Dr. Kanas' Update

2020-2021

School Reopening & COVID-19 FAQ

*Q & A’s 41 & 38 NYSDOH Guidance on Travel Advisory were updated on 4/16/2021.


50. (Q): Is remote instruction provided to students who voluntarily travel while school is in session?

(A): No. If your child has traveled voluntarily, while school is in session, remote instruction will NOT be provided while he/she is completing the travel quarantine requirements.


If your child has traveled, during a school calendar break or holiday, we will provide him/her with access to instruction remotely during the time he/she is completing the travel quarantine requirements. We ask that you email your building principal if your child will be out so they can arrange for instruction.


49. (Q): Is the quarantine period for Direct Contacts still 14 days?

(A): (Updated 3/12/2021) No. School districts received updated information from the New York State Department of Health regarding those persons identified as direct contacts. The quarantine period for someone who is identified as a direct contact of a positive COVID-19 case, has changed from 14 days to 10 days from last contact if no symptoms have been reported during the quarantine period and the below is followed:


  • Individuals must continue daily symptom monitoring through Day 14 following exposure.


  • Individuals must be counseled to continue strict adherence to all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions, including hand hygiene and the use of face coverings through Day 14.


  • Individuals must be advised that if any symptoms develop, they should immediately self-isolate and contact the local public health authority or their health care provider to report this change in clinical status and determine if they should seek testing.


NYSDOH Quarantine Exemption Criteria for Direct Contacts as of March 10, 2021

Consistent with recent CDC guidance, asymptomatic (no symptoms) individuals who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do NOT need to quarantine during the first 3 months after full vaccination, if the following criteria are met:


  • Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine); AND


  • Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series; AND


  • Have remained asymptomatic since last COVID-19 exposure


Or
  • Consistent with CDC guidance from February 13, 2021, asymptomatic individuals who have previously been diagnosed with laboratory confirmed COVID-19 and have since recovered, are NOT required to retest and quarantine within 3 months after the date of symptom onset from the initial SARS-CoV-2 infection or date of first positive diagnostic test if asymptomatic during illness.


48. (Q): What are the NYS Metrics for determining whether a school district is located in a community yellow, red or orange zone Micro-cluster Zone?

(A): The metrics for determining whether a school district is located in a community yellow, red or orange zone and as such, would need to conduct student and staff testing, have changed. Below are the new metrics. To date, our school district is not in one of these zones. At the December 14th Board of Education Meeting, the Board approved a contract with a testing service if and when the zipcodes of our three school buildings were to be listed in one of the zones below. Testing would be voluntary among students and staff.


  • Red Zone - A red zone will be implemented in a region where hospital capacity is within 21 days of reaching 90 percent, even after the cancellation of elective procedures and a 50 percent increase in bed capacity in hospitals in the region.

  • Orange Zone - A geographic area will be eligible to enter an Orange Zone if it has a 4 percent positivity rate (7-day average) over the last 10 days and it is located in a region that has reached 85 percent hospital capacity. Alternatively, a geographic area may also become an Orange Zone if the State Department of Health determines the area or region's rate of hospital admissions is unacceptably high and a zone designation is appropriate to control the rate of growth.

  • Yellow Zone - A geographic area will be eligible to enter a Yellow Zone if it has a 3 percent positivity rate (7-day average) over the past 10 days and is in the top 10 percent in the state for hospital admissions per capita over the past week and is experiencing week-over-week growth in daily admissions.


47. (Q): What is NYSPHSAA guidance on Winter Sports?

(A): The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) has announced the cancellation of all 2021 winter state championships, and the postponement of high risk sports until state officials give approval for them to begin. High risk sports include basketball, boys lacrosse, competitive cheerleading, football, ice hockey, volleyball and wrestling. Click here to view the press release from the NYSPHSAA. Please note that low to moderate risk sports are still scheduled to begin on January 4, 2021.


46. (Q): Has the availability of Free Meals been extended?

(A): Yes, The United States Department of Agriculture has extended the availability of free meals to continue to be available to all children throughout the entire 2020-2021 school year. East Williston has received proper approval from the NYS Child Nutrition Office to provide free breakfast and lunch for all students for the remainder of this school year. However, students still need to pay for snacks. Also, a reminder that families who feel they are normally eligible for free or reduced meals still need to submit the application to the District. The application can be found here.


