Reopening Frequently Asked Questions

The South Colonie Central School District is committed to establishing and maintaining regular channels of communication regarding the reopening plan and process. Please see the frequently asked questions below addressing commonly asked questions from our families.

Please note that these questions will be updated regularly. If you have a general question that has not been addressed, please email communications@scolonie.org.  If you have a more specific question regarding individual circumstances, please contact the building principal or department administrator.

Reopening Plan
Communication and Family Engagement
Schedules
Health & Safety
Transportation
Teaching and Learning
Special Education
Bilingual Education
Sports & Extracurricular Activities
Safety & Security
Facilities
Food Service/Nutrition
Technology
Social Emotional 


This page was updated on 9/15/20.

Reopening Plan

Q: Is the plan described in the presentation from the Superintendent the final plan? 

A: No. The information presented is our technical plan in that it meets all of the requirements from the State Departments of Health and Education. Certain details presented (e.g., what does virtual learning look like) may change and additional information added. Each week we anticipate posting an updated version of the plan which includes additional details generated from our District planning team subgroups, building-level workgroups, our parent survey results, feedback that we receive via our communications@scolonie.org email box, and updates from the state and our attorneys.

Q: Were all schools represented in the reopening planning and review process?

A: All of our schools and departments have been involved in the planning process.  


Communication and Family Engagement

Q: Who should I contact if I have questions about the district’s reopening plan or health and safety protocols?

A: Parents should contact their child’s building principal regarding the reopening plan and safety protocols in their particular building.  In addition, the district’s COVID-19 Coordinator is Christopher Robilotti, Assistant Superintendent for HR/Safe Schools. Parents can contact Mr. Robilotti at 518-869-3576 or robilottic@scolonie.org.

Q: Will I be notified if there is a suspected or confirmed COVID case, or quarantine, within the school community? 

A: In the event that a student or staff member is sick or symptomatic, notification to potentially exposed individuals will occur pursuant to the state’s contact tracing protocols as implemented by the local health department. Notification to the wider community will occur only under the direction of local health officials.

Q: How will parents be notified if the school needs to shift to fully remote learning? 

A: The district will use existing internal and external communications channels to notify staff, students and families/caregivers about in-person, remote and hybrid school schedules with as much advance notice as possible. This information will be shared through the district’s mass notification system (Blackboard),  student management system (ASPEN) and regular updates will be available on the district website.  Time-sensitive and important updates will not be shared through district social media channels.


Schedules

Q: When is the first day of school?

A: The first day of school is Monday, September 14. See the updated attendance calendar here. 

Q: What does a sample schedule look like for virtual learning?

A:  Sample virtual schedule K-6

    • 9  to 9:45 a.m. , Full Class Activity , Google Meet
    • 10:00 to  10:45 a.m.,  Reading/ELA,  Google Meet/i-Ready/Raz-Kids/Fundations/Words Their Way/Epic/Units of Study
    • 10:50 to 11:30 a.m.,  Phys Ed/Movement Break, Plat4m
    • 11:30  a.m.to noon,  Mathematics, Google Meet/i-Ready
    • noon to  12:40 p.m. Lunch
    • 12:40 to  1 p.m.,  Writing/ELA, Google Meet/i-Ready/Raz-Kids/Mini-lessons from units of study/ Responding to reading
    • 1:10 to  1:50 p.m., Art/Music/Library, Video Lessons
    • 2:00 to  2:50 p.m., SS/Science Google Meet/i-Ready/Raz-Kids

Sample virtual schedule 7-12

    • Period 1, Algebra I,  Live Google Meet/Recorded Lesson
    • Period 2, English 9, Live Google Meet/Recorded Lesson
    • Period 3, Phys Ed., Plat4m
    • Period 4, Global 9, Live Google Meet/Recorded Lesson
    • Period 5, Lunch
    • Period 6, Living Environment, Live Google Meet/Recorded Lesson
    • Period 7, Ar,  Live Google Meet/Recorded Lesson
    • Period 8, Spanish II, Live Google Meet/Recorded Lesson
    • Period 9 Independent Work/Study

Q: Why is South Colonie not shortening the school day or reducing the amount of time the elementary kids are at school in order to accommodate social distancing, as many other area districts are doing?

