On August 30, 2021 the Cohoes City School District held a virtual forum for parents on the protocols that will be in place to mitigate COVID-19 to begin the school year. The link to the video can be found here and is embedded below.
Back to School Opening Forum Q&A
Cohoes City School District will welcome back grades K-12 students on Tuesday, Sept. 7. UPK starts on Thursday, Sept. 9. School will be in-person every day, excluding holidays and school breaks. Students enrolled in Career and Technical Education (CTE) will be transported daily.
The district has developed a school opening plan based on guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Pediatric Association, NYSED Health and Safety Guidance, Albany County Health Department and Dr. DiTursi, the district’s medical director. It is subject to change based on additional guidance from the New York State Department of Health or Albany County Department of Health.
The district will take a layered mitigation approach based on the four categories for community transmission as identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC): low, moderate, substantial and high. By using the tiered mitigation plan, the district can adjust processes and protocols as needed as the transmission rates change. View the NYS COVID-19 Tracker for updated information about percent positive COVID-19 case results.
As of Aug. 30, Albany County is in a high transmission zone.
The district held a School Opening Forum on Monday, Aug. 30, to share information and protocols to ensure the safe opening of school. Members of the school community were invited to submit questions prior to the opening forum. The questions and answers below reflect similar themes represented among submitted questions.
Will staff and students be required to wear masks indoors?
As of Aug. 27, the New York State Department of Health mandated that all students, staff and visitors wear masks indoors. Mask breaks will be provided.
Note: People with medical or developmental conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask may be exempted from mask requirements if documentation is received from a medical provider. Families for whom this applies will need to provide a note from the child’s doctor as well as a signed HIPAA release form. Please contact Dan Martinelli, Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services, if this is the case for your child.
Will masks be required outdoors?
In general, masks will not be required outdoors. There may be exceptions, such as in PE class or recess, when students are doing something very active and are required to be within 3 feet of each other for a sustained period of time. However, we expect the students to be able to be unmasked most of the time outdoors.
Will masks be required on school buses?
Yes, masks will be required on school buses.
What will physical distancing requirements be indoors?
When transmission rates range from moderate to high, 3 feet physical distancing will be maintained. In periods of low transmission, distancing measures will be made in consultation with the medical director.
What is the protocol for the cafeteria and eating in classrooms?
The district plans to maintain 6-feet physical distancing to the greatest extent possible when students are eating. Plans are in place at the elementary level so that students will have access to the cafeteria on a rotating basis.
What daily protocols are in place?
The district will take the following steps:
- Handwashing, hand-sanitizer use and respiratory etiquette, such as covering a sneeze or cough, will be expected and encouraged.
- Daily routine cleaning and daily disinfection of moderate- and high-touch surfaces will take place. Spaces in which there has been a suspected Covid-19 case within the previous 24 hours will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
- Increased fresh air circulation.
Do I have to fill out a daily attestation form?
Daily health attestations are no longer required; however families and staff will be expected to self-screen daily for symptoms of Covid-19. Students and staff are instructed to stay home with any signs of infectious illness.
Return to school/work will follow Albany County Department of Health protocols, including Covid-19 test results and physician notes when applicable.
Will there be a virtual learning option for my child?
There is an option to participate in a fully remote program for students in grades K-12 for whom it has been deemed a medical necessity. This option would be available for students diagnosed as immunocompromised by their medical doctor. A doctor’s note and signed Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPPA) release form is required. Remote-only instruction will be provided through Capital Region BOCES, using their teachers, and requires a one-year commitment.
Please contact the district office at 518-239-0100 ext 2350 for additional information.
Will my child have access to technology?
The Cohoes City School District has made continuous investments in the purchase of educational technology. Students in grades 3 through 12 will receive a Chromebook this year. Additional Chromebook sets will be available on-site for classrooms to utilize.
The district will continue to offer secure guest wireless access for those students who wish to use their own device.
The primary technology platforms will be Google Classroom at the elementary level and Schoology at the secondary level.
Will extracurricular activities be offered this year?
Students will be able to participate in extracurricular activities this year, provided physical distancing requirements are followed.
Will lockers be in use at the middle school and high school this year?
Students will be able to use lockers at the high school at the start of the school year, but we will hold off a bit on middle school locker use. Given the amount of travel high school students have to do between classes, it makes sense to allow them to use their lockers.
Will before and aftercare be available?
Before- and after-care is available for K- 5 students at all three elementary buildings through an outside provider – TSL. At this point in time preschool before- and after-care is only available at Abram Lansing Elementary.