45. (Q): What is the NYS COVID-19 Winter Plan?

(A): Recently, the Governor announced New York’s Winter Plan to combat COVID-19 in the upcoming months. This plan includes five targeted strategies to reduce the spread of the virus and help to minimize the amount of hospitalizations. Below are the strategies:


  • Strategy 1 - Manage Hospital Capacity to Enhance and Equalize Care

  • Strategy 2 - Increase and Balance Testing Resources and Availability

  • Strategy 3 - Keep Schools Open Safely

  • Strategy 4 - Prevent Viral Spread from Small Gatherings

  • Strategy 5 - Operationalize an Equitable and Safe Vaccination Program


Strategy 3 - Keep Schools Open Safely

In a press release sent to Superintendents on Dec 1, the following statement was shared:

“One of the most critical aspects of managing the COVID-19 pandemic for governments and parents alike has been answering the question of how and when schools should remain open. On that point, experts from around the globe have determined that as long as a school’s infection rate is under control and remains under the infection rate of the community at large, schools should remain open, particularly for students in K-8.”


As part of New York State's "Cluster Action Initiative", the state can designate geographic areas across the state as Yellow, Orange or Red micro-cluster zones in response to a rising number of COVID-19 cases. The State has established testing procedures for schools in these micro-cluster zones (Yellow, Orange, Red) which represent the minimum standard requirements for schools to stay open. If testing in schools that are in the same zip code as the micro-cluster communities demonstrates an infection rate below that in the community, according to New York State information regarding Strategy 3, the school should remain open.


44. (Q): What are the testing requirements for each of the Micro-Cluster Zones (Yellow, Orange, Red)?

(A):The information below is the most current information school districts have.


  • Yellow Zone - Schools must test 20% overall of the in-person population in a building over a two week period. As long as that positivity rate is lower than the surrounding Yellow Zone, schools can stay open and do not need to test any further.

  • Orange Zone - Schools must test 20% overall of the in-person population over a one month period.

  • Red Zone - Schools must test 30% of the in-person population over a one month period.



43. (Q): If a school is in a Yellow, Orange or Red Zone Micro-Cluster, how does the testing described above take place?

(A): School districts in New York State are handling the testing requirements in various ways, primarily based on whether the local county Department of Health is able to oversee. In Nassau County, school districts are contracting with independent health organizations to administer the tests and report the lab findings to the New York State Department of Health.


42. (Q): How will our East Williston School District handle testing?

(A): (Updated 1/08/2021) See below for our Testing Protocol:


  • We are contracting with an independent health agency, who would, if one or more of our schools were to be identified as being within a community micro-cluster, come on site to do testing.


  • Testing is voluntary. In order to be prepared in the event that one of our three school zip codes became a micro-cluster, sometime next week we will send out a survey to parents and staff to identify potential volunteers.


  • The tests are PCR tests.


  • Testing would happen both during school hours and before or after school. Parents would have the opportunity to accompany their children during the testing.


  • Volunteers can choose to get tested at a site of their choosing other than the school setting.


  • For the yellow and orange zones, 20% of the overall in school students and staff combined would need to be tested, not 20% of staff and 20% of students. Similarly for the red zone, 30% of the in school population overall.


  • Remote learning students are not included in the testing.


  • Testing is free of cost.


Updated information will be shared with the school district community as received. At the present time, only two districts in Nassau County are identified as being in yellow zones. The metrics for how communities are identified to be yellow, orange or red zones have not been clearly defined for us at this time.


41. (Q) What Happens if Students or Staff Must Travel during a school calendar break or holiday?

(A): (Updated 4/16/2021)


Domestic & International Travel

A symptomatic travelers entering New York from another country, U.S. state, or territory are no longer required to test or quarantine as of April 10, 2021. Quarantine, consistent with the CDC recommendations, is still recommended for all travelers who are not fully vaccinated or have not recovered from laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 during the previous 3 months. Symptomatic travelers must immediately self-isolate and contact the local health department or their healthcare providers to determine if they should seek COVID-19 testing.


Monitoring

Irrespective of quarantine, all travelers arriving in New York must monitor symptoms daily from day of arrival in New York through Day 14 and must immediately self-isolate if any symptoms develop.


