Update: December 10, 2020

YCS Sawtelle Learning Center is scheduled to resume school on January 4, 2021.  We will reopen following the December break providing full remote instruction for the period of January 4- 15, 2021.  Staff will be tested on or about January 14 for COVID-19.  The plan is to return to in-person instruction on January 19, 2021 for the students currently attending in-person instruction and continue with remote instruction for those families opting out of in-person instruction.  Sawtelle administration and nursing will continue to monitor local, state and federal guidance regarding the safe return to in-person instruction.

Students currently attending in-person instruction will be sent home with any devices, hot spots, materials, log-in information, etc. before the December break so they are equipped and prepared to begin remote instruction on January 4, 2021.

Students qualifying for free and reduced meals will be advised both via telephone and written correspondence where they can access food in their home district.

YCS Sawtelle Learning Center will continue to follow all health and safety protocols upon reopening for in-person instruction. 


YCS Sawtelle Learning Center is committed to the health and safety of our students and staff.  The agency’s Restart Committee focused on centralizing and implementing COVID-19 related decision making.  The school’s Pandemic Response Team worked to develop procedures and protocols specific to the needs of the school.  As we prepare to reopen our school a number of safeguards have been put in place to meet the demands of the current situation while providing a safe environment for our students to learn and grow. 





Critical Area of Operation #1:  General Health and Safety Guidelines

  1. CDC and NJ Department of Education guidelines will be regularly monitored and followed.
  2. Collaboration with Montclair Department of Health for opening guidance.
  3. Administrative and nursing staff will maintain communication with local and state authorities to determine current mitigation levels in the community.  Nursing staff will monitor local departments of health from sending districts to determine current mitigation levels in their communities.
  4. Sawtelle will provide reasonable accommodations for staff and students at a higher risk for severe illness.
  5. The building will be equipped with touchless hand-sanitizer dispensers strategically placed throughout the building.  Hand sanitizer will be available at all screening stations.
  6. Sawtelle has secured an adequate supply of PPE including masks for staff, face shields, gowns, surgical grade and N95 masks for nursing and isolation room.  The school has established a mechanism for maintaining adequate supplies.
  7. Infra-red thermometers have been procured.
  8. HVAC has been serviced and all screens replaced.  
  9. Windows will be open to the greatest extent possible based on safety of students.  A/C filters will be cleaned on regular basis.  Classroom doors will be kept open to the hallways to the greatest extent possible considering student safety.  Consideration will be given to those students who might be a health risk when windows are open.
  10. COVID-19 safety signage will be posted throughout building to remind staff and students of social distancing and face mask rules.
  11. Sawtelle Learning Center will allow for social distancing within the classroom to the maximum extent possible.  Students will be seated at least 6 feet apart. Additional modifications will be in place including use of physical barriers/dividers between desks and turning desks to face the same direction to the greatest extent possible.
  12. School staff and visitors will be required to wear masks unless doing so would inhibit the individual’s health.  
  13. Students will be encouraged to wear masks to the greatest extent possible, although it may be impractical for our students with developmental disabilities.
  14. Sawtelle has developed cleaning/disinfecting procedures.  See Critical Area # 7.
  15. Parents will be required to screen students before boarding bus, students and staff will be screened prior to entering building.  See Critical Area #5.
  16. Students will wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds frequently throughout the day including but not limited to before eating, after toileting, after blowing their nose/coughing/sneezing, after coming into contact with bodily fluids.  Students will use hand sanitizer when washing hands with soap and water is not possible.
  17. Staff will wash hands frequently throughout the day, including but not limited: to before preparing or serving food, after toileting students, after using the bathroom, after caring for a child who might be sick, and coming into contact with bodily fluids.  Staff will use hand sanitizer when washing hands with soap and water is not possible.
  18. Staff will teach and reinforce handwashing.  Staff and students will be reminded not to touch their face covering.
  19. Sawtelle will consult with parents to determine students who are at higher risk for severe illness and provide options for virtual learning.
  20. Sawtelle will follow CDC Guidance for Schools and Childcare Programs.
  21. Sawtelle has required all staff to complete 5 on-line learning courses related to     COVID-19/health and safety.   These include:  COVID-19 May 2020, Hand Hygiene:  The Basics, Infection Control, Transmission-Based Precautions, and Infection Control:  Airborne Precautions.  
  22. Sawtelle will provide Staff Development with additional staff development/training prior to the students returning to school.  This will include but not be limited to training on proper use of face mask, proper use and removal of PPE, handwashing, review YCS Return to Work Guidance for Employees.
  23. Water coolers will be disabled, staff will be encouraged to bring water from home, classrooms will be supplied with 4-ounce water bottles for students.
  24. Due to the nature of the care and support our population requires, gloves and face shields are available and provided as needed.  
  25. Staff will call nurse as needed as opposed to bringing students to nurse’s office to avoid overcrowding.  Nurse will administer medications in or directly outside the student’s classroom.
  26. Staff should call or page principal, supervisors, secretaries as opposed to going to offices.
  27. Staff and students will follow one-way traffic flow throughout building with the exception of gym staircase and lower school hallway where one-way traffic is not feasible.
  28. One staff member per class will be assigned to photo-copy machine.  Staff must wipe down machine after use using disinfecting wipes.
  29. CDC’s Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Stop the Spread of COVID-19 information has been distributed to families.
  30. CDC’s Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Stop the Spread of COVID-19 poster has been posted in prominent locations throughout the school.
  31. CDC’s Guidance on Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Home is posted in prominent location in school and has been provided to maintenance department.

