Welcome to our COVID-19 response page. Below you’ll find all the critical information about how PS 178 is changing the way we operate to reduce the risk of COVID infection. We are doing everything we can to make sure staff, students, and families are safe. Please check back regularly, as we will update the information here as conditions change. For letters sent to parents and updates directly from PS 178, sign up to receive emails at the bottom of this page.
Guidance Regarding Use of Face Coverings
Guidance Regarding Use of Face Coverings
Unless they have an approved medical exemption, all staff, students, and visitors over the age of two years old entering a New York City Department of Education (DOE) school building MUST wear a face covering in accordance with this guidance. Face coverings must be worn both indoors and outdoors when on DOE school grounds, regardless of COVID-19 vaccine status. As discussed below, developmentally appropriate efforts will be made to increase face covering adherence and tolerance for all students as needed.
What Is a Face Covering?
For the purposes of this guidance, a face covering is any well-secured cloth covering or disposable mask that covers a person’s nose and mouth and is worn to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Acceptable face coverings include but are not limited to cloth-based face coverings (e.g., homemade, sewn, or quick-cut masks), and disposable surgical masks that cover both the mouth and nose.
Student Non-Compliance with Face Coverings
During the COVID-19 pandemic, and consistent with the determination by the New York State Commissioner of Health, all persons entering a New York City Department of Education (DOE) building must wear a face covering, unless they have an approved medical exemption (see appendix) or are unable, due to a disability, to tolerate wearing a mask. As part of a public health mandate, face coverings must be worn both indoors and outdoors when on DOE grounds, regardless of COVID-19 vaccine status. Face coverings may be removed for eating, drinking, or a mask break.
Family or student disagreement with the face covering requirement is not an acceptable basis for relaxation of the face covering requirement. In general, schools must emphasize supporting students towards improving mask tolerance using age and developmentally appropriate strategies.
Consistent with our approach to supporting positive behavior in other contexts, any disciplinary measures related to face covering wearing should only be considered after all available supports and interventions have been attempted. Examples of proactive approaches to teach and reinforce compliance with face covering requirements include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Use engaging, student friendly lessons to teach appropriate face covering practices;
- Embed face covering compliance in existing SEL lessons to support positive decision making;
- Empower students to share rationale and benefits to wearing face coverings consistently;
- Proactively prompt and remind students to wear or adjust face coverings as needed;
- Establish and implement non-verbal cues to serve as face covering reminders;
- Provide frequent positive reinforcement for compliance, meeting or exceeding the recommended ratio of 3:1 positive reinforcement to corrective feedback;
- Use brief, respectful redirection when students demonstrate non-compliance;
- Increase the ratio of positive feedback for students who demonstrate greater difficulty with compliance;
- Leverage positive relationships, student conferencing, restorative conversations, and other non-punitive strategies to reset expectations and identify a path towards compliance; and,
- Positively engage families as partners by distributing face compliance policies and sharing class strategies for supporting a healthy and safe environment.
Supporting Students with Wearing a Face Covering
Students who do not comply with the face covering requirement for reasons not based on a documented medical impairment must be supported by their school community to meet compliance.
Students with Disabilities
For a student with a significant disability that limits their tolerance for wearing a face covering, schools should provide additional support, as described below. This support should be provided based on the school’s experience with the student, knowledge of the student’s needs (for example, if the student’s disability, as documented on the student’s Individualized Education Program or Section 504 Plan is the cause for the student’s inability to tolerate a face covering), and considering any additional documentation or information shared by the parent/ guardian:
- Inform the parent/ guardian that the expectation is for students to wear face coverings throughout the school day as much as possible—with provided mask breaks—and that students will receive training and instruction on increasing their tolerance of wearing face coverings.
- Provide a face covering upon entry to school and instruct students on how to wear it.
- If a student removes the face covering, the student should be reminded to wear the face covering. If a student is unable to wear their face covering, the student should be given a mask break, which may take place indoors in a well-ventilated area, while ensuring that other students maintain at least six feet of distance. The mask break can last longer than five minutes at the discretion of the teacher or provider, as appropriate for the student’s needs.
Students with significant disabilities that limit their tolerance for wearing a face covering are not subject to the use of the disciplinary measures outlined below in the “Repeated Refusal to Wear a Face Covering” section.
In addition to the proactive approaches described above, school staff may use the following strategies, among others, to support students in consistently wearing a face covering.
- Have an adult/ teacher in the school building speak with the student to address the importance of wearing a face covering during the school day.
- Should the student still refuse to wear a face covering, the teacher must immediately engage the school counselor and/or social worker; the school counselor/ social worker must immediately meet with the student and contact the parent/ guardian to discuss concerns.
- Should the student still refuse to wear a face covering, the school counselor/ social worker must immediately notify the school administration; a school administrator must immediately meet with the student to discuss the importance of wearing a face covering.
