main content starts hereMohonasen Reopening FAQ

The district has received hundreds of questions from families since the beginning of July. Below you will find answers to what we know at this time. Please remember, our plans continue to evolve and anything is subject to change.

If you have questions that have not been answered in this FAQ or in the Reopening Plan please email reopening@mohonasen.org.

On-site instruction | Remote instruction | Communication/Family and Community Engagement | Health & Safety | Facilities | Nutrition/Food Services | Transportation | Social-Emotional Well-Being | School Schedules | Student Activities | Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism | Technology and Connectivity | Special Education

Top questions

Q: Why did the district schedule parent forums for questions and answers when parents had to make decisions on the mandatory survey ahead of time?

A: As part of our planning process to reopen schools, involving families and requesting their input was very important to us. We began by sharing two surveys with families, which received an unprecedented amount of input. We then funneled that input into work sessions with a 36-member stakeholder committee consisting of parents, students, teachers, supervisors, Board members, union heads, secretaries, and administrators. Based on the parent surveys and the committee’s work, we developed our Reopening Plan and asked parents to choose which model they preferred for their families. After that, the governor’s office directed all districts to host question-and-answer sessions by Aug. 21. Though it understandably seems out of order, this was not our intention. We have scheduled forums in order to comply and will use these opportunities to further clarify our plans for parents. We have also prepared the Question & Answer document you are reading for parents to review.

Q: The survey ended on Wednesday, Aug. 12. Can I change my mind after I get additional information?

A: Yes. As we have received parent commitments we have been able to get even more specific regarding plan details, and we will get even more specific as we receive additional commitments; however, the survey remains open for parents to enter their commitment information or to enter new information if they have changed their mind based on new information.

The parent survey and the details of the district plan are very much connected and it results in a “Catch 22” type of situation where the district has trouble finalizing the details of the plans at each level, such as when bus runs will be, how many students will be in a classroom, and what the virtual experience will be like, because we need to know the number of students involved in-person and remotely and on the school bus in order to be able to answer those questions. On the other hand, parents need to know the details of those questions prior to committing to a form of instruction. It’s certainly frustrating, but we are committed to doing our best. Simply put, we will take parents’ commitments as soon as they are available.

The parent survey and the details of the district plan are very much connected and it results in a “Catch 22” type of situation where the district has trouble finalizing the details of the plans at each level, such as when bus runs will be, how many students will be in a classroom, and what the virtual experience will be like, because we need to know the number of students involved in-person and remotely and on the school bus in order to be able to answer those questions. On the other hand, parents need to know the details of those questions prior to committing to a form of instruction. It’s certainly frustrating, but we are committed to doing our best. Simply put, we will take parents’ commitments as soon as they are available.

Q: Can I start with the in-person option and change to virtual-only even if it’s not the end of a trimester/quarter?

A: Yes, the option for students to go from in-person to virtual is available at any time. The opposite is not the case though. Additionally, depending on how many parents shift their decision after the first trimester, for example, it could put us in situations where we cannot guarantee students the same teacher upon their return.

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 will not be required to wear one, and a medical excuse (doctor’s note) must be provided to the district in such cases. Medical excuses are subject to review by the District physician and may be overturned as part of such a review. 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.”

Students at the elementary level (Grades K-5) 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 her 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.

Students at the secondary level (grades 6-12) 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 approximately 36 minutes. The majority of classes at the secondary level are approximately 72-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 36-minute classes (and double that for 72-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 are the start and finish times for each building and what are the bus schedules for each building?

A: The building hours will stay the same at each level, but the student day will vary depending upon the availability of busing. This is subject to change as we account for more students taking, and not taking, the bus. More details will be provided by each building for every student who is taking the bus, but the current anticipated bus times are as follows:

AM Drop-Off:

  • Draper/HS, 7:30 a.m.
  • Bradt, 8:10 a.m.
  • Pinewood, 8:50 a.m.

PM Pick-Up:

  • Draper/HS,1:30
  • Bradt, 2:10
  • Pinewood, 2:50

Note: For parents who have students at both Bradt and Pinewood, if two different pickup times do not work for you and you want both students picked up at the same time, we can accommodate the Pinewood students at Bradt where we will supervise them for approximately half an hour, then we will transport them to Pinewood for the start of the student day there on the same bus with the Y Program students.

Q: What are the cleaning protocols and procedures?

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.
The district will ensure adherence to hygiene and cleaning and disinfection requirements as advised by the CDC and DOH, including “Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public and Private Facilities for COVID-19,” and the “STOP THE SPREAD” poster, as applicable. Cleaning and disinfection logs will be maintained that includes the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection.

Examples of facility types where cleaning and disinfection frequency will be distinguished include:

  • Bathrooms
  • Athletic training rooms, locker rooms
  • Health offices, isolation rooms
  • Administrative offices (main office, reception area)
  • Frequently touched surfaces in common areas (door handles, elevator buttons, copy machine keypads, etc.)
  • Shared books and supplies will be minimized and where used, books (e.g., library books, trade books) supplies (e.g., science lab materials) will be disinfected or allowed to remain untouched for a specified time period.
  • Breakrooms
  • Cafeterias/Kitchens
  • Computer labs
  • Science labs
  • Classrooms
  • Maintenance offices and work areas
  • Bus Garage
  • Buses, school vehicles
  • Libraries
  • Large meeting areas (auditoriums, gymnasiums, music rooms)
  • Playgrounds (cleaning only)
  • Outdoor seating areas (plastic or metal)

Students, faculty, and staff will be trained on proper hand and respiratory hygiene, and such information will be provided to parents and/or legal guardians on ways to reinforce this at home.
The district will provide and maintain hand hygiene stations around the school, as follows:
For handwashing: soap, running warm water, and disposable paper towels.

For hand sanitizing: an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol for areas where handwashing facilities may not be available or practical.

Accommodations for students who cannot use hand sanitizer will be made.

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.

The district will ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of restrooms. Restrooms should be cleaned and disinfected more often depending on the frequency of use.

For more information about how cleaning and disinfection information will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the Communication section of our reopening plan.

Q: What will the instructional day look like at the different levels for students learning virtually?

A: At Bradt 

Students who will be learning virtually will be participating in following the regular school day schedule. Depending on the grade and teacher the schedule might vary slightly to accommodate special area times. lunch times, as well as specific program needs. All students will be required to have a school issued Chromebook if they are participating in remote learning from home.