Critical Area of Operation #2:  Classrooms, Testing, and Therapy Rooms

  1. Sawtelle staff will wear masks at all times unless doing so would inhibit the individual’s health.  Students will be encouraged to wear masks when social distancing is difficult to the greatest extent possible due to the students’ tolerance as a result of their developmental disability.
  2. All instructional and non-instructional rooms in the school will comply with social distancing standards.  Desks and/or work areas will be a minimum of 6 feet apart.  Staff will remain 6 feet apart to the greatest extent possible. Due to the needs of the student population, staff may not be able to maintain social distancing when providing care and support to students.  
  3. Use of shared objects will be limited and when items are shared, they will be cleaned between use.
  4. Students will be provided with two personal labeled containers.  One will be used for personal belongs brought in from home the second will be used for individual learning materials.  Upon arrival to classroom students will go to their desks and put their personal items in their container which will be open on their desk.  The staff will then move container to specified area of the classroom to avoid students using cubbies which would not allow for social distancing.  The second container will contain the student’s supplies and materials to avoid use of shared objects to the greatest extent possible.
  5. Staff will clean and disinfect students’ materials after use or at the end of the day.
  6. Hand sanitizing stations will be in each classroom, installed at a height to allow for safety of the students.  There will be hand sanitizing stations at the entrances/exits of building and near bathrooms. Staff will supervise students using hand sanitizer as needed based on developmental need.
  7. Classrooms that contain hand washing stations will maintain appropriate supplies including soap, paper towels and alcohol-based hand sanitizers (at least 60%).
  8. Sawtelle will avoid close group learning.  Students will be seated at their desks for “Morning Circle Time” and/or Morning Meeting, small group lessons and mealtimes.
  9.  Staff will be responsible for providing adequate monitoring of students’ handwashing including providing hand over hand prompting/assistance as needed based on students’ developmental level.
  10. Students will be supplied with individual electronic devices (iPads.)
  11. The gymnasium and or therapy rooms may be used as classrooms to allow for social distancing.
  12. Students will not be sharing furniture- double desks/tables.
  13. High School students will not be transitioning from one classroom to another for different subjects.  Materials will be provided in the home room classroom for all other subject areas.
  14. Community Based Instruction, swimming and any other field trips will be cancelled until further notice.
  15. Classes will remain together forming a cohort.  (Same group of students and staff for the day.)
  16. To the best extent possible one to two staff will be assigned to specific student/students (1-3) each day.  They will form a cohort to limit exposure for students and staff.   The assigned staff will remain with their student(s) to the greatest extent possible throughout out the day including unloading and loading student on bus.
  17. Related Service Therapists will treat students in their classroom as opposed to students transitioning to therapy rooms.  In order to meet student’s occupational and/or physical therapy needs there may be a need to leave the classroom.
  18. Therapists will always wear masks and will maintain social distancing to the greatest extent possible.   
  19. Therapists will avoid sharing of materials across students to the greatest extent possible.  Any items that will be used by more than one student must be cleaned and disinfected between use.
  20. If students require group speech sessions to address IEP goals and objectives the therapist will maintain social distancing between the students during the sessions.  (No more than 2 students in the group.)
  21. While trips outside of the classroom will be kept to a minimum to the greatest extent possible, due to the special needs of our students, sensory breaks might be necessary.  When the sensory break includes the use of common equipment, either in or out of the classroom, staff will immediately clean and disinfect the equipment.  Determination for out of the classroom sensory breaks will be made with approval of Principal.
  22. If mats are used for any reason including break area for student, safety, etc.  they will be cleaned and disinfected immediately after use by staff.  Cleaning and disinfecting materials will be safely stored near all gym mats.
  23. Staff will be responsible for maintaining social distancing with both students and fellow staff.  This includes morning arrival and dismissal time, lunch breaks and any prep time.
  24. Staff meetings will be conducted allowing for social distancing and minimizing group size.  Virtual meetings using classrooms with smaller groups of staff maintaining social distancing will be conducted as needed to maintain social distancing.
  25. IEP meetings will be virtual whenever possible. 

Critical Area of Operation #3:  Transportation

  1. As Sawtelle is a receiving school we do not provide transportation services to our students.
  2. School staff will work closely with transportation companies and employees to address concerns in route to and from school as well as provide support to facilitate students adhering to mask and distancing measures on buses to the greatest extent possible.
  3. School districts will receive information on Reopening Plan so they can arrange transportation.
  4. Transportation Companies/Bus drivers will be asked to check that parents have taken their child’s temperature before loading on bus each morning.
  5. Transportation company information will be collected to aid in contact tracing should it become necessary.
  6. Community Based Instruction and all off site field trips are cancelled until further notice following CDC and local and state guidelines.  As a result, there will be no transportation services required by Sawtelle at this time.
  7. Sawtelle has one school vehicle which in the past was used for Community Based Instruction.  In the event the vehicle is needed to transport a student with possible COVID-19 symptoms home (parent has no form of transportation) the driver will wear a mask and staff accompanying student will use PPE.  The vehicles will be cleaned and disinfected after each use.


Critical Area of Operations #4:  Student Flow, Entry, Exit, and Common Areas

  1. Sawtelle will have a staggered start and dismissal times for students to avoid long waits to unload and load buses, conduct screenings and to allow for greater social distancing.            
  2. Staff arrival:  Staff will only be able to enter building from the main entrance at the back door.  There will be socially distanced screening areas for the health screenings including temperature checks and health screening questionnaire.  See Critical Area # 5. 
  3. Student arrival:  Students will enter through one of the three gym doors to allow for social distancing and access the three student screening areas.  
  4. Students and staff should minimize interactions when loading and unloading students.
  5. A limited number of buses will be brought up on driveway at a time to stagger students’ entrance to building. Buses numbers will be announced, and staff assigned to students on the respective buses will go out to unload their assigned student.  This same procedure will be followed at the end of the day.
  6. The lower school hallway will have tape down to allow for two-way controlled traffic.  The remainder of the building will be one way with signage to indicate direction.
  7. Staff and students will be reminded to maintain social distancing in hallways and common areas.
  8. Signage will be throughout building providing reminders about hand washing, wearing a mask, proper hygiene, etc.
  9. Secretaries and therapists’ desks will be relocated as space is needed and moved to other areas of building to allow for social distancing.
  10. If space permits a staff break room, seating will be arranged to allow for social distancing.


