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District provides updates on reopening plan options

| July 24, 2020

The district administration recently presented an update of the scenarios it is considering for reopening at the Parent Advisory Council (PAC) meeting on Thursday, July 23. The scenarios outlined below are not set in stone and continue to be a fluid plan based on the New York State guidance. The district’s reopening plans are due to the state on Friday, July 31. The district plans to hold a BOE/PAC Virtual Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, July 30 at 7 p.m. to answer questions about reopening. The meeting will be livestreamed on YouTube.

Timeline

  • June 4: PAC meetings begin discussing school reopening possibilities
  • July 13: Guidance on reopening issued by NYS Department of Health
  • July 16: Guidance on reopening issued by NYS Education Department
  • July 31: School District Plans for Reopening are submitted and posted
  • Week of Aug. 3: Governor Cuomo will announce his thinking regarding reopening schools

Governor Cuomo’s reopening metrics

  • Schools will be allowed to reopen if:
    • The region is in phase 4 and
    • The daily infection rate remains at 5% or lower over a 14 day average
  • Schools will remain closed if:
    • A regional infection rate is greater than 9% over a 7 day average
  • These metrics will be continually monitored and analyzed by the Governor’s office and local elected officials
    • We need to be prepared that circumstances can change throughout the year.

Preliminary survey results

Elementary families

  • Approximately 62% of families indicated they would be comfortable sending their child to school
  • Approximately 55% of families indicated their child would utilize school transportation
    • The remaining would drive their child or their child would walk/bike to school

Jr. High families

  • Approximately 65% of families indicated they would be comfortable sending their child to school
  • Approximately 55% of families indicated their child would utilize school transportation
    • The remaining would drive their child or their child would walk/bike to school

High School families

  • Approximately 77% of families indicated they would be comfortable sending their child to school
  • Approximately 53% of families indicated their child would utilize school transportation
    • The remaining would drive their child, have their child drive themself or their child would walk/bike to school

Health and Safety

  • Require daily health checks and screenings, including temperature checks, for all employees and students (can be done from home before school)
  • Abide by 6 foot social distancing measures in classrooms and common spaces
  • Require face coverings for all adults and students
    • Students and staff will have mask breaks throughout the day
    • Students and staff with a medical exemption will be required to provide documentation
  • Schools would provide ready access to hand sanitizer in all classrooms and common spaces.
  • Provide disposable wipes/approved cleaners to faculty and staff so that commonly used surfaces (e.g., keyboards, desks, remote controls) can be wiped down before and/or after use, followed by hand hygiene.
  • Classrooms and other areas will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected each night

Schedule Options

  • Schools must create a comprehensive plan for a schedule that includes an in-person instruction plan, remote instruction plan and a hybrid of both in-person and remote
  • In-person instruction for all students daily is not possible when we adhere to social distancing guidelines
  • Schools must maximize in-person instruction and decrease density and congregation in school facilities and on school grounds

Elementary (grades K-6) Overview

Grades K-6 return to school on a daily basis.

In order to accomplish social distancing of 6 feet, classes would be split in half (2 classroom spaces allocated per section, for a total of 256 classrooms)

  • K-3 would be in their home elementary buildings; students will have a 5 hour instructional day
  • 4-6 would be in the middle school building, with classrooms grouped by home school; students will have a 5 hour instructional day
  • Students will see their classroom teacher for 2½ hours each day and students will have special area classes or supplemental instruction for 2½ hours

Secondary (grades 7-12) Overview

Grades 7-12 would be a hybrid model with in-person housed in the high school.

In order to accomplish social distancing of 6 feet, secondary grades will move to the 6-day rotation of the elementary schools.

  • The day will be divided into an AM Session and a PM Session
  • 7th and 8th graders will attend daily for the AM Session
  • 9th-12th graders will attend in a 2 day on, 2 day off rotation in the PM Session

Remote Option

If parents are unable to send a child to school or if a child needs to be quarantined, we will be providing 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.
  • Parents who are choosing the remote option will need to notify the district by Aug. 21 in order for us to plan accordingly. The minimum amount of time for a family to select remote instruction is a semester (ends on Jan. 29, 2021)
  • Students will be assessed and earn credit for remote instruction.
  • At the secondary level, the priority will be on meeting graduation requirements as it may not be possible to offer all electives in a remote setting.

Ongoing Work

  • Develop an FAQ for families
  • Answer questions at the BOE/PAC Virtual Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, July 30 at 7 p.m.
  • Finalize the district’s reopening plan and post it on the website by the end of the day Friday, July 31

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