Stay tuned to this page where we will update content throughout the year as needed. Our full in-person learning plan is available here.
Where and how will students in the New Lebanon CSD learn during the 2021-22 school year?
What does the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) guidance say about schools for the fall of 2021
Will students and staff be required to wear masks in the New Lebanon CSD?
What will the physical distancing requirements be for students and staff?
Will there be school-based COVID-19 testing for students and staff?
What is the New Lebanon CSD doing in regard to improving ventilation and filtration systems?
Will there be daily screening for students and staff?
Will there be outdoor learning again in the New Lebanon CSD?
What are the cleaning and sanitizing procedures in the New Lebanon CSD?
What will handwashing procedures look like in the New Lebanon CSD?
Will the New Lebanon CSD offer extracurricular activities for the 2021-22 school year?
What will happen when positive COVID-19 cases arise in the New Lebanon CSD?
Will remote learning be offered?
Are parents able to opt their child into non-in-person learning without medical need?
How do students apply for non-in-person learning?
A: All students, grades PreK through 12th, will engage in in-person learning 5 days per week. For a limited number of students with approved COVID-19-related medical conditions, we will provide non-in-person learning.
A: The NYSDOH has not released guidance for the 2021-22 school year, as of the writing of these FAQs (early August). In the absence of this document, we are anticipating guidance from the New York State Education Department (NYSED). In a memo dated August 10, SED Commissioner Dr. Betty Rosa indicated this guidance would be released soon. It is expected to follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance, as well as guidance issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The key elements of this guidance are:
- Ensuring students have access to full-time, in-person learning is paramount
- If a particular COVID-19 mitigation strategy cannot be successfully implemented, school districts should put other measures in place (e.g., if 3 feet of physical distancing isn’t possible, then universal masking must be in place)
The following COVID-19 mitigation measures, which the New Lebanon CSD is fully implementing:
- Masking (and masking on buses)
- Physical distancing
- Hand hygiene practices
- Respiratory hygiene practices
- Improved HVAC and filtration systems
- COVID-19 testing if community spread rises above 49 new cases per 100,000 in the past 7 days
- Cleaning and sanitizing procedures
- Daily symptom screening
- School sites to serve as vaccination clinics when necessary
A: When indoors, all individuals (regardless of vaccination status) must wear masks including on buses. Exceptions to this are for eating, drinking, and structured mask breaks. At the writing of these FAQs (early August), outdoor mask-wearing continues to be optional.
A: The CDC currently recommends three feet of physical distancing between individuals, but we are making every attempt to maintain six feet of distance between students. There will always be a minimum of three feet of physical distance. When possible, our students will be separated to six feet apart. During meals and while unmasked, students will always be six feet apart.
A: The Columbia County Department of Health is in the process of securing federal funding for school-based testing, which will allow the New Lebanon CSD to implement a school-based testing program.
Symptomatic testing will be available for students, with caregiver consent, and staff who begin to experience COVID-19 symptoms at school. Swabbing will occur before they leave campus, and test results will be available afterward. The goals of this program are to:
- reduce out-of-school time
- mitigate the spread of COVID-19
- alleviate barriers to testing (e.g. transportation, testing site operating hours)
More information about the symptomatic testing program is forthcoming.
The New Lebanon CSD will initiate surveillance testing when/if community transmission meets or exceeds “Moderate Transmission” in our county (10-49 new cases per 100,000 in the past 7 days). See the chart below for further information about CDC recommendations for surveillance testing:
|Total new cases per 100,000 persons in the past 7 days2||0-9||10-49||50-99||≥100|
|Percentage of NAATs that are positive during the past 7 days3||<5.0%||5.0%-7.9%||8.0%-9.9%||≥10.0%|
A: During the summer and fall of 2020, the New Lebanon CSD contracted with Trane, an HVAC company, to ensure all New Lebanon CSD ventilation and filtration systems were fully functional.
