HEALTH AND SAFETY

We are pleased to share our Reopening Plan for the 2021-2022 academic year (“Reopening Plan”), which we developed balancing our commitment to the health, safety and well-being of our community and our dedication to our mission and core pedagogical values. The principles and practices of the Waldorf pedagogy will continue to be embedded in our daily routines in a safe, academically-rich, developmentally-sound, and age-appropriate way – albeit in a way that adapts to the current circumstances.

Click the link below to access the Reopening Plan.

AT THE CORE OF OUR PLANNING

SAFETY
AND
WELL‑BEING

Offering a healthy and safe environment to our students, faculty and staff is at the core of our mission. We prepared our Reopening Plan following careful adherence to recommended health and safety guidelines from the New York State Department of Health (DOH), the New York State Education Department (NYSED), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). By enrolling your student at Rudolf Steiner School, you agree to remain committed to the health and safety policies and procedures listed in the Reopening Plan, and to share with your student (as developmentally appropriate) what is expected of them upon return to our campus in the fall.

RICH
WALDORF
CURRICULUM

As we understand that learning happens through meaningful human encounters and as we prioritize having all our students on campus this academic year, we will offer in-person education only with no parallel distance learning program available. However, we will be prepared to shift to remote learning should we be required to close our campus at any point during the school year. Should we need to shift to remote learning at any given time, the school will then turn to a distance learning program, while continuing to offer our rich Waldorf curriculum.

FLEXIBILITY,
ADAPTABILITY,
& AGILITY

Waldorf education encourages our faculty, staff, students and entire community to foster a sense of exploration, enthusiasm and imagination. We will continue to meet new scenarios with flexibility, adaptability, and agility in order to pivot from in-person to distance learning as required by state and local authorities.

Health and Safety

Screening Prior to and Upon Arrival

All individuals entering the buildings will be required to check (or have a parent or legal guardian check) their temperature and other COVID-19 symptoms at home before reporting to school. The CDC maintains a list of COVID-19 symptoms that they update from time to time. Anyone presenting any of these symptoms should stay home and contact the Health Office Team at nurse@steiner.edu to coordinate next steps, including testing and when to safely return to school. Our goal is to prevent symptomatic and/or infected persons from boarding public transportation or even making their way to our campus.

The care our families, faculty and staff take with these measures is critical to our community’s safety.

All Visitors must consent to temperature check, complete a health screening questionnaire, and provide full contact information before entering the school buildings.

If a student, faculty or staff member has had close or proximate contact with a person confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19, even if such student, faculty or staff member is asymptomatic, they should contact the school nurse to discuss their situation before coming to school.

If your student will not be in school on any given day due to sickness or any other reason, please notify nurse@steiner.edu and frontdesk@steiner.edu in advance. School staff will maintain attendance records of any student of compulsory age. See PART IV, Section K of the Reopening Plan for information regarding chronic absenteeism.

Monitoring the Health of Students, Faculty and Staff

Individuals who present symptoms while at school will be immediately referred to the school nurse for further screening.

The School reserves the right to take a student’s or an employee’s temperature when appearing ill. The School will decide when to send an individual home.

The School will not keep records of a student’s or employee’s temperature or symptoms; however, the School is mandated to notify the state and local health authorities immediately upon being informed of any positive COVID-19 diagnostic test and must support authorities in contact tracing. The school nurse will be responsible for notifying state and local health authorities. See PART III, Section C3 of the Reopening Plan for more information on contact tracing.

Positive Screens

Any individual who screens positive for COVID-19 exposure or symptoms will immediately be (a) separated in a safe, contained area (with supervision, if applicable) until dismissed and (b) given instructions to contact their health care provider for assessment and testing.

PART III, Section C4 of the Reopening Plan details requirements for returning to school after screening or testing positive for COVID-19.

In accordance with the Commissioner’s determination issued pursuant to 10NYCRR 2.60, the School will require universal indoor mask wearing for all students over age two, faculty, staff, and visitors while on campus, regardless of vaccination status. This requirement also applies to sports, physical education, and extra-curricular activities that take place in indoor settings.

Appropriate and consistent use of face coverings is essential to mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Masks must cover the nose and mouth and be properly tucked under the chin. Information on proper mask fit and wear is available from the CDC and on our Health and Safety website page. The School will have adult and child-sized disposable masks available for individuals who forget their face coverings.

No masks will be required during most outdoor activities, including outdoor play, recess, and physical education activities. However, masks will be mandatory in crowded outdoor settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact among groups.

