COVID-19 information and updates for families

Given that information related to coronavirus (COVID-19) is a rapidly developing situation, we will use this web page to share information and resources as the circumstances warrant.

Updates will also be shared through School News Notifier (SNN) to parents and community members who have opted in to receive alerts.  Additionally, time-sensitive, critical information will be shared through our mass notification system through robocall. 

Resources

Updates

Update: March 31, 2020

Video update from Dr. Perry

Dear South Colonie Families,

The Governor has made it clear that schools play a critical role in getting our communities through this crisis.  As such, we will continue to provide essential services that support not only the educational needs of our students, the daily nutritional needs of many, but also the ability of our healthcare system to fight this virus as we care for the children of the people on the front lines.

I want to take a moment to remind our community that the South Colonie Central School District is here for you during this time. Please reach out to your teachers, staff, building principal or myself if you need assistance.

Clarification on extended closure as it relates to Spring Break

As you are likely aware, on March 27, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order executive order closing schools until at least April 15. During this time, schools are required to provide continuity of instruction, meals for students and childcare resources every weekday, including days originally part of the previously scheduled spring break.

If the closure is not extended, we will return to school on-site on April 15. We will continue to monitor all available guidance and directives and keep you informed if this changes.

Please visit our website or reach out to your teachers, staff, and building principal for the following information:

School Budgets

Under an executive order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, all New York state school budget votes originally scheduled for May 19 have been postponed until at least June 1.

The directive, which aims to limit the spread of COVID-19, also indefinitely postpones collection and filing of nominating petitions for school board elections and postpones library votes and municipal elections to at least June 1.

The first draft of the proposed 2020-21 South Colonie Central School District budget was presented to the Board of Education on Tuesday, March 17. The district will provide more information about the annual school budget vote and timeline once it becomes available. 

Continued Communications

The district will continue to update the community via the district website with any new information and frequently asked questions.  

Any time-sensitive information will be shared via the district’s School News Notifier (SNN) and our mass notification system through phone call notifications.

We recognize that this is a stressful and challenging situation. We’re here to support you through it, and know that you are managing many personal and professional responsibilities. We would like to remind you of something that we often tell our students: All we can do is our best. We’ll get through this together.

Thank you all for your continued patience, understanding and support.

Sincerely,

Dr. David Perry
Superintendent of Schools

Update: March 27, 2020

Over the past week, we have been strategic in our planning and our efforts. This is a societal crisis that requires us to work together, support each other, and have patience for the actions and efforts of our leaders. We have seen tremendous resolve from our faculty and staff to do what is right and preserve equity in opportunities for our students.  I want to thank our students and our community for rising to this unprecedented challenge and continuing to remain positive in these most vulnerable times. The hope, care, support and inspiration we have collectively shown to one another is truly remarkable and what is a true representation of South Colonie!  

Today, March 27, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he will extend the statewide closure of schools for an additional two weeks, until April 15 (i.e., schools would open on April 15). The waiver from the 180-day requirements will also be extended.  School Districts are required to continue their plans for continuity of instruction, school meals, and child care. More information will follow as it becomes available as to how this impacts the planned school recess period April 10-17.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s declaration on March 20 called for 100% of the workforce to work from home, other than those charged with performing  essential functions to maintain business operations (cleaning, maintenance, payroll, IT, etc.). Those functions have been carefully identified and a plan has been developed and communicated to those individuals.

Consequently, all district buildings are closed to the public and opened only for limited official business.  All communications will be done by email. Employee (administrators, teachers, support staff) email addresses can be found on ASPEN or Contact Us

It is critical to note that while most employees will be at home, the work shall continue remotely. Employees are being compensated and will perform work functions remotely, as much as feasible, and be ready to perform related work functions when called upon. The same expectations continue. Teachers will teach, related service providers will provide support to students, support staffers will work remotely under the guidance of supervisors, as much as feasible, and all others will stand ready to support efforts as needed.

As you may be aware, Governor Cuomo’s declaration on March 18 said that school districts will be required to develop a plan for alternative instructional options, including distance learning; distribution and availability of meals; and daycare, with an emphasis on children of parents of first responders and healthcare workers.  

Distance learning

South Colonie administrators and teachers have been working to develop a formalized plan for educational opportunities for students during this time. Information will be provided by your child’s school by Monday, March 30.

