Reopening FAQ

Last updated September 3, 2020

This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page addresses common questions and concerns related to reopening schools in September 2020. This page will be updated as new information is received and details are finalized.

View the updated Cairo-Durham CSD Reopening Plan (or download the plan as a PDF).

Updated Plan Sections:

Education

Elementary School

Middle/High School

Health & Safety

Health Screenings & Symptoms

Masks/Face Coverings

Hand Hygiene

Social Distancing

Cleaning

Operations & Other

Transportation

School Meals

Other

What is the plan to reopen schools in September?

The initial plan to reopen our schools can be viewed here. Committees are meeting regularly to review guidance from the New York State Education Department (SED) and the New York State Department of Health (DOH). As of August 7, 2020, we are moving forward with the following reopening plans:

  • a hybrid schedule to reduce daily capacity in buildings and buses
  • all remote learning

We will continue communicating with families, staff and the school community as details are finalized. As always, your patience and understanding are greatly appreciated as we work through this process.

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When is the first day of school?

The first day of student attendance will be Wednesday, September 9, 2020 (faculty and staff will have a conference day on Tuesday, September 8). Students in pre-kindergarten through Grade 5 will attend school for in-person instruction. Since September 9 is a Wednesday, it will be a remote learning day for students in Grades 6-12 (see below for more information about the hybrid schedule). These students will be expected to log attendance on September 9 by engaging with their teachers virtually.

Students in the Blue Group will have their first day of in-person instruction on Thursday, September 10 (and the Red Group will remain remote). Students in the Red Group will have their first day of in-person instruction on Friday, September 11 (and the Blue Group will switch back to remote). Read below for further explanation of the Grades 6-12 hybrid schedule.

Click here to view the revised calendar for the 2020-21 school year (PDF).

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What are the major changes this year? 

Some of the major changes for the 2020-21 school year include:

  • Parents/guardians must complete the daily health screening forms for each child every morning before sending them to school.
  • Students are encouraged to bring water bottles to school and fill them at water coolers. Traditional water fountains will be out of order.
  • All students and staff are required to wear masks/face coverings over the nose and mouth for most of the school day.
  • Social distancing (6 feet) must be maintained between individuals who do not live in the same household. This applies when riding the bus and at school.
  • Students should plan on carrying belongings in backpacks as locker use is prohibited at this time. The use of lockers will continue to be evaluated.
  • Physical Education classes will take place in-person however P.E. will likely look different. There will be no use of locker rooms and no need to change into gym clothes. Students should wear or bring sneakers to school on days they are scheduled for P.E.
  • A hybrid schedule will be in place at the middle/high school to reduce the daily capacity in hallways, classrooms and school buses.
  • Elementary classes will be smaller to reduce classroom capacity.
  • Lunch will be eaten in cafeterias in a socially distant manner. Some elementary students (K-1) will eat lunch in their classrooms.

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Will you provide a virtual learning option for families who want it?

Yes, a survey about a virtual learning option was sent to parents on August 10.

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How do I register my child for remote/virtual learning?

A survey about the virtual learning option was sent to parents on August 10. If you filled out the survey indicating you want your child to participate in remote learning, that is considered “in writing.” If you did not receive the survey, please contact the principal of your child's school:

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When will we get supply lists?

Supply lists for K-5 are available here. The supply list for Grades 6-8 is available here. Additional supply lists for the high school will be posted when they become available.

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How will a Grades 6-12 hybrid schedule work?

For Grades 6-12, the model we are pursuing is a two-day rotation with half of students in school two days a week each, then engaging in remote instruction three days a week. The following Blue/Red alternating schedule will help to reduce the number of students on buses and in hallways each day:

  • Blue Team students will attend in-person Mondays and Thursdays with remote instruction on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
  • Red Team students will attend in-person Tuesdays and Fridays with remote instruction on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
  • Wednesdays will be virtual for all to allow for cleaning and disinfecting school property.

These groups are being identified by the District.

blue team in-person on Mondays and Thursdays, red team in-person on Tuesdays and Fridays

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Why is Grade 6 doing a hybrid schedule?

