COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols at BHMS
The purpose of this plan is to lay out the protocols and procedures for restarting the 2020-2021 school year with students, faculty, and staff returning to a hybrid model of in-person and remote instruction over the course of the year.
Our plan for reopening reflects the collaborative work of administrators, faculty, staff, members of the Board of Trustees, parents, and medical professionals. The plan was developed under the guidance of the New York State and New York City Departments of Health, the New York State Department of Education, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), Independent School Management, the American Association of Pediatrics, and the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS).
Follow federal, state, and local guidelines
If anyone in your household tests positive for COVID-19, notify the COVID-19 Safety coordinator at (929) 359-7135 right away
Stay home if sick or exposed to COVID-19 and notify the COVID-19 Safety coordinator at (929) 359-7135 right away
Avoid unnecessary travel (and quarantine) if you travel internationally or to a state on the NYS Travel Advisory List
Use appropriate face coverings
Practice and reinforce good hygiene practices at home and at school, in particular, the importance of frequent handwashing and respiratory etiquette
Screen each of your children on a daily basis (before leaving for school) for COVID-19 symptoms using the Magnus Health screening app
Make sure your child’s medical forms are up to date before the first day of school
Make sure your child’s demographic information is accurate so we can quickly get in touch with you or your emergency contacts if your child presents symptoms of COVID-19 at school
To begin the year, we will have a phase-in plan for students to return to in-person learning. The phase-in schedule is designed with a number of factors in mind, including the age of the students and the ability to work with and teach the students how to maintain appropriate social and physical distancing.
Twos Phase-In will begin on September 24
Preschool Phase-In will begin on September 24
Lower Elementary Phase-In will begin on September 29
Upper Elementary Phase-In will begin on October 5
Middle School Phase-In will begin on October 5
Student Cohorts and Program Locations
Two-year-old students will be split into two cohorts who will attend class after an extended phase-in period on either a three-day schedule (Mon-Wed) or a two-day Schedule (Thurs-Fri).
PK3/PK4 students will be split into four cohorts of mixed aged students in their assigned classrooms and after an extended phase-in period will attend four-and-a-half days a week.
Kindergarten students will be split into two cohorts in the Firehouse and after an extended phase-in period will attend four-and-a-half days a week.
Safety: The health and well-being of our community are of paramount importance at BHMS.
On-Campus Instruction, Remote Instruction, and Wellness: Promoting and supporting social and emotional wellness for our students, whether learning in person or remotely is an important value that the school is uniquely positioned to provide throughout the course of a BHMS education
Educational Excellence: Our program is designed to prepare students with the creativity, collaboration, communication, and problem-solving skills essential for success in our complex and rapidly changing world however the curriculum is delivered. While health circumstances may necessitate certain changes or restrictions on student life, our ultimate goal is to support our students’ learning and development as seamlessly as possible.
Flexibility & Adaptability: BHMS recognizes that any plan that we design to respond to a public health emergency must be flexible and able to adapt to circumstances beyond our control. Our overarching goal is to create a continuous learning structure that is durable enough to adapt to possible future public health emergencies while still allowing us to maintain as much on-campus instruction as possible.
Community: BHMS is above all things a community, one that includes families, faculty, staff, and alumni. We believe that a rich and connected school community continues to be an important part of school life, whether we are on or off campus. We will plan events, protocols, and procedures with a healthy, connected, strong school community in mind.
Inside the classrooms, students will have individual work areas arranged to make sure students are appropriately distanced at all times. Students will have access to their own individual materials that would normally be shared freely within the classroom, such as work rugs, pencils, scissors, etc. and laptops. Any instructional materials that need to be shared, like Montessori materials will be properly disinfected between uses.
Arrival and Dismissal Routines and Protocols
Students will also complete a touchless temperature check at the entrance to school each morning by the school nurse or a trained staff member. BHMS requires individuals to immediately disclose if and when their responses to screening questions changes, such as if they begin to experience symptoms, including during or outside of school hours.To avoid congestion, we will use all three entrances to the building. Students will enter and exit the building through the designated entry/exit point (Court Street, Bergen Street, or Dean Street).
