August 10 Reopening Update: Upcoming Meetings & More

Dear Niskayuna Families, Colleagues and Community Members,

On Friday, Aug. 7, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that in-person instruction is permitted in all regions of New York state for the start of the 2020-21 school year based on current COVID-19 infection rates, while also outlining new expectations for school reopening plans.

The Governor stated that spikes in virus transmission could prompt the state to close schools. At this time, decisions about the extent to which school takes place in-person or remotely will be made by individual school districts based on local factors. The reopening plan that we submitted to the state included plans for in-person/hybrid learning. We also submitted plans for entirely remote learning in the event that decision has to be made.

On Friday, the Governor also said school districts must make three distinct parts of their reopening plans (remote learning, COVID testing and contact tracing) easily available on their websites, and take specific steps to engage parents and teachers in the reopening process.

We will continue to move forward with our reopening planning and community outreach. Online meetings for all stakeholders to learn more about our reopening plan and pose questions will take place at 6:00 p.m. on August 17, 7:00 p.m. on August 19, 6:00 p.m. on August 20, and 11 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 17. We will also schedule a meeting with teachers only at 2:00 p.m. on Friday August 14.

Please look for the following information this week:

  • Links to the sections of the plan that address remote learning, COVID testing and contact tracing
  • Additional information about opting for remote learning, which has been a particular issue of interest in our community
  • An initial round of answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) that have been received so far will be posted by noon on Tuesday (Aug. 11).

Given the schedule for the upcoming meetings, we have moved the deadline for families to inform us if they are opting for all-remote learning to the close of business on Monday, Aug. 24.

Please note that we are receiving a significant volume of questions at reopening@niskyschools.org. Thank you for understanding that it’s not possible to respond to individual questions at this time and please know that we will continue to update the FAQ with as much information as possible.

We have said all along that reopening our schools is a community-wide undertaking. We engaged upwards of 400 members of the community through the Reopening Task Force. The work continues, and we’ll adjust, adapt, and communicate as much as needed. We are all united in wanting what’s best for our students, faculty and staff, community and families. We’re all united in seeking to maximize learning opportunities for students while keeping health and safety as our highest priority.

Cosimo Tangorra, Jr., Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools