Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Who should I contact if I have questions about the district's reopening plan or any aspect of it?
Please submit your questions through the Let's Talk that is dedicated to reopening.  We have a team of people working to answer your questions.  Your question will be directed to the team member who has the knowledge and expertise to best answer you at this time.  Please keep in mind that there are many wheels in motion right now.  In some cases, we might not yet have an answer or the details that you are seeking.  We will provide as much information as we can and will followup and provide details as they develop.

Will I be notified if there is a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case in the school or district?
If a student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, the school district will contact and follow the direction of the Schenectady County Health Department.  Typically, any person who was identified through contact tracing protocols and may have been exposed, would be notified by the health department.

How will parents be notified of updates or any changes?
We will use our existing internal and external communication channels including the website, email, text messaging, automated phone calls, electronic newsletters, community locations and partners and social media.   Please be sure that your updated contact information is on file with us.  We will regularly communicate news, requirements and updates using all of these channels.  Our website will always have the most up-to-date information.    

How will you decide if the district should close due to an increase in COVID-19 cases?
The district will consult with our medical director, John Petrillo DO and the Schenectady County Health Department.  Information regarding any change or a closure to one or more school buildings would be communicated to staff, families and students using all of our communication tools.  If school closure is necessary, instruction may change to all virtual learning.  

Health and Safety

Will students be screened every day before entering school?
Yes.  Every student's temperature will be checked prior to boarding the bus and before entering school.  If a student's temperature is 100 degrees or greater, the student will remain in a designated area until a parent or caregiver picks them up or makes alternative arrangements.

If a student exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 after being admitted to school they will be escorted to the designated area to be screened in a confidential manner.  A parent or caregiver will be contacted to make arrangement for the student to go home and be medically assessed.

Will staff members be screened daily?
All district staff members will be required to have their temperature checked before entering the work building.  Anyone who has a temperature of 100 degrees or greater, will not be allowed to enter.  District staff will be required to use their district-issued swipe care to swipe into their work location.  When they use their card, they will be affirming that they are able to enter the workplace based upon answers to the health screening questions.  These questions are posted at designated entrances.  Staff members are also required to complete a training prior to the first day of work.

Will visitors be screened?
Visitors will generally not be allowed in any school building at this time.  If a visit is required, it must be by appointment.  Every visitor will have their temperature checked before entering a district facility.  Any one with a temperature of 100 degrees or greater will not be permitted to enter. 

Essential businesses which include contractors, community partners and others who perform ongoing services, must have their temperatures checked at the start of each work day.  They must also attest to not having symptoms per the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.  This will not preclude the district from asking the same questions.  

Are face coverings required?
Yes. Students, staff and any visitor to our schools will be expected to wear face covering at all times, including on the school bus and in the classrooms.  If physical distancing of six feet or more cannot be maintained, proper face covering must be worn.  Individuals will be required to wear face coverings in common areas, such as hallways, entrances or anytime moving outside the classroom, as contact with other individuals can be expected.

Are students required to wear face coverings in the classroom and on the school bus?
Students will be required to wear face coverings at all times, indoors and outdoors.  This includes on the school bus and in classrooms.  Face coverings should not be removed in the classroom without permission or direction of a teacher.

What if my child has a condition that makes it unsafe to wear the required face covering?
We recognize that some students have medical conditions which make it unsafe or unhealthy to wear the required face covering.  In these situations, you must provide acceptable medical documentation to support an exemption.  The request will be processed through the district's Section 504 procedure, which is initiated through the principal.  As part of the review, it will be determined if other supplemental personal protective equipment (PPE) and/or accommodations can be made to provide additional protections such as a face shield or partition on the student's desk.

What is an acceptable face covering?
Acceptable face coverings include, but are not limited to, cloth-based coverings and masks that cover both the mouth and nose.

What if a student or staff member does not have a face covering?
Face coverings will be provided to students and staff, if needed, at no cost.

Can face shields be used in place of masks?
While face shields can be worn, they are to be worn in addition to face masks.  A face shield does not replace a mask.

What should I do if my child is showing symptoms of COVID-19?
You should contact your child's doctor.  Your child should not attend schools if they are showing symptoms. 

How long will my child need to be out of school if he or she exhibits symptoms of COVID-19?
The district has established protocols and procedures, in consultation with the local health department, about requirements for determining when individuals, particularly students, who screened positive for COVID-19 symptoms, can return to the in-person learning environment at school.  This includes 1) Documentation from a health care provider following evaluation; 2)  Negative. COVID-19 diagnostic test result; 3) Symptom resolution, or if COVID-19 positive, release from isolation.

If a student or staff members is suspected of having COVID-19, and tests negative, they will need to provide documentation that they are cleared to return to school.  

The district requires that individuals who were exposed to the COVID-19 virus to abide by their medical practitioner's recommendations.  The district will follow CDC and local health department guidelines.  The discharge of an individual from quarantine and return to school will be conducted in coordination with the local health department.

What should I do if I have traveled, within the last 14 days,  internationally or from a state with a high COVID-19 infection rate on the New York State Travel Advisory?
Governor Cuomo's Executive Order 205 requires all travelers coming from states with high rates of infection to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time that they leave that state.  The list of states for mandatory quarantine is located at:

What if my child gets sick in school?
If a student does not have COVID 
symptoms, we will contact you and ask you to pick up your child from school.   If symptoms resemble those of COVID, we will relocate your child to a location in the school away from others.  We will contact you and ask you to pick up your child immediately and direct you to a health care practitioner and the Schenectady County Department of Health for assistance. 

Our district schools are older, what is the plan for air quality?
We will rely on natural ventilation using windows if mechanical ventilation is not available.  Our plan is to use classroom that face the exterior of the school with windows.

How often will you clean the school? Every classroom will be cleaned each and every day.

Schedules and Programming

Will the student be changing classrooms and will they have access to lockers? The movement of students will be limited. We are still looking at the use of lockers and provide more information soon.

Could you share how many kids are registered to attend in person, by building? If numbers are low in classes, are you considering moving kids to other buildings?
Yes, we will provide numbers of students attending the hybrid program and virtual. If necessary, we may need to shift students from schools that have more students to those with smaller amounts in order to help with maintaining social distancing and ensure staff is available to teach and support them.

Will a student be able to switch from the hybrid to virtual program before the 10-week interval is completed?
We are asking families to stay committed with their decisions to be in either the hybrid or virtual program for the 10-week period but will consider changes on a case-by-case basis.

Will we get a school supply list?
School supply lists are delayed.  We are working to get those to families as soon as possible.

When will families be notified if their child will be in the hybrid model?
Confirmation notices have been sent to all families.  If you did not receive one, please contact your child's school.

What will dismissal look like in the elementary school?  Will classes be dismissed one at a time?
Dismissal will be staggered.  Each of the schools will have an entrance and dismissal plan.  This will be communicated with the families.  

How will attendance be handled?  If a student has technology issues and cannot log on at the appropriate time, what happens?
Attendance will be taken daily but we will be flexible with our families. Technology support will be provided to any of our families who need it.   If you have an issue with a district device, please be sure to let us know immediately so that we troubleshoot the problem for you.

Will parents see a picture of their child's classroom?
We will provide photos of classrooms and the schools to show what preparations have been made for your students.  You can see some photos of the work that our school teams are doing and what a model classroom will look like in the gallery posted in this section. 

Will tele therapy be available?  
Yes, services will be provided, to the fullest extent possible.

Will parents have an opportunity to meet their child's teacher?
In-person meeting will be scheduled individually or can be held remotely using Google Meet.

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