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North Colonie Reopening FAQ

The district has received hundreds of questions from families since the beginning of July and as you can imagine, it is impossible to answer them all. Below you will find the answers to what we know at this time. Please remember, our plans continue to evolve and anything is subject to change. If you have a question that has not been answered in this FAQ, the reopening plan, or is specific to your child, please use the email addresses below to contact the correct department:

Table of Contents

Learning Options | School Schedules | Elementary School | Jr. High/High School | TechnologyTransportation | Health & Safety | Mental Health & Wellness | Special Education | School Buildings | Lunch/Meals | Music & Arts | Sports/Physical Education | Before and After School Care | Other

Learning Options

What options do families have for returning to school in the fall?

The current plan calls for elementary students to attend school in-person daily and secondary students will have a blend of in-person and virtual learning. However, those who may not feel comfortable returning to an in-person educational environment have the option for full remote learning as well, as long as they notify the district of their plan by Aug. 24. Once a family has made their decision, students will be required to follow that plan for an entire semester. We will be sharing a survey with families to gather your choice in mid-August.

When will we know what the final scenario is?

    The final plan was posted to the district website on Friday, July 31. However, anything is subject to change. View the reopening plan here.

    What are options if parents don’t feel safe sending their children to school?

      If parents are not comfortable sending their child to school, they will have the option to keep their child home for remote learning. This remote option may be staffed by North Colonie employees, by other Capital Region educators through a Capital Region BOCES collaborative, or a combination of the two. Once a family has made their decision, students will be required to follow that plan for an entire semester. Parents who are choosing the remote option will need to notify the district by Aug. 24 in order for us to plan accordingly.

      What if a family decides to send their child for in-person learning and then later decides they would like to do remote only? Is it possible to switch?

      Yes.

      What will the schedules for in-person learning look like?

      • Elementary students (K-6) will have 5 hours of in-person instructional time daily.
      • Elementary classroom cohorts (no larger than 15), grades K-3, will receive 2.5 hours of direct instruction daily. In the 2.5 hour block students will receive instruction in ELA, math, science and social studies. In the second half of the school day students will have special area classes, small group instruction and independent work time
      • Elementary classroom cohorts, grades 4-6, will receive instruction in three, one hour blocks. In the three blocks students will be learning ELA, math, sci/ss. Students will have special area classes over the course of their school week
      • 7th and 8th graders will have 3.5 hours of in-person instructional time daily. (Students will have additional remote work responsibilities with teacher support.)
        • In grades 7-8 students will complete a full day over the span of two half days. For example, on one half day a student may attend math, world language and an exploratory class and the following half day the student may attend English, social studies and an additional exploratory class
      • 9th-12th graders will have 3.5 hours of in-person instructional time, with a 2 days on and 2 days off rotation. (Students will have additional remote work responsibilities with teacher support.)
        • In grades 9-12 our high school students will attend a full eight period day over the course of two half-days. For example, a student would attend periods 1-4 one day and attend periods 5-8 the following day

      If students are in-person, how big will class sizes be?

      Upon reopening, the number of students in each of our classrooms will be reduced to adhere to CDC guidance regarding proper social distancing. Class sizes will not exceed 15 students.

      For the remote learning days, will the lessons be live and interactive for students to ask questions?

      Remote learning opportunities for secondary students will include a greater emphasis on synchronous instruction, with teachers finding ways to provide live instruction and lessons to students. Teachers will ensure that their students are directly engaged with them and their class peers in experiential learning on a regular basis.

      What would a typical remote learning class day look like for K-6? 

      Student schedules will remain the same whether instruction is in person or remote so that students do not encounter conflicts wherein synchronous lessons for different subjects are offered simultaneously.

      How will you handle classes that are meant to be hands on?  

      Our academic supervisors are working on the best ways to achieve this, specific to their discipline. 

      Will the district be returning to the previous grading system or continuing a modified approach to grading? 

      The district will be returning to the previous grading models at all levels.

      Are AP classes considered electives, or can we assume that they will all be offered as originally scheduled? 

      AP classes will continue to be offered.

      What does the 100% virtual option for school look like? 

      To ensure high-quality remote learning experiences, we will standardize the use of a single online learning platform, to the extent possible, and develop a common, coordinated set of guidelines for teachers to follow when using the platform with students. North Colonie will be using one platform for our remote learning, Google Classroom. We will be developing and sharing short videos to aid families who need support in how to best navigate the platform. Teachers will also be available during ‘office hours’ should there be questions about an individual teacher’s classroom. More information can be found in the reopening plan.

      If a child will be remote learning, will they be able to Zoom in live in the classroom so they too can participate with their teacher  with the rest of their class? 

      The academic administrators are working on the models for participation from remote learning and looking at the best practices for each discipline. More information on this was shared at the August 13 PAC presentation.

      Questions from Aug. 13 PAC Meeting

      Can parents choose to switch their child to remote at any time once school starts?

      Yes. If your student starts in-person and would like to switch to remote learning, you would notify the school to let them know you are switching. However, if you start remote, you are required to stay remote for an entire semester, ending at the end of January.

      Will the classes be live streamed for remote students?

      The students who are in school will not be recorded. The children who are at home will not be able to view what is going on in the classroom. Classes for remote learners will be live, but it will be a teacher talking to them, devoted to only those in the remote session.

      Will remote students have the same opportunities as in-person students in terms of exams and advanced placement assessments?

      Yes, students who are remote will have the same opportunities as in-person students and they will have to participate in state exams and any other tests or assessments.

      Will classes be recorded for students who are remote?

      Yes, classes will be recorded for students who are remote. Classes will be live but they will be recorded so that they can be archived for a week so that students can have access to it should they need it.

      Will class offerings be different via remote instruction compared to in person instruction at the junior high or high school level?

      Classes at the junior high level will be virtually the same. However, there are some classes at the high school level that are very specific electives that may not be available in the remote platform.

      Has North Colonie considered technology to provide live-streaming of classes allowing students to effectively participate remotely in classes that are being offered in person?

      The district is not going to provide live-streaming of classes as we believe it is not in the best interest of the students who are at home. We want the remote students to be able to actively participate and talk live with the teacher and they cannot do that if they are watching the in person class via livestream.

      How would a remote student get access to textbooks?

      At the beginning of the year, there will be a day where those who are remote can come and pick up any materials they may need.

      Questions from Aug. 18 PAC Meeting

      If my child needs to miss school due to a COVID exposure what would be the plan for his/her continued learning?

      If there is a COVID exposure and your student needs to go out for a two week quarantine, that is why we are building the consistent platform for the online instruction. We are prioritizing standards so that your child will be able to participate in remote learning for the time of the quarantine.

      I understand that remote learners will be taught by a certified NC teacher; however, will it be a teacher familiar with the grade they are teaching?

      All of our teachers will be certified for the level that they are teaching. However, it may not be the grade the teacher was teaching or the class the teacher was teaching last year, but it will be someone who has taught it previously.

      Will accelerated courses be offered if my student is remote?

      Depending on the grade level, we are looking to offer as many courses as possible with students who are in remote instruction. This will also be dependent on the student and faculty numbers for those who are participating in remote instruction.

      Will the remote instruction and in person instruction work in conjunction? So if my child switches from remote to in person or in person to remote will they be learning the same things? 

      If your child starts in person, and it is not working for them or your family, you may move to remote instruction at any time. However, if you start remote, you cannot return to in-person at any time. They will have to stay in remote learning until the second semester, which begins on Feb. 1, 2021. The instruction will be aligned.

      When will we have the daily schedule for online classes?

      The schedules for in-person and online classes will be shared after the first week of September due to planning and finalizing details.

      Is the district offering remote learning until June 2021?

      Yes, the district will be offering remote instruction for the entire 2020-21 school year.

      Questions from Aug. 18 PAC Meeting

      Will students who get pulled out of classroom to meet with math or reading specialists continue to be pulled out or will those services be pushed into the classroom?

