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Clerc Center Guide: Return to On-Campus Living, Learning and Working

Information on this page is current as of 2020-July-15.

The Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center (Clerc Center) recognizes that there is no adequate virtual substitute for in-person classes. Remote learning cannot replicate students’ experiences with peers, teachers, and staff in the school environment. Therefore, the Clerc Center’s top priority is planning for the return of students to campus to attend KDES and MSSD, with an understanding that the health, safety, and wellness of students, families, and school personnel must be a priority.

This document describes the following:

  • considerations for each school that stem from health and safety precautions established by communities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic;

  • a phased approach to a return to campus for the 2020-2021 academic year;

  • work the Clerc Center is doing to ensure quality remote instruction is provided and that students and families receive the support they need to benefit from that instruction;

  • areas of support and service for students and families during the 2020-2021 academic year in both Phase 1 (online instruction) and Phase 2 (hybrid approach to learning); and

  • considerations for the schools involving students, personnel, and facilities for Phase 3 (a full return to on-campus learning). 

A quick reference guide is included at the end of this document with information about what campus facilities and activities will be physically open in each phase.

Phased Return to On-Campus Living and Learning

President Roberta J. Cordano communicated the high-level plan for a phased return to on-campus living and learning in her message to the community on June 1, 2020. This guidance applies to all aspects of Clerc Center operations, including the instructional programs at KDES and MSSD. The phases are:

  • Phase 1 Remote Teaching, Learning, and Working —Teachers and staff transformed education and student activities to an online realm almost overnight. As we look to the possible need to continue online instruction into the fall, we will be:

    • collecting input from teachers, staff, students, and families and making needed changes and improvements to enhance learning for all students and to provide support to families;

    • providing professional development opportunities to teachers and staff to incorporate new tools and systems to support bilingual instruction at all grade levels; and

    • enhancing offerings for social engagement for students to support maintaining connections with friends and to ensure access to regular language and communication opportunities.
Click here for an infographic outlining the status on the requirements to move onto Phase 2 from Phase 1
  • Phase 2 Hybrid Learning, Campus Living, and Campus Operations —Hybrid learning may take a number of forms. KDES and MSSD may look different in their approaches in this phase, using hybrid models that fit their respective student bodies. Any hybrid plans would consider the needs of students, families, and employees in high risk categories*.

  • Phase 3 Adapted Face-to-Face Learning and Working on Campus —We anticipate that no matter when we are able to fully return to on-campus learning, we will need to continue to implement some level of physical distancing. For KDES and MSSD students, this will mean many changes to their routines at school. We will also need to ensure we have systems in place to support the monitoring of the health and well-being of community members as well as the possibility of higher levels of student and employee absences from on-campus learning and working due to increased caution when coming to work or school.

People in high-risk categories are those identified by the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/index.html) as being individuals who need to take extra precautions due to being at higher risk for severe illness.

The considerations below focus on the impact of community-imposed safety concerns and restrictions. We recognize that a key consideration for KDES students is the ability of families to support student learning during periods of remote learning when individual students are not able to access electronic learning without supervision or support. Key considerations include:

  • Regional Program—KDES draws students from two states and the District of Columbia. While these three areas have worked to coordinate their responses, there are differences in the stay-at-home directives and the reopening plans in relation to phased openings for businesses, activities, and schools. Even if all three jurisdictions decide to return students to in-school learning this fall, a spike in cases in one jurisdiction may lead to sudden restrictions in that area, resulting in a number of students and teachers/staff from that area again being under shelter-in-place orders. This potential for mixed attendance would have a significant impact on all aspects of school operations, starting with bus transportation and continuing through instructional provision.

  • Student Transportation—Almost all KDES students ride the school bus to campus. The fleet of buses employed by Gallaudet University includes primarily smaller (20’) buses. With buses of that size, social distancing, even for half the student body at any given time, will need to be carefully considered and planned to determine feasibility.

  • Employee Transportation—As a non-neighborhood school, KDES employs a significant number of personnel who rely on public transit to reach campus. Guidelines and restrictions on public transit are still evolving.