Teachers have been and will continue to communicate with students in their classes. Please feel free to contact your child’s teacher via email with specific class related questions. Other school related questions should go to your child’s principal or other relevant parties. All South Colonie instructional personnel are willing to lend support and ensure a positive learning experience for our students. 

Students in grades 8-12 already have district provided Chromebooks.  Your school principal will send communication out for device pickup for those who don’t have one at home.

We have also been informed by the NYS Board of Regents that the administrations of the 2020 elementary- and intermediate-level State assessments have been suspended for the remainder of this school year.

Grades 9-12 

  • New Material:  We will allow new material to be covered at the high school level. Teachers will continue to deliver content through the platforms that they have been using with their students to cover new content as they are able. 
  • Special Education: Special education teachers will be responsible for modifications and IEP compliance for their students. 
  • Grading: We will allow grades for feedback and monitoring only. 

Grades 7-8  

  • New Material: ELA, math, science and social studies will begin to explore new material.  Accelerated students are expected to be covering new material, similar to the high school model.  Teachers will continue to deliver content through the platforms that they have been using with their students.
  • Special Education: Special education teachers will be responsible for modifications and IEP compliance for their students. 
  • Grading: We will allow grades for feedback and monitoring only. 

Grades 5-6

  • New Material: No new material at this time. We will continue to review and spiral existing curriculum. The expectation is that there will be new learning activities, but that they will emphasize material that was taught prior to the shutdown. Reading, writing and mathematics will be emphasized. 
  • Special Education: Special education teachers will be responsible for modifications and IEP compliance for their students. 
  • Grading: We will monitor the students’ progress, but we will not be providing grades at this point. 

Grades PK-4 

  • New Material: No new material at this time. We will continue to review and spiral existing curriculum. The expectation is that there will be new learning activities, but that they will emphasize material that was taught prior to the shutdown. Reading, writing and mathematics will be emphasized. 
  • Special Education: Special education teachers will be responsible for modifications and IEP compliance for their students. 
  • Grading: We will monitor the students’ progress, but we will not be providing grades at this point.

ENL Support

ENL teachers at all grade levels will be responsible for connecting with their students and providing assistance to the best of their ability for their students. 


Food Service

South Colonie Food Service and Transportation Departments will continue to provide breakfast and lunch for students, free of charge, while schools are closed at the following locations:

  • Colonie Central High School, 9 to 11 a.m. Monday-Friday
  • Lisha Kill Middle School 9 to 11 a.m.  Monday-Friday

Lunch and the following day’s breakfast will be provided at the above pick-up location each day.  Families are asked to open their trunks when they arrive so that staff can safely serve meals. This program will continue during the spring recess for all students. Any family needing assistance with meal delivery should email: Annette Chamberlin at chamberlaina@scolonie.org.

Backpack program meals will be delivered on a limited basis, once a week. More information about the delivery schedule will be communicated.   

Child Care for Essential Workers

South Colonie Central School District and several area school districts are working in conjunction with Colonie Youth Center(CYC), the YMCA, and other providers to find open placements for families of essential health care workers and first responders.

Essential health care workers may include licensed health professionals such as physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, registered nurses, LPNs and nurse assistants or laboratory personnel. First responders may include paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police officers, and firefighters.  

If you are working in any of these professions and having issues with childcare, please fill the CYC application or contact (518) 438-9596.

The Capital District YMCA is also responding to the critical need for childcare services for emergency personnel. 

The following YMCA branch locations will provide services:

  • Bethlehem — 900 Delaware Ave, Delmar, NY 12054
  • Duanesburg — 221 Victoria Drive, Delanson, NY 12053
  • Glenville — 127 Droms Road, Glenville, NY 12302
  • Greenbush — 20 Community Way, East Greenbush, NY 12061
  • Greene County — 35 Rt. 81, Hope Plaza, West Coxsackie, NY 12192
  • Guilderland — 250 Winding Brook Drive, Guilderland, NY 12084
  • Schenectady — 433 State Street, Schenectady, NY 12305
  • Southern Saratoga — 1 Wall Street, Clifton Park, NY 12065
  • Troy — 2500 21st Street, Troy, NY 12180

Online registration can be found at: www.CDYMCA.org/EmergencyChildcare. Emergency personnel needing care are also welcome to call the Capital District YMCA at 518.869.3500.

Please know that, as always, the education, health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority and we will remain vigilant in our efforts to help prevent the spread of this illness and provide equity in opportunities for our students. 