      We will be limiting pulling students out and movement. Specialists will push in.

      Questions from Aug. 20 PAC Meeting

      Will all AP and honors level courses in core areas be available for the remote options?

      We are working through this process. We need to look at our course selections and see who is attending in the hybrid form or exclusively in the virtual format and then plan accordingly.

      Will the school supplies for remote and in-person students be the same?

      If your student is doing remote learning, you can use the same school supply list as students who are attending in person. There will also be a pick-up day for remote learners, where they will be able to come and get any workbooks, textbooks, or any other supplies they may need.

      If we choose the fully remote option, do we need to do anything other than complete the survey to notify the district?

      Once you choose the remote option on the survey, you will receive an email the week of Aug. 24 confirming your choice. Again, you will only receive a confirmation email if you chose the remote option.

      If my child is required to quarantine for two weeks for a direct contact that did not occur in school (so their class will still be meeting), how will they be able to keep up with their school work?

      If a student is home and needs to quarantine, they will be allowed to attend remotely.

      Will remote students and in-person students be in the same virtual curriculum?

      Yes, they will.

      Will remote students be taking tests online?

      Students who are learning remotely will have assessments. Depending on the grade level or the subject, we have a variety of tools that are secure to provide online assessments.

      Questions from Aug. 27 PAC Meeting

      What is the platform/program for the remote synchronous instruction? Guidance says that it will be standardized and high quality remote learning, but what does that mean?

      Students and teachers will be using Google Classroom. Most students are already familiar with this. Students start using Google Classroom in second grade. Younger learners will use Seesaw. Standardize, high quality remote learning means students will be engaged in live lessons through Zoom or Google Meet. Teachers will also be able to use a range of tools to be more interactive with their students.

      Why is there no plan to do any instruction outdoors?

      There is not a specific plan to use outdoor spaces as classrooms. Since we live in the northeast, the use of outdoor space would be reliable for approximately only the first 4-6 weeks of the school year. However, physical education classes will be encouraged to be outdoors as much as possible. We will also encourage other classroom teachers to use outdoors as an optional venue when possible and when feasible. 

      Will there be packets/handouts in some classes? 

      We will have a system in the fall where remote learners can come and pick up any materials that they may need. For in person students, we are going to be as paperless as possible, but we may not be 100% paperless. 

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      School Schedules

      Will schedules be staggered to allow for less students at arrival/dismissal?

      Each building is working on a plan for arrival and dismissal so students do not cluster at arrival and dismissal. Each building has specific plans as the traffic flow and entry configuration of each building is different.

      What will the school day hours be for all buildings and grade levels?  

      The first day of school will be on Monday, Sept. 14. The schedules are as follows:

      • Forts Ferry & Southgate
        • Grades K-3: 8:45 a.m. – 2:15 p.m.
        • Grades 4-6: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
      • Blue Creek, Boght Hills, Latham Ridge, Loudonville
        • Grades K-3: 9:45 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.
        • Grades 4-6: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
      • Elementary Remote
        • Grades K-3: 9:30 -11:30 a.m., (BREAK), 12:20 – 2:15 p.m.
        • Grades 4-6: 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., (BREAK), 1:15 – 3 p.m.
      • Shaker Junior High (Grades 7&8)
        • In-School: 7:30 – 11 a.m.
        • Virtual: 12:40 – 2:35 p.m.
      • Shaker High School (Grades 9-12)
        • In-School: 12- 4 p.m.
        • Virtual: 8:30 – 10:45 a.m.

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      Elementary School

      What will the experience be for incoming kindergarteners?  

      Incoming kindergarten students will have an orientation prior to starting school. Once school begins, kindergarten students will be screened and we will begin our learning journey. Although things will definitely be different due to social distancing measures, our commitment to providing for the students’ academic and social emotional needs will remain paramount.  

      What will recess look like?

      Students will only go to recess with their classroom cohort. Playgrounds will be cleaned per CDC guidance. Outdoor areas, like playgrounds in schools will be routinely cleaned. We will also make use of our fields for other outdoor activities.

      Will there continue to be Art, Music, and Physical Education?

      Yes, students will continue to receive their special area classes.

      For students in grades 4-6 who have never been to the jr. high school building, will there be an opportunity for an orientation to the building?

      North Colonie is currently considering how many days we will need to use prior to students starting in-person, as the transition back to school will necessitate a great deal of coordination, meeting, learning and preparing for all involved.These days will also be utilized for student orientation. This time will allow small groups of students to meet with their new teacher and begin to establish the relationship necessary for a successful school year.

      Will LEP continue? Who will it be offered to and what will it look like?  

      Our two LEP teachers will be assigned to the junior high school with our grades 4-6 students. Their exact schedule is still being determined. 

      If the elementary principal is at the original elementary school, who’s going to oversee grades four through 6 at the junior high school? 

      Our three veteran principals, Mr. Davis Chamberlain, Ms. Dawn Lange, and Mr. Jan Zadoorian will be overseeing the students in grades 4-6.

      Will distance learning (at the elementary level) be grouped by grade or school specific? (Ex: would a 2nd grade distance learner be with all 2nd graders in the district or specific to only their home elementary school?) 

      This answer will be dependent upon enrollment. It may differ by grade level, but we will keep “section” sizes consistent with class sizes that students would have if they were physically in school.  

      What kind of live interaction will kids get with other students from their own elementary school using the remote option?

      We will be building in time for socialization and interaction for our elementary students. However, if it is in their elementary school or a districtwide cohort will depend on enrollment per grade level.

      Questions from Aug. 13 PAC Meeting

      Will elementary students who are new to the district be given an opportunity to tour their respective elementary school and meet their teacher in person before the start of the school year?

      While we typically have tours and a meet and greet, that may not be possible this year. However, we may host virtual meet and greets for our new students so that they can meet their teacher prior to the start of the year.

      What will the procedure be for school pick up for the kids who don’t ride the bus if they normally all go to the cafeteria?

      Students who do not ride the bus will not wait to be picked up in the cafeteria this year. There will be drop off and pick up times that each principal will relay to families in their virtual meeting prior to the start of the school year.

      What kind of recess will be offered at the junior high school for students in grades 4-6?

      While there is not a playground at the junior high school, there is a lot of open space outside. There will be grab-and-go games that they can use. Those games can be easily sanitized after use as well. We will continue to look at a range of options to provide grades 4-6 students with activities during recess.

      If I choose the remote option for my child, when that child returns to school in the second semester, will that child return to their originally assigned elementary school?

      If the students are in K-3, it would be our intention to send them to their originally assigned elementary school, however, we can not guarantee that. We would have to look at the numbers and see how many students have returned to in-person learning in that building.

      Questions from Aug. 18 PAC Meeting

      What is library class going to look like? How can students learn library skills in the classroom? Will students in-person be borrowing books to bring home? 

      The librarians will be pushing into the classrooms to teach the students. They have the same ability to teach in the classroom as they would in the library. We will not be starting the year with students taking home books. However, the district has invested in e-books that students will be able to access from home. 

      Will children in grades K-6 be expected to travel to/from school daily with their Chromebook?

      We are still working on what this will look like. While it is not ideal to have our younger students transport their Chromebooks back and forth each day, we do want to be prepared in the event that we do not return to school for a period of time.

      Questions from Aug. 20 PAC Meeting

      For remote elementary learners, will the families still get communications from their home schools?

      Yes, they will.

      Will curriculum content from March-June for elementary levels be reviewed before teachers begin their new curriculum?

      We will be doing both. We are going to continue to prioritize our standards for each grade level. We will also continue to assess where there is a deficit in certain areas so we can continue to support those who need it.

      Will elementary students have the same teacher for all four core subjects?

      This will be the same as in previous years. K-3 students will have one classroom teacher and then in grades 4-6, they start to departmentalize so there is a teacher for math, social studies, ELA or science. We will use the same system we have had in place.

