COVID-19 and Back-to-School 2021

Niskayuna is going back-to-school!

Our school district looks forward to a full return to in-person education in September, providing all academic programs and a wide variety of extracurricular and athletic offerings. Consistent with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and American Academy of Pediatrics and Guidance issued by the New York State Education Department (NYSED), the district will use a “layered mitigation plan” with protocols such as mask wearing, cleaning and hygiene, contact tracing and quarantining, ventilation and disinfecting, food services and COVID testing and vaccination access.

What does “layered mitigation” mean? This refers to tiered and overlapping health and safety measures designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19, as well as the recognition that different measures may be needed as the rate of community transmission of the virus changes in one direction or another.

The intent of this plan is to maximize all of the benefits that Niskayuna students and community members get from education and activities within our school district while doing everything that is necessary to safeguard the health and safety of our students, staff and community.

How We Expect to Start the Year: Key Points

  • In-person learning every day for students K-12 with full-length instructional days.
  • Exploring K-12 virtual learning options for students with a documented medical need with regional school districts through BOCES.
  • All students and staff will wear masks indoors; Masks will be worn outdoors when students and staff will be within 3 feet of each other.
  • We will maximize student activities while maintaining focus on health and safety.

We can expect the plan to change as conditions change, and we will do everything possible to keep our community informed at all times.

More Information About…

Current Back-to-School Health and Safety Protocols

Back-to-School: Frequently Asked Questions

Layered Mitigation Plan – Printable Version

Recording: Aug. 19 Back-to-School Presentation and Q&A

Slides from Aug. 19 Back-to-School Presentation

Current Back-to-School Health and Safety Protocols

The current level of community transmission of COVID-19 in Schenectady County is High. The following protocols apply when the level of transmission is high.

COVID-19 Vaccines

Strongly recommended

Social Distancing Indoors

3 feet distancing to the extent possible

Social Distancing Outdoors

3 feet (Masked when students and staff will be within 3 feet of each other, including recess)

Facemasks indoors

Required by all at all times regardless of vaccination status, except when eating and distanced

Facemasks Outdoors

Required for all when students/staff will be within 3 feet of each other, including recess; not required when individuals will be 3 feet or more apart

Facemasks on Buses

Required by CDC order

Hygiene: Handwashing/Hand Sanitizer and Respiratory Etiquette

Strongly Encouraged and Expected

Cleaning and Disinfection

Daily Routine Cleaning

Enhanced disinfection of moderate- and high-touched surfaces

Ventilation and Air Quality

Increased fresh air circulation (mechanical systems and windows)

Contact Tracing and Quarantine

Pursuant to DOH regulations – 10-day quarantine

Vaccinated and asymptomatic individuals do not need to be quarantined but per CDC guidance will get tested 3-5 days after exposure and wear a mask indoors in public settings for 14 days following exposure or until negative test result

Random COVID-19 Surveillance/Screening Testing

Working with BOCES to plan for screening testing per CDC’s recommendation that 20% per week of unvaccinated students and staff be tested

Staying Home When Sick

Yes for all students and staff

Pursuant to Collective Bargaining Agreement for Use of Sick Days or Paid COVID Sick Leave if applicable

Return to School/Work Protocols (following COVID Symptoms)

Yes – Resolution of symptoms and proof of a negative COVID test

Return to School/Work Protocols (following COVID positive)

Yes – 10 days after initial onset of symptoms and fever free for 24 hours and symptoms have improved

Lunch/School Meals

6 feet distancing to the extent possible

Recess, Playground and Physical Education

3 feet distancing and masked

3 feet distancing required when not engaged in the core activity

Music and Performing Arts

Singing/instrument playing require 3 feet of distancing, masked and bell covers

Interscholastic Sports

Vaccination required for high-risk sports

Awaiting further guidance related to screening testing for unvaccinated participants (for sports other than high-risk)

Masked at all times; 3-feet distancing required when not engaged in the core activity

No spectators at indoor events; two spectators per student-athlete at outdoor events

Compliance with all New York State Public High School Athletic Association and Suburban Council protocols

Community/Outside Group Use of School Facilities

No outside use of facilities allowed

School Visitors

Official business only

Monitoring Community- and School-Based Transmission

Ongoing; weekly benchmark