Please continue to look out for information and updates this web page.  We will make all attempts to provide the most current and up to date information. Please do not rely on hearsay or social media chatter as your information source.

Stay Strong Colonie!
David Perry
Superintendent of Schools

Update: March 20, 2020 

Dear South Colonie Parents/Guardians:

Please see the latest information and FAQs below.

If after reading the responses you have additional questions, please send your questions to Kara Granato. We will continue to update this page with questions from our families as information becomes available.

How long are classes canceled?

Per the Governor’s March 16 executive orders (202.4), New York state school classes are cancelled for two weeks beginning March 18. For South Colonie Central School District  that means classes are cancelled until April 1. For South Colonie Central School District  that means classes are canceled until April 1. Previous notice went out that stated classes were canceled through April 1. Please know, as of now, students will return to school on Wednesday, April 1, barring any class cancellation extension. The governor’s executive order makes it clear that any further cancellation of classes will come directly from NYS and will not be a local decision.

Are you supporting childcare needs for essential health care workers?

South Colonie Central School District and several area school districts are working in conjunction with Colonie Youth Center(CYC), the YMCA, and other providers to find open placements for families of essential health care workers and first responders.

Essential health care workers may include licensed health professionals such as physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, registered nurses, LPNs and nurse assistants or laboratory personnel. First responders may include paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police officers, and firefighters.  

Child Care Services

If you are a parent or caregiver who needs child care, please complete this parent need for child care survey. Based on the information you provide about your job, employer, number of children, and financial need, OCFS may be able to help you find the child program you need. It may be a challenge to find child care due to COVID-19 related program closures, however the staff at OCFS are trying their best to support families to find the high quality child care that they need. In addition, the OCFS website has several resources available https://ocfs.ny.gov/programs/childcare/

If you are looking for child care, the Child Care Resource and Referral Agency (CCRR) is a great place to start. They will ask you about the kind of care you are looking for, the ages of your children, the hours of care you need and other specifics such as any special needs your child might have. Based on that information, they will be able to give you a list of providers that most closely meet your needs.

Please contact: Brightside Up (formally Capital District Child Care Coordinating Council, Inc.)

Ms. Abbe Kovacik, Executive Director
91 Broadway
Menands, NY 12204

Phone: (518) 426-7181, ext. 323
Fax: (518) 426-9649
Email: akovacik@cdcccc.org
Website: http://www.cdcccc.org/

Will there be meals for students during the closure?

Breakfast and lunch will be available, free of charge, for students in need each day (Monday-Friday) while South Colonie schools are closed. 

Meal pick-up locations will be outside of Lisha Kill Middle School (pick-up by auditorium) and Colonie High School (outside the Main entrance) in a grab-and-go style each Day from 9 to 11 a.m.

If your child has any dietary restrictions or if your family does not have access to pick up meals, please email Annette Chamberlain at chamberlaina@scolonie.org or call 518-869-3576 ext. 0452 or 0467 by 9 a.m. daily.  Meals will be delivered by South Colonie transportation staff between 10 and 11 a.m.  Families requesting transportation will be asked to come out to meet staff for meal delivery. 

If you are in need of additional resources, please visit: https://regionalfoodbank.net/find-nearest-agency/

Are there learning opportunities for students during the class cancellation period?

Buildings, grade levels and departments will be contacting students and families individually to outline the plans for lessons and materials that will be distributed.  We are also working on a complete list of resources for families now and will share when it is completed. For a list of on-line resources please visit our student resource page

Should I be checking the ASPEN parent portal during this time?

For grade levels that use the parent portal, there will be much less activity during this time period.  While parents should not expect the same level of grades being entered that they would expect during “normal” times, the system will reflect assignments collected and graded as of Friday, March 13.  As mentioned above, please contact your child’s teacher if you have questions or concerns about their level of engagement or progress.

Will the end of the third quarter marking period be affected for the middle school or high school?

We are currently looking to make adjustments to the academic calendar. Students will be receiving specific guidance from their building principal once more information is available.

Will students still be required to take the NYS exams?

The New York State Board of Regents and state Education Department announced Friday, March 20, that the elementary- and intermediate-level state assessments for Grades 3-8 have been suspended for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.