After exploring several options for sixth grade in-person learning, we feel that our current staffing levels do not meet our high standards for ensuring a safe, rigorous learning environment. As such, we feel it is currently in the best interest of our students to offer hybrid learning for our sixth graders. Grade 6 will follow the same hybrid schedule as Grades 7-12.

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When will we know a student's assigned days?

Daily schedules are currently being evaluated and determined. Families will be notified when schedules are finalized.

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Why are groups A and B mixed during the week rather than A attending Monday and Tuesday, and B attending Thursday and Friday?

The Grades 6-12 schedule outlined above was chosen to reduce the number of consecutive days students are physically out of the classroom. If the groups attended a Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday schedule, they would be out of the classroom for five consecutive days (i.e., Wednesday-Sunday or Saturday-Wednesday). High-touch areas will be disinfected daily to reduce the risk of contamination.

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What if I do not have internet access at home? 

Mid-Hudson Cable is providing Wi-Fi access via mobile hotspots in Columbia & Greene Counties at:

  • Ashland Town Park and Quarry
  • Boat Launch in Hudson
  • C.D. Lane Park (outside Windham in Maple Crest)
  • Dutchman's Landing in Catskill

The following Wi-Fi sites have been launched by GTel:

  • Clermont State Historic Site parking area
  • Gallatin Town Hall parking area
  • Lasher Park at the North Germantown Boat Launch
  • Main Street Germantown (within the village)
  • Palatine Park Pavilion (on Palatine Park Road in Germantown)
  • Taghkanic Town Hall parking area

For a list of Spectrum-hosted sites, visit www.spectrum.com/wifi-hotspots, where you can search for sites by geography — then zoom in to see exact locations, represented by blue dots.

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What should a student do if they lose their internet connection during remote learning? 

If your internet connection is interrupted during remote learning, contact the teacher as soon as you are able and advise them what happened. If internet connection is lost for multiple classes, contact the main office:

  • Elementary School: 518-622-3231
  • Middle School: 518-622-0490
  • High School: 518-622-8543

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What is the schedule for Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 5?

Students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade will attend school for in-person instruction five days a week (Monday through Friday). Students in K-5 will have full days of instruction. Pre-kindergaten students have a half-day schedule of in-person instruction. 

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What is an elementary cohort and why might cohorts be needed? 

To maintain social distancing in classrooms, some elementary classes may need to be divided into two cohorts, or groups. This will happen if a K-5 class has more than 12 students in it (the final in-person class sizes will be based on the number of students engaging in remote learning). The cohorts would share the same primary (or homeroom) teacher but they would see the teacher for core instruction at separate times (i.e., Cohort A in the morning and Cohort B in the afternoon). When a cohort is not with the teacher for core instruction, the students may be with special area teachers (e.g., Art, Music, PE), AIS Reading or Math teachers, receiving special education services, or engaging in assignments, activities, projects, etc. with a TA under the direction of the core teacher.

The need for elementary cohorts will continue to be evaluated once school begins and may be adjusted depending on circumstances.

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What are the student expectations for this school year? 

Student expectations include:

  • Regular attendance
    • Be on time
    • Attend every day, whether remote or in-school, at the time scheduled
  • Following the Code of Conduct and maintaining standard  behavioral expectations
  • Grading
    • Student work will be graded and occur as it did prior to schools closing in March 2020
  • Safety
    • Wear your mask every day and every place you cannot maintain six feet of distance between yourself and others
    • Practice good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
    • Sanitize regularly

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What are the student expectations for remote learning?

Students participating in remote learning must:

  • Abide by all expectations outlined in other sections of the Code of Conduct, including dress code, respect, responsibility, and readiness to learn
  • Turn on their cameras and mute their microphones unless otherwise directed by teacher
  • Access lessons for all classes
  • Submit assignments by teacher-assigned deadlines
  • Engage in and complete lessons / learning / assessments as directed by teachers
  • Contact teachers with questions about activities and assignments
  • Utilize the chat box to ask questions or inform a teacher when it is necessary to walk away from the computer
  • Ensure they set up a remote workspace and/or calendar to help manage their time. To the greatest extent possible, this workspace should be free from distractions. This includes:
    • No television or other media playing in the background
    • No pets visible on screen

NOTE: If you’ve been removed from an online Google Meet for negative behavioral choices, it is your responsibility to follow up with your teacher.