 

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidance and Safety Precautions—In regard to safety precautions encouraged by the CDC and individual states, it is challenging to keep younger students from touching surfaces and each other. It is likely that a return to campus will require even young students to wear masks for a seven-hour school day, plus time on school buses which can be up to an hour each way for some students; this may be difficult or not advisable for them. Additionally, masks covering the face, while protective, also serve as a barrier to communication for students who rely fully on American Sign Language (ASL), which employs mouth morphemes and facial expressions to convey meaning, and for students who benefit from reading lip movements. Finally, for individuals who have asthma or other respiratory issues, extended mask wearing might not be supported by their medical providers. 

  • Coverage for Teacher/Staff Absences —A significant percentage of the staff employed by the Clerc Center (e.g., substitute teachers, After School Program staff) are Gallaudet students. If Gallaudet University remains online in the fall, resources to support coverage during teacher/staff absences may be limited.

As stated above, KDES will follow a phased plan for returning to on-campus learning. 

Phase 1: Remote Teaching, Learning, and Working

Phase 1 began on April 20, 2020, when the Clerc Center @Home learning portal was launched. It continued through the end of the 2019-2020 academic year (June 5, 2020) and is set to continue through the Extended School Year (ESY) program (June 15-July 2) as well. 

Criteria to Advance to Phase 2

To move from Phase 1 to Phase 2, Gallaudet University, the Clerc Center, and Washington, D.C., must be able to meet several public health and medical requirements. They include, at a minimum, these Tier One criteria. Gallaudet University and the Clerc Center must:

  1. Establish a partnership to provide COVID-19 testing to employees and students on an agreed upon schedule with 24 hour result reporting.
  2. Have systems and personnel in place to provide contact tracing - if someone tests positive for COVID-19, the system needs to be able to identify who that person has been in contact with so those individuals can also self-quarantine and be tested.
  3. Establish isolation protocols and facilities for anyone who is ill.
  4. Procure sufficient masks and other Personal Protective Equipment and supplies (e.g. hand sanitizer, wipes, etc.) for all employees and students, and have sufficient ongoing supply to have confidence in replacement stock being available.
  5. Comply with all local government (DC, MD and VA) phased opening requirements 
  6. Have approval from the District of Columbia on its reopening plan, which includes the above metrics.

Decisions will be based on key sources of information and input:

  • guidance from the CDC and DC Health,

  • Gallaudet’s COVID-19 guiding principles that continue to inform our decisions and actions throughout this pandemic experience, and

  • guidance and best practices from school districts and state departments of education in the Washington metropolitan area and across the nation.

Phase 2: Hybrid Learning and Campus Operations

Hybrid learning may take a number of forms. Any of the following possible hybrid plans would consider the needs of students, families, and employees in high risk* categories. Staffing considerations and availability to teach students both on campus and online simultaneously will also be a factor:

  • Two-Day Rotation—Fifty percent (50%) of the KDES population, divided by age and department, is transported to KDES by bus on Mondays and Wednesdays to participate in on-campus learning. These students also receive virtual support or independent work on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The other 50 percent of students receive virtual support on Mondays and Wednesdays, and they participate in on-campus learning on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On weeks where one day (usually Mondays) is a holiday, Fridays may be used instead. 

  • Alternate Weeks (A/B week)—Fifty percent (50%) of the KDES population, divided by age and department, participates in on-campus learning for four consecutive days during a given week. The following week, they participate in distance learning or independent work while the other 50 percent physically attends school. 

  • Half-Day Attendance —Fifty percent (50%) of the KDES population participates in on-campus learning in the mornings, and the other 50 percent participates in on-campus learning in the afternoons. 

  • After School Program (ASP)—During remote and hybrid learning periods, ASP activities will not take place on campus. ASP activities will be provided through remote instruction on Fridays during weeks with five school days.

  • Flexible Grouping —A consideration in planning hybrid instruction will be the frequent use of flexible grouping at KDES. Due to the relatively small number of students, KDES uses a flexible grouping approach to assigning students to classes. This means that students within a class frequently are not all at the same grade level, and students may be in different groups with different teachers based on the instructional content area. A student may be with a different teacher and different students for English/Language Arts than they are for math. This impacts both the number of individuals a student is exposed to and the ability to bring students back in a manner that allows a limited number of students in every grouping. 

