WCSD 2021-22 Layered Mitigation Plan

Originally published: August 2021, updated September 15, 2021; updated November 19, 2021

As we look forward to a full return to in-person education in September, please know that the health and safety of our students, our staff and their families remains our top priority—in addition to maximizing opportunities for learning and extracurricular/athletics participation.

To do this, we must prepare for shifting rates of transmission of the COVID-19 virus and its variants throughout this school year.

Based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the NYS Department of Education, and Albany County Health Department officials, we have developed a plan for navigating the upcoming year. Recently, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that she plans to direct the New York State Department of Health to mandate universal masking in schools statewide.

Mitigation Protocols Prioritize Health and Safety of Students and Staff

Outlined below is a summary of the protocols we will follow in our schools beginning in September. This is a layered mitigation approach based on the local COVID-19 transmissions rate, as determined by the CDC.

“Layered mitigation” refers to coordinated health and safety measures designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19, as well as the recognition that different measures may be needed as the rate of community transmission of the virus changes in one direction or another. 

View/Download Print-Friendly COVID-19 Layered Mitigation Protocols: 2021-2022 Plan (updated 9/15)

COVID-19 VaccinesCOVID-19 TestingFace Masks (Indoors)Monitoring Community and School-Based TransmissionSocial Distancing (Indoors)School Visitors (Indoors/Outdoors)Facilities UseHandwashing, Hand Sanitizer and Respiratory EtiquetteContact Tracing and QuarantiningStaying Home When Sick (Staff and Students)Return to School/Work Protocols (following illness)Cleaning and DisinfectionCafeteriaRecess and Physical Education (Outdoors)Ventilation and Air QualityBus TransportationHigh-Risk Activities ─ Athletics & the Arts (Indoors)High-Risk Activities ─ Athletics & the Arts (Outdoors)

COVID-19 Vaccines

  • Low transmission — Encouraged.
  • Moderate transmission — Encouraged.
  • Substantial transmission — Strongly encouraged.
  • High transmission — Strongly encouraged.

COVID-19 Testing

  • Low transmission — No surveillance testing.
  • Moderate transmission — No surveillance testing.
  • Substantial transmission — Surveillance testing at 10% per week.
  • High transmission — Surveillance testing at 20% per week.

Face Masks (Indoors)

  • Low transmission—Encouraged for all.
  • Moderate transmission—Required by all at all times.
  • Substantial transmission—Required by all at all times.
  • High transmission—Required by all at all times.

Monitoring Community and School-Based Transmission

  • Low transmission — Ongoing.
  • Moderate transmission — Ongoing; weekly benchmark.
  • Substantial transmission — Ongoing; weekly benchmark.
  • High transmission — Ongoing; weekly benchmark.

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Social Distancing (Indoors)

  • Low transmission — Encouraged 3 feet physical distancing.
  • Moderate transmission — 3 feet physical distancing and masked.
  • Substantial transmission — 3 feet physical distancing and masked.
  • High transmission — 3 feet physical distancing and masked.

School Visitors (Indoors/Outdoors)

  • Low transmission — No restrictions.
  • Moderate transmission — Minimal restrictions.
  • Substantial transmission — Moderate restrictions: No unnecessary visitors; Limited “outside group” use of school facilities.
  • High transmission — Strict restrictions: No visitors; No “outside group” use of school facilities.

Facilities Use

  • Low transmission — No restrictions.
  • Moderate transmission — Minimal restrictions.
  • Substantial transmission —  Limited “outside group” use of school facilities. No concession stand use.
  • High transmission — Limited “outside group” use of school facilities. Must include Watervliet students and no concession stand use.

Handwashing, Hand Sanitizer and Respiratory Etiquette

  • Low transmission — Encouraged and expected.
  • Moderate transmission — Encouraged and expected.
  • Substantial transmission — Encouraged and expected.
  • High transmission — Encouraged and expected.

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Contact Tracing and Quarantining

The district will engage in contact tracing with ACDOH and follow applicable DOH protocols.

  • Low transmission — 6 feet close contact perimeter for more than 10 minutes and 10-day quarantine.
  • Moderate transmission — 6 feet close contact perimeter for more than 10 minutes and 10-day quarantine.
  • Substantial transmission — 6 feet close contact perimeter for more than 10 minutes and 10-day quarantine.
  • High transmission — 6 feet close contact perimeter for more than 10 minutes and 10-day quarantine.

Staying Home When Sick (Staff and Students)

  • Low transmission — All are instructed to stay home when sick.
  • Moderate transmission — All are instructed to stay home when sick.
  • Substantial transmission — All are instructed to stay home when sick.
  • High transmission — All are instructed to stay home when sick.

