BEEKMANTOWN — The Beekmantown School District is set to start its 2020-21 academic year on Sept. 14 with a variety of educational options for families.
“We did consider absolutely anything, and in the end I think we were able to provide two really good educational options,” Superintendent Dan Mannix said.
The district will be offering both in-person and virtual options for kindergarten through Grade 12, as well as continuing to allow home school.
In-Person: Students and teachers will attend class in-person, five days a week.
The Beekmantown Virtual School of Learning and Development K-12: This virtual learning option includes four-and-a-half days of virtual learning and a half-day of in-person learning and socialization. All kindergarten classes will be half day. This option is not available for PreK.
Home School: Home school parents take on the full responsibility of educating their children.
Roughly 30 percent of students have opted for remote learning, Mannix said, with the other roughly 70 percent returning for in-person.
Depending on the severity of regional COVID-19 cases, the district may transition to a hybrid teaching model.
In this model, students will be offered a combination of in-person and remote learning experiences where students will have the opportunity to receive in-person feedback and interaction with the teacher regarding the critical material within each curriculum, the plan said.
Teachers would provide instruction via Google Classroom, and online tools such as Google Meet would be used for conferencing and student-teacher interactions.
If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the Beekmantown Central School District, several steps will be taken.
The district will make sure that staff and families know that no one should come to school, and that they should notify school officials if anyone becomes sick with COVID-19 symptoms, tests positive for COVID-19, or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 symptoms or a confirmed or suspected case.
The school will immediately separate staff and children with COVID-19 symptoms who are at school, if they are.
Individuals who are sick will go home or to a healthcare facility depending on how severe their symptoms are, and follow CDC guidance for caring for oneself and others who are sick.
The school will then close off areas used by a sick person and do not use these areas until after cleaning and disinfecting.
In accordance with state and local laws and regulations, school administrators should notify local health officials, staff, and families immediately of any case of COVID-19 while maintaining confidentiality.
Inform those who have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 to stay home and self-monitor for symptoms, and follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.
Also in the reopening plan, a closure response criteria table details the district and greater community factors that will go into closure decisions.
On one end, if there is one positive case of a student or staff member with low levels of case spread in the greater community, the district will be closed for up to 24 hours.
On the other end, if there are five or more cases among staff and students with low levels of case spread in the greater community, the district will be closed for a minimum of 14 days.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Face coverings will be required any time that six feet of social distance isn’t possible and at all times when moving within school buildings.
PPE will be provided to faculty and students who forget to bring it, but all will be expected to bring their own on a daily basis.
Any student that exhibits COVID-19 symptoms at school will have a face shield placed over their face and mask for added protection and will be brought to an isolation room or a designated outside location, weather permitting.
The school will immediately contact a parent or guardian for immediate pick-up which should be within 30 to 60 minutes.
Parents and office assistants will be directed to call emergency contact if this is not possible.
Upon pick-up of that student, parents will be asked to park in front of the building, stay in their vehicle and call the school when they arrive.
Parents will be reminded that students may return to school after a release is provided to the school principal or designee.
In case of a positive COVID-19 Test, contact tracing will be conducted jointly with the Clinton County Health Department.
CHECK SYMPTOMS AT HOME
Prior to coming to school in the morning, the district is asking that parents perform a preliminary health screening of their children.
Any child with a fever of 100 degrees fahrenheit or other COVID-19 symptoms like chills, a cough, or shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, should not be present in school.
In addition to the health screening, students should not be present in school if they have been in close or proximate contact in the past 14 days with anyone who has tested positive for or had symptoms of COVID-19, has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days, has experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days, or traveled internationally or from a state with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
For students learning remotely, the meal pick-up plan will begin on Sept. 14 from 9 a.m. to 1 pm
Families sign up with Google Survey, the district plan said, and provide the following.
• Number of children
• Location of pick up
• Day of week to pick up
• Email of contact person
Families will receive up to five days of breakfast and lunch at a time, and the menu will be posted on the school website.
There will be no home deliveries, and families must sign up to pick up from the Main Campus High School Cafe Window or the CHES Cafe Window.
For more information, contact Roxann Barnes, School Food Service Director at email@example.com or 518-563-8685.
In school all student meals will be served in classrooms, and desks and tables will be sanitized prior to and after meals.
Students eating breakfast and lunch in classrooms will be socially distanced by teachers and/or classroom aides.
Bus drivers will ensure that students who are able wear masks and social distance on the
Bus and provide students with masks as needed, the plan said.
They will never deny transportation to any student without a mask, and ensure all buses which are used every day are cleaned and disinfected after each run.
Hand sanitizer will be prohibited on school buses due to its combustible nature.
The district requires all drivers, monitors and mechanics to perform a self-assessment of COVID-19 symptoms prior to work and wear a face covering along with optional face shield.
The district will provide personal protective equipment to transportation staff, including gloves for drivers and monitors who have direct physical contact with students.
Parents and guardians are required to ensure their students are not experiencing any
signs or symptoms of COVID-19 before boarding the bus.
Students should social distance to the best extent possible when on the school bus, and siblings will sit together when possible and practical. Assigned seats will be mandatory.
Students’ temperatures may be taken at school when they arrive at school.
TECHNOLOGY AND CONNECTIVITY
All students enrolled in the district, pre-K through Grade 12, are provided with a Chromebook laptop issued specifically to them for use on and off campus.
That is thanks to a technological push that Mannix said the district has been going on for a while now.
“We’ve been on a digital teaching and learning push here at Beekmantown for over six years,” Mannix said.
“Then COVID hit, and the transition was still difficult, but, because of the work we had been doing, it wasn’t completely foreign to us.”
The district has provisioned wireless hotspot devices, available for sign out, to provide internet access for any students and teachers who do not have access to high speed internet in their places of residence.
Students and teachers will be using Google Classrooms and other Google tools to participate in instruction.
Principals will work through any unique situations where students do not have easy access to this technology.
The school will be utilizing cameras in classrooms not only for the remote students, Mannix said, but also for those students who may end up at home for longer precautionary periods if they are sent home due to COVID-19 worries.
Mannix wanted to thank district families for a terrific response as the plans for reopening evolved.
“I’ve never had a summer planning routine like this before,” Mannix said.
“We always spend a lot of time planning and looking at improvements, but this year was completely different.”
The district’s teachers have been back since Tuesday the 8th, he said, and are anxious to get going.
“I think everyone is ready to see the kids coming back, or even seeing them digitally,” Mannix said.