These options would each allow greater physical distancing on the KDES school buses, in classrooms, and in public areas (including the cafeteria). Determining the most viable hybrid education model will include considerations for available staffing, transportation routing, and grade-level groupings and educational needs. 

Please note that in any of the above models, during identified Fridays in September, students in grades 3-8 would rotate coming to school via bus to participate in diagnostic assessments.

Phase 3: Adapted Face-to-Face Learning and Working on Campus

Please see page 17 for more information.

*People in high-risk categories are those identified by the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/index.html) as being individuals who need to take extra precautions due to being at higher risk for severe illness.

The considerations below focus on the impact of community-imposed safety concerns and restrictions:

  • National Program—MSSD draws students from all over the United States and its territories. This results in multiple considerations:

    • The COVID-19 virus has had a disparate impact on states throughout the country. New York and New Jersey, for instance, have had very high numbers of cases, and a large percentage of MSSD students come from these states. A spike in cases in one area could lead to sudden travel restrictions in that area. 

    • Many MSSD students are a plane, train, or bus ride away from campus. While many airlines, railways, and bus companies have established mask use requirements, it is undeniable that being in close proximity in airports or train stations and on planes, trains, and buses could contribute to virus transmission.

  • Student and Employee Transportation—As a non-neighborhood school, MSSD also has many students who commute via public transportation as well as a significant number of personnel who rely on public transit to reach campus. Guidelines and restrictions on public transit are still evolving. 

  • Regional Employee Base—MSSD draws employees from two states and the District of Columbia. While these three areas have worked to coordinate their responses, there are differences in the stay-at-home directives and the reopening plans in relation to phased openings for businesses, activities, and schools. Even if all three jurisdictions decide to return students to in-school learning this fall, a spike in cases in one jurisdiction may lead to sudden restrictions in that area, leading to a number of students and teachers/staff from that area again being under shelter-in-place orders. This potential for mixed attendance would have a significant impact on all aspects of school operations, starting with bus transportation and continuing through instructional provision. 

  • Safety Precautions—In regard to safety precautions encouraged by the CDC and individual states, it is possible that guidelines recommend that everyone in school buildings wear masks. Requiring all students to wear masks for a seven-hour school day may be difficult for them. Additionally, masks covering the face, while protective, also serve as a barrier to communication for students who rely fully on ASL, which employs mouth morphemes and facial expressions to convey meaning, and for students who benefit from reading lip movements. Finally, for individuals who have asthma or other respiratory issues, extended mask wearing might not be supported by their medical providers. 

  • Residential Program—The vast majority of MSSD students are residential. Maintaining social distancing procedures in communal living quarters presents unique challenges. Even if students are required to stay on campus full time, they will have ongoing interaction with employees who come and go from campus and are potential sources of virus transmission. The Clerc Center is looking at precautions that will also be needed for communal restrooms and the possibility of reducing occupancy to one student per dorm room. Under current CDC guidelines, students should wear masks at all times. The challenges are clear in expecting high school students to wear masks all hours of the day except for those spent sleeping, both in terms of comfort and communication that requires reading facial expressions and/or lip movements. Additionally, continuous mask use is not the best possible scenario, or even a possible scenario, for students with asthma or other respiratory issues. 

  • Coverage for Teacher/Staff Absences—A significant percentage of the staff employed by the Clerc Center (e.g., substitute teachers, substitute dorm staff, After School Program staff) are Gallaudet students. If Gallaudet University remains online in the fall, resources to support coverage during teacher/staff absences may be limited.

As stated above, MSSD will follow a phased plan for returning to on-campus living and learning.

Phase 1: Remote Teaching, Learning, and Working

Phase 1 began on April 20, 2020, when the Clerc Center @Home learning portal was launched. It continued through the end of the 2019-2020 academic year (June 5, 2020) and is set to continue through the Extended School Year (ESY) program (June 15-July 2) as well.

