Introduction

The FSDB 2020-21 Reopening Plan will continue to change throughout the coming weeks as additional guidance is gleaned from various entities, which is grounded primarily in the public health science and data provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Florida Department of Health (FDOH). Both agencies are supplying the regulatory framework when it comes to hygiene, social distancing, and other public health considerations.

 

Actions outlined in this plan are categorized by two key objectives:

  • Reopen campus and statewide programs in a safe, responsible and healthy manner.

  • Align and manage resources to meet the evolving needs of reopening FSDB.

 

Efforts aligned to these objectives will be implemented in relation to the ever-changing situation and conditions of the pandemic, which may require quick execution of mitigation procedures. The plan maintains focus on the school’s mission to ensure academic instruction and related programs and services for students while safeguarding their continued progression.

 

FSDB is fully committed to keeping students, parents/legal guardians, staff members and community engaged, involved, safe and informed. Periodic updates along with resource links and frequently asked questions will be posted to our Reopening Plan 2020-21 webpage and shared via multiple channels with key stakeholders.

 

Reopen Campus and Statewide Programs in a Safe, Responsible and Healthy Manner

FSDB is committed to supporting learning environments that protect student and staff health and safety. To do this, FSDB will continue partnering with FDOH, FDOE, and the state of Florida and will communicate any changing requirements for reopening our school as soon as possible. The latest guidance from the FDOE is outlined in Executive Order 20-149, which states “all brick and mortar schools are open at least five days per week for all students subject to advice and orders of the FDOH, local departments of health and subsequent executive orders.”

Social Distancing

Students will be educated on social distancing etiquette – maintaining six feet or more distance from each other, including use of face coverings. This includes avoidance of hugs, handshakes and other forms of close physical contact.

 

Students shall refrain from congregating in large groups (the state’s phase 2 plan specifies no more than 50 people). Smaller groups shall also adhere to the above social distancing etiquette. Students and staff will use Microsoft Teams, Google Classrooms and related applications for communications via text, video and audio.

Common areas that are used by students and staff members including shared spaces (e.g., storage areas and file rooms) will be evaluated to ensure occupancy limits and social distancing. Some areas may be put into regular use by new groups if their original spaces do not meet social distancing guidelines.

 

Designated water fountains in each building will be retrofitted (as supplies become available) as automatic no-touch stations where students may fill their individual containers with filtered water.

Physical barriers (i.e., sneeze guards and partitions) are being installed in areas where social distancing is difficult, such as reception areas and point of sale stations. Lavatory sink partitions are being installed, as feasible. Directional floor markings are in areas that have a high frequency of use and volume of foot traffic.

Social distancing protocols specific to the schools include but are not limited to the following:

 

Arrival:

  • Blind Department: Bus students are walked/escorted to Copeland lobby. Car rider students walk to Cary White. Dormitory students go directly to their classrooms.

  • Deaf Department: Car rider ELC students go to a specific bench at the bus loop. All other bus and car rider students—DES: The Pond, DMS: The Mall and DHS: Pope-Settles area. Dormitory students go directly to their classrooms; this also applies to older students who live nearby.

 

Recess:

  • Recess will be at regularly scheduled times, staggered to the extent possible and taking advantage of large, open campus spaces for play and exercise.

  • Students will take breaks from recess for bathroom, hand washing and water refill purposes.

  • Playground equipment usage will occur on a scheduled basis.

 

Transition:

  • Cloth face coverings will be used when social distancing is not possible, including transitioning between classes, safety drills and evacuation events.

  • Scheduling and flow will include wall signage and directional markings for floors and stairwells.

 

Dismissal:

  • Elementary and middle school staff will walk with students on their route.

  • High school students will be released by bus number or parent pick up; staff members will be positioned along the route

Face Coverings

Students will be educated on and maintain appropriate respiratory etiquette including the use of cloth face coverings. Training will be provided on face covering usage and removal (including hand hygiene).

Cloth face coverings:

  • Help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.

  • Shall be worn by staff and students in areas when social distancing is difficult to achieve (e.g., on buses, during class transitions, while using restrooms and engaging in outdoor activities.)

  • Shall be required for all individuals who enter the Health Care Center.

  • Shall not be used by students who have respiratory health issues or are unconscious, incapacitated or unable to remove such without assistance.

