Since we have received many questions, this document will serve as a location for us to answer the questions that you might have. Please check back frequently; we are adding more questions and answers as we work through the process of our reopening plan.
Q. When was the reopening plan due and who put it together?
A. The plan was due on July 31st. It can be viewed by going to: ACSD Reopening Plan. Several of our staff were involved in putting together preliminary plans that our Reopening Committee reviewed and adjusted prior to approving. The Reopening Committee is made up of representatives of all of our stakeholders including parents, students and staff.
Health and Safety Questions
Q. What will be considered “exposure” to a person who tests positive for the virus?
A It is our understanding that the health department considers “exposure” to be in contact less than 6 feet from the person for at least 10 minutes, however we will follow the health department recommendations in each situation that might occur. Our health agencies are discovering more information about the virus all of the time so there could be differing considerations of what “exposure” is in the future.
Q. When will a quarantine be required?
A. If a student or staff member has a symptom(s) that is on the list of those related to Covid 19, that is not connected to a chronic illness such as asthma, then he or she will need to have either a negative Covid test result, a note from a medical provider, or quarantine 14 calendar days from the onset of those symptoms before they can return to in-person instruction. If there is a positive case determined in which a student or staff member has been exposed, then those in contact must quarantine for 14 calendar days.
Q. Is being in the same classroom with a person suspected of having Covid sufficient exposure or does it need to be within 6 feet away from the person and/or without a mask?
A. The Health Department will make that call for determining what exposure would be. It is our understanding that, if a student or staff member tests positive for Covid, the health department would know as soon as the results are determined. They would then set in motion their contact tracing for contacts that may have happened 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms or the day of the testing for an asymptomatic person.
Q. If there is a suspicion that someone has Covid and testing is conducted, what will be required of those who were “exposed” to a suspected but yet unconfirmed Covid patient?
A. Again, the health department will assist with guidance in this situation. For example, if a student or staff member were thought to possibly have Covid because he or she was exposed to someone who was confirmed to have it, we would likely get information from the health department for those that were exposed to quarantine as part of their contact tracing protocol. The reason that we are requiring students to stay 6 feet away from one another and to wear face coverings, especially when they cannot ensure that space, is to avoid exposure as best as we can. That said, we will allow our school nurses, in consultation with the health department, to make any determinations for a quarantine that are not specifically mentioned in the state guidance.
Q. When will Covid 19 testing be required?
A. As a school we cannot require that a student or staff member be tested for Covid. If a student were showing symptoms related to Covid we will need either confirmation of a negative Covid test result, a note from a medical provider, or it has been 14 calendar days from the onset of symptoms before the student may return.
Q. How (and how soon) will parents be notified if there’s a positive test and/or exposure to a potentially infected person? Does it have to rise to the level of confirmation before parents are notified?
A. If there is exposure to a confirmed case then parents would likely get contacted by the health department because they are the agency responsible for contact tracing. We would notify parents if there is a situation in which we have to adjust student schedules in any way because of potential exposure to a symptomatic student. We need to remember that there are many reasons why a student could exhibit symptoms that are related to Covid. We expect to have parents check their child(ren) before they leave home in the morning, we will also have a health screening done as the students arrive, but if symptoms develop during the course of the day we are going to make sure we follow our safety protocol to ensure exposure is minimized and reacted to appropriately.
Q. What if there is a confirmed case in the school but my child did not come in contact with the infected person? Will I still be notified?
A. The answer is yes. Please remember that the school will not be notified about specific positive results unless the parent volunteers that information. The health department will let us know if there is a case related to the schools but be more general in their description for confidentiality sake. We will share with parents what the health department shares with us. Their approach with contact tracing will indicate to us the level of a quarantine or other measure that needs to be taken.
Q. What about an Albion student who is exposed to a COVID case while at BOCES? Will ACS students, though not directly exposed, be notified and/or quarantined if they came in contact with the Albion student who was exposed?
A. If an Albion student is exposed to a Covid case while at BOCES or any other location, the Health Department would guide our procedure to that. For confidentiality sake we would not announce specifics in any case, but there would likely be a general notification that there was a case in school while the contract tracing process would guide which students or staff members should be quarantined.
Q. When will parents and students find out more specifics about school schedule and expectations?
A. We understand the time frame and the issues that you as parents are facing in terms of putting your plans together. We expect to have that information to families within the next week (by August 21). It was important that we received feedback from the questionnaire from parents so that we have an idea how many students will be in person and how many remote, how many need transportation or how many will be driven by parents. Now that we have a clearer picture, principals have developed preliminary plans that they are running past advisory committees prior to sharing with our school community
Q. How many students do you expect to have in a classroom?
A. It depends on the size of the classroom but most of ours will be in the 12 - 16 student range given numbers of desks we can fit in the room while ensuring six feet of distance from the nearest desk
Q. How will you hold special area subjects (Art, Music, Computer, Health) in the Elementary grades?
A. The planning is not final yet, but the teachers will likely come to the students classroom instead of the student moving to a separate room to avoid travel and the need for additional cleaning after each class. Students will likely be outside or in the gym for Physical Education.
Q. Will the school day schedule be the same?
A. The schedule may be similar but likely not the same as last year. We will need to stagger arrival and dismissal times to avoid students entering and leaving the building in a group. More specific information will be shared with families later in August after we get word from the governor regarding the format that we will be able to plan on to start the school year.
Q. What other ways do you expect school to be different?
A. The most significant difference we expect to be in the social aspect of school. Given the social distancing and mask requirements students will not have the same opportunities to communicate and “hang out” with one another that they are accustomed to. The same requirements will prevent students from gathering in hallways between classes or having close conversation at lunch time. We are looking at other ways to allow students to socialize with one another, but whatever we come up with will look different than what they are used to.
Q. Will my High School aged student be able to receive all of the credits that he would have received in a typical environment?
A. We are doing our best to ensure that we can provide as much of the same program as possible. Activities like Community Service and some others may pose difficulties in being able to carry out in the same way.
Q. If my son or daughter attends BOCES for Career and Technical Education what will their schedule be like?
A. They would follow our hybrid schedule for their classes at Albion but be able to attend BOCES everyday since BOCES is set up with the appropriate space for social distancing with a full class. Our buses would pick them up at their home on the days when they are not in classes at Albion.
Q. If my child is absent due to quarantine and/or illness how will their remote instruction be handled?
A. We are working to make the move to remote instruction as seamless as possible so that if a student contracts Covid 19 and/or needs to be quarantined because of it, they can continue on without interruption. Oftentimes, the illness may be asymptomatic or with light symptoms so a student could continue on with instruction wherever they are being isolated.
Remote Instruction Questions
Q. Will I have the option to keep my child home and have instruction happen in a remote manner even if the district is able to provide in person or a hybrid situation?
A. The answer is yes. We understand that there are reasons why a family would want to keep their child home and so, we will offer the opportunity for remote or virtual learning whether we can bring students in or not.
Q. What would the day look like for remote learning?
A. Planning is going on for that and will likely take more shape as we determine how many families opt for remote only learning. There will be daily contact in one form or another. Students will be provided chromebooks to ensure they have the tools to enable that communication.
Q. If parents choose remote only learning to start the year will they be able to switch to the other format during the school year?
A. We ask parents to make a commitment for a 10 week period but will be able to make adjustments after that time. In emergency situations, that 10 week period could be waived but since it will take several weeks to get settled into a pattern, we expect the 10 week period will provide parents and students with enough time to get a good understanding of the environment they are in.
Instruction and Athletics/Extracurriculars Questions
Q. If I choose remote only instruction for my child will he or she still be able to participate in athletics or extracurricular activities if they are able to take place?
A. Yes - If the student is enrolled in the district and is participating in instruction with our teachers, he or she is eligible to participate in athletics and extracurricular activities. The same Extracurricular guidelines apply for remote only students as those that are attending in person. At this time, Fall sports have been put on hold until at least September 21st. Home-schooled students are not enrolled in the district so they cannot participate in athletics or many extracurricular activities, however because the student is enrolled and given the option of remote only, then he or she could participate.
Q. If there is a sports season and my child misses school and sports practices due to quarantine and/or illness will they be penalized by not being allowed to play in sports contests when they return? (Particularly in cases of precautionary quarantine with no illness).
A. Each of those situations will likely be considered on a case by case basis. Depending on the sport there may be conditioning considerations that a coach and athletic director need to review before inserting a student into a contest. We will make sure that we are just as safety minded in returning a student to play as with preventing possible spread of the virus.
Q. What if we have shortened sports seasons starting on January 4 and two sports that my child normally plays overlap? Will they be allowed to play both?
A. That possible schedule is still in the development stage so we have not yet discussed those possibilities. There are a significant number of logistics that would need to be resolved to make this possible. However, long before this type of schedule was to begin, we would have developed a plan for student participation. If there is any way that we can allow students to get a chance to participate in the extracurricular activity of their choice in a safe environment, we will do so.
Q. Will devices be made available for each student?
A. Yes, whether the child has the device in school or remote, each child will have his or her own device. For sanitation purposes, students will not share devices.
Q. If parents do not need transportation due to remote learning and then decide to switch, will they be able to have their child(ren) transported at that time.
A. Yes - we will work to have enough lead time in the transition to make sure we can adjust routes appropriately.
Q. How will lunch periods be handled?
A. In the case of some of the Elementary grades we may have them eat in the classroom while others will eat in the cafeteria to ensure we can get all students the appropriate amount of time for lunch while maintaining six feet of distance from the nearest student. At the 7-12 level, the reduced number of students each day will allow for students to continue to eat in the cafeteria in most cases with some adjustments. Again, students will be distanced by six feet from the next student.