Last updated on October 6, 2020
This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page addresses common questions and concerns related to reopening schools in September 2020. It will be updated as new information is received and details are finalized. New information is indicated in bold.
General/Learning & Instruction
- What is the plan to reopen schools in September?
- When is the first day of school?
- How will elementary students be phased in to the school building?
- How will junior high school students be phased in to the school building?
- How will high school students be phased in to the school building?
- What if I do not have internet access at home?
- How will a hybrid schedule work?
- If I have multiple children in Grades 6-10, will they be in the same “group?”
- How will 11th and 12th graders get support when they are learning remotely?
- Where can I get my class schedule? (NEW 9/14)
- Is there a hybrid schedule option for PK-5?
- Is there a fully virtual learning option for those who want it?
- Can I change my mind about virtual/remote instruction if things change?
- Will there be a kindergarten screening?
- How does this affect students going to Questar CTE programs for hands-on learning?
- How will special education students be phased into the school building?
- What will a typical day in the classroom look like?
- What will a typical day of remote learning look like? (UPDATED 9/14)
- Will students be issued Chromebooks for the first few weeks until their grade is phased into the school?
- What is the attendance policy?
- What is the maximum number of students in a classroom?
- When can we expect teacher assignments and supply lists?
- Will my child continue to receive special education services?
- Will there be fall sports? (UPDATED 9/18)
- Can a student participate in sports if they are in Virtual School?
- Can I choose homeschooling for my child(ren)?
Safety, Health & Operations
- Will school breakfast and lunch be available to students on remote days? (UPDATED 9/10)
- How will arrival and dismissal work? (UPDATED 9/14)
- Is there going to be an afterschool program?
- Will students and staff be screened for COVID-19 symptoms?
- If my child has COVID-19 symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, when can they go back to school? (NEW 10/6)
- Will walkers be screened before entering the building as well?
- What symptoms should I look out for?
- How can I help prevent the spread of the virus?
- What happens if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID?
- How will you determine further COVID-related shutdowns?
- Can students bring their own hand sanitizer to school?
- Will students and staff be required to wear masks all day?
- Will masks be provided?
- Can face shields be worn instead of masks?
- What happens if my child shows up to school or the bus stop without a mask?
- How will transportation be affected?
- How will social distancing be achieved on school buses?
- What are the transportation options if I do not want my child to ride the school bus?
- Can the John L. Edwards school be used to help with social distancing?
- Will visitors be allowed in schools?
What is the plan to reopen schools in September?
The initial plan to reopen our schools can be viewed here. Several stakeholder committees are meeting weekly to review guidance from the New York State Education Department (SED) and the New York State Department of Health (DOH). As of August 7, 2020, we are moving forward with the following reopening plans:
- a hybrid schedule to reduce daily capacity in buildings and buses (i.e., half of students on Mondays and Tuesdays, and half of students on Thursdays and Fridays, with at-home learning on Wednesdays for all students to allow for cleaning and sanitization)
- all remote learning
We will continue communicating with families, staff and the school community as details are finalized. As always, your patience and understanding are greatly appreciated as we work through this process.
When is the first day of school?
The first day of the 2020-21 school year is set for Monday, September 14, 2020. The District decided to move all the scheduled Superintendent Conference Days to the week of September 8 so that faculty and staff can participate in professional development and be fully prepared for students and the “new normal” the following week. This change will not affect the 180-day requirement. Get the revised 2020-21 calendar here.
Remote learning begins for ALL students on September 14 even if they are not yet phased in to the physical school building. See below for details on how grades will be phased in.
Is there a fully virtual learning option for those who want it?
Yes, the District is offering families of students entering Grades K-10 the option of full-time online instruction as a replacement to in-person instruction within the school buildings. Learn more about the Virtual School option.
Can I change my mind about virtual/remote instruction if things change?