Students, faculty and staff may take a mask break when eating, drinking, singing, or playing a wind instrument; when masks are removed for these purposes, individuals must be spaced at the appropriate physical distance (which as of the time of this writing is six feet apart). To accommodate this, classes will enjoy lunch and snack in the park, on the school terrace, in the cafeteria, or in a larger classroom if their classroom cannot accommodate six (6) feet of distance between students.

Individuals with medical or developmental conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask may be exempted from mask requirements, as documented by a medical provider. Upon submission of such documentation, the School will work with the individual (or their parent, as appropriate) and their doctor to determine whether it is able to provide a reasonable accommodation that does not cause an undue hardship on the School.

The School prohibits discrimination, harassment or bullying, including but not limited to discrimination, harassment, or bullying related in any way to an individual’s national origin, to any perceived or actual medical condition (including COVID-19), or to PPE use.

Physical distancing is an important practice that helps mitigate the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Due to the importance of in-person learning, we will strive to implement the DOH’s physical distancing recommendations of three (3) or six (6) feet (as applicable) to the extent possible and while taking into account the spatial limitations of our facilities.

Should there be a time when the determination for universal masking in schools is lifted, masking must occur when physical distance cannot be maintained.

Whenever possible, we will designate hallways and staircases as “one-way traffic only,” and mark them accordingly with signage and/or tape arrows on the floor.

Elevator use will be limited to one person at a time in both buildings.

All faculty, committee, and board meetings will take place online, except when physical distancing can be maintained appropriately for smaller groups.

Bathrooms will be assigned to particular cohorts and maximum occupancy in bathrooms will be limited to one (1) person at any given time. Elevator use will be limited to one (1) person and reserved to those who cannot otherwise use the stairs. All faculty, committee, and board meetings will take place online, except when physical distancing can be maintained appropriately for smaller groups. One-on-one meetings in small offices will be kept to fifteen (15) minutes or less and face coverings must be worn.

The School will follow hygiene requirements as advised by the CDC and the DOH.

We will continue to remind faculty, staff, students, and visitors who enter the school buildings how to follow COVID-19 prevention protocols safely and correctly, including but not limited to hand hygiene, proper wearing of face coverings, physical distancing, and respiratory hygiene.

We ask parents and legal guardians to reinforce the practice of personal hygiene etiquette at home.

We will provide and maintain hand washing stations with soap, running warm water, and disposable paper towels. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing 60% or more alcohol will be available in areas where handwashing is not feasible. Parents and legal guardians who do not want their student to use hand sanitizer should send a written notice to the school, and provision will be made for the student to use a handwashing station instead.

In case of close contact with someone known to have tested positive for COVID-19, the following shall apply:

- a strict 10-day quarantine starting on the day after the last day of exposure to the person with known COVID-19;

- a negative test will not release the exposed student or staff member from quarantine;

- a student or staff member under quarantine may return to school only if they remain asymptomatic after the completion of the 10-day quarantine period;

- families must continue to monitor for any symptoms through the 14th day after the last day of exposure.

Please see exception to this requirement described in the section “Asymptomatic Fully Vaccinated Persons” below.

Asymptomatic Fully Vaccinated Persons Pursuant to the most recent announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which Governor Cuomo confirmed on Thursday, individuals are no longer required to quarantine in case of exposure to someone who is infected with the virus, if they meet specific criteria:

- have received both doses of the vaccine;

- two weeks have passed since the date of administration of the second dose;

- are within the 90-day period following the administration of the second dose; and

- the person remains asymptomatic (fully vaccinated individuals should continue to monitor for symptoms for 14 days following exposure).

Everyone, including those who have been fully vaccinated, should continue to wear a mask and maintain the recommended 6-feet physical distance.

We continue to strongly urge all eligible adults and students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and ask that individuals send copies of their vaccination cards to our Health Office Team at nurse@steiner.edu.  

Due to current requirements for inter-scholastic sports and because only fully vaccinated individuals will be able to use any of the facilities at the 92Y and other athletic facilities, coaches and students who are members of our athletic teams will have to be fully vaccinated (two weeks have passed after the second dose).  

To the extent possible, we will hold higher-risk activities, such as wind ensembles, outdoors. Upper School students who are fully vaccinated may have broader opportunities to participate in ensembles that include winds.  

We will require faculty and staff who remain unvaccinated for any reason to undergo weekly PCR testing and to provide proof of negative test results to nurse@steiner.edu.  

Program and Pedagogy

As we understand that learning happens through meaningful human encounters and as we prioritize having all our students on campus this academic year, we will offer in-person education only with no parallel distance learning program available. However, we will be prepared to shift to remote learning should we be required to close our campus at any point during the school year. Should we need to shift to remote learning at any given time, the school will then turn to a distance learning program, while continuing to offer our rich Waldorf curriculum. Waldorf education encourages our faculty, staff, students and entire community to foster a sense of exploration, enthusiasm and imagination. We will continue to meet new scenarios with flexibility, adaptability, and agility in order to pivot from in-person to distance learning as required by state and local authorities.

