May 19 district updates

A picture of O'Neal Middle School student Dyshae Robinson

Perspectives in Online Learning

Tuesday's installment of Perspectives in Online Learning features a vignette from Edmund J. O'Neal Middle School of Excellence eighth-grade student Dyshae Robinson.   

Perspectives in Online Learning is a forum we have created to allow teachers and students to share their experiences with virtual teaching and learning. We will highlight a new vignette or video each day while schools are closed due to COVID-19. 

We hope you enjoy hearing the perspectives of our teachers and our students!

Student check-in, make-up day Friday

A reminder that this Friday will be a review and check-in day for students. We will not follow the regular schedules for online instruction. This is an opportunity for teachers and other school staff to check in with students, and for students to make up any work that they owe for the third quarter. For high school students, that applies to the second quarter as well. A reminder that the deadline for all students to submit makeup work is Friday, May 29.

Also, a reminder that there will be no online instruction next Monday in observance of Memorial Day.

Board meetings this week

The Board of Education is scheduled to hold meetings Tuesday and Thursday. Both meetings will once again be held online beginning at 6:30 p.m. The agendas and other materials for board meetings are posted in our BoardDocs section when they are ready.

Pre-K, magnet and kindergarten registration reminders

We have several registration reminders for elementary families. Our Central Registration Office is closed to in-person registration due to COVID-19. However, families can register online or by U.S. mail. If you are registering by mail, your materials must be postmarked no later than the date of the registration deadline. Please visit our Registration section for more information and updates.

  • Registration is open through this Friday for students selected in our 4-year-old prekindergarten lottery. You must register by Friday to hold your child’s seat for next school year.
  • The lottery for our 3-year-old pre-K program is coming up June 3.
  • Kindergarten registration begins June 15.

Social distancing reminder

As the Capital Region gets closer to beginning a reopening process for businesses, please continue to keep in mind social distancing guidelines as we all try to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and help our city, our region and our state return to operations in a way that is safe for all. Stay home whenever possible, maintain a minimum of six feet between yourself and other individuals if you must go out, and wear a mask if you cannot adhere to those social distancing guidelines. You can find helpful information about social distancing practices on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. 

Funding for childcare costs

New York is using a portion of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funds to provide free childcare to income-eligible essential workers. 

To qualify for a scholarship to cover the cost of care, essential workers must work outside of the home and use a licensed and regulated childcare provider. This would include the YMCA partnership described below. Families also must have an adjusted gross income at or below 300% of the federal poverty level. For a family of four that equals an annual income of $78,600. 
Parents and guardians are asked to complete this application for the CARES Child Care Scholarship. Applications will be considered complete once the online application is finished AND the required supplemental documentation is submitted to Brightside Up, the Childcare Resource and Referral Agency (CCRA) for Albany, Fulton, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties. 

For parents and guardians that currently receive a subsidy from their local Department of Social Services to pay for childcare, this scholarship can cover the co-pay. Parents and guardians should apply for the CARES Act Scholarship, and then contact their local DSS to get a letter stating their current co-pay. Please address any questions to Tricia Howland at

Meal delivery update

The district has served more than 218,000 meals to date during the school closure – currently more than 2,400 students daily – through both home delivery and our seven “grab and go” school locations. Meal pickup is available at these schools each weekday from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.: 

  • Albany High School (Washington Avenue entrance), 700 Washington Ave.
  • Albany School of Humanities (ASH), 108 Whitehall Road
  • Arbor Hill Elementary School, 1 Arbor Drive
  • Giffen Memorial Elementary School, 274 South Pearl St.
  • Schuyler Achievement Academy, 676 Clinton Ave.
  • Tony Clement Center for Education, 395 Elk St.
  • William S. Hackett Middle School, 45 Delaware Ave.

Technical support for students and families

The City School District of Albany’s Technology Help Desk is available to assist students and families with issues related to connecting a Chromebook to wireless access points, or with student login to the Chromebooks or the Clever suite of applications.

You can reach the Technology Help Desk from 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. each weekday at (518) 475-6195. 