Travel Form

All individuals coming into New York from another U.S state or territory or any other country, whether or not they are New York residents, are required to complete the NYS Traveler form upon entering New York unless coming from a contiguous state for routine work purposes or for less than 24 hours.


Please click here to read the complete New York State Travel Guidance or go to the New York State Government website at www.ny.gov.


40: (Q) Who is required to quarantine?

(A): If someone is identified as a direct contact by the Department of Health he or she is required to quarantine until the release date provided by the DOH. Contacts of contacts, for example, siblings of direct contacts, are not put under quarantine. Please click on the following link to access updated guidance from NYSDOH: Quarantine Exemption Criteria for Direct Contacts as of March 10, 2021.


39: (Q) How will the District notify the community of a Positive COVID-19 case?

(A): (Updated on 1/08/2021) The District will always let the community know if we have a positive case in the District. Please understand, however, that due to privacy laws we are not able to provide information about students or staff who are ill, or any information that would enable their identification. If a student or staff member is identified as a direct contact to the positive case, the Nassau County Department of Health (DOH) will notify the family or staff member directly.


The school district works very closely with the DOH. In the instance of a positive case, we would assist the DOH with their contact tracing, sharing student and staff schedules, lunchroom assignments, bathroom logs, camera footage, make phone calls to students and staff as recommended, etc. to determine individual(s) who are direct contacts so that they can be notified and enter quarantine.


In certain circumstances, the DOH is able to ascertain that no students or staff are direct contacts because the positive case has not been in contact with anyone in the school building during the period of time that they were infectious and so no action needs to be taken by the school district. In other situations, we may need to switch to remote learning for a day or more in order to provide the DOH with sufficient time to conduct contact tracing.


38: (Q) What are the New York State Travel Advisory Rules New Yorkers are Required to Comply With?

(A): (Updated 4/16/2021)


Domestic & International Travel

A symptomatic travelers entering New York from another country, U.S. state, or territory are no longer required to test or quarantine as of April 10, 2021. Quarantine, consistent with the CDC recommendations, is still recommended for all travelers who are not fully vaccinated or have not recovered from laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 during the previous 3 months. Symptomatic travelers must immediately self-isolate and contact the local health department or their healthcare providers to determine if they should seek COVID-19 testing.


Monitoring

Irrespective of quarantine, all travelers arriving in New York must monitor symptoms daily from day of arrival in New York through Day 14 and must immediately self-isolate if any symptoms develop.


Travel Form

All individuals coming into New York from another U.S state or territory or any other country, whether or not they are New York residents, are required to complete the NYS Traveler form upon entering New York unless coming from a contiguous state for routine work purposes or for less than 24 hours.


Please click here to read the complete New York State Travel Guidance or go to the New York State Government website at www.ny.gov.


37: (Q) What do I do if my child is going to be absent from school?

(A): (Updated on 11/6/2020 to the COVID-19 District Handbook)


While the COVID-19 District Handbook clearly delineates what steps to be taken if your child is sent home from school sick, questions have arisen what steps to take if your child is going to be absent from school on any day. Page 3 added to the COVID-19 District Handbook on this topic.


36: (Q) What is the District’s guidance regarding sibling absences as they relate to a non-COVID/non-sick absence of a brother or sister attending our schools?

(A): As you know, each school has a Safety Phone number and a message should be left on the phone the morning of the "non-COVID" related absence and refer to the absence as "non-COVID" related, if in fact it is not related to COVID symptoms, or quarantine. Of course, if the building normally requires a note when your student returns regarding the non-sick absence, you should provide that as well. The siblings would not be required to stay home as a result of this "non-COVID related" event but informing the school will help us in determining that.


35: (Q) Are schools large transmission sites or superspreaders of COVID-19?

(A): No, in a recent Superintendents’ meeting with Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein, Nassau County Health Commissioner and with Dr. Tavora Buchman, Department of Health Director of Infectious Diseases, it was shared that Nassau County schools themselves are not significant transmission sites for COVID-19. Contact tracing shows that the majority of cases are related to outside interactions such as weekend parties and gatherings.


34: (Q): What is the New York State Department of Health’s stance on false positives?

(A):. NYSDOH considers any positive result, even a positive rapid test result, as definitive and the County Department of Health proceeds accordingly.

