• 12.0 Additional Mandatory NYSED Requirements

    General Health and Safety Assurances, pg. 47

    School districts or other applicable schools must follow all guidance related to health and safety. This will include meeting social distancing requirements and cleaning frequently touched spaces regularly to prevent spread of infection. These requirements will be addressed in more detail in other parts of the NYSED Re-Opening Guidance. The Facilities portion of the district’s, or other applicable school’s, reopening plan will seek assurance that school districts or other applicable schools will meet all requirements associated with building space related changes that they may elect to make.   

    Fire Code Compliance, pg. 47

    Changes or additions to facilities require review by the Office of Facilities Planning (OFP), since all spaces to be occupied by public school students and staff must meet the requirements of the 2020 New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (BC) and the State Energy Conservation Code. In their plans, districts or other applicable schools will provide assurances that, should alterations be made, districts and other applicable schools will submit the proposed changes to the OFP for review and approval - just as with any other project.   

    Doorways, pg. 47

    Many stairs and corridor doors have closers with automatic hold openings. These doors are normally held in the open position and are automatically released by the fire alarm system. The function, position, and operation of those doors must remain unchanged. Fortunately, they need not be touched during normal use.

    Inspections, pg. 47

    Statute has not been changed to provide an extension to the submission deadline for the Building Condition Survey or Visual Inspections. These deadlines must be met.

    Lead Testing due in 2020, pg. 48

    At present, the statutory requirement that lead testing occur in 2020 continues. NYS DOH regulation 67-4, Lead-In-Water Testing, DOH requires lead-in-water testing to be conducted when the building is “normally occupied.” Sampling should not be conducted when the building is vacant or has been vacant for an extended period due to COVID-19 closure. Simulation of “normally occupied operation” for the purpose of lead-in-water testing is not permitted. NYS DOH advises that schools follow recommended procedures to the extent possible to provide clean and safe drinking water upon reopening.

    Alcohol-based Hand Rub Dispensers, pg 48

    Districts or other applicable schools should assess each building’s capacity to provide adequate hand washing facilities and determine if the use of alcohol-based hand rub dispensers is required. Alcohol-based Hand-Rub Dispensers are permitted to be installed in rooms and corridors in limited quantities in accordance with FCNYS 2020 Section 5705.

    Plastic Separators, pg. 48

    The use of light-transmitting plastics is recommended in locations where social distance or mask requirements cannot be complied with or easily regulated. For example, to separate individual lavatory sinks from each other. Light-transmitting plastics must comply with 2020 BCNYS Section 2606 to mitigate the negative impact of life and safety features of a school.

    Changes to Space Utilization and/or Alterations, pg. 49-50

    If districts/schools expect to make space alterations to the physical space or the building, these items will be required: 

    • Alterations to the configuration of existing classrooms or spaces or the introduction of temporary and/or movable partitions, the change must be submitted to OFP, the local municipality and/or code enforcement officials for review.
    • Means of egress, fire alarm system, ventilation, and lighting may be affected and must be indicated on all submitted plans.
    • Consult your architect and submit floor plans to OFP for approval.
    • COVID-19 Projects shall be indicated as “COVID-19 Reopening” when submitted to the OFP. This will allow NYSED to expedite those reviews.
    • The installation of movable partitions (gym, cafeteria, Library classroom dividers) and queue barricades shall require an abbreviated submission consistent with the Form FP-AU Request for Approval of Use of a Facility.
    • Use of Cafeterias, Libraries, Auditoriums and Gymnasiums: A floor plan of the entire room showing the furniture layout with egress aisles shall be submitted to OFP for approval. Lighting, ventilation, means of egress, and fire alarm coverage must be indicated.

    Space Expansion,  pg. 50-51

    If districts or other applicable schools choose to expand their square footage in order to enable improved social distancing (e.g. building additions, lease space, transportable classroom units or spaces such as tents) the following requirements apply for all spaces to be occupied by school district staff and students:

    • Code Review: Per statute, NYSED’s Office of Facilities Planning must review and approve the above types of projects to ensure that the proposed spaces meet the fire code.
    • Offsite Lease Requirements:   For offsite facilities, the district or other applicable schools must contact their project manager at NYSED Office of Facilities Planning (OFP) and submit a Temporary Quarters (TQ) Project submission.

