This FAQ will be updated periodically as we receive feedback from the school community. Last Updated September 2, 2020.
Q: When will schools reopen?
A: The first day of school in the East Greenbush Central School District has been delayed from Tuesday, September 8 to Monday, September 14 following approval by the Board of Education at a special public meeting on Wednesday, August 12. The change will provide more time for preparation and training associated with the reopening of schools.
Q: Does delaying the start to the school year also delay the end of the school year or impact school breaks?
A: No, it is not expected that the school year would be extended due to this change.
Q: Who will decide on whether schools can reopen?
A: Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on August 7 that public schools in New York State will be permitted to reopen for in-person instruction in September.
Health and Safety Procedures
Q: What procedures will be in place to ensure the safety of my child?
A: The East Greenbush Central School District has a list of health and safety procedures for reopening schools that meets or exceeds all state regulations. Face coverings will be worn by all students and staff. Students will be spaced out on buses and in classrooms. Windows will be opened to facilitate more fresh air. Temperature checks and daily health screenings will be performed. Schools and buses will be regularly cleaned and disinfected. A full list of health and safety procedures can be found in the district’s Preliminary Reopening Plan.
Q: Will students and staff be wearing face coverings?
A: Yes. All students, staff and visitors on school property, including schools, parking lots, fields and buses, must wear a face covering (cloth mask or surgical mask that covers the mouth and nose). Bandanas and neck gaiters will not be permitted. The only times that masks will not be required is for eating/drinking and during designated mask breaks at the discretion of the teacher and within the parameters established by the school.
Only those with medically documented reasons for not wearing face coverings would be exempt from this mandate.
Q: Will there be consequences for students who do not wear face coverings?
A: Teachers and staff will remind students of the reasons for wearing face coverings and work with students and families to achieve full compliance. Students who repeatedly have issues complying with this rule will have consequences according to the Code of Conduct.
Q: What types of face coverings are acceptable?
A: In general, cloth face coverings are required unless a student has a medical authorization not to wear a cloth face covering or to wear different protection such as a face shield. In consultation with the Department of Health, shields do not provide as much protection as cloth face coverings. Students and staff are not permitted to wear bandanas or Gaiter style masks.
Q: Are face coverings required when they are sitting at spaced out desks?
Q: How will you ensure students are physically distanced in schools?
A: All schools will be set up to ensure physical distancing. Classroom desks will be spaced six feet apart, markings will be placed on floors in hallways and informational flyers/posters will be displayed throughout the school. Our teachers and staff will emphasize training as it relates to physical distancing, movement in schools and wearing face coverings. This process will take time to teach students these important procedures.
We were pleased to see our Summer School students adapt so quickly to these new procedures.
Q: Were alternatives to physical distancing such as desk barriers considered?
A: Desk barriers can only be used in instances or locations where 6 feet physical distancing is not possible or in cases where such barriers do not present other safety issues for students.
Q: Will students change classes or will teachers go to different rooms?
A: We are currently developing the A/B schedules for students in grades 6-12. We are trying to limit the amount of movement within the building but also be able to offer students a full schedule of classes.
For example, at the high school, releases from classes will be staggered to reduce the number of students in the hallways at a given time. The second floor of the building will be used to go from North to South and the first floor will be used to go from South to North so the students will not be passing each other in the main hallways. Students will eat lunch while seated six feet apart and facing the same direction.
At the middle school, grade levels are already located in different wings of the building so those groups can be isolated. There is very little class movement amongst different grade levels. There would also be staggered releases like at the high school. Floor markings will be used to direct traffic and limit students passing each other in the hallways.
It’s important to note, that with the proposed A/B model, only half of the students will be in school on each day.
Q: Who will be responsible for cleaning between classes?
A: We are grateful that our teachers have agreed to ensure that desks are cleaned and sanitized prior to the changing of classes at Goff Middle School and Columbia High School. This will occur at the end of each instructional period prior to dismissal and prior to a new group of students entering the classroom. The school district is providing safe products which kill COVID-19 and which are approved by the CDC, NYSDOH and EPA for all classrooms. Use of the selected products do not require students or teachers to wear any additional PPE.
Q: Will there be a nurse location for well students to get medication as well as a separate location for ill students who show COVID symptoms?
A: Students demonstrating COVID-19 symptoms will be isolated in a different room from the normal nurses office. The normal nurses office will be used for typical matters such as the dispensing of medication.
Q: Will there be social/emotional checks for students to see how they are doing?
A: Yes, our counselors and our social workers have plans to check in with our students to ensure they are transitioning successfully back to school.
Q: What safety procedures are in place for school bus drivers?
A: Drivers and students will be wearing masks at all times. Capacity on each school bus will be reduced.
Q: How will you do temperature checks in inclement weather (e.g., rain, snow)?
A: Temperature checks are required of the parents daily before students leave for school. On-site temperature checks will also occur when students arrive at school. These checks will remain outside as students enter the building through multiple exits. Students cannot be permitted to enter a building without a temperature check.
Q: What training resources will be made available to families regarding physical distancing, how to wear a mask, etc.?
A: The district has developed training videos which will be shared with students, parents and staff.
Q: Will lockers be used at Columbia and Goff?
A: We will not be using lockers due to the complications that would present for physical distancing in hallways. Students may use backpacks and are encouraged to bring a limited number of items to school each day.
Q: Can you talk about the HVAC system? Would heating/air conditioning be turned off in the school?
A: Based on recommendations from Trane regarding air quality and the need to increase both fresh air and filter bad air, the district is taking several steps:
- We are implementing a program of the HVAC systems to open up the dampers and turn up the fans within the system every morning before school and every evening after dismissal so that prior to staff and students arriving, the level of fresh air being drawn into every school is increased. The rate at which bad air is pushed out of the building will also increase. This is called a “Pre-Purge” program.
- The district is purchasing Merv 11-Merv 13 filters and will install them in units which are functioning well and where Trane indicates the stronger filters will not result in mechanical failures. These filters catch more particles, and therefore, will need to be replaced more frequently.
- In some spaces where there may be a need, air purification systems will be purchased and installed.
Q: Can students eat lunch in the classroom instead of the cafeteria?
A: There will be reduced capacity seating in the cafeteria, so there will be some classes assigned to eat in the classroom. Each building will be determining the scheduled lunch assignments for all students and classes to ensure compliance with physical distance and a staff member to supervise the lunch period.
Q: How will schools conduct safety drills if students are physically distanced?
A: All safety drills will continue to be practiced throughout the school year as required by NYS regulations. Modifications may need to be made to ensure compliance with health and safety guidelines such as physical distancing requirements during a fire drill.
Q: How was this proposed hybrid model developed?
A: This hybrid plan was created by the district’s Reopening Task Force with representation of all stakeholders including teachers, support staff, administrators, school nurses, the district’s medical director, students, parents and community partners. The district reviewed CDC, NYSED and NYSDOH guidance as well as reopening plans from other states.
Q: Under the proposed hybrid model, how many days of school would my child have in-person instruction? Remote learning?
A: Under the current proposal, students would go to school for in-person instruction two days a week, they would have live virtual instruction on Wednesdays and work on assignments remotely two days a week. Students with disabilities who are enrolled in all day special education classes would attend in-person classes four days a week and receive live virtual instruction on Wednesdays.
Q: What days will my child be going to school?
A: Students in Group A would go to school for in-person instruction on Mondays and Thursdays. Students in Group B would go to school for in-person instruction on Tuesdays and Fridays. Students with disabilities who are enrolled in all day special education classes would go to school for in-person instruction on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Hybrid assignments were emailed to parents on Friday, August 28.
Q: Did you consider sending students to school two days in a row so there could be a cleaning day in between Group A and Group B?
A: We discussed this option, however, students would have to go 5 days before seeing their teacher for in-person instruction. For example, a student attends in person Monday and Tuesday and then does not attend in person until the following Monday. The proposed schedule for in-person, remote and live virtual instruction is intended to provide a continuity of support for the students.
Q: Can we choose Group A or Group B to help fit with our family’s schedule?
A: Please contact your child’s principal regarding this request. We will do our best to accommodate the needs of our families.
Q: Will neighbors be assigned to the same school days so families can pool child care and help get them on and off the buses?
A: The assignment of siblings to the same A/B groups is the first priority for scheduling. Parents who have special requests should contact their respective school principals.
Q: When will families receive A/B schedules?
A: Hybrid assignments were emailed to parents on Friday, August 28.
Q: If we have children at different schools, for example Columbia and Goff, can we arrange for them to be in school and learning remotely on the same days?
A: The district has gathered this data and will make every effort to keep children from the same household on the same schedule.
Q: What will the days of live virtual instruction and remote learning look like by age group? About how many hours a day will need to be devoted to remote learning?
A: All Teachers will report to their assigned classrooms and provide live virtual instructional support on Wednesdays in varying formats including Whole Class, Small Group (approach which best supports individual student needs) and Virtual Assessments. Faculty and staff will monitor and support all students in a reasonable and age appropriate manner.
- Grades K-5: Students at the K-5 level require developmentally appropriate instruction which enables Whole Group Teaching, Small Flexible Groupings and Independent Assignments. It would not be reasonable for students to work remotely for the length of a full school day. Teachers would develop a schedule for Wednesdays and provide an age-appropriate level of work for remote learning days.
- Whole Group Teaching:
- Class Community Building/Sharing
- Introduction and Modeling of New Skills
- Introduction of New Content, Topics, Vocabulary
- Overview of Classroom Expectations/Assignments
- Whole Group Teaching:
- Small Flexible Groupings:
- Students assigned by interest, by instructional level or random
- Groupings based on learning objectives of the teacher or assessment of individual students
- Google Meets can be scheduled by groups
- Teaching Assistant or Reading, Speech can simultaneously meet (push-in remotely)
- Groups provide opportunity for guided practice and shaping of skills
- Independent Assignments:
- Students complete tasks for which they have been provided modeling and guided practice during whole group instruction and small flexible groups
- Rotation schedule developed throughout the day
- Groups can rotate from whole group to small group to independent assignments which include breaks or lunch, etc. (remote learning center concept) A, B, C
- For example: A class of 22 could be divided into groups of 7,7,8
- Grouping criteria and planning template selected by teacher
- Parents provided schedule weekly
- Small Flexible Groupings:
- Grades 6-12:
- Live Virtual Instruction on Wednesdays:
- Teachers and students would follow their assigned schedules for each class on Wednesdays to ensure all classes receive instructional support through live virtual instruction unless teachers have submitted and received approval for a pre-approved alternative schedule. The length of instructional periods may vary based on individual teacher and student needs at that time.
- Remote Learning:
- On remote learning days, when students are not in school or doing live virtual instruction, students will be completing classroom-based projects and assignments at the teacher’s discretion. This could include readings, assignments, assessments, collaborating virtually with classmates on projects, etc.
- Live Virtual Instruction on Wednesdays:
Instruction regardless of approach [In-person, Hybrid, Remote] must be aligned with the outcomes listed within the New York State Learning Standards.
Q: About how many hours a day will need to be devoted to remote learning?
A: This depends on the age of the student and the assignments for particular classes, but in all cases there will be a more consistent schedule and accountability than the remote learning offered during the school closing from this past spring.
Q: For students enrolled in the hybrid model, will they need to log in to Google Classroom on remote days and complete work assignments? How will attendance be taken on those days?
A: Students enrolled in the hybrid model who are on their remote days, should complete their assignments independently. Attendance will be taken by students logging into Google Classroom and completing their assignments.
Q: Will teachers and staff receive additional training on implementing virtual learning?
A: Yes, some faculty and staff have been engaged in professional development sessions this summer. Those sessions include: Critical Concepts (critical concepts necessary for student success as we navigate back to school, whether in person, hybrid or online), The First 20 Days of Virtual School, Introduction to Nearpod, The First 20 Days of School in a Hybrid Classroom, Google Classrooms for Beginners, K-2 Mathematics Fall 2020 for In-Person, Hybrid, and Online Learning, 3-5 Mathematics Fall 2020 for In-Person, Hybrid, and Online Learning, 6-8 Mathematics Fall 2020 for In-Person, Hybrid, and Online Learning, Intermediate Google Classroom, Authentic Assessment for the Hybrid Learning Environment, Best Practices in an Online and Hybrid Environment, Assessing English Language Learners Online, Back to School Social-Emotional Learning, Best Practices in Online and Hybrid Learning Environments for Art Teachers, 6-12 Mathematics Fall 2020 for In-Person, Hybrid, and Online Learning, Introduction to SeeSaw, etc.
All teachers and staff will receive additional professional development before the start of the school year. The Board of Education approved changing the first day of school from September 8 to September 14, which provides more time for school staff to learn new health and safety procedures, instructional technology, etc.
Q: Will there be a change in weekly schedule to accommodate for the many Monday holidays?
A: The district has reviewed this issue and determined that the days are fairly equal for both Group A and Group B students. At the elementary level the difference in the number of days is 1.5 and at the grade 6-12 level the difference is .5. Once winter comes and the district gauges how snow days impact in-person instruction days for both groups, we may make adjustments during the months of April and May to ensure that each group has relatively the same number of in-person days.
Q: Other school districts are doing a hybrid where the classroom is live streamed and the students that are remote that day are able to watch the lesson. Can we do that?
A: In some cases, this may occur on a limited basis at the grade 6-12 level.
Q: If a student starts with the hybrid plan but has a hard time or doesn’t like it, will they be allowed to switch to the remote option?
A: Yes, but not until the end of the first marking period (November 6).
Q: Will all students be provided with a district-issued chromebook?
A: Yes. The Board of Education approved the purchase of 650 chromebook tablets at a special Board of Education meeting on August 12 which would provide all incoming kindergarten and grade 1 students with a chromebook this fall. The chromebook comes with a stylus for easier use by younger students. With the purchase, all K-12 students would have a district provided chromebook to assist them with remote learning, as well as, increased technology in the classroom.
Students in grades 2-12 were already scheduled to have chromebooks for the upcoming school year.
Q: When will school supply lists be provided?
A: School supply lists have been posted on the district website.
Special Area Classes
Q: How might special classes (e.g., art, music, physical education) change this year?
A: We are developing schedules for special classes, taking into consideration spacing and staffing under the proposed hybrid plan. At the K-5 level, we are ensuring equity by rotating special classes so that regardless of an A or B schedule, students would receive all of their special classes. At the middle school and high school level, plans are still being developed for music classes that have large group ensembles. According to CDC guidelines, for example, a student playing a wind instrument needs 12 feet of distance on all sides, which creates spacing issues. We are looking at small group lessons and evaluating how we can offer these classes remotely at the grade 6-12 level. Physical education would be outside weather permitting. In the event that we use gyms as classrooms at the K-5 level, physical education activities would be modified.
Q: Will there be recess for elementary students?
A: Yes, we plan on offering recess to all elementary students. We are coordinating with the health and safety specialist from Questar BOCES to implement proper procedures. This may involve scheduling recess on a rotating basis, wearing face coverings and washing hands before and after recess.
Full Remote Option
Q: Can you provide a full remote option for parents who have concerns about sending their children back to school?
A: Yes. Parents have been offered a full remote option if they have concerns about sending their children back to school. Parents may also contact their child’s principal to discuss the concern.
Q: How will the full remote program work?
A: To start the school year, full remote students in grades 6-12 will be separated into A Groups and B Groups and follow their schedules just like the students enrolled in the hybrid model only they will do so virtually from home. Full remote students in the A Group will have lessons streamed to them live on Mondays and Thursdays, they will have remote learning independently on Tuesdays and Fridays and live virtual instruction on Wednesdays. Full remote students in the B Group will have lessons streamed to them live on Tuesdays and Fridays, they will have remote learning independently on Mondays and Thursdays and live virtual instruction on Wednesdays.
At the K-5 level, full remote students will be assigned to a class with a dedicated teacher who will provide daily live virtual instruction. Sample schedules are listed below.
Q: If we choose a full remote option, and then decide to send our students to school, how would that process work?
A: We want to be able to welcome students back to our schools and we understand all of the considerations involved for our families. However, we also need to ensure there is suitable classroom space for when that student returns to in-person instruction. We are looking at 10-week increments, meaning, if you chose to keep your child on a full remote option, your child would remain on a remote assignment for 10 weeks and upon receiving a written request at least 10 days in advance from a parent to the Principal, your child would be reassigned to in-person instruction.
Q: Will we get the school curriculum for the remote option so we can make sure our child is successful?
A: Yes, curriculum maps and unit topics will be provided to parents of students assigned to the full remote option.
Q: Will there be certified teachers in the full remote option?
A: Yes, all teachers will be certified in the subjects or grade levels they are teaching.
Q: Are full remote teachers all from EGCSD?
A: The majority of teachers for the full remote option will be East Greenbush Central School District teachers. Some teachers will be assigned from other districts through BOCES Distance Learning.
Q: Will students in the remote plan have teachers from their home school?
A: Some students, but not all students, will have teachers assigned from their home schools.
Q: What socialization opportunities will be available to students in the full remote option?
A: Students are eligible to participate in interscholastic athletics once restored as well as extracurricular clubs and activities.
Transportation/Parent Dropoff and Pickup
Q: Will students in the hybrid plan have busing?
Q: How many students will be allowed on a school bus?
A: Average of 22 students per a 66 passenger bus.
Q: Must students and bus drivers wear face coverings on the school bus?
Q: May siblings sit together in a seat?
Q: How will parent drop off and pickup work if we prefer not to use the bus system?
A: We are waiting for the survey results to determine the number of parents selecting to drive their student to school each day. Depending on the number of families dropping off or picking up their student, each school will directly communicate any changes or adjustments to last year’s protocol for drop off and dismissal.
Q: When will bus routes be released?
A: Bus routes were posted on the district website and shared with families on Wednesday, August 26.
Q: Will families have the option for pickups/drop offs at alternate locations?
A: To ensure the safe transportation of East Greenbush Central School District students, and in consideration of physical distancing, contact tracing and sanitation requirements set by the NYS Department of Health, assigned seating will be implemented on school buses to start the 2020-21 school year. In the event of a positive case of COVID-19, the district would need to track student and staff contacts. Reducing the number of buses a child rides on and assigning seats ensure that student-to-student contacts are limited on the bus and that the district can respond to any requests from the Rensselaer County Health Department in a timely manner.
Due to limited seating on all buses and the new health and safety procedures, the practice of providing transportation to more than one location will not be possible. Students will be picked up and dropped off at one location to start the school year. As the year progresses, and circumstances change, this decision will be reconsidered.
Q: Will East Greenbush CSD continue to provide transportation of resident students to special needs schools and private/parochial schools?
Q: Will Votech students have busing to their assigned classes?
A: Yes. Students in the morning group must be at Columbia by 8:15 a.m. The 8:25 am Shuttle will take the students to Votech. The shuttle will return students to Columbia at 11:00 a.m. and students/parents will need to transport students home.
The afternoon group will need to be at Columbia by 11:15 a.m. The 11:25 a.m. shuttle will take the students to Votech. The regular Votech bus will take students home at 2:30 p.m.
Q: Will high school students be able to drive to school and use the student parking lot? It would help reduce the number of students on school buses.
A: Yes. Columbia High School will accept student parking applications starting the first week of September for any student with a valid driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. Due to the reduced number of students who will be on campus each day this school year, parking will be open to all students who currently hold a license, including both seniors and juniors. The fees for a Parking Permit have also been waived for the 2020-21 school year. In the event that school returns to full time in-person instruction, the 271 parking spaces will be available to senior students first with remaining spots awarded by lottery.
K-5 Full Return to School
Q: Why are our elementary schools not the same as other districts in the region and offering full in-person return to school for K-5 students?
A: All districts are struggling with varying implementation issues considering school building capacity, student enrollment, staffing considerations and transportation. We continue to discuss and evaluate a full in-person 5 day per week, K-5 model. However, in our school district, there would be a shortage of suitable classrooms and certified staff to support this option within each of the five neighborhood schools. In short, we may not be able to implement the social distancing requirements without creating other unintended consequences i.e., issues which may not be permitted within NYS Education Department regulations, employment contract provisions or are simply unworkable from a health and safety perspective.
Due to the lack of sufficient classroom space to ensure social distancing, the district would need to consider options such as moving an entire grade level or multiple grade levels out of the neighborhood elementary schools and relocate these students to either Goff or CHS. Such a shift would require a reduction in the number of in-person days for grades 6-8 or 9-12 depending which building was used for the reassignment of elementary grades. There are not sufficient rooms at Goff Middle School to socially distance and operate both the 6-8 program and another elementary grade level or at Columbia High School to operate 9-12 and another grade level on the same day.
For purposes of illustration: The district would reassign grades 4-5 to Goff Middle school, shifting grades 7-8 to CHS and a grade level or two at CHS has a reduction of in person instruction days or shift to full remote instruction. We are taking all steps necessary to ensure that elementary students remain in their home school, especially after the extended school closing this spring. We want to return students to school to some level of normalcy. And importantly, this type of adjustment would not provide equity in academic delivery across our grade levels. It is important to note that many middle school and high school students were challenged academically and socially during the unanticipated and abrupt shift to remote learning in the Spring. The middle schoolers and high schoolers return to school this Fall for in-person instruction is an important consideration to ensure academic and social adjustment particularly as our upperclassmen begin to prepare for post graduation options including college, careers or military service.
The health and safety requirements related to increasing in-person learning for K-5 students necessitate more staff. Hiring large numbers of additional staff to accomplish this objective is cost prohibitive. Alternatives would involve reassigning academic intervention teachers, reading teachers, special area teachers and/or teaching assistants to regular “common branch” classes for part of the day to ensure that student cohorts were small enough and assigned to different locations within a school to implement the NYS Department of Health social distancing requirements. The district must maintain compliance with NYSED Department Certification Requirements and district contractual requirements when considering such alternatives.
Such reassignments could reduce student services in areas such as academic intervention and special subject areas such as art, music, library or physical education.
The planning of efficient and safe busing routes is extremely difficult as the district attendance area covers 76 square miles and operates separate elementary, middle school and high school campuses. Thus, a 3-tiered busing system is in operation. Half-day AM/PM options require mid-day busing options within our district which are difficult to schedule, increase ride times and encroach on instructional time. Some districts implementing increased in-person options for elementary schools through relocating students to their middle schools or high schools can alter their middle school and high school schedules more easily and offer half-day options to maintain high school courses for students on alternate days and operate buses during the middle of the day.
We also looked into leasing space at Hudson Valley Community College, to potentially move a grade level to one of their buildings. However, after analyzing that option, we still would not have sufficient space, staff or busing.
Q: Why are grades 6-12 and K-5 being taught with the same model? Older students have more abilities to learn remotely.
A: While all students in grades K-12 would have the same amount of in-person instructional days, the teaching models will be quite different. The techniques, teaching strategies and level of engagement will vary by level.
Based on the experiences of some of our students in the Spring, we have concerns that the academic, social and emotional needs of our students in grades 6-12 can not be fully addressed through a full remote learning model which if implemented in the Fall, could extend for an entire academic year. Many of our middle and high school students presented some of the greatest needs and concerns when our schools were closed for three months this past Spring.
It’s important that we re-engage all of our students with some level of in person learning. We need to reconnect with all of our students, including our middle school and high school students, ensuring appropriate support, high quality learning experiences and in-person engagement with teachers and peers.
Q: Is the district looking at other spaces outside of our schools to place students so that elementary students could have a full return to in-person instruction?
A: We researched this possibility, however, we do not have the staffing or space to provide this option.
Q: Why can’t the schools get temporary trailers to increase capacity?
A: We would need approximately 22-25 modular classrooms, the same number we would need at another location. Those classrooms would need installations and approval of SED. Those costs could be in the range of $1 million of unaidable expenses and we may not necessarily get those in place for the school year.
Q: Will special education students be learning remotely?
A: Special education students in full day special classes will attend in-person instruction four days a week and receive live virtual instruction on Wednesdays. These students have the highest needs, and therefore, would benefit most from being in school every day.
Q: Why do all students who receive special education services not get in-person four or five days a week?
A: Students who participate in a full-day special class per their IEP will attend in-person four days a week. These classrooms are smaller by design, typically a 12:1:2 ratio or smaller and support students who have more significant learning needs.
Students who participate in less restrictive programming such as integrated co-teach, consultant teacher, or a stand-alone period of a special class will follow the same schedule as their general education peers. These programs are fully included in the general education setting by design in order to provide support in the least restrictive environment per federal and state regulations. These programs support students who are able to access and make progress towards the general education curriculum with specific modifications and accommodations listed in their IEP as well as receive push-in support for a portion of their day as outlined in the program section of the IEP. Students who have integrated co-teaching/consultant teachers on their IEP will be followed daily by their case manager.
Integrated co-teaching classrooms have 10-30% of the class with students who may have an IEP. Bringing in all students with integrated co-teaching/consultant teacher programming four days a week would not allow for the remainder of the general education peer group to attend two days a week due to the social distancing and spacing restrictions.
Q: Why can’t all special education students come in on Wednesday?
