Horseheads District Plan 2020-21
Note: Beginning April 30, updates are now posted to the Revised District Plan at the link above.
To enter your child's daily health survey information, please click here. You will need your child's log-in information.
For the revised 2020-21 Calendar, please click here. The calendar has been revised to reflect our current four-day per week in-person schedule. Please also note that there will be no school Tuesday, June 1.
4-16-21: The district will transition to four days per week in-person instruction for hybrid students beginning Monday, April 19. For the district's revised plan, please click here. Please click here for an update from Superintendent Tom Douglas.
4-13-21: The district has revised its 2020-21 plan to align with the recently released New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Guidelines for schools. At this time, the plan is a draft, with implementation subject to support from the Chemung County Department of Health and County Executive.
4-11-21: Late Friday evening, the New York State Health Department released updated guidance regarding physical distancing for schools, a full three weeks after the Centers for Disease Control released their update. This is welcome news, enabling our district to offer more in-person days of instruction per week. The district is now reviewing the state guidance to determine any needed updates in the district plan and any adjustments we will need to make in order to offer more in-person days of instruction during the ongoing pandemic. Our initial review shows that the primary changes include a recommendation of three feet of physical distancing in classrooms, in line with the CDC guidelines, and six feet of distancing for music and physical education instruction.
The other major piece in the state guidance is required stakeholder feedback prior to expanding in-person instruction. The district will be sending more information on our plan, and we will ask for feedback to meet this portion of the state requirements early in the coming week. Please look for this information and complete it as soon as possible.
At this time, we hope to implement the plan April 19, barring no additional requirements placed upon districts.
3-26-21: Click here for an update from Superintendent Tom Douglas. As of this update, the state has not updated its guidelines for schools to meet CDC guidance, and we have not been informed of a date when the state will do so. The district is formulating a plan so that our schools will be ready if and when the state updates guidelines. Read our preliminary plan here.
3-19-21: Click here for an update from Superintendent Tom Douglas. The Centers for Disease Control have revised guidelines for schools. Please join us in urging the state to update guidance at the state level so that we may open our schools to in-person instruction more days per week. Contact Governor Cuomo here or call 1-518-474-8390. Email the New York State Department of Health at email@example.com.
3-11-21: Click here for an update from Superintendent Tom Douglas. If you would like to advocate for our students at the state level, contact Governor Cuomo at this link.
Our Q&A has been updated below.
For a list of parent/guardian questions and answers, please click here. This information was developed in January and will be updated as necessary throughout the rest of the year.
For information on our Board of Education meetings, including links to meeting recordings, click here.
1-28-21: Click here for an update from Superintendent Tom Douglas. On January 27, Governor Cuomo lifted the orange zone restrictions in our county and across the state. This is good news because it means COVID numbers are going down, but safety requirements remain in place, and we must continue to be vigilant to keep our community moving forward. Thank you.
Click here for the district's Return to Play Plan for High Risk Sports.
1-9-21: Click here for an update from the superintendent. All of our schools have returned to in-person hybrid instruction. Six of our schools remain in the state-designated orange zone. These schools are testing a portion of students and staff each week in order to meet the state requirement of the 20% monthly testing.
12-29-20: Click here for the Superintendent's Update. The state-designated orange zone for six of our schools remains in place. Our plan to reopen grade 5-12 schools continues to move forward, with the High School returning to in-person hybrid instruction on Monday, January 4, and the Middle and Intermediate schools on Thursday, January 7. Required COVID-19 testing of students and staff will begin when these schools reopen to hybrid instruction.
12-22-20: Click here for an update from Superintendent Tom Douglas. The district is planning to reopen the High School to hybrid instruction on Monday, January 4, and the Middle and Intermediate schools on Thursday, January 7. Parents and guardians have been sent information regarding the reopening.
12-11-20: Click here for an update from Superintendent Tom Douglas. Parents and guardians of students in grades PreK-4, please click here for more information. Center Street, Gardner Road, and Ridge Road return to hybrid instruction December 14.
Click here for a weekly update on COVID-19 cases and direct contacts in the district. Please note that this information includes only those cases and contacts known to the district. Other databases may include different data.
12-9-20: Please click here for information on home support for technology.
Click here for the New York State PreK-12 COVID Tool Kit. This document provides information on decision-making for parents and staff on school attendance. Click here for our district safety protocols.
12-3-20: Please click here for an update on our phase-in reopening plan for schools in the orange microcluster zone. Our plan is to begin reopening with our PreK-4 schools. Center Street, Gardner Road, and Ridge Road will open Monday, December 14 for Cohort A, and Tuesday, December 17 for Cohort B. The state requires COVID-19 testing of students and staff in each building on a weekly basis, so that 20% are tested monthly. Parents/guardians of students at Center Street, Gardner Road, and Ridge Road may click here for more information.