    To ensure that these sites meet all requirements, TQ submissions require submission of:

    • OFP Form FP_AU-Request for Approval of Use of a Facility;
    • architectural quality floor plan;
    • site plan;
    • AHERA Plan;
    • Fire Safety Report;
    • Confirmation of Americans with Disabilities Act compliance;
    • Local Code Authority Certificate of Occupancy; and
    • Approval of use of space.  
    • Please note – if a Change of Occupancy in the Existing Building Code applies (e.g. office or B-occupancy to E-occupancy) code requirements such as rescue windows; accessibility; fire protection systems such as sprinkler or emergency voice alarm communication systems; ventilation – may make it infeasible.  
    • Districts or other applicable schools should identify COVID-19 Projects as “COVID-19 Reopening” when required materials are submitted to OFP for review.  
    • Consult with OFP for a preliminary evaluation of all facilities under consideration for leasing. All leased facilities must be submitted to OFP for review and approval.

    Tents for Additional Space, pg. 51-52

    If tents are used as alternate spaces, then the following requirements apply:

    Tents, both temporary and permanent are regulated by code and must be submitted for a building permit.

    • Temporary structures and tents are those erected for 180 days or less. The Building Code Section 3103.1 indicates, “tents and membrane structures erected for a period of less than 180 days shall comply with the Fire Code of NYS”.
    • The Fire Code (FC) Chapter 31 contains extensive requirements for Tents and Other Membrane Structures. FC Section 3103.2 indicates that a permit and approval of temporary tents is required. FC Section 3103 contains requirements for temporary tents and Section 3104 has requirements for permanent tents. They include requirements for construction documents, access roads, location, seating plans, means of egress, illumination, exit signs, construction, use.
    • Permanent tents are considered a membrane structure and are regulated by Building Code Section 3102 and other applicable sections.
    • Districts or other applicable schools must consult their design professional to prepare submission drawings for approval by OFP.
    • The following information must be shown on the drawings: Dimensions, Minimum separation distance to other structures, Tent sides (yes) (no), Duration of use, Type of use/activity, Anchorage, Number of Exits, Width of each exit, Table/Chair/Contents, layout, Fire extinguisher Location, Occupant load, Heating or Cooking equipment, Utilities, Exit signs, NFPA 701 testing/label/certification.
    • If the tent is used for E-occupancy, consult with local municipalities and/or code enforcers to provide code-compliant design for mechanical heat and ventilation; lighting; emergency lighting; power; fire alarm; plumbing; etc. as required.
    • Districts or other applicable schools must consult their architect and submit to OFP for approval. The district, or other applicable school, must provide an architectural quality floor plan, which clearly indicates existing and proposed use of space showing the furniture layout with egress aisles. Lighting, ventilation, means of egress, and fire alarm coverage must be indicated.

    Plumbing Facilities and Fixtures, pg. 52

    • The number of toilet and sink fixtures must meet the minimum standards of the New York State Building Code. In order to ensure compliance, a design professional should be consulted prior to any modifications to layouts or number of fixtures.
    • All temporary facilities must be approved through the Office of Facilities Planning

    Drinking-Water Facilities, pg. 53

    Districts or other applicable schools may wish to reduce the number of drinking fountains available, in order to facilitate frequent cleaning. However, drinking fountains are a code required plumbing fixture. One fountain is required for each one hundred occupants. In the event drinking fountains need to be taken out of service, the following should be considered to provide potable drinking water to all occupants of the building: 

    • Drinking fountains may be replaced with units with bottle fillers.
    • Supplying students with bottled drinking water or water in disposable cups at specified locations is an acceptable alternative source.   

    Pupil Transportation Routing, pg. 63

    • If the school district is in session remotely or otherwise, pupil transportation must be provided to nonpublic, parochial, private, charter schools or students whose Individualized Education Plans have placed them out of district whose schools are meeting in in-person sessions when/ if the district is not;
    • All students are entitled to transportation by the district to the extent required by law. Transportation departments do not have the ability or the right to deny transportation for children who are in foster care, homeless or attend private or charter schools. Parents who may have missed the due date to request out of district transportation due to a reasonable excuse may file a 310 appeal with the Commissioner of Education.