      Questions from Aug. 27 PAC Meeting

      Why will students now attending junior high be having a new building orientation, but K students will not when it is also a new building for them?

      We will be having a kindergarten student orientation. It will be on Thursday, Sept. 10. Building principals will be talking to parents soon and sharing a schedule. Parents will be able to come in over a period of several hours in small groups to see the school and classrooms. 

      Where will the students in grade 4-6 keep supplies at the new middle school?

      Students in grades 4-6 will be encouraged to keep their supplies in their backpack. We will also have space within the classroom where they can keep their supplies.

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      Jr. High School/High School

      How will students change classes and use hallways?

      To the extent possible, students will remain in small cohorts if/when leaving the classroom, such as for recess or any necessary transition, so as to reduce their exposure to additional students. Jr. High School teachers will be rotating into the classroom.

      Will CEIP (Career Exploration Internship Program) at the high school still be an option during the 2020-21 school year?

      CEIP with modification will still be an option. More information will be provided.

      Will students in grades 7-12 be using lockers? 

      Both CDC guidance and Department of Health guidance recommend that we avoid the use of lockers. Since students in 7-12 will only be taking half of their classes each day, we would expect that they would bring their materials with them in their backpacks. If necessary, we will make individual accommodations.

      How it will be decided into which group, the A or the B group, each high school student will be placed. On what basis will that decision be made?

      We are still finalizing the method for doing this. However, the current thinking is that we would separate by elementary school zones. Our transportation director is looking at creating the zones, based on elementary school zones, to be more efficient with transportation.

      Will all high school lectures be recorded and made available on the day of instruction?

      The academic administrators are working on the models for participation from remote learning and looking at the best practices for each discipline. More information was shared at the August 13 PAC presentation. Students will, however, have the opportunity to participate in live remote instruction as opposed to only viewing recorded lessons.

      Who will be overseeing grades 7&8 since they will be in the high school?

      Our high school administrative team will be in the building with our 7th and 8th grade students. They will be working closely with the junior high school administrators. The 7th and 8th grade teachers will be with the students in the high school.

      Will students be changing classrooms in the high school or will their teachers come to them?

      For grades 7 & 8, the students will stay in their classrooms and the teachers will come to them. However, as a cohort, they will leave the classroom to go to a special class, like CTE, art or PE.

      Will classrooms be cleaned in between periods?

      Classrooms are not cleaned in between all periods. Classrooms will be cleaned in between the morning and afternoon session. There will be desk coverings for students to pick up when they come in if they would like to use them.

      Questions from Aug. 13 PAC Meeting

      If high school students are going through their entire class schedule over the course of 2 days and then will be remote for 2 days, is it reasonable to assume they will not get through the entire curriculum for their courses? How might that affect courses with regents exams?

      Students will receive two days of in-person classes, which are 55 min. each. This is about 10 min. longer than what they were receiving in the past. Then, students will be remote for 2 days. The district and the department supervisors are working with the State Education Dept. and reviewing guidance that shares how to deliver and prioritize curriculum.

      When will students receive their schedules?

      Schedules will be received later this year due to the balancing of students who are returning in-person vs. staying remote. Schedules will be released the week of Sept. 7. Usually, schedules take around two months to prepare and this year, we will be doing them in two weeks following the results of the reopening survey.

      Please explain the thinking behind providing so little in-person time to high school students.

      One of the differences between our high school and other high schools you may be comparing to is that because we are a district that has incredible enrollment growth, we do not have any extra room in our school buildings. So, in moving grades 4-6 to the junior high school, we then had to move all of our 7th and 8th graders to the high school. Then, if you had grades 7-12 all together, that would be about 3,000 students. There is no way to have 3,000 students in the high school building and be safe with social distancing. The district looked at several different models and in order to find the best way that we could maximize in-person instruction for our youngest learners, we had to assign the buildings the way we did.

      Questions from Aug. 18 PAC Meeting

      If I have to call in an absence for my 8th grader, would I call the junior high or the high school?

      You would call the same number as you have in the past, which would be the junior high number.

      Will students continue in their cohorts during the afternoon virtual sessions?

      They will be joined together in the afternoon virtual sessions for certain classes. The A group and the B group will be together to receive extra support from their teacher in the afternoon.

      The 2:10-2:35 p.m. block was described as something similar to after-school. Is that portion of the virtual day required or is that an option for those students that need to connect with a teacher?

      This time period is optional and will be an opportunity for students to connect with their teacher should they need additional help.

      When will we know which days our students will attend? And if they are in the A or B group?

      A schedule will be released to show which days are A/B days. Students are grouped in A or B based on their elementary school zones. 

      If my high school student has a mild illness and stays home for a day or two, can he do online learning for those afternoons so as not to fall behind?

      That will be difficult since our teachers will not have that type of technology in their classrooms so that someone who is at home can just join in. We will use our typical practices where our teachers and students communicate on what they have missed to keep them up-to-date.

      Why aren’t the junior high and high school schedules swapped since many high school students have after school commitments such as jobs, CEIP, etc.

      This decision had to do with logistics with transportation. In the morning, there are fewer junior high school students and that is when a lot of the bus runs are happening. There are more high school students, even when it is only half of the cohort. Also, for families who have a high school student and a student in grades 4-6, the high school student would be able to help the younger student get on the bus if a parent needed to leave early for work.

      For high school students who opted for 100% virtual, will they be able to enroll/participate in the technology, science lab and music lessons ?

      We are working to make music lessons an option for students who are remote learners. Science labs will be taught differently this year for all students and all students will have access to them. For CTE/technology classes, we are working through those offerings to see what is the best way to make those available, which will depend on enrollment.

      Questions from Aug. 20 PAC Meeting

      Is DDE and studio art still being offered for those 8th grade students who were scheduled in the spring? Is that true for both online and blended option?

      DDE and Studio Art are scheduled for in person during block 3. We are working on the remote options.

      Will remote 7-8 graders have the same schedule as in person?

      They will. The reason is that in order to offer the most that we can for a remote kids, some classes might be taught by a teacher who is actually in school. In order for us not to have overlapping classes, we have to have the remote students follow the same schedule.

      At the high school level, is there any more information on which electives will be available for the remote option?

      Unfortunately, we cannot give precise information at this time.

      For remote 7th graders and 8th graders, will they still be in communication with the school principal or will there be a different principal?

      7th and 8th will be in communication with hall and building principals.

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      Technology

      If my child is participating in the remote option for semester one, do we still need to obtain a Chromebook from the school or can we use a personal laptop for daily classes?

      You will need a district Chromebook, as they have the tools that students need for their classes and those are not available on home devices. There will be more pick up days for Chromebooks the week of Aug 30.

      After answering the attestation questions, will the app tell the parent if a child should stay home or not? (i.e. has symptoms other than a fever)

      Yes, if you answered “yes” to any of the questions, you will be instructed to keep your child home.

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      Transportation

      How will school buses be made safe?  

      • Students who are able will be required to wear masks and social distance on the bus to the extent practicable; however, students whose physical or mental health would be impaired are not required to wear a face covering, but must be appropriately socially distanced.
      • Members of the same household may be seated within six (6) feet of each other.
      • In terms of transportation safety:
        • We are building time into our routing schemes to allow for cleaning of bus seats and commonly touched areas daily.
        • We have 4 fogger machines that will be used midday to sanitize all buses.
        • Cleaning supplies have been made available to all drivers and aides.
        • Drivers are required to wash their hands before entering the bus.
        • Drivers and aides that are in close contact with students (helping to buckle seat belt, etc.) will also have a face shield and gloves in addition to a mask.

      Will the process for student drop off/pick up be streamlined if parents wish to transport children instead of riding the bus?

      This will be decided by each individual school.

      If parents drive their student(s) to school, will parents be required to sign out students at the end of the day?