12-1-20: Prior to Monday, the state’s requirement for schools in the orange zone had been 100% testing of students and staff before reopening, and then weekly testing of 25% of students and staff thereafter. We were prepared to announce this reopening plan today; however, late Monday evening, the Governor released new information on micro-cluster zones. We have not yet received formal guidance from the state to clarify these changes so that we may begin to move forward with a phased reopening plan. Such a plan may require initial and ongoing testing. We are actively seeking clarification of the new requirements.
Once we receive clarity from the state, we will adjust our plan accordingly, acquire Department of Health approvals, and share the plan with you. We want to reopen our schools to hybrid learning as soon as possible, but we must do so safely in accordance with all state and local requirements to remain open. We are hoping to finalize the plan in the next few days, and we appreciate your patience as we work to get direction from the state.
11-20-20: Please click here for an update on our six schools in the state-designated orange zone. These schools remain on remote learning next week. As we move toward winter and the upcoming holidays, we remind everyone to please limit gatherings, wear a mask and maintain safe distance when we must leave our homes, and wash hands thoroughly and often. Thank you.
11-13-20: Please click here for an update on the status of our six schools in the state-designated orange zone. These schools remain on remote learning next week. The update includes information on testing required to reopen schools to in-person learning along with a survey to gather parent/guardian feedback on consent to testing.
11-9-20: We have been informed of a positive case of COVID-19 at Big Flats School, which is located in a green zone. All students and staff members deemed direct contacts went home and are in quarantine until cleared to return next week. Because the classes are self-contained with very little student movement, all other classrooms at Big Flats will continue hybrid learning. Our other six schools remain in the state-designated orange zone. We will update parents/guardians as soon as we receive information. Click here for more information.
11-6-20: Our six schools continue remote learning next week as the area remains in the orange zone. The district is working to determine if we can secure the requirements necessary to test students and staff and begin the reopening process as set by the state. Please click here for more information from the superintendent.
Additionally, the state Board of Regents has cancelled the January Regents exams. High School students taking courses that include a Regents exam will receive an exemption from the exam as long as they complete and pass the associated course by the end of the first semester. Students and parents/guardians with questions should contact the student’s school counselor. For frequently-asked questions from the state Education Department, please click here.
10-23-20: Please click here for information on itslearning parent accounts, revised marking period and parent/teacher conference dates for PreK-6, and school-aged child care.
10-22-20: Due to the state's announcement yesterday designating most of the district in an orange zone, six of our seven schools must remain on remote learning: Center Street, Gardner Road, Ridge Road, Intermediate, Middle, and High schools will remain closed to in-person learning as long as the location while the orange zone designation continues. Big Flats Elementary School, which is not in any designated zone, can reopen. The Board of Education voted to open Big Flats beginning Monday, October 26. Please click here for a message from Superintendent Tom Douglas. For more information on the state's zone designations, please click here.
10-21-20: It was our hope to reopen our schools to hybrid learning next week. However, today Governor Cuomo placed restrictions on areas in Chemung County with increases in COVID-19 cases, deeming these areas orange or yellow. Most of the Horseheads district is in the orange zone, meaning the Governor has ordered that these schools move to full remote learning mode, remaining in full remote until he clears schools to return.
The Board of Education will hold an emergency meeting this evening at 5pm to discuss the effects of this order on our schools. Live stream the meeting at this link: http://ideas.gstboces.org/hhds/.
10-5-20: The district will move to 100% remote for all students beginning Tuesday, October 6 due to increased positive cases of COVID-19 and quarantines in the district and region, as well as the need for a safe learning environment. Please click here for more information.
10-4-20: The Middle/Intermediate School complex will be closed Monday, October 5 to Wednesday, October 7 due to two positive COVID-19 tests so that the contact tracing may be completed and out of an abundance of caution. Middle and Intermediate students should connect remotely beginning Monday, October 5. Please click here for more information.
10-2-20: Click here for a video update from Superintendent Tom Douglas on the start of the school year and the importance of being vigilant with safety practices. In the video, he refers to safety protocols being emailed to parents and staff. Click here for that document.
Itslearning is nearing completion of the setup of parent/guardian accounts. When this is complete, you will receive an email from itslearning stating that you may access the platform using your Parent Portal ID and password to log in. Before logging in to itslearning, please view the tutorial videos on the home page to help you familiarize yourself with the platform. More information can also be found here. If you do not have a Parent Portal account, need assistance, or have questions, please see below.
- If you do not have a parent portal account, please complete this form to request an account.
- If you have a parent portal account but do not remember your login information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for your account to be reset.
- If you have questions about itslearning, please email email@example.com.
- If you are having difficulty accessing itslearning or other sites when on a district device, it may be due to a security feature called Content Keeper. If you see the Content Keeper screen when you log on, enter your child’s login credentials and you should be able to continue.
- For technology support, please complete this form.
Please click the links below for information on the specific topics:
UPDATE 9-29-20: Please click here for an update from the superintendent regarding a positive case at the Middle School.
Use your Parent Portal (Schooltool) login to log in to itslearning. Please note: parent accounts on itslearning should be functional the week of September 28. We had given a date of September 14 in one section of the parent newsletter. We apologize for the confusion.
