1-As per Governor Cuomo’s announcement, Friday, August 7, when will the parent forums take place? At these forums, will you be answering questions or just accepting questions?
- School districts in NYS were told Friday afternoon, August 7, to hold three parent forums prior to August 21.
- These will take place on
- Thursday, August 13 at 1pm,
- Monday, August 17 at 6pm
- Tuesday, August 18 at 5:30pm.
- Questions should be submitted on the form found here: https://forms.gle/HmF8JNAcPvfEifQm6. We will attempt to answer as many questions as possible using the information that we currently have on hand. This remains a fluid situation that will require flexibility and patience.
2-What are the details of the District’s testing protocol?
- The initial guidance that school districts had received from NYSED and the Department of Health (DOH) did not require school districts to conduct testing or have testing protocols. The first mention of school districts testing students/faculty/staff was on Friday, August 7 from Governor Cuomo.
- We are currently working on testing protocol in conjunction with Ulster County DOH and will have that information posted as soon as possible.
3-Can the District website be streamlined so that information is more accessible to parents?
- We will be streamlining the District website so that information is easily found.
- The most recent information can be found here: https://www.highland-k12.org/Page/6250
4-How is the District going to be monitoring faculty/staff and student travel to quarantined states?
- The District will continue to update the list of quarantined states and send it out to faculty, staff, and parents/guardians. As is the case with many of the safety guidelines, we will be depending on faculty/staff and parents/guardians to self-monitor and self-report their travel, which is a requirement of the Governor’s Executive Order.
- To see the most current NYS Restricted Travel list, click here: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory
5-What safety measures will be taken when students are eating breakfast/lunch?
- At this time, Elementary and Middle School students will have their meals in their classrooms, while maintaining social distancing.
- Breakfast and lunch will be available to students on in-person days. Students will remove their masks to eat.
- At these times, social distancing will be strictly enforced, students will be trained in safe eating habits and extra ventilation will be provided when possible.
- Sanitation of desks and/or eating surfaces will occur before and after eating.
6-How will social distancing/mask-wearing be monitored on the buses?
- Every bus will have a monitor assigned to enforce all health and safety measures.
7-What will social distancing look like during recess?
- Faculty and staff will enforce the 12-foot social distancing requirement at recess.
8-How will band and chorus teachers ensure students' safety?
- Band and chorus teachers will be working individually/in very small groups of students in order to maintain the required 12-foot social distancing or, in many cases, will be teaching remotely.
- Band teachers are still working on new and innovative ways to teach first-time band students.
- At the elementary level, 4th grade band students will have one-on-one instruction with the teacher with a plastic barrier between them. Grades 5-12 band and chorus will be all virtual to facilitate the maintenance of grade level cohorts and to personalize the experience to the greatest degree possible. Much of this work will occur on the at-home day or Wednesday of the hybrid model.
9-How is the District going to provide bathroom use to students while following state guidelines?
- The schools will be utilizing all available bathrooms in each building and have monitors assigned to each bathroom in order to enforce social distancing and keep students safe and comfortable.
- Only one child at a time will be allowed in the bathroom.
- Bathrooms will be regularly sanitized throughout the day.
10-How will mask-wearing be enforced?
- All students, faculty, and staff will be required to wear masks unless they provide medical clearance to the building administrator.
- Mask breaks will be provided throughout the day while maintaining the required social distancing.
- Any violation of required mask wearing will be dealt with by building administration.
11-Is the District providing touchless hand sanitizing stations.
- At this time, touchless devices are not available, but hand sanitizer will be available in most spaces in each building. Once touchless devices become available, they will be installed.
12-How will training of faculty, staff, and students on safety procedures and protocols be handled?
- All faculty and staff will have training days on September 1-4 regarding all safety and health procedures.
- Students will be trained by the teachers beginning the first day of school. Information regarding these protocols will be posted on the District website and parents/students will be encouraged to review prior to September 8.
13-How is the social distancing in the buildings being established?
- Administrators, working in collaboration with our custodial staff, in each building will set up every classroom/space to ensure the required social distancing.
- Specific signage on walls and floors will reinforce social distancing and other health and safety protocols.
- The administration, faculty, and staff will enforce this.
14-How do we assure that papers/books that are sent home are virus free?
- The District will be discouraging the use of papers/books as much as possible. However, there may be cases where a curriculum requires this type of learning material. If a parent has specific concerns, these should be discussed with the classroom teacher.
15-What cleaning chemicals will be used?
- We use a variety of NYS approved cleaning solutions, dependent on location and purpose. We have listed all cleaners below.
NABC - Non-Acid Bathroom Cleaner
Hospital grade. Cleans, disinfects, and deodorizes. Can be used for locations other than bathrooms.
Glass & surface cleaner. Good for light cleaning. No film , no streaks, dries fast. No ammonia, surface cleaner.
Neutral cleaner for maintaining high gloss floors.