“It is most important that during the time of closure, schools are able to continue to focus their efforts toward local school and community needs, as they have been doing, and not be concerned about state assessments. NYSED has applied for federal waivers for testing, accountability and reporting requirements,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa and Interim State Education Commissioner Shannon Tahoe said in a statement.

The U.S. Department of Education announced Friday that states may cancel any scheduled standardized tests for this school year.

This suspension applies to the following New York state testing programs:

  • New York State Grades 3-8 English Language Arts Test;
  • New York State Grades 3-8 Mathematics Test;
  • New York State Grade 4 Elementary-Level Science Test;
  • New York State Grade 8 Intermediate-Level Science Test;
  • New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) in Grades K-12; and
  • New York State Alternate Assessment (NYSAA) for students with severe cognitive disabilities in Grades 3-8 and high school.

The state has not issued any guidance on end-of-June Regents exams and The College Board’s Advanced Placement exams.

What resources do I have to support my child if they are experiencing anxiety regarding the current situation?

There are a variety of online resources for talking to children about this topic. Here are two to consider:

What if we need help with technology?

If your children are having technical difficulties with their Chromebooks or trouble accessing the internet or resources, please submit a Help Desk Ticket.

Will the class cancellations impact April break?

At this point, guidance from the Governor’s executive order states that classes are to be cancelled for two weeks and that the required 180 days of instructional time for students has been waived for this two-week period. That being said, we do not have specific guidance as to whether or not this means students will be in school during the regularly scheduled spring recess (April 10-April 19). As soon as we have more guidance, we will let everyone know.

Will the cancelled classes need to be made up during the summer months?

For now, we do not anticipate that the 2019-20 school year will be extended beyond June 26, which is our previously scheduled last day of school. We will continue to seek guidance from the State Education Department.

Will buildings and school grounds be open?

To mitigate the transmission of the Coronavirus COVID-19, the facilities and grounds are closed, other than for official purposes until further notice. This includes playgrounds, fields and the track.

Administrators will continue to be available via email, and phone messages left with the schools’ main offices will be checked and answered on regular school days (Mondays through Fridays).

Who should I contact if I am aware of other needs within the community?

Please let the district know immediately of any students or families that are in crisis or in need during this time. Please reach out to your  principal or email us at superintendent@scolonie.org.

Will the district still hold Board of Education meetings?

The Governor recently issued an executive order temporarily changing the laws governing  public meetings during this public health crisis. Board of Education meetings will continue to be held so schools can continue to conduct business. However, the public will only be available to participate through conference call. The agenda for the meeting will be available 48 hours in advance and any questions about the agenda can be sent to the District Clerk

Thank you,

Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Perry

Update: March 19, 2020, 10 a.m. 

Dear South Colonie Community,

To mitigate the transmission of the Coronavirus COVID-19, the facilities and grounds are closed, other than for official purposes until further notice. This includes playgrounds, fields and the track.

Non-essential staff members, parents or students who need to attend to any school business should contact the school office. Non-essential staff members are defined as those staff members designated by the Superintendent of Schools, their principal or supervisor to work remotely. Teaching staff needing access to the building and/or classrooms will be notified of dates and times that the building may be made available in the future.

We are truly functioning in uncharted waters, and recognize that the patience and the collective wisdom of all is required. The suspension of on-site classes for students is to avoid large gatherings and minimize personal contact. Buildings are not contaminated. The closures are a way to enforce social distancing, a crucially important public health intervention that can help mitigate coronavirus transmission, by avoiding crowds and large gatherings. Best practice requires maintaining at least a six-foot distance between yourself and others.

This may change based on the evolving nature as we contend with the Coronavirus COVID-19.

Thank you,

Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Perry

Update: March 17, 2020, 6 p.m.

Dear South Colonie Parents/Guardians,

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on March 16 that due to ongoing public health concerns related to COVID-19/Coronavirus, all school buildings in New York state will be closed for two weeks, effective March 18. 

This means that South Colonie Central School District will be closed from March 18 through April 1, 2020. We are closely monitoring the situation at the state and local level, and will let you know if that closure needs to be extended.

We recognize the hardship these changes will place on our families. Please know that the district is committed to providing you with continued support during the closure. 

Below are some questions and answers about what this closure means.

Can I get personal belongings from the school building?

Students and their families may come to school to pick up belongings. An administrator will escort students and/or parents to and from lockers/cubbies so that belongings can be collected. The school nurses will be in contact with families to make arrangements to pick up students’ medications. However, anyone who is sick is asked to refrain from entering the school building.