If you do not have a Parent Portal account, see the "Parent Portal" section below.
Please click the links below to access these items directly:
To access the Parent Portal on an internet browser, go to https://schooltool.horseheadsdistrict.com. You can also find the SchoolTool Mobile app in the Apple app store and Google Play store. The URL for the mobile app is: https://schooltool.horseheadsdistrict.com/sthhweb.
If you do not have a Parent Portal account and would like to register for one, please complete this form.
If you have questions or need your account reset, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Itslearning Management System:
Itslearning is the management system we will use for remote learning. Itslearning is a learning management system (online platform) that allows teachers to have an online component alongside their traditional instruction. Not only can teachers post classroom content but they may also have students participate in online discussions, submit assignments, complete assessments, and create content. In addition to being a vital component for everyday teaching and learning, itslearning will also be utilized during any days missed due to unscheduled school closures (ex. inclement weather). Itslearning is also a communication tool for administrators, teachers, students, and parents.
Parents/guardians can monitor content assigned to their children through itslearning. You may log in with your parent portal account and access the parent dashboard, or have your child log in to the platform and show you what he or she is doing. You can see the Lesson Planner section for the class lesson presented that day, see posted homework or posted ‘no homework’, see class resources used, class activities, and any information about upcoming tests, projects, and quizzes. You may also check on bulletins or reminders in individual courses and find links to valuable resources that students may need throughout the year. This can include on-line text books and more.
A parent/guardian demonstration session was held virtually September 9. Click here to view the video of this session.
Access itslearning at https://horseheadsdistrict.itslearning.com/
Updates from the Superintendent:
Meal Delivery on Remote Learning Days:
For information and the one-time registration form for participating in our meal delivery program for days students are learning at home, please click here. Delivery is on Wednesdays. Parents/guardians who complete the form by September 4 will have deliveries beginning on September 9. Parents/guardians may complete the form after September 4 and be added to future deliveries. You need only complete the registration form once.
Parent/Guardian Information Sessions:
The district held four parent/guardian meetings on the plan for the 2020-21 school year. Parents were sent a link to a form to submit questions. View videos of the meetings at the links below:
Click here for the revised 2020-21 School Calendar. Note that the first four days of school will be conference days, so there will be no school for students September 8-11.
Instruction will begin the week of September 14 in a transitional format. This is to allow students to have specific time with their teacher to start the year, becoming more comfortable with the changes and new requirements of this school year. Teachers will meet with their cohort(s) as follows:
Monday and Tuesday (September 14-15):
- Cohort A will meet with their teacher(s) in-person.
- There will be no school (in-person or remote) for 100% Remote Students and Cohort B.
Wednesday (September 16):
- 100% Remote Students will connect with their teacher(s).
- There will be no school (in-person or remote) for Cohorts A and B.
Thursday and Friday (September 17-18):
- Cohort B will meet with their teacher(s) in-person.
- There will be no school (in-person or remote) for 100% Remote Students and Cohort A.
During the week of September 21, 2020, students will attend every day either in-person or remotely according to their schedule:
Monday and Tuesday (September 21-22):
- Cohort A will meet with their teacher(s) in-person.
- 100% Remote Students and Cohort B will connect remotely.
Wednesday (September 23):
- All students will connect with their teachers remotely.
Thursday and Friday (September 24-25):
- Cohort B will meet with their teacher(s) in-person.
- 100% Remote Students and Cohort A will connect remotely.
The focus during this week will be on building relationships, using technology/software, and sharing procedures/expectation/skills of the learning environment.
By the week of September 28, we hope to integrate our full curriculum and technology use into the daily schedule.
Please also note that hybrid days are color-coded on the calendar. We have attempted to balance the number of days in school. If there is a holiday during a week, hybrid students will have a slightly different schedule. One of the cohorts will meet in-person on a Wednesday to make up for the day out of school due to the holiday.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has affected our community in profound ways. In March, when the state enacted NY on PAUSE and ordered schools closed, our students, parents, teachers, and everyone involved in the education of our students worked together to continue instruction and nutrition for our students.
We now plan for a new school year, using what we know, what science and data have told us, and the guidance of state health officials. By order of Governor Cuomo, the re-opening of schools in any format is contingent upon our region’s 14-day COVID-19 infection rate remaining below 5%. If at any time after August 1 the region’s infection rate rises above 9% over a seven-day average, the governor has required that all school buildings close until he returns students back to schools. Instruction during this time of closure would continue with all students completing remote/online instruction.
New York State has provided an extensive document, outlining the requirements for opening schools in 2020-21. From July 20–31, nearly 100 stakeholders – teachers, parents, staff, administrators, community members – met on five committees to discuss survey results, analyze health department guidance, and provide input on the state requirements and the best plan for Horseheads schools. Additionally, the plan was reviewed and discussed with the Board of Education and, separately, the Chemung County Department of Health and county executive. This document is the district’s plan to reopening schools for the 2020-21 school year; and it will be enhanced as we begin our implementation throughout the summer.
Table of Contents (Click the links below to go directly to the specific section.)