Please note that the Help Desk cannot assist with matters related to use, content or activities within any of the district instructional applications or Google Classroom. Questions regarding the use of Google Classroom, instructional resources, learning tasks or expectations related to instructional content should be directed to each student’s teacher or principal. 

You also can find instructions and other helpful Google Classroom guidance in our online instruction section.

Be counted for Albany in the 2020 Census – from home!

This is an important reminder that in spite of the closures and significant precautions in place due to COVID-19, the 2020 U.S. Census is underway. The Census Bureau is carefully monitoring the situation and follows the guidance of federal, state and local health authorities.

The most important thing you can do is respond online, by phone, or by mail when you receive your invitation. Responding now will minimize the need for Census Bureau workers to be out in communities following up. Help your community – and help the Census Bureau adhere to social-distancing guidelines – by responding online to the 2020 Census. Do your part. Stay home. Get counted.

OCFS childcare survey

The New York State Office of Children and Family Services is asking parents, guardians and caregivers who are in need of childcare to complete a Parent Need for Childcare survey. 

Based on the information collected in this survey, OCFS may be able to help families find the childcare program to meet their needs. It may be a challenge to find childcare due to COVID-19-related closures. However, OCFS is trying its best to support families to find high-quality childcare programs.

The OCFS website also has several resources available.

YMCA childcare partnership

The district is partnering with the YMCA to offer childcare services for health and emergency-response personnel. The YMCA is administering and staffing the program, which operates from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. daily at the following six schools:

  • Arbor Hill Elementary School, 1 Arbor Drive
  • Eagle Point Elementary School, 1044 Western Ave.
  • Giffen Memorial Elementary School, 274 South Pearl St.
  • New Scotland Elementary School, 369 New Scotland Ave.
  • Schuyler Achievement Academy, 676 Clinton Ave.
  • Sheridan Preparatory Academy, 400 Sheridan Ave.

The program has a limited capacity, with a maximum of 30 children per school (three classrooms with 10 children). The YMCA is staffing each room with two employees.

Online registration is available. Health and emergency personnel needing childcare are also welcome to call the YMCA at (518) 869-3500.

Health insurance assistance

NY State of Health is committed to ensuring access to affordable, quality health insurance for all New Yorkers so they can get the care they need during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Many New Yorkers are likely to be eligible for health coverage with financial assistance through NY State of Health due to their loss of coverage and income. NY State of Health opened a Special Enrollment Period in March to provide a safety net for people who are uninsured in difficult times like this. 

You can apply for health insurance immediately through NY State of Health. If you lost employer coverage, you must apply within 60 days of losing that coverage. 

Because of a loss of income, New Yorkers may also be eligible for Medicaid, the Essential Plan, Child Health Plus or subsidized Qualified Health Plan coverage. 

Visit NY State of Health online for more information. You also can contact the Marketplace directly at (518) 486-9102 or

Mental health hotline

Along with the impact the COVID-19 outbreak is having on physical health, we can't underestimate the impact this pandemic is having on mental health. 

More than 6,000 mental health professionals have volunteered their time to help with New York’s response to COVID-19. For free emotional support, consultation and referral to a provider, call 1-844-863-9314. 

Domestic violence resources

The New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence has a message for victims during these challenging times: You are not alone.

Please call the New York State Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline at 800-942-6906 for information on domestic violence resources in our community. You also can access these resources online.

Expanded mobile crisis hours

Northern Rivers has extended its hours for mobile crisis services. The expanded hours are:

  • Monday–Friday – 8 a.m.–10 p.m.
  • Saturday–Sunday – 11 a.m.–7 p.m.
    • For immediate crisis services, call (518) 292-5499
    • For general information, call (518) 952-9032

Mobile crisis services provides telephone support for children, families and adults experiencing emotional and/or behavioral crisis, and for professionals working with these individuals. Northern Rivers also provides in-person crisis assessment and intervention for individuals experiencing emotional and/or behavioral crisis anywhere in the community.

For more information, visit Northern Rivers online.