Frequently Asked Questions: Health & Safety
- All colleagues will ensure all health protocols are followed.
- Masks will be required at all times on school premises. 2,000+ masks have been purchased in both adult and children’s sizes.
- Face shields have been purchased that will be accessible to all colleagues.
- Temperature checks will take place upon entering buildings – 150+ thermometers (both handheld touchless and stationary kiosks) have been purchased. Every classroom space will have a thermometer.
- Hand sanitizing will take place upon entering buildings and every room throughout the buildings. Multiple touchless hand sanitizer dispensers in hallways and common areas will be installed. An ample supply of hand sanitizer has been purchased as well as gloves. All students and staff will be required to wash hands or use hand sanitizer before entering the classroom, before and after eating, before and after bathroom use, before and after recess and about every 2 hours.
- Facilities colleagues have been trained in proper cleaning and sanitizing protocols.
- All bathrooms will be cleaned and sanitized multiple times each day.
- Hallway and frequently touched surfaces will be disinfected multiple times each day.
- At the end of the day, every room that has been occupied will be first cleaned, then disinfected with an electrostatic sprayer and disinfectant fogger.
- The HVAC system will be run 2 hours before the start of the school day to maximize air quality.
- Cloth face coverings are mandatory for all adults and children on the BFS campus. Please refer to New York State policy here. Cloth masks have been purchased in both adult and children’s sizes and every student and colleague will receive two.
- Face shields will be available to colleagues.
- K-4 students will also be provided with desk shields.
- All community members planning to attend BFS on campus will use a health application to enter health data prior to arriving at school that day.
- All students and staff will receive temperature checks upon entering the buildings every day.
- Every classroom will have a handheld touchless thermometer accessible.
- We have three full-time nursing positions – two nurses and a nurse’s assistant.
- We have three full-time counseling positions and one part-time counseling position.
- There will be nursing and counseling colleagues in the Pearl Street building and also available virtually every day.
- A new nursing suite is being created to isolate students and colleagues exhibiting signs of COVID. There will be three discrete spaces within the suite for all circumstances necessitating health services.
- The 375 Pearl Street building capacity is normally for Preschool through 8th grade students. The only students who will be physically present at Pearl Street are Preschool through 4th grade, reducing the overall building’s capacity by 40%. This will allow for smaller classroom pods. A space packing efficiency program was used as a guide to estimate individual rooms’ capacity.
- The Family Center will have class sizes of no more than 10 students at the 189A Schermerhorn Street facility.
- Only students and colleagues (no parents, prospective families, or other guests) will be permitted in school buildings to maintain proper social distancing in common areas.
- All students and colleagues will remain in their pods throughout the day. Students will remain in limited classroom spaces which will be sanitized after use.
- There will be a staggered arrival and departure of students throughout the morning and afternoon to maintain six foot spacing outside of buildings and in common spaces.
- Students will take the stairs, maintaining six foot spacing, with elevators reserved for those needing the accommodation.
- Stairwells will be one direction at a time.
- Signage will be placed throughout the building to indicate six foot spacing, reminders of social distancing, proper hygiene (hand sanitizing), directionality, use of masks.
- If any member of the community exhibits COVID symptoms, they will be required to be tested and quarantined until a negative test result comes back.
- To minimize cross contamination from those outside our immediate community the school will not permit outside visitors, will not have an in-person admissions office, staff meetings and community gatherings will all be virtual.
- Families and colleagues in any high alert states or countries will be required to self quarantine 14 days before the start of school.
- All students and colleagues with a confirmed COVID diagnosis will be required to have a negative COVID test and clearance note from a doctor before returning to school buildings.
- As per the CDC, a person must be fever free (less than 100F) for 3 days with no fever reducing medications and improvement of symptoms, and must be 10 days post-symptom (No symptoms in the last 10 days) and report general feelings of wellness.
- All students and colleagues who are exposed to COVID must complete quarantine as recommended by the CDC and receive a negative test result before returning to school buildings.
- The school is prepared to move all activities to remote learning if discrete groups or the entire school needs to be physically closed.
- All materials for online learning are prepared and available for students and colleagues.
- After all students and colleagues have vacated the building(s), a professional cleaning firm will be brought in for complete disinfection.
- After that school security and facilities will return to prepare for reopening planning.
- During the opening days of school, beginning the week of August 24th, all BFS colleagues will receive health and safety training conducted by the nursing, counseling and security teams.
- All divisional Assistant Heads, the Assistant Head of School, the Director of Security, and nursing colleagues have been trained in Contact Tracing through Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
- We have been working with a ventilation consultant expert who has done a full assessment of the ventilation and air flow systems in all buildings. They will continue to monitor the effectiveness of our systems throughout the school year.
- Work has been done this summer to ensure that every window at Pearl Street (that does not have an air conditioning unit) is fully operational and can open and close. Guidelines require that 20% of the air pumped into a room should be fresh air, with the remaining recycled air. We will be increasing this percentage during the school year where possible.
- Systems and protocols are being established to quickly and efficiently move students in and out of the school building during arrival and dismissal times.
The school complies with state and local regulations regarding the number of drills necessary each school year. During the time of physical distancing, drills will be conducted in smaller cohorts to maintain a safe environment for the children.
Families and colleagues traveling from any high alert states or countries this summer are required to self quarantine 14 days before the start of school. This includes students in the Middle and Upper schools as in person interactions will be taking place. For an updated list of states requiring quarantine, please visit Governor Cuomo’s website.
The keys to healthy indoor spaces are filtration and dilution. In terms of filtration, we are switching to MERV 13 filters that are recommended by the CDC. In terms of dilution, we have serviced all the windows at Pearl Street for increased fresh air and all classroom doors will remain open to allow for airflow. Long term we are upgrading our chiller and adding some extra units on the roof that will greatly enable us to increase dilution and moderate temperature. Please note, however, that those upgrades will not be complete until much later in the school year.
The school considered HEPA air purifiers but chose not to pursue those. A purifier will pull air toward itself and any person in that path will be more susceptible to airborne droplets. Therefore, we see them as more useful in office areas and not for use in larger classroom settings.
We ask that school families do not gather in large groups outside of the school organized activities for students. The school is working hard to make sure that students have as many in person points of connections as possible while maintaining health and safety best practices. Group gatherings outside of the school structure put at risk our ability to have points of connection for our students.