FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions on School Reopening

Please note this is a fluid document and questions and answers will be added accordingly.

April 2021 Updates - Bus Ridership

School Bus

We have observed increased ridership on our school buses. In some instances, students will be able to sit one per seat. In other instances, ridership will require two students to sit in a seat. I kindly ask that you emphasize the following with your children:

  • Students must wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth for the entirety of the bus ride.

  • Students should try to sit one per seat unless no seats are available. An exception would be that two siblings riding the same bus should sit together.

  • Students should fill the window seats on the bus first to maximize the distance between students on the opposite side of the bus.

  • Windows on the bus are strategically opened to increase ventilation and air flow. Please instruct your children not to close the windows.


March 2021 Updates

What is the plan to bring back Yorktown students to in-person learning?

Following the return from our Spring Break recess, we will begin to phase in ALL Yorktown students back to a fully in-person learning model. The fully remote learning model will continue to be available through the end of this school year. We have been phasing in several groups of students since last month.

Please see the tentative schedule of return to school below:

  • All Kindergarten students return to full-time in-person learning effective March 23;

  • All Grade 1 students and students in our special education programs in Grades 2-5 return to full time in-person learning on April 7

  • All students in grades 2-4 return to full time in-person learning on April 12

  • All students in grades 5-12 return to full time in-person learning on April 19

  • Special education students in our ICT program in grade 9 (returned 2/1), grade 10 (return date 3/8), and grades 6-8 (return date 3/15) will return according to the same schedule that was previously shared;

  • Effective April 19, provided all approvals and materials are received, our phase-in plan will be fully implemented;

As each group of students is phased back into the full in-person model, the hybrid model for them will be discontinued.

Will the remote only learning option continue once we go back to in-person?

Families will still have the fully remote learning option available to them through the end of this school year (June 25, 2021.)

What has changed in the guidance received by Yorktown Central that is allowing us to proceed with this plan?

The Westchester County Department of Health has modified its position to align with the New York State Department of Health and CDC guidelines of EITHER a six-foot distance between students or the use of barriers. Previously, the Westchester County Department of Health required six-feet regardless of other mitigation strategies used.

Our Medical Director supports our desire to reopen provided infectivity rates continue to decrease.

What are the current NYSDoH guidelines for quarantine?

Under the new guidelines, individuals who are contact traced due to a potential exposure (within 6-feet for 10 or more minutes) to COVID-19 can end their quarantine after 10 days without a testing requirement as long as no symptoms have been reported during the quarantine period. Contacts will be instructed to self-isolate should symptoms appear.


What needs to be done to accommodate the students’ return to school?

There are several things that need to happen prior to bringing our students back full time. The first is an approval of the New York State Department of Health on our revised re-opening plan. Other issues that will need to be addressed include space configurations, staffing needs, receipt and installation of the required barriers, construction and/or de-construction in classrooms beyond the removal of furniture, furniture moving and/or installation, air filter assessment and necessary replacements. survey responses from parents in order to plan class sections, transportation considerations including buses, drop-off, and pick-up, and a continued review of COVID infection rates in our area.

What are the COVID-related safety measures in place in our buildings and will there be any changes?

We will continue with our multi-layered mitigation strategies in our schools that include masks, barriers, social distancing when applicable, filtration and ventilation, daily health screening and temperature monitoring, handwashing and sanitizer stations, daily disinfection, cohorting students when applicable, contact tracing, visible signage, and surveillance testing.

Will there be any changes to bussing schedules when we return the students to school full-time?

At this time, we have a very high number of student drop-offs and pick-ups at our schools. We will continue to monitor bus ridership on our 71-bus fleet and share that information with our school community. We are not able to increase our bus fleet at this time due to cost. It is important to note that we understand not everyone will be comfortable having their child ride the bus as the ridership increases.

What are the considerations our district will use as we move forward with this plan?

With more students in our schools, we are mindful that certain scenarios are bound to occur. Increased quarantines are very likely, and will have implications on school closures and student absences. We will continue to monitor infection rates in school and in the community and will adjust our models within each school as well as in each classroom as necessary. We will also continue to monitor our transportation capacity and our staffing levels. We are always looking for substitute teachers, so please reach out to us if you are interested.