  • Will be provided to students at the start of the 2020-21 academic year. Students may provide and use their own cloth face coverings.

 

Cloth face coverings provided to each student will be labeled and staff members will ensure that students are using their assigned coverings. Face coverings of boarding students will be washed in their respective dormitories; day students are expected to wash their face coverings at home.

Personal Hygiene

Students will be educated on and maintain personal hygiene etiquette, including increased frequency of hand washing with soap and water, use of hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol and clear instruction to avoid touching hands to face.

 

The spread of COVID-19 can be reduced when frequent handwashing is used along with other preventive measures including social distancing, use of face coverings and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

Hand sanitizer dispensers are placed at strategic locations across campus. FSDB will make every effort to keep dispensers filled, based on the availability of supplies. Use of hand sanitizer is an alternative if soap and water are not readily available.

 

Frequently touched items below will be handled as follows:

  • Campus building surfaces (doorknobs, handrails, light switches, signage in braille, countertops and other flat surfaces, including restroom facilities) will be disinfected once daily.

  • Student playground equipment will be disinfected twice daily.

  • School bus and state vehicle surfaces will be disinfected after each route/use.

  • Golf cart surfaces will be disinfected after each use.

  • Work space items, assigned equipment and flat surfaces will be disinfected after use.

  • Shared space items, equipment, instruments, office machines, supplies and technologies in shared spaces will either be limited use or disinfected after each use by staff members.

 

Student involvement in cleaning and disinfecting practices will also take place.

Health Monitoring

Comprehensive school health care and education protocols are in place for COVID-19 monitoring, coordination and follow up. The administrator of Allied Health and Related Services is the primary point of contact for FDOH and serves as the designee responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns.

 

Students and parents/guardians will undergo education and training by Allied Health and Related Services on temperature screening (see next section) including when they should stay home due to illness and when they should return to school/work.

 

Students will notify their school administrator if they experience or become sick with COVID-19 symptoms, test positive or have been exposed to someone with suspected or confirmed symptoms. Once the administrator of Allied Health and Related Services is notified, surveillance and contact tracing protocols will be initiated. See Appendix A for more details.

Temperature Screening

Non-contact thermometers will be used to conduct temperature screening for campus visitors and students, using the protocols outlined below.

Campus Visitors

All campus visitors will be required to undergo temperature checks (parents/guardians of enrolled students are not considered visitors in this context). Visitors arriving at the main gate/guardhouse will have their temperature checked by the security officer on duty. If any visitor in a vehicle presents with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater per CDC guidelines, no one in the vehicle will be granted access. Temperature screening will also be conducted on visitors who arrive by foot or ride a bicycle or motorcycle. Signage indicating the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 will be visible at the guardhouse.

Students

SHOW bus chaperones will check the temperatures of students before they can board the bus for return to campus. If any student presents with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, he/she will not be allowed to board the bus. Parents/guardians are to remain until their child is cleared to board.

Staff members will check the temperatures of car ride students upon sign-in at their dormitory. If any student presents with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, he/she will not be allowed to enter the dormitory. Parents/guardians are to remain until their child is cleared to enter.

 

Yellow bus chaperones will check the temperatures of students before they can board the bus for return to campus. If any student presents with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, he/she will not be allowed to board the bus. Parents/guardians are to remain at the bus stop. If they have departed, their child(ren) will be required to wear a face covering on the bus and will be sent directly to the Health Care Center upon arrival to campus.

 

Temperatures of car ride and walk-in students who arrive before 7:55 a.m. will be taken at the locations below. If any student presents with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, he/she will not be allowed to remain on campus. Parents/guardians are to remain until their child is cleared to attend.

  • Early Learning Center: TBD

  • Blind Department: Gibbs and Cary White Halls

  • Deaf Elementary School: Vaill Hall

  • Deaf Middle and High Schools: Walker Hall mall
     

Staff members will check the temperatures of car ride and walk-in students who arrive after 8 a.m. and sign in at their school administrative offices. If any student presents with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, he/she will not be allowed to remain on campus. Parents/guardians are to remain until their child is cleared to attend.

Contact Tracing and Testing

Contact Tracing

FSDB carries out contact tracing and surveillance in collaboration with local and state health authorities. The school administration uses a COVID-19 tracking system that includes contact tracing protocols that are based on guidance from FDOH and the Florida Department of Management Services.

