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Update from the superintendent – Friday, March 27

| March 27, 2020

Dear North Colonie Families,

As of today, the Governor has extended the school closure until April 15. We still have no updates from the New York State Education Department as to the June Regents exam administration. We are closely monitoring the situation at the state and local level and will let you know if that closure is extended. 

Instruction Update

With the announcement of an extended closure, we have put together a detailed plan for instructional expectations for students. This plan will come in a separate email and it will also be featured on our district website and coronavirus updates, information and resources page.

Information for Parents about Google Meet

As the district has recently pivoted to a remote learning model for a time, you may have noticed that your child is connecting with their teacher and class through a software program called Google Meet. This powerful software is one of the 14 apps that are part of Google’s Apps for Education suite of tools. All of the Google Apps for Education are fully compliant with all federal and state student privacy regulations (FERPA, COPPA, and NYS Education Law 2-d) and are approved for use by all district elementary and secondary students. The district has a signed contract with Google providing a guarantee of a very high level of student data security. The district takes the protection of all student data very seriously. 

Our settings are such that students are not able to initiate or schedule any video conferencing on their own. However (because kids are clever) some students have found a loophole that allows them to enter a teacher initiated Google Meet video conferencing session after the teacher has finished with the session. Currently the teacher is not able to “close” or delete the completed session. However, Google has updated its Google Meet software to allow teachers the ability to close or delete Google Meet sessions once they have finished using them. This update should take effect within a couple of weeks. In the meantime, we wanted you to be aware that students can chat unsupervised with each other within Google Meet and, although student interaction and socialization is certainly encouraged, we discourage this practice in unsupervised settings.

Food Services

Even though our buildings are closed, our Food Services Department is still providing “grab and go” meals to any student in the district. There are two times for pickup, where families can receive both breakfast and lunch items. The meals will be handed out each day from 8- 8:45 a.m. and then again from 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. The following sites are open to all of our families: Forts Ferry, Blue Creek and Shaker High School.

Families who cannot pick up meals can contact Food Services at LisaOstrowski@ncolonie.org and arrangements will be made for the meals to be delivered.

Budget Committee Meeting on Monday, March 30 postponed

The Budget Committee Meeting originally scheduled for Monday, March 30 has been postponed until Monday, April 6 at 7 p.m. Following CDC guidelines, this meeting will NOT be open to public attendance, but we will share a livestream link with the community that morning. The link will also be located on the district homepage.

We will be sending a detailed instruction plan for students and families shortly. In the meantime, I encourage everyone to unplug, spend time with their families and get outside (while practicing social distancing). Stay safe.

Sincerely,

D. Joseph Corr
Superintendent of Schools

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