Frequently asked questions about reopening

Here you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about reopening and the 2020-21 school year. You can also email your questions and comments to

Communication and Family Engagement | Health and Safety | School Buildings and Facilities | Nutrition | Transportation | Social and Emotional Well-Being | School Schedules| Activities and Athletics | Attendance and Absenteeism | Teaching and Learning | Technology and Connectivity

Communication and Family Engagement

How will parents be notified if the school needs to shift to fully remote learning?
The district will use existing internal and external communications channels to notify staff, students and families about in-person, remote and hybrid school schedules with as much advance notice as possible. The district will use our school messenger system social media, the website, emails, and letters home. Learn more about Reopening Communications.

Will I be notified if there is a suspected or confirmed COVID case, or quarantine, within the school community?
In the event that a student or staff member is sick or symptomatic, notification to potentially exposed individuals will occur pursuant to the state’s contact tracing protocols as implemented by the local health department. Notification to the wider community will occur only under the direction of local health officials.

Who should I contact if I have questions about the district’s reopening plan or health and safety protocols?
Please send your questions to You can also call your child’s building administrator or the district office.

Who should I contact if I need reopening resources translated into another language?
Please contact the main offices of the buildings your child attends and we’ll provide the information in your preferred language.

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Health and Safety

Are masks required?
Yes. Students, staff and visitors to our schools will be expected to wear face coverings at all times, indoors and outside, including on the school bus and in classrooms. Students will be allowed to remove face coverings during meals and for short breaks so long as they maintain appropriate social distance. Students who are unable to medically tolerate a face covering will not be required to wear one. [Required medical documentation must be provided to your building administration.]

What is an acceptable face covering?
Cloth face masks that cover both the nose and mouth that include, but are not limited to, homemade sewn masks, “quick cut” masks and bandanas are acceptable. Surgical masks are also acceptable. More information about masks and mask care can be found at the Centers for Disease Control website.

Will masks be provided?
Face coverings and related necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided to students and staff, if needed, at no cost. Staff and students are allowed and encouraged to use their own acceptable face covering.

Can face shields be used in place of masks?
No. Face shields may be used by some school staff, but must be worn in addition to face masks, not in place of them.

Are students required to wear masks in the classroom? On the school bus?
Yes. Students will be expected to wear face coverings at all times, indoors and outside, including on the school bus and in classrooms, even when six-foot physical distancing is possible.

What do I do if my child is showing COVID-19 symptoms?
Parents are encouraged to contact your child’s doctor if your child is showing symptoms of COVID-19. Your child should not attend school if they are displaying these symptoms.

What should my child do if they feel sick during the school day?
If a student feels sick during the school day, they will report to the nurse’s office for evaluation and potentially be directed to a supervised isolation area prior to being picked up or otherwise sent home.

What is the protocol if there is a positive or suspected case of COVID-19 in the school?
The district will notify the state and local health department immediately upon being informed of any positive COVID-19 diagnostic test result by an individual within school facilities or on school grounds, including students, faculty, staff and visitors.
To assist the local health department with tracing the transmission of COVID-19, the district has a plan to trace all contacts of exposed individuals in accordance with protocols, training and tools provided through the New York State Contact Tracing Program.
Confidentiality must be maintained as required by federal and state laws and regulations. School staff will not try to determine who is to be excluded from school based on contact without guidance and direction from the local health department.

What should I do if I have traveled internationally or from a state with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 per the New York State Travel Advisory in the past 14 days?
Executive Order 205 requires all travelers coming from states with significant rates of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of their last contact with that state. Here is the list of states that meet the criteria for required quarantine.

Will fire drills and lockdown drills be conducted?
Yes. We will continue to conduct mandatory fire and lockdown drills according to the existing statutory schedule. Drills will be conducted in a manner that maintains social distancing at exits and gathering points outside the building, while still preparing students to respond in emergencies.

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School Buildings and Facilities

What is the school district doing about getting clean airflow into classrooms?
Upon reopening, the district will increase ventilation with outdoor air to the greatest extent possible (e.g., opening windows and doors) while maintaining health and safety protocols, particularly for younger students.

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Will lunches need to be brought to school every day, or will they be provided?
School meals will continue to be available to all students, including those attending school in-person and those learning remotely. Students may also bring lunches from home.

What hygiene practices will keep students safe during meals?
Students will be required to perform hand hygiene before and after eating. Students do not need to wear face coverings when seated and eating as long as they are appropriately socially distanced.