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Should I prepare my elementary student to sit in front of a computer from 9-3 for remote learning?

Remote students K-5 will spend a significant amount of time in front of their chromebook or device. There will be a break during lunch and recess, as well as at the teachers discretion when not instructing.

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Will packets be sent home like last year?

Packets will not be provided this year. All learning will be synchronous, which means students need to engage with their teachers at the scheduled times. If students do not have reliable internet access, families should reach out to Dr. Michelle Reed (mreed@cairodurham.org).

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How is CTE (Career & Technical Education, or formerly Votec) going to work if in-person schooling is only two days a week? 

CTE will work basically the same as in previous years. Students attending CTE programs will be expected to attend in-person programming five days a week (Monday-Friday). Some CTE programs may offer a remote learning option. Additional questions should be directed to your student's guidance counselor, principal, and/or the principal of their educational center.

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Can CTE students (i.e., Questar/Votec) choose remote learning?

Students in Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs may choose fully remote learning if it is offered by their CTE program. They may also choose remote learning for CDHS and in-person instruction for their CTE program as long as their schedules allow for it and they are not missing instructional time during the period of transition from the CTE location to remote learning. We are also exploring the option of virtual learning on the CDHS campus for CTE students. Additional questions should be directed to your student's guidance counselor, principal, and/or the principal of their educational center.

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Will elementary students switch classrooms for specials (Art, Music, etc.)?

Art and Library will be on carts and the teachers will travel from class to class. All other specials (P.E., Music) will be in the special area classroom previously used. This includes gymnasiums, which will only be used for gym classes and not additional instructional space.

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Will there be outdoor recess?

At this time, students will not be permitted to have recess outside due to limited staffing for supervision. This may be reevaluated after the school year begins.

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Will outdoor space be used for instruction?

Teachers will be allowed to take classes outside at their discretion and weather permitting.

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If a student has a study hall on a remote day are they required to stay on their computer?

No, though they may have to check-in for attendance purposes.

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What is the daily schedule for elementary students who are learning remotely?

Remote students follow the same schedule as in-person students, only they are engaged virtually. The hours will be the same as a typical school day. They will receive the same instruction from the homeroom and cohort teachers.

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What if my child has an IEP or 504 plan?

Please contact Mr. Morrissey at dmorrissey@cairodurham.org with specific questions about IEPs, 504 plans, and other special education services such as Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy.

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If I have children in multiple grades, do they all need to have the same mode of instruction?

No, your children do not need to participate in the same mode of instruction. That is, you can choose in-person instruction for one child and remote instruction for another child.

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How many students will be in each classroom?

It may be different for every classroom. The total number of students in a classroom will be based on how many desks can fit with appropriate social distancing between them. Classroom capacity will range from approximately 9-14 students (reduced from the typical average capacity of 25 students). Below is an example of what an elementary classroom will look like:

classroom with desks spaced about six feet apart

At the elementary school, the Facilities Department has evaluated the available space in every classroom and determined that gyms and cafeterias are not needed for instructional spaces. Based on the number of elementary students who will be physically attending school, the following class sizes were determined:

Kindergarten: There are four (4) sections of kindergarten. Each kindergarten class has 12 or fewer students for social distancing. The remote students will be taught by a separate and independent teacher from Cairo-Durham Elementary.

First Grade: There are five (5) sections of first grade. Each first grade class has 12 or fewer students for social distancing. The remote students will be taught by a separate and independent teacher from Cairo-Durham Elementary.

Second Grade: There are five (5) sections of second grade. Each second grade class has 12 or fewer students for social distancing. The remote students will be taught by a separate and independent teacher from Cairo-Durham Elementary.

Third Grade: There are five (5) sections of third grade. Each third grade class has 13 or fewer students for social distancing. The remote students will be taught by a separate and independent teacher from Cairo-Durham Elementary.