      More information will be coming from your child’s school in the future.

      If my childs pick up/drop off location will be different than our home due to different start/end times, who do I notify? 

      If your child is being picked up or dropped off at any location other than your home, you will need to fill out a childcare application. Childcare applications can be found here. Forms can be submitted electronically.

      Transportation to locations other than home addresses follow the same guidelines as regular school transportation. It is the responsibility of the childcare provider to insure safe travel of the student(s) to and/or from the bus stop. Childcare locations must be within school district boundaries and be the same location each school day. Due to the mandated social distancing on the bus, we will be strictly enforcing the following changes:

      • Students will no longer be allowed to have a pass to ride the bus home with a friend.
      • If the student attends CYC at their school they will not be allowed to ride the bus home.
      • We cannot allow any deviation from their regular busing schedule.    

      Will juniors be able to drive to school for the 2020-21 school year?

      Since we will have cohorts at the high school each day, we may be able to extend driving privileges to juniors.

      Will busing still be available to offsite aftercare? Ex: Master Yangs Taekwondo?

      Yes, if you have not already done so please submit your application ASAP. Applications can be submitted electronically and can be found here.

      What if you start with one form of transportation, such as selecting the bus and then you want to change to driving the student to school, can you change?

      We understand that family needs change, and we will be adaptable to the extent possible, however we will only be assigning busing if it is requested. If a parent selects busing and then chooses to transport, we will remove that student’s bus stop from the route. However, if a parent chooses to transport, then decides they want a bus, there may not be a seat on the bus for them.

      Questions from Aug. 13 PAC Meeting

      I heard that this year everyone who wants their student to use the bus will need to sign up. Is that correct?

      If you would like your student to take district transportation, you should choose that option in the reopening survey that was sent to all families on Friday, Aug. 14.

      Will there be enough parking for juniors to drive to school?

      If we have juniors who have their license and parent approval, they will be able to go through the process of receiving a parking permit.

      The current plan has K-6 on the same buses, but they will be attending different buildings. How does the district plan on keeping the K-3 and 4-6 grade cohorts separate on the bus to ensure there is no added risk to them riding the bus together?

      Students will sit one child per seat, unless they are siblings. Students will also be required to wear masks on the bus. Buses will not be filled to more than 50 percent capacity to ensure social distancing.

      Questions from Aug. 18 PAC Meeting

      Will parents who choose to drive their kids be given a specific time frame to drop off?

      This will vary from school to school. At the elementary level, parents will be given a time at either the beginning or end of the arrival/dismissal period. Students in grades 4-6 will be given a specific time as well. For grades 7-8 at the high school and grades 9-12, there won’t be a specific time, but there will be a specific location. We will share with families when we have more information.

      If your child lives at two homes in the district (divorced parents) can transportation be provided to/from both homes?

      Unfortunately, we will not be able to transport to/from both homes this year due to COVID-19 protocols and procedures. We need to have students assigned to bussing riding only one bus. Each student is assigned to one seat on the bus due to social distancing, tracking, tracing, etc. We will also not be able to accommodate students riding home with a friend.

      If a junior or senior student receives a parking permit, are they guaranteed a parking spot even though there are no assigned parking spaces for this school year?

      Yes, all juniors and seniors who receive a parking permit and have a valid license will be allowed to park at the high school for the entire school year.

      When are you sending out pick up and drop off times?

      We are still receiving the survey information and as such, our routes are not finalized. As soon as schedules are sorted out they will be available on the parent portal.

      If my children take the bus to and from school, am I permitted on days when my work schedule allows to drive them to school and/ or pick them up? Would this be the same as previously. In the morning if they are not at the bus stop the bus continues on. If I am picking them up after school, I notify the school in the morning not to put them on the bus.

      From a busing perspective, it is okay if you pick-up your students occasionally, however, I don’t know the impact that would have on schools and their dismissal plans, I would reach out to them for clarification.

      Are bus routes being developed so that the children spend as little time on the bus as possible. Last year for the ride home from school our house was the last stop on the route. Dismissal was at 3:15 p.m. and the bus got to our house at 4:05 p.m. on average. Is there a time limit being put on the amount of time the children will be on the buses?

      Due to social distancing, we expect, that generally bus routes will be shorter than in years past, however if you live at the far end of the district it may take more time for your bus to arrive at home.

      I have a question regarding fall semester bus routing if both my kids take in-person classes. My younger child will be in her home school. My older child will go to Junior High School. If both of them take the bus in the morning to go to school, will they be on the same bus? If they get on the same bus, will the bus drop off my younger child first at their elementary school, then continue driving to Junior High School to drop off my older child? At dismissal, will the bus pick up my older child first? 

      Since all elementary buses are going to drop-off (and pick-up) at both the home elementary school and the junior high there are two bell times listed. So, for Forts Ferry for example, the buses will start dropping off K-3 students at 8:30, as soon as the bus is clear it will head directly to the junior high to drop-off the 4-6 students. It will do the reverse in the afternoon. We have a 20-minute window between schools, hoping that is enough time for travel.

      Can we be put on the list for transportation if I indicated my children did not need transportation in the district survey?

      When submitting your form please be cautious of making this error. Since we automatically default to busing from home-to-school we are not looking at submissions requesting busing, but only at those opting out. If you do select the incorrect option please notify our office as soon as possible so we can make sure your student has busing.

      Questions from Aug. 20 PAC Meeting

      As a parent of a walker, the traffic pattern enforcement is of concern for me. I am nervous that the risk will be increased with more parents driving. Will Colonie PD be able to help out in the beginning?

      The Colonie PD is a great partner. However, we will have to monitor this ourselves with their help. They do not have the resources to provide an officer at each school. However, we do have a resource officer at the High School. This individual will be utilized to provide traffic management at that location.

      If parents choose remote learning for the first semester and then in-person for the second semester, how do transportation plans work? Can a request be made for second semester transportation in January?

      Yes, a request can be made for second semester transportation.

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      Staff

      Will the building principals from last year remain in their buildings? 

      Yes.

      Will teachers be tested for COVID before in-person learning begins?

      In accordance with Dept. of Health guidelines, all individuals entering school district property will be required to make a daily attestation regarding their exposure to COVID-19 or any symptoms they may be experiencing. In some specific cases, an employee may need to receive a negative COVID test before entering school district property.

      What happens if a student or teacher tests positive for COVID-19? 

      School staff must immediately report any illness of students or staff to the school nurse or other designated school staff. If a student or staff member reports having tested positive for COVID-19, school administrators or his/her designee should notify the local health department to determine what steps are needed for the school community. It is strongly recommended that schools comply with CDC guidance and not conduct COVID-19 testing or require testing or antibody testing of students or staff members. The decision of whether a test needs to be conducted should be determined by a healthcare provider or the local department of health.

      What if someone who lives in the same house as a teacher tests positive?

      The decision of whether a test needs to be conducted or an employee needs to be quarantined should be determined by a healthcare provider or the local department of health.

      Will there be a time for teachers to transition to new locations and to be properly trained on new procedures, etc.? 

      Yes. We will use the Superintendent’s Conference Days to complete this work.

      Will there be an assigned teacher that will be available to see your child more than just office hours? 

      Yes. Our remote learning will include synchronous lessons, asynchronous lessons, as well as office hours.

      What is the district doing to help our traveling teachers/staff with staying safe and also not exposing a higher number of students and other staff within the district? 

      We are limiting traveling teachers to a minimum. Those who do travel will travel by the day, not during the day. The vast majority of our teachers will be assigned to a single building.

      Are there enough faculty members to implement the districts’ plan as it stands now?

      Yes. We are currently doing the balancing act which will allow us to align students with their teachers, both in person and remote. 

      Questions from Aug. 27 PAC Meeting

      Will there be enough substitutes for in person or remote learning if teachers are sick or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms?