Testing

Testing protocols for COVID-19 will be carried out for students only on a case-by-case basis in compliance with CDC and FDOH and privacy laws and, when applicable, with the explicit approval of parents/guardians. See Appendix A for more details.

Visitors, Volunteers and Tours

Campus access by nonessential visitors, volunteers, tour participants and activities involving all outside groups are suspended until further notice. The school administrative team will approve requests on a case-by-case basis.

Current families will be allowed on campus to drop-off/pick-up their child, conference with their child’s teacher, attend IEP meetings and meet with school leadership. Advance scheduling will be required to ensure health and safety of personnel and meeting room availability for social distancing.

 

In-person admissions and evaluation meetings for prospective students/families may take place following certain protocols. Temperature screening will be taken upon arrival; if any member of the family has a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, the visit will be postponed or rescheduled. Students and family members as well as staff members will wear cloth face coverings

 

Align and Manage Resources to Meet Evolving Needs of Reopening FSDB

Instructional Services

FSDB will continue to provide the full array of services that are required by law, including what families and students have come to expect. At the start of the 2020-21 school year, FSDB will provide in-person instruction five-days a week on the FSDB campus as well as an innovative learning environment (ILE) option (detailed below) for families who do not yet feel safe to have their child(ren) participate in learning on campus. Both models will provide specialized instruction for all students (ELC –12th grade), including services for low-income families, students of migrant workers, students who are homeless, students in foster care and students who are English Language Learners. Robust progress monitoring and tiered support will be provided to all students.

 

FSDB administrators understand that there is a need to plan for not only re-opening the school campus for the academic and social emotional needs of enrolled students, but to also provide a model that would enable students to learn from their homes during the first quarter until they and their parents/guardians feel it is safe to return to the campus.

 

Enrolled FSDB students attending classes on campus or through the ILE model will follow each school’s bell schedule starting their school day at 8 a.m. and finishing their school day at 3:30 p.m. (Monday–Thursday) with an early release at 2:05 p.m. on Fridays, unless the school calendar notes otherwise.

  • Start of the 2020-21 school year – Monday, Aug. 31, 2020

  • Senior commencement and awards ceremonies – Friday, June 4, 2021

  • Last day of the 2020-21 school year –Thursday, June 10, 2021
     

FSDB will use a modified school calendar incorporating 175 student days. In compliance with Florida Statute 1001.42(12)(a), FSDB exceeds the prescribed instructional minutes and hours for all grade levels.

 

Students in the brick and mortar model will attend in-person for the full grading period; parent/guardian requests to move their child from brick and mortar to the ILE model should be directed to the student’s school principal. These requests will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. FSDB is prepared to transition all students to the ILE model should the closure of the campus become necessary due to the pandemic. Should the campus close at any time during the school year, the ILE model will commence for all enrolled students. For more information, refer to the school’s Instructional Continuity Plan (March 2020).

Absenteeism

Federal law, state law and FSDB rules require that students, and especially those in Exceptional Student Education (ESE), must be in regular attendance in order to stay enrolled at FSDB. All enrolled students are expected to participate in coursework, complete class assignments, and make progress toward meeting their annual IEP goals – this applies to all students whether they attend classes on campus or participate in the ILE. FSDB follows current policies regarding ongoing instruction and related services, student absenteeism and school eligibility. Student attendance (for students attending classes on campus as well as students participating through the ILE model) will be taken each day and logged into Skyward following each school’s bell schedule.

 

As outlined in our 2020-21 Parent-Student Handbook, if a student is absent from school, FSDB will follow up within one business day with families to identify the cause of the absence. The administrator of Allied Health and Related Services will be contacted immediately if there is a concern of COVID-19 exposure.

 

If a student withdraws temporarily and is served by the local education agency (LEA) school district due to COVID-19 concerns, the student will be able to reapply to FSDB once the health concerns are resolved.

 

Each school will not have any recognitions or awards related to attendance for the 2020-2021 school year.

Career and Technical Education

Students enrolled in Career and Technical Education courses will meet their course standards and program expectations through the following:

  • Dragon’s Lair/Cobra Corner: Student and staff workers will follow the same health and safety standards expected of all food service personnel, as directed by the FDOH, in addition to SafeStaff protocols.

