Preschool special education services during closure

Please see the letter that was sent to families on March 17, 2020:

March 17, 2020

Dear GCDS Families,

We have entered an unprecedented time in our community and country where we have been directed by the Department of Health and NYS Governor to close our schools in Guilderland until April 1, 2020. I wanted to share some information regarding the provision of preschool special education services. I am taking this directly from a memorandum sent to us from Albany County who operates and oversees preschool special education programs/services.  

Our first priority is to keep our population safe, healthy, and not expose others to the COVID-19 virus, particularly our medically at-risk individuals.  As some of you may or may not know, we have had a confirmed case of COVID-19 within our district and have closed all schools. You know your child best and should make the best decision based on the information you have at the time.  

Albany County has advised districts that it is their decision if students will attend center-based services if those center-based settings are still open.  It is our decision that parents will have the ability to send their child or continue to receive preschool services if their providers/centers are still open for business. We highly recommend that students stay home if they are symptomatic and/or at risk for complications.  Families should coordinate with their providers to determine if they will continue servicing your child during this time. 

Here are some FAQs:

TRANSPORTATION

Based on the guidelines from the CDC and NYS Department of Health, the following precautions are being implemented by the transportation company contracted to transport children to and from center-based programs.

Transportation employs staff dedicated to the cleaning of the buses/vans.  The established three to four-day clean cycle has been increased and additional staff has been hired to carry out this task.  The products used are those recommended by the CDC. Please visit the transportation company’s website for more information. https://rejha.com/covid-19-coronavirus-update

Transport to and from center-based program will be determined as follows: 

  • Center-based program closed: no transportation provided.
  • Center-based program is housed in a school district building and that school district is closed: no transportation.
  • Center-based program is housed in a building that is open: transportation will be provided.
  • Center-based program has more than one site; one open/one closed and the program wishes to have the children from the closed site attend an open one, transportation will not be provided (parents may self- transport without reimbursement).
  • Transportation drivers will not make determination as to a child’s fitness to travel    

CENTER-BASED PROGRAMS

Center-based programs determine whether to remain open or closed.  This information is disseminated via the same protocol as inclement weather school closing.  Programs notify the County so we can maintain a list of closing dates and forward this information as necessary.   

  • Center-based programs are responsible for notifying parents of their protocol to keep sick children home and to admitting service providers into the program.  
  • The transportation drivers will not make a determination as to whether a child can be transported. 
  • It is expected that the programs have necessary protocols as to how to handle the child once they arrive at the program.
  • Transportation may not be held up to retain a potentially ill child on the transportation vehicle.

RELATED SERVICE PROVIDERS

Home-Based 

Visits/Service or scheduling of appointments, all families should be asked the following three  questions:     

  1. Have you traveled to a country for which the CDC has issued a Level 2 or   3 travel designation within the last 14 days? 
  2. Have you had contact with any Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) for  COVID-19 within the last 14 days OR with anyone with known COVID-19?
  3. Do you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection (e.g. cough sore throat, fever, or shortness of breath)?

Please remember it is the decision of the parent to allow service to be rendered in their home and their decision is to be respected.  Call in advance before showing up.

Program-Based/Daycare 

When going into daycares/center-based programs, check for closings and adhere to the protocols for that site.  

If the daycare or center-based program is housed in a school district building that is closed, there will be no service provided to students at that site.

If a child is temporarily moved from a closed program site to one that is open, it is the responsibility of the program and the service provider to determine whether or not service can be accommodated at the new site.

Evaluations/ CPSE Meetings

If your child was undergoing an evaluation or had an upcoming meeting scheduled we will try and reschedule the meetings as soon as we can.  Evaluations will likely need to be rescheduled if evaluation sites are closed. For this week, we are on hold for rescheduling meetings. We may try and use video or phone conferencing for meetings if at all possible, but again we are on hold as no one in Guilderland is currently allowed to enter the buildings.  

Thank you for your time and consideration.  We hope that you remain safe and healthy during this time.  We will try and provide updates when we receive any new information. 

Please refer to our district website for any future updates.  

Albany County is also posting updates on responses to coronavirus

Sincerely,

Kellee deOlde
Instructional Administrator for Elementary and Preschool Special Education

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