Yes, a student may begin the school year with remote learning and transition to an in-person/hybrid schedule but the switch must occur within a given period of time. Specifically, remote learning will require a semester-long commitment. Administrators will contact families as the end of a semester approaches. At that time, parents/guardians can choose to transition their child from remote learning to the in-school option.
Parents/guardians can switch their child’s schedule from in-person to remote at any time, but then must stay remote until the next semester.
Sticking to these “transition windows” will ensure a smooth as possible transition with the least risk of disruption to the student, classmates and teachers.
How would a hybrid schedule work?
For Grades 6-10, the model we are pursuing is a two-day rotation with half of students in school Monday/Tuesday (Blue Group) and the other half in school on Thursday/Friday (Gold Group). Wednesday would be reserved for deep cleaning and disinfection of all areas of the schools with all students and staff working remotely. At this time, the initial reopening plan calls for Grades 11 & 12 to engage in remote learning Monday through Friday.
All students in PK-5 would attend school for in-person instruction four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday) with remote learning on Wednesdays.
See a visual of the draft hybrid schedule on page 4 of the reopening plan presentation.
If I have multiple children in Grades 6-10, will they be in the same “group?”
While it is not guaranteed, the schools are working together with the Transportation Department to make every attempt to schedule households/siblings on the same hybrid schedule (i.e., Blue Group or Gold Group).
Is there a hybrid schedule option for PK-5?
No. At this time the hybrid model is only available for students in Grades 6-10. Students not attending school in person all four days (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday) will be marked absent for the days not attended.
What if I do not have internet access at home?
Mid-Hudson Cable is providing Wi-Fi access via mobile hotspots in Columbia County at:
- Boat Launch in Hudson
The following Wi-Fi sites have been launched by GTel:
- Clermont State Historic Site parking area
- Gallatin Town Hall parking area
- Lasher Park at the North Germantown Boat Launch
- Main Street Germantown (within the village)
- Palatine Park Pavilion (on Palatine Park Road in Germantown)
- Taghkanic Town Hall parking area
An additional site with a strengthened signal is available at the Livingston Town Hall parking area, jointly sponsored by GTel and Mid-Hudson Cable.
For a list of Spectrum-hosted sites, visit www.spectrum.
How will elementary students be phased in to the school building?
To help our youngest students acclimate to their new school environment, we plan to “phase in” Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 5 over the course of three weeks. All PK-5 students will begin school on Monday, September 14. Students should engage with teachers remotely (to the extent possible) starting on September 14 until their grade is phased in to the physical school building according to the table below:
|UPK – K only||UPK – K only||REMOTE||UPK – K only||UPK – K only|
|UPK – Gr. 2 only||UPK – Gr. 2 only||REMOTE||UPK – Gr. 2 only||UPK – Gr. 2 only|
|Week 3 (9/28-10/2)||UPK – Gr. 5||UPK – Gr. 5||REMOTE||UPK – Gr. 5||UPK – Gr. 5|
How will junior high school students be phased in to the school building?
All students in Grades 6-8 will begin school on Monday, September 14, however they will be phased in to the physical school building over the course of three weeks. Students should engage with teachers remotely (to the extent possible) starting on September 14 until their grade is phased in to the physical school building according to the table below:
|Gr. 6 only
|Gr. 6 only
|REMOTE||Gr. 6 only
|Gr. 6 only
|Gr. 6 & 7 only
|Gr. 6 & 7 only
|REMOTE||Gr. 6 & 7 only
|Gr. 6 & 7 only
How will high school students be phased into the school building?
Grades 9 & 10 will begin school on Monday, September 14, however they will be phased in to the physical school building over the course of two weeks. Students should engage with teachers remotely (to the extent possible) starting on September 14 until their grade is phased in to the physical school building according to the table below:
|Gr. 9 only
|Gr. 9 only
|REMOTE||Gr. 9 only
|Gr. 9 only
|Gr. 9 & 10 only
|Gr. 9 & 10 only
|REMOTE||Gr. 9 & 10 only
|Gr. 9 & 10 only
At this time, Grades 11 & 12 will be fully remote Monday through Friday while we explore the feasibility of safely bringing in additional grades as space allows. Students in Grades 11 & 12 should engage with teachers remotely starting on September 14. Any changes will be communicated with families.