Budget and Fiscal
Staffing and Human Resources
- Phase 1: Communication, Guidance, Process Planning July 15-21
- Phase 2: Committee Input and Plan development July 22-31
- Phase 3: Finalization of Plan and Parent Commitment July 31-August 7
- Phase 4: Implementation August 3-September 7
- Phase 5: School Year Begins and Necessary Adjustments 2020-21
- Phase 6: Potential Closure & Re-opening Implementation 2020-21
Phase 1: Communication, Guidance, Process Planning
The district received documents from the NYS Department of Health on July 13 and the NYS Department of Education on July 15 regarding the opening of schools for the 2020-21 school year. Stakeholder groups were contacted for participation in five advisory committees:
- Health & Safety
- Social Emotional Well-Being
Phase 2: Community Input and Plan Development
During the week of July 20, a total of 80 stakeholders – teachers, parents, staff, administrators, community members – met to discuss survey results, analyze health and education department guidance documents, and provide input on the state requirements for the creation of the best plan for Horseheads schools. The committees focused on five key areas: Health & Safety, Transportation, Nutrition, Social Emotional Well-Being, and Instruction. Work continued the week of July 27 in order to complete our plan and have it reviewed by Chemung County Department of Health, the county executive, and the Board of Education prior to its submittal to the state by the July 31 due date.
Several educational formats were studied, researched, and discussed for both educational and operational feasibility.
Horseheads Board of Education: Kristine Dale, President; Brian Lynch, Vice President; Tom Casey; Dan Christmas, Warren Conklin; Mary Anne Holleran; Shehla Javed; Doug Johnson; Najeeb Rehman
District Executive Team: Tom Douglas, Superintendent; Anthony Gill, Assistant Superintendent; Katy Buzzetti, Assistant Superintendent for Business; Caitlin DeFilippo, Director of Human Resources; Kelly Squires, Director of Student Services
Phase 2 Committee Membership
Tiffany Owen, Central Office (CO), Facilitator: Susan Amey, Horseheads Teachers Association (HTA); Melanie Anastasio, HTA; Kristy Bartenstein, HTA; Jessica Benkelmann, Horseheads Support Staff Association (HSSA); Mike Bostwick, Admin; Ryan Collins, CO; Bert Conklin, CO; Scott Cunningham, HTA; Sara Diezhandino, Parent; Kris Earl, Admin.; Bill Finnerty, HTA; Maureen Frei, HTA; Lance Funair, Parent; Bill Giancoli, CO; Melissa Gillette, Parent; Megan Hale, HTA; Cassie Lamphier, CO; Christine Lawas, HTA; Shawn McDonough, CO; Tracy McUmber, HTA ; Patrick Patterson, Admin; Chris Schiavone, HTA; Andy Scott, HTA; Stephanie Smith, HTA; Lee Spencer, HTA; Alicia Stryker, HSSA: Bruce Whitmarsh, Parent
Health & Safety Committee:
Caitlin DeFilippo, CO, Co-Facilitator; Mike Coghlan, Facilities &Grounds (F&G), Co-Facilitator; Danhy Austin, F&G; Kevin Clark, Union Leader; Annette Cobb, Nurse; Sarah Crouse, HSSA; Pat Gross, Community; Ron Holloway, Admin; Brandon Johnson, HTA; Mike McCawley, Admin; Scott McGrain, School Resource Officer; Mary Owen, Nurse; Melanie Peden, Parent; Mark Romanski, HTA; Liz Scaptura, Admin; Debbie Semski, Kids World; Tony Stager, F&G; Candi Valentine, Union Leader
Social Emotional Well-Being Committee:
Kelly Squires, CO, Facilitator; Anne-Marie Bailey, Admin; Kelly Bennett, Social Worker; Tiffany Bratz, HTA; Julie Burr, Nurse; April Cook, HTA; Christy Harmer, Parent; Tom Hoeffner, Admin; Sarah Kline, Social Work Assistant; Dora Leland, HTA; Sara Michelucci, HTA; Melanie Rahr, Social Work Assistant; Rachel Rich, Social Worker; Angela Sullivan, Parent; Alexis Trayhnam, Social Worker; Donna Weber, HSSA
Joe Kilmer, Food Service, Co-Facilitator; Katy Buzzetti, CO, Co-Facilitator; Robin Doubrava, Admin; Julie Knowlden, Food Service; Michelle Podolec, Parent; Jessica Preston, Food Service; Michelle Reeves, HTA; Victoria Shutts, Food Service
Pete Wilcox, Transportation, Co-Facilitator; Katy Buzzetti, Central Office, Co-Facilitator; Dan Buseck, Secondary Admin; Diana Hardy, Transportation; Jason Johnson, Transportation; Rich Micelotta, Transportation; Patti Piedgon, Note Taker; Dick Pirozzolo, Community; Patti Sotero, Elementary Admin; Mike Smith, Union Leader Jessika Vroman, HSSA
Chemung County Executive: Christopher Moss
Chemung County Department of Health: Peter Buzzetti
Phase 3: Finalization of Plan & Parent Commitment
The various advisory committees work was overlaid to ensure that the three models of instruction developed by the Instructional Committee met the mandated requirements of the state in all areas. All mandated requirements from NYS Education Department and NYS Department of Health will be met for our hybrid model (portion of the time in school and a portion at home remote/online learning) and 100% remote/online model of instruction.