We will also be sharing log-in information for Google Classroom, as well as parent-friendly videos to help you navigate these platforms. Students at home learning remotely will be required to log in to their Chromebook via Google Meet and participate with their “in person” peers. It is important to note that their attendance is required and will be recorded daily. If your student is not on the Google Meet they would be marked absent for the day. It’s also important to note that this is very different from the spring “remote” learning plan, in that the students must participate during the school day to receive instruction.

The students in kindergarten who are learning remotely will be with one teacher for the entire day. For students in grades 1 and 2, we are teaming teachers and your child will have one teacher for ELA/Social Studies and one teacher for Math and Science. Your child will also have a third block in their day for advisory, which would be where they might participate in special areas, such as Music, Art, and PE, or receive Health and Guidance lessons. It could also be a time when they practice a skill they need more help on or the teacher provides some pre teaching of concepts.

The remote students do not have to continue Google Meet through the lunch period but will rejoin following lunch time. We will also be sharing additional information with families with our class placements letters, as well as the “virtual” walk-through and Open Houses. To assist with printing of materials at home we may still also have to offer paper packets to assist with at home learning activities. These materials would be ready for pick-up on Fridays, so students would be ready with the following week’s lessons.

At Pinewood:

Students at Pinewood who will be learning virtually will be participating and following the regular school day similar to the Bradt summary above, except that the teaming plan is as follows:

For students in grade 3, we are teaming two teachers and students will spend approximately half their day with each teacher. Students will remain in their homeroom and the teacher will rotate halfway through the day. One teacher will be providing ELA/Social Studies instruction and the other will provide Math/Science instruction. Specials will occur during the course of the school day, but the frequency will be less than has occurred in past years.

For students in grade 4 & 5, we are teaming up two teachers to provide core instruction as outlined for grade 3, but we are adding an advisory block for approximately ⅓ of their day which will be when specials occur and It could also be a time when they practice a skill they need more help on.

Additionally, the teacher/teaching assistant will be able to provide some assistance in independent work or review of concepts, as well as additional exposure to science and/or science experiences. All attempts will be made to pull from this block of time vs. the core instructional time for any additional activities that occur in a regular school day.

At Draper and Mohonasen High School:

Students at the Middle School and High School will be expected to follow their schedule when they are participating in a virtual day of school. Students will login to Google Meets at the beginning of each class and remain at the discretion of the teacher. Attendance will be taken. In some cases, students may spend an entire class period in the Google Meet. In others, students may check in, receive some instruction and/or reminders, and then be dismissed to work independently.

Q: What happens if someone tests positive for COVID-19?

A: The district will notify the Schenectady Department of Health 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 Schenectady Department of Health with tracing the transmission of COVID-19, the district will cooperate and facilitate the tracing of 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 Schenectady Department of Health.

Q: What happens if someone tests positive for COVID-19?

A: The district will notify the Schenectady Department of Health 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 Schenectady Department of Health with tracing the transmission of COVID-19, the district will cooperate and facilitate the tracing of 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 Schenectady Department of Health.

Q: What are the requirements for the daily health screenings at home and why doesn’t the school take the temperatures upon arrival instead of parents?

A: Parents/guardians will be responsible for checking each child’s health before school each day. If a child presents with any of the following, they should be kept home from school:

  • Temperature above 100.0 degrees F
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills (with or without repeated shaking)
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Please note that this screening is in addition to other conditions that should preclude students from attending school (e.g., pink eye, vomiting) or any situation in which a child appears not to be well enough to participate in the activities of the school day.

Taking student temperatures at school is logistically very time consuming and would likely result in a backlog of students, thus increasing the time they are in close contact, something which we are trying to minimize, so we have asked parents to take on this responsibility instead as it seems to be a safer model.

Parents may access the daily attestation app at the following link, https://entry.neric.org/mohonasen

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On-site instruction

Q: Can siblings be on the same schedule?

A: We are going to divide students by alphabet so that siblings will be together at the secondary level, but we have yet to coordinate between siblings for the secondary and the primary levels. We may have to “hand schedule “in such instances, but it may not always be possible.

Q: Will the students be assigned one teacher and rotate between being in the classroom with that teacher and being in another area of the school? If so, how often will they be physically with their teacher?

A: For situations where the homeroom has more students than we are able to socially distance, students will be placed in a different learning space. Polycarbonate physical barriers may also be used in lieu of full social distancing in some circumstances. We want to ensure that the students have equal access to the core/homeroom teacher to the extent practicable so we will have to have a rotation, whether it be the teacher moving into the room with other students, or rotating the students into the core area learning space (homeroom). The goal here is to achieve equity.

At Bradt, We will only be rotating teachers and not students for Grades 1 and 2. The Kindergarten students would stay with their teacher the entire day, except for special areas and lunchtimes. All Core Academic Instruction will be delivered by certified teachers. This is the same at Pinewood.

The other possibility, again depending on how many students are virtual and how many are coming for live instruction, would be to simply create additional homerooms if we have other teachers available. In this scenario, we would not have to rotate teachers and/or students. We can only determine this after we receive the commitment information from parents.

At the high school, students will be changing classes as they would typically do.

Q: What will the kindergarten day look like? Will there be a kindergarten orientation where parents and children can visit the classroom?

A: Teachers will be as creative as possible to ensure it’s an enjoyable, fun learning experience. Students will participate in recess and will be given movement breaks, but we are bound by the social distancing requirement. This summer’s ESY program hosted a lot of happy, smiling children even with the spacing and face-covering requirements.

We will be doing a “virtual” orientation/open house for parents and families on the first day of school, September 10. Kindergarten students will not attend school on this day but instead will participate in a Google Meet to get to know the teacher, some of the other students in the class, as well as learn about the schedule and other classroom-related items. More information on the schedule for Google Meets will be shared with your student’s placement letter. The Kindergarten students will begin with morning half-day sessions on the 11th through the 17th. The first full day for Kindergarten will be the 18th. We will be sharing an alternate dismissal time and bus drop-off schedule with you for the week of half-days. The students will be dismissed at 11:30 a.m. each day and transportation will share the bus stop drop-off times. This additional time to transition will support the needs of our youngest learners.

Q: Will elementary students be able to participate in a walk-through prior to the start of school?

A: At Bradt and Pinewood, we are shifting away from an in-person walk-through this year, however, on September 9, the day prior to the first day of school, teachers will be setting up virtual Google meetings with the students in their classes, so you can meet your team of teachers and also get to see some of the students in your class.

At a minimum there will be virtual tours, but an in-person orientation is not off the table yet.

Q: Is physical education guaranteed or is it possible the school will not be able to accommodate given the 12-feet separation mandate? If outdoors, what will happen in winter months?

