COVID-19 and Back-to-School 2021

Niskayuna is going back-to-school!

View our current COVID-19 health and safety protocols

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.

2021-22 School Year: Key Aspects of our Health & Safety Plan

  • 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.

More Information About…

Back-to-School: Frequently Asked Questions

Tiered 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

COVID-19 Testing

Testing program includes weekly screening testing of unvaccinated employees.

Parent permission will be sought for voluntary weekly screening of students and the same tests may be used for diagnostic testing of symptomatic students (with permission) and staff once the testing begins.

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 PCR 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 distancing and masked, bell covers

Limit of two spectators per participant at concerts, mask-wearing and distancing at concerts and drama performances

Interscholastic Sports

Vaccination required for high-risk sports; Awaiting further guidance related to screening testing recommendation for unvaccinated participants

Masked at all times; 3-feet distancing except when engaged in the core activity

Two spectators per athlete at indoor events; Masked required when 3-feet distancing cannot be maintained at outdoor events. 

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

Community/Outside Group Use of School Facilities

Use of school facilities allowed primarily by athletic/community organizations that serve predominantly Niskayuna students with NCSD-approved safety plans.

NHS Pool to reopen for community use during designated hours with safety protocols.

School Visitors

Official business only/Approved visitors with a designated purpose

Monitoring Community- and School-Based Transmission

Ongoing; weekly benchmark