 

Criteria to Advance to Phase 2

To move from Phase 1 to Phase 2, Gallaudet University, the Clerc Center, and Washington, D.C., must be able to meet several public health and medical requirements. They include, at a minimum, these Tier One criteria. Gallaudet and the Clerc Center must:

  1. Establish a partnership to provide COVID-19 testing to employees and students on an agreed upon schedule with 24 hour result reporting.
  2. Have systems and personnel in place to provide contact tracing - if someone tests positive for COVID-19, the system needs to be able to identify who that person has been in contact with so those individuals can also self-quarantine and be tested.
  3. Establish isolation protocols and facilities for anyone who is ill.
  4. Procure sufficient masks and other Personal Protective Equipment and supplies (e.g. hand sanitizer, wipes, etc.) for all employees and students, and have sufficient ongoing supply to have confidence in replacement stock being available.
  5. Comply with all local government (DC, MD and VA) phased opening requirements 
  6. Have approval from the District of Columbia on its reopening plan, which includes the above metrics.

Decisions will be based on key sources of information and input:

  • guidance from the CDC and DC Health,

  • Gallaudet’s COVID-19 guiding principles that continue to inform our decisions and actions throughout this pandemic experience, and

  • guidance and best practices from school districts and state departments of education in the Washington metropolitan area and across the nation.

Phase 2: Hybrid Learning, Campus Living, and Campus Operations

Hybrid living and learning may take a number of forms. Any of the following possible hybrid plans would consider the needs of students, families, and employees in high risk* categories. The options below differ from the KDES hybrid options due to the national and residential nature of the MSSD program.

  • Return to Campus by Class/Grade Level —In order to gradually increase campus occupancy, we may consider returning students to campus by grade level. This would allow us to increase density on campus as space is available to maintain physical distancing requirements as they evolve over time. However, this would also require us to ensure teachers and staff are able to provide both on-campus and remote instruction and services to different groups of students simultaneously.

 

    • Consideration in Planning Instruction Related to Class Enrollment—This option is made more complex by the fact that almost all classes at MSSD comprise students from multiple grade levels. A student may be with a different teacher and different students for English/Language Arts than they are for math. This impacts both the number of individuals a student is exposed to and the ability to bring students back in a manner that allows a limited number of students in every grouping. 

  • Increased Radius for Residential Eligibility —MSSD’s capacity for on-campus residency is 160 with two students per room and 80 for single occupancy. While there may be housing available on the Gallaudet campus, the University may be facing the same challenge with allowing students to maintain social distancing in the dorms. Requiring students who are able to commute to school to do so would allow more students to return to on-campus learning by ensuring sufficient dormitory space for all residential students.

The Clerc Center has made the decision to delay the acceptance of new students for academic year 2020-2021 in order to ensure current students can return to campus with sufficient residential availability. The ability to consider a hybrid learning model for MSSD will also depend on the ability to:

  • Comply with all current and upcoming CDC/WHO recommendations, including any possible antibody test, vaccine use, or any other medical, health, and safety recommendations or requirements.

  • Establish and adhere to strict social distancing and safety rules for all dorm residents. Students who do not adhere to these rules or general Code of Conduct expectations will not be permitted to remain in the dorm. 

  • Reduce crowding in communal areas by:

    • establishing laundry room schedules;
    • closing or limiting the use of computer labs and lounging areas;
    • re-envisioning cafeteria schedules for all meals to limit the number of students in the cafeteria at any given time;
    • removal of sofas, blocking off bench areas in the Eagle Zone, and setting strict occupancy limits in the Eagle Zone and all other social areas;
    • establishing schedules for communal restroom use, especially in the mornings before school opens and in the evenings in the time leading up to lights-off; and 
    • reviewing all extracurricular activities, including athletics and off-campus travel, to ensure compliance with all social distancing and health and safety recommendations. 

Phase 3: Adapted Face-to-Face Learning and Working on Campus

Please see page 17 for more information. 

*People in high-risk categories are those identified by the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/index.html) as being individuals who need to take extra precautions due to being at higher risk for severe illness.

The Clerc Center is working to ensure high-quality remote instruction by:

  • providing tailored professional learning to improve teacher skills in the area of online instruction; 

  • assessing student learning and needs without formal in-person assessment tools;

  • working to overcome licensing and service provision challenges for speech-language, occupational therapy, and physical therapy services;

  • supporting individual students’ remote learning needs through the IEP process; and

  • collaborating with families to provide the resources and tools to support their children with both remote learning (school-based) and learning at home (family-based).