What is the new guidance for high-risk sports in New York?

Governor Cuomo announced that NYS would allow higher risk sports to commence in New York schools effective February 1, 2021 subject to local health department approval. With this new guidance, we are committed to offering these sports to our Yorktown High School students. It is part of the emotional and social well-being of our high school students to be able to return to play. We will follow all the guidelines set forth by the Westchester Department of Health in the document about high-risk sports return to play.

What are the plans for the return of the arts in Yorktown?

The state gave us new guidance regarding sports. We are hopeful to receive similar guidance from the state that can translate into other areas like the arts.


October 2020 Updates

What are the district’s plans for reopening this fall? Will all students return?

The Yorktown Central School District’s Return To School Plan is a hybrid model that combines in-person and remote learning to reduce the density in schools by 50. The district is also offering families who require it a 100% fully remote model.

Why can’t we open in a full in-person model?

The New York State Department of Health has issued guidelines for the reopening of school which include six-feet of social distancing between students. In order to adhere to the guidelines, we determined that the capacity within our schools needed to be reduced. We determined, through the help of a third-party contractor using an engineering software algorithm, that we could accommodate between 12 and 15 students in any given classroom. Some spaces can accommodate more and some spaces fewer. Further, with the vast majority of our schools are already in use during the course of the day, and we lack the physical space to spread one class across multiple spaces.

If a student begins in the hybrid model, can they switch to the full-remote model?

We are asking for a one semester (half year) commitment for planning, continuity, and course scheduling purposes. However, there will be a process for a student to switch models, whether from remote to hybrid or hybrid to remote, prior to the close of the semester. The placement process for switching from remote to hybrid learning will be done as soon as possible, but may take up to a week.

Can you detail the remote learning component of the hybrid model? If I choose remote, will my student be learning with children who are also in a classroom? Will teachers provide instruction for students in both online and traditional classroom settings?

Students will have a combination of live/synchronous learning opportunities and asynchronous learning opportunities on their remote day. This will also be the case in a fully-remote model as well; however, a fully-remote model will entail some more synchronous learning. In either model, it is not our expectation that students will spend the vast majority of their remote learning day on the computer. Nonetheless, the decision to participate in a full remote learning model is driven primarily by one’s comfort with the safety plan of our in-person reopening approach. Attendance will be taken for students whether they are remote or on a hybrid schedule. All classroom instruction for students in remote and hybrid sessions will be from their YCSD teacher.

Full Remote Learning

Grades K-5: Classroom instruction will be from their dedicated teacher with live/synchronous learning

Grades 6-12: Students will follow their academic schedule to an extent at the start of the school year. Approximately one month after the start of the school year, a determination will be made as to which classes remain live/synchronous and which classes are asynchronous--balance is the goal. We are asking for a semester long commitment with a process to pursue hybrid learning before the end of the semester. As per NYSPHSAA, HS students may participate in athletics and co-curricular activities. These students will have the same resources as used in the school;

Hybrid Learning

We will utilize an A/B Day model where students in each alphabetical cohort will alternate two in-person and two remote instruction days Tuesday through Friday. Mondays are remote instruction for all students and will serve as Professional Development Days in September-- and possibly beyond. In-person learning days are reflective of the typical school day and will have a combination of live/synchronous instruction and asynchronous instruction. Your child will be on the computer for several subjects but he or she will not be on a computer for 6 hours per day. We are asking for a semester long commitment with a process to pursue remote learning before the end of the semester.

Health and Safety

What safety precautions are being taken by the District?