Critical Area #5:  Screening, PPE, and Response to Students and Staff Presenting Symptoms

  1. Staff will be screened upon arrival every morning.  Screening stations will be socially distanced in outside areas with sufficient shelter for inclement weather.  The screen will consist of a temperature check and COVID-19 screening questionnaire. (Appendix A) Hand sanitizer will be provided at staff screening station.
  2. The nurse will be overseeing staff health screenings to the greatest extent possible.  Staff will be responsible for maintaining social distancing, wearing face masks, sanitizing hands, taking their temperature and completing screening questionnaire including recording temperature before entering the building.
  3. Any staff with a fever of 100.04or higher or answering yes to any of the screening questions must remain outside, social distance and call for the nurse or Principal.
  4. See attached YCS Policy (Appendix B) for response to those presenting with symptoms and return to work/school requirements.
  5. School policy will ask that parents take their child’s temperature each morning before putting their child on the school bus and complete and return a Parent COVID-19 screening questionnaire.  (Appendix C). 
  6. Students will be screened upon arrival directly outside of the building weather permitting, or if needed in the immediate indoor entryway.  The screening will include the use of an infrared no-touch thermometer as well as a visual screening for School COVID-19 symptoms (Appendix D) and collection of the Parent COVID-19 screening questionnaire.  Hand Sanitizer will be stored safely at screening station.
  7. Checks will be conducted safely, respectfully and in accordance with applicable privacy laws and recommendations and take into any account accommodations needed as a result of student’s developmental disability
  8. Designated staff will be trained on screening procedure including sensitivity to student’s privacy.  Student screening stations will be supervised by the nurse.  The nurse will collect students’ COVID-19 questionnaires.
  9. School staff and visitors will be required to wear masks unless doing so would inhibit the individual’s health.  
  10. Students will be encouraged to wear masks to the extent possible although it may be impractical for our students with developmental disabilities.
  11. While visitors will be kept to a minimum if there are essential reasons for a visit, visitors will be subject to the same screening procedures as staff. (DCF licensing provider)
  12. Students and staff with symptoms related to COVID-19 must be respectfully isolated from others.  There is a designated isolation room assigned at the school.  Students will remain in the isolation area under constant supervision and care until picked up by an authorized adult.  The isolation room is equipped with appropriate PPE including surgical masks, gowns, gloves and face shields.
  13. If Sawtelle becomes aware an individual who has been at the school tests positive for COVID-19 district officials (administration or nurse) will inform local health department and individual’s home health department, staff and families of the confirmed case while maintaining individual’s confidentiality.
  14. Parents are encouraged to be on the alert for signs of illness in their children and to keep them home if they are sick.
  15. Parents were mailed information from the Boggs Center regarding information on desensitizing their child to someone wearing a mask, desensitizing and promoting mask wearing by their child and a social story on why we wear masks.  Teacher have also included lessons on wearing masks in their virtual summer program.
  16. A Parent COVID-19 Handbook will be disseminated to parents prior to the start of school. The handbook will contain information on proper hygiene, handwashing, symptoms of COVID-19, importance of temperature checks, planning for transportation in the event their child become sick at school.
  17. School visitors will be strongly discouraged.  IEPs will be conducted virtually to the greatest extent possible.  All visitors will be required to wear a mask, if they don’t have a mask one will be provided.  If the visitor refuses to wear a mask for non-medical reasons entry to the building will be prohibited.
  18. Visitors will be asked to sign in/out with their own pen whenever possible.
  19. A visitor log will be maintained with names, associations and phone numbers for contact tracing purposes.
  20. Staff will be encouraged to stay home if they feel sick or unwell.  They will be advised to stay home if they test positive for COVID-19 or they are experiencing one or more of the previously mentioned symptoms that is not otherwise explained.
  21. Nurse is consulting with families to identify any students with underlying conditions who might be at higher risk for severe COVID-19 infection.
  22. Staff responsible for screening will participate in staff training prior to start of school to practice screening protocols for both students and staff.
  23. Additional guidelines and training will be provided for school staff as they will be required to be in close contact with students due to the nature of their disability and special needs.
  24. Staff will take protective measures to prevent contact with secretions including but not limited to wearing a large button-down, long-sleeved shirt or smock, and by wearing long hair up or pulled back when washing, feeding, and/or working with students who present challenging behaviors that might include exposure to bodily fluids.
  25. Staff and students are encouraged to have multiple changes of clothes at school.


Critical Area of Operation #6:  Contact Tracing

  1.  Prior to school opening for students the nurse will educate the staff on the importance of contact tracing.
  2.  The nurse has completed the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Contact Tracing Course.
  3. All student, staff, visitors and bus company contact information will be provided as needed for contact tracing.
  4. Sawtelle has developed contact tracing policy that identifies the criteria an individual must meet in order to activate the contact tracing policy, describes the school’s responsibilities regarding notification of local health department, staff, families, and student’s sending district.  The contact tracing policy adheres to all applicable federal and state requirements including FERPA.  (Appendix E)
  5.  Sawtelle will follow current Communicable Disease Service guidelines for illness reporting, methods to assist in contact tracing, continuous monitoring of symptoms, 
  6. and re-admittance policies consistent with Department of Health.  
  7. Sawtelle will continue to foster open and transparent communication with staff and families in order to promote self-reporting of symptoms and/or suspected exposure allowing for the school to provide prompt notification.
  8. The local health department will be contacted for guidance if and when the school becomes aware of COVID-19 positive case in the facility.  Health Officials will provide direction on whether school should cease operations until criteria for lifting transmission-based isolations and home isolation has been met.