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Will bus transportation still be provided?
All students are entitled to transportation by their home district to the extent required by law. Transportation departments cannot deny transportation for children who are in foster care, homeless or attend private or charter schools.

Will social distancing be enforced on buses?
Yes. Students, drivers and staff should maintain appropriate social distancing to the extent practicable on the school bus. Members of the same household may be seated within six feet of each other. To reduce density on buses, parents are encouraged to drive their child/ren to school.

Will masks be required on the bus?
Yes. Students, drivers and staff must wear acceptable face coverings at all times on school transportation (e.g., entering, exiting, and seated). If students need a face covering, they will be provided with one by the driver prior to boarding. Students whose physical or mental health would be impaired by wearing a face covering are not required to do so, but must be appropriately socially distanced.

How many students will be in each seat? 
Students must sit one to a seat unless they are members of the same household.

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Social and Emotional Well-Being

What supports are available for my child’s mental health needs?
Due to the COVID-19 crisis all of our students, staff, and families have had to endure a great amount of adversity. Therefore, social and emotional learning is included in the district’s reopening plan and will play a crucial role throughout the 2020-2021 school year.

How can a student reach out to counselors if stressed?
Our counselors are always here for our students and we encourage you to reach out to them. Here’s how to reach our counseling staff. 

How will social-emotional support be provided during remote instruction? 
Counselors will be available to meet with students remotely via telephone or video conferencing.

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School Schedules

Will students stay in the same classroom all day?
School schedules for the reopening of school will be designed to minimize the movement of students within the building.
To the extent possible, students will remain in small cohorts when leaving the classroom, such as for recess or any necessary transition, so as to reduce their exposure to additional students.

How will hallway congestion be reduced?
To adhere to NYSDOH and NYSED social distance guidelines, the movement of students will be minimized or staggered.

How will the district decide if there is a need to go fully remote? Will that decision be made district-wide, by school, or by classroom?
The district will collaborate with the local health department to determine the parameters, conditions or metrics (e.g., increased absenteeism or increased illness in the school community) that will serve as early warning signs that positive COVID-19 cases may be increasing beyond an acceptable level.
At a minimum, schools will close in accordance with direction from the governor and New York State Department of Health if the 7-day rolling regional average of the infection rate rises above 9 percent. In that instance, schools throughout the region must wait until the 14-day average is below 5 percent before reopening, and permission must be grated from the local department of health and other governing agencies.
The district will be notified by the Sullivan County Health Department  regarding the status of infection rates. The district reserves the right to modify operations prior to closing to help mitigate a rise in cases. The district will consult health officials when making such decisions.

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Activities and Athletics

Will elementary students have recess? If so, will recess be outside if conditions permit?
Yes. We will still have recess, and are developing recess activities that abide by social distancing guidelines.

Will athletics, clubs or extracurricular activities still be offered?
The district is exploring the types of activities that can be conducted in a safe environment with appropriate social distancing protocols, and some clubs and activities may be able to continue on virtual platforms.
Interscholastic sports have been delayed by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) until at least Sept. 21. Additional guidance on athletic activities is forthcoming. When it becomes available, the district will communicate that information to families.

Will my child be able to travel to other schools to participate in events? 
The district will not be offering any events or school activities at this time that would involve students traveling to other schools.
When additional information relating to athletic programs becomes available, the district will communicate it to families.

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Attendance and Absenteeism

How will students be held accountable for attendance and classwork?
There will be an expectation for daily attendance and full participation of all students. All attendance procedures will be in full effect whether students are in-person or remote.

How will a student be marked “absent,” “present” or “tardy” during remote learning? 
There will be an expectation for daily attendance of all students. All attendance procedures will be in full effect whether students are in-person or remote.

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Teaching and Learning

Will everyone have access to the remote learning resources, even if they are attending some form of in-person instruction?
Yes. The district has a plan for remote-only learning in the event the schools are shut down due a COVID-19 outbreak. Because of this, all students will have access to remote learning resources as needed.

Will my child still be able to attend their Career and Technical Education (CTE) program at BOCES?
Students will still attend Career and Technical Education or other programs through BOCES. Please see the Sullivan County BOCES reopening plan for more information on how CTE programs will be conducted.

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Technology and Connectivity

What do we do if my child’s school laptop breaks or stops working?
If a student’s laptop or device breaks or stops working, you should immediately notify your teacher or building principal so that they are aware of the situation and can direct you accordingly.

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