Fourth Grade: There are five (5) sections of fourth grade. Four (4) sections are classes of 12 in-person students as well as a number of remote students. The fifth section is a cohort model that will utilize a general education teacher and a special education teacher. All fourth grade remote students will be engaged in a synchronous live streaming model from the homeroom teacher.

Fifth Grade: There are six (6) sections of fifth grade. Five (5) sections are classes of 12 or fewer in-person students as well as a number of remote students. The sixth section is a cohort model that will utilize a general education teacher and a special education teacher. All fifth grade remote students will be engaged in a synchronous live streaming model from the homeroom teacher.

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Can the Durham building be used to help with social distancing?

While utilizing space in the Durham building seems like a good option, we do not have enough staff to manage this (e.g., principals, school nurses, food services). Unfortunately, the District does not have the budgetary means to increase staffing to the extent it would be needed. The Durham building also lacks sufficient furniture and instructional technology in classrooms.

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Will students and staff be required to wear masks all day?

During the school day, individuals will be required to wear a face covering while on the school bus, when they are entering or exiting the school building, while they are moving through the hallways or their classroom, at any time they cannot maintain adequate and appropriate social distancing, and any other time as dictated by administration. However, there will be “mask breaks” during the day as directed by teachers and staff.

The school district will also require students, staff, and faculty to keep a replacement mask(s) at the school in case their initial mask fails or becomes soiled throughout the school day.

We strongly encourage that your child practices wearing a face covering at home before the start of the school year. Please reinforce with your child that the new mask requirement is to ensure the health and safety of all students, staff and their families. Here are some helpful resources:

Individual needs regarding face coverings will be addressed on a case-by-case basis. If you have concerns about your child wearing a face covering for medical reasons, please contact your child’s school principal.

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Will masks be provided?

The school district encourages all staff, students, and faculty to provide their own face coverings, and we encourage you to buy masks for your child(ren) so they can choose the style, pattern, etc. However, the school district will continue to maintain an adequate stock of disposable PPE for emergency use or by request.

What kind of face covering is acceptable?

Acceptable face coverings include non-medical masks, bandanas, and cloth (such as scarves). Masks must be worn over the nose and mouth. Face shields alone are not sufficient protection and require a mask over the nose and mouth in addition to the face shield. Additionally, the CDC does not recommend face masks with exhalation valves or ports as they can result in expelled respiratory droplets that can reach others. 

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When students are socially distanced sitting at their desks, can they remove their masks? 

Yes, students may remove their masks when they are seated at their desks and there is at least six feet of space between themselves and others. Masks must be kept on if students are not seated or if there is not six feet of space between individuals.

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How will transportation be affected?

On school buses, all riders will be required to wear an appropriate face covering over the nose and mouth while they are entering/exiting the vehicle and for the duration of transport. Students are encouraged to have their own face coverings, however if a student tries to enter the bus without a proper face covering, they will be given a disposable face mask to use for the day. All buses that are used during the day are cleaned and disinfected at least daily and all high-contact points will be wiped down after each run.

There will be social distancing on school buses to the extent practicable, however due to the geographically vast area of our school district (117 square miles), it may not be possible to reduce the number of students on each bus to the extent needed for six feet of social distancing between all riders. If we reduced bus capacity to the extent needed for six feet between individuals, we would not be able to get students to school in a timely manner because of the large geographical area. For this reason, wearing masks/face coverings on school buses is essential for the health and safety of the entire school community.

Only one student per seat will be allowed (unless they live in the same household). In the morning, the first students on the bus should sit in the rear seats. At each stop, new riders should fill in the rows toward the front. Upon arrival at school, students should exit the bus in an orderly fashion from front to back. In the afternoon, the students who will be dropped off first should be seated in the front seats and later drop offs should be seated toward the back. All students should sit in the same seat every day. The purpose of these arrangements is twofold: 1) it will minimize the number of riders each student has to pass on their way on or off the bus, and 2) it will assist with contact tracing efforts in the event of a known or suspected case of infection or of exposure to an infected person. Parents/guardians, particularly those with young elementary students, are encouraged to review these new bus safety guidelines with their children before September.