Due to the requirements set forth by the NYS Department of Education and the NYS Department of Health, it was advised by our operational committees that the district not offer the 100% in-person, five days a week, instruction model for the start of the 2020-21 school year. We will continue with this plan until so ordered by Governor Cuomo, NYS Department of Health, or NYS Department of Education.
On Friday, July 31, the district will check the assurances listed at the end of this document and submit information on key aspects of these assurances. The next phase (implementation) will see the development of further details required to meet each of the models of instruction in our plan.
A questionnaire is slated to go to parents the week of August 3. Parents will need to commit to one of the models of instruction being offered: hybrid or remote/online. The questionnaire coincides with the governor’s announcement on our region’s ability to open for the fall.
Phase 4: Implementation
The logistics of opening the school year in the fall requires the data from the parent questionnaire. These parental choices will dictate our operational opening protocols (nutrition, transportation, and health and safety), as well as instructional and social emotional well-being scheduling and planning. For example, master schedule development in all buildings, planning for student arrival and dismissal, routing of buses, training and learning requirements of the plan, communication planning, and facility preparedness.
Phase 5: School Year Begins & Necessary Adjustments
Our implementation plan goes into effect and alterations are made to continue to meet the mandates of the state guidance. To meet training/professional learning needs of this plan and address the social emotional well-being of our employees, parents, and students, a shift in the district’s use of superintendent’s conference days and the phasing in of people in the building is being considered.
Phase 6: Potential Closure & Re-opening Implementation
At any moment the governor may re-open our buildings to 100% in-person, or close our buildings resulting in 100% remote/online learning. Similarly, the Department of Health may close our buildings leading to 100% remote/online learning. Our plan will address these shifts ensuring seamless transfer in our continuum of learning.
New York State Education Department Mandatory Requirements
Health & Safety and Facilities
The health and safety of the children and adults in our schools is paramount. Health and safety considerations must always come first in every decision made and every action taken by our schools.
Whether instruction is provided in-person, remote/online, or through some combination of the two, we have an important role to play in educating and communicating with our community about the precautionary actions we are taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Prevention is accomplished by following the recommendations of health authorities in the following areas
- Health Checks
- Healthy Hygiene Practices
- Social Distancing
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Face Coverings
- Management of Ill Persons
- Cleaning and Disinfection
Focusing on preventive action, the Horseheads Central School District is addressing these requirements for the beginning of the 2020-21 school year:
- We have reviewed and considered the number of students and staff allowed to return in-person using these factors:
- Ability to maintain appropriate social distance
- PPE and face mask availability
- Availability of safe transportation
- Local hospital capacity (in consultation with the Chemung County Health Department)
Based on these factors a 100% in-person format has been determined to be not feasible or advisable during this stage of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the mandated requirements for social distancing in buildings and on district transportation, the availability of staff, and the capacity of our school buildings, our district does not have the ability to bring all students back to buildings every day.
- In conjunction with the local health department, we have a plan for actions to be taken if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a school. Also in conjunction with the local health department, we have a plan that complies with CDC guidance for the return to school of students and staff following illness or diagnosis of confirmed case of COVID-19 or following quarantine due to contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. Please click here for more information on testing and contact tracing.
- We have secured the necessary cleaning agents, and continue to purchase products, to clean and disinfect schools following CDC guidance.
- We plan on conducting the required school safety drills with modifications ensuring social distancing between persons.
- We are in conversation with our local providers of before and aftercare programs to ensure proper health and safety measures are being taken. This planning will continue as we explore more partnerships related to child care.
- The Director of Human Resources, Assistant Superintendent for Business, and Assistant Superintendent have been designated our COVID-19 safety coordinators whose responsibilities include continuous compliance with all aspects of the school’s reopening plan, as well as any phased-in reopening activities necessary to allow for operational issues to be resolved before activities return to normal or “new normal” levels.
- We will follow all guidance related to health and safety which includes meeting social distancing requirements and cleaning frequently touched spaces regularly to prevent spread of infection.
- The district understands that:
- In the event that we make changes or additions to facilities due to our school year planning, such changes will be reviewed by the Office of Facilities Planning (OFP), since all spaces to be occupied by public school students and staff must meet the requirements of the 2020 New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (BC) and the State Energy Conservation Code – just as with any other project.
- Many of our stairs and corridor doors have closers with automatic hold opens. These doors are normally held in the open position and are automatically released by the fire alarm system. The function, position, and operation of those doors will remain unchanged.
- The statute has not been changed to provide an extension to the submission deadline for the Building Condition Survey or Visual Inspections. These deadlines must be met.