Critical Area of Operation #7:  Facilities Cleaning Practices

  1.  Schedule of maintenance has been modified to allow for additional staff during school day while still providing adequate staffing for evening cleaning.
  2. Sawtelle will continue to adhere to existing cleaning practices and procedures.
  3. A schedule has been developed for increased, routine cleaning and disinfecting and is included in the school’s policy.  The policy includes a cleaning and disinfecting checklist.
  4.  Routine cleaning and disinfecting will include surfaces and objects that are frequently touched but not typically cleaned on a daily basis.  These areas include walls, all classroom surfaces (desks, chairs, countertops), doorknobs, staircase handrails, door handles, bathrooms including paper towel and soap dispensers, light switches, vending machine, classroom phones, desktops, conference room surfaces including shared computers, computer table and chairs.
  5. Toys put in student’s mouth will be set aside until they are washed and disinfected.
  6. Students’ personal devices brought in from home will be wiped down with disinfectant wipes by staff upon arrival and before being packed up to go home.
  7. taff and student bathrooms will be sanitized before students’ arrival and again mid-morning and mid-afternoon and as needed throughout the day.
  8. Doors will be left open or propped open to the greatest extent possible.
  9. Student bathrooms will be limited to one student at a time to the greatest extent possible.  Signage will be posted on floors as to safe social distancing while waiting to use the bathroom. 
  10. Increase frequency of cleaning including wall at height of students.
  11. Classrooms will be provided with EPA- registered disposable wipes to be used before and/or after use of commonly used items.
  12. School will be provided with adequate supply of cleaning and disinfecting supplies.
  13. School will ensure safe storage of cleaning and disinfecting supplies to prevent students from gaining access.
  14. In the event a student or staff has been identified as testing positive for COVID-19 consideration as to whether the school needs to implement a short-term closure of the classroom(s)/building will be made with guidance from the local health department.  Sawtelle will follow CDC recommendation:  the areas used by the infected person will be closed off, wait 24 hours if possible, if not wait as long as possible before cleaning and disinfecting.  Open outside doors and windows.  Cleaning staff should clean and disinfect all areas used the person with COVID-19 including frequently touched items.
  15. Environmental Protection Agency approved disinfectants for use against COVID-19 will be used for disinfecting.
  16. Cleaning and disinfecting are done in accordance with the CDC’s Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes.


Critical Area #8:  Meals

  1. Students will eat at their desks in their classrooms.
  2. Desktops will be cleaned and disinfected prior to mealtime.
  3. Students must wash hands before and after meals.
  4. Maintain social distancing between students.  Staff may need to assist student(s) at mealtime but must be wearing their mask at all times.
  5. Students will be served individually plated meals/prepackaged meals.  All food service items will be disposable.  Family style, buffet, self-service meals will be        prohibited.
  6. Students are not to be sharing meals or served meals or snacks from communal packaging.
  7. Staff must wash hands and wear gloves when assisting students with eating, distributing meals, and cleaning up.
  8. Staff must wash hands after removing gloves or after directly handling used food service items.
  9. The YCS Director of Food Safety and Nutrition will be training all staff on the health and safety regulations associated with school food service.


Critical Area of Operation #9:  Recess/Physical Education

  1. The gym will be used for dual purposes and depending on in-person enrollment will be used as a classroom if needed.
  2. Access to playground/field will follow existing gym schedule to ensure staggering of classes. (One class at time.) However, until further notice Physical Education     teachers will travel to classroom to facilitate IEP Adaptive Physical Education goals.
  3. Students and staff must wash hands after outdoor play.
  4. Gym teachers will eliminate or limit direct contact with equipment.  Provide lessons, fitness activities that do not require equipment.  If equipment is shared it          must be cleaned and disinfected between every use.
  5. Sensory equipment must be disinfected after each use.  Sanitizing wipes will be stored in a secure safe location so staff may wipe down items after each use.


Critical Area of Operation #10:  Field Trips, Extra-curricular Activities, and Use of Facility Outside of School Hours

  1. Community Based Instruction, swim and all Field Trips are cancelled until further notice and recommendations from local and state agencies.
  2. Sawtelle Learning Center does not offer Extra-curricular activities or allow us of facility outside of school hours.
  3. Sawtelle Learning students do not participate in Athletics.


Parents/guardians have the option of returning their child to brick and mortar in-person instruction in September either full time or continuing full time remote learning.  We are doing staggered start and dismissal times. The school schedule for all in-person students is Monday through Thursday 8:30/8:50-2:30/2:50 and Friday will be a single session 8:30/8:50-12:50/1:10.  Students opting for remote instruction will follow the 8:50-2:50 schedule, Fridays 8:50-1:10.