A: PE at school is part of our plan, using the outdoors whenever possible. We are able to space students in the gym as well, but it limits how many students per section. One option when the weather is uncooperative is that we host non-aerobic activities which can be spaced more closely. Another option is to limit PE and ask that students stay active at home.

Q: Why aren’t Grade 6 students included into every day, on-site instruction?

A: The Mohonasen Reopening Committee looked very hard at incorporating every day, on-site learning for sixth graders. In the end, we were unable to come up with a plan to do so safely. We are different from some of our neighbors who have been able to plan for sixth graders to be on site every day.

There are four main variables which make such plans either harder or easier. They are: available money, available space, available human resources (teachers and staff) and how large class sizes are to begin with. We do have some available space in our buildings (which we are planning to use for instructional spaces in order to meet the social distancing requirements), but we are lacking in all three of the remaining areas. We don’t have extra funds available, we don’t have extra staffing available and our class sizes were high to begin with. These variables led the Reopening Committee to conclude that there was no way to safely bring back sixth graders to full time in person learning every day in September.

In short, we tried, but we failed to come up with a solution that would allow for this.

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

A: Yes, 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 by following this link.

Q: Will work-based learning opportunities still be available?
A: We don’t yet know, but will allow them if we are able to do so within the safety protocols and regulations.

Q: How will students’ work be graded or evaluated?

A: Student work will be evaluated by classroom teachers “normally” as they have in past years. All regular progress reports and report cards will be used as in a regular school year. SchoolTool will also be used and accessible by students and parents to view assignments and grades and grade reports.

Q: How will struggling students receive help with their schoolwork?

A: Students and their parents are encouraged to contact their child’s teacher and/or guidance counselor with any concerns about schoolwork. Some details regarding AIS and extra help opportunities are still being developed. It is unclear if we will be able to offer a late bus on some days so students may stay for extra help and have transportation home.

Q: How will students complete science labs?

A: Science labs, for students at the secondary levels, will be completed in person as part of the regular student rotation. For fully remote students, some lab activities can be completed synchronously with the rest of the class, or through interactive online lab simulations.

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.

Q: Will students still be able to borrow books from the school library?

A: Yes. Students will still be able to check out books from each school library. However, to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff, students will not be able to browse the bookshelves in the library. Each building librarian is developing processes for students to request and select books. Once developed, these processes will be posted on the building library webpage and shared with students, faculty, staff and parents as appropriate. When books are returned they may be quarantined prior to re-circulation. Students may also borrow digital books through the SORA app.

Q: Will students still be able to borrow books from the school library?

A: Yes. Students will still be able to check out books from each school library. However, to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff, students will not be able to browse the bookshelves in the library. Each building librarian is developing processes for students to request and select books. Once developed, these processes will be posted on the building library webpage and shared with students, faculty, staff and parents as appropriate. When books are returned they will be quarantined for a minimum of 4 days prior to re-circulation. Students may also borrow digital books through the SORA app.

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Remote instruction

Q: How is the district preparing for remote instruction for each level?

For students at Bradt and Pinewood who are participating in remote instruction, you will receive information on when to pick up a Chromebook for student use prior to the start of the school year. All families will be provided with information on how to log in to the Google Classroom. This is where students will receive invites to participate in Google Meets, which is a way to see the classroom and teacher “live”. The teacher will provide a specific schedule, so you will know when your child needs to be on Google Meets. It is very important to note that remote learning will take place during the school day in “real-time.” It will be important that students have adult support at home with technology until they become comfortable.

At the secondary level, students who are participating in fully remote learning will follow their school schedule and participate synchronously with their classes. Students will have access to their classroom materials through Google Classroom. Teachers will be available for questions and extra help during Period 10.

Q: Will remote instruction in the fall be different from what it was in the spring? If so, how?

A: Remote/virtual instruction is expected to be significantly different than much of the instruction in the spring. Remote instruction will take place during the regular school day only. Daily and “period” or “class” attendance will be taken in addition to daily attendance. “Regular” grades will be given and report cards issued. A more significant percentage of instruction will be direct and interactive as opposed to via pre-recorded videos (although there may be some instances of that).

Q: What platforms will be used for remote instruction?

A: Google Meet.

Q: Are there any training sessions or resources for parents/guardians on the platforms students will be using?

A: Bill Vacca has training links/videos ready to roll on this. Insert those links and descriptions here.]Mr. Vacca has created a technology toolkit with tutorials on all of Google for Education software. He also collaborated with Google for Edu to create the Parent/Guardian guide. This document provides parents/guardians a glossary, best practices for family engagement frequently asked questions and a video training series.

Q: How will students be held accountable for attendance and classwork?

A: There will be an expectation for daily attendance, as well as class/period attendance and full participation, will also be expected of all students. All attendance procedures will be in full effect whether students are in-person or remote.

Q: Will remote learning be synchronous (students expected to be online at a specific time) or asynchronous (students completing work on their own schedule)? What will interactions with teachers be like?

A: Most instruction will be direct and interactive as opposed to via pre-recorded videos (although there may be some instances of that).

Q: Is remote learning an option for families who do not want to send their child to in-person instruction?

A: Yes, and parents may choose this option at any time, even prior to the trimester/quarter marks. The opposite choice, going from all virtual to in person, is only available at the trimester/quarter marks.

Q: Will everyone have access to 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 or are closed by the governor. Because of this, all students will have access to remote learning resources in such a circumstance. These resources may not be available to a student who is actively attending in person.

Q: Will the same teacher be instructing my child both in-person and remotely?

A: At Bradt, in-person and remote students could be taught by the same teacher at the same time. We are also open to having “all virtual” sections, but it will depend upon the enrollment at each grade level and the number of parents choosing all remote instruction for their children at those specific grade levels.

At Pinewood, the answer depends on the number of students who chose distance learning at any one grade level. In some situations, a dedicated teacher has been assigned to remote instruction, but in the majority of cases, a classroom teacher is providing synchronous learning with both students in person and students participating remotely. We are also open to having “all virtual” sections, but it will depend upon the enrollment at each grade level and the number of parents choosing all remote instruction for their children at those specific grade levels.

At the secondary level, students will have the same teacher if they are attending school in person or remotely.

Q: How will teachers communicate with students and families during remote instruction? How do I contact my child’s teacher if I have questions during the year?

A: Teachers will utilize the Google suite, specifically Google Classroom, and Google Meet, to communicate with students. Teachers will maintain normal lines of communication, primarily phone or email, with all families, regardless of the mode of instruction.