Are events being rescheduled?

The practical matter is that many of these events will not be able to be rescheduled.  Those events that we can reschedule, we will make every attempt to consider rescheduling.  More information about these events will be shared when it is available.

Board of Education Meetings will continue, but they will be closed to public attendance. The public will be able to participate in these meetings via conference call only.  All minutes and handouts will be provided on the District website.

The New York State Education Department continues to work with the governor’s office, the New York State Department of Health and the U.S. Department of Education to provide guidance to our schools around issues such as instructional time and test scheduling. 

What does this mean for Athletics?

All Varsity, Junior Varsity, Freshmen and Modified sports are postponed until further notice at South Colonie.

Section II has postponed all scrimmages, Non-League and League contests for all levels until April 20, 2020.   

Announcements will be made when the first practice for all levels of athletics is scheduled to begin.

Is South Colonie planning for a longer closure?

South Colonie school leaders are continually meeting with other leaders of the 23 districts that make up the Capital Region BOCES, to determine the steps that need to be taken during the COVID-19 public health situation. Right now school districts have been asked to be closed for two weeks.  After the two-weeks, with guidance from the county, state, and federal health officials we will evaluate whether or not it is safe for staff and students to return to school. 

Will there be access to meals for students?

We want to let you know that breakfast and lunch will be available, free of charge, for students in need each day while South Colonie schools are closed. 

Meal pick-up locations will be outside of Lisha Kill Middle School (pick-up by auditorium) and Colonie High School (outside the Main entrance) in a grab-and-go style, meaning, when you arrive at the location, please look for the pick-up table and stay in your car so that someone can bring meals to you.

 Meal Times

Lunch and the following day’s breakfast will be provided at pick-up each day. The time you pick up your meals is determined by the first letter of your child’s last name as follows: 

  • A-H: Pick up time starts at  9 to 10 a.m.
  • I-P: Pick up time starts at 10 to 11 a.m.
  • Q-Z: Pick up time starts at 11 to noon

No meals will be given out after noon. 

If your child has any dietary restrictions or if your family does not have access to pick up meals, please email Annette Chamberlain at chamberlaina@scolonie.org or call 518-869-3576 ext. 0452 or 0467 by 9 a.m. daily.  Meals will be delivered by South Colonie transportation staff between 10 and 11 a.m..  Families requesting transportation will be asked to come out to meet staff for meal delivery. 

How is instruction being handled?

We are committed to providing educational resources for our students during this closure, but it is important to acknowledge that there are practical limits to instructional program continuity. Instead, our commitment will be to sharing a variety of resources for parent-guided and self-guided learning for students.  

How will resources be shared?

Buildings, grade levels and departments will be contacting students and families individually to outline the plans for lessons and materials that will be distributed.  We are also working on a complete list of resources for families now and will share when it is completed. For a list of on-line resources please visit our student resource page

What about social-emotional resources? 

We encourage you to the extent possible to maintain a schedule and routine with your child. You should also consider varying the amount of time using technology and media and avoid excessive exposure to media coverage. Reassure children that they are safe and let them talk about their worries, share your own coping skills and add time in your day for stress relief.

There are a variety of resources online for talking to children about this topic. Here is one to consider: National Association of School Psychologists: Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource

What support is available for Technology?

Free Wi-Fi for Students

Beginning Monday, March 16, Charter is offering free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To learn more and enroll, visit their website.

Technology Help Desk  

Below find the link for parents and students to submit help desk tickets during the District’s closure.  These tickets will be monitored by the entire South Colonie IT Team. Once submitted, requestors will be contacted via email or phone with a solution to their issue or to arrange a time and location to meet with a technician.  

Submit a ticket here: https://scolonie.freshservice.com/support/tickets/new

Will staff be available during the closure?

To the best of our ability, teachers, counselors, and building principals will be available by email during the regularly scheduled work day.

We recognize that this extraordinary situation presents an array of difficulties for our students, employees and families. We are committed to doing everything we can to meet needs and support the community at this time.

The most current and accurate information about the coronavirus can be found at www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus.

Thank you for your continued understanding and partnership.

Sincerely,
Dr. David Perry
Superintendent of Schools

Update: March 16, 2020, 5 p.m. 