  1.  All students are eligible for full time remote learning.
  2. Families must submit requests for full time remote learning via a phone call or written notification of preference by late August.  
  3. The request must be made to the Principal or a Supervisor of Instruction.
  4. Once a family has indicated they are requesting remote instruction, staff will work with family to communicate the expectations for remote learning and to collect information that will allow for proper record keeping and implementation of successful remote learning. Staff will also determine if additional support/parent training is needed to facilitate remote learning.
  5. Families will be provided with a detailed account of parent/guardian and student expectations.  
  6. Sawtelle will notify sending district child study teams and determine if an IEP meeting or amendment to the existing IEP is needed for full time remote learning.
  7. Upon satisfaction of these minimum procedures, Sawtelle shall approve the student’s full time remote learning request.
  8. Sawtelle will afford students receiving remote instruction the same quality and scope of instruction as students attending in-person.  This will include but not limited to the same length of school day which will adhere to the length of school day requirements pursuant N.J.A.C. 6A:32-8.3, the sending district’s attendance policies and expectations of students participating in remote instruction. 
  9. Sawtelle will provide the requisite educational technology for remote instruction.
  10. Families who choose remote may opt back into brick and mortar with a week’s notice.  
  11. Families may pivot from brick and mortar to remote instruction with 24-48 hour notice.
  12. Families opting to pivot from either in-person to remote or remote to in-person instruction must notify the Principal or Supervisor of Instruction via phone or written notification.


Collaborative Problem-Solving Teams

  1. Sawtelle works collaboratively across disciplines and this will be more critical as we transition our students to the school building.
  2. Family engagement is a critical piece and we will continue to work with families to provide as much support as possible as we continue the educational process for their child.
  3. As a behaviorally based program we are data driven, we will continue to make data-based decisions. 
  4. Sawtelle will offer virtual Town Halls for parents to meet with BCBA for behavioral support at home.
  5. BCBA and BCBA intern will be develop strategies to facilitate students’ re-entry to school.  Attention will be paid to those students who have difficulty with changes/school.
  6. BCBA and BCBA intern will be available to develop Positive Behavior Support Plans and Behavior Support Plans as needed to assist students’ adjustment to return to school and/or hybrid schedule.  

Food Service and Distribution

  1. As Sawtelle is a receiving school from seven counties it is unrealistic for Sawtelle to be meal source for families.  Sawtelle will continue to work with families and sending districts to secure seamless and continuous food for our students who qualify for free and reduced meals.
  2. Sawtelle has communicated with families that qualify for free and reduced lunches and provided families with meal distribution sites in their area.
  3. In addition, Sawtelle will continue to contact Child Study Teams to advise and facilitate meals for families in their district.


Quality Child Care, Wraparound Supports, Food Service Distribution

  1. If a family is in need of additional services including wrap around services and/or child care, staff will contact the sending school district to notify them of the family/student needs and work with them to identify available services in the sending district’s community.
  2. Sawtelle maintains a resource list of medical professionals that provide services to students with special needs.
  3. Sawtelle will continue to work with families to support their efforts for securing in-home support services through the Division of Children and Family Services/Perform Care.
  4. Sawtelle will continue to provide support and resources to the best extent possible for students and/or families in crisis.
  5. Sawtelle will consider developing a virtual health office model in the event we return to full remote instruction.




Educator Well-Being

  1. Sawtelle recognizes the importance of the social and emotional well-being of the staff.  YCS has established a Connections Group facilitated by D. Dayna Egan.  Two sessions are offered per week. This is a space where staff can discuss feelings and issues confidentially.  
  2. Teachers have been conducting weekly team Zoom sessions to keep staff connected and peers have been encouraged to connect through group chats and/or Zoom sessions.
  3. YCS offers an Employee Assistance Program.


Trauma-Informed Social and Emotional Learning

  1. Prior to students returning to school Professional Development will include information on Social and Emotional Learning and how our specific population of students may manifest difficulties from the impact of isolation, trauma, and loss of school structure over the remote learning period.  Professional Development will include strategies to promote a successful transition back to brick and mortar including the importance of relationships, well-being over work, routines, and structure.
  2. Staff will be aware that students may be experiencing emotional and/or behavioral challenges as a result of all the changes and uncertainty as a result of the COVID-19 emergency and advise the appropriate personnel if support might be needed.
  3. Upon return to school staff will be cognizant of the impact social isolation and change in daily routine may have had on the students.  Staff will provide support to allow students time to make a smooth transition back to brick and mortar and continue to monitor students to identify anyone who may benefit from additional support/services.
  4. YCS has clinicians available to respond to potential trauma as needed.
  5. Sawtelle will continue to facilitate opportunities for connections among staff including peer to peer connections and class team meetings.
  6. Teachers and therapists have been in regular contact with families to monitor how families are coping.  The BCBA has been contacting families to support students and families over the school closure.
  7. This summer we added an open Zoom session with the BCBA for families to identify and provide additional support that may be needed.


School Culture and Climate

  1. Sawtelle will prioritize the health and emotional well-being of staff and students.
  2. School leadership will recognize that returning to brick and mortar might present challenges for both students and staff.
  3. Sawtelle will monitor the school climate to determine if additional strategies/services are needed.


Utilizing the Strengths of Staff

  1. Sawtelle school leaders will continue to utilize a variety of modes to communicate with staff including agency newsletter, school website, emails, postal mail, and phone calls.
  2. School leadership is identifying and planning appropriate Professional Development for staff prior to school opening and continuing through school year.
  3. School leadership has consulted with YCS for support including medical and clinical resources within the agency.  As needed, Sawtelle will consult with additional outside agencies.
  4. Sawtelle teachers and therapists will continue to connect with families to determine if additional supports are needed.
  5. Sawtelle teachers and therapists will continue to conduct social group Zoom sessions for students to the greatest extent possible.
  6. Sawtelle educational staff will attend Professional Development to gain greater understanding of Social-Emotional Health especially as manifested in students with special needs.


Leadership and Planning


Youth Consultation Service established a Restart Committee to work on reopening the two agency schools (Sawtelle Learning Center in Montclair and George Washington School in Hackensack).  Sawtelle Learning Center established a Pandemic Response Team to develop procedures, protocols specific to the needs of the school, centralize and implement COVID-19 related decision making, The Pandemic Response Team worked with the Local Health Department, and others in municipal and county government.  The Sawtelle Sub-committee was established with sensitivity to the diversity of the school community. The Reopening plan includes preparedness to pivot to remote instruction at any time in the 2020-2021 school year.


