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Welcoming Remote Students and Staff Back
 
 

Welcoming Remote Students and Staff Back

Community Information Session


Frequently Asked Questions

Q

Why is the district seeking to bring more students in person?

A

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) released new guidance on April 9, 2021, decreasing the distancing requirements between students. For some of our distance learners, the model was challenging, and the new distancing guidance allows us to welcome more students back in person. Additionally, there is published research supporting reduced physical distancing in schools (3 versus 6 feet), local and national data confirming schools are low-risk environments for transmission when proven mitigation measures are in place, and the vaccination status of our employees, all of which have prompted a re-evaluation of our current instructional modes.

Q

Why is the district making these changes at this stage of the school year?

A

With the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) releasing updated guidance on April 9, 2021, and our considerations of student needs, we knew that adjustments were both possible and necessary. Additionally, following spring break, more than a quarter of the school year remains and for some of our students and families these shifts can not happen soon enough to ensure their physical, mental, and social health and well-being. A growing number of families are signaling their interest in having their child(ren) shift to in-person instruction (elementary/secondary) or increase the number of days on campus (secondary). 

Our commitments as a student-centered and anti-racist organization compel us to consider the changing guidance and the implications for our school community.

Q

Will remote teachers be required or allowed to return?

A

At this time, we are requesting remote educators (teachers and Education Support Professionals) to return in person by May 3, unless they meet certain, narrowly defined, criteria to continue remotely. Elementary classroom teachers (pre-K through 5th grade teachers) who are remote, and still have full classes, will be remaining virtual.

Q

What are the new distancing requirements, as per New York State?

A

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has adopted the CDC guidance of 3 feet of distance between students, and 6 feet of distance between adults, and between adults and students. For unmasked times (eating and drinking), the requirement is still 6 feet of distance for all. For singing and playing wind instruments, the new requirement is 6 feet of physical distance. The NYSDOH guidance can be found here

Q

If there will be less physical distance between students will barriers be installed on desks and tables?

A

The updated NYSDOH and CDC guidance removed the recommendation for physical barriers and emphasizes 5 key prevention strategies for schools:
  • Universal and correct use of masks required
  • Physical distancing (3 feet versus 6; 6 feet versus 12 for singing and playing wind instruments)
  • Handwashing and respiratory etiquette
  • Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities
  • Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine
There is no available research to support the effectiveness of barriers in the school setting. Many of the recent studies cited in support of reduced physical distancing included schools which did not employ barriers in classrooms as a mitigation strategy.

Q

I understand students will be at least 3 feet apart in classrooms wearing masks, but what about meals when masks can not be worn?

A

Students and staff will need to maintain 6 feet of distance from others when eating meals or engaged in activities that introduce more risk of transmission (e.g., singing, shouting, band, or sports and exercise). Building administrators and their staff are considering a range of options for meal periods, including eating outdoors when possible, utilizing larger spaces, such as cafeterias, with limited cohorts, hiring more staff, etc. 

Q

Will families and students who want to remain virtual for the rest of the school year be able to do so?

A

Yes.
 

For educators returning in person:

 

Q

How much planning time do I have to prepare and set up my classroom?

A

Up to two (2) days of asynchronous learning can be used for planning and preparation purposes. Teachers should communicate with their principal and students/families about when. 

Q

How can I receive support in concurrent teaching and get my technology needs met?

A

Zach Lind is available to support teachers returning at the secondary level with concurrent learning tech and instructional support. Additionally, we have two PD sessions from Better Lesson on concurrent learning offered on 4/28 from 1-3 p.m. and 4/29 from 9-11 a.m.

Q

What shall I do about work orders for room set-up?

A

Teachers can coordinate with custodians to submit work orders for room set-up. (Note that in some schools, department leaders are coordinating room assignments.) As per the updated guidance, seating should be spaced 3 feet apart at this time.

Q

I’m an art, music, PE teacher, or a teacher librarian. Am I returning to the building too? 

A

Yes, and we are excited to welcome you back! Please work with your building leader and Daphne Shululu on the logistics of your return, including materials, supplies, any scheduling conflicts, etc. 

Q

I’m still concerned about ventilation and filtration. Where can I access the Trane report on Indoor Air Quality?

A

The September 2020 Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Report and cover letter from Trane can be found on our website, along with Trane’s April 2021 Interior Classroom Fresh Air Flow Characteristics Evaluation: Air Quality Reports from Trane.
 

For educators who still have reasons to remain remote:

 

Q

I have a doctor’s note indicating that I should remain virtual due to COVID-19. What should I do?

A

Please send it to Karen Barden in Human Resources.

Q

I have another situation that is preventing me from returning to in-person teaching. What should I do?

A

Please schedule a time with your union president and Bob VanKeuren to discuss.