If possible, parents/guardians are encouraged to drop off and pick up their students to decrease the number of students riding on school buses. A survey about transportation plans was sent to parents on August 10, 2020. If you did not receive the survey and you have plans for drop off/pick up arrangements, please notify the main office of your child’s school or the Transportation Department that you do not need transportation so they can appropriately plan this year’s bus routes:

  • Elementary School: 518-622-3231
  • Middle School: 518-622-0490
  • High School: 518-622-8543
  • Transportation Department: 518-622-2236

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Will the times of arrival/dismissal be staggered to eliminate large group gatherings?

Buses will arrive at each campus and line up like normal. Building principals will stagger students dismissing from buildings in the afternoon and offloading from each bus in the morning to eliminate large groups entering/exiting the buildings at once. Arrival and dismissal procedures will be monitored closely and adjusted as needed.

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What is the procedure for dropping off/picking up my student?

CDE Drop Off: Parents/guardians can drop off students between 8:45-9 a.m. Morning drop off for all students, PK-5, will occur in the loop in the front parking lot:

arrows on map showing parents where to drop off students in front of the school in the morning

CDE Pick Up: Afternoon pick up will be immediately after buses leave, around 3:30 p.m. The pick up location depends on your child’s grade:

  • Grades PK-2 pick up is in the front parking lot loop (see image above)
  • Grades 3-5 pick up is in the back of the building following the buses (see image below)

If you have children in multiple grades, they will be dismissed at the same time with the youngest child (e.g., siblings in fifth and first grade will be dismissed together for pick up in the front parking lot loop). Students in Grades 3-5 will be picked up in the back of the building unless they are dismissed with a younger sibling.

CDMS/CDHS Drop Off & Pick Up: At the middle/high school campus, parents/guardians will follow the signage in the parking lot to navigate to the drop off/pick up area. Parents/guardians are encouraged to stay in their vehicles while their student(s) are supervised to and from the buildings. Check back for specific drop off/pick up times.

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What is “health screening?”

Health screening is the process of determining whether or not an individual has symptoms or was at risk of exposure to COVID-19. Health screening questionnaires will ask questions related to symptoms and recent activities.

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How will parents report daily health screening information every morning?

Parents/guardians will receive an email every morning with links to complete a brief health screening form for their child(ren) before sending them to school. It is a secure platform called EduForm. The daily questionnaire asks about recent travel, COVID exposure and temperature (i.e., does the student/faculty/staff member have a temperature of 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit or greater). If you are unable to complete the daily health screening form (e.g., internet issues), please notify the main office of your child’s school as soon as possible so they can check your student’s temperature upon arrival.

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Will there be daily temperature checks?

Yes, however you are encouraged to check your child’s temperature each morning before leaving home. If you do not have the ability to check temperatures at home, notify the school’s main office to make arrangements:

  • Elementary School: 518-622-3231
  • Middle School: 518-622-0490
  • High School: 518-622-8543

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Where will students eat lunch?

Most students will eat lunch in the cafeterias. At the middle/high school, lunch periods will be staggered to allow for social distancing. At the elementary school, lunch will be served to students in their assigned cafeteria, except for Kindergarten and Grade 1 who will eat lunch in classrooms.

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Will school meals be available to students who are learning remotely?

Yes, free school meals will continue to be available for all students, even if they are not participating in in-person instruction. Click here for meal pick up dates/times and contact the main office of your child's school to sign up.

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Do all students get free lunch?

Cairo-Durham students, Grades K-12, are eligible to receive free breakfast and lunch during the 2020-21 school year as part of the Community Eligibility Provision. The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a federal program that provides free breakfast and lunch to all students at qualifying school districts, regardless of income. Click here to learn more about CEP.

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Will school lunches be hot or cold pre-packaged meals?

There will be a hot and a cold option for lunch. The menu may be more limited than usual however meals will comply with state and federal guidelines for meeting nutritional requirements. Students may continue to bring their own lunch, if desired.

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Will the Healthy Kids program be at the elementary school this year?

Yes. Contact information for the program remains the same.

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What temperature is considered a fever?

A fever is a temperature of 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit or greater. If your child has a fever, please do not send them to school.