Hospital grade disinfectant. Can be used in bathrooms, classrooms, or on multiple surfaces.
Spray Nine (HS & MS Only)
General purpose cleaner.
Remove writing and drawings from partitions and walls.
All the chemicals listed above are multi-use except Damp Mop and Graffiti Wipes. They can be used in various ways and at various locations throughout all facilities in the District.
16-How will cleaning take place in the buildings?
- Our custodial staff will be cleaning all high traffic areas throughout the school day.
- Teachers/staff will be assisting in frequently wiping down high touch surfaces.
- “Deep” cleaning of all areas will occur nightly to provide a safe, clean environment for learning.
17-How will families be notified if a student is showing symptoms of COVID-19?
- A student who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 will be sent to the building health office/isolation room, where they will be reviewed and evaluated by the nurse in collaboration with the Ulster County Department of Health and parents/guardians. If health officials determine the symptoms are consistent with COVID-19 or another illness, parents/caregivers will be called to pick children up.
- If the DOH deems this a “suspected case,” all students and adults in the classroom will be required to quarantine for two weeks or until the District receives notification of a negative test result. The District will provide remote instruction for those students. Other building and District closures may occur. These will be determined on a case-by-case basis in conjunction with the DOH.
18-What happens if a teacher must quarantine?
- Substitute teachers will be assigned for any staff member that is sick.
- If a teacher and his/her class are quarantined at the same time without symptoms or a positive test result, that teacher may instruct remotely for the duration of the quarantine.
- All suspected cases of exposure will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. A positive test result in Cohort A of a specific teacher may or may not require quarantining of that same teacher’s Cohort B.
19-If my child is quarantined due to outside of school exposure, what type of learning will they receive?
- If separate remote teachers are available, the student would be assigned a remote teacher. If space is not available, they would receive assignments from their regular classroom teacher as they would under “normal” circumstances if they were out sick for an extended period.
20-How will classroom closure be communicated to parents?
- Any schoolwide closure would be communicated like a snow closing, via SchoolMessenger, e-mail, or phone calls.
- Individual classroom closings will be communicated by phone, email, website, and SchoolMessenger to those parents impacted.
21-If a confirmed case occurs in a school, will the entire building or District be closed also?
- Depending on the circumstances of each situation, the class, hallway, or building could be closed.
- A closure in one building would not necessarily close the entire District.
- Students should bring necessary items to and from school in case the building or District is closed after school hours.
22-How will contact tracing be handled?
- The District will work with DOH on contact tracing and as with every situation, err on the side of caution. We are working in close cooperation with the Ulster County Executive’s Office and the Ulster County Department of Health (DOH). We will be posting the county-wide testing and contact tracing plan by early next week.
23-How much student movement will there be throughout the school day?
- At the elementary school, students will be in the same cohort all day with minimal student movement. Weather permitting, teachers will be encouraged to take their classes outside.
- At the middle school, we are maintaining cohorts and students will remain in the same classroom to the extent possible, but there may be some movement.
- At the high school, students are in cohorts as much as possible and travel will be limited as much as possible, but strict cohorting of students is not feasible.
24-How will the District handle students eating in the classrooms when there are students with specific food allergies?
- Accommodations will be arranged for students who have food allergies.
25-How will the food service department keep food safe from contamination?
- Food Service will follow the HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) plan that is currently in place. This is a daily plan that includes frequent washing of hands, wearing gloves, temperature logs for food, freezers, milk coolers, refrigerators, dish machines, thermometer calibration, as well as check lists for personal hygiene, food storage, dry storage, and equipment in the kitchen. We will continue to use a bleach solution to sanitize our surfaces.
- All Food Services staff will wear masks.
- In addition, we will also incorporate the following procedures:
- All Food Service staff will have their temperatures taken when entering the kitchen. This will be recorded in a daily sign-in log.
- There will be a designated area for all boxes needed for the day’s meal. The boxes will be placed in this area and the food will be taken from the box to the sanitized prep area.
- Whenever possible, delivery personnel will leave the deliveries outside the kitchen door to be checked in. If a delivery driver must enter the kitchen, their name and temperature will be taken and recorded in our daily sign-in log.
- Milk and juice cartons will be cleaned and sanitized before being served to the students.
- Students will not be allowed to handle any food components. All items will be given to them via a food service staff member only. No self-serve items.
- Staff will continuously participate in any training that becomes available regarding the COVID-19 situation and food service.
- The food service director will be in regular contact with the Ulster County Health Department for any updates in protocol.
26-What kind of contact should I expect for my child on the “off days” with their cohort?
- Teachers will provide at-home work via the learning platforms, either SeeSaw or Schoology. Face-to-face teacher contact on the “off” cohort days will be limited, though students will have to check in for attendance purposes. Students may receive some services (for example, counseling) or specific remote only courses on the “at home” day.
27-Will the results of the parent surveys be made public?
- The final results of parents’/guardians’ decisions for hybrid vs. remote only will be posted on the website late next week.