Operational Areas of Readiness to Reopen:

  1. The buildings and grounds are in the process of being prepared for school to reopen including rearranging furniture, revising student and staff access for arrival to accommodate health screenings, circulation patterns, signage, classroom reassignments, dual purpose physical spaces (gym.)
  2. Sawtelle has been providing continuous communication to staff and families over the course of the school closure/remote learning. 
  3. Staff have been surveying parents over the school closure to collect input/feedback on remote learning and plans for return to school.  Communication has taken a variety of forms to obtain as much feedback as possible from stakeholders/families.  Platforms have included email, staff contacting parents for interview surveys, text messages, website and robocalls.
  4. Staff were surveyed about their experience with distance learning.
  5. Information to parents has been provided in both English and Spanish.  Translation services have been provided as needed.
  6. Contingency plans are in place for emergency operations in the event of facility closure.  Emergency closure days have been built into the calendar.  Plans are in place to switch to remote learning if needed.


Pandemic Response Team:

  1. Leisa Tomchek, Sawtelle Learning Center Principal will be the liaison between the Pandemic Response Team and The Reopening Committee.
  2. The team will consist of a cross section of stakeholders including the principal, supervisors, teachers, teacher assistants, nurse, custodian and parents.
  3. The Pandemic Response Team responsibilities include but are not limited to oversight of school’s reopening plan with specific attention to health and safety measures, needed modifications, supporting and training staff, promoting safe and supportive environment for students and staff, communication, and facilitating the sharing of information between stakeholders to assist in team’s decision making.  



  1. As a result of our students’ special needs Sawtelle Learning Center is planning on opening up school for all parents who opt to send their child to school.
  2. Staff hours will be adjusted to allow more time for social distancing during arrival and departure.  As a result, Sawtelle will be open for full day of school Monday through Thursday and Friday will do a single session.  
  3. Sawtelle will consider in-person, in-home instruction under special circumstances to be determined with the sending district and family as needed.
  4. For those parents who feel their child has an underlying condition and/or opts to keep their child at home Sawtelle will continue to provide remote instruction.
  5. School staff will be supported in order to provide instruction whether it is in-person, hybrid or virtual.  Staff will be supported in order to ensure that all students meet their required instructional hours for the day.


Implementation Strategy:

  1. The school website and emails will be the contact point for implementation.  Robocalls will go out to families to alert them to updates on the website/email.   Due to the nature Back-up mailed paper notices will be disseminated as needed.
  2. During remote instruction we have been flexible with both attendance and schedule of teacher/teacher assistant Zoom sessions with families based on family circumstances.
  3. Sawtelle is aware of the existing digital divide for some of our families.  We will continue to be sensitive to this and make all efforts to close the divide.
  4. Sawtelle will continue to monitor/assess student/family access to devices and internet access and provide devices as needed and support families in securing internet access.
  5. To accommodate student and staff, Sawtelle will leverage technology to provide flexibility and accommodations to address learning and health needs.
  6. Professional development will include supporting on-line learning.
  7. Sawtelle will continue to survey parents for feedback on what is successful and where improvement/support is needed.
  8. Sawtelle has permanent “floater” staff to address shortage in staff.  There are also approximately 10 staff who are currently Substitute Teacher certified.
  9. YCS has additional nursing staff to be employed as needed.
  10. Contingency plans will allow for access to supports including nurse and BCBA.
  11. Class schedules will be modified to accommodate staggered arrival/departure times and as a result of high school classes remaining in their home room and not participating in lunch preparation program and Community Based Instruction.



Sawtelle Learning Center will adhere to the NJDOE’s regulatory requirements with regard to mentoring, education evaluations and Performance Assessments (edTPA.)


In-person and Hybrid Leaning Environments:  Roles and Responsibilities


Instructional and Support Staff

  1.  A cohort system will be implemented at Sawtelle to minimize contacts between students and staff.  Each cohort will consist of one to two instructional staff members and one to three students who will remain together for the day except for the staff person’s lunch break.  Students with personal aides will remain with one staff for the day to the best extent possible with the exception of staff break.  Related services personnel will provide services in the classroom unless goals and objectives cannot be addressed within the classroom.
  2. Staff will limit group interactions to maintain safety and support school building safety logistics. 
  3. Staff will become familiar with new protocols and procedures and develop lessons that are able to be applied to both in-person and hybrid learning. 
  4. Staff will set clear expectations for families for remote instruction, develop routines and structures to support student learning and participation in both in-person and remote learning and continue to provide opportunities for real-time interactions with students.
  5. Staff will continue to assess student progress and adapt programming as needed.  Teachers/therapists will continue to generate progress reports to report on student progress.
  6. Support staff will continue to provide real-time support during virtual lessons.
  7. Support staff will continue to complete teacher assignments to design individual lessons/programs for students for on-line learning, research websites, videos, and links for accessible activities that teachers can incorporate into lessons and attend online classes as co-teacher.


Mentor Teachers

  1. Sawtelle will continue to provide “in person” contact with mentee using agreed upon communication methods.
  2. Sawtelle will continue to maintain logs of mentor contacts.
  3. Sawtelle will consider alternative methods for classroom observations avoiding in-person contact to the best extent possible.