  • D&B Designs: External customer orders will be placed via email or phone and either shipped when possible or picked up at a pre-arranged location off campus.

  • Garden Center: Center will be open to serve FSDB staff only. The ability to go off campus for projects will be reviewed and approved by the school administrative team.

  • Building and construction: The ability to go off campus for projects will be reviewed and approved by the school administrative team.

  • Off-campus work: Work placements will be made on campus until such time the school administrative team determines off-campus placements are appropriate.

Classroom Preparation

Academic staff members will follow guidelines for use of space, classroom layout, and cleaning routines to ensure social distancing and healthy workspaces for both students and staff members. Guidelines are as follows:

 

  • Single desks or tables for all students. Tables will be used for students in the Blind Department who need additional surface space for assistive technology and braille books.

  • Desks, tables and seats will be arranged to maximize spacing and social distancing.

  • Seating charts will be used.

  • Written routines for bathroom breaks, hand washing/sanitization and social distancing.

  • Removal of items which cannot be sanitized and cleaned between usages (e.g., bean bags, couches, pillows).

  • Removal of designated learning areas, reading nooks and large tables that prohibit the maximization of space to allow for social distancing.

The Shared Materials and Supplies section below details guidance for healthy classroom and workspaces.

Classroom Sizes and Class Schedules

Classroom Sizes

Classroom spaces will be evaluated for maximum capacity to ensure social distancing can be maintained. Class sizes are small and will be constantly reviewed to ensure there is appropriate space to social distance as well as to continue to provide quality, specialized instruction to all students.

The following guidance will be used for class scheduling although some exceptions are to be expected. The recommended number for most classrooms is as follows:

 

  • High school: 10 students

  • Middle school: 8 students

  • Elementary school: 6 students

To ensure social distancing and balance the number and students in a classroom space, bell schedules, class assignments, teacher availability and teacher certification will be considered.

 

Class Schedules

Class schedules have been adjusted to reduce the frequency of student transitions to limit the number of contacts per day and to allow for more thorough sanitation between classes.

 

  • Blind Elementary School – Self-contained classrooms.

  • Blind Middle School – Self-contained classrooms, divided according to grade level. Teachers  will move among these classrooms during the day.

  • Blind High School – Block schedule; alternating days with four classes per day and eight classes per week.

  • Deaf Elementary School – Self-contained classrooms; students remain with one peer group throughout the day.

  • Deaf Middle School – Block schedule; alternating days with four classes per day and eight classes per week.

  • Deaf High School – Block schedule; four class periods per day.

Dance and Music Activities

Classes for dance and music classes will be reduced in size and reassigned to larger spaces for social distancing; partner dancing will not be allowed.

English Language Learners

All English Language Learners (ELL) at FSDB receive English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) support and services through the IEP process. At the beginning of the school year, the ELL Department director along with the ELL teacher and ELL specialist will meet to discuss each student’s ELL services, including student academic data, school academic grades, and progress toward meeting IEP goals. If an ELL student’s reading, writing, listening or speaking skills regressed due to fourth quarter campus closure during the 2019-20 school year when students participated in distance learning, the MTSS team, IEP team and staff members of the ELL Department will discuss and recommend additional or supplemental ELL services for the student. Students who choose the ILE model will have access to ELL services and support.

Extended School Closure

In the event of an individual classroom, department or school-wide closure, impacted FSDB students would transition to the ILE model. Following guidance from the state, advance preparation strategies, including our Instructional Continuity Plan, will be implemented should there be an extended school dismissal period due to the closure of the entire campus or specified schools/ departments.

 

Microsoft Teams will be the platform used for video conferencing and calls. Teachers’ Google Sites and Google Classrooms will be used for both on-campus face-to-face instruction and students starting the school year accessing instruction through the ILE option to ensure all teachers and students use the online tools and resources.

General technology guidelines are as follows:

  • Students in all grades/classes will each be assigned individual technology devices.

  • Students attending classes on campus will routinely leave their individual technology devices in the same location at the end of the school day when they do not have homework.

  • Students attending classes through the ILE will have their individual technology devices mailed home the week of August 10th.

