Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How did you arrive at these decisions?
A: We have been planning for in-person re-entry for months with multiple committees that included parents, students, teachers, staff, community members and administrators. We also solicited input through a regional Thought Exchange and local surveys. We have examined guidance from the NYS Education Department as well as the NYS Department of Health. We have also looked at our own circumstances in terms of our facilities, class size and available staff. All of the information and feedback gleaned from these groups/information sources allowed for us to make informed decisions based on the health, safety and educational needs of our students.
Q: How is the district addressing the social/emotional needs of students?
A: We understand that after a prolonged in-person absence, a pandemic and throughout much overall uncertainty, many of our students will need additional scaffolds and supports to feel welcomed back (or for students new to us, an initial welcome). Staff are being asked to teach students with whom they do not have a prior relationship in a non-traditional hybrid environment. Building relationships, assisting students in making connections and working to make all students feel as though they belong are fundamental building blocks that need to be explicitly and intentionally fostered.
Additionally, the Social-Emotional Learning Subcommittee is working on a welcome back theme called Bears Connect! The activities implemented within this theme will help students to make connections with their new teachers and staff.
Q: Will there be childcare available for students who are not in school with this hybrid schedule?
A: There are currently no District-run before or aftercare programs.
Q: What other opportunities will I have to hear more about the District’s plans?
A: Some of the resources currently available are the Re-Entry Plan, the Re-Entry Site and the What will my son/daughter’s day look like in September? Document. In addition, there will be two community informational sessions on Wednesday, August 12th at 12:00pm and 5:30pm. More information on those sessions to come.
Health & Safety
Q: Will my son/daughter be required to wear a mask during the school day?
A: Yes, students will be required to wear a mask/cloth covering during the school day, including when they are on the school bus, are in the classroom at a social distance of six feet from others and during transitions both within and to and from the school buildings.
Q: Will my son/daughter be required to wear a mask on the school bus?
Q: Are there any exceptions to the mask-wearing rule?
A: Any student who is physically unable to wear a mask due to a medical exemption (obtained through a doctor’s note and approved by our District Health Services Director) will be considered medically exempt and will not be expected to wear a mask.
Please know that students who receive a mask exemption must stay at a social distance of six feet at all times. If the six feet of social distance is not possible, that student must wear a mask/face covering for the period of time that the student is not socially distanced (NYSED Guidance).
Q: How will the buses, classrooms, cafeterias and other areas of the school be kept clean?
A: The district will be following the NYS Department of Health and CDC guidelines for cleaning all buses and district facilities on a daily basis.
Q: What happens when the first person gets sick? Will we be notified? Will that cause closures? What will happen?
A: We will have procedures and protocols in place to address these concerns. There will be a specified quarantine area, staff tending to students in this area will be in full PPE and parents/guardians will be asked to pick up students exhibiting symptoms so that they can seek outside medical treatment.
Any closures will be done in consultation with our School Medical Director, the Putnam County Department of Health and any available guidance from the Governor.
Q: What is the sick policy? Will you be screening students and staff before coming to school?
A: Students or staff exhibiting symptoms of illness should stay home. Parents/guardians must submit a health questionnaire prior to each time their son/daughter attends in-person instruction. In addition, student temperatures will be taken upon arrival . Staff will be asked to submit a health screening questionnaire prior to coming on school grounds.
Q: Will students' temperature be checked before they get on the bus?
A: Parents are asked to check their child’s temperature daily before sending their child to school. They will also be asked to complete a survey with a list of assurances that their child is not exhibiting any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19 identified by the CDC, they have not come in contact with anyone who has symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19 and that they haven’t traveled internationally or to any of the restricted states listed in the NYS travel advisory.
Q: Will there be hand sanitizing stations throughout the school?
A: Yes, additional hand sanitizing stations will be placed at all entrances and throughout the school.
Q: Will students be required to wash their hands regularly?
A: Students will be required to wash their hands before and after each meal and periodically throughout the day.
Q: Will all students be able to return to in-person instruction on the same day? What does our in-person capacity look like?
A: No. After much deliberation and planning, we have determined that in order to comply with social distancing mandates and to operate safely, our maximum capacity for in-person instruction each school day is 50% of our student population. Please know that we did not arrive at this decision lightly — we tried a multitude of scenarios in order to figure out a way to accommodate more students at a time given the social distancing guidelines. Our capacity on any given day is 50% of our overall student population.
Q: What will my son/daughter’s schedule be like?
A: Please refer to the document “What will my son/daughter’s day look like in September?” Additional details are being finalized.
Q: In a part-time hybrid schedule will my children that go to different schools have the same days that they will be home so the older one can watch the younger siblings?
A: Yes. Students are being placed in cohorts based on their last names and will be further modified for any siblings with different last names.
Q: How will my son or daughter be able to see their guidance counselor or other support staff?
A: Students will still be able to schedule times to see their guidance counselor either in-person on the days that they are receiving in-person instruction or online while they are at home. There will be a new scheduling tool posted on the guidance counselors’ web page.
Q: For virtual learning, will there be actual instruction or just assignments posted?
A: Students will have multiple ways to receive direct instruction from teachers, either through live, synchronous sessions that are shared while the teacher is teaching in the classroom with the other group of kids or through recorded instructional videos. There will also be opportunities for students to check in with their teacher if they have questions and receive facilitated instruction online.
Q: How much instructional time will students get with this hybrid schedule?
A: This varies depending on the grade level, but upon hearing the feedback from students and parents, there will be a significant amount of additional synchronous instructional time provided while students are learning from home.
Q: What supports will be in place for students with special needs?
A: There are a number of ways the District plans to continue support for all students, especially those with special needs. Please refer to the section of our re-entry plan that outlines those strategies that the district will employ.
Q: What supports will be provided to students and parents to access online learning resources?
A: The District will provide a series of student and parent modules accessible from our 2020-21 Re-Entry Planning section of our website that will help everyone be successful in accessing online instructional resources.
Q: Will there be grades or will it be Pass/Fail like in the spring?
A: We are still determining what the grading policy will look like. However, we do know that we need to build in additional student accountability into our grading system, when compared with last spring.
Q: Will I be able to opt for full remote/distance learning?
A: Yes, according to NYSED Guidance, remote learning opportunities for families with students or family members in a high risk-category, or who are uncomfortable sending students to school for in-person instruction will be provided. A questionnaire will be sent in the near future asking parents to choose in-person or full remote/digital instruction.
Do you have a question that is not listed here? Please submit via this form and we will add it to this running document.