How will 11th and 12th graders get support when they are learning remotely?
All supports (to the extent practicable) will still be available to juniors and seniors even if they are not on campus. For example, Guidance Counselors, Librarians and/or School Psychologists will meet with students remotely as needed. There may also be opportunities for individual onsite meetings if transportation can be worked out. Students and parents/guardians are encouraged to reach out to school staff if they need assistance or have any questions. Furthermore, we will continuously evaluate the opportunity to bring juniors and seniors into school on a hybrid schedule as we move through September. Any developments will be communicated to parents and guardians.
Where can I get my class schedule?
Student schedules should be available in the Student Portal or the Parent Portal. If you have difficulty accessing a schedule, contact the main office of your child’s school by calling 518-828-4360.
How does this affect students going to Questar CTE programs for hands-on learning?
Students scheduled for Questar CTE (Career & Technical Education) programs will be eligible to attend that part of their education program in-person Monday through Friday. However, Hudson students will not be transported to the CTE programs (which start Wednesday, September 9) until we return to school on Monday, September 14. If students have their own transportation, they may attend beginning September 9. Otherwise, they will not be penalized for not attending until September 14.
Some CTE programs may offer a remote learning option. Additional questions should be directed to your student’s guidance counselor, principal, and/or the principal of their educational center.
Will my child continue to receive special education services?
To the extent practicable, the special education programs and services as recommended on IEPs will be implemented, even on remote days (i.e., Wednesdays). Parents will be notified of any notable differences in the implementation of the IEP due to the current health and safety conditions. For more information or if you have questions, please contact the Student Services Office at 518-828-4360 ext. 2111 or 2112.
Will students be issued Chromebooks for the first few weeks until their grade is phased into the school?
Yes, students will be able to get school-issued Chromebooks to support their remote learning before they are phased into the physical school buildings. Chromebook distribution will occur August 31-September 4, 2020. See times and locations here.
How will special education students be phased into the school buildings?
A full schedule of how special education students will be phased into each school building will be shared once it is available. All special education students will attend school in-person four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday).
Will school breakfast and lunch be available to students on remote days?
Yes. We will continue to make meals available to all students, regardless of whether they are in school or learning from home. Click here for times and locations of meal pick up (Monday-Friday).
How will arrival and dismissal work?
Buses will be staggered for morning arrival and afternoon dismissal.
During arrival, students will have their temperatures checked before entering the school buildings. Once inside, students can get grab-and-go breakfast and eat it in the gym or in their homeroom (depending on the time of arrival; students should ask a staff member where they should go to eat breakfast). Social distancing should be maintained throughout the arrival process.
- HHS students who are dropped off/walk to school will enter through the HS Main Entrance front door (click here for info and maps for dropping off high school students)
- HHS students who take the bus will enter through the cafeteria side door off the bus loop
- JHS students who are dropped off/walk to school will enter through the side of the building facing the Elks Lodge (click here for info and maps for dropping off junior high school students)
- JHS students who take the bus will enter through the JHS Main Entrance front door
- MCSES students who take the bus will enter through the back entrance
- MCSES students who are dropped off/walk to school will be dropped off in the FRONT of the building and enter through the side door of the small gym (click here for info and maps for dropping off/picking up elementary students)
At dismissal, students will wait in their classrooms until their buses are announced. Walkers/riders will be dismissed by a separate announcement. As more buses arrive, more dismissal announcements will be made. Social distancing should be maintained throughout the dismissal process. As a reminder:
- Elementary School Drop Off/Pick Up Procedures
- Junior High School Drop Off/Pick Up Procedures
- Senior High School Drop Off/Pick Up Procedures
Is there going to be an afterschool program?