Making music together is an integral part of our educational. This school year, we will not hold our typical large music groups; rather instrumental music will take place in intimate, primarily classroom-based, ensembles. We will observe the recommended physical distancing for certain musical activities and singing will take place outdoors whenever possible. We will remind faculty and students that instruments are not to be shared. Private music lessons and practice at home will continue to be essential parts of our program, and we will continue to fund music lesson scholarships for those students in need of financial aid. In a remote learning model, music teachers will connect with students and support learning and group projects while at home.

We will continue to monitor updates of applicable guidelines to evaluate throughout the school year possible offerings for music and drama productions.

Healthy movement is essential for our students’ health and well-being. We will use classroom and outdoor spaces creatively for eurythmy, movement, games, and sports following applicable guidance. The School will continue to monitor updates of applicable requirements.

This school year, the School will participate in interscholastic sports, following applicable requirements for schools, leagues, and athletic facilities.

Should we need to switch to a remote learning model, our movement teachers will create connections remotely with students and provide opportunities for the continual cultivation of healthy movement and physical skills in their daily lives.

Teachers are designing projects with an eye for portability, so that work can easily be carried outdoors for class or home if the school is required to shift to a distance-learning model.
Festivals will take place outdoors, or in venues where capacity and distancing guidelines will be closely followed, or in the classroom while maintaining physical distancing and in an age-appropriate way. If we are mandated to move to a remote learning model, some festivals may be postponed, and others may be conducted virtually.

This school year, we are bringing back our AfterCare program for Early Childhood and Grades 1 through 5. Sessions will be held from September 27 through December 16, January 3 through March 10, and March 28 through June 9 from 3:00 to 5:30 PM daily.

Children may be picked up any time but no later than 5:30 PM sharp so that the Lower School building can undergo a thorough cleaning procedure.

Math Lab, Homework Lab, student clubs, and private music lessons will again be offered on-site after school.

The School will focus on embedded, formative assessments in both on-campus and distance-learning modalities (should we need to shift to such a model) to inform instruction and referral to Educational Support. Testing accommodation needs will be followed when administering all assessments.
Our Learning Support Coordinator will coordinate the various aspects of student support and will continue to do so should the School need to move to distance learning. This includes working with families to arrange for educational evaluations, facilitating the creation of IEPs, and working with our in-house faculty, private tutors, and with the DOE to provide recommended student services.

The social and emotional well-being of our students, faculty and staff is a priority. We recognize the many challenges that the pandemic has presented to families, students, faculty, and staff. We will continue to focus on strengthening the social fabric of each class and the school community.

The School has a strong social and emotional support system fostered by our small class sizes and vibrant community. From Lead Teachers in the Early Childhood, Class Teachers in the Elementary and Middle School, to Class Advisors and Personal Advisors in the High School, our students and families have strong and supportive relationships with their teachers. Sustained support is provided through personal contact with each child, student, and family through email interactions, parent meetings and opportunities for socialization among families

In addition to the Lead Teacher, Class Teacher, Class and Personal Advisors the School works with (a) a Care Group comprised of faculty and staff and (b) a part-time school counselor who is available to students, families, faculty and staff for individual and family appointments, as well as consultation with teachers about student needs in the classroom. The school counselor communicates with the Lower School Coordinator, the Upper School Coordinator and members of the Care Group in order to track progress in getting to ensure students and families the help they need.


Our Campus

Until further notice, only faculty, staff, and students will have access to enter school buildings.

To de-densify our campus, non-student family members, outside tutors, vendors, contractors, and any other individuals (Visitors) will not be able to enter the school buildings on a regular basis. Visitors will be limited and will only be granted access to the school buildings with prior approval from a member of the Leadership Council (School Administrator, Lower School Coordinator, and Upper School Coordinator). We will keep a sign-up sheet at the Lower School and Upper School front desks, which will be maintained by the Lower School and the Upper School front desk receptionists. The sign-up sheets will include the date, Visitor’s name, time of entry and exit, Leadership Council member approving the visit, and confirmation that a pre-entry health screening (as described in PART III, Section B1 of the Reopening Plan) resulted in a cleared screening result.

Early Childhood parents will have the opportunity to visit their classrooms in small groups before the beginning of school. Teachers will reach out to parents to schedule visits.

Parent evenings by class, parent-teacher conferences, and some other school events may be conducted in person with safety protocols in place, if previously approved by the Leadership Council.

Deliveries will be limited to the vestibules of the Lower School and Upper School buildings, except for food, kitchen or maintenance deliveries, which will be received in the basement of the Lower School or Upper School buildings via separate service entrances. Contact between delivery people and school staff will be limited to the extent possible.

We will follow enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures throughout our buildings following recommendations and guidelines from the CDC and the DOH. Our maintenance team will clean and disinfect our facilities on a regular schedule, paying special attention to areas used by many individuals and frequently touched surfaces.

We will continue to use child-safe, CDC-approved cleaning sprays and make these available to faculty and staff for periodic use during the day.

In addition to these measures, we have:

-  Temporarily closed water drinking fountains
-  Installed touchless bottle refilling stations for students, faculty and staff to refill their own individual water bottles
-  Installed no-touch soap dispensers
-  Replaced toilets seats with lidded seats, which will be closed before flushing

The School replaces air and water filters in both buildings regularly throughout the year on a timetable according to manufacturer recommendations.

We have provided air purifiers with high efficiency (HEPA) filters. Each classroom has a medical-grade Hathaspace air purifier. During the school year, we will open doors and windows in classrooms and offices, whenever feasible, to aid natural circulation of fresh air. Our new systems reduce allergens and static electricity and control odors and other particles in the air without creating ozone or any harmful byproducts.

The School will continue to conduct safety drills, during which it will remind students, faculty and staff that if it is an actual emergency, the most imminent concern will be to get to safety; maintaining physical distancing in an actual emergency may not be possible and should not be the first priority.

Our food program will continue to offer high-quality, organic-centered, nutritious food to our students, faculty and staff. There will be no communal gathering in our school cafeteria, salad bar and/or family-style serving. Sharing of food (including communal snacks) and/or beverages will be discouraged unless students are members of the same household.

LUNCH

Lunch will be prepared daily onsite, following applicable guidelines, and delivered to the classrooms in individual containers. Students will practice handwashing before and after eating. Desks will be thoroughly cleaned before and after lunch.

The School is a nut-free environment. Students with food allergies and sensitivities will be accommodated in the following ways:

- No allergy or sensitivity-causing food will be delivered to a classroom with an allergic/sensitive student

- Families with students who have allergies, or any other dietary restrictions, may request to bring their own lunch

Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to bring their own labeled water bottles for refilling at the touchless bottle refilling stations.

SNACKS

Each student in Grades 1-12 should bring a nut-free snack. Early Childhood teachers will distribute snacks to children, who will be seated according to physical distancing guidelines.

Non-essential gatherings and activities on-campus will be restricted.  We will determine the format of school events such as assemblies, concerts, drama productions, and celebrations on a case-by-case basis striving to host events in person whenever possible, following applicable guidance. Please click here to access our 2021-2022 school calendar.

The School generally does not provide busing service to and from school and therefore realizes that for some students, families, faculty, and staff, taking public transportation is necessary. We expect members of our community who must take public transportation (trains, buses, ride sharing or carpools) to practice physical distancing and wear face coverings while in transit and follow hand sanitizing protocols upon arrival to school premises. Students, faculty, and staff may choose to walk, scooter, or bike to school — if safe and feasible — in order to reduce prolonged, close contact with other people.

The School does not plan to use busing services for any school activities during the fall. Should circumstances change and transportation be considered for any school-related activities, the School will then adhere to mandated guidance applicable at that time.

The recommendation at this time is to avoid unnecessary travel.  All community members who plan to travel or host travelers shall abide by the travel policy described in the August 9 communication from the School Administrator.  We will update this policy from time to time, depending on the current mandates from New York State and the CDC, as applicable. Please contact nurse@steiner.edu with any questions regarding household travel or hosting at home.
If at any time during the school year we need to move to distance learning, we will survey the community to determine the technology needs of our students and work with families to meet ensure that students can fully participate in all aspects of our program. Ensuring equitable access to technology has been, and will continue to be, a priority.
During the 2021-2022 school year, there may be times when the Governor orders that all schools in New York are to close. In addition, there may be situations within our local community when local health authorities may order that certain non-essential school activities (e.g., extra-curricular activities) cease to address the spread of COVID-19. Please see PART III, Section D of our Reopening Plan for specifics on class quarantine and school-wide closure.

Communications


References and Resources

Vaulth Health (VaultHealth.com) offers a saliva-based PCR test through a telemedicine visit. You may purchase test kits via their website if you wish to use their service to perform testing before returning back to school after quarantine. Please contact nurse@steiner.edu to coordinate the process.

In addition, the following two places offer a quick turnaround time (24-hour average), have multiple locations throughout the city, do not require an appointment and are free:

https://labq.com/covid/

https://www.nychealthandhospitals.org/covid-19-testing-sites/

Please click here to access the “When to Stay Home” flow chart.