A: NYS Reopening guidelines (p.15) call for the committee on special education to prepare for all contingencies and consider plans to address students’ remote learning needs in the event of a potential future intermittent or extended school closure.
Students with disabilities were particularly impacted by the closing of schools in the spring and many students were not properly prepared for the independent use of instructional technology. During Wednesday’s/full remote instruction days there will be a strong emphasis on scaffolded instruction, as well as guided practice, in the use of instructional technology to effectively support students’ ability to transition between in-person and remote learning environments.
Q: Will grading be pass/fail?
A: No. All of our normal grading policies [BOE Policy #4710] will be in effect. Attendance will be taken on In-Person Instructional days but also during Live Virtual Instruction days and Remote Learning days. Students are expected to participate and complete assignments whether they are in school or learning remotely. Part of this reopening plan includes accountability for all stakeholders.
Q: Will attendance be taken on remote days for students in the hybrid plan and for students in the full remote option? Will attendance affect a student’s grade?
A: Attendance will be taken through Google Classroom and other platforms. The EGCSD Attendance Policy #5100 will be followed; The district will maintain a permanent record of attendance for all students enrolled in instruction. Each student’s attendance record will be prepared by the classroom teacher and maintained either electronically or in paper form by the building Principal or another employee designated by the Board of Education. A district-wide record, based on building records, shall also be compiled and maintained by the Superintendent (or a designee). An attendance record for each student will be prepared and maintained. The building principal will monitor the attendance record of students in the building and will initiate appropriate actions to address patterns of persistent, unexcused absences or tardiness. Since regular attendance in school correlates with high achievement, and since student attendance is required, patterns of absence or tardiness are not tolerated. However, absences related to homelessness shall not result in negative consequences when the district determines that is would be in the best interests of the student in retaining the student in school.
Q: Will there be child care options for parents who need to work?
A: Yes. The district recognizes the challenge that remote learning days may create for some families, and would continue to have without a full return to in-person instruction. To assist parents/guardians who cannot be home with children on remote learning days, the district is collaborating with licensed child care providers including Greenbush Child Care and the YMCA to ensure affordable full day care is accessible within the community. This information was shared with families on Tuesday, August 25.
Q: Will families need to pay for the child care?
A: Yes. The district will work with community-based partners and families to ensure that childcare is affordable.
Q: Will the full day child care options support remote learning?
A: The school district is exploring staff and resources that may be assigned to community-based childcare sites to assist students with academic remote learning projects and assignments.
COVID-19 Testing/Contact Tracing
Q: What happens if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?
A: The district would immediately contact the Rensselaer County Health Department and follow its guidance. As part of this reopening plan, movement within individual schools would be limited to assist with any potential contact tracing that is needed. The district will follow the recommendations of the Rensselaer County Health Department regarding whether the students and staff within assigned classes need to quarantine and whether or not the school needs to close for a period of time and place all students and staff in remote learning assignments. In the event of a positive case, parents would be notified and advised of the steps that will be taken.
Q: What happens if a student or staff member shows symptoms of COVID-19 while at school?
A: Schools will have a screening process for all staff and students each day to prevent entry of anyone who has symptoms, but each building has also designated a quarantine room in the event someone presents as symptomatic during the school day. Students would be isolated while waiting for parent pick up.
Q: If my child has a fever (100 degrees or higher), will they need to have a negative COVID test before returning to school?
A: In all cases, when your child is demonstrating a COVID-19 related symptom, you should consult your child’s primary care provided to determine whether or not a COVID 19 test should be taken.
Q: If a student is quarantined at home for a period of time, what kind of instruction will they get?
A: All students under quarantine are entitled to remote instruction. Students participating in the hybrid model would likely be assigned tutoring of up to 2 hours per day.
Q: If a student is out of school due to a cold, will they need a doctor’s note to return and/or a negative COVID test result?
A: Yes, if the are indicating symptoms of COVID-19.
Q: If the local infection rate increases, but not to the level that would close schools, can children be moved to full remote or is there a 10-week commitment for the hybrid model?
A: There is a 10-week commitment unless the Governor, Department of Health determines our schools must close.
Q: If a teacher is quarantined at home for a period of time, who will replace them? Will there be an adequate number of subs?
A: A substitute will be provided in the event that the teacher is ill and cannot teach in person or remotely depending on the situation.