Yes, the Hudson Bluehawk Nation Afterschool Program will have a fall program for K-8 students. Registration forms were mailed to families in mid-August.
Will there be a kindergarten screening?
Yes, plans for safe kindergarten screening are in the works and families will be notified shortly.
Will students and staff be screened for COVID-19 symptoms?
Yes, all students and staff will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms daily and individuals with symptoms will be separated and sent home. The District will implement the following practices to conduct mandated health screening:
- A parent or guardian will be asked to screen their child(ren) for COVID-19 symptoms each day prior to sending them to school. Parents should check their child’s temperature daily and keep them home if they have a temperature of 100.0°F or greater.
- For students, daily temperature check and screening upon arrival at their designated entrance.
- For staff, daily self-reported temperature checks and completion of the screening questionnaire.
- Records will be maintained according to guidance and regulations.
- If an individual has a temperature of 100°F or greater or has a positive response to a screening question, they will be isolated from others and immediately dismissed from school for evaluation by their health care provider.
- If an individual develops symptoms during the school day, they will be isolated from others and immediately dismissed from school for evaluation by their health care provider.
- If an individual develops symptoms outside of school, they should not report to school and immediately contact their medical provider.
Staff and students should not enter schools or district buildings if any of the following screening criteria apply. The individual is:
- Sick or has been sick with COVID-19 symptoms in the past 14 days. Symptoms to watch for: fever (100.0°F or higher), cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell.
- Has a confirmed case of COVID-19 or has been in close contact with a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19. These individuals must follow all isolation and quarantine guidelines from the local health authority or their physician.
- Has a household member who is awaiting COVID-19 test results, or who is awaiting their own test results.
- Has traveled internationally or on a cruise in the past 14 days, or has traveled to a state that requires a 14 day quarantine. These individuals must follow current CDC self-quarantine recommendations: View the current CDC recommendations.
Any student or staff member with a fever of 100°F or greater and/or symptoms of possible COVID-19 virus infection will not be permitted to come to school.
If my child has COVID-19 symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, when can they go back to school?
Please refer to “Return to School” Protocol & Charts for details about what is required before a student may return to school after being sent home with one or more COVID-19 symptoms.
Will walkers be screened before entering the building as well?
Yes, all students and staff will be screened before entering the school buildings regardless of how they arrived at school.
What symptoms should I look out for?
The primary symptoms of COVID-19 are fever and coughing. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea. If you or a family member experiences any of these symptoms, you are encouraged to stay home and speak with your healthcare provider.
How can I help prevent the spread of the virus?
The best ways to prevent the virus from spreading are to stay home when ill, wash your hands frequently, wear a mask, keep your distance from others and disinfect frequently used areas and objects (i.e., phone, doorknobs) with at least 60% alcohol.
What happens if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID?
If a student or staff member displays symptoms of, or tests positive for, COVID-19, the District will follow the guidance from the local health department as outlined in this section of our Reopening Plan.
Parents must ensure they do not send a child to school if the child has COVID-19 symptoms (as listed in this document below) or is lab-confirmed with COVID-19, and instead should opt to receive remote instruction until the below conditions for re-entry are met (at minimum):
- Documentation from a health care provider evaluation
- Negative COVID-19 test results and symptom resolution
- Release from isolation
The District will work closely with the local DOH to determine when an individual may return to school.
How will you determine further COVID-related shutdowns?
School closure decisions will occur either by an Executive Order from the governor’s office or in consultation with the local health department. This may involve the closure of a classroom or entire facility depending on the quantity of suspected and/or confirmed cases. There may be no need to close a school building if the local health department determines that the identified close contacts are excluded from school and the facility may continue normal operations. Full closure of a school facility may be necessary in some situations and will be implemented on a case-by-case basis.
What is the attendance policy?
