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Team Reopening FAQ

Clarke Team Reopening FAQs

Questions and responses are posted here as we learn together.


Updated as of June 19, 2020

Meeting the Needs of Students and Families

Q: I have concerns about being on-site because I am medically high-risk or caring for someone who is high-risk.

  • On-site reopening and staffing plans should follow state and regulatory direction for high-risk individuals and/or those caring for high-risk individuals.
  • Medically compromising situations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • If you have a question related to a medically compromising situation, please speak with your supervisor. Supervisors and Directors will consult with Human Resources. (If needed, HR can be consulted first.)
  • Clarke will make reasonable accommodations as appropriate.

Q: I’m wondering why Leeds can currently have 10 people inside at a time but the Hearing Center only 2. Is it because the buildings are classified under different categories? It just feels like if the City lets 10 people in Leeds, they should do the same for Bell Hall.

  • This difference is likely in response to varying building square footages, occupancy restraints and layouts. We cannot speak to how Leeds determined their policies. Clarke is following MA protocol. The maximum number of team members and Hearing Center patients permitted on-site will gradually increase.

Q: This question is about the number of sick days required before securing a doctor’s note. My understanding is that if I have cold/allergy symptoms I should stay home from work, but if I have symptoms that aren’t bad enough to go to the doctor, will I have to take unpaid time?

  • Clarke’s standard policy is that if someone is out due to illness for more than three days, a note from a doctor is requested for return. In the case of COVID-19, if you are unable to obtain a doctor’s note, the self-certification will be required to return to work. The doctor’s note is unrelated to compensation. You will be compensated for time out of work due to illness if you have sick time.

Q: Thinking ahead, since FFCRA ends December 31…we all know cold/flu season hits schools around January and February. Does Clarke have an organizational plan for that time if the FFCRA does not extend that sick time?

  • As these policies evolve, including potential extensions, Clarke will follow all guidelines and update the team accordingly.

Q: For those with pre-existing health concerns, is guidance from a doctor required to return to on-site work?

  • Clarke’s policy advises anyone with health concerns to speak with their supervisor and HR about accommodations.

Q: Are pets allowed at Clarke sites during the COVID-19 reopening process?

  • We continue to prioritize the health and safety of Clarke team members, students, families and patients. Pets are not allowed at Clarke sites during the reopening phases. These guidelines will be revisited as we return to full, on-site operations.

Meeting the Needs of Students and Families

Q: How do I arrange pick-up of student supplies and belongings from the school year that are still at Clarke?

  • Clarke sites must be at least in a stage-one reopening and have a plan that has been approved for limited team members to be on site, therefore wait until staff can more readily access buildings.
  • Contact families to schedule curbside pick-up, one family at a time, using masks and social distancing.
  • Belongings for K-8 students will be addressed in the program moving plan.

Q: How will we know if a student is sick? Or, if a student has been exposed?

  • Clarke sites will have protocols in place, such as health screenings, to verify students are not symptomatic. These procedures are being developed in accordance with local agencies (DOE, DOH, etc.).

Q: Will Bell Hall have an on-sight nurse next year, in light of increasing the number of kids there and in light of COVID?

  • Based on legal guidance, an on-site nurse is not required. We will have access to a consulting nurse. A physician will approve Clarke’s health policy and will provide standing health orders and consultation.

Clarke Itinerant Teachers

Q: Do Itinerant Teachers need to return to seeing students in-person?

  • Direction for Itinerant Teachers will be developed in accordance with schools and districts if/when in-person support is permitted.
  • Clarke teams should consider various staffing models to reduce exposure/cross-contamination if/when in-person support is permitted.

Face Covers & PPE

Q: Do I need to wear a face cover while on-site?

  • Regulations for wearing face covers vary by state.
  • Team members can use their own face covers that meets CDC guidelines. Clarke will have face covers available as needed.
  • If face covers are mandated, they must be worn on Clarke sites in all shared spaces such as hallways, entryways, printer/copier areas, kitchens, restrooms, etc. Face covers do not need to be worn when team members are working alone in a private space.

Q: Have you looked into purchasing sneeze guards? They have been recommended for use during assessments.

  • Yes. As requested and needed by site/program.

Q: With regard to clear masks, have you looked into partnering with companies like Phonac, Cochlear or Starkey who may be investigating clear masks?

  • We are in contact with a number of companies about clear/windowed masks and face shields. We will look into partnerships with these companies.

Q: How can we address the need for PPE with the needs of our students/staff who need visual access to the face for speech reading?

  • Clarke is researching masks with clear panels and face shields to address these needs.

Q: Who will be responsible for disinfecting the masks for the students? i.e. will they be sent home with them, will Clarke teachers do it, etc.

  • These protocols will be determined based on recommendations from the CDC and other agencies. Procedures may vary depending on the Clarke site, age of students and the PPE being used.

Q: To what extent can Clarke add more rigorous standards and protocols for on-site, in-person services?

  • A: Clarke will add more rigorous protocols to state/agency guidelines as needed based on best practices. Such decisions will be made with great care so as not to be discriminatory in any manner.
  • Deeper discussions and decision-making are needed regarding Clarke operations that would compromise district or agency directives. These will be managed on a case-by-case basis. Considerations include private-pay alternatives/creative program solutions, health, safety and funding implications.

Q: Do team members need to wear scrubs or gowns?

  • A: Directors may adapt dress codes to meet the safety needs of their teams. Team members should wear a cloth covering if diapering or working with bodily fluids. Clarke will provide coverings that should be laundered or team members can provide their own cloth covering, such as an oversized shirt, if it meets the Director’s expectations. Implementation may vary by site based on the Director’s approach to these activities.
  • Clarke will provide disposable coverings for use in working in the designated isolation space.

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