Administrators:  In addition to the administrator responsibilities previously addressed as part of the Sawtelle plan, administration will have these additional responsibilities:

  1. Sawtelle has prioritized the needs of our vulnerable students due to their special needs and as a result has decided to return full time to in-person instruction.  We are prepared to switch to remote/virtual instruction as needed during the 2020-2021 school year.  We are also prepared to provide remote instruction both synchronous and asynchronous for those students with underlying medical conditions that put them at a high risk if they were to contract COVID-19 and/or for parents that opt out of in-person instruction.
  2. Sawtelle leadership’s Return to School Plan includes a comprehensive process for onboarding staff for Return to School, Professional Development and schedule for classroom set up prior to the return of students.
  3. Sawtelle leadership’s plan includes a comprehensive process for onboarding students for Return to School by resetting routines and facilitating student adjustment to the changes they will encounter.


Educator Roles Related to School Technology Needs

  1. Assistant Director functions as technology point person.  She will coordinate with on-site staff with strong computer skills as well as the agency IT department.
  2. Sawtelle will continue to monitor technology needs of families and staff.
  3. Sawtelle will provide support to staff as needed to enable them to provide virtual instruction.
  4. Sawtelle has purchased a supply of iPads to allow each student to have a device if they opt to continue remote instruction and/or in the event we return to virtual instruction at any point during the school year.
  5. Prior to the start of the school year families will be provided with access to online platforms.
  6. Sawtelle has no student teachers scheduled for the 2020/2021 school year.

Athletics- Sawtelle Learning Center does not have an Athletics Program.


POLICY AND FUNDING:  Sawtelle Learning Center is part of a larger, non-profit agency, Youth Consultation Service.  YCS has applied for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds to be used for COVID-19 equipment and supplies.  Sawtelle will utilize the Internet Access- Information for Families included in the NJ Road Back plan.  YCS Sawtelle Learning Center will continue to monitor Governor Murphy’s Plan to Address the Digital Divide Ahead of 2020/2021 School Year to determine funding/resources for our school.




Ensuring the Delivery of Special Education and Related Services to Students with Disabilities

  1. Sawtelle is a receiving school for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder or other Developmental Disabilities.  Sawtelle will continue to meet the needs of the students with disabilities to the greatest extent possible.
  2. Sawtelle will continue to communicate frequently with the families of our students, especially those with underlying medical conditions, and/or medically fragile students.
  3. Sawtelle will review student data and progress reports to determine any learning loss and status of IEP goals and objectives. 
  4. Sawtelle will work with sending district Child Study Teams to consider the impact of missed services on student progress and determine if additional or compensatory services are needed to address regression and recoupment of skills.


Technology and Connectivity

  1. Sawtelle will continue to monitor and assess student access to devices and/or internet access.  Sawtelle will determine the number of students that will require Sawtelle provided devices and/or internet access.
  2. Sawtelle will continue to provide parent trainings and monitor acceptable use policy implementation.
  3. Sawtelle has prioritized the purchase of roll-out of devices and/or connectivity in an effort to improve learning.
  4. Sawtelle is investing in ten hot spots to provide better connectivity in the school building and in the event of pivoting to virtual instruction these can be distributed to families without internet access.
  5. Despite our best efforts we still have families that are resisting the use of technology and requesting paper packets.  Sawtelle will consult with sending district to address the best method of continuing instruction.
  6. Attendance policy considers not only on-line participation but assignment and/or project completion as an alternative for attendance purposes.
  7. Sawtelle will continue to conduct targeted outreach to help families overcome barriers to participation.
  8. During in-person instruction staff will incorporate the use of learning platforms/technology to promote students’ ability to be engaged in remote instruction in the event we pivot back to all virtual instruction.


Curriculum, Instruction and Assessments:  Sawtelle is committed to delivering highly effective instruction in hybrid and/or in-person environments as well as assessing and addressing any learning gaps.


Virtual and Hybrid Learning Environment-Curriculum

  1. Sawtelle staff will be mindful of prerequisite skills and knowledge for each subject and grade level.
  2. Staff will evaluate unfinished learning and provide acceleration support to the greatest extent possible.
  3. Staff will monitor progress, regressions and/or possible learning loss related to students’ IEP goals and objectives.
  4. Sawtelle will continue to implement student’s IEP goals and objectives as well as utilized the Unique Curriculum which addresses grade level and core standards.


Virtual and Hybrid Learning Environment-Instruction

  1. 1.Beginning in September, as per the Governor’s directive, parents will have the option of choosing in-person or virtual instruction.
  2. The school day will be the same length whether the student is attending in person or remotely.
  3. Virtual instruction will include both synchronous and asynchronous instruction.  The students will be able to Zoom into teacher lead instruction periods as well as watch recordings of lessons.  Students will also have individual instructional sessions with their teacher, therapists, support staff and personal aides. 
  4. Virtual instruction will continue as per the plan submitted in the late spring with the exception of transitioning from Edmodo to Google Apps for the student’s individualized classroom.
  5. Instructional plans will be flexible to allow for changing learning environments as may be necessary over the 2020/2021 school year.
  6. Sawtelle will develop a shared understanding among staff and families regarding learning expectations, anticipated environments and expectations for interaction. 
  7. Special attention will be paid to communicating and supporting family expectations for remote learning.
  8. Virtual and hybrid instruction will include a minimum of four hours of instruction, both synchronous and asynchronous.  Zoom sessions will include class and/or small group instruction/lessons as well as individual Zoom sessions with teacher, therapists and support staff.  Sawtelle will continue with current platforms including but not limited to Edmodo and Boom.
  9. For students receiving in-person instruction at school, teachers will include utilization of the current platforms in an effort to better acclimate the students to on-line learning in preparation for the possibility of pivoting to all virtual instruction in the future.