Additionally, the New Lebanon CSD upgraded all filters in our heating and ventilation systems to the maximum MERV capabilities
A: Yes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential that students and staff remain home and get tested if they are showing signs and symptoms of COVID-19. We will continue to send out daily screenings to parents by email each morning. Parents, caregivers, and staff will be prompted to check for COVID-19 symptoms and stay home if any are present.
COVID-19 symptoms that require all individuals to stay home include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
We will also continue doing daily temperature checks prior to students entering the building.
A: Outdoor learning will continue to be a priority for students’ social-emotional and academic well-being.
A: The CDC states that “[t]he virus that causes COVID-19 can land on surfaces. It’s possible for people to become infected if they touch those surfaces and then touch their nose, mouth, or eyes. In most situations, the risk of infection from touching a surface is low. The most reliable way to prevent infection from surfaces is to regularly wash hands or use hand sanitizer.”
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Lebanon CSD developed new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for sanitizing district facilities, which are well-established as part of custodial operations. High utilization touch areas and flat working surfaces, such as door handles, soap dispensers, light switches, desktops, and tabletops, are sanitized at least once every 24 hours when schools are in use. Custodial staff respond to requests for more frequent sanitizing as needed.
Thoroughly clean any of the surfaces with a general cleaner to remove any visibly soiled areas. Use a greenback sponge and wipe the surface dry. Removing the dirt will allow the disinfectant to be effective by directly contacting the surface.
Disinfect the cleaned surface by using a spray bottle of disinfectant. Apply the disinfectant to wet the surface thoroughly. Allow the disinfectant to remain wet for 10 minutes, then dry the surface with a paper towel. A C3 machine can be used to apply the disinfectant in bathrooms and locker rooms.
All custodial staff have been trained and understand that these SOPs are to be carefully and thoroughly followed. In an effort to maintain fidelity to the cleaning and sanitizing procedures, custodial staff maintain accurate and up-to-date logs, which will be reviewed by supervisors daily.
Additionally, other staff members have access to disinfectant wipes to utilize throughout the district.
A: Students and staff are encouraged to wash their hands regularly throughout the day and must do so before and after eating, manipulating shared physical supplies, and after recess.
The New Lebanon CSD also continues maintain hand sanitizer stations to make hand hygiene easy for all to practice.
A: Yes. We will continue to offer in-person athletics, arts, and club activities for young people. If and when this changes, we will be sure to communicate with students, staff, and families.
A: As individuals test positive for COVID-19, the individual or their caregiver must notify their principal, director, or nurse immediately. We then engage in a number of actions in rapid succession:
- Confirm the case through the corresponding county health department; if the individual has written/digital documentation of the case, they should share that with the principal, director, or nurse immediately, as well
- Identify close contacts and send them home if it is during the day, as possible
- Notify close contacts (if students, notify their families) about what they can expect from the health department (i.e., what quarantine mandated by the health department might look like)
- Notify the school’s community, post on the website, and notify other affected departments
- Coordinate meals and learning materials delivery, as necessary
- Commence distance learning (families should check for communication from the school/teacher)
- Clean spaces
Our process aims to quickly identify and support the isolation and quarantine efforts of local health departments. The experiences of the 2020-21 school year allowed our teams to become well-practiced in these endeavors.
A: Non-in-person learning is available only for students with a medical condition documented by a NYS-licensed healthcare provider. It is important to note that remote instruction will not be carried out by New Lebanon CSD faculty. All students participating in remote learning will be taught by dedicated distance learning instructors facilitated through Questar III BOCES. The decision to have your child participate in remote learning is a long term commitment, although details are still being finalized.
A: No. Students will need to apply and be approved following the process of review outlined below.
A: First, you must submit a written request to the superintendent with a doctor’s note explaining the medical reason that necessitates remote learning. This will be reviewed by the school physician and superintendent. If approved, the case will then go to the school’s 504 committee. If the 504 committee approves the recommendation, virtual learning will be implemented by a BOCES virtual program.