28-How will specials be delivered in the hybrid model?
- Depending on the level and the course, specials will be delivered in person as a push into the classroom or will be done remotely on the “off” cohort days.
29-What will be done to address the gap in learning caused by last spring’s interruption?
- As at the start of any school year, teachers will engage in diagnostic testing to determine where students are academically and adjust and differentiate their instruction to meet the needs of students.
30-What are the procedures for student attendance on remote days?
- The plans for this process are currently in development, we will share when the plans are finalized.
- We do know that students will be required to log-in to a learning platform for those purposes.
31-What are the curriculum expectations considering the reduced teacher to student time?
- Teachers will prioritize the most important concepts and skills necessary in each grade or content area. Some work that may have been done independently during class time on a regular school day, may occur during the at-home time.
32-How will the District provide increased ventilation during the school day?
- We will use our building management system to increase the circulation of fresh air into the classrooms.
- Teachers will be encouraged to open windows and interior doors to add additional fresh air.
33-When will students have synchronous learning and when will they have asynchronous learning?
- In the hybrid model, days that students physically attend school will all be synchronous and will be very similar to their regularly scheduled school day.
- On at home days, the work will mainly be asynchronous, with students having to check in for attendance purposes. However, students may have coursework that is completely remote that happens on at-home days or other supports. That information will be shared as we finalize our numbers of students who are participating in the hybrid or remote-only mode of learning. On the Wednesday of the hybrid model, students should expect about 4.5 hours of synchronous, online instruction.
- In the remote only model, students will experience a combination of synchronous and asynchronous instruction every day. Students will follow a regular daily schedule for this work.
34-What platforms will be used for synchronous learning?
- We will use a combination of Zoom and Microsoft Teams for synchronous remote learning. Each teacher will have access to both platforms.
35-Will all-remote teachers be assigned multiple grade levels?
- We are still finalizing the teacher schedules. Once we know parent’s/guardian’s decisions on remote vs. hybrid modes of learning, we will be assigning teachers to courses. It is possible that an all-remote teacher will be assigned multiple grade levels or courses within the same content area. We will do our best to minimize this as much as possible.
36-What happens if a teacher is out sick?
- Substitute teachers will be called in to cover classes on an as needed basis.
37-If a student is on the all-remote option for the first ten weeks, then switches to the hybrid model, what section will they be placed in?
- Students will be placed in the section according to their last names and to balance teacher course loads depending on the individual needs of students.
38-How will the remote only students stay in line with the hybrid classes?
- All grade levels and content areas follow specific learning standards and curriculum, regardless of learning mode.
39-What happens if there are technology issues for students?
- With either plan, the District will work as quickly as possible to rectify all technology situations. As in the spring, technology concerns and questions can be sent to email@example.com.
40-How will notices be sent home to all-remote learners?
- Remote learners are all members of our learning community. They will be notified of any information needed through our usual means: e-mail, SchoolMessenger, phone calls.
41-What mental health services are available to all-remote learners?
- Our entire Guidance team, including Guidance Counselors, School Psychologists, and Social Workers will be available to all students.
- We also have a wealth of resources available to families on our website here: https://www.highland-k12.org/Page/5823
42-Will teachers be trained in remote learning?
- The District will be providing training on remote learning to teachers prior to the first day for students and ongoing throughout the school year.
43-What software will teachers be using to communicate remotely with students?
- Teachers will use a combination of both Zoom and Microsoft Teams for video conferencing.
- Students in grades K-4 will use SeeSaw as their main learning platform.
- Students in grade 5-12 will use Schoology as their main learning platform.
- We will have a variety of other digital resources/tools that will be accessed through the online learning platform.
44-How will teachers be assigned between all-remote and hybrid?
- Once the District knows how many students are choosing the all-remote option, we will be assigning teachers as needed.
45-How will nurses’ offices be set up?
- Each nurse’s office will have two health professionals. Their offices will be rearranged to accommodate both non-COVID-19 and COVID-19 symptoms. Each building has an isolation room to assess and separate suspected COVID-19 patients until a parent/guardian retrieves the student.
46-How is the District going to address the hot classrooms in September?
- There will be increased ventilation in rooms, but fans are not permitted as per the state guidelines. Fan are suspected to spread aerosolized virus to wider areas.
47-How is testing and contact tracing done?
- The District will work closely with the DOH to make sure testing and proper contact tracing is done. We will be posting a separate plan outlining those steps soon.
48-Will children be able to call home if they feel uncomfortable during the school day?
- As we do now, arrangements can be made through the main office of their building to call home if they have an issue.
49-Will the District provide training to parents/students prior to school starting?
- The District will provide training/information to parents and students before school begins regarding all the safety protocols.
50-What will parent/teacher conferences and Open House look like?
- Events such as these will all be done remotely. More information will be sent out as we draw closer to these dates.
This FAQ will be expanded as further questions are answered.