      Substitutes will continue to be a challenge, as they already were before the pandemic. However, our Human Resources Department continues to work to have our own North Colonie substitute workforce so that they are specific to our buildings and our district. For remote learning, if a teacher is sick for a day, it is our expectation that the teacher will post videos or homework to their students in Google Classroom and there would not be a live lesson on that specific day. 

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      Health & Safety

      Will students and staff be required to wear masks?

      Yes, all students, staff and visitors will be required to wear an appropriate face covering. Face coverings must cover the nose and mouth and extend to the ears. In addition, face shields may be worn over the top of a face mask. Staff are encouraged to supply their own mask but disposable masks will be provided if needed. All students will be required to wear face coverings. Exceptions will be made for those students who cannot tolerate wearing a mask due to his/her/their IEP or medical condition. Students are allowed to remove their face coverings during meals and for short breaks so long as they maintain appropriate social distance. Upon completion of the day, reusable masks should be laundered and disposable masks should be discarded in the appropriate waste receptacles. Training about the proper wearing of masks and their removal/disposal will be provided along with signage throughout the buildings.

      Will the district provide PPE for all students and staff?

      The district will have extra PPE for students. The district will provide PPE for all staff. The Director of Custodial Services is responsible for ensuring that appropriate levels of PPE is available for all that need it.

      Are face shields an option?

      Face shields can be worn, as long as students/staff are wearing a mask as well. Face shield cannot be worn as a replacement for masks.

      Will every child have their temperature checked before entering a school building?

      Yes. Daily temperature checks are required for all students and staff (which will be done at home) with required daily attestations. An individual with a temperature greater than 100.0°F must be denied entry into the facility or sent directly to a dedicated area prior to being picked up or otherwise sent home.

      Who is responsible for taking the temperatures of students before they come to school?

      Parents/guardians will be responsible for taking the temperature of their student(s) before they come to school. The parent/guardian will also have to attest on an app. each day that they have taken the temperature. If families are in need of a thermometer, they can email health@ncolonie.org and we will provide them with a thermometer prior to the start of the school year.

      What health precautions will be put in place at all levels?

      • The district will provide ready access to hand sanitizer in all classrooms and common spaces.
      • The district will provide disposable wipes/approved cleaners to faculty and staff so that commonly used surfaces (e.g., keyboards, desks, remote controls).
      • The district has developed cleaning and disinfecting procedures for the school in accordance with CDC and DOH guidance for all classrooms, common spaces, and transportation.

      Can the school district employ a strategy where staff/students (families) can self-administer COVID tests?

      No, the district will not be providing COVID tests for students or staff. It is strongly recommended that schools comply with CDC guidance and not conduct COVID-19 testing or require testing or antibody testing of students or staff members. 

      Schools are required to conduct drills throughout the school year. What will those look like this year?

      The district will conduct fire (evacuation) drills and lockdown drills as required by education law and regulation and the fire code without exceptions. Schools must continue to conduct mandatory fire and lockdown drills according to the existing statutory schedule. Drills will be conducted in a manner that maintains social distancing at exits and gathering points outside the building, while still preparing students to respond in emergencies.

      Who will be responsible for the cost of cleaning materials for each school?

      The district is responsible for the cost of all cleaning materials and PPE. 

      Can you speak more in depth regarding the electronic screening that is supposed to occur prior to school?

      Before coming to school each day, students and staff will be required to have their temperature checked and attest that they are healthy and do not have a high temperature. The district is currently evaluating several different apps. for the communication of this information. As soon as one is selected, we will provide information and training for families and staff.

      Who is responsible for cleaning the areas where students and staff have been? How often will it be done?

      Each building will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized every day by members of our custodial department. High touch areas such as door knobs and stair railings will be cleaned several times throughout the day.

      If students are requested to return to school and a positive case results how will that be handled? How will contact tracing be done?

      Contact tracing is a public health function performed by local public health departments to trace all persons who had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. This allows public health officials to put in place isolation or other measures to limit the spread of the virus. Schools must cooperate with state and local health department contact tracing. 

      What happens if a student or staff member is subject to quarantine?

      If a student needs to quarantine, the district will provide a remote option for schooling. This remote option may be staffed by North Colonie employees, by other Capital Region educators through a Capital Region BOCES collaborative, or a combination of the two. If a student or staff member reports having tested positive for COVID-19, school administrators or his/her designee should notify the local health department to determine what steps are needed for the school community.

      Will there be measures put in place to make sure that those who have been quarantined are healthy before returning to school?

      The district has established protocols and procedures, in consultation with the local health department(s), about the 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 protocol includes:

      • Documentation from a health care provider following evaluation
      • Negative COVID-19 diagnostic test result
      • Symptom resolution, or if COVID-19 positive, release from isolation

      The district will refer to the Department of Health regarding protocols and policies for faculty and staff seeking to return to work after a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or after the faculty or staff member had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19.

      The district requires that individuals who were exposed to the COVID-19 virus complete quarantine and have not developed symptoms before returning to in-person learning. The discharge of an individual from quarantine and return to school will be conducted in coordination with the local health department.

      Will there be an isolation area in case someone has symptoms during the school day?

      The district requires students with a temperature, signs of illness, and/or a positive response to the questionnaire to be sent directly to a dedicated isolation area where students are supervised, prior to being picked up or otherwise sent home. Students will be supervised in the isolation area while awaiting transport home and will be separated by at least 6 feet. Students will be escorted from the isolation area to their parent/guardian. Students will be referred to a healthcare provider and provided resources on COVID-19 testing.

      How would schools address building safety i.e. prevent intruders, etc. if doors are being kept open so people don’t have to touch them?

      Opening exterior doors to allow access/exiting at the buildings in a touch free manner will only be done at drop off and dismissal times. A staff member will need to be present at these times to monitor who is entering the building. After the drop off/pick up items the building will operate normally with the exterior doors locked. All visitors will have to go to the main entrance. As per guidelines, visitors will not be allowed to enter the building unless there is an emergency.

      How often will bathrooms/classrooms be cleaned?

      The District’s custodial staff have been trained on proper cleaning procedures and disinfecting schedules. Each building will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized every day. Common areas and bathrooms will be routinely cleaned and sanitized throughout the day. Schools must maintain logs that include the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection in a facility or area

      At what point would a school or the district have to close if multiple people are diagnosed with coronavirus? 

      Guided by New York State Department of Health recommendations, the district will keep Albany County Department of Health apprised of all possible cases and any decisions for closure will follow the guidance of Albany County Department of Health.  

      Will I be notified if a child in my child’s classroom gets the coronavirus? How soon will I know?

      Yes, you will be promptly notified in accordance with guidance the district receives from the Albany County Department of Health.

      It was mentioned that our students will be physically distanced AND wearing masks. What is the rationale behind this when only one is required?

      We are taking additional precautions to ensure the safety of our students and staff.

      Questions from Aug. 13 PAC Meeting

      How is the district handling mask breaks? How long? Where?

      At the elementary level, mask breaks will be outside as much as possible. When they are inside the classroom it will be when students are more than 6 ft. apart. The teacher will decide when the breaks take place. At the middle/high school level a mask break may be at the beginning or end of a class period, when students remain more than 6 ft. apart.

      Are scarves appropriate face coverings for children unable to wear a mask?

      Yes, according to the Department of Health and State Education guidelines, scarves are acceptable.

      Are the teachers required to quarantine for 2 weeks prior to school opening and get COVID tests?

      No, according to guidance from the state, teachers are not required to quarantine or receive COVID tests prior to school opening.

      What do you do if your child is sick (not with COVID)? How do we notify the school? Is it the same procedure as previous years?

      If your child is sick with an illness other than COVID, the procedure your building used will remain the same as in years past.

      Does the district have an infection (percent positive on diagnostic tests) rate at which it will go completely virtual for learning? If so, what is it?

      According to state guidance, the infection rate in a region or statewide is at 9%, then schools would not be open and we would resume virtual learning.