A: South Colonie has considered other options for the length of the school day and the creation of the “pods” in order to properly socially distance.  Other area schools have different staffing and facility configurations which may play a factor in their ability to hold a longer school day.  With the length of time that our students have been out of the traditional classroom since March 16 and with the variety of needs to provide for appropriate transitions, hand washing, hygiene lessons, bathroom and mask breaks, the actual instructional time will be reduced from prior years.  At this time, we are prioritizing a full day session for our students.  


Transportation

Q: How will you ensure social distancing is practiced on the bus?

A: Students will be spaced apart on the buses with the majority of our regular size buses only transporting 20-30 students at a time (with their masks on). Buses will be scheduled at 50% capacity or less.  Siblings/members of the same household will be seated together when appropriate.

Q: How will you ensure social distancing is practiced at the bus stop?

A: Parents will be expected to reinforce social distancing when at the bus stop.  Masks should be worn when waiting at the bus stop by all parties.  When feasible, parents will be encouraged to transport their children.

Q: What are the cleaning protocols for buses?

A:We will be decontaminating the buses twice a day.  Once after the a.m. runs are complete and again in the afternoon when the buses return.  In between runs, drivers will be wiping down common areas with disinfectant, i.e. handrails and top of seats.

Q: How many students will be allowed on the bus?

A: We will be limiting the number of students to approximately  50% of capacity

Q: Will drivers be required to wear a mask while driving the school bus? 

A: Yes. To ensure the health and safety of students and staff, everyone will be required to wear a mask while on the school buses unless determined to be medically unable to do so.

Q: How will social distancing/mask-wearing on the school bus be enforced? Will there be an aide on each route since the bus drivers must concentrate on the road and not keeping masks on kids?

A: Our drivers will ask all students to wear masks at all times.  There will not be monitors on all of the buses.  We will be assigning students to a particular seat for both the a.m. and p.m. bus.  Students that fail to follow driver instructions will be referred to the building principal.

Q: Will I be able to drive my student(s) to/from school instead of putting them on a bus? 

A: Yes, we will be encouraging those parents who are able to drop their students to do so as we begin the school year and assess the need for transportation throughout the district.

Q: Will transport time be lengthened because of any changes necessary?

A: We do not anticipate extra time needed to cover the routes, however, we do anticipate that there may be some delays in getting into or out of school lots due to increased parent traffic.

Q: Will it be possible to ‘opt’ out of transportation so that it is easier for others who need transportation? Or If we are planning on driving our kids to school should we let somebody know so that it will free up some space on the school buses?

A: We will be sending out a survey in order to get a sense of ridership demands.

Q: Will there be staggered start/finish times to the school day (to address bus runs and school traffic issues)? 

A: To provide as much predictability to our schedule as possible, we will utilize the current start and end times to our school day. However, for social distancing purposes, we will have to stagger our entry and exit times which will reduce the amount of instructional time during the day. As students, staff, and parents adapt to this new process, we expect that we will become more efficient and therefore will be able to increase instructional time.

Q: Congestion at pick-up and drop off how will that be handled?

A: We will be working with our building principals in an effort to come up with plans on diverting the extra traffic we expect.  That may be through allowing parents to drop off after the buses have left.  As students, staff, and parents adapt to this new process, we expect that we will become more efficient.

Q: Supervision for kids who are being dropped off?

A: We will be following our usual practice of requiring a parent to be present when taking younger students off the bus, unless the driver has been instructed by the parent differently.

In addition, for students who need early drop off at school, the CYC program will have a morning and afternoon program at each elementary school and both middle schools.

Q: Will hand sanitizer be available on the bus?

A: School buses will not be equipped with hand sanitizer due to its combustible composition and potential liability to the carrier or district. School bus drivers, monitors and attendants must not carry personal bottles of hand sanitizer with them on school buses.


Health & Safety

Q. When, specifically, are face-coverings required for students and when are they not required? And what about during instructional time?

A: Students, staff, and visitors will wear face-coverings consistently throughout the school day, including on the school bus, traveling from the bus into the building, during all other transitions, and always when social distancing of at least six-feet cannot be maintained. Students who are unable to medically tolerate a face-covering can apply for a medical exemption to the District Medical Director or be placed into virtual learning. Certain high needs special education students will also not be required to wear face-coverings in keeping with their identified disability. In such cases, this accommodation should be part of a student’s IEP. Students will be allowed to remove face-coverings during meals so long as they are properly socially distanced. During instruction, while appropriately socially distanced there will be “mask breaks”.

