Frequently Asked Questions

Re-Opening 2020-2021 – FAQ

Tonight I am recommending to the Board of Education that Eldred teach virtually until September 25th and that we begin serving students in our school buildings on September 28th. The students in the “A” group who comprise about 50% of our students will be picked up at their bus stop for coming to school on the morning of September 28th.

 At that time students in the “B” group will continue to learn and take their classes virtually. Since this is a synchronous (at the same time) virtual learning, students must be at their Chrome books and ready for their lesson at the same time as if they were in school. You will receive additional information from the principal regarding specifics.

The decision to extend the virtual learning for all students until the 25th of September was made with the safety of our students as the first priority. Extending the virtual learning also provides additional familiarity with the technology for both the teachers and the students.

If your child is in the “B” group, they will come to the school building for the first time on October 5th.

I realize that you may have questions and or concerns about starting school but let me assure you that with this plan, we are exercising an abundance of caution. Safety of our students is our first priority.

As families and policymakers make decisions about their children returning to school, it is important to consider the full spectrum of benefits and risks of both in-person and virtual learning options.  Everyone is understandably concerned about the safety of staff and children at school in the wake of COVID-19. Schools are required to adhere to the NYSDOH guidance and submit any questions regarding their safety plan to the NYSDOH, via e-mail: [email protected]

Some questions that I heard recently are:

What happens if a student does not want to wear a mask?
All staff and student must wear a mask unless 10 feet or more from another person. We realize that it is a challenge to have a mask on for too long so we are building in “mask breaks” throughout the day. Students may go outside and remove their mask for a few minutes then return to their class. If a student refuses to wear a mask and continues to refuse after we counsel them regarding the importance of doing so, will not be permitted to be in the building and will be instructed virtually full time.

Will we know if a student is ill?
We plan on taking the temperature of every student prior to entry and expect all adults to take their temperature prior to coming to work.

What about fresh air? Will the air be safe to breathe?
We have increased our air filtration by doubling the air filter density. We are also going to have air tests conducted by BOCES before we open our buildings to students, while they are here and following school.  Any air issues identified will be immediately addressed.

What is ELDRED CSD’s approach to reopening? 
On July 13, Governor Cuomo indicated that, if the data supports doing so, schools must open safely for as much in-person instruction as possible, while also offering remote options for those who need/want it. At this time, ELDRED CSD schools will follow NYSDOH and NYSED guidance to reopen and safely welcome back as many students as possible, while also providing distance learning for those who need it. 

Will there be an option for students who would prefer all on-line instruction due to health concerns? 
Yes. There is an option for students to opt for all on-line instruction.  The details of our 100% online instructional plan are currently being developed and will be finalized after the parent forms are all submitted. If you choose 100% online learning for your child(ren), they will receive their instruction at home 5 days a week via the chromebook.

Is my child supposed to sit at his/her chromebook all day long?
NO. Your child will follow what his/her class is doing including taking breaks and PE and lunch, recess etc.

Can non-teaching staff work remotely if they prefer? 
At this time, we need teachers to teach remotely for those students who are engaged in distance learning. School district operations require virtually all other staff to be present for those students who are attending in-person. Staff are, however, able to indicate their requests for accommodations through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for a maximum 12-week period (as the law requires).

What happens if there is a spike in COVID-19 cases in our community? Do you have plans in place for closure
There is a plan if schools have to go 100% online in the event we are ordered to close we must close.

Will children be able to stay for afterschool programs? 
We are not offering afterschool programs with unless we are comfortable that day to day is not presenting any risks.


Health and Safety

Will face coverings be provided to students and does ELDRED CSD currently have them available?
Parents are encouraged to provide their child with a face mask prior to sending them to school. We encourage students to bring a spare mask, labeled and sealed in a plastic bag or container, daily, in case the student’s mask becomes soiled. Cloth or paper face masks will be available to any student that needs them each day.

Are there any restrictions on what kind of mask my child can wear at school?
Face masks should either be cloth or of the paper variety. Cloth masks may include anything that covers the nose and mouth.

Can my child wear a plastic face shield instead of a mask?
Students may wear face shields if provided by the parent. Face shields will be available on a limited basis as needed for instructional purposes. They can wear a face shield in addition to the mask, but not in place of the mask. 

What options do I have if I do not want my child to wear a mask while at school?
Only documented medical exemptions will be permitted with regards to the requirements to wear face masks. If a parent does not want their child to wear a face mask and lacks a medical exemption, a remote learning option is available for students instead.

Can my child wear plastic gloves to school?
Yes, as long as they are provided by the parent.

Will teachers and staff be required to wear masks?
Yes, all staff are required to wear a face mask.

How can we ensure that students stay physically distanced in school?
Like mask-wearing, physical distancing represents a significant shift in our school culture. 

