Back-to-School 2021: Aug. 19 Presentation & Plan Highlights

As a friendly reminder, all members of our school community are invited to attend a virtual Back-to-School 2021 presentation and question & answer session on Thursday, Aug. 19, at 6 p.m.

Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra, Jr., Assistant Superintendent Marie Digirolamo and others will share the latest plans for the beginning of the school year in September. The district is planning for a full return to in-person instruction with all appropriate health and safety measures, as well as an all-remote learning option for those with a medical need. An overview of some key areas of the plan, based on what is known today, is below. The plan was approved by the Board of Education at its meeting on Tuesday, pending adjustments based on public input and changing conditions.

The Thursday evening session will be recorded and posted on the district website for those who are unable to tune in live. Information about accessing this event through WebEx is below.

August 19 Back-to-School Community Presentation/Q&A

Event link: https://neric.webex.com/neric/j.php?MTID=m8c84f328aeb5c9dea08a158b49b6c844

Event password (if needed): NCSD21

Join by phone

Dial: 1-646-992-2010
Access code: 180 733 3058

Back-to-School 2021: Key Points as of Today

The district has established a “layered mitigation strategy,” which refers to tiered and overlapping health and safety measures designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in school. The plan also recognizes that health and safety protocols may change based on the level of community transmision. Currently, the level of community transmission is high in Schenectady County according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Here are some key points for how the year will start based on what is known today: 

  • All students and staff will wear masks inside school based on the recommendations of the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • All students and bus drivers will wear masks on buses by order of the CDC. 
  • Students and staff members will wear masks outside when they will be within 3 feet of others, including during recess. At times when people will be 3 feet or more apart, masks do not need to be worn.
  • The district continues to explore all-virtual learning options for students K-12 with a documented medical need with the region’s public schools through Capital Region BOCES. More information will be provided to families who have indicated this preference the week of Aug. 23. 
  • Daily health screening is no longer required, yet it is critical that all members of the school community stay home when they are not feeling well.
  • The district will continue to use seating charts in classrooms, lunches and buses for contact tracing and quarantine purposes. 
  • Based on current CDC guidelines, vaccinated individuals will not need to quarantine after exposure to COVID-19 as long as they are asymptomatic. They will need to get tested 3-5 days after exposure and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days or until they have a negative test result. 
  • While the level of community transmission is high, students must demonstrate proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or at least their first shot, to participate in interscholastic athletics. More specific information about this will be coming to the families of student-athletes soon.
  • Extracurricular activities will take place following all of the health and safety protocols in place during the day. There will be a late bus three days a week from the high school and middle school.
  • The school calendar of events has been published, but events are subject to change based on COVID conditions. While the level of community transmission is high, there will not be large-scale indoor events. Outdoor events and smaller scale indoor events may take place and all events will require the submission of a safety plan.
  • The district will continue to monitor the level of community transmission and communicate any changes to protocols as soon as possible. 

“We look forward to sharing our plan with the community, receiving feedback and welcoming students in September,” said Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra, Jr. “Our message to students is simple: Your school is excited for you to come back and it is going to be a year of learning and fun with friends and classmates.”