At the secondary level, students can utilize the teacher Google Classroom or school email to communicate directly with their teachers. Teachers will also be available after school for extra help via Google Meet. The most efficient mode of communication for parents would be to email the teacher.

Q: How do I participate in remote learning if I don’t have internet access or a device?

A: Please let your building principal know if that is the case and we will explore options to ensure all students have access to both the internet and a device.

Q: If we choose remote learning, do we have to stay with that learning model for the whole year?

A: No, you may change your choice at each trimester (for Bradt and Pinewood) or quarter (at Draper and the High School).

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. Homeschooling is done entirely by parents without the direct support of teachers. If you have questions about this, please contact your building principal for additional information. If you have decided to homeschool please contact the district Homeschool Coordinator, Mrs. Laurel Logan-King, at lking@mohonasen.org or by phone at 518-356-8200.

Q: What will be the remote learning format for the hybrid model (live instruction)?

A: This applies to Draper and the High School. Students will be in person for two consecutive days and then will be remote via Google Meet for the next two days and then the cycle repeats.

Q: If a student switches between in-person and remote instruction during the year, will that student be able to keep the same teacher?

The option for students to go from in-person to virtual is available at any time. The opposite is not the case though. Depending on how many parents shift their decision after the first trimester, for example, it could put us in situations where we cannot guarantee students the same teacher upon their return.

Q: What will remote instruction look like?

A: Things will look considerably different than they did in the spring for students who are remote, either all virtual at home, or virtual from a different learning space within the building, or, at the secondary level, remote for two days, then in person for the next two days. We will use Google Meet so that instruction is synchronous. Attendance will be taken for every class, and classes will only take place during the regular school day. There may turn out to be differences, especially at the secondary level, where teacher A wants to live stream/Google Meet the class to anyone remote in real-time and teacher B wishes them to check-in and take attendance and then gives them a different assignment to work on remotely than the core group and then she switches this the next day. So at the secondary level, it may be class-specific.

Q: If I find that the in-school portion isn’t working due to health concerns can I pull them and opt for online learning at home?

A: Yes, parents can move from in-person to remote learning at any time. Parents have the option to switch from in-person to remote at any time; they don’t need to wait until after the first trimester/quarter. The opposite option is not available though.

Q: Have teachers been given any professional development to enhance the remote instruction experience?

A: We are adding another day of training for teachers before school starts, so they will have three full days of professional development.

Q: Will children be able to participate in class if/when it is a live feed, asking questions, sharing in the discussion?

Our intention is for remote students to be able to participate in real-time via Google Meet.

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Communication/Family & Community Engagement

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 (the district website, superintendent updates, school district emails, SchoolMessenger emails, text messages and phone calls) to notify staff, students and families/caregivers about in-person, remote and hybrid school schedules with as much advance notice as possible.

Q: How will parents be notified of their child(ren’s) class schedules?

All students at the elementary level will be receiving a packet of information by mail the last week of August. This packet will include the student’s classroom assignment, the student’s teacher or teachers, if the students is in Grades 1-5, as well as important information related to the safety measures we are putting into place at both the primary and intermediate buildings. We will also have important information related to the arrival and dismissal schedule if you are transporting your child to school; included will be a map to assist with finding the pick-up and drop-off zones. The teachers will be planning to send out additional information both by backpack and electronic means once the school year begins. In addition, we will be planning a virtual walk-through for students in grades 1-5. The Kindergarten students will have their “virtual” open house/orientation on September 10th.

For Draper and the High School, class assignments will be mailed out the week of 8/31 and schedules will be released digitally at this time as well.

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 Schenectady County Department of Health. Notification to the wider community will occur only under the direction of local health officials. NYS has also required districts to post information daily regarding any/all COVID positive students and faculty/staff. This information is available here.

Q: How will I communicate with my child/ren’s teachers during remote learning?

A: The district will provide students and their families with multiple ways to contact schools and teachers during remote learning. A school calendar with directory information for all buildings and departments will be mailed to parents in late August.

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

A: If you have questions regarding this plan, please contact the following people:

General inquiries, reopening@mohonasen.org
About Bradt, Leslie Smith, lsmith@mohonasen.org
About Pinewood, Jason Thompson, jthompson@mohonasen.org
About Draper, Rick Arket, rarket@mohonasen.org
About Mohonasen High: Craig Chandler, cchandler@mohonasen.org

Q: Whom should I contact if I need reopening resources translated into another language?

A: The plan can be translated into other languages, via the G-Translate feature available on the District website. Languages currently supported by this feature include:

  • Albanian
  • Arabic
  • Bengali
  • Chinese
  • French
  • Gujarati
  • Hebrew
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Persian
  • Portuguese
  • Punjabi
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Turkish
  • Ukrainian
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese

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Health and Safety

Q: Are masks required?

A: Students, staff, and visitors will wear face-coverings consistently throughout the school day, including on the school bus and during all transitions and always when social distancing of at least six-feet cannot be maintained. Students who are unable to medically tolerate a face-covering will not be required to wear one, and a medical excuse (doctor’s note) must be provided to the district in such cases. Medical exemptions are subject to review by the District Physician and may be overturned as a result of such a review. Certain high needs special education students will also not be required to wear face-coverings in keeping with their identified disability. Student IEPs should reflect this if students are deemed exempt from this requirement based on their disability. 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”.

Students at the elementary level (Grades K-5) 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 her 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.

Students at the secondary level (grades 6-12) 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 approximately 36 minutes. The majority of classes at the secondary level are approximately 72-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 36-minute classes (and double that for 72-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. Fleece neck gaiters, bandanas, or scarves are not acceptable face coverings. 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: Will masks be provided to students and staff?

A: face-coverings will be provided to students and staff, if needed, at no cost. Acceptable face-coverings for COVID-19 include, but are not limited to, cloth-based coverings and surgical masks that cover both the mouth and nose.

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: What happens if a student refuses to wear a mask?

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. Short term non-compliance may result in short term removal from class. Chronic non-compliance may result in an involuntary shift to remote learning and/or application of progressive disciplinary consequences as per the Mohonasen Code of Conduct. It will be very important for families to be proactive in discussing the importance of wearing masks at school. We want to ensure everyone’s safety.

Q: What are parents required to do to screen children’s health before school each day?

Parents/guardians will be responsible for checking each child’s health before school each day. If a child presents with any of the following, they should be kept home from school:

  • Temperature above 100.0 degrees F
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills (with or without repeated shaking)
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Please note that this screening is in addition to other conditions that should preclude students from attending school (e.g., pink eye, vomiting) or any situation in which a child appears not to be well enough to participate in the activities of the school day.

