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Questions & Answers from September 21 Forum


September 21, 2021- Continued from August 31, 2021


Contact Tracing

104. Can you clarify contact tracing and how and if we will be notified if our child was in a class with a student or teacher who tested positive? Thanks!

Children who have been within 3', without a mask, for 15 min of exposure to a positive COVID case will be notified. Please note that this may change based on the requirements from the Ulster Dept. of Health

When contact trace

105. So if an elementary student is wearing a mask and maintaining social distance, we will not be notified (re: contact tracing)?

See answer to question 104

COVID Procedures

106. Where would we find a written description around the process Nurse Suellen described a few weeks ago for quarantine, testing, contact tracing?

On the website (, 2021-2022 School Year, Information

Health Services Email

107. Just to clarify its not healthcare


When to Keep Child Home

108. I have been trying to find out the answer to this question in the old forum notes, but the answers seem contradictory &/or unclear, and the email we received in the past 24 hours seemed only to speak to those whose children present w/ illness in school.
In the "old pre-COVID days", if one of our children "didn't feel well" (headache, cramps, slight stomach ache, etc.), we could keep them home to make sure they were well & send them in the next day w/ a note. What is the protocol on this now? Do we need a COVID test every time our little ones are having an "off" day, where in the past we would just keep them home?
Children are known to have regular viruses 6 plus times a year, and my two concerns are that
1> people will now send their children in w/ all these slight yet spreadable sicknesses, if every absence requires a doctors note, &
2> Having to take my children in to a doctor's office for every little ache and complaint, which will be exposing them even more greatly to all viruses including COVID.

Situation is handled individually. Look if symptoms are part of an ongoing health issue (i.e. allergies). When symptoms become new or worsening or multiple symptoms, or long period of time. Around someone who was ill or tested positive. Reach out to your building nurse or health care provider. (See website…..)

Wear mask Correctly

109. Clarify how it’s decided who’s wearing masks correctly?

Worked with teaching staff, administrators and students on proper mask wearing. Teachers are monitoring and redirecting or correcting students. In the Reopening Plan are links to Youtube videos on how to properly wear a mask

Teacher Positive

110. If a teacher is COVID positive, will we be notified?

Dependent on contract tracing - adults have to be 6' from students and each other. If positive teacher was within 3' of students without a mask, we would be contacting parents about contact tracing

When to Keep Child Home

111. Clarify exactly what the protocol will be when we keep our children home from school for a day. Thank you very much.

See Answer to question 108

Hand washing time

112. Do the younger grades (k-4) have scheduled hand washing times? Or is it left up to them?

Encouraged across grade levels - reach out to classroom teacher for specific schedule

Neck Gators

113. Also, why are neck gators allowed when they are not allowed in most of the surrounding districts? I noticed that the principal in on elementary schools wears one.

We reviewed the research by Duke University. It’s not the gators, but the number of layers & material used within mask. Need to wear a multiple layers.

Teacher know positives

114. As an elementary  teacher, can we know who is positive so we can add important information to the contact tracing?

Cannot identify a student and release medical information. Contact tracing team is asking questions of teachers to help support them. Difficult to state student's medical diagnosis outright due to confidentiality

Mask Breaks

115. My kid is not getting mask breaks. She is getting chances for water sips during class without having to ask permission or give notice. She is in class with at least 2 unvaccinated kids & no one needs to notify me if a kid in her class is positive. OCSD needs to change this water break policy as well as start giving mask breaks.

Procedure is up to classroom teacher. If expectation as a parent is not being met, reach out to classroom teacher, school counselor or principal

Teacher Positive

116. If a teacher is positive, will the whole class be notified?

See answer to question 110

Windows and Doors open

117. Are the windows and doors open in each of the buildings in order to improve ventilation? If so, is this not problematic for the security concerns in the district?

Yes, windows are open. The exterior doors are locked, but interior doors are open and manned. Each school has security cameras  which show the exterior of building.

Remote Learning

118. Can I elect to keep my child home and have do his lessons here

If a student has unique physical or emotional circumstances and qualifies, we do have a remote option. If you think your child will qualify, reach out to Stephanie Laffin (

Protocols not followed

119. I have questions regarding the fact that basic personal hygiene (as outlined in the “Health and Safety in Facilities” section of the Reopening Plan).  Mainly - these protocols are NOT being followed.

