Reopening FAQs

Note, this resource is a work in progress. If you already submitted a question during one of our virtual presentations, via email or ParentSquare, or through our feedback survey and you don’t see it here, no need to resubmit it; we’re working on getting more answers and will post them here when we do.

This resource provides answers to the questions most frequently asked of the B-P administrative team regarding the reopening of schools. As information changes, we will update this page, along with the district’s reopening plan.

If you have a question, please search this page to see if you can find the information you’re looking for. Click here to learn how to search for a word or phrase on this page. If you have questions specific to your child or family, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s principal, school counselor, or school nurse (for medical questions).

Specific questions about your child’s IEP or 504 plan should be directed to Bradley Strait, director of special education and intervention services, at straitb@bpcsd.org or 518-954-2727.

As a reminder, with the reorganization of our schools, all elementary students and staff (pre-K through grade 6) will now be based at Broadalbin-Perth Elementary School, located at the Perth campus (1870 County Highway 107, Amsterdam, NY 12010), and secondary students and staff (grades 7-12) will be based at Broadalbin-Perth Jr./Sr. High School, located at the Broadalbin campus (100 Bridge Street, Broadalbin, NY 12025).

 

School Year Schedule

Q: What day will school start?

A: Learning for all students in grades K-12 will begin on Monday, Sept. 14. However, we will be implementing a “staggered start” for students for the first two weeks of the school year. This will allow smaller groups of students to meet their teachers, find their way around the school, and orient themselves to the new health and safety protocols that have been put in place this year. The staggered start will continue through Friday, September 25, with all students in K-12 starting full-time in their chosen learning model (100% in-person or 100% remote for elementary; hybrid or 100% remote for secondary students) as of Monday, September 28. Once the schedule has been finalized, additional details about the staggered start will be relayed to parents through ParentSquare.

Q: Will school still be closed for Columbus Day?

A: At this time, we anticipate school being closed for Columbus Day (Monday, October 12).

 

Communication/Family and 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 to notify staff, students, and families/caregivers about in-person, remote, and hybrid school schedules with as much advance notice as possible. All communication will go through ParentSquare according to user preferences (email, SMS text message, mobile app notification). If you need to change your contact information that is on file with the school, email Trisha Miller in the communications office at millert@bpcsd.org. If you haven’t yet signed up for ParentSquare, you can click here to do so.

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

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

Q: How will 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, including email, phone, and direct messaging through ParentSquare.

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

A: The district’s COVID-19 Coordinator is Superintendent of Schools Stephen Tomlinson. Parents can contact Tomlinson at 518-954-2500 or tomlinsons@bpcsd.org

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

A: Please contact Director of Internal and External Relations Michele Kelley at 518-954-2640 or kelleym@bpcsd.org.

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Health & Safety

Q. Are masks required?

A: Yes. Students, staff, and visitors to our schools will be expected to wear face coverings at all times, indoors and outside, including on the school bus and in classrooms. Students will be allowed to remove face coverings during meals, instruction, and for short breaks so long as they maintain appropriate social distance. Students who are unable to medically tolerate a face covering will not be required to wear one. Please contact Lori Nellis at 518-954-2610 or nellisl@bpcsd.org if you want to discuss your child’s specific medical needs.

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, and “quick cut” masks are acceptable. Surgical masks and N95 masks without valves are also acceptable. Bandanas, neck gaiters, and other single-layer cloth face coverings are NOT acceptable. More information about masks and mask care can be found at the Centers for Disease Control website.

Q. Will masks be provided to students and staff?

A: Face coverings and related necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided to students and staff, if needed, at no cost. Staff and students are allowed and encouraged to use their own acceptable face covering and to bring extra face coverings to school to have on hand during the school day. Parents of elementary students are encouraged to place extra masks in a zip-top bag in their child’s backpack, and label both the zip-top bag and the masks with their child’s name.

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. Are students required to wear masks in the classroom? On the school bus?

A: Students will be expected to wear face coverings at all times, indoors and outside, including on the school bus and in classrooms, even when six-foot physical distancing is possible. Students will be allowed to remove face coverings during meals, instruction, and for short breaks so long as they maintain appropriate social distance. Because students and staff will need to be prepared to wear a face covering if another person unexpectedly cannot socially distance, they will be required to wear a face covering in all common areas (e.g., entrances and exits) and when traveling around the school.

Q: Are students required to wear masks during PE class?

A: Students are required to wear a mask when social distancing is not possible, or when moving throughout the building. We will adhere to the recommended additional social distancing of 12 feet between students when they are engaging in physical activity. During PE class, we anticipate being able to adhere to the 12-foot social distancing guideline, and therefore students will not have to wear masks during PE class. Whenever possible, students will utilize outside space for physical education instruction.

Q: How can I request that my child be exempt from wearing a mask because of medical reasons?

A: Lori Nellis, high school nurse, will serve as the district’s COVID-19 health coordinator and is the person you should contact if you are seeking a face mask exemption for your child because of medical reasons. Nellis may be reached at nellisl@bpcsd.org or 518-954-2610.

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

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.

School health staff and other trained personnel will perform daily temperature checks and complete a screening questionnaire before students board school buses in the morning. If a child has a temperature reading of 100.0 F or more, they will not be allowed to board the bus. School health staff and other trained personnel will also perform daily temperature checks and complete a screening questionnaire with each student as they arrive at school. If a child has a temperature reading of 100.0 F or more, they will not be allowed to enter the school and instead will be taken to an isolation space that provides adequate room for social distancing for further consultation.