· Each school will be disinfected daily

· High touch surfaces and bathrooms will be disinfected multiple times per day

· School buses will be disinfected daily and high touch surfaces will be disinfected after each bus run

· Daily health screenings will be required of any individual accessing the school building

· Outdoor locations will be used, weather permitting, to the greatest extent possible

· Reusable cloth masks will be provided to each staff member

· 60,000 disposable masks, in pediatric and adult sizes, have been ordered and received

· face coverings/masks will be required while on the school bus and in school. Mask breaks will be incorporated to the greatest extent possible

· 50 contactless thermometers have been ordered for temperature screenings

· 8-10 additional portable sinks will be added to each school for additional hand washing breaks given throughout the day

· Polycarbonate barriers in small classrooms, office locations, and strategic additional locations are being installed in our schools

· Water fountains will not be used. Bottle filling stations will be available to students

· Unit ventilators will introduce fresh air into classrooms and MERV 13 filtration will be incorporated into existing air conditioning systems district-wide

· Signage to prompt constant reminders for students

· Non-school district groups/organizations will not be permitted to use school facilities until further notice

· Large group gatherings will not be permitted until further notice

· Visitors not permitted in schools

How will schools be disinfected each day?

Daily disinfection of the school and school buses will occur. High touch surfaces will be disinfected multiple times per day. Bathrooms will be disinfected multiple times per day. Custodial staff will be provided all appropriate safety PPE and training for disinfecting. Schools and offices will be cleaned and disinfected daily

to NYSED and NYSDOH standards. The standard can be found on page 42 of the NYSED Reopening Guidance.

http://www.nysed.gov/common/nysed/files/programs/reopening-schools/nys-p12-school-reopening-guidance.pdf

How are you ensuring safety on the school bus?

School buses will undergo a full disinfection once per day with high touch surfaces, such as hand railings and seat tops disinfected after each run. In accordance with NYSDOH and NYSED guidelines, students, staff, drivers, and bus monitors will be required to wear a mask on the school bus each day as six-feet of social distancing will not be feasible at all times. Students are encouraged to bring their own mask; however, masks will be provided for those who do not bring a mask. Gloves must also be worn by any drivers or monitors while on school buses.

Arrival to School Information

What general health and safety steps will be taken in the school buildings for students coming to school?

Single points of entry for student arrival will be used. We have a protocol in place to perform temperature and health screenings for COVID symptoms. Parents/Guardians will screen students each day before school. We are using the EZSCRN app for parents and guardians to perform the student’s daily screenings on days a student will be riding the bus and attending school in-person. The website for EZSCRN is: https://app.ezscrn.com/#/disclaimer. We want to ensure students and staff who answer “Yes” to a question in the questionnaire are not present in school. Student temperatures will also be taken when they exit the bus before they enter their school buildings.

Are face coverings required when entering school buildings?

Yes, masks (not neck gaiters) must be worn during the school day with the exception of designated mask breaks, lunch, snack, and outdoor activities where social distancing can be maintained. Extra masks will be provided by the district for any student who forgets to bring theirs on the school bus or to school.

What is meant by mask breaks?

The New York State Department of Health advises that masks be worn during the school day and that mask breaks should be given. Students will have the opportunity to remove their masks during snack and lunch. Students will be seated at least six feet apart while eating. Additional mask breaks, taken outdoors, will be incorporated into the day. Mask breaks are not permitted on school buses.

Wil students have lockers?

Students in the middle and high school will not have access to their lockers in the hallways or the gymnasium. They will be required to carry their school materials in their back packs.

Will students have specials like PE, art, music? What about recess?

Yes, most specials will be conducted within classrooms (K-5) with the exception of PE to be conducted outdoors in a socially-distanced environment. Recess will be held on a daily basis and students will be required to social distance and wear masks. Students in the middle and high school attend their Unified Arts courses the same as all other classes.

How will middle and high school kids rotate through classes? How will social distancing be maintained in the hallways?

We have significantly reduced student density. There is signage that reminds students to social-distance. There are also scheduling considerations that stagger transitions as much as possible. Ultimately, we want to reduce transitions as much as possible.

How will meals work? Will cafeterias be open? What about sanitizing?

Lunch will be conducted in the classroom in the elementary schools and in the cafeteria with barriers and social distancing in the middle and high schools. If eating locations are used by multiple groups of students, the location will be cleaned and disinfected between use in accordance with NYSED requirements

What is in place for meals for students who receive free-lunch on their remote learning days?

When on a remote learning day, meals will be available daily for pickup on the Yorktown High School Campus for these students in grades K-12. Students who participate in the free/reduced price lunch program should contact yorktowngrabandgo@yorktown.org.