    Attendance, pg. 82

    • Schools are responsible for developing a mechanism to collect and report daily teacher/student engagement or attendance regardless of the instructional setting.
    • Attendance of any school-age student of compulsory age, who resides in the district or is placed by a parent/guardian in another public school district, a charter school, or is placed by a district administrator or the CSE of the school district in educational programs outside the district (such as, another school district, BOCES, approved private in-State or out-of-State school, and State supported school) must be reported in SIRS. To date, the reporting of daily attendance of Prekindergarten students is not required;
    • Attendance must be reported by any reporting entity that is required to take attendance;
    • Resident students of compulsory age who were not in attendance in a public school, including charter schools, nonpublic school, or approved home schooling program in the current school year must be reported until they exceed compulsory school age, they no longer reside in the district, or the district has documentation that the student has entered another educational program leading to a high school diploma;
    • Students who drop out while still of compulsory school age must be kept on the school attendance register until they exceed compulsory school age or move out of the district.

    Early Learning (pre-K), pg. 91

    • Districts and schools operating Prekindergarten programs must include Prekindergarten in the mandatory requirements outlined under Teaching and Learning above.
    • All Prekindergarten programs that have a direct contract or a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NYSED must submit a Reopening Plan to the Office of Early Learning. Additional information on the format and submission requirements will be forthcoming.
    • Districts that contract with eligible agencies, including CBOs, to provide Prekindergarten programs must attest that they have measures in place to ensure eligible agencies with whom they contract will follow health and safety guidelines outlined in this guidance and required by the New York State Department of Health. The district must also ensure their eligible agencies have a Continuity of Learning plan that addresses in-person, remote, and hybrid models of instruction.

    Special Education, pg. 113

    • The school reopening plan, whether services are provided in-person, remote, and/or through a hybrid model, must address the provision of FAPE consistent with the need to protect the health and safety of students with disabilities and those providing special education and services.
    • The school reopening plan must address meaningful parent engagement in the parent’s preferred language or mode of communication regarding the provision of services to his/her child to meet the requirements of the IDEA.
    • The school reopening plan must address collaboration between the committees on preschool special education (CPSE) and committees on special education (CSE) and program providers representing the variety of settings where students are served to ensure there is an understanding of the provision of services consistent with the recommendations on individualized education programs (IEPs), plans for monitoring and communicating student progress, and commitment to sharing resources.
    • The school reopening plan must ensure access to the necessary accommodations, modifications, supplementary aids and services, and technology (including assistive technology) to meet the unique disability related needs of students.
    • The school reopening plan must address how it will document the programs and services offered and provided to students with disabilities as well as communications with parents, in their preferred language or mode of communication.

    Bilingual Education and World Languages, pg.  122-123

    • Qualifying schools that reopen using in-person or hybrid instruction will be required to complete the ELL identification process within 30 school days of the start of the school year for all students who enrolled during COVID-19 school closures in 2019-20, as well as all students who enroll during summer of 2020 and during the first 20 school days of the 2020-21 school year. After this 20day flexibility period, identification of ELLs must resume for all students within the required 10 school days of initial enrollment as required by Commissioner’s Regulations Part 154.
    • Provision of required instructional Units of Study must be provided to all ELLs based on their most recently measured English language proficiency level during in-person or hybrid instruction.
    • Maintain regular communication with the parents/guardians and other family members of ELLs to ensure that they are engaged in their children’s education during the reopening process Provide all communications for parents/guardians of ELLs in their preferred language and mode of communication.

    Teacher and Principal Evaluation System, pg. 131

    • Pursuant to Education Law 3012-d, each school district and BOCES must fully implement its currently approved APPR plans in each school year[1].

    Certification, Incidental Teaching, and Substitute Teaching, pg. 133

    • Pursuant to Education Law 3001, individuals employed to teach in New York State public schools must hold a valid certificate. School districts, BOCES, and charter schools can review the SIRS 329 Staff Certifications report, which is available in Cognos for authorized users, to ensure that teachers hold the appropriate certificates for their teaching assignments. This report is refreshed weekly and lists all valid certificates for all staff identified in the school district, BOCES, or charter school Staff Snapshot.

    [1]  Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order (202.39) related to APPR only suspended the requirement to complete APPRs for the 2019-20 school year.