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Questions & Answers from August 31 Forum


 August 31, 2021- Continued from August 24, 2021

Bus Drivers Masked

77. Are bus drivers required to wear provided masks? Last year our driver wore a cloth gaiter (ie, not really effective)

Answer: Some drivers are contracted and the Director of Transportation doesn’t see them. If a parent sees that protocol is not being followed, reach out to Nicole Sommer, Director of Transportation.

Siblings sit together

78. Thank you for this presentation - Sorry if I missed this, just to make sure, will siblings be assigned to sit together?

Answer: Yes, siblings from the same household will be assigned to sit together.

Drivers vaccinated

79. Are all bus drivers required to be vaccinated? and if not, will parents be informed that their child's driver is not vaccinated?

Answer: Vaccinations are not mandated for school employees at this time, but masks are mandated. We have a plan for more COVID vaccine clinics. Can ask if people are vaccinated only voluntarily, due to HIPPA laws.

Bus windows

80. Are the windows on the bus going to be open even when the weather gets cold?

Answer: Yes, the windows will be cracked open even when weather is cold. Dress warm!

Full buses

81. Do we anticipate any completely full buses?

Answer: In the more populated areas, buses are more full– some 1 to a seat, others 2 to a seat. Put families together. With bus driver shortage (nation-wide) don’t have the manpower to add more runs (capacity is 66 children, 44 adults [over 8th grade].

Presentation available

82. Will the presentation be available?

Answer: Yes, they are recorded and on the website (2021-2022 Reopening, COVID Forums) Nicole’s presentation will be posted there.

Students per class

83. How many kids per classroom are we thinking? (1st grade)

Answer: Most Primary grades have a maximum of 20 students.  We will have outdoor classes on nice days. Reach out to building principal to find number of students in a class.

Number on the bus

84. Could I find that information out about my child regarding bus population?

Answer:  Please contact and we will make the number of students on the bus available.

Remote instruction

85. Remote instruction HS, MS staff will be providing support – is that a teacher?

Answer: :  An Ulster BOCES teacher and an Onteora TA will offer support. Depending on the student, that will vary.

Purchase food

86. Will food be available for purchase or is it packed lunches only?

Answer: All meals will be available for students at no charge. However, ala carte extras (i.e. cookies, chips) will be available for purchase. Please note that change will not be given, but rather a credit will go onto the student’s account. Cafeterias will be open with 6’ distancing of students.

Outdoor classes

87. Will there be any outdoor classes on nice days?

Answer:  Yes, we  will have outdoor classes on nice days.

Number on the bus

88. Are we able to find out how many children will be on our assigned bus prior to first day?

Answer:  See answer to # 84 above.

HEPA filters for first day

89. Hello! Will the HEPA filters be in all the high school classrooms by the start of school?  If not, what is the timeline or have they not arrived?  Also, are you going to require they are turned to "high" at all times by teachers to provide the CDC recommended amount of clean air exchange per hour (ACH) for the dimensions of each room?  Thank you so very much, so glad we have this resource!

Answer:  They are on order, we need to check on the delivery schedule. Elementary classrooms will be the priority due to no vaccinations for that age group. Average classroom is 800 square feet, HEPA filters purchased are up to 2500 square feet. Required to be in use to their fullest capacity when needed; windows open for the beginning of school.

Children ill in school

90. If students fall ill during class, is there somewhere for them to be isolated until they can be picked up?

Answer:  Each building has an isolation room.


91. Big question:

If a child is vaccinated. Is there a different procedure on quarantine? So if not symptomatic after 5 days or negative PCR test are they clear to return? What if the same class is quarantined after another week of return? Is 10 days is it upon negative PCR or how would same child, return and exposure work with quarantine?

Answer: Depends on how close the vaccinated students came to the individual. If the distance is greater than 3’, they have no symptoms and both were fully masked there is no quarantine, but it is recommended to test them 3-5 days after exposure. 8/24 presentation shows the entire quarantine rules.