Return to School/Work Protocols (following illness)

  • Low transmission — Per Albany County Health Department protocols.
  • Moderate transmission — Per Albany County Health Department protocols.
  • Substantial transmission — Per Albany County Health Department protocols.
  • High transmission — Per Albany County Health Department protocols.

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Cleaning and Disinfection

  • Low transmission — Daily routine cleaning.
  • Moderate transmission — Daily routine cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces.
  • Substantial transmission — Daily routine cleaning and disinfection moderate and high-touch surfaces.
  • High transmission — Daily routine cleaning and disinfection moderate and high-touch surfaces.

Cafeteria

  • Low transmission — No restrictions.
  • Moderate transmission — 6 feet distancing encouraged and masks except when eating.
  • Substantial transmission — 6 feet distancing required and masks except when eating.
  • High transmission — 6 feet distancing required and masks except when eating.

Recess and Physical Education (Outdoors)

  • Low transmission — No restrictions.
  • Moderate transmission — No restrictions.
  • Substantial transmission — Social distancing encouraged.
  • High transmission — Social distancing and masks required.

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Ventilation and Air Quality

  • Low transmission — Increased fresh air circulation (mechanical, open windows, open doors).
  • Moderate transmission — Increased fresh air circulation (mechanical, open windows, open doors).
  • Substantial transmission — Increased fresh air circulation (mechanical, open windows, open doors).
  • High transmission — Increased fresh air circulation (mechanical, open windows, open doors).

Bus Transportation

  • Low transmission — Face masks required at all times.
  • Moderate transmission — Face masks required at all times.
  • Substantial transmission — Face masks required at all times.
  • High transmission — Face masks required at all times.

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High-Risk Activities ─ Athletics & the Arts (Indoors)

  • Low transmission — No restrictions.
  • Moderate transmission — Masks for participants and spectators; 3 feet social distancing for spectators; Limited spectators; Bell covers for band; Weekly Surveillance Rapid (10%) Testing for unvaccinated students in high-risk sports.
  • Substantial transmission — Masks for participants and spectators; 3 feet social distancing for spectators; 2 spectators per participant; Bell covers for band; Weekly Surveillance Rapid (20%) Testing for unvaccinated students in high-risk sports.
  • High transmission — Masks for participants and spectators; 6 feet social distancing for spectators; 50% capacity for vaccinated spectators (proof of vaccination required: Excelsior Pass, vaccination card, or signed doctor’s note indicating date of full vaccination AND photo ID); Bell covers for band; Vaccination or medical exemption for eligible students participating in high-risk extracurricular sports; Weekly Surveillance Rapid (all) Testing for unvaccinated students in high-risk sports.

High-Risk Activities ─ Athletics & the Arts (Outdoors)

  • Low transmission — No restrictions.
  • Moderate transmission — 3 feet social distancing for spectators; Weekly Surveillance Rapid (10%) Testing for unvaccinated students in high-risk sports.
  • Substantial transmission — Masks encouraged for participants and spectators; 3 feet social distancing for spectators; Limited spectators per participant; Weekly Surveillance Rapid (20%) Testing for unvaccinated students in high-risk sports.
  • High transmission — Masks required for participants and spectators; 6 feet social distancing for spectators; 50% capacity for vaccinated spectators (proof of vaccination required: Excelsior Pass, vaccination card, or signed doctor’s note indicating date of full vaccination AND photo ID); Vaccination or medical exemption for eligible students participating in high-risk extracurricular sports; Weekly Surveillance Rapid (all) Testing for unvaccinated students in high-risk sports.

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Indicators

Low Transmission

  • Total new cases per 100,000 persons in the past 7 days: 0-9.99
  • Percentage of NAAT (NUCLEIC ACID AMPLIFICATION TEST – COVID test) that are positive during the past 7 days: 0 – 4.99%

Moderate Transmission

  • Total new cases per 100,000 persons in the past 7 days: 10 – 49.99
  • Percentage of NAATs (NUCLEIC ACID AMPLIFICATION TEST – COVID test) that are positive during the past 7 days: 5 – 7.99%

Substantial Transmission

  • Total new cases per 100,000 persons in the past 7 days: 50 – 99.99
  • Percentage of NAATs (NUCLEIC ACID AMPLIFICATION TEST – COVID test) that are positive during the past 7 days: 8 – 9.99%

High Transmission

  • Total new cases per 100,000 persons in the past 7 days: ≥ 100
  • Percentage of NAATs (NUCLEIC ACID AMPLIFICATION TEST – COVID test) that are positive during the past 7 days: ≥ 10.0%