Reopening FAQ

Updated 8/21/20

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. Questions are arranged by the following topics:

After School Programs
Cleaning and Sanitizing
Grading
Health Screenings and Testing
Hybrid (Grades 6 – 12)
In-Person Learning
Masks and Face Coverings
Meals
Remote ONLY Learning
Reopening Plan
School Schedule/Calendar
Social Distancing/School Safety
Special Education
Sports and Physical Education
Transportation
Ventilation
Visitors

 

After school programs

Will there be after school programs?

At this time, there will be no  after school programming at our schools.  This will allow enough time for the proper cleaning protocols to take place.  

Virtual after school programming for the 21st Century Program may be offered in a limited fashion.   

 

Cleaning and sanitizing

What will the cleaning procedures be?

Additional cleaning and disinfection of facilities will occur, with special attention to high-risk and frequently touched surfaces on a daily basis. Additionally, we have purchased foggers for every building. As students change classes, each classroom will assist with wiping down the desk. We will emphasize hand washing and sanitizing.

 

How often will bathrooms be cleaned, and how will occupancy be limited?

We are currently creating a cleaning schedule. The goal is that all high-touch points will be cleaned on the hour including bathrooms. We will be discouraging congregations in bathrooms with assistance from monitors at the secondary level and teachers/principal on the elementary level. 

 

Will the schools provide hand sanitizer?

Yes. Every room will have hand sanitizer. 

 

Can students bring in their own hand sanitizer?

Yes. 

 

Grading/Exams

Will the grading system continue to be pass/fail or will the district revert to grades again?

We will be reverting back to the regular grading system. We will not be following the grading system used in the spring. We will use the standard report cards. All students will receive actual grades whether in person or remote.

 

Will Regents be offered this year and will students be prepared for it?

The decision to offer the Regents Exams will be up to the NYS Board of Regents. We have not yet heard anything about this school year yet. Rest assured, the instruction will be the high quality education that we are accustomed to and proud of in Troy City Schools. All students will receive instruction that meets the guidelines and requirements of the Regents whether or not the exam is offered and required. 

 

Will there be NYS Grades 3 – 8 testing this year?

This decision will be left to NYSED. We have not heard anything on this yet. 

 

Health Screenings and Positive COVID-19 tests

What happens if someone in my child’s school gets sick?

If a student or staff member shows symptoms while at school, they will be sent directly to a dedicated isolation area where they will be supervised, prior to being picked up or otherwise sent home. Students will be supervised in the isolation area while awaiting transport home and will be separated by at least 6 feet. Students will be escorted from the isolation area to their parent/guardian. Students or staff will be referred to a healthcare provider and provided information on COVID-19 testing.

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 the district. 

The district will work in conjunction with the  local health department to assist with any necessary contact  tracing in accordance with protocols, training, and tools provided through the New York State Contact Tracing Program.  

 

Will students and staff be screened for COVID-19 symptoms?

Yes. 

The Troy City School District  will implement the following practices to conduct mandated health screening. 

  • For staff, daily self-reported temperature checks and completion of the screening questionnaire.
  • For students, daily temperature check and screening upon arrival at their designated entrance
  • 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.
  • If an individual develops symptoms during the school day, they will be isolated from others and immediately dismissed from school.
  • If an individual develops symptoms outside of school, they should not report to school and immediately contact their medical provider.   
  • Staff and families will be sent regular reminders about the health screening policy.

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. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list of Coronavirus symptoms was used to develop these resources.

 If a student develops ONE OR MORE symptoms of COVID-19, the student will be isolated, and a parent/guardian called for immediate pickup. 

Many illnesses and conditions can present with any of these symptoms. Since school nurses are not diagnosticians, ANY symptom must be evaluated by a doctor and the “Return to School” DOH Protocol must be completed before returning to school.

The current “Return to School” protocol from the DOH requires one of the following before a student may return to school after being sent home with one or more COVID-19 symptoms: 

  1. documentation from a health care provider following evaluation stating the student may return to school, 
  2. a negative COVID-19 diagnostic test result, OR 
  3. a 10-day quarantine; 

If the student is COVID-19 positive, they will be released from isolation as required by the county DOH isolation and sent home immediately, as required by the county DOH.

Any documentation indicating your child may return to school must be provided to the school nurse.  If you need to submit documentation outside of school hours, please email a clear copy to ReturnToSchool@troycsd.org and we will make sure your nurse receives it. 

 

Will the District test students and staff?

