The following guidelines have been established for students and essential visitors in order to reopen training facilities and classes. Without exception, these guidelines are to be strictly followed.

All students will be required to take their temperatures and complete the self-assessment form as explained using the linked form below.

If you have any questions, contact Luci Labriola-Cuffe, Chief of Training by phone at (914) 231-1674 or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

 

 

 

Section 1: General Guidelines for Attendance of Classes
A health screening is required for all students and essential visitors. This should be done at the earliest stage possible prior to an unavoidable in-person gathering. Notification of the health screening requirement should also be made at the earliest possible stage and included in confirmation emails or letters. Health screening information can be provided to students after that student is registered for a course, and prior to the start of the course.

All students shall take their temperature prior to attending class and complete the self-assessment Health Screening Questionnaire. This shall be done at home within one hour of attending class.

If a student feels sick, with a fever, cough, GI distress, or other symptoms of influenza-like illness, stay home. This will help expedite your recovery and avoid spreading any illness.

All students are to enter their assigned classroom through the rear exterior classroom door, off of the drill yard. Students are only to enter the main hallway to travel to the cafeteria for limited use; reference Section 2.6 for these guidelines.

  • Chiefs officers shall report to DES staff when one of their members, who is currently attending training courses at WCDES, tests positive, or come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Students shall report if they have had any COVID-19 symptoms in the past 14 days, have had a positive COVID-19 test in the past 14 days, and/or came in close contact with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case in the past 14-days.
  • Students who experience a fever ≥ 100.4oF or are ill shall contact their instructor by phone or email as soon as possible.  Instructors will make arrangements for lesson/skill make-up sessions that will be completed at a later date.
  • If a student experiences influenza-like symptoms, like illness such as respiratory symptoms (cough, respiratory distress), GI distress (diarrhea, vomiting, etc.), or fever, do not enter the classroom. Students shall remove themselves from the facility and contact their agency chief officer.
  • If a student has a temperature of ≥ 100.4oF, they shall not enter the classroom.  Those students should remove themselves from the facility and contact their agency chief officer.

Students shall ensure they have their own writing utensil and notebook when attending class. For contact tracing tracking purposes, it is vitally important that students sign in to class each session with their own writing utensils so that items are not shared between students.

Students shall wash their hands often using warm water and hand soap when available. If a washing facility isn’t immediately available, utilize alcohol-based waterless hand sanitizer, or disinfectant wipes. Avoid direct skin contact with others and do not touch your face, mouth, or eyes. If a student sneezes, they shall do their best to sneeze into a tissue and immediately discard it in the wastebasket, then wash their hands.

Students shall wear an appropriate face mask at all times in the WCDES facility. Masks will be provided to students if needed.  Students may not enter the facility without an appropriate face mask.

Section 2: Facility Guidelines
All non-essential visitors shall be restricted when possible. If a visitor is needed to come to the facility, it shall be done by a pre-scheduled appointment only.

All students are to enter their assigned classroom through the rear exterior classroom door, off of the drill yard.

Students shall access the apparatus floor through the rear yellow access door, or through an open garage bay if available and open. Turnout gear can be stored in the apparatus floor no less than 6 ft. apart, designated locations will be required by the class squads/group system and will be assigned by the instructor.

Classroom capacity shall be at a maximum of 50 percent capacity. Seats will be marked for spaced seating assignments to maintain the appropriate social distancing which is six feet apart.

  • Classroom 1 – 15 student maximum
  • Classroom 2 – 15 student maximum
  • Classroom 3 – 15 student maximum
  • Classroom 4 – 25 student maximum

Remote learning will be considered when possible and available to all participants.

The cafeteria area of the facility is closed and a maximum of three people may be in that overall area at any given time for utilization of the vending machines, microwave, refrigerator, or water refill station. No seating will be available in the cafeteria for meals. It is required that students wash their hands prior to the utilization of the vending machines, microwave, refrigerator, and water refill station. Hand sanitizer will be available in the cafeteria as well as the use of the sink to wash hands.

All students are to eat/drink in their assigned classroom space if needed and are required to clean up after they have finished eating. Removal of the facial covering is only allowed when eating meals or taking in fluids.

Students shall only utilize the locker room facilities (across the apparatus bay) for restroom usage. The bathrooms in the front of the facility will be designated for DES staff only. Best access to the locker room facility is to enter the hallway from the exterior of the building off of the drill yard.

Only four students can be in the men’s locker room facility and only two students can be in the women’s locker room facility at any given time. Students shall form a line outside of the locker rooms to wait for the restrooms when needed, 6 ft. marked spacing will be on the floor to properly social distance when waiting in line. Signage shall be posted identifying the maximum number of people permitted to occupy the locker room space.

Students shall wipe down their area with disinfecting wipes prior to leaving the facility at the conclusion of their course session. This shall include the desk and chair including the seat and back of the chair and anything else as required.

Facility cleaning and classroom disinfection will be completed at the conclusion of each course session by the contracted cleaning staff and DES staff.