Professional Learning

The Clerc Center is developing a series of professional development opportunities for teachers and staff focused on high-quality bilingual instruction as well as on the needs of students and families during this period of remote learning. The responses to two surveys—one for employees and one for families—will guide the design of our professional development weeks. This section will be updated with specifics as they are finalized.

Additionally, a key goal of all professional development and other activities related to remote learning is to ensure KDES and MSSD personnel are ready to immediately pivot to remote learning again if the need arises after a return to on-campus learning. 

Support Services (SLP, OT, PT)

The Clerc Center is unique in its mission to serve deaf and hard of hearing students from both schools in multiple states. Our service providers are all licensed to provide services in the District of Columbia, which allows therapists to provide services to students physically located there. Our Student Services department, which oversees all speech-language, occupational, and physical therapy services, has been working closely with state licensing boards to obtain temporary waivers for service providers to provide services in Maryland and Virginia. We are exploring the possibility of paying for providers to obtain licenses in Maryland and Virginia to increase the number of students we can serve at this time. Students who do not live in Maryland, Virginia, or the District of Columbia will not be able to receive speech-language, occupational, or physical therapy IEP-based services during periods of remote learning.

A resource document will be distributed to students who use KDES and MSSD speech-language and audiology services to help them find local clinics for support when needed (e.g., if a hearing aid needs to be repaired). Services that do not have state-specific licensing requirements, such as school counseling, will continue for students in all states.

This section will be updated as decisions are finalized.

Individualized Education Program (IEP) Process: Reflecting Remote Learning Needs

KDES and MSSD have begun the process of ensuring individual students’ needs during periods of remote learning are reflected in their IEPs. This entails a review of each student’s progress and performance during the recent period of remote learning to identify additional areas of need that stem from participating in remote learning instead of on-campus learning. 

Regardless of whether students physically return to school in August or continue with remote learning, there are several areas of social-emotional support that students and families may need. There may also be additional physical and academic considerations.

School Support: Re-Entry

To better support students and their families in the transition back to school in August, regardless of the model, KDES and MSSD administrators, teachers, and staff will do the following:

  • Develop re-entry procedures for students. 
  • Participate in professional development activities for teacher, staff, and student re-entry with a focus on the emotions and thoughts that students may be experiencing (e.g., one aim is to identify students in need of interventions for depression, anxiety, fear, and loss). 
  • Create systems for each model—in-class learning, hybrid, and remote—to ensure students receive the support and interventions they need regardless of their physical location. 
  • Develop a system in which school counselors, psychologists, and social workers are available to help review and assess student work for signs of abuse, neglect, or depression.

Family Support

  • Visit or contact families who need information and support regarding health, food, shelter, and other community services.
  • Refer families to community agencies for resources.
  • Host virtual parent support discussions organized by school personnel.
  • Meet with parents to discuss student needs and provide information to parents on how to talk to their children about COVID-19.
  • Create materials for parents regarding their fears and how to deal with those fears. Share materials with them on how to talk to their children about managing change and managing feelings during times of stress.
  • Invite parents to provide input and ideas on needed outreach and communication from the school.
  • Host a Parent Night for parents of students who are transitioning to a new department (e.g., elementary to middle school, middle to high school). 
  • When it is time to return to on-campus instruction, school personnel will hold forums to address parents’ questions and concerns about letting their children go back to school and share precautions taken in all schools. 

This section will be updated after analysis of parent survey results is completed.

Student Support: Distance Learning Model

  • Provide ongoing remote support to students either through documented IEP services or informal remote discussions, meetings, or gatherings that allow for emotional well-being checks.
  • Provide activities that help students learn ways to provide support to others remotely or with safe distancing.
  • Help students prepare emotionally for additional time in remote learning if there is not a clear date for physical return to classes.
  • Hold online transition ceremonies for students moving up a grade level or between KDES and MSSD and for mid-year accomplishments (e.g., honor roll) to ensure their achievements do not go unrecognized.
  • Check in with students with known anxiety and fear concerns, and ensure counseling is provided as needed. Monitor all students for newly emerging anxiety or fear as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Provide age-appropriate information and support to students related to their anxiety, fears, and loss. 
  • Provide a virtual orientation to MSSD for students moving up from eighth grade to the high school. 