- At present, the statutory requirement that lead testing occur in 2020 continues. NYS DOH regulation 67-4, Lead-In-Water Testing, DOH requires lead-in-water testing to be conducted when the building is “normally occupied.” Sampling should not be conducted when the building is vacant or has been vacant for an extended period due to COVID-19 closure. Simulation of “normally occupied operation” for the purpose of lead-in-water testing is not permitted. NYS DOH advises that schools follow recommended procedures to the extent possible to provide clean and safe drinking water upon reopening.
- If we expect to make space alterations to the physical space or the building, these items will be required as part of our plan:
- Alterations to the configuration of existing classrooms or spaces or the introduction of temporary and/or movable partitions, the change must be submitted to OFP, the local municipality and/or code enforcement officials for review.
- Means of egress, fire alarm system, ventilation, and lighting may be affected and must be indicated on all submitted plans.
- Consult your architect and submit floor plans to OFP for approval.
- COVID-19 Projects shall be indicated as “COVID-19 Reopening” when submitted to the OFP. This will allow NYSED to expedite those reviews.
- The installation of movable partitions (gym, cafeteria, Library classroom dividers) and queue barricades shall require an abbreviated submission consistent with the Form FP-AU Request for Approval of Use of a Facility.
- Use of Cafeterias, Libraries, Auditoriums and Gymnasiums: A floor plan of the entire room showing the furniture layout with egress aisles shall be submitted to OFP for approval. Lighting, ventilation, means of egress, and fire alarm coverage must be indicated.
- If the district chooses to expand their square footage in order to enable improved social distancing (e.g. building additions, lease space, transportable classroom units or spaces such as tents) the following requirements apply for all spaces to be occupied by school district staff and students:
- Code Review: Per statute, NYSED’s Office of Facilities Planning must review and approve the above types of projects to ensure that the proposed spaces meet the fire code.
- Offsite Lease Requirements: For offsite facilities, the district or other applicable schools must contact their project manager at NYSED Office of Facilities Planning (OFP) and submit a Temporary Quarters (TQ) Project submission.
- To ensure that these sites meet all requirements, TQ submissions require submission of:
- OFP Form FP_AU-Request for Approval of Use of a Facility;
- architectural quality floor plan;
- site plan;
- AHERA Plan;
- Fire Safety Report;
- Confirmation of Americans with Disabilities Act compliance;
- Local Code Authority Certificate of Occupancy; and
- Approval of use of space.
- If a Change of Occupancy in the Existing Building Code applies (e.g. office or B-occupancy to E-occupancy) code requirements such as rescue windows; accessibility; fire protection systems such as sprinkler or emergency voice alarm communication systems; ventilation – may make it infeasible.
- Districts or other applicable schools should identify COVID-19 Projects as “COVID-19 Re- opening” when required materials are submitted to OFP for review.
- Consult with OFP for a preliminary evaluation of all facilities under consideration for leasing. All leased facilities must be submitted to OFP for review and approval.
- We will consult with our architect/engineer of record and identify COVID-19 Projects as “COVID-19 Reopening” when required materials are submitted to OFP for review.
- In the event that tents are used as alternate spaces, then the following requirements apply:
- Tents, both temporary and permanent are regulated by code and must be submitted for a building permit.
- Temporary structures and tents are those erected for 180 days or less. The Building Code Section 3103.1 indicates, “tents and membrane structures erected for a period of less than 180 days shall comply with the Fire Code of NYS”.
- The Fire Code (FC) Chapter 31 contains extensive requirements for Tents and Other Membrane Structures. FC Section 3103.2 indicates that a permit and approval of temporary tents is required. FC Section 3103 contains requirements for temporary tents and Section 3104 has requirements for permanent tents. They include requirements for construction documents, access roads, location, seating plans, means of egress, illumination, exit signs, construction, use.
- Permanent tents are considered a membrane structure and are regulated by Building Code Section 3102 and other applicable sections.
- Districts or other applicable schools must consult their design professional to prepare submission drawings for approval by OFP.
- The following information must be shown on the drawings: Dimensions, Minimum separation distance to other structures, Tent sides (yes) (no), Duration of use, Type of use/activity, Anchor- age, Number of Exits, Width of each exit, Table/Chair/Contents, layout, Fire extinguisher Location, Occupant load, Heating or Cooking equipment, Utilities, Exit signs, NFPA 701 testing/label/certification.
- If the tent is used for E-occupancy, consult with local municipalities and/or code enforcers provide code-compliant design for mechanical heat and ventilation; lighting; emergency lighting; power; fire alarm; plumbing; etc. as required.
- Districts or other applicable schools must consult their architect and submit to OFP for approval. The district, or other applicable school, must provide an architectural quality floor plan, which clearly indicates existing and proposed use of space showing the furniture layout with egress aisles. Lighting, ventilation, means of egress, and fire alarm coverage must be indicated.
- It is understood by the district that the number of toilet and sink fixtures must meet the minimum standards of the New York State Building Code. In order to ensure compliance, a design professional should be consulted prior to any modifications to layouts or number of fixtures. And all temporary facilities must be approved through the Office of Facilities Planning.