Which special education classes will attend school daily?

All student’s K-12 who are recommended for the New York State Alternate Assessment or recommended for our Applied Behavioral Analysis Classes or Functional Skills classes (8-1+2) will attend school daily on days when school is in session.

All K-5 students who are recommended for a self-contained special education class placement (12-1+1 or 12-1+2) for Reading, Language Arts and Math with one teacher will attend school daily when other students are in attendance.

All students K-12 recommended for Integrated Co-Taught classes will attend school on the hybrid schedule (A or B days) and all middle school and high school students who are recommended for Resource Room, 12-1 (6th grade) and 15-1 (7th-12th) departmentalized classes (students who rotate between teachers for their academic classes) will also attend school on A or B days.

Will my child be able to take part in extracurricular activities, clubs or sports if I choose remote learning only?

Fully-remote students are still registered in the district and therefore will have access to all athletics and extracurricular activities offered by the district.

What if my child needs a computer to participate in remote learning?

The District will provide devices to all students in grades 6-12 and to any student in grades K-5 who requests a device. Devices that require repair will be returned at a mutually scheduled time and, to the greatest extent possible, the student will be provided a replacement device while the device is being repaired

What do students do when they require technological support, particularly during live instruction? Is there a designated person to call?

Questions regarding technology should be referred to jforsberg@yorktown.org.

What is the district doing to accommodate students and staff who are at high risk of complications due to COVID or who live with someone who is at high risk?

Students will have the option of participating in full-time remote learning. Full-time remote learning will be partially synchronous and partially asynchronous. ADA accommodations for faculty and staff who are at high risk of complications due to COVID or who live with someone who is at high risk will be made on a case-by-case basis to the greatest extent practicable.

What happens if a student presents with COVID-19-like symptoms while in school?

The Health Offices in each school have a detailed plan in place to respond to potential COVID cases within the school from the initial screening process to the moment the student is released to their parent/guardian. The plan is included in Appendix A of this document. Also, in accordance with New York State DOH guidelines, each school will have a separate isolation room adjacent to the Health Office for suspected COVID cases

What are the plans in place when a documented case of COVID-19 is identified in the school district?

The District is not responsible for COVID-19 testing. The District will consult with local health department officials. We will defer to the medical experts. A student who is recommended for a test would go through their family physician or AFC Urgent Care. When there is a clinically diagnosed case of COVID-19, we will look at the contact tracing that includes: bus/transportation, class or classes, co-curricular activities, lunch, recess, free periods, conversation with student/family to determine additional contacts, conversation with WC DOH and District Medical Director, notification to parents of students with potential exposure

What happens if I need to keep my child home from school for an illness that is not COVID-19?

Students, faculty, and staff must stay home if they are sick. If an individual presents to school with “Sick Day Guidelines” symptoms, they will be required to go home until clearance criteria for school return is met. YCSD nurses will continue to support students with acute or chronic health conditions. Short-term absences will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Long-term absences will be evaluated if criteria is appropriate for medical leave or other potential medical accommodations per building policy. The full policy for sick day guidelines can be found in the Return to School Plan Appendix A.

What is Yorktown doing to support my child’s emotional well- being?

Faculty and staff will consult with the school counselor, social worker, nurse, or administrator, and the student's parents if behaviors that raise concerns about the student’s social emotional well-being are observed. Building level support will be determined on a case-by-case basis. If there is something that you are seeing that is concerning, please share it with us by reaching out to the school nurse or your children’s teacher so we can provide some additional support or we can better understand what the concerns are.

Who can I contact with questions about any parts of this plan?

Questions about classroom content and instruction should be referred to the child’s teacher. Questions about school related matters should be referred to the school principal. Questions regarding technology should be referred to jforsberg@yorktown.org. Questions about the Grab-and-Go school lunch program on remote learning days should be referred to yorktowngrabandgo@yorktown.org

Questions about the school lunch program should be referred to mhernandez@yorktown.org Questions about special education should be directed to Mr. Rosen at mrosen@yorktown.org