individual schools’ capacities, APTS has assessed, with careful planning, to effectively mitigate the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Our developed plans have been reviewed by the local health agencies and the state.

CONSIDERATIONS

● Health and safety of students and staff

● Guidance from the CDC, VDOE, and VDH regarding mitigation strategies are addressed within the APTS Reopening Plan

● The physical, mental, and social-emotional health of our students

● In person instruction is most effective for most students

● Virtual instruction must provide equitable services that progress the curriculum and instruction must meet the needs of the students 

● In person and remote instruction must be structured and include mandatory participation, assignments, feedback, and grading

INSTRUCTION

Educational

● New curriculum will be provided throughout the school year using all models of instruction

● All families will be offered the option to choose 100% remote learning

● Students will receive individualized supports reflecting their learning needs to accommodate them

● Given the more recent directives/guidelines from the State, student accountability through their participation is required, and will be graded.

● Any changes to learning options, service modifications, accommodations, and/or support will require an IEP addendum

● Remediation, behavioral supports, and instructional guidance will be available throughout the school day between 7:30 am and 3:30 pm, both during, and outside of direct instructional times

● Face coverings and handwashing will be enforced/emphasized; social or physical distancing will be maintained for increased safety

● APTS’ model will provide students with five days of instruction that will include daily direct instruction as well as remote learning, asynchronous student learning, extension activities, and resources for student enrichment

● Lessons and assignments will be individualized to accommodate student academic and developmental levels.

● Staff will communicate expectations to students and families about the instructional plans for the week, including learning objectives, required activities, assignments, links to resources, and assessments, along with any associated due dates.

● IEP goals will be addressed in assignments, as appropriate to meet areas of need.

● Feedback will be provided by teachers (oral and written) via submitted work, emails, phone calls, and video sessions.

● Lessons will focus on promoting independence for students.

● Teachers will work with the student’s educational team (teachers, educational supervisors, behavioral specialist, program facilitators, team leaders, POD managers) to support and respond to parent and student questions and needs.

● Physical Education teachers will provide lessons and instructions to students via direct instruction using Google Meets as well as online resources.

     o PE teachers will also provide activities that can be accessed at home.

     o PE teachers will be available via email and provide feedback and support as requested.

● Related services will be provided to students as identified through their IEP.

     o Related services will use Google Meet to provide virtual learning experiences weekly (scheduled times are dependent on academic, developmental, and behavior levels).

● Office hours will be available during school hours to communicate with families, answer questions, and provide strategies and supports.

● Specific emails and phone numbers, of specific supervisors, will be provided for the student’s specific campus, classroom, and team members. Behavioral

● A Behavior Specialist will remain assigned to each student, virtually and in person.

● Office hours will be maintained during school hours to communicate with families, answer questions, and provide behavioral strategies and supports

● The behavior team will initiate weekly communication with families via phone calls, emails, and/or Google Meet to discuss any behavior concerns at home to create protocols and interventions to be used by the caregiver to decrease unsafe behaviors that are observed; and offer modified work with collaboration with the teacher.

● The behavior team will create modified behavior protocols to aid in behavioral support and stability within the home environment.

● Regional Behavior Directors will share work cell phone number and emails with families in the event they need behavioral support outside of “regular” school hours.

● Behavioral team will work with families on individual needs as well as provide universal behavioral strategies and supports.

● Specific emails and phone numbers, of specific supervisors, will be provided for the student’s specific campus, classroom, and team members.

● In collaboration with the classroom teacher, the behavior team may assist students in learning health and hygiene promoting behaviors such as increased tolerance for face masks, PPE, and social distancing. Lessons may also work toward increasing task completion/attention to task in a virtual learning model. Classroom Staff

● Program Facilitators, Team Leaders, and POD Managers will support the educational and behavioral instruction of the students.

● Classroom staff will use proactive strategies to assist students working through assignments and be available for family questions and supports.

● Office Hours – all APTS staff will be available between school hours, to communicate with families, answer questions, and provide strategies and supports.

● Specific times can be set up via email or during virtual instruction, with classroom staff to provide academic supports, positive engagement, social interactions, and reinforcement times. Families

● Remain connected with staff support personnel (e.g., teachers, behavior, counselor, school directors).

For students receiving virtual instruction, we suggest that you create a comfortable and consistent location for students to work on assignments and participate.

● Assist students in connecting to virtual learning sessions at designated scheduled times on Google Meet.