Elementary Level (PK-6)

Students at the elementary level (Grades PK-6) will be required to wear a mask during classroom instruction. All teachers will provide mandatory student mask breaks every 20-30 minutes for the duration of up to 5 minutes. The teacher will also use their professional judgment if a mask break is needed sooner, for example, once every 15 minutes. The classroom teacher may also plan a mask break outside where students can be spaced out even further than in the classroom, which will also allow for some movement. The students will also be required to wear face masks during any transition, such as arrival or dismissal, or anytime they are in the hallways. Students will not be required to take a mask break if they so choose. The teacher will also have the ability to provide individual students with a mask break if there is an extenuating circumstance.

Secondary Level Grades 7-12

Students at the secondary level (grades 7-12) will be required to wear a mask during classroom instruction. All teachers will provide a mandatory student mask break during each period or block. Students will be provided four minutes for a mask break each period. Each period is 35-40 minutes. The majority of lab classes at the secondary level are 70-80-minute blocks, so students will be provided eight minutes of mask break time during each block. Mask breaks should be offered when students are not required to actively engage in conversation. The target for mask breaks will either be one break of four minutes or two breaks of two minutes per 35-40-minute classes (and double that for 70-80-minute blocks). Teachers will determine how to best divide and implement mask breaks within these guidelines, but mask breaks should last a minimum of two minutes per break. Students will be allowed to keep their mask on during a mask break if they so choose. Teachers will also have the ability to provide individual students with a mask break if there is an extenuating circumstance.

Q. What is an acceptable face covering?

A: Cloth face masks that cover both the nose and mouth that include, but are not limited to, homemade sewn masks, “quick cut” masks and bandanas are acceptable. Surgical masks are also acceptable. More information about masks and mask care can be found at the Centers for Disease Control website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wear-cloth-face-coverings.html

Q. Can face shields be used in place of masks?

A: Face shields may be used by some school staff, but they are to be worn in addition to face masks, not in place of them.

Q. Will masks be provided to students and staff?

A: Face coverings and related necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided to students and staff, if needed, at no cost. Staff and students are allowed and encouraged to use their own acceptable face covering.

Q. What happens if a student refuses to wear a mask?

A: Just as any other instance in which a student refuses to follow school rules, teachers and other staff will work toward compliance with the student

Q: Will kids be screened every day?

A: Yes, parents will be required to perform a health screening prior to their children getting on the bus or entering any South Colonie Central School District facility.  The health screening will require parents and students to answer the following four questions.

    1. Have you had any signs or symptoms of a fever in the past 24 hours including chills, sweats, felt “feverish” or have had a temperature of 100° F or greater? 
    2. Do you have any of the following new-onset symptoms? Cough, Shortness of breath or chest tightness, Sore throat, Nasal congestion/runny nose, muscle pain, Loss of Taste and/Smell, Diarrhea, Nausea, Vomiting, Fever/Chills/Sweats
    3. Have you or has anyone in your home had contact within the last 14 days with any person under screening/testing for COVID-19, or with anyone with known or suspected COVID-19? 
    4. Have you traveled internationally or from a state with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 per the New York State Travel Advisory in the past 14 days?

Q: Will staff be screened every day?

A: Yes, all South Colonie Central School District staff members will be required to perform a health screening prior to entering any South Colonie Central School District facility.  The health screening will require staff to answer the questions above but submit the answers to an on-line form daily. The form is available under the staff resource section of the website under safety check for employees.

Q: Won’t the common cold require children to quarantine at home because screening symptoms are similar?

A: Yes, if your child has symptoms of the common cold they will be sent home. 

A student can return to school after illness if they receive both A (documentation from a health care provider that they have been cleared to return) and B (have received a negative COVID-19 diagnostic test result), or C (have been symptom-free for ten days). 

Q: What should my child do if they feel sick during the school day? Will I be notified?

A:  If a student feels sick during the school day, they will report to the nurse’s office for evaluation and potentially be directed to a supervised isolation area prior to being picked up or otherwise sent home.

Q: What do I do if my child is showing COVID-19 symptoms?

A: Parents are encouraged to contact your child’s doctor if your child is showing symptoms of COVID-19. Your child should not attend school if they are displaying these symptoms.

Q: The CDC is predicting that September to November is going to be dangerously bad and as a result, why are we not staying online until January 1, 2021?

A. We are considering all options pending the guidance and approval of the Governor to reopen in some capacity. 

Q: If my child tests positive for COVID-19, how long will they need to be out of school?

