Summary of Niskayuna Reopening Plan

Last Updated: July 30, 2020

The reopening plan that the district has posted on its website outlines the approach that will be used if Gov. Andrew Cuomo says that school can open for in-person learning and the approach that will be used if all learning needs to be remote. As we approach this year, we are focused on the health and safety of our students and our faculty and staff, and providing the very best educational program we can. A Reopening Task Force, made up of 385-plus members of our school community, worked on subcommittees to develop the plan. The plan is subject to change as information changes, and we will keep you informed.

Topics Covered In this Summary:

Grades K-6: Plan for On-Site Learning if Allowed

  • K-6 will attend school on-site daily for full days Monday through Friday.
  • K-4 will attend their same neighborhood elementary school.
  • Grade 5 will be housed at the middle school that serves their elementary school and will follow the typical middle school start and end schedule (9 to 3:15 p.m.)
  • Grade 6 students will also attend the middle school that serves their elementary school.
  • The school day start and end times will be approximately the same as in the past. This is subject to change based on transportation schedules.
  • To reduce the number of students who are together at one time and ensure social distancing, K-6 classes will be split in half and spaces such as gyms, cafeterias and libraries will be used for instruction.
  • For Grades K-6, direct instruction will be provided to students everyday by their classroom teacher. The method of direct instructional delivery will rotate every other day because students are spaced out over two classrooms. Example:
    Monday – Direct instruction will be provided by the classroom teacher to half of the class in-person and livestreamed to the other half of the class in another location in school supervised by another faculty or staff member.
    Tuesday- Direct instruction will be provided by the classroom teacher in-person to the half of the class that was not with the teacher in person on Monday and livestreamed to the other half of the class in another location in school supervised by another faculty or staff member.
  • Regardless of whether we are in-person as outlined above or all remote, we will be standardizing around the use of a Google Classroom for Grades 3-12 and Seesaw for K-2.

Grades 7-12: Plan for On-Site Learning if Allowed

  • For Grades 7-12, students will attend full days of school every other day based on the first letter of their last name so that occupancy is 50%. (As an example, A-K will attend school one day and L-Z the next.)
  • The Grades 7-12 schedule will be an alternating A-B schedule, so both sets of students will have an A Day, then a B Day, then an A Day, etc.
  • On days that grades 7-12 are not on-site, they will be expected to continue their learning, complete the week’s work and respond to teacher feedback.
  • Grades 7-8 students will attend school at their neighborhood middle school and grades 9-12 students will attend the high school.
  • On-site attendance is also being prioritized for students with disabilities in self-contained programs and English language learners.
  • School day start and end times are tentatively the same as in they past, but are subject to change based on transportation schedules.

If All Remote is Necessary Due to COVID-19

  • Given the possibility that communities may experience spikes in COVID-19 cases at any point during the school year, which may prompt short or long-term school closures, we will implement the schedules outlined below for fully remote instruction.
  • In a remote instruction model, direct instruction will be provided in core content areas as well as specials and electives.
  • If we must be in an all-remote format, for grades K-5, schedules will be adjusted to balance live, direct instruction from classroom teachers with independent work and time for office hours and extra help.
  • If we must be in an all-remote format, student schedules in grades 6-12 will reflect modified versions of their in-person schedules, so that students do not encounter conflicts wherein synchronous lessons for different subjects are offered simultaneously.

Opting out of In-Person Learning (If allowed)

  • If on-site learning is allowed, families may choose to have their children in a remote only format. 
  • Families who begin the school year in this way will only be permitted to switch to on-site learning during designated time periods. 
  • Families who wish to opt out of the in-person/hybrid format (if on-site learning is allowed) must let the district know by Aug. 15.

Special Education

  • Students in self-contained programs have been prioritized for in-person instruction.
  • Special education programs will also use a consistent platform (Google classroom/Seesaw K-2) when in a virtual or hybrid model for easy access to all materials as well as modifications to instructional content as needed.
  • Related services will be provided to students in accordance with the frequency and duration listed on the IEP.  This could include a combination in person, hybrid, or virtual services depending on health and safety guidelines and individual needs of the student.
  • Committee on Special Education meetings will continue to be virtual for the time being.
  • Special Education students and families will receive more detailed schedule and program information as the school year approaches.


  • Regardless of whether we are in an in-person/hybrid or all remote model, we will be standardizing around the use of a Google Classroom for grades 3-12 and Seesaw for K-2.
  • We will have one Chromebook for each student K-12 for the 2020-21 school year.
  • A question on the Returning Student Registration Form asks about high-speed Internet access in the home. We will follow-up with those who need support with information about a program from Spectrum or a hotspot.

Health Screenings

  • All students and staff must complete a daily health screening prior to the day.
    We are planning to use an app that includes the required questions to assess risk of exposure to COVID-19 or the development of symptoms.
  • This will require students and staff members to have their temperatures taken prior to coming to school. Anyone with a temperature of 100.0°F or greater cannot come to school.
  • Failure to achieve clearance through the app and/or temperature check will require a family to keep their child home or will have the school send them home upon arrival.

Masks/Face Coverings

  • Families must to send students to school with face coverings (cloth-based, surgical, homemade, etc.) that cover the mouth and nose.
  • Face coverings will be available on buses and  at school and provided if needed.
  • Students will be required to wear a face covering on the bus and at school, but not during meals when they are seated and socially distanced.


  • Students and school staff must wear acceptable face coverings at all times on school buses.
  • School Bus Routes will be designed with a reduced operating capacity to ensure social distancing to the greatest extent practical.
  • Parents and legal guardians are encouraged to drop off or walk students to school to reduce density on buses.
  • All buses will be cleaned/disinfected regularly.
  • In light of reduced capacity on buses, it is likely to take longer to get all students to school at the start of the day and home at the end of the day, which could result in changes to the tentative schedules.
  • Under usual circumstances, the routing process takes months. This process has compressed the time available to make the routes significantly.
  • We will share bus schedules with families as soon as possible, but it is likely to be very close to the start of the year.


  • We are working with the Schenectady JCC on options for childcare at district schools.
  • Any program will incorporate all necessary health and safety precautions.
  • We will provide information about this in partnership with the JCC as soon as possible.

What should you look for more information about in August and early September?

  • On-Site Attendance Decision from the Governor’s Office
  • A Chromebook Device for Your Child
  • Your Child’s Schedule (Classes & Days of Attendance for Grades 7-12)
  • Health Screening Protocols
  • Bus Schedules