HEPA filters on first day

92. Air purifiers have been mentioned as one of the items on the school reopening plan.  As of today I understand they are not in the classrooms yet.  Do you have a timeframe of arrival?

Answer:   They are on order and we need to check on the delivery schedule.

Number of HEPA filters per classroom

93. How many air purifiers with HEPA filters will be installed in each elementary classroom, and will they be installed before opening day?

Answer: Ordered HEPA purifiers that cover more than twice the square footage of the classroom – double the CDC guidance.

Learning while quarantining

94. Just double checking - last week I thought if a student was out due to quarantine they’d receive only a certain # of hours of tutoring in order to catch up. Did I understand tonight this has changed? Google Classroom will now be made available, with Google Meet on an as-needed basis?

Answer:  All buildings will be working with Google Classroom and Google Meets to work with students that need to be out. Teachers will reach out to students individually.  Students with an IEP will have additional services and support. Our goal is to work with each student and each family to ensure the student has the need support.

PE activities without students changing

95. Since high school students cannot change for physical education due to no locker assignments, what kind of activities will students be offered?

Answer:  Please contact the appropriate High School Physical education teacher for specifics

Windows open in classes

96. Can you explain what you mean in terms of "weather permitting"?  I am concerned the fresh air dampers and the open windows will be allowed to be shut or partially shut in the winter.  This is a really important part of the layered protection strategy.  It's not just HEPA filters or windows open, it's both simultaneously, even if there is heat loss.  Thank you again!

Answer:   The windows will be open all year, unless there is a heating challenge in sub-zero temperatures. Last year did not have extreme cold temperatures. However, we do know that we can have this situation

Backpacks with no lockers

97. Will backpacks be allowed during the day for high school students if there are no lockers? My concern are the germs that are found on floors and that they could be transmitted by backpacks

Answer:  We are starting the year without lockers.  Once students are acclimated to the building and we iron out the social distancing,  we will start using lockers. Found out last year that most HS students don’t use lockers.

Music-special masks

98. For music and band. there are specialized masks. Are they provided by the district? How will they be cleaned and stored?

Answer:   There are specialized masks for Band students and coverings for the instruments. Social distancing for band is different than for chorus. Chorus will be outdoors or in the auditorium

Collecting data of sick people

99. Are you collecting data on students sent home for fevers or getting sick during day?  or at least school and possible COVID illness, which I believe was provided last year

Answer:  Yes, we are maintaining the same rigorous contact tracing

Ask teachers if vaccinated

100. Obviously a sensitive situation, but is there *any* way to ask elementary teachers to share vaccination status- I understand this can’t be compelled, but it’s really the difference between whether I feel safe sending my 1st grader to school in person or not, so any information we can possibly receive would be instructive.

Answer:  We are aware that we may, before opening of school, see a change in mandates from the State, but vaccinations are not mandatory so we can only ask in a Voluntary questionnaire due to HIPPA. If one is exposed, quarantine rules are different for vaccinated people.

Chromebooks back and forth each day

101. For elementary students (non IEP) are chrome books expected to go back and forth each day? are they just in event of an outbreak or are they being used in classrooms? for k to 2nd shouldn't screen time be more limited?

Answer:  Our idea is that we will be using the Chromebooks if we pivot to 100% remote instruction. There may be activities where children use them in the classroom. However, screen time will be minimized this year.  This is also grade level dependent.

Metrics to pivot to remote

102. Our 7 day moving average was 6.2% positivity. We went to 6.8% within past 24 hours. What are we considering “emergency” status to pivot to remote? This was district-driven last year, so do we have a metric?

Answer:  This is not District driven. We are required to follow the metrics established by UC Dept of Health. We have not received any information for this year.

COVID Forums

103. These COVID meetings have been super helpful, thank you.  Will they continue a few times a month as we navigate this situation?  Thank you.

Answer:   Yes, they are scheduled for Tuesdays when there is no BOE meeting