Helping students remain physically distanced requires the creation of environments that make it easy to “do the right thing” (by, for example, reconfiguring classrooms and other instructional spaces). Additional approaches we can take to encourage physical distancing include:

  • Prompting students with clear markings/visual cues and reminders that are simple to understand
  • Calmly (tone and content) reminding students when 6 feet of distance is needed

What should parents/guardians be checking before we send our children to school? Will you be sending us a symptom checklist?
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported - ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19 at:

People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • ● Fever or chills
  • ● Cough
  • ● Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • ● Fatigue
  • ● Muscle or body aches
  • ● Headache
  • ● New loss of taste or smell
  • ● Sore throat
  • ● Congestion or runny nose
  • ● Nausea or vomiting
  • ● Diarrhea

Will visitors be allowed in schools?

Visitors will be limited to parents picking up students and they will be restricted to the office area and no further.  There will be no visitors allowed to go into the hallways or the classrooms. 

Will daily health screenings be required when students and staff arrive at the campus?

Both students and staff are required to complete a remote screening process prior to coming to campus. Additionally, students will have their temperatures checked using a digital non-contact forehead scanner as they disembark the bus each morning.

Students or staff exhibiting signs of illness or signs of COVID-19 will immediately notify the school nurse and be sent to the school health office for assessment by the Registered Nurse. 

Health office staff will wear appropriate PPE when assessing and caring for students/ staff of suspected COVID-19.

  • If staff or students show signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and there is no other explanation for their illness, they will be isolated in a supervised separate area and sent home. Health office staff supervising the isolation room will have appropriate PPE as per CDC, NYSDOH, and NYSED.  
  • The parent/ guardian will be called to pick up the student with suspected symptoms of COVID-19.  When they arrive at the school, they will call the health office and the ill student will be brought out to the parent/ guardian. The parent/ guardian will be instructed to call their health care provider, local clinic, or urgent care center.  
  • If any student or staff member exhibits emergency warning signs such as trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to arouse, or bluish lips or face, 911 will be called and the operator will be informed that the person may have COVID-19. 
  • The isolation room and any other areas that were used by the person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 will be cleaned and disinfected before it can be reopened for use. 
  • School staff will be aware of the symptoms of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19, which is a serious condition associated with COVID-19 in children and youth.  Parents/ guardians will be told to look for symptoms of MIS-C and they will be told to immediately follow-up with their healthcare provider should any of the symptoms be present.

  • fever
  • abdominal pain
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • neck pain
  • rash
  • bloodshot eyes
  • feeling extra tired

Emergency Services (911) will be called if any student exhibits signs and symptoms. Confidentiality will be maintained.

It is important not to send your child to school if they have a fever or if they have symptoms listed above.

Will personnel be trained to look for signs of illness in students and staff?
Yes.  Staff will be trained on signs and symptoms of illness and send any students with signs of illness or complaints of illness to the school nurse.  Symptoms to be observed per guidance from the CDC and NYSED are:

  • flushed cheeks,
  • rapid or difficult breathing without recent physical activity,
  • fatigue and/ or irritability, 
  • and frequent use of the bathroom.  

Will my child be sent to the nurse if they have a cough?  If they have a cough and no fever, will they be sent back to class? 
Any child exhibiting symptoms of illness will be sent to the nurse. Based upon the assessment by the RN, the student may or may not be sent back to class. 

How is the ELDRED CSD collaborating with the local health department?
Our District School Nurse is in frequent communication with the local DOH and shares this information with all stakeholders regularly. 

What if COVID-19 cases in Sullivan County increase or other factors change?
ELDRED CSD maintains frequent contact with the Sullivan County Public Health Department and monitors the New York Forward Regional Monitoring Dashboard.

Who is responsible for enforcing social distancing?

Students will be instructed in the importance of social distancing. Signage and continually verbal reminders will be provided. In the classrooms the teachers and instructional support staff will be responsible for ensuring students are properly socially distanced. In the hallways and common areas monitors will be assigned to assure proper social distancing.


Will students be required to wear masks on the bus?
Yes. Students who are medically and physically able will be required to wear masks at all times while on the bus. It is important to note that students who do not have a mask cannot
 be denied transportation.  We will provide masks for any student that does not have one.

Teaching and Learning

What is the maximum number of students ELDRED CSD will place in a classroom for in-person instruction in the hybrid model?
The goal of creating a hybrid model is to reduce classroom and building capacity to 50% occupancy for students. Additionally, teachers will rotate between student groups to help reduce the risk of exposure throughout the building. All classrooms must conform with the guidelines for social distancing as outlined by the CDC.

How will we know when a student is scheduled to attend in-person classes at the campus?
All student schedules will be sent to the parents at least two weeks prior to the opening of schools.

If ELDRED CSD is operating under a hybrid or full-time in person model of instruction and I am not comfortable sending my child to school will my child be able to participate in full-time remote learning?
Yes, parents may elect to have their child participate in remote e-learning options.