      What happens if a student has an ill-fitting mask that does not properly cover the student’s nose and/or mouth?

      If a student does not have a properly fitted mask, we will provide them with one that fits. The district is purchasing smaller masks to fit our younger students.

      If there is a positive case in the school, will only those students’ families connected through contact tracing be contacted? How will this be communicated to the remaining school community?

      If there is a positive case in any school, those in direct contact with the individual who tested positive will be notified by the Department of Health. The district will also let the entire district community know when someone in a school tests positive.

      Questions from Aug. 18 PAC Meeting

      Will a staff member be ensuring that attestations are completed for each student before they get on the bus or enter the building each day?

      All attestations will have to be completed by a parent or guardian prior to the student getting on the bus. They will use the app provided by the district to complete the attestation daily. We are working to solidify the details on the app and will provide more information to families prior to the start of the year.

      Can manual daily temperature checks be conducted prior to entering the building for all students/staff?

      The district will not provide daily temperature checks for students/staff. The district is asking everyone to conduct this at home prior to leaving for school. 

      Will there be disciplinary action for those not following proper mask wearing/social distancing?

      Yes, there will be disciplinary action for those who do not follow proper mask wearing/social distancing guidelines. Insubordination is in our district’s Code of Conduct and we would follow the process and procedures for discipline should someone not follow the guidelines.

      If middle school and high school students are in the same classrooms on the same day, does the school plan to clean disinfect the rooms in between?

      Yes, the district will be cleaning the classrooms in between sessions. 

      What happens if one sibling in the family has a fever or develops a fever at school? Will other siblings be asked to stay home?

      As long as the other siblings are asymptomatic and there is no diagnosis of COVID-19 in the family, then there is no need for the siblings to stay home from school. If there are COVID symptoms and a positive COVID-19 test, then we would assume that the other siblings are direct contacts, so they would be asked to quarantine and be tested by the Dept. of Health.

      Questions from Aug. 20 PAC Meeting

      Do we have guidance on types of face coverings? Are gaiters/bandanas allowed?

      The DOH guidelines allow cloth face coverings, even those that are homemade.

      If a student in my child’s class has a medical exemption to not wear a mask, will I (the parent) be notified? 

      No, we will not be notifying parents of that. We will be protecting the privacy of all students and we will take all precautions to make sure that the student remains more than 6 ft from other students.

      What safety precautions will be in place for students who are medically exempt (i.e. will they be placed in a different room, near a window, etc.)?

      We will make these decisions on an individual basis and in an abundance of caution while simultaneously protecting the privacy and dignity of all students in our buildings.

      How will students remain socially distanced during recess? Will students at the elementary schools be allowed to use the playground equipment? 

      We will be allowed to use the playground equipment. We will make every effort to keep our students safe through social distancing and masked. 

      Questions from Aug. 27 PAC Meeting

      When will the district be rolling out the attestation app? How will we learn how to use it?

      We recently purchased an app called PinPoint. We will be sharing more information with families on how to use it before the start of school. In the morning, parents/guardians will receive a text, an email, or both that will have a link in it to the survey for that day. Then, parents/guardians will click on the link and answer a few short questions and hit submit. Once you have completed the survey, depending on how you answered the questions, it will tell you if your child should remain home.

      How will students be able to practice fire drills and lockdown drills while social distancing? 

      We will review with students on how they should exit/enter the building while using social distancing. We will also make sure students have their masks. We will also maximize the use of exits when exiting/entering the building during the drill.

      It has been stated that for lunch, P.E., and other activities, that the students may remove their masks. Where will students keep their masks at these times?

      Students will be able to use lanyards where it hangs on their neck or they can put them in a plastic bag or brown paper bag when not in use.

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      Mental Health & Wellness

      What sort of mental health/emotional support will be readily available to all students on a more extensive than usual basis upon the students’ and staff members’ return?

      We have a structure in place in every building which allows key counseling staff to sit with administrators and discuss the needs of various students. K-12 Mental Health Teams will continue to meet weekly, discussing the unique needs of our most vulnerable students, and developing action plans to encourage their connections to school and community resources.

      Special Education

      If we use a hybrid model of in-person and remote learning, would self-contained students be able to attend in-person daily due to their particular needs?

      Our plan includes bringing all K-12 special education students in every day. 

      If remote learning again becomes a reality, how will record keeping for special education students take place to ensure that goals are actually being addressed and regression is not taking place?

      All IEPs have been constructed to reflect in-person sessions/services. If our district goes to remote learning, we will carry out the IEP to the greatest extent possible. More specifically, providers will progress monitor all goals on the current IEP and update progress reports as scheduled. We will let the data collected drive the CSE’s decision related to any IEP amendments. 

      If the district has to go to remote learning, how will the district provide related services for students as outlined in their IEPs?

      If the district has to go to remote learning for all, we will work extensively to carry out IEPs to the greatest extent possible. Our providers will work with families to determine what delivery methods work best for them.

      When will the resource room be scheduled?

      This will look different based on grade level. Elementary students will have resource room during the 2.5 hours of supplemental instruction time. Jr. High students and high school students will have time built into their schedules. 

      If my students receive group services (ex: speech group), how will they be implemented safely? 

      We are successfully doing this now in our Extended School Year program. We have reduced the group size to three students and they are able to maintain social distancing throughout the session (6 ft. apart). No items used during the sessions are shared. If books are used during a session, they are sanitized prior to the next session.

      Will my student leave their classroom to go to the therapy room?

      In some instances, students will leave their classroom settings for therapies while following all district protocols.

      If close contact is required, will therapists wear gloves and face shields in addition to masks?

      Yes, our therapists are currently equipped with gloves, masks, face shields, and gowns to ensure the safety of students and staff. 

      Questions from Aug. 19 Pupil Services Parent Meeting

      Can kids move around for movement/sensory breaks?

      Students will be able to have movement and sensory breaks, while maintaining appropriate social distancing. Students will move in the classroom and go outside for additional movement activities (weather permitting).

      Will teachers/therapists perform hand over hand learning and forego the social distancing requirement?

      At times, individuals may work with students closely to meet the students’ needs. However, if this needs to be completed, additional PPE will be considered for staff members (shields, masks, gowns – if appropriate, etc.).

      How will sensory items be used/cleaned throughout the day?

      The district will utilize as many sensory items as possible that benefit our students. Items will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized between each use.

      Will consultant teacher (push-in) services occur in the gen ed online classes for special education students in the remote learning option?

      Yes.

      Will students still have access to a self-contained classroom if it is outlined in their IEP?

      Yes.

      What happens if my child was supposed to be evaluated or reevaluated for services in the spring?

      The district will work on evaluating and reevaluating all of the necessary students for the upcoming school year.

      Will students who opt for remote learning receive the same IEP services they would receive at school?

      Yes, to the greatest extent possible. Because the district’s in-person resource room is different than it’s virtual resource room, it may not be an exact match, but the district will do everything it can to provide necessary services/supports for all students.

      Will self-contained students have the possibility of pushing into regular education classrooms for subject areas?

      Yes.

      Will students in self-contained classrooms be able to do the full day in school?

      Yes. However, the times of each school day will be changed slightly, but the student would attend school in person for the full amount of time scheduled each day.

      If students receive services, such as group counseling, will it continue if families choose the remote learning option?

      The district is currently looking into this. It will largely depend on the breakdown of students who are attending in-person and remotely. It is the hope to provide a virtual group session.

      Is it possible to attend school only for OT/PT (or other services)?

      Yes. The PPS department is following up with families who request services to determine the logistics of scheduling services. It is important to note that your commitment to virtual or in-person services is for the entire first semester (through January 2021).

      Will students receiving speech therapy services be required to wear a mask when receiving services?

      Yes. We will work with all students who have difficulties wearing a mask.

      Will elementary counselors be working with all of their students?

