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Questions & Answers from January 18, 2022



january 18, 2022- Continued from January 4, 2022


Band Handled

301. How is band being handled at this point?  According to my son at the High School, there’s no real distancing and the wind instruments do not have full masks.

A. Band was outdoors in the Fall. We ordered specific masks unique to instruments. When the masks arrived, band was brought indoors They meet the 3’ social distancing requirement as participants are fully masked. There were two different types of specific masks that are unique to woodwind instruments which were ordered they are the Conn-Selmer CSFM1 face mask that is designed with an opening to allow musicians to play their instruments while having fully functional mask masks. A Protec Flute/ Piccolo Mask was ordered which, because of its structural design allows for free air movement, but provides a complete horizontal cover over the mouth. Ordered specific masks for wind instruments

Band Handled

302. My daughter plays a wind instrument in band and the mask for mouthpiece does not cover her mouth. The bell cover covers completely. 3 feet apart for indoor band seems not enough, even with good ventilation. Perhaps there’s another space we could use for band?

Please see the answer to the protection that specially designed band masks provide as described in question 1 above. we will work with our building administrators to investigate the possibility of an alternative space for band. However, the space currently used, in conjunction with the proper wearing of these special band masks meets the current requirements of the CDC, NYSDOH and UCDOH.

Contact Tracing

303. Given that the State of NY is no longer doing contact tracing, is Onteora doing contact tracing when students, teachers, and/or staff test positive?

Yes we are

Doctor’s visit to return to PE

304. Can someone explain how divulging your self COVID testing results (particularly the positives) is in any way beneficial to the school community when there is now a doctors visit required to return to PE? That costs money (even if you have insurance) and benefits no one other than covering the school (for whatever reason) if a child has a cardiac event.
First of all, the pediatrician can NOT rule out a cardiovascular compromise in a routine check up. Second of all, (next post…)

Second, it puts the doctor at a liability and the form isn’t state wide or even county wide. Each school may have their own.
Third, how much time is allowable to miss PE? It takes 10-14 days to get an appt these days if not sick and appt must be made AFTER SYMPTONS CLEAR.

For those students participating in sports, need cardiac clearance. Not aware of clearance to return to PE. Required to report attendance with set codes. As a district we understand that parents keep students home for a variety of reasons, students will not be penalized for absences. Will not take into account for decisions. PE teachers are posting work in Google Classroom – make ups are not required as long as been in touch with teacher. At this time we are reaching out to other district in our county as well as  the County Health Commissioner to ensure that we are providing safest protocol for the students

Find Tests

305. If you need a test and you can’t get to testing location, options?

We are committed to work with families and will assist them so that they can get the support they need. Contact .

Remote Option

306. With positive COVID cases in NYS, Ulster County and Onteora schools nearly tripled from this time last year, and knowing that hospitalization rates among children 18 and younger are rising at alarming rates, why is a remote option not available to those families who don't feel safe with their children attending in person?

Teachers are using Google Classroom – contact teacher and principal.  For long term – the District provides 2 options depending on grade level. Fully remote option available – reach out to Stephanie Laffin 845-657-6383 ext 1012. There needs to be a full marking period commitment by the student.

Accommodations for those who feel Unsafe

307. There was discussion at the last forum regarding accommodation for Remote learning that would be made for students whose families feel their children are unsafe.  I have spoke to several people who have asked for accommodation and none have been given said ability to go Remote.  Why are we being told one thing and what actually happens being another.

We ask that you reach out to child’s teacher and guidance counselor at secondary level. Additional questions and concerns – reach out to Stephanie Laffin or Marystephanie Corsones. Contact principal, if you do not receive a response in  24 hours then contact Stephanie Laffin

Hybrid or remote for at-risk students

308. Is there a potential hybrid or remote option something the district is considering for at-risk children?

See Answers to questions 306 & 307

Mask Breaks

308. Is there any mask break for the kids on days when they have indoor recess like today? My son is at Bennett.

Yes, they are built into the day. They are structured in a way that allows the studnts to be in a separate safe space – removed from the others.

