JULY 2, 2020 - FACILITIES SUBCOMMITTEE MEETING
Facilities Subcommittee Meeting 7/2/20
Assistant Superintendent, Administrators, Assistant Principal, Principal, Teachers, Parents, Physician Assistant/Parent, Board of Education Member, Head Custodian, Director of School Facilities, Director Business Services/Safety Officer, Student
The Assistant Superintendent welcomed everyone and thanked them for being on the subcommittee. He said that he was interested in hearing everyone's input, concerns and thoughts. The Assistant Superintendent asked that when each member talks they pick a different area of discussion than what a previous member may have already touched upon in the interest of time. He is very interested in hearing from everyone on the committee.
The parent representative was interested in a hybrid model and said there has to be a balance between safety and mental health. She would like to make sure the teachers and facilities employees are trained. The parent would like to see sanitizer stations, UV light sanitizers and separate trash for PPE. No rush to make a decision.
The Assistant Superintendent said these are all important items in our orbit and also have been discussed in the Health and Safety subcommittee.
As a physician's assistant she said she is here to help. She felt the older students could do distance learning while the younger students could be in the classroom with social distancing. Would like children to use hand sanitizer before/after lunch and gym. The parent feels that the teachers and students should wear masks. She stated with younger students it may be more of a challenge but the older students should wear them to reduce the risk. She would like to see the desks wiped down between classes.
The parent is involved at work with crisis management. He said the more voices the more we all get educated. Because science is changing daily CCSD has to adapt to that in a comfortable way. Children need to feel comfortable being themselves. Updating communication constantly and creating a buy in from parents and students is important. Information to students must be kid friendly.
Thoughts and questions:
- How will the child move about in each building?
- Scheduling does not allow for a cohort model.
- If the buildings are sanitized it will minimize the exposure.
- Concerned about the safety of our high risk students and staff.
- He has spent a lot of time calling staff and students and offering his condolences so along with the educational impact of reopening there is an emotional impact.
A parent asked,”In addition to the sanitizing protocol can the desks be wiped down in between classes?”
The Assistant Superintendent stated that because students move classrooms every period in the middle school and the high schools there is not enough time to disinfect between class periods. Moving students around the middle school and high schools safely is a topic also being discussed in the Health and Safety subcommittee.
A teacher referenced the amount of wipes that would have to be purchased and the expense to CCSD.
The Director of Facilities stated that there may be a product other than wipes but the kill time it has to stay on a surface is five minutes.
The teacher is a camp administrator and they are following the cohort model. The children are wearing masks inside only. There is one way movement inside the building and bathroom usage is assigned by group. She said it is working so far. On the secondary level she suggested preparing individual supplies for students and installing soap dispensers. In the art room they would need different furniture in order to social distance.
The Assistant Superintendent said regardless of 6 ft. or 3 ft. distancing furniture is an issue. Furniture is on our minds and we need to remove excess furniture and items to allow for more room to social distance. We may need storage containers. The removal of excess classroom items will also help with air flow. In turn, this will also help with the daily cleaning and sanitizing if there is less in every room.
The Director of School Facilities noted that communal supplies are harder to clean. Maybe each student has their own bin of supplies.
Some concerns that the teacher had:
- Masks on children coming off could compromise the teacher.
- If students stay in class all day, art and music can push in. The issue would be multiple adults filtering in and out of the room.
- Staying in the class helps with social distancing but there would be a build up of droplets in the classroom.
- Outdoors the droplets disperse.
- Small windows can open for ventilation but in the winter it would be cold.
- The emotional consistency of the children staying in the classroom lets them know where they will be all day. The in and out of the classroom adds to anxiety and is harmful for children and adults.
The Assistant Superintendent asked, “Do you have a suggestion of what to do alternatively?”
The teacher felt that the need to engage face to face through remote learning is important. Remote teaching is the safest option. This is not forever and remote learning removes the emotional risk. Remote learning is the way to go.
The teacher had the following concerns:
- FFMS is the largest population for social distancing.
- The facilities at FFMS are the same as when she was a student there.
- Bathrooms have touch faucets and only cold water.
- FFMS is rented and used by others in the evening.
- At lunch the cafeteria is crowded. How do we safely feed all the students?
- The model of 44 square feet per student allows for 15-16 students in a class.
The Assistant Superintendent said we share your concerns. CCSD is considering a model of 70 square feet per student and 6 feet social distancing. This will leave room for the teacher to safely walk around the classroom.
In addition to working in the Clarkstown Central School District the teacher has been working at the Nanuet Public Library for over 25 years. She is part of their reopening committee. With the large tables in libraries it makes social distancing a problem. As a teacher in multiple buildings she is exposed to more students. Some suggestions/concerns she has are:
How do we provide library services safely?
We are checking out books at the public libraries. I feel that this is a reality and it can be done. The question is how do we do it so people are comfortable? The CDC is lowering the quarantine period for books from 7 days to 3 days. In schools, we see our students once a week, every 7 days - In my opinion, it is not a problem. I feel that programs and resources in the library can be used. I did suggest a model similar to the public libraries if we teach remotely or even if we do a hybrid approach. Curb-side take away by appointment may be helpful, where parents schedule appointments to get resources and/or receive help with their chromebooks and District laptops.