Good Evening,
Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo, stated in a press conference that he will be declaring that all schools in New York State will suspend classes from Wednesday, March 18 – April 1. However, the details of that declaration have yet to be provided to the district. Once received, we will carefully review the stipulations to assess how to effectively meet the educational needs of students. We will inform employees,  parents and the public of the specifics and the impact on South Colonie before the close of day on Tuesday, March 17.

Specifically, we are working with staff to firm up plans and get information on the following: 

  • Working with district staff to focus on strengthening our home to school connections.  Basically how to communicate with our families over an extended period of time in a simple, clear manner and extending until the return of in-person schooling. 
  • Because there are practice limits to trying to continue the instructional program in an online format, that will not be our goal.  Our focus will be on sharing a variety of resources for parent-guided and self-guided learning for students.  Daily contact from teacher to home will be a basic expectation.
  • Waiting for information from NYSED on a waiver of Gr. 3-8 testing for this year.
  • Working with the College Board for solutions to the Advanced Placement testing.
  • Waiting for information from NYSED on the broadcasting of content for Regents courses via PBS as an enhancement to resources provided by South Colonie teachers.
  • Reviewing logistics related to the waiving of the seat time and lab requirements for students to be eligible to take the Regents exams.

Looking for information from NYSED with regard to flexibility in Individual Educational Plans (IEP) for services that cannot be done remotely (i.e., providing compensatory services in the future)

This situation is unprecedented and changes are happening each hour, each day. We will provide you with more information as soon as we can. Please
monitor email as well as the district’s website.

Thank you,

David Perry
Superintendent of Schools

Update: March 15, 2020

Dear South Colonie Students and Families:

We want to let you know that breakfast and lunch will be available, free of charge, for ALL students in need each day while South Colonie schools are closed. Meals will be available for pick up by families starting on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. 

Meal pick-up locations will be outside of Lisha Kill Middle School (pick-up by auditorium) and Colonie High School (outside the Main entrance) in a grab-and-go style, meaning, when you arrive at the location, please look for the pick-up table and stay in your car so that someone can bring meals to you.

Meal Pick-up Times 

Lunch and the following day’s breakfast will be provided at pick-up each day. The time you pick up your meals is determined by the first letter of your child’s last name as follows: 

  • A-H: Pick up time 9 to 10 a.m. 
  • I-P: Pick up time 10 to 11 a.m. 
  • Q-Z: Pick up time 11 a.m. to noon

If your child has any dietary restrictions or if your family does not have access to pick up meals, please email Annette Chamberlain or call 518-869-3576 ext. 0452 or 0467 by 9 a.m. daily.  Meals will be delivered by South Colonie transportation staff between 10 and 11 a.m.  Families requesting transportation will be asked to come out to meet staff for meal delivery.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. David Perry
    Superintendent of Schools

    Update: March 13, 2020 6 p.m.

    Dear South Colonie Central School District Parent/Guardian:

    This is an update on the rapidly evolving situation regarding COVID-19/Coronavirus. We continue to monitor all guidance from local, state and federal agencies. At this time, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the school district. However, out of an abundance of caution, we are joining with other area districts and closing school for students for the week of March 16-20, 2020.

    Given that this is a rapidly evolving public health issue, we feel that this is the most proactive and prudent action available to us. This is designed to help limit the spread of illness and to provide time to reassess the situation next week.

    All Staff will report on Monday, March 16, 2020 to continue the planning and development of student support services as part of a Superintendent’s Conference Day.  Further details will be disseminated to staff regarding responsibilities for the remainder of the week.

    Because there are practical limits to trying to continue the instructional program in an online format, that will not be our goal. Our focus will be on sharing a variety of resources for parent-guided and self-guided learning for students. We plan to begin sharing these resources during the early part of next week. Families should look for more information around that time. 

    We are working to provide students access to both breakfast and lunch in a mobile take-out format.  More information will be provided on Monday, March 16th on how all students can access this program.  We anticipate having locations at Colonie Central High School and Lisha Kill Middle School to serve these meals.  Please check the website for more information on Monday, March 16th.

    There will be no other events in the district the week of March 16-20.

    As an additional note, Capital Region BOCES CTE and Special Education programs will not be operating March 16-20.

    As Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated during his press conference today, school superintendents have the ability to decide to close their school districts, and the superintendents of our region have made that determination.

    The New York State Education Department continues to work with the governor’s office, the New York State Department of Health and the U.S. Department of Education to provide guidance to our schools around issues such as instructional time and test scheduling.