As you know, in our District, we require a PCR negative result, not a rapid antigen test result, in order for a return to school when a student or staff member has exhibited possible COVID-19 symptoms. This is because there are still a significant number of false negatives that do come from the rapid tests, with cases subsequently testing positive on the PCR test.


33: (Q): Will the Regents exams take place this school year?

(A): (Updated on 11/16/2020) The January Regents have been cancelled. We are still awaiting a decision from the Regents regarding the June Regents. The New York State Education Department is in discussion with the Federal Department of Education in regard to Grade 3-8 testing which is a federally mandated program.


32: (Q): When a student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19 , how and when can they return to school?

(A): Any individual who screened positive for COVID-19 can return to the in-person learning environment once the following is provided to the District: documentation from a health care provider evaluation, negative COVID-19 testing (PCR Test), and symptom resolution, or if COVID-19 positive, release from isolation.


31: (Q): When a student or staff member is suffering from COVID related symptoms and is given an alternative diagnosis from their Health Care Provider (HCP), how and when can they return to school?

(A): If a student or staff member’s HCP provides a diagnosis of a known chronic condition with unchanged symptoms, or a confirmed acute illness (laboratory-confirmed influenza or strep-throat) AND COVID-19 is not suspected, then a note signed by the HCP explaining the alternate diagnosis is required before the student or staff member will be allowed to return to school. To view the updated District COVID-19 Handbook, click here.


30: (Q): What is COVID Alert NY?

(A): A new mobile contact tracing app called COVID Alert NY is now available to all smartphone users. The app alerts users if they have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. It is a voluntary, anonymous, exposure-notification smartphone app. The information from NYSDOH explains that “knowing about a potential exposure allows you to self-quarantine immediately, get tested and reduce the potential exposure risk to your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and others”. For more information on how the app works, and how to download, click here to go to the New York State website.



29: (Q) A household member is displaying COVID symptoms. How should I handle this situation?

(A): (Updated 3/12/2021) In addition to siblings, if any close family member living in the household is being tested for COVID-19, a student or staff member should also remain home unless the student or staff member is asymptomatic and meets the updated NYSDOH criteria for quarantine exemption. If the household member receives a negative test result, the student/staff can return to school. Remote learning is available to the students while waiting at home.


28: (Q): My child is displaying COVID symptoms. How should I handle siblings living in the same household?

(A): (Updated 3/12/2021) When a parent/guardian is notified to pick up a child who is displaying COVID symptoms, the siblings residing in the household are also requested to go home while the symptomatic child is being tested unless the siblings are asymptomatic and meet the updated NYSDOH criteria for quarantine exemption. If the child with symptoms receives a negative COVID test and a doctor's note to return, the child can return to school. Health professionals share that unlike school conditions where students are socially distanced and wearing masks, family members interact more directly in a household setting.


While students are awaiting their sibling’s test results they will be able to participate in the same remote instruction as students who are quarantined by the Department of Health or who are awaiting COVID-19 test results.


27: (Q): What are the COVID related symptoms?

(A): The list of COVID related symptoms has been updated in the daily health screening document which can be found in the COVID-19 District Handbook. Click here to view.


26. (Q): Is there a free Breakfast and Lunch Program in the District?

(A): (Updated 1/08/2021) Yes, The United States Department of Agriculture has extended the availability of free meals to continue to be available to all children throughout the entire 2020-2021 school year (extended through June 30, 2021). East Williston has received proper approval from the NYS Child Nutrition Office to provide free breakfast and lunch for all students for the remainder of this school year. However, students still need to pay for snacks. Also, a reminder that families who feel they are normally eligible for free or reduced meals still need to submit the application to the District. The application which can be found on our website at www.ewsdonline.org > Departments > Food & Nutrition > Free & Reduced Lunch Information & Application, or by clicking here.


25. (Q): What if a student or staff member is a direct contact of a positive COVID case?

(A): (Updated 3/12/2021) Staff or students may be out from school because the Nassau County Department of Health has advised that they are considered a direct contact of a positive case of COVID-19 and should be quarantined. The DOH provides the date by which the student or staff member may return to school (10 days from last contact with no symptoms). Contacts of direct contacts are not advised by the DOH to quarantine. In the event a student or staff member who is quarantined, later tested positive for COVID-19 themselves, you would be notified. A reminder, that if there is a positive COVID-19 case in the District (student or staff member), under all circumstances, we would always notify you. As per new NYSDOH guidelines, students or staff are exempt from quarantine if they satisfy the following criteria:


Consistent with recent CDC guidance, asymptomatic (no symptoms) individuals who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do NOT need to quarantine during the first 3 months after full vaccination, if the following criteria are met:


  • Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine); AND

  • Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series; AND

  • Have remained asymptomatic since last COVID-19 exposure.

Or

  • Consistent with CDC guidance from February 13, 2021, asymptomatic individuals who have previously been diagnosed with laboratory confirmed COVID-19 and have since recovered, are NOT required to retest and quarantine within 3 months after the date of symptom onset from the initial SARS-CoV-2 infection or date of first positive diagnostic test if asymptomatic during illness.


24. (Q): If a parent must quarantine due to New York State travel requirements, must the child also quarantine at home even though they didn’t travel?

(A): (Updated 1/08/2021) No, as it is expected that the parent will self-quarantine away from the child in the home as per the New York State Travel Advisory Guidance.


23. (Q): What are the definitions of some frequently used terms?

(A): Live-streaming classes: A teacher in a live classroom with students, live streaming that class to other students at home.

Live virtual teaching: a teacher instructs through a virtual platform (Google meet, MS teams, Zoom, web-ex) while the whole class learns remotely.

Hybrid program: Students are present in school part of the time and home part of the time.

Fully remote program: Students are not entering the building.

Asynchronous teaching: Students are learning independent of a teacher’s direct instruction via pre-recorded lessons, Google classroom posts, email interactions, and independent or group assignments.

Synchronous teaching: Live teaching, any version.


22. (Q): How has the District measured six feet between students?

(A): (Updated 8/31/2020) The buildings have measured six feet according to the New York State Department of Health (DOH) Guidelines which explain "appropriate social distancing means six feet of space in all directions between individuals…” An FAQ from the New York State Education Department Office of Facilities Planning offers an alternative method of measurement. When there is a conflict between New York State Education Department guidance and DOH guidance, the New York State Education Department School Reopening Guidance presently specifically states that "should any health and safety-related guidance in this document conflict with guidance issued by the NYS Department of Health...the DOH Guidance shall apply." We are following the DOH guideline. Most recently, the SED changed their guidance to be the same as the DOH so there is no longer a different method between the two. How to measure six feet is the same for the DOH and SED.


21. (Q): What type of nebulizers will be allowed in schools this year due to COVID-19?

(A): Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC recommends students use a metered-dose inhaler (MDI) with a spacer or valved holding chamber instead of a nebulizer for asthma treatments. This is because they don’t know if using a nebulizer can spread the virus.

For this school year, we are asking families to talk with their health care providers about using a rescue inhaler with a valved-holding chamber or spacer instead of using a nebulizer. A spacer is not needed if your child uses a dry powder inhaler.

We strongly recommend students also have a written Asthma Action Plan that gives us direction on which medicine your child takes and how to take care of their symptoms.


20. (Q): Are certain types of masks prohibited for wear in school?

(A): The most recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control is that masks with vents allow droplet transmission through the air openings. Accordingly, masks with vents/openings should not be worn in school by staff or students to help protect everyone’s safety. Additionally, gaiter masks and bandanas are not recommended by our school physician and should not be worn.


19. (Q): How will students receive instruction if it is determined by the County Health Officials that whole classes or buildings need to quarantine?

(A): These students would immediately transition to remote learning with their teachers.


18. (Q): What social distancing and safety protocols will be in place for all students and staff?

(A): All students and staff will be required to wear masks. Student seating in classrooms will be spaced based on 6 feet distancing. Hand sanitizer stations or disinfecting wipes will be placed in every teaching space, at every entrance to the building, and outside the bathrooms. Every morning all staff will be required to complete a health survey, including verification of a temperature check, prior to coming to work. Parents of students must submit a confirmation every morning that their student(s) does not have a temperature of 100 degrees or more. The District will take the temperature of those staff and students who did not submit the information upon their entering the school.


17. (Q): What are the cleaning protocols that will be in place?