Daily Schedules and Building Use
Many spaces on the campus will be reconfigured to accommodate smaller numbers of students and individuals in a single classroom or area. Student schedules will be adjusted to include fewer transitions within the building. Shared outdoor spaces will be scheduled so that all students have opportunities to be outdoors (weather permitting).
Faculty and Staff will be required to wear face coverings at all times while in the school building, except during designated meal breaks or when they are alone in a room or office.
Appropriate Face Coverings are defined as homemade sewn, quick cut, or surgical masks that cover the mouth and the nose. Disposable paper masks will be available in case someone forgets to bring their own.
During meal times, individuals will maintain six feet of space. Students and teachers may remove face coverings to eat. As always, classroom teachers will be informed by the school nurse of any students in their classroom with a food allergy. Additionally, no sharing of food or drinks will be permitted.
Temporarily suspending the use of reusable dishes, cups, and utensils during this public health emergency
Instructing individuals on when and how to wash hands
Instructing individuals on proper respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette
The school nurse will take a lead role in working with our community on all proper hygiene and handwashing instruction. Students and faculty and staff will wash their hands at the start and end of the school day, before and after eating, after toileting, and frequently throughout the school day as necessary. Signs will be posted throughout the school to remind and inform individuals regarding proper handwashing protocols.
It eliminates the need to email parents weekly or even daily with assignments and other class information
It provides an additional level of security
It will house “living” documents that can be updated, eliminating the need for emails if there is a change or correction to the material
Elevators and Stairways
We will clearly mark the limited capacity of our elevator with signs and stairways with directional signs.
HVAC and Ventilation
We have consulted our service providers to evaluate the HVAC system in all areas and to make modifications as necessary to increase outside airflow as well as filter and condition air throughout the building.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
We have upgraded our outside cleaning service to a higher level of cleaning, installed plexiglass shields in our reception area, installed touchless sink and toilet fixtures, and have hand sanitizer stations located throughout the school. All outdoor areas, such as the roof playground, the outdoor classroom, and the terraces will be cleaned routinely.
Early Morning and Afterschool Care
Because our early morning and after school programs would likely bring together students who would otherwise have spent their day in different, carefully cohorted groups, we do not plan to run our normal Early Morning Drop-Off or Montessori Afterschool Program (MAP) in the fall. We know this may present challenges for some families, but the health and safety of our community is our number-one priority.
All meetings (both administrative and parent) will be held via Zoom and some offices may at times operate entirely remotely. The maximum occupancy for office spaces will be clearly posted at the entrance to each space.
Employee Screening and Health Protocols
Faculty and staff will also complete a touchless temperature check at the entrance to school each morning by the school nurse or a trained staff member.
In-person visitors to the building (including parents) will be limited to absolutely necessary visits only and will require advance scheduling. BHMS will temporarily suspend all use of our facilities by outside entities.
Events and Large Gatherings
During this public health emergency, BHMS will temporarily suspend all in-person community events. All meetings, Parents Association events, or other gatherings will take place remotely or be postponed until we can safely gather in person.
Required School Safety Drills
BHMS will conduct fire drills and lockdown drills as required by law and regulation and the fire code without exceptions. We will continue to conduct mandatory fire and lockdown drills according to the existing statutory schedule. Drills will be conducted in a manner that maintains physical distancing at exits and gathering points outside the building, while still preparing students to respond in emergencies.
In the event that there is a positive case of COVID-19 within our community, the infected individual and possibly the cohort of students and teachers connected to the individual (based on a medical evaluation of the particular case) will need to isolate. Discharge from isolation or quarantine will be coordinated with the NYC Department of Health on a case by case basis.
I ncreased community infection rates or an increased number of quarantine or isolation cases may warrant reducing in-person instruction or the closure of the school. These decisions will be made in close consultation with the NYC Department of Health and the NYS Department of Health. If we need to close the school and transition to remote learning, a period of transition will take effect to allow faculty, staff, and students to make any needed adjustments and preparations.
Email: for regular updates and school information
SMS Text Message: for urgent announcements
Canvas (our Learning Management System): for academic schedules and information related to classroom work
Website: for our COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan, Information about Reopening, an archive of past communications, and health and educational resources for families
For questions regarding this plan or
to report COVID-19 related illness or exposure,
please contact Chris Koble, COVID-19 Safety Coordinator