This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page addresses common questions and concerns related to reopening schools in September. It will be updated as new information is received and details are finalized.
What is the plan to reopen school in September?
The plan to reopen Gardner-Dickinson is available here. It was submitted to New York on July 31.
The district has engaged faculty, staff, parents, Board of Education members, health and safety experts and others to plan for school in the fall using guidance from the NYS Education Department, which is available here.
On August 7, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that school districts in New York can reopen in September based on regional infection rates and Department of Health approval of school reopening plans.
Will students return to school in September?
Yes. The current plan is for all grades to return to school five days a week in September. Gardner-Dickinson School is able to do this because we have the space and staff to create classrooms and educational spaces that allow social distancing. We measured every classroom and spaced student desks six feet apart. When that is not possible in an existing classroom, we will utilize other rooms to ensure proper social distancing.
Will students be required to wear masks all day?
Face coverings over the nose and mouth will be required for most of the school day, especially when entering/exiting the school (and the bus) as well as walking in the hallways. Basically, if someone is moving they must be properly wearing a mask. However, there will be organized “mask breaks” during the school day with social distancing in place.
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:
- Tips to help your child feel more comfortable with face coverings
- How to Wear Cloth Face Coverings (CDC)
- How to Wear a Cloth Face Covering (video)
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 Superintendent Dr. Mary Yodis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will masks be provided for students?
Students are expected to have a mask of their own before returning to school. If a student does not have a mask, the school will provide one.
What will transportation look like?
All students and bus drivers will be required to wear masks when on the school bus at all times. Students will be asked to sit one to a seat and wear masks, in order to increase bus capacity to 22 students per bus on a 65 passenger school bus (not including siblings who are allowed to sit together in a seat). We encourage any family able to drive their child to school to do so that we can ensure the proper social distance requirements on the school bus.
To provide the safest environment for students, the morning bus schedule will be modified. Typically in the past, grades K-8 would come in on the same buses. It is now our intention to split the morning bus run into two separate routes. K-5 will be picked up first and dropped off at school. Once students are safely in the building, and the buses cleaned, we will start the second run and pick up students in grades 6-8. By creating two morning bus runs, we will transport our students much more safely by providing social distancing to the best of our ability. This will also reduce the numbers of students entering the school at one given time. The afternoon routes will remain the same as last year with two different runs for K-5 and 6-8. It should also be noted that many of the bus routes are about 20 minutes in duration with the longest route not to exceed 40 minutes in length.
Buses will be cleaned and disinfected to the greatest extent possible between each bus run.
When temperatures are above 45 degrees, school buses will open roof hatches or windows slightly to provide air flow.
Will students’ temperatures be taken?
Yes. All students, faculty, staff and anyone entering the building will have a temperature screening before entering the school. If a student has a temperature above 100 degrees, a thermometer will be used to recheck their temperature. If the student’s temperature registers above 100 degrees with the thermometer, they will be taken to a room where they can be isolated and supervised until a parent or guardian can pick them up.
Will visitors be allowed in school?
No outside visitors or volunteers will be allowed on school campuses, except for the safety and well-being of students. Parents/guardians will report to the front office and not go beyond unless it is for the safety or well-being of their child.
How will students travel in hallways?
Hallways will be marked to indicate one-way traffic, and students will be asked to walk six feet apart, including if waiting to enter a classroom. Students will be six feet apart, and spaced accordingly in learning space, at all times. Masks will be worn during transition times and during classroom movement. Frequent “mask breaks” will be provided to students in all grade-levels when it is safe to do so. Stairwells will also be marked for one-way traffic, either up or down, to eliminate students traveling in close proximity of each other.
What is the procedure for bathrooms?
Students will wear masks while using the bathrooms and capacity will be monitored to limit the number of students in a bathroom at one time. Custodial staff will disinfect bathrooms regularly throughout the day.
Will students be able to purchase meals?
Yes. Meals will be provided in the classrooms while maintaining appropriate social distancing between students. Students do not need to wear face coverings when seated and eating so long as they are appropriately socially distanced.
The sharing of food and beverages (e.g., buffet style meals, snacks) is prohibited, unless individuals are members of the same household. Adequate space will be reserved for students, faculty, and staff to observe social distancing while eating meals.
The cafeteria will be reserved for the use of faculty and staff only, which will allow for the appropriate spacing during meals and prep periods maintaining six feet of social distance.
What if I am concerned about my child returning to school due to a medical condition?
We recognize that some students are at an increased risk for COVID-19 illness or live with a person who is at an increased risk and are not comfortable returning to an in-person educational environment. It is our goal that these individuals are able to safely participate in educational activities. Wynantskill UFSD will make every effort to modify its current proposed plan to accommodate for all students. For those who are concerned for their safety based on their increased risk, please contact Dr. Mary Yodis email@example.com as soon as possible, so that specific program modifications can be discussed.