(A): The school is using approved and effective cleaning and disinfecting products to clean and sanitize high touch areas (doorknobs, railings, door handles, bathrooms) throughout the day and a deep clean and sanitize at night. We are reassigning custodial staff and hiring additional staff to accomplish this in each building. In addition, we will have proper hygiene signage up throughout the building, and teachers and staff will frequently reiterate to students the importance of these behaviors.


  • Frequently touched surfaces (i.e., door handles, sink handles, drinking fountains, push bars, railings, cafeteria serving lines) will be cleaned at least two times during the day while the building is occupied and at night.

  • Common areas (i.e., cafeterias, off-period rooms) will be cleaned between uses.

  • Cleaning protocols will be monitored daily by the Head Custodian through the use of an automated checklist which cleaners will use to note the date, time, area and extent of cleaning (i.e., daily or thorough night cleaning). The Head Custodian in each building will review and sign off on the logs.

  • Nightly routines will include cleaning and disinfecting all high touch areas, offices, classrooms, playgrounds, and common areas accessed during the day.

  • Hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes will be placed throughout the buildings (i.e., classrooms, outside bathrooms, at entrances to the building) for student and staff use.

  • The District will not have community groups utilizing the buildings so as to provide ample time for the custodial staff to do the proper cleaning and disinfecting nightly.


16. (Q): Where will classes take place for K-7?

(A): Students in grades K-4 will attend the North Side School, students in grades 5-7 will attend Willets Road, and students in grades 8-12 will attend Wheatley. No changes have been made to locations for different grade levels. Class sizes vary in the different classrooms. The number of students in each classroom is determined by having six feet of distance between all students and the teacher.


15. (Q): Will there be desk barriers used?

(A): (Updated 10/30/2020) NYS requires that any desk barriers be approved by the State Education Department (SED) to ensure the material meets school building and fire codes. Each building has a supply of SED approved barriers to use as each building administration sees fit.


14. (Q): How will K-7 students receive instruction for specials such as Art, Music, PE?

(A): (Updated 1/08/2021) Students in grades K-7 will receive their specials as a push-in program. In an effort to limit the number of students moving about the buildings and sharing different spaces, special area teachers will come to the different classrooms. Every effort will be made to hold physical education classes outdoors. All chorus and band programs in the District that take place will comply with health and safety guidelines from NYSED and NYSDOH.


13. (Q): How many students will be in each classroom at each grade level?

(A): We have added additional sections to all grades K-7 to reduce class size and allow for social distancing within each classroom. At Wheatley, some electives with lower enrollments have been eliminated so that a teacher in the appropriate certification area can be assigned to create another section of a core class when original class sizes would not have permitted six feet of social distancing. In all three buildings, classes with more students will utilize the larger spaces in the buildings so as to maintain social distancing of six feet.


12. (Q): Will there be clubs and how will they meet?

(A): (Updated 10/30/2020) Our goal is to run as many clubs in person as can safely be done. At Wheatley, clubs are being held both virtually and in-person safely. At Willets Road, all clubs are being held virtually. Currently, at North Side, there are no clubs to support the consistency of the cohort groups during the school day. However, North Side will reassess in January.


11. (Q): What are the opportunities to receive extra help?

(A): Opportunities for extra help remain as they always do whether we are in person or remote. As always, it is important to contact your child’s teacher with any questions or concerns about his/her progress.


10. (Q): Is this plan for the whole year?

(A): We will continue to evaluate our Reopening Plan throughout the year according to guidance from NYSED and NYS DOH.


9. (Q): What is the transition plan for all schools if we need to close during the year?

(A): The expectation is that if schools need to go completely remote by order of the Governor or the DOH, the transition to remote learning will happen immediately. Remote learning will look different than it did in the spring. At the elementary level, there will be multiple live teaching sessions each day. At the secondary level, students will follow their regular class schedule remotely. Teachers will work with students at the start of the school year to help them become familiar with the various technology tools they will utilize for remote learning, including Google Classroom.


8. (Q): Will there be a phase in process for student attendance in the Fall?