A: Protocols have been established for Return to School/Work Protocols After COVID-19 Case, in consultation with the local health department(s). This protocol outlines the requirements for determining when individuals, particularly students, who screened positive for COVID-19 symptoms can return to the in-person learning environment at school.

A student can return to school after a positive COVID diagnosis if they receive both documentation from a health care provider that they have been cleared to return and have received a negative COVID-19 diagnostic test result.  The child must also be symptom-free for at least ten days (3 days of no fever and improvement of symptoms for at least 3 days). 

Q. What is the protocol if there is a positive or suspected case of COVID-19 in the school?

A: The district will notify the state and local health department immediately upon being informed of any positive COVID-19 diagnostic test result by an individual within school facilities or on school grounds, including students, faculty, staff and visitors of any of our schools.

To assist the local health department with tracing the transmission of COVID-19, the district has a plan to trace all contacts of exposed individuals in accordance with protocols, training and tools provided through the New York State Contact Tracing Program. 

Confidentiality must be maintained as required by federal and state laws and regulations. School staff will not try to determine who is to be excluded from school based on contact without guidance and direction from the local health department.

Q: What should I do if I have traveled internationally or from a state with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 per the New York State Travel Advisory in the past 14 days?

A: Executive Order 205 requires all travelers coming from states with significant rates of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of their last contact with that state. The list of states that meet the criteria for required quarantine can be found at https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory 

Q: My child or a member of my family is considered to be high-risk for COVID-19. What are my options? 

A: We recognize that some students and staff members are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness, live with a person who is at an increased risk, or simply do not feel comfortable returning to an in-person educational environment. It is our goal that these individuals are able to safely participate in a remote learning option. 

Parents of children that are more at risk of COVID-19 should speak with their child’s doctor and/or medical professional(s) to determine the best academic and service options for their child. Staff should contact human resources if they have conditions that put them at an increased risk of COVID-19. Students who have family members who are in high-risk groups may also need to attend school remotely. If a child is unable to return to in-person instruction this fall, remote academic instruction and related services will be provided to meet the individualized education program (IEP) and/or instructional program to the greatest extent possible.

Q: Will testing for COVID-19 be conducted at school?

A: In the event that testing will need to be conducted at the school, the district will work with the local health department to support implementation.

In order for a staff member or student to return to school after experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or testing positive, they must provide documentation from a health care provider of a negative COVID-19 diagnostic test result and symptom resolution, or if COVID-19 positive, release from isolation.

Q: Will schools be conducting contact tracing if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19?

A: The district will participate in contact tracing protocols as implemented by the local health department.

Q: What are the district’s plans for cleaning and disinfecting school buildings?

A: The district will ensure adherence to hygiene and cleaning and disinfection requirements as advised by the CDC and DOH. Regular cleaning and disinfection of the facilities will occur, including more frequent cleaning and disinfection for high-risk and frequently touched surfaces. Cleaning and disinfection will be rigorous and ongoing and will occur at least daily, or more frequently as needed.

Q: Will desks be sanitized after each day at school along with bathrooms?

A: Custodial Staff shall wash the furniture with soap and water or cleaning agents and then disinfect. Furniture shall be clean before disinfecting. 

Examples of frequently touched surfaces and objects that will need routine disinfection following reopening are: 

    • Tables 
    • Doorknobs
    • Light switches
    • Countertops
    • Handles
    • Desks
    • Toilets
    • Faucets and sinks
    • Water fountains 
    • Chairs

Custodial Staff shall check restrooms multiple times per day. All high touch surfaces shall be wiped down with a disinfectant ie. countertops, doorknobs, light switches, handles, toilets, sinks and faucets. 

Evening Custodians shall be cleaning and disinfecting the chairs, desks, doorknobs, light switches floors. They will first clean the furniture with soap and water or a cleaning agent and then disinfect. 

Q: Will fire drills and lockdown drills still be conducted? What will be the process for maintaining social distancing?

A: Schools must continue to conduct mandatory fire and lockdown drills according to the existing statutory schedule. Drills will be conducted in a manner that maintains social distancing at exits and gathering points outside the building, while still preparing students to respond in emergencies.

Q: How frequently will students be directed to wash their hands? How will adults ensure it’s done properly?