  • In the event of extended school or campus closure, student devices will be shipped to the homes of students who were receiving their instruction on campus and need to transition to the ILE.

Family Contact Information

FSDB uses Skyward, a software company specializing in K-12 school management technology. Parents/guardians use the Skyward Family Access platform to stay up to date on their child’s grades, school schedule, etc. The Skyward platform includes a messaging system called Skylert to communicate with parents/guardians via email, text and voice phone.

Maintaining accurate email, text, voice phone, and mailing addresses for parents and families in Skyward is especially important to maintain the timeliness of communication and the ability to mail home materials and devices should a family choose to participate in the ILE option or in the event FSDB experiences an extended campus closure.

Individual Education Plans

All students who attend FSDB have an Individual Education Plan (IEP). Annually, IEP teams (FSDB staff members, parents/guardians and student) meet to determine each student’s present level of performance, needs for specialized instruction, annual goals, related services and accommodations. Teachers and related service providers implement the student’s IEP with fidelity and monitor their progress toward meeting their IEP goals, including signs of regression, at least once each quarter.

Teachers, related service providers and IEP monitors will review the present level of performance data of each student to determine if there was regression due to the fourth quarter campus closure during the 2019-20 school year when students participated in distance learning. The IEP team will determine if the instruction and intervention provided to students by their classroom teacher(s) and related service provider(s) throughout the 2020-2021 school year are effectively supporting students to recoup loss of skills or progress made toward skill acquisition in the student’s annual IEP. The team will make decisions based on the present level of performance data to determine if extended school year (ESY) services and/or compensatory services are needed.

Conference rooms for IEP meetings will be evaluated to ensure that the space is large enough for students, staff members and families to be able to social distance. Alternate locations will be identified depending on the size of the group; virtual IEP meetings are always an option for families. Families can request an IEP amendment meeting at any time they have concerns regarding their child’s progress toward meeting his/her annual goals, accommodations being provided or related services.

Innovative Learning Environment

Enrolled students in the Early Learning Center, Deaf Elementary School, Deaf Middle School, Deaf High School, Blind Elementary-Middle School, and Blind High School will be able to choose the ILE option to continue participating in their coursework until families feel it is safe to return to the campus. The FSDB ILE model is a teacher-driven, at-home synchronous learning opportunity aligned to the instruction, support and related services students would receive if they attended school on campus. This learning model is different from distance learning offered in the fourth quarter of the 2019-20 school year.

 

Students participating in the ILE model will have the same expectations for course standards, progress monitoring, attendance, class participation and daily engagement between teachers and students as if they were on the FSDB campus. FSDB will provide technology resources to students and families as required to provide synchronous (streaming video live) instruction to best meet
the needs of students. Parent/guardian involvement is needed to support student learning and technology at home.

 

Students electing to participate through the ILE model will follow the school day schedule using technology, instructional materials (same as used in the classroom) and resources provided by FSDB to continue learning from their teachers as they present live in the classrooms, to the extent practicable. The ILE model will provide students, who elect to stay home at the start of the school year, a way to stay engaged on a daily basis with their assigned teacher(s) and peers. Students will follow the lessons and assignments created and delivered by their teachers via streaming video through Microsoft Teams and assignments posted in Google Classroom; continue to receive related services and accommodations as noted on their IEPs; participate in scheduled progress monitoring; and when they return to school, have seats ready and waiting for them in the same classes, with the same teachers, and the same classmates they had in the ILE model.

 

All students, regardless if they start the school year on the FSDB campus or participate through the ILE model, will need to register by completing the annual information update in Skyward. Upon registration, students will have access to their class schedule and teacher assignments.

 

Due to the specialized instruction provided to our students as well as the limitations to streaming video live from the classroom, there may be times when the teacher of instruction will be off camera addressing the needs of the students in the classroom. During this time, students engaging through the ILE model should continue to work on their course assignment(s) either as explained during the live lesson or through the assignments and activities posted in Google Classroom. Students are expected to stay connected and attentive in order to participate in the class following the bell schedule, unless excused by their teacher. Students may have alternate assignments given to them that are different than the students attending classes on campus, however, these assignments will be aligned to the same standards and pace as the students receiving instruction through the brick and mortar model. It is vital for students to stay engaged in their daily lessons, complete assigned activities, participate in class discussions and meet clas