No.  NYSED guidance is clear:  Districts are not permitted to or responsible for administering COVID-19 tests.

 

Hybrid (Grades 6 – 12)

What does the In-Person (Hybrid) model look like?

Grades 6 – 12 will receive a hybrid version of both in-person and at-home virtual instruction to reduce capacity in our buildings to 50 percent.. On the virtual days, students will participate in daily instruction in real time with their teacher via webcam, and will have the ability to interact with their peers. 

 

What does the schedule look like?

The schedule will alternate two consecutive days in-person followed by two consecutive days of virtual instruction. The schedule cycle will then repeat again on the fifth day.

For example:

Week 1: AABBA
Week 2: ABBAA
Week 3: BBAAB
Week 4: BAABB

 

Will the students be changing classes?

Yes, at the secondary level. It will be limited at the elementary level.

 

Will siblings attend school on the same day?

We will have siblings in the same group for consistency for the family. 

 

Why is the hybrid model not offered to elementary students?

The goal is to get as many students in school as possible and give priority to those that most need it most. This includes elementary, ELL, SPED, etc. 

 

In-Person Learning

What does in-person learning look like for elementary students?

Grades Pre-K – 5 will have daily in-person instruction. Students will mostly stay in the same room throughout the day, with the same students. Specials such as art and music will likely be taught in the same classroom. The District will make every effort to limit class sizes to no more than 15 students. Students will wear masks throughout the day when social distancing is not possible.

 

What does in-person learning look like for secondary students?

Grades 6 – 12 will receive a hybrid version of both in-person and at-home virtual instruction to reduce capacity in our buildings. On the virtual days, students will participate in daily instruction in real time with their teacher via webcam, and will have the ability to interact with their peers. The schedule will alternate two consecutive days in-person followed by two consecutive days of virtual instruction. The schedule cycle will then repeat again on the fifth day. The District will make every effort to limit in-person class sizes to no more than 15 students. Students will wear masks throughout the day when social distancing is not possible.

Will there be a teacher in each classroom or are they teaching remotely from a different location?

Every classroom will have a teacher present at all times. It is possible that at some times, some classrooms will view the subject-area teacher on the MX800. We will rotate these students so that the same students aren’t always watching the teacher on the screen. 

 

Masks and face coverings

Will students have to wear masks?

Yes. All students and staff must wear a mask while at school or on the bus when social distancing is not possible and in all common areas (entrances, exits and hallways). Desks will be placed 6-feet apart to ensure social distancing while students are learning. Masks will not be required during meals.

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:

 

Will students be provided with masks?

Students are expected to have a mask of their own before returning to school. All students and staff will also be provided with one cloth mask that can be reused and washed.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a change from our original plan to provide the gaiter-style masks. A recent Duke University study found that masks are much more effective in helping to prevent the spread of aerosols. In the best interest of our students and staff, we have decided to purchase cloth masks instead. 

 

Will shields be provided to teachers?

We received a donation of 1,000 shields from ScottsMiracle-Gro. These will be available for those teachers that need them including SPED teachers, speech therapists, OT/PT, nurses, and teachers with special requests. 

 

Meals

 

Will meals be affected?

All students, whether onsite or off, will continue to receive free breakfast and lunch each day. For students onsite, meals will be provided while maintaining appropriate social distancing. Students do not need to wear face coverings when seated and eating so long as they are appropriately socially distanced. Bagged meals will be available for all students learning remotely.  

To-go bags of breakfast and lunch are available at your neighborhood elementary school each day from 10 – 11 a.m. Any remote or hybrid learner needed meals, may stop by those schools at that time.

 

 

 

Remote ONLY Learning

What does this model look like?

Students will participate in daily instruction with a certified teacher and will have the ability to interact with their peers. This model looks different than the virtual instruction that students participated in this past spring when buildings were shut down. With this model, students will receive a set schedule and will be required to be present, on-camera at set times. Chromebooks are available for any student that needs a device.

Please visit our Remote Learning Page to view an in-depth presentation on this topic.

 

Can I change my mind about remote instruction if things change?

Parents who opt for the Remote ONLY learning option must commit to this option for September through December. However, parents who choose in-person learning may decide to switch to Remote ONLY Learning at any time, but they must then commit for the rest of the semester.

 

Reopening Plan

 

When will the parents know what the finalized reopening plan is?

The plan will be fluid as things continue to evolve and as situations change. The plan submitted to NYSED on July 31 can be read in its entirety at www.troycsd.org/reopening

 

What does the Troy CSD reopening plan look like?