Cleaning will include frequently touched surfaces multiple times per day:

  • All tabletops, desks, and chairs
  • Door knobs and countertops

The classroom shall be aired out between classes and during breaks as frequently as possible.

Increased circulation of outdoor air shall be done when possible including opening windows and doors. Do not open doors and windows if doing so poses a safety or health risk, for example, allowing pollens in or exacerbating asthma symptoms.

Hand sanitizer stations will be placed:

  • Outside all four classrooms
  • Inside classroom entrance rear doors
  • Outside of all bathroom facilities including locker rooms
  • In the cafeteria
  • In the vicinity of all employee time clocks
  • On the apparatus floor near both double door entrances

Section 3: Training and Practical Skills Guidelines
DES Staff shall limit the sharing of objects and discourage touching of shared surfaces; or, when in contact with shared objects or frequently touched areas, wear gloves, either trade-appropriate or medical; or, sanitize or wash hands before and after contact. Disinfection of shared equipment must also be completed in between use.

During fire training evolutions, all equipment and apparatus must be disinfected after each use. Disinfection wipes will be available.

When using the cascade unit to refill SCBA bottles, per DES policy instructor staff must always supervise use. Before and after use, all knobs, regulators, and any other surface touched must be disinfected with disinfection wipes.

All SCBA bottles must be marked with student and instructor name, or other identifying marking, to ensure they are only used by that student/instructor throughout the training sessions.

Instructors can only obtain their turnout gear two at a time in the gear locker room trailer. Those two instructors must not have lockers located within six feet of each other.

When students are donning/doffing gear, there will be marked spots on the car pad six feet apart to maintain social distancing.

Classroom computers and instructor workstations must be disinfected before and after each use including the keyboard, mouse, remote controls, chairs, desks, and any other items utilized for training.

When training on exterior props, instructors shall maintain social distancing between students. Students shall be on their SCBA respirators when necessary. When not on a respirator, students and instructors shall wear a facemask when around others, and performing skills.

Training props and buildings have some confined areas that are necessary for firefighter training. When firefighters are in these environments they must always either be in a face mask or don their SCBA respirator.

Instructors must also wear facemasks when instructing students or wear their SCBA respirators when deemed appropriate.

Whenever students are performing skills utilizing an SCBA, instructors will wear an appropriate face covering, regardless of their distance from the student. The exception to this will be if the instructor is also wearing an SCBA

Exhalation valves from SCBA provide little to no protection from particulate or airborne matter being exhaled into the atmosphere. Adding droplets from moisture within the mask could potentially allow contaminants to travel beyond the accepted 6-foot distance.

Section 4: Plan for when an Employee or Student Becomes Sick
Daily health screenings of employees and students are required. The Health Screening consists of a review of the known COVID-19 symptoms and an assertion by the employee or student that they are not experiencing any of the known symptoms. Employees and students are required to monitor their temperature at home and complete the Health Screening Questionnaire each day. The completed form should be maintained by the employee and student on their person when at work. The department’s Personnel Coordinator should be assigned to ensure compliance with this directive.

A record that health screenings of employees and students were reviewed must be maintained, but the actual answers or health information may not be maintained.

Employees and students should be aware of their normal temperature range. Employees and students should immediately notify the supervisor/instructor if any responses to the screening questions change. In the event of a change in responses, or if the employee screens positive for any COVID-19 symptoms, the employee must not report to work, or should be sent home.

Any employee or student who screens positive for COVID-19 symptoms must be given instructions to contact a healthcare provider and testing resources must be provided to the employee and student.

Identify an area to separate anyone who exhibits COVID-like symptoms during hours of operations. This shall be in a pre-identified area such as one of the un-used classrooms.

The employee or student shall be sent home immediately. If significantly ill, it shall be considered to contact the ECC to request an ambulance to safely transport anyone ill to a healthcare facility, as appropriate.

Identify and close all areas used by any sick person and do not use them until they have been properly cleaned. Wait 24 hours when possible, or as long as possible, before cleaning and disinfecting the affected areas to reduce the risk to the individuals cleaning. Ensure the safe and correct application of disinfectants.

Advise the sick person not to return until then have met CDC criteria to discontinue home isolation. If an employee or student is symptomatic and either test positive for COVID-19 or did not receive a test, the employee may only return to work or class in accordance with the CDC guidelines, meaning when all three of the following criteria have been met:

  • Three days with no fever
  • Symptoms improved have improved
  • Ten days since symptoms first appeared, or upon receipt of a negative COVID-19 test

If an employee or student is symptomatic and has had close or proximate contact, defined as being within six feet if an infected person for at least 10 minutes starting from 48 hours before illness onset until the time the person was isolated, with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time and is symptomatic, the employee should notify the Personnel Coordinator and the student shall notify their instructor, and may return to work or class upon completing at least 10 days of isolation from the onset of symptoms, or upon receipt of a negative COVID-19 test result.

If an employee or student is not experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms but has had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time, the employee or student may return to work or class upon completing 14 days of self-quarantine.

If the extent of contact between an individual and a person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 is unclear, the WCDOH should be contacted.