If a student is ill (fever, etc.) they will be considered “excused sick” like any other time. A note from the parent/guardian will be required, otherwise the absence will be unexcused.
Can students bring their own hand sanitizer to school?
Yes, students may carry personal-size bottles of hand sanitizer in school and on school buses following new guidance from the New York State Department of Transportation. The size of the bottle should not exceed eight (8) ounces in volume and should be secured when not in use. Read more here.
Will students and staff be required to wear masks all day?
Face coverings over the nose and mouth will be required for most of the school day, especially when entering/exiting the school (and the bus) as well as walking in the hallways. Basically, if someone is moving they must be properly wearing a mask. However, there will be organized “mask breaks” during the school day with social distancing in place. We explored other options such as barriers to reduce the need for face coverings, but unfortunately schoolwide barriers are not cost effective at this time. We are working closely with Needham Risk Management and our insurance carrier to install shield guards that are safe for school settings in high traffic areas such as main offices and any other areas identified by our risk management group.
We strongly encourage that your child practices wearing a face covering at home before the start of the school year. Please reinforce with your child that the new mask requirement is to ensure the health and safety of all students, staff and their families. Here are some helpful resources:
- Tips to help your child feel more comfortable with face coverings
- How to Wear Cloth Face Coverings (CDC)
- Face Covering Do’s and Don’ts (video)
- How to Wear a Cloth Mask Safely (video)
- Wearing a Mask – A Social Narrative for Children (video)
Individual needs regarding face coverings will be addressed on a case-by-case basis. If you have concerns about your child wearing a face covering for medical reasons, please contact your child’s school principal.
Will masks be provided?
Students are expected to have a mask of their own before returning to school. The District will also provide each student with one (1) reusable cloth mask that can be laundered (we suggest hand washing with mild detergent and air drying). Disposable masks will be available on an as needed basis.
Can face shields be worn instead of masks?
Face shields alone do not provide sufficient protection, therefore if you choose to wear a face shield then you must also wear a mask over the nose and mouth.
What happens if my child shows up to school or the bus stop without a mask?
Disposable masks will be available both on school buses and in each school. Masks MUST be worn at all times on the school bus unless there is a documented medical excuse.
How will transportation be affected?
To reduce capacity, only one student will be allowed per seat (a reduction from 2 – 3 students per seat). Seats will alternate between window and aisle seats. All students must wear a mask at all times. High contact areas will be wiped down after each bus run. In accordance with State guidance, members of the same household may be seated within 6 feet of each other and can share a seat.
As bus capacity will be greatly reduced, the District strongly encourages alternative forms of transportation where possible including parent drop off/pick up, walking, biking or public transportation. School staff are in the process of contacting families to determine their transportation preferences and this information will be noted in our Student Management System.
How will social distancing be achieved on school buses?
Students will be seated according to the 50% pattern to allow for sufficient social distancing (i.e., one rider per seat, alternating between window and aisle seats). In the example diagram below, O represents a student seat and X represents an empty seat:
Students will be assigned seats according to the seating schematic above. Siblings or children who reside in the same household may be seated together. This will alter the above schematic somewhat to provide appropriate social distancing, however, it will not necessarily affect the number of riders.
The bus will be loaded from the back to the front and unloaded from the front to the back. This means that the first students on the bus will sit in the back, and the students sitting in the front will be the first to get off the bus.
What are the transportation options if I do not want my child to ride the school bus?
Other than the school bus, student transportation options include drop off and pick up by parent/guardian or other individual, bicycle and walking. School staff are in the process of contacting families to determine their transportation preferences and this information will be noted in our Student Management System.
What is the maximum number of students in a classroom?
The number of students and adults in a room will vary based on the available square footage of each room. We are working with our Risk Management team to determine the maximum capacity of each room while ensuring sufficient social distancing with desks spaced six feet apart.
What will a typical day in the classroom look like?
The schedules for each grade are currently under development.