A. Students and staff should wash hands when: 

    • They enter the building and each classroom 
    • After using shared objects or surfaces 
    • Before and after snacks and lunch 
    • After using the restroom 
    • After helping a student with toileting 
    • After sneezing, wiping/blowing nose, or coughing into hands 
    • Upon coming in from the outdoors 
    • Anytime hands are visibly soiled 

Students and staff should have their own supply of tissues if feasible
Staff and students will be trained in the protocols expected and staff members will continue to reinforce best practices as appropriate.


Teaching and Learning

Q: Will my child be going to school, remote learning, or a combination of both?

A: See below the following information on delivery of instruction based on the draft reopening plan

    • Grade PK-4 is planned for daily, onsite, instruction.  
    • Grade 5-6 is planned for daily, onsite, instruction.
    • Grade 7-8 is planned for an alternate day model with one-third of the students coming to school for on-site instruction on an every third-day rotation and the other two out of three days working virtually from home, allowing for social distancing in classrooms and hallways. 
    • Grade 9-12 is planned for an alternate day model with one-third of the students coming to school for on-site instruction on an every third-day rotation and the other two out of three days working virtually from home, allowing for social distancing in classrooms and hallways. 

Q: Can we make our own choice to learn from home even if the schools reopen? Will an online learning module be available or would we be responsible to create and submit our own curriculum?

A: During the timeframe of August 10-21, parents will be able to opt-out of in-person instruction by completing the online form.  By opting out of in-person instruction, the family/student needs to fully understand that you will be required to remain on virtual instruction for at least the first semester.  A return to in-person instruction option will be allowed prior to the beginning of the second semester in January 2021. 

Q: What will the virtual learning look like for students who opt-out of in-person instruction at the K-6 level? Will teachers actually teach online?

A: We are still working on the plans for virtual learning should a parent choose to opt-out.  More information will be coming out soon as part of the “opt-out” process.  It is anticipated that students working 100% remotely prior to the start of the school year (i.e. they have “opted out”) will not be assigned to an in-person classroom pod.  They will be using a variety of online resources such as iReady, Raz Kids, and some recorded lessons.  A teacher and/or teaching assistant will provide daily and weekly assignments but it will likely not be “live” teaching through Google meets.  

Q. Will everyone have access to the remote learning resources, even if they are attending some form of in-person instruction?

A: The district has a plan for remote-only learning in the event the schools are shut down due a COVID-19 outbreak. Because of this, all students will have access to remote learning resources as needed.

Q: Will there be grades for online learning. How will this affect students who are in honors classes?

A: Grading will be similar to in-person instruction policies at the 7-12 levels.  Given the hybrid model, it is expected that grading will continue in all classes, including AP courses, Honors courses and college credit-bearing courses.  Students opting to remain on 100% remote instruction will be responsible for all assignments and will be graded according to class expectations.

Q: Will there be a uniform platform for at least each school building? 

A: Google Classroom will be the platform used for the district.  At the K-4 levels, additional platforms will be utilized based upon the instructional level.

Q: Will there be set times for classes daily?

A: Classes will follow set times for daily instruction.  If a student has math period 1, they will also be attending math in the hybrid or remote model at the same time period.

Q: I have had issues with internet connections, will this be taken into account when grading kids?

A: Yes. Please contact the IT Department for assistance here.  

Q: Will my child still be able to attend their Career and Technical Education (CTE) program at BOCES? 

A: Students will still attend Career and Technical Education or other programs through BOCES. Please see the BOCES reopening plan for more information on how CTE programs will be conducted.

Q. What is the difference between remote learning and homeschooling?

A: Remote learning is delivered by the school district for students who are enrolled in school, but are not attending in-person instruction. Instruction is provided by certified teachers in accordance with New York State Learning Standards. Parents who wish to homeschool their child must provide written notice to the school district, and submit an individualized home instruction plan, as well as quarterly reports and evaluations, to the district.   

Q: Will students still take state exams (e.g., the 3-8 math and ELA assessments, Regents exams)?

A: Any Grades 3-8 and Regents examinations required by the New York State Department of Education (NYSED) will be made available to students in the appropriate grade level. If examinations are waived, the district will communicate that information to families.


Special Education

Q: How will my child’s IEP be affected by remote learning? 

A: The district will work with its committees on special education and preschool special education to ensure that students’ individualized education plans can be followed during both in-person and remote learning.

Q: Will my child still be able to attend their special education program at BOCES? 