- We will maintain adequate, code required ventilation (natural or mechanical) as designed.
Our students are entitled to a free public education, even as we face the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. All students must have the opportunity to feel safe, engaged, and excited about their learning, whether in-person, remote/online, or some combination of the two. At the heart of teaching and learning are the relationships that students have with their peers, teachers, and school community members. Students are searching for a return to their routines and a sense of normalcy, so all efforts should acknowledge the importance of setting a positive routine and welcoming environment that supports students during this unpredictable time.
During the upcoming school year, it is of the utmost importance that individual student needs and equity are put at the center of all learning experiences. Flexibility is essential when planning for the fall and beyond, and we will be prepared to shift between in-person, remote/online learning, and a hybrid model in a way that is least disruptive to students.
We will provide 180 days of instruction to our students regardless of whether it is in-person, remote/online, or through a hybrid model. And as with any other year, our instruction will be aligned with the outcomes in the New York State Learning Standards. Such instruction aligned to the academic program must include regular and substantive interaction with an appropriately certified teacher regardless of the delivery method (e.g., in-person, remote/online, or hybrid). We are responsible for developing a mechanism to collect and report daily teacher/student engagement or attendance regardless of the instructional setting. Also, built into each educational model will be routine scheduled times for students to interact and seek feedback and support from their teachers. We will create a clear communication plan for how students and their families/caregivers can contact the school and teachers with questions about their instruction and/or technology.
For the 2020-21 school year, students/families will have the opportunity to choose one of two options when returning to school: Hybrid or 100% remote/online. Our priority is to create a plan that provides students with an equal opportunity to learn in a culture and climate that promotes the social/emotional well-being and safety of our students and staff.
- After the submission of our plan we will clearly communicate with students, families, and staff our models of instruction. We have arrived at these models through the collaboration with district stakeholders.
- There are two options for students: 100% remote/online learning or a district-designed hybrid model. We will slowly transition the timeline to ensure that all staff and students feel safe as we prepare for the new school year.
Please note: At this current time, a 100% in-person format has been determined to be not feasible or advisable during this stage of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the requirements for social distancing and other safety needs, our district does not have the capacity to bring all students back to buildings every day.
100% Remote/Online Learning Model
This represents a draft model developed through the Instructional Committee and is to be adjusted and completed through the month of August.
- To provide all students with an equal opportunity to learn
- To create a cohesive and authentic learning experience that meets the needs of the “whole child’
- One consistent management system throughout PK-12 will be utilized to deliver instruction
- The selected platform must be user friendly to all for ease of communication and education
- The selected learning platform must be compatible with SchoolTool
Technology and Devices
- A survey is needed prior to the start of the school year to identify the hardware needs and connectivity capacity of students and staff.
- It is an aspirational goal to achieve 1:1 devices to ensure that all students are able to connect to classwork and are not limited by other family members.
- The district will identify which grades require touch screen, keyboard, etc. to be successful
- Access to Wi-Fi hotspots are being explored for all students so that they can access streaming and interactive discussions remote/online, if needed.
- The district is exploring the creation of a supervised internet café for students to come into school buildings and complete or upload work. Such areas need to meet the health and safety requirements of our facilities usage.
- Each building will have a tech support available for students and parents.
- For parents/guardians who would like to purchase a device for their students, click here for information on technical specifications and recommendations.
- The district will provide an easy access on the website for remote/online learning
- The district will set up a communication system to eliminate the abundance of calls from multiple people
- The district will develop a protocol on how communication occurs between staff/students and staff/parents
- The district will develop and share a clear protocol that identifies steps of communication when students do not complete their work or engage in the remote/online learning environment
- The district will establish and share the protocol for who staff contact if they encounter a potentially inappropriate or unsafe behaviors via live instruction (e.g. child abuse)
- Teachers will send positive weekly lines of communications to families to keep them engaged
- Teachers will utilize the Learning Management System to communicate to all students unless the student has connectivity issues. In which case, steps will be taken by the district to ensure the student’s learning will continue.