The plan to reopen our schools has been developed with the guidance from the New York State Education Department (SED), the New York State Department of Health (DOH), the Troy City School District Reopening Committee, as well as input from parents, teachers and other stakeholders. 

 

Parents will have the option to choose either in-person instruction or a Remote ONLY Learning plan for their child for the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year (September – January). Please note that the in-person option for Grades 6 – 12 is a mandatory hybrid model of in-person and virtual learning. 

 

School Schedule

Are there going to be changes to the calendar, start/end times, vacation days?

Yes. The first day of school for students will now be Monday, September 14. We will use our four scheduled professional development days right in the beginning of the school year for additional planning and staff training.  This would mean eliminating the “No School – Staff Professional Development Days” in November and March. 

 

There may also be some changes to the daily start and end times due the need for additional bus runs. This could mean a start time of up to an hour later for a couple of the elementary schools. We will make a decision on this as soon as possible for parent planning purposes. 

 

What does the Hybrid schedule look like?

The schedule will alternate two consecutive days in-person followed by two consecutive days of virtual instruction. The schedule cycle will then repeat again on the fifth day.

 

For example:

Week 1: AABBA

Week 2: ABBAA

Week 3: BBAAB

Week 4: BAABB

 

School Safety and Social Distancing

 

How will the school entry and exit be handled?

Buildings will utilize multiple entrances to alleviate congestion and allow for social distancing. Infrared thermometers will be used to take student temperatures as they arrive. As buses arrive, students will stay on the bus until cleared to exit and enter the building. We ask that parents please work with us as they are dropping off their children to help stagger student entry. Additionally, we will utilize the Troy Police Department to help with entry and exit.

How will you manage movement of secondary students through the school if they are changing classes throughout the day? 

A final plan will be forthcoming. There will be no lockers to avoid congregation. One-way hallways and stairwells are possible, much like a grocery store. TMS already has some separation by way of design. Masks will be required in hallways, and when entering and exiting buildings. Once in classrooms and socially distant or when in the cafeteria to eat, students may remove their masks.

Will students be using lockers? 

No. We will have to navigate new protocols to allow students to get from class to class with their materials.

How will lockdown drills, active shooter and evacuations drills work with social distancing?

Lockdown drills are still required but we will have flexibility to do it in a socially distanced way. The safety and security of our students and staff will continue to be our top priority.

Will students be allowed to bring their own water bottles to class to avoid the water fountains?

Yes. 

 

Special Education

What is the plan for special education students?

Unless families select the Remote ONLY Learning option, all Special Education Self-Contained classes will attend in-person instruction daily. All accommodations, supports and services written in student IEPs will be provided. Specific questions related to special education should be directed to SpecialEd@troycsd.org.

Please also visit our website for additional information on reopening and special education.

 

Sports and Physical Education

 

Will there be sports?

Yes, as of today. However the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) announced on July 16 that fall sports will be delayed until September 21 and there will be no regional or state championship events this fall. NYSPHSAA also has back up plans for condensed sports seasons should the fall sports season be further delayed.

 

What is the plan for outdoor recess and PE?

We will have time for recess and PE. We will need to be flexible on the time frame and delivery method and it may also look different than what we are used to. The rule for PE, Chorus and Band is 12-foot social distancing. Masks will not have to be worn when these social distancing parameters are met.  

 

Transportation

 

How will transportation be affected by COVID-19?

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, walking or public transportation. Parents need to indicate whether or not their child will require bus transportation on the Troy CSD Learning and Transportation Choice Form. 

 

Ventilation

What is the district doing to improve ventilation?

The primary tools to reduce the spread is maks, washing hands and sanitizer, but we do understand the concerns about ventilation.

With the exception of School 18 and School 16, all buildings have mechanical ventilation systems that continuously pull in fresh air. At School 16 and School 18, we will be opening windows in each room and adding fans, as per the recommendation from NYS. We are also purchasing portable HEPA filters for each room at School 16 and School 18. The HVAC systems in these buildings will ultimately be updated as part of the Infrastructure Upgrade Capital Project approved by voters last year. 

 

Will the district install HEPA filters?

HEPA filters will be used for portable systems in all rooms in School 16 and School 18. With regards to all other buildings that have mechanical systems, our systems are not compatible with HEPA filters. We will, however, look into installing filters with higher MERV ratings.

 

Visitors

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.

 

COVID-19/Reopening Questions