    This situation is very fluid and could change as we continue to work with our local departments of health and New York State Department of Health.

    The most current and accurate information about the coronavirus can be found at www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. David Perry
    Superintendent of Schools

    Update: March 13, 2020 Update 10 a.m. 

    Dear South Colonie Parents/Guardians:

    Schools have been asked to prepare for the possibility of extended closure to prevent the spread of this illness. In the event that school is closed, it is important to acknowledge that there are practical limits to instructional program continuity. Instead, our commitment will be to sharing a variety of resources for parent-guided and self-guided learning for students. This will include links, resources, and remote learning when possible.  

    In order to facilitate the development of course delivery plans the following resources may be of assistance:

    • The primary method of digital communication, task assignment, and other classroom-related activities is Google Classroom.  In the event of an extended school closure, teachers maintain the ability to assign and collect work, direct students toward web-based or teacher-created materials as well as collect and provide feedback on student-submitted assignments.  Keep in mind that delivery of a course through distance education does not have to be high tech, it may be as simple as emailing lecture notes, PowerPoint presentations and/or assignments to students.
    • At the time of this update, all students in grades 8-12 have been assigned Chromebooks as part of a 1:1 program, i.e. they are able to take home and use for school-related purposes.
    • There may be some academic experiences that are not as easily transitioned to on-line delivery, such as labs, music lessons, and field experiences.  We are working with faculty and students to come up with alternative strategies to meet the learning objectives of these types of courses.
    • Web-based resources include but are not limited to those listed below.  Please refer to the student resource page for easy access links. 

    Elementary School

    • ClassDojo
    • Code.org
    • Discovery Ed
    • EdPuzzle
    • Epic Books
    • i-Ready
    • MathFacts Pro
    • Matific
    • Prodigy Math
    • Raz Kids
    • Reflex Math
    • Sora/OverDrive
    • SpellingCity.com
    • ThinkCentral
    • Typing Club
    • Wixie
    • Writeable
    • Xtramath 

    Middle School 

    • Banzai
    • Castle Learning
    • Code.org
    • ConnectEd
    • Discovery E
    • EdPuzzle
    • GimKit
    • i-Ready
    • IKnowIt

    High School

    • Castle Learning
    • Cisco Academy
    • Code.org
    • Construct
    • Delta Math
    • Discovery Ed
    • Edmentum
    • EdPuzzle
    • GimKit
    • MathBits
    • Problem-Attic
    • Senor Wooly
    • Sora/OverDrive
    • YouTube

    Supporting the health and well-being of students and staff is our highest priority. We know faculty will be supportive and flexible with students who may experience prolonged absences due to illness.

    Certainly, the most effective means of educating children is to have them here at school working directly with their teachers and service providers.  That said, recent circumstances have prompted us to begin to consider alternative means to educate students in the event of a closure short or long term.

    The buildings, grade levels and departments will be contacting students and families to outline the plans for lessons and materials that will be distributed in the event of a closure. 

    If additional support is needed to explore how these tools would be used to support instruction in the event of an extended school closure, please reach out to your child’s teacher or building principal.

    Thank you,

    Dr. David Perry
    Superintendent of Schools

    Update: March 12, 2020

    Dear South Colonie Parents/Guardians:

    In recent weeks, you have heard much about the COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus, and we would like to provide you with updated information. While cases of coronavirus have been reported in Albany County, as of right now, the South Colonie Central School District does not have a confirmed case of COVID-19. 

    Please note that this remains a highly fluid situation. As you likely know, quarantine is a measure that public health authorities are utilizing as a containment strategy, including cases where individuals have traveled to known high-risk exposure areas or have potentially come into contact with individuals believed to have contracted the illness. Given the evolving nature of this situation, it will not be possible to provide status reports related to quarantines without potentially inadvertently sharing inaccurate information or compromising individual privacy. However, please be assured that if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our school district, all members of the school community will be notified.

    We would ask that all students, staff, and families avoid speculation related to individual situations, as this may cause undue concern. The best thing we can do is stay calm, take this seriously, and follow the advice of public health experts.

    School events

    Out of an abundance of caution, we are pro-actively taking the following steps to help reduce the instances of community contact in our schools to keep our students, staff, and families safe. As a result, effective immediately, March 12, all Continuing Education classes, field trips, and school community events will be postponed or limited until further notice. Additionally, outside groups who were scheduled to host community meetings and events in our facilities will be canceled.