● Encourage family participation for students working in the Aligned Standards of Learning and/or Standards of Learning curriculum with daily work and virtual learning sessions via Google Meet.

● Read daily to your child and ask questions about the story/book.

● Provide breaks during the day for students to get up and move and exercise.

● Provide feedback to APTS staff as to the effectiveness and efficiency of instruction and need for supports. Students

● Keep a daily routine to work on assignments.

● Keep completed work organized by creating a daily schedule and “to do” list.

● Participate in virtual learning sessions via Google Meet.

● Discuss challenges with staff (e.g., academic, social-emotional).

METHODS OF INSTRUCTIONAL DELIVERY AND COMMUNICATION

Students that begin the school year with remote learning:

● Will be assigned to a teacher of record; students may have multiple teachers depending on the appropriateness and collaboration between instructional content or topics

● Will access direct instruction through virtual sessions within three-hour blocks, five days a week.

● Virtual session schedules will include online meetings with teachers and staff, peers, independent proficiency with a specific tasks or topic, and academic remediation when appropriate.

● Attendance is mandatory and APTS attendance policies will be strictly enforced/emphasized: o One virtual session will equal one physical day in school o Parents will be contacted when students do not attend virtual instruction sessions o 3 consecutive unexcused absences will be reported to county LEAs o 15 consecutive unexcused absences will be considered a drop unless otherwise determined by the LEA or, an IEP team

● New instruction: all students will participate in new instruction that is aligned to state standards as well as addressing goals outlined in the student’s IEP.

● Recovery Strategies: All grade levels will use formative assessments and teacher-made assessments to gather information about student skills and knowledge acquisition.

● APTS staff will continue to collect and maintain progress data which will be presented quarterly via student report cards and IEP quarterly reports.

● Classroom teachers will create and maintain courses through appropriate programs

● Direct instruction will consist of group and individual instruction and include:

     o Class meetings

     o Lessons and presentations o Discussions

     o Hands-on activities and tasks o Posted assignments

     o Student content assessments

     o Provide instructional and task specific feedback

     o Direct remediation

     o Planned reviews

● Instructional time will consist of both synchronous and asynchronous instruction

● Work packets will continue to be mailed home via email or post. o Work packets will be developed by classroom teachers to address students’ learning needs, while providing opportunities for growth and enrichment.

● Feedback will be solicited from families to ascertain any observed and documented learning patterns, growth or lack thereof; information supporting any progress made through academic instruction or behavioral support will be used to guide future instruction.

● Emails and academic work will be sent home weekly; any requests for specific supports or questions may be sent daily.

● APTS will utilize Google Meets for virtual learning; Google Classrooms have been established to provide instructional materials as well as enrichment activities.

● Edgenuity will be utilized by students registered in online courses.

● A variety of academic resources and preferential opportunities will continue to enhance virtual lessons, academic materials, behavioral supports, and options for student specific reinforcement will be provided to the families. Students attending school in person:

● Students will begin in person instruction using a modified half day schedule

● Student’s schedules will be developed to align academic instruction and appropriate peer grouping

● Student census will be reviewed and adjusted to maintain appropriate staff and student ratios, and to promote continued health and safety.

● In the event of a mandated school closing, all students will receive virtual instruction, with the new guidelines and mandatory participation

● Parents are not allowed to choose which sessions their child will attend as schedules are developed to benefit the majority of students

● New instruction: all students will participate in new instruction that is aligned with state standards as well as addressing goals outlined within the student’s IEP.

● Recovery Strategies: All grade levels will use formative assessments and teacher-made assessments to gather information about student skills and knowledge acquisition.

● APTS Staff will continue to collect and maintain progress data which will be presented quarterly via student report cards and IEP quarterly reports.

● Classroom teachers will create and maintain courses through appropriate programs

● Teachers will address critical content and content that requires in person, hands on instruction; ancillary instruction will be offered and followed up by APTS staff while the students are at home

     o Students and families will have access and supports to APTS staff during the school hours of 7:30 am and 3:30 pm to assist with instruction and behavioral supports

● Related services will be scheduled to meet students’ specific IEP services.

     o Related services will be provided both in the school as well as to those students remaining on virtual instruction

     o To maintain health and safety as well as confidentiality, services may continue to be provided via the tele-services both within the physical classroom and home environment

ASSESSING STUDENTS’ KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS

● Students’ knowledge and skills will be assessed using the following methods: o Completed work emailed to the classroom teacher.

     o A picture taken of completed work and emailed to teacher.

     o Visual completion of an academic task or verbal response while on virtual learning o Teacher will use formative assessment during virtual learning sessions.

     o Edgenuity progress reports will be collected. o Online assessment resources (e.g., quizlet, NearPod) will be used.