Student Support: On-Campus or Hybrid Learning Model

  • Provide ongoing documented IEP services as well as informal well-being checks; identify students in need of additional support and refer as needed. 
  • Check in with students with known anxiety and fear concerns, and ensure counseling is provided as needed. Refer students to outside agencies as needed. 
  • Plan ahead by preparing students emotionally for a quick return to distance learning if they are currently on campus either full or part time.
  • Provide age-appropriate information and support to students related to their anxiety, fears, and feelings of loss. 
  • Provide an on-campus orientation to KDES honorees entering ninth grade at MSSD when it is safe to do so.

Support for School Personnel

  • Plan a system for consultations with teachers as students return, regardless of model, to identify classroom interventions for individual students as appropriate. 
  • Provide support in developing class guidance lessons that present opportunities for discussion and working through feelings of stress and anxiety or struggling to manage change.
  • Conduct classroom and dorm visits to observe adult behaviors, and look for signs of stress or anxiety. Refer adults for support as needed. 
  • Provide staff support to teachers in teaching or co-teaching social-emotional strategies to help students adjust to the changes in their environments. 
  • Provide consultative support from school counselors, psychologists, and social workers in assessing student work for signs of abuse, neglect, or depression.
  • Provide planning support to teachers who have students with behavioral concerns as well as support in identifying root causes and addressing those causes.

For the health and safety of all community members, including our students, it is critical that each of us understands and adheres to health precautions, including all hygiene procedures and distancing expectations. The criteria for moving from Phase 2 to Phase 3 will be developed and communicated.

KDES and MSSD are planning for a return to on-campus living, learning, and working in an environment altered by the need for social distancing and all other safeguards related to COVID-19 by doing the work in the below tables.

Recommended Safeguards

The Clerc Center is also working to adopt the following specific safeguards outlined below as we consider transitioning to Phase 2 or Phase 3.

Type of Activity

Additional Safeguards

Traveling to and from schools

  • Limit student interaction on transportation with assigned seating.
  • Limit parents entering the buildings; escort younger students to parent pick-up parking as needed.
  • Revise procedures for parent drop-off to maintain social distancing and limit building circulation.
  • Provide training for bus drivers and monitors on hygiene and sanitation procedures.
  • Ensure pre-and post-trip cleaning of high-contact areas on buses.
  • Implement procedures for ensuring bus drivers and monitors are healthy before boarding the bus and students do not have a fever or cough before boarding the bus.

Outside events

  • Convert field trips and other scheduled school-wide or class outings to virtual activities.
  • Cancel sports tryouts, practices, and games until further guidance is issued from public health officials. 
  • Define and eliminate nonessential travel for staff and teachers.

Entering and exiting school

  • Adjust how students, teachers, and staff enter school buildings. 
  • Open additional doors for entry and exit if needed.
  • Control and sequence disembarking of school buses or dismissal from the dorm to limit the number of students entering school buildings at any one time. Reverse these procedures at the end of the school day.
  • Consider the feasibility of conducting health and symptom screenings as students, teachers, and staff enter each day.
  • Create clear space delineations for student and employee lines as people enter and exit.

Classrooms and hallways

  • Reconfigure school activities to facilitate safe distances:
  • Rearrange desks so there is a minimum distance of 6 feet between them.
  • Implement one-way pathways in hallways using stickers or tape to show people where and in which direction to walk.
  • Repurpose large spaces such as gymnasiums and libraries for student learning.
  • If the cafeteria must be used, stagger lunchtime into groups of students from the same classroom cohort and disinfect in between or hold breakfast and lunch in student classrooms.

Athletics and activities

  • Add specific guidance related to returning to sports as it is developed. Guidance will need to align with all applicable league guidance.
  • Review all after-school activities for both KDES and MSSD to ensure compliance with health and safety guidelines.

