Reopening Our Schools – Updates and Information

For the latest reopening updates and information on summer meals, childcare resources and more, please visit our summer resources page. July 31 Update: Our School Reopening Plan is now available.

Reopening plan summary released; virtual discussions set for July 28

Dear Cohoes Families,

The Cohoes City School District Reopening Committee will hold a series of virtual panel discussions to provide an update on our reopening plan, gather feedback, and answer questions.

Meetings with staff will be held on Monday, July 27. Meetings with students and parents will be held on Tuesday, July 28.

Student Panel Discussion – 1 p.m.

Meeting link: https://neric.webex.com/neric/onstage/g.php?MTID=eae4dbecaad1fa7d6b8519a12fda7ab4e

Event number: 157 896 5276 | Password: reopen (this should autofill)

Parent Panel Discussion – 6 p.m.

Meeting link: https://neric.webex.com/neric/onstage/g.php?MTID=e7f9ccb897822793e28285432b441b8fc

Event number: 157 635 4314 | Password: reopen (this should autofill)

Attendees can ask questions or make comments by submitting an email to feedback@cohoes.org. WebEx tech tips are available below the reopening plan summary.

Timeline for submitting a plan and how it’s been developed

School district reopening plans are due to be submitted to the New York State Education Department (NYSED) by July 31. After weeks of preparation, NYSED released a 145 page reopening guidance document to districts on July 16.

The district’s Reopening Committee, comprised of a variety of stakeholders, has been meeting since June, and most recently on July 22.

The 43-person committee includes administrators, faculty, support staff, Board of Education members, students, parents, health care providers, and union leaders. Within the Reopening Committee there are ten subcommittees: Health and Safety, Facilities, Instructional and Social Emotional Learning, Special Education, Technology, Food Service, Athletics, and three building-level subcommittees (elementary, middle school, high school).

We are sharing some highlights/updates below so that our school community can review the draft recommendations ahead of the virtual meetings. Please understand that this plan is fluid and continues to evolve.

Parameters for reopening

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that school districts in New York can follow plans to reopen for in-person schooling in September if COVID-19 infection rates stay at 5% or lower in a given region.  

Determinations will be made by region about opening and closing schools as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. If a region is in Phase 4 and has a daily infection rate of 5% or lower over a 14-day average, schools in that region could hold in-person instruction. If daily infection rates exceed 9% over a seven-day average, however, schools in that region would not reopen. Similarly, should a region see such an average after reopening, schools in that region would also be directed to close.

Gov. Cuomo is expected to make a determination and announcement on the reopening of New York schools during the first week of August.

Our plan

The health and safety of our students, our staff and their families is our top priority. We want students and employees to feel comfortable and safe returning to school campuses. Our reopening plan incorporates recommendations and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and NYSED.

It is possible that we may need to alternate between in-person and remote learning throughout the year due to recommendations and guidance from our partnering agencies, and stay-at-home orders from the Governor.  

Please find the draft recommendations from the District-Wide Reopening Committee below.

With Tiger Pride,

Jennifer Spring, Ed.D.
Superintendent

Health & Safety

Health Screening

  • Staff will receive an alert each morning to answer a health screening questionnaire.
  • Students/parents/guardians will receive an alert each morning requiring them to  take their child’s temperature and report back to the school, attesting that it is not 100 degrees F or greater. Additionally, parents will receive a health screening questionnaire each week and must complete it and report back to the school.
  • Separate locations have been identified in each building in case someone presents with symptoms during the school day.

Face Coverings

  • All staff and students in grades pre-K-12 will be required to wear a mask, even when a six foot distance is maintained. Mask breaks will occur periodically throughout the day.
  • Disposable face masks will be provided for students, but students/families are also encouraged to provide their own.
  • Masks are required to be worn on the bus during school bus transportation.
  • Additional personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided to faculty and staff.

Social Distancing

  • All students will be spaced six feet apart in classrooms.