(A): (Updated 8/31/2020) Yes, there will be a phased-in opening for all students for the 20-21 school year. This will allow staff to train and reinforce to students the new building procedures in a safe manner along with providing greater opportunities to focus on the initial social and emotional needs of our students. The schedule for the first week of school is as follows:


North Side

  • Tuesday, September 8, 2020 - Grades 3 & 4 (only)

  • Wednesday, September 9, 2020 - Grades 1 & 2 (only)

  • Thursday, September 10, 2020 - Grade - Kindergarten (only)

  • Friday September 11, 2020 - All Grades K-4


Willets Road

  • Tuesday, September 8, 2020 - Grade 7 (only)

  • Wednesday, September 9, 2020 - Grade 6 (only)

  • Thursday, September 10, 2020 - Grade 5 (only)

  • Friday September 11, 2020 - All Grades 5 - 7


Wheatley

  • Tuesday, September 8, 2020 - Grade 8 - (only) - Day A

  • Wednesday, September 9, 2020 - Grades 8 & 9 (only) - Day B

  • Thursday, September 10, 2020 - Grades 8 - 10 (only) - Day A

  • Friday September 11, 2020 - All Grades 8 - 12 - Day B


7. (Q): Has the District considered phasing in full time attendance over a period of a couple of months?

(A): The infection rate in our region is low at the time of this writing, at 1%. There is speculation in the healthcare community that the infection rate could increase during the colder months when more people are inside in closer quarters. Parents and staff in the District have frequently remarked how fortunate it was that when the District needed to go remote last March, that at least the teachers and the students had had a significant period of time together to get to know each other and build relationships.Since there would be the possibility of schools having to close later in the school year, the more time teachers and students can be together at the start of the school year the stronger the foundation can be laid for teachers to know their students well and vice versa.


6. (Q): Have you considered incorporating outdoor space into the design of the school day?

(A): Most definitely. At Wheatley, the courtyards will be available for lunch and free periods with supervision. Classes may also use other outdoor space. The elementary school is delineating specific outdoor instructional and recess areas for the various classes to use during the school day. Willets Road will also be taking advantage of outdoor space with specific outdoor areas assigned to each homeroom class so that teachers can use it flexibly and take students out frequently.


5. (Q): What will happen if a child becomes sick in school?

(A): We will follow the protocols of our school physician and the health department. The student will be sent home by the school nurse. Students who were in that students’ classroom(s) will be vacated and the classroom will be cleaned and disinfected before students return to that space. Any student who has gone home sick will not be allowed to return to school without a doctor’s note clearing their return.


4. (Q): What happens if there is a case of COVID-19 diagnosed in a student or staff member?

(A): (Updated 1/08/2021) In conjunction with the Department of Health contact tracing will begin. In some circumstances, the school building may be closed to provide sufficient time to complete contact tracing. In that circumstance, students and teachers would switch to remote learning until tracing is completed.


3. (Q): Is there an option for remote learning for students who are considered medically vulnerable or high risk or who have a family member at home who falls into that category?

(A): Yes. The New York State Reopening Schools Guidance provides accommodations for those students above, that may include a fully remote program. The District will be sending a letter home on Monday, August 10th, (after the Governor’s final guidance on school reopening) regarding the process parents should follow if their student requires an accommodation.


2. (Q): Will students be required to wear masks in school even when they are six-feet apart?

(A): Yes. The recommended guidance from the New York State Health Department is to wear masks. There will be safe mask breaks scheduled during the day. Our school health professionals are working on educational materials and videos that are developmentally appropriate to help the students understand the importance of social distancing and of wearing masks. Guidance will be sent home to families regarding how to help students get used to wearing masks before school starts, in the cases where some children have not been out regularly in the community and had the experience of wearing masks for a period of time. For those of us who have been working in the building since mid-June, we have now gotten very used to mask wearing and social distancing as our behavior norm. We anticipate that this will be similar for students after a few days back at school.


1. (Q): What is the educational plan for students who are quarantined due to exposure but otherwise healthy enough to participate in learning?

(A): (Updated 10/30/2020) If a student has been directed to quarantine by health officials, that student will receive home instruction as per Board of Education Policy 6173. Board Policy 6173 was replaced by Policy 4327 and 4327-R Homebound Instruction Policy and regulation, and revised and adopted at the BOE Special Meeting on Sept. 3rd. This policy revision provides for students to participate in remote learning while in COVID-19 quarantine, waiting for COVID-19 test results, or for a student who is waiting for a household family member’s test results.