Grades K-5: Click here for a slideshow with information about in-person and virtual learning expectations and more.
What will a typical day of remote learning look like?
Students will be expected to attend remotely at the times scheduled (synchronous). The hours required will be comparable to a regular school day. “Bell” schedules for remote learning days are available on the Remote Learning webpage. This page can also be accessed by clicking the “Students” or “Parents” links at the top of our website.
Grades K-5: Click here for a slideshow with information about in-person and virtual learning expectations and more.
Learn more about the Virtual School option.
When can we expect teacher assignments and supply lists?
Teacher assignments are currently being determined. This year is more challenging than previous years so your patience and understanding are appreciated.
Click the links below for available supply lists:
Will there be fall sports?
Yes, however the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) announced on July 16 that fall sports will be delayed until at least September 21 and there will be no regional or state championship events this fall. Fall Sports Spectators: Please review these guidelines for spectators at fall athletic events.
NYSPHSAA issued an update on September 11 officially postponing the start dates for Football and Girls Volleyball, which are now scheduled to begin during Fall Sports Season II on March 1, 2021 (this condensed season aims to allow the fall athletes affected to compete despite the fall delay). In a corresponding move, NYSPHSAA delayed the start date for the Spring Season until April 19, 2021.
Can a student participate in sports if they are in Virtual School?
Yes, a student cannot be restricted from participating in sports even if they have selected Virtual School for the semester as long as they are receiving credit for three courses and physical education. See this memo from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association for more information.
Can the John L. Edwards school be used to help with social distancing?
While utilizing the JLE building seems like a good option, there are several reasons it is not possible. The primary reason is that we do not have enough staff to use JLE as a fully functional school. The District would need to hire several new positions, including an administrator, a school nurse and food service workers, which are not part of the 2020-21 budget. The building also lacks a state assigned BEDS code, running water, furniture, and equipment (including the kitchen and instructional technology in classrooms).
Will visitors be allowed in schools?
No. No outside visitors or volunteers will be allowed on school campuses, except for in emergency circumstances or to ensure the safety and well-being of students and staff. Essential visitors to facilities will be required to wear face coverings, need to be screened through our visitor management software system, and follow the District’s health screening protocols.
Can I choose homeschooling for my child(ren)?
Yes, homeschooling for the 2020-21 school year is an option if you do not feel comfortable sending your child(ren) back to school in September. Please note that there are differences between homeschooling and the online learning we had in the spring, such as:
|Responsibilities||The parent/guardian is responsible for all aspects of the child’s education including: planning lessons that correspond with NYS standard school curriculum, securing the necessary instructors and materials (computer, books, tests, etc.), and reporting on a quarterly basis in addition to a final yearly assessment.
Get more information about home instruction regulations and the Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP) that must be submitted by parents. Here is additional information about the required IHIP.
|A New York State certified teacher is responsible for all aspects of the child’s education including: planning lessons that correspond with NYS standard school curriculum, reporting on a quarterly basis and a final yearly assessment. The parent/guardian is responsible for ensuring their child logs attendance in virtual learning, engages with their teacher and completes the required assignments.|
|Instructional Materials||Instructional materials/equipment are not provided (e.g., curriculum, textbooks, computer, tests).||Instructional materials/equipment are provided by the school district.|
|Diploma Requirements (High School Only)||At present, residents of New York State may not use a high school program of correspondence study (i.e., homeschooling) to meet the requirements for a secondary education in New York State. This means that courses completed may not be accepted as credit toward a diploma should you choose to re-enroll your child in public school. High school-level home schooled students do not receive a diploma, however a parent can request a letter that certifies they completed all their home instruction requirements. One will be given after the materials are reviewed.||All secondary curricula are designed to meet state diploma requirements and therefore credits received count toward a diploma.|
If homeschooling is your preference or if you have additional questions, you must contact the Office of School Improvement at 518-828-4360 extension 2134 or email Theresa Hayes at email@example.com as soon as possible.