Hand and Respiratory Hygiene

  • Signage has been posted around our buildings.
  • Hand sanitizers will be available in every classroom and at building entrances.
  • COVID safety training will be provided to all staff and students.

Instruction

Schedules

  • Elementary: Grades Pre-K-5 will be onsite every day. Additional sections have been added to reduce class sizes to 15-18 students in order to maintain a six foot distance in the classroom. 
  • Middle School and High School: Students in grades 6-12 will have a hybrid model with both in-person and virtual instruction each week.

Special Education

  • Students in self-contained programs (K-12) will be onsite daily when school is in session.
  • All district students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) will participate in the services and supports outlined on their (IEP), although some aspects (group size, composition, direct time) may change slightly due to health and safety constraints.
  • Related service providers (speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and counseling) will be contacting families to discuss how to best meet students’ individual needs.

English as a New Language (ENL)

  • Students who score at the Entering Level will be onsite everyday.

Remote Option

  • Plans are still being developed, which may include an in-district or regional BOCES option. 

Technology

  • Chromebooks: The district has purchased an additional 550 Chromebooks to add to our inventory. This will assist in providing device access to more students.
  • Wifi: Exterior wifi access points are being added to the parking lots of each school district building.
  • Spectrum is offering a new community internet option for our families. More information to follow.

Food Service

Elementary Plan

  • Grades Pre-K-5 are scheduled to eat in the classroom. Breakfast will be offered daily, distributed as a grab & go offering at designated entrances. Lunches will be delivered to the classroom daily. 

Middle School Plan

  • Students in grades 6-8 will be offered a grab & go breakfast at designated entrances daily. The lunch experience will be a hybrid model, with students scheduled to eat in the cafeteria and quiet study classrooms on an alternating basis. 

The cafeteria experience includes a no touch service line, whereby items will be pre wrapped individually. Student seating in the cafeteria will be limited to two per table, maintaining a six foot distance. Vending machines will not be used. Lunches will be delivered to the quiet study classrooms daily.

High School Plan

  • Students in grades 9-12 will be offered a grab & go breakfast at designated entrances daily. Lunch will be offered in the cafeteria, limiting seating to two students per table to allow for six foot social distancing. Students will enter the cafeteria through a designated entrance only. The experience will include a no touch service line,  whereby items will be pre wrapped individually – no ala carte offerings will be served. Vending machines will not be used. Outside seating options will also be made available.

Facilities

Cleaning and Disinfecting Protocols

Commonly touched areas, ie. door handles, desks and tables, will be cleaned and sanitized daily. We have fully implemented the CDC enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols.

Ventilation

Building automation systems will be utilized to increase the flow of outdoor air to the maximum that temperatures will allow. Filters have all been changed, coils have been cleaned and commissioning of the system is underway. Window screens have been repaired for increased ventilation as well.

Contact Tracing

Visitor logs with health attestations have been stationed at all entrances.

Visitors

Visitors to school buildings will be restricted to those required for school business only. Parent meetings will be held virtually.

Athletics

The fall athletic season has been pushed back to September 21.

Before/After Care

TSL services will be provided as long as the school is open. TSL will follow the district’s COVID safety plan, including all social distancing and cleaning protocols. They will also limit the number of children in each group to no more than 10.

WebEx Tech Tips

  • If you’re using a mobile device to attend the meeting, please download the Cisco WebEx App.
  • If you experience issues joining the meeting using the WebEx app or desktop extension, please try the “Join by browser” feature underneath the “Join Now” button. “Join by browser” is a separate button, even though it doesn’t look like it. Chrome or Firefox are recommended.
  • If you join the meeting but cannot hear it, please be sure to enable audio on your device by tapping the icon that looks like a phone.
  • You can join the meeting by phone by calling 1-415-655-0001 and entering the event number.
Preparing our students for success in tomorrow’s world.

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