Safety information for PS178
Our school has implemented a number of changes to ensure everyone's safety.
Your Responsibilities While In The Building
We have put safety procedures in place to keep our students and staff healthy.
Masks: Masks must be worn at all times by all adults (teachers, staff, and visitors) and by all students. If your child is unable to wear a mask for medical reasons, please speak to our parent coordinator, Millie Santos.
Handwashing: Students and staff are expected to wash hands thoroughly before and after eating, after using the bathroom, if exposed to body fluids (like saliva or a sneeze), and at other times necessary throughout the day.
Drop-off and pickup procedures: Please maintain social distancing between families during drop-off and pickup. Parents are not allowed to enter the building with their child unless arrangements have been made in advance with the office. Please move through the drop-off and pickup line as quickly as possible to make room for families behind you.
Visiting our school: We are limiting visitors to the school during this time. Parent and community volunteer and in-person tutoring have been suspended until further notice. Most parent-teacher conferences and other meetings can be held virtually. All visits must be pre-approved and scheduled with the office.
While in the building: When you enter the building, please check in at the front desk. During check-in, you will be given a nametag and reminded to wear your mask at all times.
Traffic flow in hallways and common areas: Hallways are marked with arrows. Please keep at least 6 ft. distance between yourself and others.
Illness: Students and staff exhibiting signs of illness or having a fever of greater than 99.9°F must stay home. If you or someone you know has COVID-19 (or shows symptoms of COVID-19 such as coughing or fever), it is required that you stay home or at a designated care facility for a minimum of 14 days. Please contact us via phone or email as soon as possible.
Directions for local COVID testing: Please visit the NYS Coronavirus Find a Test Site page to find a test site closest to you.
Any visitor must complete a health screening form when entering the building.
Safety Precautions Taken By Our School
In addition to asking everyone to wear masks, wash hands, and maintain social distancing, our school has taken several steps to improve the safety of our staff and students. These steps have been recommended by local health authorities to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and other illnesses.
Changes in class sizes: We've reduced the average class capacity to a range of 9-12 people for in-person instruction.
Improvements in ventilation: In an effort to maximize air circulation, we are opening windows whenever possible and have updated the filters and HVAC and ventilation systems in our building.
Increases in cleaning frequency: Our custodial team is committed to cleaning all classrooms twice daily, once before the school day and once in the afternoon. In addition, all classroom teachers have been provided with sanitizing wipes to wipe down surfaces and shared resources on an as-needed basis throughout the school day.
Hand sanitation: All bathrooms have been stocked with extra soap for frequent hand washing. In addition, we have provided teachers with hand sanitizer for the classroom and added hand sanitizer stations in common areas.
Technology: Getting a Device and Internet Access
We are committed to making sure that all students can successfully connect to online learning during their at-home learning days.
Borrowed devices should be used for school purposes only and kept in a secure location.
If you are using your own device, make sure you inform your teacher to make sure your device can use all of the apps needed for your class.
If you do not have internet access at home, Spectrum is providing free connection for families. One or more members of your household must be a recipient of one of the following assistance programs:
National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of the NSLP
Supplemental Security Income (for applicants age 65+ only)
If you are not able to get internet hooked up in your home, your child's teacher will work with you to provide alternative offline assignments.
If you are having trouble connecting to any of our online learning resources or have issues with your device, contact the IT department for technical support by calling 718-935-5100 or filling out an Assistance Request Form.
The 2021-2022 School Year offers only In-Person Learning
Students needing extra academic support will receive information about services at the start of the school year.
- Families who are unable to participate in in-person learning must reach out to the NY Department of Education or visit the Health and Safety page on the NYC Department of Education website for more information.
- The school day will run from 8:20 a.m. - 2:35 p.m. Students will be eating breakfast and lunch in the classroom. Please allow additional time for safety protocols we have implemented to reduce the risk of infection.
Students receiving remote instruction must access remote learning content through Google Classroom on remote asynchronous instruction days. Please refer to the NYC Department of Education 2021-2022 School Year Calendar to see which days will be remote.
If you need assistance setting up your student’s account, please reach out to your child’s teacher or PS178’s parent coordinator, Millie Santos at MSantosRod@schools.nyc.gov.
Students can’t learn if they aren’t nourished. Grab-and-go meals will be available for breakfast and lunch each day, though students will also be permitted to bring their own lunch if preferred. Doing so will allow for more flexibility so students and physical distancing can be maintained during lunch time, a time when many students usually gather in one location.
Lunch will be in classrooms to minimize interaction between groups of students.
If the cafeteria must be used, schools should maintain appropriate physical distancing.
Grab-and-go meals will be delivered to students in 3K to K classrooms, and pickup points within the school will be designated for grades 1-12.
Visit the NYC Department of Education website for information about how to receive free grab and go meals.