WHERE TO GO FOR SUPPORT

Campus specific emergency numbers and email addresses for the student’s specific instructional teams will be provided.

TEACHER LESSON PLANS FOR VIRTUAL LEARNING SESSIONS AND WEEKLY ASSIGNMENTS

Classroom teachers will provide each student with a minimum of three hours virtual learning opportunities per day. Classroom teachers will be available via email during school hours and will provide feedback either via email or scheduling a Google Meet to discuss.

VIRTUAL LEARNING LESSON PLAN EXAMPLE AND DIRECTIONS

Directions: Under each student’s times, identify the Subject, key Topic, and a brief sentence/statement of the Activity to be presented during virtual lessons. Teachers will also review work completed since the last session and build in breaks appropriate for the length of the session. Scheduled times for virtual sessions are dependent on a student’s academic level, developmental level, behavior status, and length of time a student can work online (scheduled times can be adjusted).

● S = Subject of focus           T = Topic            A = Activity

8:00 – 11:00

● Teacher and APTS staff will begin the day with check in, attendance, announcements, and reviews.

● Classroom specific and small group instructions will be provided via Google Classroom and Google Meet.

● Staff will use group and individual instruction as well as breakout sessions to address the academic, social skill development, and behavioral needs of the students. ● Students will be paired with appropriate academic and social groupings.

● Classrooms will rejoin for larger group discussions, instruction, activities and break back into small group on one on one instruction based on the appropriateness of the assignments/activities and levels of supports needed.

12:00 – 3:00

● Structured activities

● Related services

● Electives

● Remediation

● Enrichment activities will be scheduled for students based on their academic and identified needs

● Activities will be provided in larger classrooms, small groups, one-on-one or as independent work.

WEEKLY LESSON PLAN TEMPLATE AND DIRECTIONS

Lesson plans will provide daily instruction as well as activities that students can do at home, based on their academic and developmental level. A lesson template for each student will be completed and maintained to document goals and objectives of instruction both direct as well as for ancillary materials. Attachments and/or directions for activities will be included with the activities. APTS Behavioral and Academic teams will work together with requesting families to support the creation of daily or weekly schedules. Structuring will provide flexible to provide academics as well as reinforcements based off the student’s needs. 

Student Scheduling

● 3 hours of direct virtual or in-person learning opportunities will be provided daily for students through individual, group, or both depending on their needs and abilities.

● Academic lessons and work will be based off student’s current courses and provide instruction both through virtual lessons and independent work.

● Additional activities and subjects will be provided as both instruction; based off current courses as well as for educational enhancement and engagement: Art/Crafts, Vocational, Movement, Vocational, Life Skills, individualize goals and objectives.

● A variety in subjects will be provided throughout the week in all learning formats and will address maintaining as well as increasing skills.

● Activities will be designed to address IEP goal as well as be highly engaging and focus on academic and behavioral retention.

POTENTIAL SCHOOL CLOSURE CONTINGENCY PLAN

In the event of a school closure due to changes in phase status as directed by the Governor of the Virginia Department of Health, APTS may move to a 100% remote learning environment. A time period may be necessary to effectively transition students from the in-person model to a return to virtual model. Training and resources will be available to parents and students. IEP addendums may be requested to reflect the change in location of services.

 

Please click icon above to view the FULL Instructional plan information. 

QUICK-ACCESS RESOURCES

Nursing & Health

Hand Washing

Cross Contamination 

PPE 

08/12/2020 – All students entering the 7th grade for the 2020-2021 school year must receive a Tdap booster as required by the Virginia Department of Education. Please click here to see the memo send out by the VDOE. Should you have any questions, please contact your student’s campus nurse.

Other Resources

 
Virginia COPES
New COVID-19 Response Warm Line!   
 
Mental Health America of Virginia is now operating a second Warm Line specifically to support anyone in Virginia struggling with trauma, grief and distress caused by COVID-19. Trained staff provide strength-based support, resilience building strategies and community resources and referrals.
 
(877) 349-6428
Call or TEXT
No cost. Anonymous.
 
9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday-Friday
5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
 
Compassionate, Optimistic, Person-Centered, Empowering, Support
 
The project is a coordinated effort between the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, Mental Health America of Virginia and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.