Limiting outside interactions/ avoiding unnecessary external factors

  • Revise the process for receiving mail and packages.
  • Reduce or prevent outside visitors, including families, from entering all school buildings, including the dorm.
  • Develop procedures for screening outside visitors who must enter Clerc Center buildings to confirm they are following all precautions. 
  • Encourage or require all parent-teacher conferences to be held virtually.
  • Review all positions and all work in all Clerc Center units to identify individuals who could continue to telework for any part of the work week to reduce the number of people in Clerc Center buildings.

Maintaining a healthy environment

  • Implement schoolwide healthy strategies: 
    • Increase the frequency of full school cleaning and disinfecting efforts.
    • Make hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies readily available.
    • Pre-package meals, including silverware, napkins, and seasonings, or serve meals individually plated.
    • Require all individuals in Clerc Center buildings to wear face masks per guidance from DC Health.
      • Consider health impacts and recommendations for length of time masks are recommended for various ages and those with breathing difficulties. 
    • Remove shared supplies and instead provide all students with their own classroom supplies and materials.
  • Establish a policy that if a household member has a pending COVID-19 test, the student/staff should remain at home until receipt of results:
    • Develop a communication plan for this policy that includes visible reminders posted in the school buildings and frequent reminders sent to all Clerc Center personnel, students, and families. 
  • Develop procedures for sending symptomatic personnel and students home.
  • Designate a separate area away from all activities and away from areas used for regular health care for students, teachers, or staff who begin exhibiting symptoms after they have arrived and spent some time at school or work. (Individuals who feel even mildly ill or have any symptoms prior to arrival will need to return home and remain there until it is safe for them to return.) This area will need to be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as long as dorm students are in residence. 
  • Close or restrict common areas such as staff break rooms. 
  • Educate students on proper health strategies:
    • Have students wash or sanitize their hands when entering and exiting a classroom and between activities; install sanitizer dispensers in additional locations throughout all buildings.
    • Enforce a “you touch it, you take it” policy. 
    • Have teachers reinforce the proper cleanliness techniques.
    • Have tissues readily available in classrooms. 
    • Identify whether there is a need to install additional infrastructure to prevent cross-contamination, such as plexiglass shields or other physical barriers, in any building locations.
    • Install no-touch fixtures and equipment where possible.
  • Review locker use. Either eliminate locker use or establish procedures that allow locker use while maintaining social distancing and all other safety protocols.
  • Establish procedures and design an approach to physical education classes and locker room usage.
  • Establish restroom usage procedures that support distancing.
  • Post signage throughout all buildings to support hygiene practices and distancing.
  • Establish and implement cleaning procedures for all buildings.
  • Develop procedures for restocking cleaning and sanitization supplies for daily use in all spaces.
  • Ensure adequate supplies to support current distancing needs are available in all Clerc Center buildings and stock crisis supply spaces with additional supplies. 

Meetings of every type, school-wide events, and other routine school and work conferences

  • Establish guidelines for meetings and events routinely held as part of Clerc Center work:
    • All meetings—Establish guidelines that may include a limitation on the number of participants, including interpreters.
    • IEP meetings—Determine how to maintain distancing in IEP meeting spaces with larger IEP teams; explore continuing to use Zoom as a meeting tool after returning to on-campus learning.
    • Meetings and events hosted by National Service personnel, both with and without external guests—Determine how to maintain distancing and other safety protocols.
    • Tours and visitors—Review procedures with consideration for possibly suspending all tours and visitors other than Gallaudet University Board of Trustees and U.S. Department of Education liaisons and representatives until further notice.
  • Create alternative approaches to school-wide meetings and events hosted pre-COVID-19 that routinely involve having large numbers of people congregating in the same spaces.

Teacher/staff changes or shortages

  • Establish plans and protocols for teacher/staff shortages due to:
  • Teacher/staff illness, especially when using extreme caution with mild colds or cold-like symptoms. It will be critical for employees to monitor their health and use extreme caution with mild illnesses. 
  • Teacher/staff needing to use extended medical leave to care for sick family members or relatives.
  • Lack of Gallaudet students on campus to fill substitute teacher/staff roles.
  • Resignation or retirement.

