Aug. 19 district updates

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Calendar updates for September

As we prepare for this very unique school year, there will be an enhanced need for greater preparation for all stakeholders: students, families and employees. We are adjusting our calendar for September to meet these needs.   

The district discussed the following schedule with the Board of Education at last Thursday’s meeting and will implement this plan for the first weeks of the 2020-21 school year. 

Virtual orientations for students will begin Sept. 9-11; these days also will include virtual orientation sessions for parents and guardians.

Virtual instruction for all students will begin Sept. 14-17. We will begin implementing our formal instructional models beginning the week of Sept. 21, with a phased-in approach that will bring back a few grade levels each day. Tuesday, Sept. 29 will be the first full day of instruction for all students district-wide.  

We will have more detail about the schedules for these days as we get closer to the start of the new year.

Sept. 2-3 and Sept. 8 (employees only)

  • Virtual Convocation; 2020-21 Reopening Plan rollout; health, hygiene and safety protocols; teacher PD
    • Note that Friday, Sept. 4 and Monday, Sept. 7 are scheduled days off for all district employees in observance of Labor Day

Sept. 9-11

  • Virtual student orientation; early release each day
  • Virtual orientation for parents and guardians 

Orientation and training sessions for students and families on these days will include the following topics:

  • Orientation to the new classroom environment, and health and safety protocols
  • Orientation to Google Classroom and virtual learning environment
  • Appropriate social distancing protocols, and use and requirements for masks and face coverings
  • Communication on reopening plans that will support the health and safety of all of our students and employees

Sept. 14-17 

  • Virtual instruction for all students; early release each day

Friday, Sept. 18 (employees only; no student attendance)

Sept. 21-25 

  • All schools begin to implement identified instructional model (in-person, hybrid or virtual); early dismissal each day
  • Phased-in student attendance by grade levels (specific grades to attend each day will be determined at a later date); early release each day

Monday, Sept. 28

  • Yom Kippur – All district schools and offices closed

Tuesday, Sept. 29

  • All schools implement full days of instruction (in-person, hybrid or virtual)

Enrollment choice updates

We had received a total of 5,240 responses to the 2020-21 enrollment choice options as of Wednesday at 5 p.m. 

Nearly 53% of the respondents (2,763) selected a fully virtual instructional model for their student through the first marking period of the school year, which ends Nov. 13. 

Regarding transportation, 77.1% of respondents (4,045) indicated their student will not require a bus to get to and from school during the first quarter – 43.9% because they selected virtual instruction, 21.1% because they are not eligible and 12.1% because they are planning to make other arrangements for transportation.

In our food service option, 862 respondents (16.5%) indicated that they will pick up meals on the days that students are not at school for in-person instruction. 

As a reminder, the choice options form will be open through next Monday, Aug. 24, at 5 p.m. You can find the form at the link above or

Reopening forums available for review

We have created a new section on our 2020-21 Reopening Plan home page where you can access the videos from this week's school-level reopening forums for review. Many of the videos are available currently, and all will be by the end of this week. 

You also can use these links to review this week's district-level forums: 

The district will provide the next reopening update at the Aug. 27 Board of Education meeting

Quick tips on how to make a face covering at home

In need of a face covering before leaving home and don’t have a clean one handy? Check out this video advice from U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams on a quick and easy way to make one at home to help keep yourself healthy and safe, and to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

County offers immunization appointments

As we look ahead to the new school year, a reminder that students need to meet all immunization requirements to attend school, whether it’s in-person or virtually. 

The Albany County Health Department is opening for immunization appointments. You can call (518) 447-4589 to schedule an appointment. Your child’s doctor’s office also is able to schedule your child for an appointment to get the required immunizations now. 

New York has strict rules regarding immunizations, and children who are missing required immunizations will not be allowed to go to school beyond the first 14 days. Some things to note:

  • Most kindergartners need their booster shots if they didn't get them at age 4
  • Sixth-graders need a Tetanus/pertussis shot: Tdap
    • Since students also need a meningitis shot in seventh grade, you can save time and ask for both at this visit
  • Seventh-graders need a meningitis shot: MCV4
  • Seniors need a second dose of meningitis MCV4 if they are 16 or older
    • So if they are at the doctor and are 16 years old, no matter what grade they are in at school, ask to get the MCV4 so you don't need to make a special trip for that immunization later.

Your doctor will know which immunizations your child is due for, but you also can reach out to your school nurse if you have any questions or would like more information.

Social-emotional supports for families

In our continued emphasis on addressing social-emotional needs for the upcoming school year, the Pupil Personnel Services Department is sharing a series of resources to help students and families cope during this unsettling time. 

This week’s installment comes from the School Mental Health Resource and Training Center. The free webinar – Supporting Family Mental Wellness: Strategies for Back to School – is scheduled for next Tuesday, Aug. 25, at 11:30 a.m. (registration is required). The session will use person-centered and strength-based strategies to help families identify ways to support students’ mental wellness as they prepare to return to school, whether that is in an in-person, hybrid or fully virtual instructional model. 

We have additional information and resources in the Social-Emotional Well-Being section of our 2020-21 Reopening Plan.

The Great American Mask Drive

The Great American Mask Drive is an opportunity for people to donate masks to schools for the start of the upcoming school year. The masks are washable and reusable, and made by Hanes. The are $1.50 apiece and you can donate any quantity to any school in the district by following the link above. 

Following guidance from the New York State Department of Health, the district will provide masks for employees as well as masks for students who arrive at the bus or school without one. The Great American Mask Drive is an opportunity for you to supplement these supplies if you would like to help.

The Great American Mask Drive will be accepting orders through Monday, Aug. 31. Orders then will be shipped directly to each school, or, in cases in which a school does not receive at least 500 donated masks, will ship directly to the district for distribution to individual schools.

Summer Adventure awaits -- but only through Friday!

Thanks to our partners at Capital Region BOCES, students from kindergarten-grade 5 have had the opportunity to take part in free and fun summertime activities on a new website.

The Summer Adventure website provides a wealth of activities for kids and their families, ranging from cooking to science to arts and crafts to mindful moments. With a mix of independent learning and family fun, parents and guardians have the freedom to choose from a variety of summer adventures for their kids. 

New activities will be unveiled every Friday through this week -- Aug. 21 -- to keep kids active all summer long. Sign up here to have this week's Summer Adventure activities delivered to your inbox.