If not being followed, please report to your teacher, building principal or counselor

Note for Physician

120. Does the school provide something pretty detailed in writing that we can give to the physician?  My physician is likely to ask questions about what the school say.

Nursing staff have electronic and hard copies letters indicating if there is a need to quarantine. This will be set home with students. Also, see information rivided on the District website at …….

Threshold for closure

121. Hello! What is the threshold for closure (of a class, building or the district?).  Last year there was a clear threshold of test positivity in the community whereby schools would close automatically, as well as number of cases in 121.
I would like to know if there is actually, although unstated, no plan to close and it’s up to each family to determine when the infection rate is too high for our particular family situation to risk.   Thank you!

Ulster Dept of Health zones and thresholds from last year were changed in the spring. There is no longer a specific threshold. We look at positivity rates by town and are in communication with the Ulster Dept. of Health.

Remote Learning

122. Can I have my student learn remotely?

See answer to question 118

Neck Gators

123. I’m also curious as to why gators are allowed when all other school districts have banned them as they have been proven to not be safe.

See answer to question 113

Notify all students

124. Even if a child is vaccinated, something like asthma puts them more at risk for breakthrough infection, even if wearing a mask. Doesn’t it make sense to notify all students in a class about an infection?

We have to follow contract tracing procedures. If they met the criteria for contact tracing, we would let people know. We have privacy issues to uphold.

Lunch time

125. Students at secondary are not given mask breaks besides lunch. They are not allowed to eat or drink all day except lunch. There are some classrooms with so many students that they are sitting a foot apart. Eating under the tents is a free for all, and students who buy lunch do not get an opportunity to go outside. Additionally, the reports of masks being worn improperly is abundant. Is there a plan for secondary to allow students to eat, drink and take mask breaks? And not be one foot apart?

Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction spent 3 days in MS/HS cafeteria. Students are 6' apart. Students get seating, then call up in sections to go pick-up lunch- from outdoors as well. We are monitoring the situation. Masks breaks are classroom specific - reach out to classroom teachers. Encourage parent/students to have conversation. Reach out to principal about the way student is feeling.

Air Purifiers

126. Phoenicia Elementary school is still without standing air purification units and an outdoor tent as stated in opening plan.  I still have not received an update after asking several times. There are several parents who are shocked to find out neither are in place.
2) Please explain why my child has not had snack, lunch or even a PE class outside, the weather has been beautiful I thought we were trying to encourage fresh air.
3) Does anyone know if NYS COVID report card is still active?  It has been stating “Currently being updated” for several days now

Outdoor tents are at the MS/HS. Elementary schools did not want tents, because it  would take up playground space. As of 9/27/21, all instructional spaces in our  elementary schools have installed Air purifiers with HEPTA 13 filters.

Quarantine days count?

127. If my child is asked to stay home (quarantine) is the days missed being counted against him or her?

When students are absent due to quarantine, students/families should communicate directly with the teacher(s) to discuss a mutually agreeable plan to continue student learning.  Students are not penalized in any way for being out due to sickness or quarantine.

The absence is marked as excused due to illness.


128. Health protocol “not being followed” refers to the fact that student are not being given time to wash their hands, despite the fact that the manual calls for planning time in the school day for this.  Thus my question regarding at least providing hand sanitizer in each classroom in conjunction with guidance and time allotted.
Moreover, a friend was assured that hand sanitizer is in each classroom (Woodstock Elementary).

Yes, the District has provided hand sanitizers for each classroom, which are replenished on a regular basis.

Videos checked

129. My son is in class taking water breaks in class as well as other children, so are videos being reviewed fully for contact tracing? I prefer the old school lice notifications—why is this not the case for a global pandemic?

The District is following the contact tracing protocol required by CDC, NYSDOH, UCDOH which are our regulatory agencies.

Air purifiers

 130. Thank you again for ordering the portable HEPA machines for each classroom.  When are they due to arrive at the district exactly? Thank you.

See answer to question 126


131. The answers you are providing us are not answers. Just vague words that occasionally sound good, but it’s basically “reach out to someone else.”   If this is the case, why even hold these meetings?

To provide the correct contact information for people to get answers. Again, all questions and Answers from these sessions are posted o our website.