    At this time, sporting events and student activities happening during the regular school day will continue as scheduled unless further guidance is provided by the NYS Education Department and or the Health Department. 

    Additional measures to limit the spread of the virus and support our families

    • Administrators and nurses are participating in weekly updates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which provides us with additional information and updated guidance as to how we can maintain a safe and healthy environment for everyone. 
    • District officials including the Superintendent are participating in daily calls to discuss the regional impact on school districts facilitated by Capital Region BOCES
    • Our Safe Schools Committee is reviewing the protocols regarding Emergency Response Plans and working with our emergency responders should the need arise.
    • The custodial staff has increased intense disinfecting of surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, stairwell railings, countertops, and all surfaces children, staff, and volunteers may come in contact with.  These products are safe for people and deliver a high level of powerful infection control.
      The custodial staff is ensuring that hand sanitizer stations and soap dispensers are continually refilled.
    • All district Health Offices have been instructed to alert the Superintendent and local Health Department about large increases in student and/or staff absenteeism, particularly if absences appear due to respiratory illnesses.
      If staff or students are sick, our Health Office staff will send them home as soon as possible. They will be kept separate from well students and staff until they can leave.
    • Lastly, instructional staff are formulating plans for e-learning options

    We continue to emphasize common-sense preventive actions for staff and students:

    • Stay home when sick
    • Cover coughs and sneezes
    • Wash hands often
    • Hands should be washed with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.  Hand sanitizer is available in all school buildings.
    • Families are encouraged to wipe down commonly used equipment such as keyboards and computers their children take home. Staff will also be sure to wipe down desks, remote controls, and equipment used in school.
    • Educational materials are being provided to building principals, teachers, and staff to assist children in understanding the COVID-19 virus and ways to help prevent the spread of germs.

    While schools are not able to screen students or staff to identify cases of COVID-19,  if you or a family member begin showing symptoms of a respiratory illness and suspect it may be COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider immediately. Before going to your healthcare provider’s office, inform them that a case of COVID-19 is suspected, and follow their advice.

    As we learn more, we will continue to keep you updated as new information is released each week. For updated interim guidance, please check the following CDC website periodically.

    If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your school principal.

    Sincerely, 
    Dr. David Perry
    Superintendent of Schools

    Update: March 9, 2020

    With the recent news of confirmed cases of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus, within the Capital Region, South Colonie Central School district officials are continuing to monitor information from local, state and federal officials. At this time there are no confirmed cases within Albany County.

    On Saturday, March 7, Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency in New York, which gives the state certain purchasing and hiring abilities during this time. This declaration does not impact any school or district activities at this time. Experts have not recommended that the district cancel or reschedule classes or other school events. 

    State officials continue to emphasize that the general risk to the public is low and that while we all need to be vigilant and cautious, it is also important to stay calm and not contribute to any undue panic.

    Regarding travel and quarantine measures, please know that the New York State Department of Health has made quarantine a mandatory measure for individuals returning to the United States from a known high-risk exposure area. Based on this, any student, student family member or employee who has traveled to a known high-risk exposure area should notify the school principal prior to coming to school, as well as the Albany County Public Health Department.

    For more information, please visit the Center for Disease Control’s web page for coronavirus and travel.

    If the district becomes aware that one of our students or staff members is diagnosed with COVID-19, we will notify staff and parents/guardians by posting information to our website, sending updates through email and SNN, and if needed, sending a robocall through our mass notification system. For now, the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your children continues to be following standard preventive practices for influenza. There are a number of steps that students, staff and community members can take to minimize the spread of all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, according to the New York State Department of Health: 

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Heavily soiled hands should be washed.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

    It is important to note that exposure to COVID-19 can occur from any person-to-person contact and is not limited to a particular race or ethnicity. 

    More information about COVID-19 is available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and The state Department of Health. In addition, New York has established a hotline that can provide additional information. Call 1-888-364-3065 with questions or concerns about travel and symptoms.

    As a district, we are continuing to prepare to meet the needs of our students and staff in the event the virus affects our community. We are reviewing our School Safety protocols, increasing cleaning in all buildings, and formulating a plan for e-learning options. 

    We appreciate your support and will share more information as it becomes available through updates to this web posting as well as through our district communication channels. 

    Please know that, as always, the health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority, and we will remain vigilant in our efforts to help prevent the spread of this illness.