Virtual and Hybrid Learning Environment- Assessment

  1. Due to the nature of our students’ special needs we will allow them time to readjust to returning to school, the routine and any changes to their schedule before beginning the assessment process.
  2. Staff will assess whether progress reported on during the Spring Remote Instruction generalizes to the school setting in addition to assessing progress on existing IEP goals and objectives.
  3. Staff will use a variety of assessment tools and strategies to assess student progress, regression and/or potential learning loss.  Staff routinely collect data on student performance, probe students as pre-assessment method before introducing new skill(s)/knowledge acquisition programs/lessons.
  4. Sawtelle will work with sending District Child Study Team to determine if additional/compensatory services are needed to address learning loss and/or progress toward IEP goals and objectives.


Professional Learning:

  1. Sawtelle has determined the consistent technology that will be used throughout the school year.
  2. Sawtelle will provide training in the use of all platforms for staff.
  3. Sawtelle will provide training with a focus on paraprofessionals to enhance their ability to support instruction.
  4. Sawtelle will provide user friendly trainings as well as remedial individual training for staff and families as needed.
  5. Throughout the school year Sawtelle will provide training and staff collaboration time to promote professional learning.
  6. 2020/2021 Professional Development Plans will include the learning of new technologies and virtual instruction methods.


Mentoring and Induction:

  1. Induction will be provided for the two on-boarding teachers.
  2. One-to- one mentoring will be provided in in-person, hybrid and fully remote learning environments.



  1. 2019/2020 teacher, therapist and support staff evaluations addressed both in-person and virtual instruction.
  2. Evaluation tools will include addressing remote learning as well as in-person instruction. 
  3. Supervisors/Principal will observe hybrid and remote learning instruction sessions as part of supervision and evaluation.


Career and Technical Education:

  1. Sawtelle will continue to address 21st Century Life and Careers Curriculum with our students.
  2. Community Based Instruction IEP goals and objectives will be addressed virtually to the best extent possible.
  3. On campus job sampling, simulated work experiences, in-house volunteer experiences as deemed safe bringing work in house, personal finance, job applications will be conducted in-house and/or virtually to the best extent possible.
  4. Sawtelle’s Transition Coordinator will continue to work with families of students who will be graduating in the near future to facilitate connecting them to the appropriate agencies for post-graduation.































Appendix A


There is no higher priority to YCS than the safety of our students and employees.   The COVID-19 pandemic has created a new environment for all of us to navigate and protect the health of our clients and employees.  In light of the President’s Declaration of National Emergency and NJ Governor’s State of Emergency, beginning March 16, 2020, all employees coming to work at a YCS site will be asked the following questions prior to their shift to protect our YCS community.  The Nurse is responsible for obtaining this documentation.  

Thank you for your cooperation!

1.      Have you had a temperature over 100.4⁰ within the past 24 hours?                                                                                                                                                 

       YES_______      NO_______


2.      Have you had any of the following symptoms in the past 24 hours:  fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea?                                                                                                                  

       YES_______      NO________


3.      Have you had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days?                                                                                    

        YES______        NO_______

If yes, explain:  ________________________________________________________________


4.      Within the past 14 days, have you traveled to any of the states listed on the incoming travel advisory which requires all individuals entering New Jersey from states with a significant spread of COVID-19 to quarantine for 14 days after leaving that state?

      YES_______            NO________


5.      Are you, or anyone in your home, currently in quarantine or awaiting COVID-19 test results?

        YES_______      NO_______    

       If yes, explain:  ________________________________________________________________

Temperature of Employee: ________________


Date: ___________________                                 Shift:  __________________                                              

All oncoming employees will have their temperature taken by the designated staff before entrance to the program.   Any employee with a temperature greater than 100.04F will be asked to leave the program.  In addition, any employee that answers “YES” to any of the above questions, the employee will be asked to leave the program.  Immediately upon the determination that an employee will be leaving the program, please notify Principal.


Appendix B

YCS Sawtelle Learning Center

Employee COVID-19 Positive/Possible Positive Protocol


Positive Employee’s: If a school employee tests positive for COVID-19, staff will be informed they must submit their results by forwarding their information to Human Resources.  HR will provide school administration with an exposure notification to give to all staff that might have been exposed.  At that time the YCS AVP of Nursing will reach out to school administration, and the employee to get details in regards to when the employee last worked,  who worked with the employee, what students may have been exposed, if the employee had on a mask, and any other questions she may need. The employee is to remain home until their doctor clears them to return to work.   


School administration will contact the Montclair Board of Health to advise a staff member has tested positive.  School administration will advise all parents of students who might have been exposed in writing that a staff member has tested positive.


Employee’s Showing: If any employee has symptoms they must remain home until they are tested and receive their test results. If the results are negative, they can return to work. If the results are positive the above procedure will need to be followed.



Appendix C

YCS-Sawtelle Learning Center

Dear Parents,


In an effort to keep your child as well as all the students and staff healthy and safe while attending school we are asking that you take a few minutes to answer the following questions before putting your child on the school bus.




1.     Has your child had a temperature over 100.0⁰ within the past 24 hours?  Child must be free of fever reducing medication for over 24 hours.                                                                                               YES_______    NO_______


2.     Has your child had any of the following symptoms in the past 24 hours:  fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea?                         

      YES_______    NO________

If you responded yes to one or more of these questions, please do not send your child to school.  Please continue to monitor your child’s health condition and contact your physician if needed.




Appendix D




Student Name:______________________                Date:_________________________


Screener’s Name:___________________


Student’s Temperature ________________________________


If 100.4 or higher move student to designated waiting area and notify nurse.


Upon discrete visual screening does the student exhibit any of the following symptoms:

fever or chill


shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 


muscle or body aches


new loss of taste or smell 

sore throat

congestion or runny nose 

nausea or vomiting 




_______                      _______

   YES                               NO

If you answered yes to this question move student to designated waiting area and notify the nurse.