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Will the school provide every household with a thermometer?

At this time, the District does not plan on providing all households with thermometers. If you are unable to perform daily temperature checks at home, please notify the main office of your child’s school.

What happens if my child arrives at school with a fever?

If your child has a fever when they arrive at school they will be isolated and must be picked up by a parent or approved contact as soon as possible and brought to their health care provider for evaluation.

Please remember to check your child’s temperature each morning and if they have a fever of 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, please do not send them to school.

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How will you isolate students with fevers?

If a student has a fever at school, they will go to a nurse’s office and remain in an isolation area/room until they can be picked up by a parent/guardian. Students in isolation areas will be socially distanced and required to wear masks. Students visiting the nurse’s office for other reasons (e.g., to receive daily medication) will not come into contact with isolated students.

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Will there be daily testing for students and staff?

Students and staff will undergo daily health screenings, however guidance from the State Health Department and State Education Department does not require nor recommend schools to conduct regular testing for COVID-19. District plans are required to include procedures for diagnostic testing of students and staff if a need arises, but they are not required to plan for testing of all students/staff in the absence of known or suspected cases of infection or of exposure to an infected person. Further, the State Education Department said “the decision of whether a test needs to be conducted should be determined by a healthcare provider or the local department of health.” As such, any referral of diagnostic testing for students or staff members (based on health screening protocol) will be done in consultation with the local health department.

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What if a student or staff member fails a health screening?

If the individual who fails a screening is a staff member or faculty member, then they will be instructed to leave the school facility and see their health care provider.

If the individual who fails a screening is a student, then they shall be taken to that building’s isolation room to be assessed by the school nurse and await a parent, guardian, or emergency contact who can bring them to a health care provider for further evaluation.

After a failed screening, the school district will require, at a minimum, documentation from a health care provider of a negative COVID-19 diagnostic test result and symptom resolution before they can return to school.

If, after a failed screening, the individual tests positive for COVID-19 from a diagnostic test, then the school district will work with the county health department to determine the minimum standards for returning to the school district. In addition, the school district shall work with the county health department to determine the process for the provision or referral of diagnostic testing for students, faculty, and staff, should that become necessary.

The building principals will serve as the central point of contact and be responsible for receiving and attesting to having reviewed all screening activities on a daily basis. The building principals shall also be the contact for individuals to notify if they later experience COVID-19 related symptoms during the day or have COVID-19 exposure, as noted on their questionnaire.

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How are you going to address asymptomatic carriers?

Identifying asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus is difficult without extensive daily testing (which is not required or recommended by state officials, as noted above). Therefore, to significantly reduce the risk of pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic transmission, all students and staff will be required to wear masks or acceptable cloth face coverings over the nose and mouth when they are on school property. In addition to face coverings, social distancing will be strongly encouraged whenever possible. Face masks combined with other preventive measures, such as social distancing and frequent hand-washing, greatly reduce the risk of pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic transmission.

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What is the protocol for a positive COVID-19 case among staff or students?

The Greene County Department of Health will provide instructions to the District in the event there is a positive case within the school community. Read more about the Symptoms & Testing Protocol

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What are your class or school quarantine guidelines if positive cases arise?

The Greene County Department of Health will provide instructions to the District in the event there is a positive case within the school. The individuals who need to quarantine will be determined by the DOH and the District will follow their guidance.

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Will you notify parents of confirmed COVID cases in the district?

Yes, the District will follow guidance from the Greene County Department of Health regarding the communication of positive cases.

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What is the protocol for contact tracing?

In the event of a positive case, the District would work with the local health department to perform contact tracing (or the identification of people who have confirmed cases of COVID-19 and people who they came in contact with). Since it would be a matter of public health, any need for contact tracing among students and staff would be handled by the local health department.

Read more about the Contact Tracing Protocol.

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What social distancing measures are being taken?

To facilitate social distancing in our schools, we are redesigning classroom spaces, common areas, and other rooms throughout the buildings. The school district has instituted measures such as: reducing classroom items and furniture to a bare minimum, placing six-foot distance markers around the school, placing signage to clearly mark traffic flow patterns, and staggering the school schedule to reduce the amount of students in the hallway at any given time.