How will classrooms be set up to ensure appropriate social-distancing?
Most of ELDRED CSD classrooms are large enough to allow for proper social distancing. In those classrooms that are not big enough furniture and fixtures have been removed from those rooms to maximize the space available or additional space in the building provided to allow for the social distancing.

What will ELDRED CSD do to ensure physical distancing in common spaces like hallways, the cafeteria measures will you have in place in classrooms?
Movement around the building by students will be limited to that which is absolutely necessary. Gatherings, events, assemblies etc. will also not be scheduled.

Will students still change classes?
Yes. Proper social distancing and masks will be practiced to ensure safe movements from class to class.

Will my child still have outdoor recess?

Will my child still have specials like art, music, and PE?

Will there still be special events like assemblies and concerts?
No, no special events or other gatherings will be permitted at this time.

Where will my child eat breakfast and lunch?
Breakfast and lunch will be served in your child's classroom. In the elementary school and in the cafeteria and gym at the JSHS.

Will water fountains be in use?
No, all water fountains will be turned off. Provisions for freshwater will be made throughout the day. Students are encouraged to bring disposable water bottles to school. Additional refill water stations will be installed at the elementary and JSHS.

Will students have to share supplies or keep their own?
Every effort will be made to limit the use of shared supplies and materials. In the event that sharing is necessary the items shared will be cleaned in between use according to all required protocols.


Cleaning Protocols 

What are the district’s cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing protocols?
Accommodations for students who cannot use hand sanitizer will be made.

Regular cleaning and disinfection of the facilities will occur, including more frequent cleaning and disinfection for high-risk and frequently touched surfaces. This will include desks and cafeteria tables, which will be cleaned and disinfected between each individual’s uses. Cleaning and disinfection will be rigorous and ongoing and will occur at least daily, or more frequently as needed.

The district will ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of restrooms. Restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected more often depending on frequency of use. 

Disinfectants must be products that meet EPA criteria for use against SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and be appropriate for the surface.

Will the district keep windows open in order to increase air circulation?

Windows will be left open as much as possible both in the buildings and the busses. 

What extra steps will ELDRED CSD take to keep the school buildings clean?
ELDRED CSD custodial staff will clean and disinfect communal areas throughout the day and at night following CDC, EPA, DOH, and NYSED guidelines. In accordance with these guidelines disinfectants will not be used in the presence of students. All chemicals will be used by trained individuals in accordance with the product label. Custodial staff has been trained in the proper use of PPE and disinfectants to address areas occupied by individuals suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19. Records will be kept of cleaning activity.

What kind of cleaning supplies will ELDRED CSD be using in classrooms?
ELDRED CSD will use cleaning and disinfectant products listed on the EPA’s N list and NYSDEC’s list of disinfectants effective against the human Coronavirus.


Social Well-Being

How will the ELDRED CSD support students’ social-emotional well-being when school begins?
Eldred CSD school psychologists and our student assistance counselors will:

  • Assist with the facilitation of classroom guidance on social distance practices in school.
  • Check-in with emotionally fragile students as they return to school to assess the level of functioning.  Conduct home visits as needed following social distance guidelines and the wearing of protective gear such as masks.
  • Provide individual counseling to students who express fears, loss, anxiety, and/or signs of depression by providing age-appropriate stress management and coping strategies. Risk assessment will be conducted as necessary when suicidal thoughts are expressed or if a student is presenting as a danger to others.
  • Refer students to outside counseling as needed.  If a student attends private outpatient counseling, obtain consent to coordinate services with outpatient providers to support students and their families.  
  • Identify student needs for food and shelter.  Provide assistance through community resources and through Eldred CSD Programs (Backpack Snack Attack, Food Pantry). 
  • Assist families with fears about allowing their children to return to school. Share resources on signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression.  Assist with referrals to community agencies as needed.  
  • Make contact with identified families that require assistance with obtaining outpatient appointments for their children, food, shelter and clothing.
  • Conduct home visits following social distance guidelines and wearing protective gear such as masks.  


How will the district monitor student attendance?
The district will take attendance on a daily basis. The specifics of the attendance plan are in the development phases and more information is forthcoming. 

If my child is sick (non-COVID) and I keep them home, but they work virtually, does it count as an absence?
Yes, it will be counted as an absence from school if you were expected to be physically present in school that day. However, students can continue to work online so as not to miss the work.


Athletics and Extracurricular Activities

Will athletics and extracurricular activities continue?
ELDRED CSD is following the protocol that has been agreed upon by the NYSPHSAA. At this time, the fall season has delayed to start on Sept. 21.  If it is cancelled there is a plan by NYSPHSAAto modify all the seasons so that all three seasons will occur this year beginning in January.

All extracurricular activities/clubs will be provided remotely until further notice.  There will be no in person assemblies.  Google Meet will be used to address large groups of students simultaneously. 


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