A: Students will still attend programs through BOCES. Please see the BOCES reopening plan for more information on how BOCES programs will be conducted.


Bilingual Education

Q: How will the district provide translations of reopening information for students and families? 

A: The district will make every effort to ensure that communication to parents/legal guardians is in their preferred language and mode of communication.

The district’s reopening plan appears on the district website and reopening updates are posted to the Reopening Updates webpage and can be translated into other languages, via the G-Translate feature available on the district website.

Q: How will instruction be provided to students who are English language learners?

A: The district will work to identify English language learners during the first 30 days of the school year. Instruction will be provided based on each student’s measured English language proficiency level.

Q: What do I do if I need additional support for my English language learner/multilingual learner during remote instruction? In-person instruction?

A: If an English language learner/multilingual learner needs additional support during remote instruction or in-person instruction, please reach out to their teacher or building principal.


Sports & Extracurricular Activities

Q: Will athletics, clubs or extracurricular activities still be offered?

A: The district is exploring the types of activities that can be conducted in a safe environment with appropriate social distancing protocols.

We do not anticipate that in-person after school events will be available when school reopens. We will continue to reevaluate this decision based on health and safety factors from the state and county. Some clubs/events may move to a virtual format where possible. 

Interscholastic sports have been delayed by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) until at least Sept. 21. Additional guidance on athletic activities is forthcoming. When it becomes available, the district will communicate that information to families. 

Q: Will PE classes be held?

A: Yes, PE classes will be held. However, students will not be using the locker rooms to change for PE classes at the 7-12 level.

Q: How will PE work for all grades?

A: Students will still participate in Physical Education classes. Whenever possible, students will use outside space for physical education instruction. We will adhere to NYSDOH guidelines of maintaining 12 feet between students when engaging in physical activity. Masks will be required at all times.

Q: What changes will be made to gym/locker usage?
A: Students will not be using the locker rooms to change for PE classes at the 7-12 level.

Q: If sports are held will spectators be allowed?

A: This is yet to be determined by Governor Cuomo.  Further information will be provided when available.

Q. Are before- and after-school programs available?

Before and aftercare programs are available in conjunction with the Colonie Youth Center (CYC). More information can be found here. 

Q: Will my child be able to travel to other schools to participate in events? 

A: The district will not be offering any events or school activities at this time that would involve students traveling to other schools. The only exception to this would be Career and Technical Education or other programs through BOCES, including special education programs/services, that are related to a students instructional program. 

When additional information relating to athletic programs becomes available, the district will communicate it to families.

Q. Will childcare be available?

A: See childcare information here

 


Facilities

Q. Will outside visitors be permitted into school buildings? Will outside groups still be able to use school facilities?

A: No outside visitors or volunteers will be allowed on school campuses, except by appointment for a specific educational meeting or a medical emergency. Parents/guardians will report to the front office and not go beyond unless it is for the safety or well-being of their child. Essential visitors to facilities will be required to wear face coverings and will be restricted in their access to our school buildings. 

Q: Will there continue to be PTA meetings?

A: The Parent-Teacher Association(s) will continue to meet virtually. Meeting times and any information for how people can connect remotely to meetings will be provided by individual units. 

Q: Will there be plexiglass barriers at any school building locations? 

A: Plexiglass barriers will be considered for use in any areas that are permissible by the fire codes.

Q: Will students and staff have access to hand sanitizer?

A. Hand sanitizer will be available in all classrooms, common areas in addition to sinks with soap and water in many classrooms. Parents may opt their child out of using alcohol-based hand sanitizer while at school. To do so, please send a written notice to your child’s school by September 15, 2020.

Q: Will students and staff have access to water fountains? How will water fountains be cleaned?

A: The district will ensure that students and staff have access to drinking water during the school day. Water filling stations are available in each school building.  Students will be encouraged to bring in their own water bottles for personal use as needed.


Food Service 

Q: Will my child (ren) still be able to get lunch at the school cafeteria? 

A: The district’s food service provider is planning on several scenarios for delivering the breakfast and lunch program in the schools for all students. At this point, the majority of younger students would be consuming their meals in their classroom. 

Q: Will breakfast still be available to my child (ren)? 

A: Yes, at this point the plan would be to provide a “grab-n-go” meal to the students who participate in the breakfast program. 

Q: Our family circumstances have changed since last year and I am not sure if I qualify for a free or reduced lunch. How can I find out? 