      We are currently working on counselor schedules. It is our hope that students will keep their school counselor for the duration of the upcoming school year.

      Questions from Aug. 20 PAC Meeting

      Is there a possibility that students who are in small self contained classes be able to be “cocooned” with their limited classmates and teacher to minimize their exposure to the general school environment?

      Yes, that is our goal. We are considering how we structure electives from a transition standpoint because they are important classes for our students.

      Where will speech lessons take place? Is there a plexiglass divider?

      We will continue to organize speech groups in appropriate smaller groups, and we’re looking at purchasing sneeze guards.

      During the PPS forum on 8/19, it was indicated that high school resource students will be in daily. How will this work from a scheduling perspective with the junior high and high school students?

      7th & 8th grade special education students will be in on a daily basis and resource room is scheduled daily. High school students are in either the North or South cohort, so what we are looking to do as we continue to plan, is either bring North special education students in in the morning, or South special ed students come in on the North day. We are still working on this schedule and we will clarify in our next PPS meeting.

      Will resource room and other related services take place with students within a child’s own cohort or with other students?

      That is the goal and we will try to do that to the greatest extent possible. However, there may be some instances where students are not from the same cohort. This will be determined based on numbers.

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      School Buildings

      What kind of filtration upgrades will be made to the schools? 

      Guth DeConzo Engineers, supported by a NYSERDA grant, did a school analysis focusing on COVID safe Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) improvements. As a result, we will be installing MERV 13 filters which are recommended to combat COVID-19 virus transmission. 

      What will bathrooms be like?

      Restroom social distancing will be ensured through making fixtures that are too close together without proper dividers are unavailable for use. A physical barrier will not allow access to fixtures that are not 6 feet apart without barriers. After the bathrooms have been properly set up for distancing we will review to see if we have been able to maintain the proper amount of toilet fixtures. Where possible barriers will be installed to maintain fixtures and proper signage will be installed in the bathrooms.

      Touch free paper towel dispensers are currently in use within the NCCSD. Where hand dryers have been installed they will be deactivated and touch free paper towel dispensers installed.

      Will school buildings be open after school for clubs, scouts, recreational basketball, etc.?

      As our priority is student safety, the buildings will be far less accessible for groups of students, due to our cleaning protocols, before and after school. Any in-person activities that are not district sponsored will not be permitted for the 2020-21 school year.

      Questions from Aug. 20 PAC Meeting

      Can the district share some photos of what classrooms will look like for students?

      We can post some of these on the website as we finish the moving of materials and furniture as mentioned above.

      Is the air system that provides fresh air to the buildings on the roof of all school buildings? It is unclear if that is district-wide or if it is specific to certain buildings.

      A majority of the buildings have this system. The wings that have been updated since the mid-90’s have used it. In the wings that do not have it, the vents in the classrooms bring in the fresh air there.

      Under the current model proposed, is there room for 100% of the student population to be in person starting Sept. 14? 

      No, there is not enough room. That is why they have been broken up and placed in different buildings/different days.

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      Lunch/Meals

      How will students eat lunch in a manner that is safe for both students and staff?

      • For students on-site, meals will be provided while maintaining appropriate social distancing between students. Students do not need to wear face coverings when seated and eating so long as they are appropriately socially distanced.
      • The district will ensure social distancing between individuals while eating.
      • Meals may be served in alternate areas (e.g., classrooms) or in staggered meal periods to ensure social distancing and proper cleaning and disinfection between students.
      • The sharing of food and beverages is prohibited, unless individuals are members of the same household.
      • Adequate space will be reserved for students, faculty, and staff to observe social distancing while eating meals.

      If students are eating in the classrooms, what will be done to keep the students who have food allergies safe? 

      In order to protect the safety of all students, all of our classrooms will be nut free during the period of the school year that students are required to have lunch in their classrooms. Parents of students with food allergies who are participating in the school meal programs must work with their child’s school nurse, food service director and cafeteria kitchen supervisor. 

      Where will lunch be held and will my children be allowed to bring in peanut products for lunch time?

      Lunch for elementary school students will be in the classrooms. All elementary classrooms will be nut free. Grades 7-12 will be “grab and go” style and where they will eat is still to be determined. 

      If students eat lunch in their classrooms, will classrooms continue to be nut free?

      In order to protect the safety of all students, all of our classrooms will be nut free during the period of the school year that students are required to have lunch in their classrooms. 

      Will students be allowed and monitored by staff to wash their hands with soap and water before and after lunch?

      Students and staff will be regularly washing their hands when in school. This will include before eating anything (i.e. breakfast, snack and lunch), after using the bathroom and any other time deemed necessary (i.e. sneezing, etc.). If they go outside to the playground, the recommendation is to have students wash their hands before going outside and again when returning inside. 

      How will students pay for lunch if their food is going to be delivered to the classroom?

      We will not be using keypads in the classroom. Meal rosters will be used and handled by adults as part of the meal ordering and receiving system.  We are also looking at a new point of sale system that may give us other options for meal ordering and accounting.

      If we decided to keep our child home to learn remotely, can we still receive meals from the district?

      Yes, students who are learning remotely can still receive meals from the district. The location and time for pick up is still to be determined. Meals can be picked up on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Monday’s and Wednesday’s, families will pick up two breakfasts/lunches.

      Questions from Aug. 18 PAC Meeting

      It was mentioned that a new food service system was going to be implemented. What will happen to the funds that families currently have on deposit with PayPams?

      If you already have funds on deposit, your funds will still be available and transferred to the new system. You will not lose the money you have already deposited.

      Since the shut down, lunch has been distributed for free to families. Will this continue? Will paid lunches start again? What will lunch options look like? 

      The last day for free meals from the district will be August 31, per a directive from the USDA. Following Aug. 31, we will return to the free, reduced and paid categories. This will be for children who are enrolled in the district, whether they are remote or in person. 

      Lunch will follow USDA guidelines and will contain meat/alternate, fruit, vegetable, bread/grain and milk. 

      Depending on the grade level, meals will be either delivered to classrooms or students will be able to come and grab and go. There will also be an online ordering system where students or parents/guardians can order the night before or first thing in the morning.

      Questions from Aug. 20 PAC Meeting

      If elementary students eat lunch in their rooms, how do they stay far enough apart to take off their masks? 

      Our direction from the Albany County DOH , is that the best case scenario, students will eat in their own classrooms. They should continue maintaining a 6 foot separation keeping  good air flow throughout  the room, so the air is not stagnant.  Children should wash hands before and after eating.

      Is outdoor eating being considered as an option to allow students to spread out more while not wearing their masks? 

      Outside is always a great option as long as we have nice weather. In the buildings where we have the room and space, we will encourage that where possible.

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      Music & Arts

      How will performing groups and lessons work at each level?

      In grades 4-6, Band and Orchestra teachers will teach students in small lesson groups from cohorts. Elementary Band/Orchestra rehearsals will be held off for a semester, to be re-evaluated mid-year. 5/6 Chorus will not meet at this time, as it isn’t possible to adequately space out so many students. JHS Band, Chorus, and Orchestra will be split into smaller sections to meet distancing requirements, and students will have rotating instrumental music lessons. At SHS, half of the students will attend each day. They will rehearse in large spaces, and have lessons on a rotational basis.

      How are safety guidelines being met in performing groups?

      The New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) has released recommendations that advise schools to plan safely for all music instruction. Additionally, an international consortium of performing arts organizations has commissioned a research study on the production of aerosols related to performing arts and COVID-19. Preliminary results are encouraging, with noticeable reductions of aerosols when combining masks and distancing. A well-fitted surgical mask blocks 92% of aerosol particles from singing. The district is meeting or exceeding all recommendations from the Department of Health, NYSED, NYSSMA and current research.

      Will the students K-12 have access to music and art education and will it be provided by their current teachers?

      K-6 students will have access to a full range of Art and Music opportunities. It is possible that elementary children will not have the same art/music teacher for 20-21, as we have restructured the elementary schools to K-3 and 4-6 buildings. 

      Will all after school clubs, performing groups, and sports be postponed until we can resume school with a “normal” schedule?

      At this point, no athletic or extra-curricular activities will be meeting in-person, at least until further notice. We will await guidance from internal and external sources and will advise families as we have other information. Besides guidance from NYSED and the Governor, athletics decisions are under the NYS Public High School Athletics Association (NYSPHSAA), and extra-curricular activity decisions are being made by building principals, the District Music Supervisor, and the superintendent. 

      Questions from Aug. 18 PAC Meeting

      I have children who participate in the orchestra. Will they still have some type of lessons if we choose the remote option?

      Yes. It will not look like it typically does, but we will provide virtual lessons to those who choose the remote only option.

      How will students be graded if they are taking music and PE but they are remote?

      All students who are remote will be graded the same way as the students who are in school.

      Will 4-6 students still be able to select and play an instrument if they are 100% virtual? 

      Students who are entering 4th grade and would like to play an instrument, they would be able to work with their teacher to choose an instrument and participate virtually. Students in 5th and 6th grade will be able to continue with their lessons virtually as well.

      Questions from Aug. 20 PAC Meeting

      Will students miss out on instructional time for band/orchestra lessons in 4-6 grade?

      Students will not miss out on the opportunity for instruction in Band and Orchestra lessons in grades 4-6. Because we will have to keep lesson groups limited to cohorts, and we will need to socially distance students, it is possible or indeed likely that music lessons may be less frequent, perhaps once per 6 days or more versus once per week, but until we have rosters established, it’s too soon to be certain of any potential impact to that right now.

      Questions from Aug. 27 PAC Meeting

      In the past we have been allowed to drop our child’s large instrument, like a cello, off at school the evening before. Also, some instruments were available as loaner instruments to use during school so that a large instrument like a cello didn’t have to be transported. Will either still be possible? 

      For all of our schools, instruments can be dropped off at any time during the hours that the building is open. It is likely that we will have a number of instruments available for families to keep one at school and use one at home, but it isn’t possible yet to determine how many instruments will be available for that purpose until the teachers have the opportunity to review instrument inventories and rosters for in-person and remote-only students. No instruments will be shared in school unless they have been sanitized between uses.

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      Sports/Physical Education

      For the high school students who are doing remote learning on some days of the week or for students that are planning to do 100% remote learning, how will that affect their participation in sports? 

      Students will be able to participate in athletics no matter what option they choose for learning. 

      Will they need to come to school on the days they are learning remotely from home for practices/games? 

      Students will need to come to school for scheduled practices at their designated time regardless of where or when they received their instruction that day. Further information on this process will be available when athletics have been approved to begin.

      How can fall sports be played while maintaining 6 feet distance when kids are huddled around the ball and in physical contact with each other? 

      The start of fall sports have been delayed until September 21 to allow for more time to address which sports can begin safely or if they need to be postponed until later in the year.

      What will physical education classes look like?

      Whenever possible students will utilize outside space for physical education instruction. We will adhere to 12 feet between students when engaging in vigorous physical activity.

      Questions from Aug. 13 PAC Meeting

      How are sports going to work if the students don’t get out of school until 4 p.m.? Will games and practices start later?

      We will make those accommodations. We know that sports are important to students and we will make sure that our students are able to participate.

      Will a student who decides to go remote be able to participate in clubs and sports?

      Yes, most of our clubs will be virtual. According to the New York State guidelines, students who are remote will also be able to participate in sports. However, parents or students will have to provide their own transportation to practice.

      Questions from Aug. 18 PAC Meeting

      How will students be graded if they are taking music and PE but they are remote?

      All students who are remote will be graded the same way as the students who are in school.

      Questions from Aug. 27 PAC Meeting

      If you plan to allow sports per the governor’s announcement, what restrictions do you plan to put in place that will allow kids to play safely to avoid a potential outbreak?

      Section 2 has a COVID task force that is currently working on the safety procedural plan. Our Athletic Director, Matt Stein, is on that task force.

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      Before and After School Care

      Will CYC still be offered before and after school?

      The district has a strong partnership with the Colonie Youth Center (CYC), which will be offering childcare opportunities. 

      We are currently working with CYC to develop before and after school care programs for the 2020-2021 school year. More information will be made available in mid-August.

      CYC will be responsible for social distancing, PPE usage, cleaning and disinfection requirements, as well as limiting the risk of COVID-19 transmission. CYC can be reached at www.colonieyouthcenter.org or 518-438-9596.  

      If I have a student in Grades 4-6, will the afterschool program take place at the jr. high where they will be or will the students be bussed to their elementary school for aftercare?  

      This is still being determined. Since we did not previously have a CYC program at the jr. high building, it needs to go through an approval process with the state. CYC has filed an application and we are trying to fast track this.

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      Other

      Will there be a travel policy for staff/students/families for future breaks and required quarantine?

      All staff, students and families will be required to follow the New York State guidance in regards to travel procedures and be aware of what states are listed as “hot spots.”

      Is there any plan to keep track of families/children who are returning from weekend trips or vacations to hot zones or any kind of air travel? 

      All families will be required to follow the New York State guidance in regards to travel procedures and be aware of what states are listed as “hot spots.”

      When is the first day of school?

      We will use all of our Superintendent’s Conference Days at the beginning of the year, pushing our first day to Sept. 14. 

      Is it still the district’s plan to have the 6-8 Middle School open in the Fall of 2021? 

      At this time, it is still the district’s plan to open the Middle School in the Fall of 2021. However, this decision will ultimately be made based on conditions related to the pandemic. 

      Will there be any changes to holidays or weeks off for vacation?

      We do not anticipate any changes at this point.

      Questions from Aug. 18 PAC Meeting

      If a family is uncertain on whether or not they would like to have their child learn remotely or in person due to lack of information, how would you like us to respond to the survey?

      If you have any additional questions, you may contact your child’s school principal or any of the email addresses listed at the top of this page. Survey responses are due by Aug. 24.

      Is there any chance the schools revert to a more normal environment in the spring with the 4th-6th graders back at home schools and 7th/8th graders back to junior high?

      This will depend on where we stand with the pandemic. In order for this to happen, we would need to have a vaccine that has been distributed to a point where we can ensure the safety of all children in the schools. The district will not be making this decision. This decision will be made when the Dept. of Health tells us that it is safe to return to our normal school setting.

      Questions from Aug. 20 PAC Meeting

      When will schools be sending out school supply lists?

      Supply lists for some schools have been posted on the district website. If the list isn’t updated on the website, please contact your child’s school.

      Will there be virtual orientations by building prior to the survey deadline?

      Unfortunately, no.  We are currently moving furniture and materials in many classrooms to be ready for the new configurations in the fall.  It will be challenging for us to conduct these right now.

      What is the protocol if students have an appointment during an in-person or remote class?  

      For hybrid students, we will notify the school as you always have. For all remote students, we will have a system for you to notify the teacher.

      Will playgrounds and grounds be opened to public outside of school hours for remote learners to go out and be active?

      As long as schools are open, the playgrounds will also remain open.

      Have there been any changes to the academic calendar (Supt. Conference Days, etc.)?

      Yes, all Superintendent’s Conference Days will be held at the beginning of the year. Typically, there are two in the beginning of the year and two later. This year, we will do all four up front and the first day of school will be Sept. 14.

      Questions from Aug. 27 PAC Meeting

      Will the new 9:45 a.m. start time for some of the elementary schools continue for the entire school year? 

      As long as we are in the current configuration and the COVID-19 pandemic, yes it will. 

      Since we are starting school late, will school be ending later if there are snow days? 

      We have built in a 188 day school year, which means we have 3 snow days. So, this year will be just like any other year in regards to the school calendar and snow days. However, we do need to hit 180 days of school.

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