The only time social distancing requirements may be relaxed is when individuals are of the same household and/or the safety of an activity or the core activity requires a shorter distance (in which case all participants will be required to wear an appropriate face covering).

Furthermore, the school district has evaluated smaller spaces in the school building, such as elevators, break rooms, and faculty offices, and will be limiting the use of these spaces. These identified spaces will require the use of face coverings and occupancy shall not exceed 50% of the maximum (unless the space is designed for use by a single occupant). In addition to the above noted changes, our school district has evaluated the feasibility of modifying existing areas of mass assembly, such as auditoriums, gymnasiums, and cafeterias, to provide additional learning spaces for students that are more easily appropriately socially distanced.

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How will passing periods be conducted at the middle/high school?

Due to the hybrid schedule, there will be about 50% fewer students in the hallways than usual. The plan is to have directed traffic between periods (i.e., one way on the right and the opposite way on the left, much like vehicle traffic). There will be directional signage to remind students and staff of this pattern.

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Will students and staff have access to hand sanitizer?

Yes, we will be installing hand hygiene stations throughout common areas of the buildings so that students and staff may sanitize their hands while they are in transition and at times where they may not be able to clean their hands with soap and water throughout the school day. We will also be training students, faculty, and staff on proper hand hygiene throughout the school year and provide continued education for individuals through proper signage at all levels of the school district.

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Can students bring their own hand sanitizer to school?

Yes, personal hand sanitizer may be brought to school. Students may carry hand sanitizer on school buses, following new guidance from the New York State Department of Transportation, State Education Department and the Department of Health that was issued on August 20, 2020. Read more here. If possible, please bring unscented hand sanitizer.

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What if a student/staff member is allergic to the hand sanitizer or cleaning products?

They will be able to practice hand hygiene by frequently washing their hands in the restroom, as needed. We will closely monitor students/staff for any reaction to cleaning products used and use alternate effective products in the case of a reaction. If you have questions or concerns about the ingredients of cleaning products used in our schools, please contact the Director of Facilities at klawton@cairodurham.org

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Will desks be disinfected between classes?

No, per the New York State Department of Health guidelines it is not necessary to disinfect desks between classes. Students and staff are encouraged to wash their hands frequently throughout the day and there will be hand sanitizer available. Desks will be disinfected nightly.

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How often will classrooms be sanitized?

High touch areas will be disinfected frequently and as needed during the day. Classrooms will be disinfected nightly, including desks.

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What extra cleaning measures are being taken?

Based on the CDC guidance, the District developed extensive procedures and protocols for school-wide cleaning and the disinfection of classrooms, restrooms, cafeterias, libraries, playgrounds, school buses and all other school facilities. Throughout the school year, we will maintain cleaning and disinfection logs that identify the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection for those areas. We also developed a list of commonly touched surfaces throughout the school district, with a cleaning and disinfection schedule assigned to individuals and positions for these surfaces. We will also be increasing ventilation with outdoor air to the greatest extent possible based on the outdoor air temperature and the capabilities of our HVAC system.

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Will additional staff be hired to clean and disinfect the schools?

Yes. Upon returning to in-person instruction, we intend to hire additional staff to accomplish the cleaning and disinfection processes outlined above for the safety and wellness of students and staff.

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What sanitizing methods and products will be used to clean the schools?

The District will be using the Betco Green Earth Disinfectant Cleaner and Betco PH7Q Dual Disinfectant Cleaner on buses, chairs, desks, tables, floors, furniture, bathrooms, etc. These products are applied to surfaces and allowed to sit for at least 10 minutes. To disinfect other hard surfaces such as phones and computer keyboards, the District is using Spartan Hard Surface Wipes and/or alcohol wipes. The listed products are on the CDC list of approved COVID-19 cleaners. If you have questions or concerns about the ingredients of cleaning products used in our schools, please contact the Director of Facilities at klawton@cairodurham.org

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What will you do to increase ventilation in the buildings?