A: Please visit the website and review the information on the Food Services page.  You can access the school menus, prices and apply for the 2020-2021 Free and Reduced Lunch program.  Any family needing assistance should call 518-869-3576 or email: Annette Chamberlin at chamberlaina@scolonie.org.

Q: What safety precautions will be in place during lunchtime? 

A: While a number of our students particularly at the lower grades will be eating in their classrooms to limit hallway traffic, we will still utilize our cafeterias which have been reset to allow for proper distancing between our students while eating. 

Q: How will social distancing and safety procedures be maintained during lunch? What about when waiting in line?

A. For students onsite, meals will be provided while maintaining appropriate social distancing between students. Students do not need to wear face coverings when seated and eating as long as they are appropriately socially distanced. The District will ensure social distancing between individuals while eating in the school cafeteria. If it is not feasible to social distance, meals may be served in alternate areas (e.g., classrooms) or in staggered blocks of time to ensure social distancing and proper cleaning and disinfection between students. The sharing of food and beverages (e.g., buffet style meals, snacks) is prohibited, unless individuals are members of the same household. Adequate space will be reserved for students, faculty, and staff to observe social distancing while eating meals. Lunch menus will be modified to allow for a grab and go style distribution.


Technology

Q: How does the district identify the accessibility students/families have to technology?

A. We have surveyed families and will continue to assess accessibility to technology.  For anyone needing assistance, please contact your building principal.

Q: How will families without electronics or the internet be helped?

A: Students in grades 7 and 8 will be provided with a device if they do not have access to one at home.  Devices will be distributed at a date to be determined.  We are also working with a variety of mobile providers to attempt to secure hotspots/jetpacks.  

Q: What measures will be taken by the district to ensure that the population of students who are financially prohibited from access to a computer or internet are provided the same level of educational opportunities as those who do have that access?

A: Students in grades 7 and 8 will be provided with a device if they do not have access to one at home.  Devices will be distributed at date to be determined.  

We are also working with a variety of mobile providers to attempt to secure hotspots/jetpacks.

Q: What supports will be in place for families who need to learn how to navigate google classroom?

Instructional videos are available on the navigation of Google Classroom and will be shared with parents before the start of the school year.  For more information, please visit this YouTube help page.

Additional resources can be developed upon request via your student’s teacher or principal.

Q: How will the equipment be sanitized between users? Will each student be assigned their own device?

A: Students in grades 7-12 will be assigned a device for use at home and in school.  We will make an attempt not to share devices in grades K-6, however, in the event that is not possible disinfectant wipes will be provided to clean the devices after each use.  

Q: Will computer labs be utilized?

A: Computer labs in the K-4 buildings have been disassembled to provide extra instructional space for social distancing.  At the Middle School and High School level, they will be used as classrooms for technology and art classes as they would be in a normal school year.

Q: What technology support is available for families at home?

A. The district will assist families with gaining access to technology and high-speed internet. Please contact your building principal or submit an IT HELP DESK form for assistance. The district will provide multiple ways for students to participate in learning and demonstrate mastery of Learning Standards in remote or blended models. It is essential that all students have sufficient access to devices and/or high-speed internet. 

Q: Will the district be expanding its 1:1 program and providing hotspots for families with unreliable internet access?

A. The District has expanded the 1:1 program to include all students in grades 7-12.  In addition, chromebooks will be made available to students in grades K-4 within the classroom setting.  Should remote instruction be required, chromebooks will be provided on a requested basis for those families who do not have computer access at home.

For any family experiencing technology issues, please submit an IT helpdesk request here or call your child’s school building for assistance.

Q: What supports will be in place for families who need to learn how to navigate google classroom? 

A. Instructional videos are available on the navigation of Google Classroom and will be shared with parents before the start of the school year.  For more information, please visit this YouTube help page.


Social-Emotional

Q: Who can I speak with if my child (ren) are struggling with social/emotional or mental health issues? 

A: There are several levels of staff members ready to assist with the students including school counselors, psychologists, and social workers. School counseling personnel are also available to assist with academic related concerns, as are teachers and building leaders. 

Q: With distancing, face coverings, and the health restrictions in place, how will the social needs of students be met, especially at the lower levels? 

A: Elementary, Middle and High School faculty and staff are well-versed in their ability to manage such situations, even with distancing rules in place. However, parents, teachers, and students will have to continue to work together to determine safe practices for student interaction that can be both in person and virtual.