Q. If the school registers a temperature of 100.0 F or higher for my child (prior to boarding a bus, prior to entering the school or during the school day) and my child is sent home, what documentation will the school require before my child is allowed back to school?

A. If the school registers a temperature of 100.0 F or higher for your child and they are sent home, the school will require a note from their health care provider before your child will be permitted back onto a school bus or into the school. The district cannot require or mandate that your child be tested for COVID-19 – that decision is up to your child’s health care provider.

Q: How is the health of staff being screened? 

A: All district staff members are required to perform a health self-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. School health staff and other trained personnel will perform daily temperature checks and complete a screening questionnaire with each staff member as they enter the school building. The district cannot mandate teachers or other school district employees to be tested for COVID-19. 

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

A: Employees performing daily temperature checks and completing the screening questionnaire will use a checklist to mark individuals cleared or not cleared. This data will be retained by the district indefinitely.

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

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

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

A: The district has established protocols and procedures, in consultation with the local health department(s), about the requirements for determining when individuals, particularly students, who screened positive for COVID-19 symptoms can return to the in-person learning environment at school. 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 confirm that they 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 local health department.

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 that provides adequate room for social distancing, prior to being picked up or otherwise sent home. The nurse’s office and isolation areas will follow mandates pertaining to adjusted room capacities and social distancing requirements.

Our school nurses will receive direct training from the Fulton County Department of Health on how to identify potential COVID-19 symptoms.

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

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

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

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

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

A: Executive Order 205 requires all travelers coming from states with significant rates of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of their last contact with that state. The list of states that meet the criteria for required quarantine can be found online.  

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 a child who is 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 their direct supervisor if they have conditions that put them at an increased risk of COVID-19. Students who have family members who are in high-risk groups may also need to attend school remotely. If a child is unable to return to in-person instruction this fall, remote academic instruction and related services will be provided to meet the individualized education program (IEP) and/or instructional program to the greatest extent possible.

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

A: At this time, there are no plans to conduct testing for COVID-19 at school. In the event that testing needs to be conducted at the school, the district will work with the local health department to support implementation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: No, B-P will not be using plexiglass barriers in any school buildings.

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 (e.g., opening windows and doors) while maintaining health and safety protocols, particularly for younger students. The district will work with engineers to establish proper filtration requirements that are compatible with existing air handling systems.

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. In consultation with the district’s architects, district leaders reviewed all instructional spaces in Broadalbin-Perth’s schools and identified the maximum number of students who can occupy each space while maintaining appropriate social distancing of six feet of space in all directions between individuals. Class sizes will be based on this new maximum occupancy in each instructional space.

Q: Will students still use cubbies? Lockers?

A: Secondary students in grades 7-12 will not use lockers. Instead, students will keep their belongings in their cohort homeroom. Only one cohort of students will use a cohort homeroom throughout the day. Elementary students will keep their belongings within their designated personal six-foot space in their classroom.

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. The district will work with its architect, CSArch, to ensure compliance with these codes. 

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

A: Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the school buildings. Students may carry with them hand sanitizer from home in school, but they may not bring alcohol-based hand sanitizer on school buses. 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. Although regular water fountains will be taken out of use, there are two no-contact bottle-filling stations centrally located at each school. The district is working to install additional bottle-filling stations throughout both schools.

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Child Nutrition

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.

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Transportation

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 by their home district to the extent required by law. Transportation departments do not have the ability or the right to deny transportation for children who are in foster care, homeless or attend private or charter schools. Parents who may have missed the deadline to request out-of-district transportation because of a reasonable excuse may file a 310 appeal with the Commissioner of Education.

Q. Will social distancing be enforced on buses?

A: Students, drivers and staff should maintain appropriate social distancing to the extent practicable on the school bus. Members of the same household may be seated within six feet of each other. To reduce density on buses, parents are encouraged to drive their child(ren) to school.

Q. Will masks be required on the bus?

A: Students, drivers and staff must wear acceptable face coverings at all times on school transportation (e.g., entering, exiting, and seated). If students need a face covering, they will be provided with one by the driver prior to entering the vehicle. Students whose physical or mental health would be impaired by wearing a face covering are not required to do so, but must be appropriately socially distanced.

Q. Will the district be adding additional buses to reduce bus capacity?

A: B-P currently has no plans to rent or purchase additional vehicles for transportation purposes, or to hire additional drivers.

Q: Will hand sanitizer be available on the bus?

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

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Social-Emotional Well-Being

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School Schedules

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School Activities

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 student’s instructional program. 

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

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Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism

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Technology and Connectivity

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Teaching and Learning

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. Broadalbin-Perth’s homeschooling contact is Terry LaFountain; she can be reached at lafountaint@bpcsd.org.

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.

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Special Education

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

A: Parents may contact Brad Strait, director of special education and intervention services, at straitb@bpcsd.org or 518-954-2727 with questions or concerns about their child with special needs. 

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

A: Please contact Brad Strait, director of special education and intervention services, at straitb@bpcsd.org or 518-954-2727 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: Students will still attend programs through BOCES. Please see the HFM BOCES reopening plan for more information on how BOCES programs will be conducted.

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Bilingual Education

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Staff

Q: Will all instruction be delivered by a certified teacher?

A: All teachers will hold valid and appropriate certificates for teaching assignment, except where otherwise allowable under the Commissioner’s regulations (e.g., incidental teaching) or education law. 

Q: Will teachers and principals continue to be evaluated during this time?

A: Yes. All teachers and principals will continue to be evaluated pursuant to the district’s approved APPR plan.

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