The Facilities Department is working to increase ventilation with outdoor air to improve air flow throughout the buildings. The air dampers, which allow outside air to be cycled through the ventilation systems, will be increased to 50% or greater (it is typically set for 10%) and may be adjusted as needed. The District also ordered higher efficiency air filters. Depending on the weather, teachers will be encouraged to open windows when possible to increase airflow, as recommended by the CDC.

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Will there be fall sports?

Yes, however the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) announced on July 16 that fall sports will be delayed until September 21 and there will be no regional or state championship events this fall. NYSPHSAA has back up plans for condensed sports seasons should the fall sports season be further delayed. Click here for more information about fall sports.

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What are the changes to visitor procedures?

Visitors will be allowed in schools but they must abide by the following:

  • Provide photo identification to be scanned into the Raptor Visitor Management System
  • Undergo a temperature check and health screening questionnaire (this may take place with a secretary in the main office of the school building to be entered)
  • Wear a mask over the nose and mouth for the duration of their visit

A temperature at or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit or a failure of the screening questionnaire will result in that individual not gaining entry into the school. They will be instructed to leave the school facility and see their health care provider.

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Do all classrooms have air conditioning?

No, only classrooms at the middle/high school have air conditioning at this time. Air conditioning at the elementary school is scheduled to be installed in the upcoming year as part of the capital project approved by voters in December 2018.

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If a large number of families opt for remote learning, will this affect the state and federal funding to our district? Will that in turn to impact the programs and services available to our students?

If families chose to have their children attend remotely, this will not impact state aid. Remote students are still enrolled students, just receiving their education in a different way. If a large number of families choose to homeschool, that is dis-enroll their children from school and assume all responsibility for their education, state and federal aid could be impacted but it is difficult to say for sure. The formulas used to determine state aid are based on many factors, including student enrollment. Federal aid numbers are also based on enrollment. Please note that the Governor has already stated school districts could face mid-year state aid reductions, regardless of enrollment. Federal aid has steadily declined over the last 3-4 years.

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How will you determine further COVID-related shutdowns?

School closure decisions will occur either by an Executive Order from the governor’s office or in consultation with the Greene County Health Department. This may involve the closure of a classroom or entire facility depending on the quantity of suspected and/or confirmed cases. There may be no need to close a school building if the Greene County Health Department determines that the identified close contacts are excluded from school and the facility may continue normal operations. Full closure of a school facility may be necessary in some situations and will be implemented on a case-by-case basis.

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Can I choose homeschooling for my child?

Yes, homeschooling for the 2020-21 school year is an option if you do not feel comfortable sending your child(ren) back to school in September. Please note that there are differences between homeschooling and the online learning we had in the spring, such as:

  Homeschooling Online Learning
Responsibilities

The parent/guardian is responsible for all aspects of the child's education including: planning lessons that correspond with NYS standard school curriculum, securing the necessary instructors and materials (computer, books, tests, etc.), and reporting on a quarterly basis in addition to a final yearly assessment. 

Get more information about home instruction regulations and the Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP) that must be submitted by parents. Here is additional information about the required IHIP.

A New York State certified teacher is responsible for all aspects of the child's education including: planning lessons that correspond with NYS standard school curriculum, reporting on a quarterly basis and a final yearly assessment.
Instructional Materials Since the student would not be enrolled at CDCSD, instructional materials/equipment are not provided (e.g., curriculum, textbooks, computer, tests). Instructional materials/equipment are provided by the school district
Diploma Requirements (High School Only) At present, residents of New York State may not use a high school program of correspondence study (i.e., homeschooling) to meet the requirements for a secondary education in New York State. This means that courses completed may not be accepted as credit toward a diploma should you choose to re-enroll your child in public school. High school-level home schooled students do not receive a diploma, however a parent can request a letter that certifies they completed all their home instruction requirements. One will be given after the materials are reviewed. All secondary curricula are designed to meet state diploma requirements and therefore credits received count toward a diploma. 

If homeschooling is your preference or if you have additional questions, you must contact the district at 518-622-8534 extension 25010 as soon as possible.

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What if I have more questions?

If you have other questions not answered on this page, please submit them using this form.

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