Training and preparation: Students

  • Prepare clear information about hygiene and sanitation appropriate to each age group to be communicated with students and families in the weeks leading up to reopening.
  • Develop and disseminate virtual tours of the school buildings to show health and hygiene signage, established paths between locations with appropriate directional signage, and all other alterations to the physical environment of the schools that students need to know prior to their return. Share these virtual tours with students and their families.
  • Hold meetings with small groups of students upon building reopening that include tours through the school buildings to show how to maintain appropriate distancing.
  • Develop procedures for managing violations of hygiene, safety, and distancing guidelines. 

Training and preparation: Employees

  • Prepare clear information about hygiene and sanitation to be communicated with employees prior to a return to on-campus learning and working.
  • Develop and disseminate virtual tours of the school buildings to show health and hygiene signage, established paths between locations with appropriate directional signage, and all other alterations to the physical environment of the schools that employees need to know prior to their return. Share these virtual tours with employees. 
  • Provide professional development opportunities designed to improve remote learning and understand the new safety guidelines needed to implement social distancing effectively. 
  • Provide training on health risks and creating a school environment to lessen health risks, including expectations and procedures for what to do if the employees themselves or others (e.g., staff, visiting parents) present as sick or share concerns about their health or sanitation. 
  • Develop procedures for managing employee violations of hygiene, safety, and distancing guidelines. 

EQUITY CONSIDERATIONS

Students (in-person and remote learners)

  • Ensure all students have access to technology and the Internet, including technical support, during periods of remote learning.
  • Establish procedures for working with child care providers who take care of students while parents are at work to ensure those providers have the same information as parents/caretakers in regard to student needs for remote learning (e.g., quiet space, screens not visible to others to prevent possible FERPA violations).
  • Plan a system for ongoing outreach to remain in touch and ensure progress; require a first and second level of contact for each student, testing contact information at random to ensure delivery of material. 
  • Ensure safe travel to and from school. 
  • Facilitate safe school environments, including provision of PPE, etc.
  • Establish procedures for sending students home in cases of deliberate violations of hygiene, safety, and distancing procedures, and moving students to remote learning in situations of repeated intentional or careless violations, to protect all community members.
  • Explore feasibility of checking students’ health upon arrival at the bus stop or the school building, including possible temperature checks, and sending students home in cases of fever or cough. 

Teachers/staff

  • Provide PPE, hand sanitizer, and appropriate classroom setup to enforce physical distancing. 
  • Ensure safe travel to and from schools, provision of PPE, etc.
  • Allow dispensation for teachers who cannot be physically present in schools.

Families

  • Ensure safe travel for their children to and from schools. 
  • Provide training and support to help caregivers support the children’s needs, including technology needs.
  • Provide community-based support for other needs (e.g., recruiting tutors for additional needs).
  • Provide access to counselors for students and support opportunities or support groups for families.
  • Enable streamlined communications for caregivers that are translated for families for whom English is not their primary language.

Quick Glance: What Is Open in Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3

PHASE

Openings

Phase 1

  • All campus buildings will only be open to essential personnel. 
  • All instructional and work activities will be remote.
  • KDES After School Program (ASP) and MSSD special activities will be conducted remotely on Fridays during weeks with five school days.

Phase 2

  • Campus buildings, including the MSSD dorm, will only be open to personnel directly involved in student instruction/services and students** on assigned on-campus days. 
  • KDES bus transportation will be provided to students on assigned on-campus days.
  • KDES ASP and MSSD special activities will be conducted remotely on Fridays during weeks with five school days.
  • No athletic activities will take place.

Phase 3

Phase 3 will have multiple parts, with a gradual return to all instructional and work activities while maintaining all social distancing and other health protocols throughout:


  • Campus buildings, including the MSSD dorm, will only be open to personnel directly involved in student instruction/services and students.
  • At a later date (TBD), ASP activities will be provided for KDES students.
  • Athletics activities will take place on a phased schedule, possibly beginning with socially distanced drills and conditioning and prohibiting activities that require physical contact. Athletic competition will return at a later date (TBD) and continue to be subject to health and safety guidelines for athletes, coaches, and fans. Decisions will be guided in part by league affiliations.
  • Non-school-based staff will continue to work remotely longer to reduce the number of people in the buildings. 

Due to the CDC recommendation that children ages 2 and younger not wear masks, Parent-Infant Program classes and the 2-year-old class at KDES will continue remotely during Phase 2.