When and how will computers in the computer labs be cleaned? Who will be responsible for this task?
Maybe students and/or families could make an appointment to check out books and receive help with District devices if we do a hybrid or remote learning approach.
How will the District use shared staff? Can shared staff be used at one location for this school year? How will we be able to keep cohorts safe with shared staff in multiple buildings?
My concern is with ALL shared staff in the District. I asked that this be considered and if possible, shared staff be placed in only one building during this period. I am in two buildings, but we have some staff (library clerks) in four different buildings. Maybe shared staff could be used differently for this school year.
The Assistant Superintendent said these are all important concerns some of which are being discussed in the other subcommittees.
Student Member-Clarkstown High School Senior
The student said she did not struggle with distance learning but she knew students who did. Maybe half in the classroom half distance learning. Bathrooms and classrooms must be clean. Communication with students is important and getting them to interact with what is being sent out. They need to be aware.
The Assistant Superintendent asked ”What is the top one thing on a student's mind?”
The student -Are we going back full time or not? How will our senior year be affected?
Head Custodian-Secondary Level
The head custodian has the following concerns:
- So many surfaces to sanitize, 1000 desks, doorknobs, tables, faucets…
- Can we purchase UV lights for the classroom? Would help with speed of sanitizing between classes. Use only when students are not in the classroom.
- Time frame?
The Assistant Superintendent appreciated the head custodian’s observations.
The Director of School Facilities stated UV lights are not good for humans. How long do they need to stay on to be effective?
The Assistant Superintendent asked the Director of School Facilities to look into it.
A parent said that UV lights are used in subways at night.
The Director of School Facilities said ventilation is very important and HVAC is a sensitive topic. All the buildings are designed to bring in fresh air. Filters are checked as well as the unit ventilators.
A teacher said the third floor at South High School from August to October is wicked hot. It is not conducive for students wearing masks.
Head Custodian-Elementary Level
Some concerns and ideas:
- High school versus elementary has different challenges.
- Some classrooms are way too cluttered.
- Remove all excess in classrooms.
- Hepa filters?
- Hybrid model would mean less students and with less clutter the classrooms will be easier to clean.
The teacher echoed the other members' ideas and concerns. Would like water fountains removed. How do we clean the recess equipment? Ventilation in the buildings is a safety concern.
Board of Education Member
The economy opens with the help of schools being open. How we circulate in the buildings will differ among levels.
Some thought and concerns:
- Who comes in our buildings?
- Are we going to take temperatures?
- How many students per classroom?
- Keep in the classroom or circulate?
- Lunch period?
- If we have AM/PM sessions then no lunch?
- What will be the maximum time a student has with live learning?
- Products that have a long lasting kill life. Can we investigate?
- Ingenuity fills voids.
- Safest way to accommodate students.
- Communication is essential.
- Change over time to avoid rumors.
- Good constant information
- One person has to be the communication source. Medical/Safety
- Address spaces that have air changes.
Assistant Principal-Secondary Level
Some thoughts and concerns:
- A lot of students move at one time in the building.
- Visor shield instead of a mask for special needs students and students learning languages.
- Cleaning bathrooms-bathroom monitors
- Instead of water fountains provide bottled water.
- Adjust curriculum to meet cleaning needs.
- Install plexiglass in high traffic areas such as the offices.
- Safety for the nurse and safety for the students while in the nurse’s office ie, sick students
- Locker rooms access
- Hand sanitizer stations in every classroom
- The temperature in the building and air circulation is poor for wearing masks.
The priority is the health and safety of the staff and students. Younger children require more assistance which puts teachers in close proximity. Younger kids cannot social distance and are on top of one another. Bathrooms in the classroom are hard to keep clean and hand washing can be a problem. The bathrooms for students that are not in the classrooms are high traffic areas. One on one TA’s come in close physical contact with their students.
- During recess how do we get the children to social distance? Will the recess equipment be cleaned?
- Some offices have no windows.
- If we remove carpets we remove meeting places.
- Kids cannot sit still. The expectations of sitting in class all day is hard.
- The school office is a high traffic area.
- Nurse’s office- students are in and out all day. Some sick waiting to go home.
- Cafeteria-How do we clean between groups?
- Younger grades need help at lunch time.
The Assistant Superintendent said all great points. Common themes on the health and safety committee.
The Board Member asked if temporarily there's a way to repurpose some of the space in our buildings.
The Assistant Superintendent said they have a detailed outline of the square footage in each building and each room. For example for the then nurse’s office there could be a well area and a sick area.
The Administrator’s concerns and thoughts:
- Unique areas that students come to are the art room, music room and libraries.
- 120-300 students can be in these rooms on any given day
- These rooms are shared spaces and with a lot of shared materials.
- Cannot play instruments or sing.
- 20-50 in a class- there is no room to social distance
- Concerned for staff safety
- Art/Music can be pushed into the classrooms in the elementary schools.
- Music rooms are too small to social distance
- Need to look at everything individually.
The Assistant Superintendent thanked everyone for their time, thoughts and input.