Parents may access the daily attestation app at the following link, https://entry.neric.org/mohonasen

If you do not have access to complete this daily health attestation for your child, we have paper copies available for use as well. Please let your building principal know if you need paper copies and they will be supplied to you.

Q: How is the health of staff being screened?

A: All district staff members are required to perform a self-health assessment for symptoms of COVID-19 before arriving at work. If personnel are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, they will notify their supervisor as per the district’s reporting policies and seek medical attention. Please see a link to the staff attestation here.

Q: Will the district be keeping records of student or staff health information?

A: The District will not be keeping any additional health information records on either students or staff. The electronic daily attestations that are required is not considered health records.

Q: What happens if a student’s health screening has not been submitted? Will they be permitted to enter the building?

A: At the High School students will show their colored phone screen indicating they have completed that day’s attestation. If they have not, they will have the opportunity to do so electronically or by paper. For K-8 the district will perform audits of students’ attestations, but this will not prevent students entering who have not completed the attestation.

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:

  • Temperature above 100 degrees F
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills (with or without repeated shaking)
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

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

A: The district will work in consultation with the Schenectady Department of Health to determine the requirements for when individuals, particularly students, who screened positive for COVID-19 symptoms can return to the in-person learning environment at school. This protocol includes:

  • Documentation from a health care provider following evaluation
  • Negative COVID-19 diagnostic test result
  • Symptom resolution, or if COVID-19 positive, release from isolation

The district will refer to DOH’s “Interim Guidance for Public and Private Employees Returning to Work Following COVID-19 Infection or Exposure” regarding protocols and policies for faculty and staff seeking to return to work after a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or after the faculty or staff member had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19.

The district requires that individuals who were exposed to the COVID-19 virus complete quarantine and have not developed symptoms before returning to in-person learning. The discharge of an individual from quarantine and return to school will be conducted in coordination with the Schenectady Department of Health.

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.
The district requires students or staff with a temperature, signs of illness, and/or a positive response to the questionnaire to be sent directly to a dedicated isolation area where students are supervised, prior to being picked up or otherwise sent home. Students will be supervised in the isolation area while awaiting transport home and will be separated by at least 6 feet. Students will be escorted from the isolation area to their parent/guardian. Students or staff will be referred to a healthcare provider and provided resources on COVID-19 testing.

Learn more about our isolation policies in the reopening plan.

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 Schenectady Department of Health 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 Schenectady Department of Health with tracing the transmission of COVID-19, the district will cooperate and facilitate the tracing of 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 Schenectady County Department of Health.

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: Please check the NYS COVID-10 Travel advisory information at the following link to see the most current guidance regarding our of state or out of country travel and the associated requirements regarding returning to school or work, 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 educational activities.

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 Mr. Ruberti 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 choose 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: Maybe, if prescribed for and allowed by NY State as a requirement or as a prerequisite or other condition of being able to remain open for in person learning. No child will be tested for COVID-19 at the school without parental permission.

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 Schenectady Department of Health.

The district will notify the Schenectady County Department of Health 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 the district.

To assist with contact tracing the district will:

  1. Keep accurate attendance records of students and staff members
  2. Ensure student schedules are up to date
  3. Keep a log of any visitor which includes date and time, and where in the school they visited
  4. Assist the Schenectady Health Department in tracing all contacts of the individual in accordance with the protocol, training, and tools provided through the NYS Contact Tracing Program
  5. If a confirmed case of COVID-19 is discovered, the district will contact the Schenectady Department of Health to receive guidance.Confidentiality must be maintained as required by federal and state laws and regulations.
    For more information about how COVID-19 containment efforts will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the Communication section of our reopening plan.

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.
The district will ensure adherence to hygiene and cleaning and disinfection requirements as advised by the CDC and DOH, including “Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public and Private Facilities for COVID-19,” and the “STOP THE SPREAD” poster, as applicable. Cleaning and disinfection logs will be maintained that include the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection.

Examples of facility types where cleaning and disinfection frequency will be distinguished include:

  • Bathrooms
  • Athletic training rooms, locker rooms
  • Health offices, isolation rooms
  • Administrative offices (main office, reception area)
  • Frequently touched surfaces in common areas (door handles, elevator buttons, copy machine keypads, etc.)
  • Shared books and supplies will be minimized and where used, books (e.g., library books, trade books) supplies (e.g., science lab materials) will be disinfected or allowed to remain untouched for a specified time period.
  • Breakrooms
  • Cafeterias/Kitchens
  • Computer labs
  • Science labs
  • Classrooms
  • Maintenance offices and work areas
  • Bus Garage
  • Buses, school vehicles
  • Libraries
  • Large meeting areas (auditoriums, gymnasiums, music rooms)
  • Playgrounds (cleaning only)
  • Outdoor seating areas (plastic or metal)Students, faculty, and staff will be trained on proper hand and respiratory hygiene, and such information will be provided to parents and/or legal guardians on ways to reinforce this at home.The district will provide and maintain hand hygiene stations around the school, as follows:
  • For handwashing: soap, running warm water, and disposable paper towels.
  • For hand sanitizing: an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol for areas where handwashing facilities may not be available or practical.
  • Accommodations for students who cannot use hand sanitizer will be made.
  • Regular cleaning and disinfection of the facilities will occur, including more frequent cleaning and disinfection for high-risk and frequently touched surfaces. This will include desks and cafeteria tables, which should be cleaned and disinfected between each individual’s use. Cleaning and disinfection will be rigorous and ongoing and will occur at least daily, or more frequently as needed.
  • The district will ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of restrooms. Restrooms should be cleaned and disinfected more often depending on frequency of use.
  • For more information about how cleaning and disinfection information will be communicated to students, families and staff members, visit the Communication section of our reopening plan.

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

The district will conduct fire (evacuation) drills and lockdown drills as required by education law and regulation and the fire code without exceptions. Schools are required to conduct mandatory fire and lockdown drills according to the existing statutory schedule. Faculty and staff should wear face-coverings when social distancing cannot be maintained during drills.

Fire Code Section 404 requires that schools maintain Fire Safety, Evacuation, and Lockdown Plans and these plans include how lockdown and evacuation drills are conducted. Protocols will be in place to ensure face-coverings will be used while exiting, waiting to return, and re-entering the building.
Education Law § 807 requires that schools conduct eight (8) evacuation and four (4) lockdown drills each school year.

With the reduced number of students in each building each day, drills can be conducted similarly as they have been in the past with reminders about social distancing as practicable while moving through the building. With the alternating schedule at Mohonasen drills will be conducted to ensure students following both schedules will have adequate opportunities to learn procedures.

Students will be instructed that if it was an actual emergency that required evacuation or lockdown, the most imminent concern is to get to safety; maintaining social distancing in an actual emergency that requires evacuation or lockdown may not be possible and should not be the first priority.
Modifications to Lockdown Drills may include, but are not limited to:

  • Conduct lockdown drills in classroom settings while maintaining social distancing and/or using masks.
  • Conduct lockdown drills in the classroom without “hiding”/ “sheltering” but provide an overview of how to shelter or hide in the classroom.

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Facilities

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

A: Only authorized outside visitors or volunteers will be allowed on school campuses. Parents/guardians will report to the front office and not go beyond without permission. Visitors to facilities will be required to wear face-coverings and will be restricted in their access to our school buildings.

We will phase in outside and then inside facility use by outside groups as allowed under the most current NYS reopening guidelines.

Q: Will there continue to be PTA meetings?

A: The Parent-Teacher Associations continues to meet, but they have done so off campus. Should NYS regulations subsequently allow for in person meetings we would offer space for such meetings to occur.

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

A: Plexiglass barriers are prohibited by fire code, but acrylic or polycarbonate barriers are allowed. They have been installed at various checkpoints/desks throughout the district. We also have four foot by four foot polycarbonate “walls”/”dividers” which may be used in learning spaces in lieu of full social distancing when and where it is appropriate to employ them.

Q: Is the district’s ventilation safe for students?

A: The district is regularly inspected and meets or exceeds regular ventilation requirements for NYS schools. All ventilation units, weather permitting, will be set to receive maximum input of outside air per the NYSED regulations. Weather permitting, teachers will also keep windows open to circulate more outside air. The building’s ventilation system will adhere to the highest-rated filters that the system can handle. They are not all equipped to filter out coronavirus. Adding filters that exceed the ratings will actually result in less fresh air and cause equipment failure.

Q: What is the school district doing about getting clean airflow into classrooms?

A: Upon reopening, the district plans to increase ventilation with outdoor air to the greatest extent possible under current weather (temperature) conditions. This will also involve, weather permitting, the targeted opening of windows and doors. When possible district filters will also be upgraded if the particular unit’s specifications allow for such upgrades without diminishing performance or function.

Q: How big will the class sizes be for in-person instruction?

A: Class size will reflect the need to ensure that students’ desks/seats are positioned no less than six feet apart, “nose to nose”. This results in an average of 14 to 16 students per “regular” classroom depending on the square footage of each space. Polycarbonate “walls”/”dividers” may be used in lieu of full social distancing in some classrooms as needed.

Q: How will desks be arranged in the classrooms? Will students be facing each other or facing forward?

A: Desks will be arranged in classrooms to ensure that students are positioned no less than six feet apart while seated. Configurations will vary and in some cases tables will be used in lieu of desks or there may be a mix of both.

Q: Will the bathroom capacity be limited?

A: Yes, bathroom capacity will be limited to that which allows for appropriate social distancing. In some cases adjacent urinals will not be used if they are too close together. Stalls have a physical barrier/divider and may be used next to one another.

Q: Will students still use cubbies? Lockers?

A: Lockers will not be used at the secondary levels; however, this is subject to review when we enter the winter months and there is the challenge of additional outerwear. Backpacks will be allowed throughout the day. At Bradt, students will use their own cubbies. For arrival and dismissal we will maximize social distancing in the cubby areas.

Q: How will school supplies that are typically shared be handled?

A: Sharing of school supplies will be minimized to the extent practicable. Possibilities include rotating sets of supplies, assigning specific supplies to each student and/or cleaning/disinfecting supplies between uses. Some of these details are still being developed.

Q: How is the district ensuring that any changes to its facilities are in compliance with fire code and other regulations?

A: All spaces to be occupied by school students and staff must meet the requirements of the 2020 New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code and the State Energy Conservation Code. We are regularly inspected to ensure compliance with these regulations.

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

A: Hand sanitizer will be available throughout all buildings and in classrooms, but will not be available on school buses in accordance with the most recent NYSED guidance. 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.

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. In some cases we have ordered extra bottle fill stations and in other cases we have supplied cups for drinking tap water in classrooms. This is in addition to the already existing bottle fill stations available in some buildings.

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Child Nutrition

Q: Were the meal selections parents made as part of the commitment survey binding? What if I said my child will be bringing lunch from home, but one day they need to buy lunch?

No, the meal selection on the survey was not binding. The selections for meals were for planning purposes only. Your child will be able to have a school lunch even if they said they are bringing from home. Students may choose to have school lunches only when they want to. A menu will be provided monthly on our website and if a student doesn’t like the selection for that day they are able to pack lunch from home. Please note: the Governor has extended the issuance of free lunches and breakfasts to all students through the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year so all district provided meals will be at no charge.

Q: Will lunches need to be brought to school every day? Or will they be provided? Will hot meals still be available? Where will students eat breakfast and lunch?

A: School meals will continue to be available to all students, including those attending school in-person and those learning remotely. Students may also bring lunches from home.

Provisions will be made for students with severe food allergies who may require additional accommodations such as different locations for meals.

Breakfast and lunch will look different both in terms of location (cafeteria and/or other locations such as classrooms) and in terms of serving (e.g., grab and go, pre-packaged, delivered to locations, etc.), and the number of menu selections will be significantly narrowed. One menu selection will be available at the elementary school. The menu will be a hot option on most days. At the secondary level, we are hoping to have a minimum of two hot meal choices and two cold food choices. At this time there will not be snacks or a la carte sales available.

Students may eat in cafeterias, classrooms or other building locations. Students will be able to eat without face-coverings but must be fully socially distanced while eating.

Q: How will students pay for their meals?

A: By order of the Governor, no students will be charged for meals for the entirety of the 2020-2021 school year.

Q: What hygiene practices will keep students safe during meals?

A: Students will be required to perform hand hygiene before and after eating. Students do not need to wear face-coverings when seated and eating as long as they are appropriately socially distanced. All food items will be served on disposable paper products and disposed of immediately following the meal.

Q: Will meals be provided to those participating in remote learning?

A: Students who are remote will be instructed where and when to pick up their meals.

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Transportation

Q: Will the district be staggering arrivals? What would that look like?

A: This schedule has changed and is subject to future change, but currently the plan for bus runs at the various levels is as follows:

AM Drop Off

  • Draper/HS – 7:30
  • Bradt – 8:10
  • Pinewood – 8:50

Bradt Arrival and Dismissal for Parent Transportation

This year we will have curb-side drop off and pick up in the rear of Bradt, at the blue cafeteria doors. The cars will enter the circle in the rear of the building beginning at 8:10. The person dropping off will be required to sign-in the student. Parent drop off for Bradt will be coming off of Howell and then onto Miller. We will have signs and staff assigned to assist with getting the student signed-in and safely entering the building through the cafeteria. At dismissal, students being pick-up will be called down for dismissal to the cafeteria and social distance until parents arrive in the loop to pick-up. We are asking that parents try to pick-up ahead of the bus dismissal, so this process will begin at 1:50. We will have staff assisting with dismissal and they will be asking for identification to verify that pick-up notes match who is picking up the child. We also ask that the child be signed out. This process is new and we will communicate after a week into the year, if we need to make adjustments to this plan. We will be including a building map in the student placement letter to ensure that parents are aware of the drop-off/pick up zone, as well as the Bus Only zone. If you need to communicate with the office on a matter we ask that you contact the main office and they will provide additional assistance, since we are trying to limit the number of visitors in the building while the students are in the building.

PM Pick Up

  • Draper/HS – 1:30
  • Bradt – 2:10
  • Pinewood – 2:50

Q: How many students will be allowed on each bus? Will social distancing be enforced on buses? Are masks required on buses?

A: Our capacity target is 50% capacity. For a 66 passenger bus that target would be 33 students. We are also attempting to socially distance students to the extent practicable, except for siblings. To reduce density on buses, parents are encouraged to drive their child/ren to school. Additionally, all students, except those with medical or IEP exemptions will be required to wear face-coverings.

Q: Will bus transportation still be provided? Are there any changes to who can ride the bus to and from school?

A: All students are entitled to transportation to the extent required by law. The Transportation Department may not deny transportation for children who are in foster care, homeless or attend private or charter schools.

Q: Will students’ temperatures be checked before entering the bus?

A: Students’ temperatures should be checked by parents prior to boarding buses. District staff will not be checking student temperatures prior to boarding buses. Parents should be filling out the daily health attestation for each child every day indicating they do not have COVID-19 symptoms and that they don’t have a fever over 100°F.

Q: Will there be a bus monitor for each bus?

A: No, there are only monitors on select buses. There are cameras on all buses.

Q: How many students will be in each seat?

A: We will attempt to seat students one to a seat when possible unless they are members of the same household; however, there may be occasions when students must sit more than one to a seat. Except for medically or IEP exempt students, all students must wear face-coverings on the bus.

Q: Will the district be adding additional buses to reduce bus capacity to 50 percent?

A: No, we will not be buying additional school buses at this time. That takes voter approval and would need to be voted on by eligible voters.

Q: Will there be transportation after school?

A: Yes. Students will still be able to ride a bus home. Late bus options (a second afternoon bus that runs after the regular afternoon bus) will occur, but on a less regular basis.

Q: Can I drop off my child/ren in the morning, but use the bus after school?

A: Yes. You may also use the bus in the morning and pick up in the afternoon. Parents and legal guardians are encouraged to drop off or walk students to school to reduce density on buses. If your child only needs one-way transportation to or from school, please contact Randy Jerreld, Transportation Department Supervisor, at rjerreld@mohonasen.org or by phone at 518-356-8260 with that information.

Q: Can my child be dropped off or picked up at different locations during the week?

A: No, that is no longer an option. Students must be picked up at one location and dropped off at one location each day, although those locations may be different.

Q: What is the schedule for cleaning the buses?

A: All buses that are used every day by districts and contract carriers will be cleaned/ disinfected once a day in the afternoons.

Q: Will hand sanitizer be available on the bus?

A: No. School buses will not be equipped with hand sanitizer due to its combustible composition and potential liability to the carrier or district.

Q: How will social distancing be enforced when students are getting on and off the bus at school?

A: Students embarking and disembarking buses will be required to remain socially distant to the extent practicable and wear a face-covering. Full social distancing in such circumstances may not be possible, but contact time is quite limited in such circumstances.

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Social-Emotional Well-being

Q: What supports are available for my child’s mental health needs?

A: The social-emotional well-being of students and staff is a priority for the district, especially throughout this pandemic. To support our school community and ensure students’ social-emotional learning, resources for students can be found by following this link. The Student Support Team will also be directly surveying all parents and students to determine whether target areas can be identified and students can then be specifically supported with any social-emotional needs they may have.

Q: How can a student reach out to counselors if stressed?

Students who are in distress or in need of social and emotional support will find a variety of resources on our website. Counselor contact information for all buildings may also be found via this link.

Q: What is the district doing to support the mental health of its staff?

A: The district has made available resources and referrals to address the mental health, behavioral, and emotional needs of faculty and staff when school reopens. Staff resources, including the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), may be found by following this link.

Q: Will students entering new school buildings have some form of orientation or tours ahead of time?

A: The district always looks forward to welcoming new or rising students into its buildings. A combination of virtual and in-person tours and orientations are being developed. Buildings will be communicating plans and opportunities in this regard in the near future. Questions regarding such opportunities should be directed to the building’s main offices and/or the building principals.

Q: Will parents/guardians be allowed to escort their child(ren) into the building on the first day back to school?

A: Not generally. Building principals are authorized to make warranted exceptions if this is in the best interest of specific students and family members. Generally speaking escorting students to their classrooms typically is not a good idea as it can increase anxiety and make the “letting go” process more difficult.

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School Schedules

Q: What are the drop-off and pickup times for in-person instruction?

A: Drop off and pick up times are listed by building below:

  • Bradt: 8:10 AM is drop off and pick up is 1:50 PM
  • Pinewood: Drop off will be staggered with grade 5 beginning at 8:45, and grades 3 & 4 at 8:55 AM. Siblings will be allowed to drop off together.
  • Draper and the High School: 7:30 AM is drop-off and 1:30 PM is pick-up

Q: Can students arrive at school before classes begin? If so, where will they go?

A: At Bradt the students will begin entering the building at 8:10 AM and head directly to classrooms, The students should not be visiting teachers in other classrooms. At Pinewood, students will begin entering the building at 8:45 AM and head directly to classrooms. The students should be visiting teachers in other classrooms. At the Middle and High School students will be permitted to enter at 7:30 AM.

Q: How will students be grouped by grade level or class during the school day?

A: This will still be traditional in nature in that elementary students will be grouped by homeroom and secondary students will travel to classes by subject area.

Q: How will “special” subjects (e.g., art, music, PE, etc.) be delivered to students?

A: At Bradt, art will be pushed into the classroom and there may be times when music can push in also. In order to maintain 12 feet of space between students, there may be certain activities for music that will take place in the gym. PE classes will be outside weather permitting, however, we will also have one half of the gym available for one PE class. If students are participating in remote learning, they will still be required to participate in the Special Areas through Google Meet during the special times in their weekly schedules.

At Pinewood, Art will be pushed into the classroom. Music on most days will be in the music room, but will be moved to the gym when singing is part of the instruction to maintain 12 feet of space between students that is required by the NYS Guidance Document. PE classes will be outside weather permitting.

When the weather does not cooperate, we will also have one half of the gym available for one PE class. If students are participating in remote learning, they will still be required to participate in the Special Areas through Google Meet during the special times in their weekly schedules.

At the middle and high school level, specials will be run similar to normal but with 50% of students present at any given time while also following safety and social distancing guidelines (12 feet of space between students in PE).

Q: Will elementary students have recess? If so, will recess be outside if conditions permit?

A: Elementary students will still participate in recess. Elementary principals will work with staff to develop alternative recess activities that abide by social distancing guidelines. Students/classes will have to take turns accessing playground equipment. Playground equipment will be cleaned per CDC guidance.

Q: Will students still have assemblies? Field trips?

A: No, field trips, and other large-group activities will not be held at this time.

Q: Is the district doing anything to reduce congestion in hallways or lobby areas?

A: Congestion in the hallways is primarily of concern at the secondary levels. Given that students, other than those medically exempt, will be wearing face-coverings and contact time will be extremely brief when students are passing in the hallways, the risk is inherently low in this situation. The CDC guidance indicates that students are at low risk if wearing face-coverings and passing in hallways. Additionally, the secondary student capacity will be cut in half as only half the students will be present on any given day.

Q: How will the district decide if there is a need to go fully remote? Will that decision be made districtwide, or on a more individual basis (school, class, etc.)?

A: The district will collaborate with the Schenectady Department of Health to determine the parameters, conditions or metrics (e.g., increased absenteeism or increased illness in the school community) that will serve as early warning signs that positive COVID-19 cases may be increasing beyond an acceptable level.

At a minimum, schools will close in accordance with direction from the Governor and New York State Department of Health.

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School Activities

Q: Outdoor areas and playgrounds were mentioned as being utilized for recess and movement breaks. Will that be happening daily including winter months? If not in the winter months, what will recess look like K-5?

A: Recess will look very spread out, but we are allowing the equipment to be used in addition to the field space surrounding the playground equipment. We hope to have children outside in the winter as well, conditions permitting. Equipment will need to be rotated for use, likely by homeroom, to allow for social distancing and it will be cleaned per the CDC guidelines.

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

A: Yes, on a limited basis. We will allow extracurriculars to take place virtually as well as in person to the extent that they can be offered within the safety regulations and parameters established by the state.
Interscholastic sports are overseen by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA), but they have to operate within the guidelines set forth by the Governor. We have already postponed some of our fall sports to “Fall II” (actually to be held in the spring) and don’t yet know the disposition of winter or spring sports. The superintendent will provide updates to the parents and students and faculty/staff as they become available.

Q: Can my child participate in athletics, clubs or extracurriculars if they are doing remote learning?
A: Yes, if and when such activities continue, children who are remote only may participate to the same extent as students who are in person.

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

The YMCA will still run a before and after school program available for both Bradt and Pinewood. All registrations must be completed on the YMCA website. The program will be reduced this year to two pods of 15 students each to allow for social distancing of students.

Q: Will music and drama performances still take place?

A: Such performances are currently not allowed under the Phase IV reopening rules. We are exploring opportunities to engage in these activities virtually and we remain hopeful that the guidance for such activities may shift during the year.

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. Should the state regulations on this change, we will explore whether or not such travel can be done safely.

Q: Will child care be available?

A: If you are a parent or caregiver who needs child care, the Office of Children and Family Services (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.

Childcare may also be available through the local YMCA and the Rotterdam Boys and Girls Club. You may find additional information about the Y programs and locations here: Childcare available through YMCA for essential workers.

You may find additional information about the Boys and Girls Club here.

Brightside Up (formally Capital District Child Care Coordinating Council, Inc.) 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. They will then be able to give you a list of providers that most closely meet your needs.

Please contact Ms. Abbe Kovacik, Executive Director:

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Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism

Q: How will a student be marked “absent,” “present” or “tardy” during remote learning?

A: There will be an expectation for daily attendance of all students. All attendance procedures will be in full effect whether students are in-person or remote. This includes “period” or “class” attendance at the secondary level in addition to daily attendance.

Q: Will I be notified if my child has been marked “absent” or “tardy” during remote learning?

A: Students who are chronically absent will receive the “regular” follow-ups in such situations (e.g., guidance, administration, child study team, child protective services) whether they are participating in in-person or remote instruction.

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Technology and Connectivity

Q: What do we do if my child’s school Chromebook breaks or stops working?

A: If a student’s laptop or device breaks or stops working, you should immediately contact the help desk at 518-356-8336 or help@mohonasen.org. If they can not resolve the issue, they will be able to arrange for a swap/replacement Chromebook.

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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 are followed during both in-person and remote learning. Please direct specific question about this to your child’s special education teacher, principal or the Director of Special and Alternative Education, Mrs. Sara Lewis, slewis@mohonasen.org, or 518-356-8200.

Q: Can my child still receive services such as occupational therapy, physical therapy or speech therapy remotely?

A: In some cases, yes. If your child is scheduled for such services you will be contacted directly to work out a schedule, whether in person or remote or a combination of the two.

Q: My child is in speech services. How will these be offered in school vs virtually?

A: We’ve been offering some speech remotely over the summer via Google Meet and this remains an option. Students may also be able to receive some services directly.

Q: Will my child still be transported to off-site programs?

A: Yes. We will have transportation for students to and from off-site programs. We are in the process of determining who has their own transportation for CTE and who may need district-provided transportation.

Q: What do I do if I need additional support for my special education student during remote learning? In-person instruction?

A: Parents may contact Sara Lewis, Director for Special Education and Alternative Education, at slewis@mohonasen.org or by phone at 518-356-8000 with questions or concerns about their special education student.

Q: What do I do if I’m new to the district and my child needs special education services?

A: Please contact Sara Lewis, Director for Special Education and Alternative Education, at slewis@mohonasen.org or by phone at 518-356-8200 to schedule an appointment to discuss your child’s needs.

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

A: Yes, students will still attend programs through BOCES. Please see the BOCES reopening plan for more information on how BOCES programs will be conducted by following this link.

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