Mask Breaks

309. Do elementary students still have the option of taking masks off while outside playing?

Yes they do

Mask Mandate

310. Direction from the top is to wear surgical masks at this point. Cloth masks are not enough. Is this a budgetary issue we should be asking the county or state for help with at this point to keep the kids safe so we can keep them in school?

As a District if we are going to mandate a specific type of mask we must be able to provide them to all staff, students, and visitors. Although the District has a large supply of masks, to meet this mandate we would have to have in stock in excess of a million masks. There is a supply side availability issue as they are not available in this quantity.

Mask Mandate

311. Request for surgical masks be required for all students & staff, anyone entering the bldgs. Meaning we hope they show up w/one but if not they are given one they’d be required to wear right at the bus for kids - perhaps we could coordinate w/1st Student for that if necessary. Thank you.

Bus drivers have masks to distribute to students without masks

Mask Mandate

312. Is it possible to remove cloth masks as an option for our young people?  They seem to not fit as well and seem to cause more movement and exposure of the nose.

If mandate face covering as surgical mask, need to have enough and couldn’t have enough for everyone for a long period of time.  (see 310 above.) We encourage students to be certain that their masks are covering their nose and mouth. We have conversations with family if it is an  ongoing issue

Not following protocols

313. Many children are not wearing masks correctly even this week, both in class and on the buses. Can teachers comment on this during class to keep everyone safe?

Central Administrators are going around to all buildings and reminding staff and students to follow protocol.

Phoenicia allowed to sit anywhere in cafeteria

314. Thank you for the informative session as always.  Can you please explain why the students of Phoenicia are now allowed to sit where they choose at lunch.  Is there a new contact tracing system in place? Thank you

We redesigned the setup in the cafeteria so that in every direction students are sitting 6’ apart. Students are used to having assigned seats. This was put into place by their teachers.

Properly fitted mask

315. Who determines a properly fitted mask?

By Contact Tracing Team – school nurses and building administrators, as well as teachers

Tables 8’ at Phoenicia

316. Thank you for clarifying Phoenicia seating at lunch.  Are we fortunate enough to have tables that are 8’ long for the children to distance the 6’?

Yes, tables allow them to sit 7’ from one another – We measured and taped the spaces where students should sit

Test Mandated?

317. If my children are sick, I will simply keep them home. However, I cannot see testing them if it simply does not matter to the general population. That said, I was told just today, that if a child is out more than 1 day the district (nurse?) will mandate a test. Mandate or request? Can you mandate at this point? And if so, what happens if you don’t while you’re absent from classes that are NOT deemed to be remote??

I anxiously await your responses. Please reach out here (today), or through email

Every individual is accessed based on what symptoms are being presented. We try to check in within 24 hours to see if an individual’s symptoms are resolving. If symptoms are worsening or fever is present, UC DOH  requires that in order to  return there must be a note from a doctor with a non-COVID diagnosis from doctor or negative test (rapid or PCR)

Test to Stay

318. I have a question about the Test to Stay policy. Doesn't it take 3-5 days after exposure before a test will detect an infection? If so, what is the purpose of taking a test on day 0 for the Test to Stay policy?  If the test is positive on day 5, do you then quarantine all those that came in contact during the proceeding five days?

Omicron has a higher viral load more quickly – Therefore, it presents in a much shorter time period not 3-5 days. UCDOH has approved a Test to Stay program. We are implementing the program this week. In order to participate in the TTS program, an individual must be asymptomatic.

Turn around in District after cardiac clearance

319. What is the turn around time for clearance for the cardiac clearance forms once turned into the district?

As soon as medical director receives, she approves it and sends it onto the building nurse, student should then be cleared. It does depends on how busy the day is as our nursing staff is extremely busy–  everyone is doing the best that they can

Vaccinated children in count

320. Are vaccinated children who are exposed counted in the official quarantine headcount?

If they don’t have to quarantine because they are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic, they are excluded from the school count, and are not counted in the quarantine data, as they are not required to quarantine.