- A protocol will be developed to ensure that students are being held accountable for participation in remote/online learning
- Staff (e.g. teaching assistants) will be utilized to assist with communication:
- Complete follow-up communication with students who are not completing work
- Support students with any academic needs that have already been taught in the classroom
- Communication and development of the 100% remote/online learning will take place during the month of August
- Devices will be distributed to students at the end of August through the beginning of September
- Staff will be provided with an opportunity to transition back to school without students to ensure that they feel safe and ready for the school year
- Staff will have access to professional learning prior to the start of the school year
- A parent training will be provided prior to the start and/or during the beginning of the school year
- Students will have an opportunity to receive remote/online supports the first week in September and a slow transition to ensure that students feel safe and ready to begin the school year
- The district will outline consistent practices and expectations within a team (workload, connecting with class, check-ins, office hours opportunities)
- Direction to teaching staff on when they should be available, giving careful attention to their need of time without student contact
- Resources should be available for all teaching staff, including teacher assistants
- Teachers should provide synchronized learning and individual work time within the given time of instruction
- The whole time does not need to be spent live streaming lessons (teach lesson, allow students to complete independent work, be available for the duration of the period to support student that have questions with students logging back on if needed)
- Differentiation will be provided throughout instruction
- Students will be provided with relationship building activities throughout the learning, especially at the beginning of the school year
- Students will receive a set schedule for classes
- Students will participate in a daily virtual check-in with their class and all lessons with their class
Expectations and Schedules
- The district is exploring the ability to provide time for all grade level/content areas to meet and discuss essentials and learning gaps prior to the start of the school year
- The team will make adjusted expectations of what the curriculum should be for 100% remote/online learning and for the entire school year
- Teachers should be given the freedom within their school, grade level, and subject to teach how they deem appropriate as long as students are driven to meet learning standards and transfer outcomes and complete the required curriculum components of the district and/or state
- Teachers should be able to use a variety of techniques in teaching including live interactive sessions via the internet, pre-recorded, and printed materials
- Content delivered through in-person video connection, as well as recorded video lessons to be supplemented with assignments and projects to be completed on a regular basis
- Teachers will provide authentic, relevant, application based to try to truly engage students, so they are focused on learning and not completion of tasks
- The teachers will teach daily from the classroom to have resources at hand
- Teachers should provide instruction that engages with students daily
- The district will establish a common, developmentally appropriate, protocol for grading and assignment, including deadlines
- The district will develop a handbook of remote/online learning expectations
- New expectations for the hybrid model will be put into the student handbooks
- The district will determine a master schedule and expectations of all stakeholder groups, including attendance, class expectation, at risk rubric, etc.
- The district will establish set rules of checks & balance to ensure that the needs of the staff are being met
- Teachers, in coordination with administration, will determine “office hours” so that they can focus on teaching and then office work at specific given times; teacher/parent conferences are during these hours
- Teachers will be provided with an opportunity to utilize EAP resources
- Teachers will follow the district developed approach to instruction using a LMS and common procedures regarding grading
- We are exploring a homework hotline that will be available for those that are having trouble when teacher and/or parent is not available
- Teachers and Teacher Assistants will help support the homework hotline
- Students will be supplied with hands on materials when needed
- Students will need to provide evidence of engagement daily
- Parents need to reinforce the schedule and expectations of schools being open and operating according to the master schedule
- Students will be held accountable for attendance and participation
- Parents will communicate with staff and ensure the child is making an attempt at learning
- Parents will be asked to complete ongoing surveys to support identifying needs, while reviewing the expectation of student learning
Staff Professional Learning
- Training will be provided to students and parents on the following:
- Learning Management System
- Curriculum modifications
- Report cards
- Modified expectation development
- Planning across grades & group planning
- Daily morning check-in using live video and other platforms
- Mandatory trainings either remote/online or in-person, that all stakeholders are trained on the platforms that they will be using/responsible for prior to the first day of instruction.
- SEL and SEL playbook
Students & Parents Learning
- Training will be provided to students and parents on the following:
- Participation and attendance
- Handling, care, and using the devices
- How students/parents access needed materials
- Learning Management System
- How to use the platform
- Turn in assignments
- Learning expectations
Special Education Learning
- Training will be provided to students and parents on the following:
- Remote/Online training on differentiation, common examples, etc
- Sharing of best practices between all teachers of similar backgrounds
- Very open collaboration on how to best engage with staff and supervisors
- How to identify students who are not gaining a beneficial experience through progress monitoring
- How best to secure confidentiality of students
- Individual vs group therapy
- Better use of support staff to assist teachers in follow up and checkpoints
- Staff that has free time or greater availability than those who don’t
- BIP Plans
- Continue to give options to parents on how best to quell of solve problem at the time
Feedback/Reflection on Learning
- All stakeholders will be given the opportunity to give ongoing feedback
- Stakeholders will be able to track progress and identify what changes should be considered
- The district will provide clear expectations for resource room, RTI, ENL, TA’s.
- The district will clearly articulate the priority given for in-person therapies when possible and getting the resources out to be able to differentiate to all levels according to IEP’s.
- The district will provide special ed services possibly in-person following social distancing guidelines similar to summer scheduling services
- The district will continue support and accommodations provided in remote/online setting
- Some accommodation such as individual check-ins can continue when student is at home
- The district will provide staff time to review the plans developed by general education prior to building their plan for instruction
- Teachers will have access to general education materials (common folders)
Bilingual and World Languages
- ELL teachers need to coordinate with classroom teachers ahead of time to get preloading information and curriculum information to better prepare ELL’s
- ELL teachers need to be set up with lesson time according to the master schedule similar to RTI, Resource or other practitioners
- The teachers will be provided with resources to continue to support those with different native tongues
- Close captioning
- The district will identify families that have these ELL needs
- The district will establish a system that will cater to each family/student/language in the forms of communications that they prefer and understand
- The district will ensure that social Emotional learning becomes a priority as we begin school and throughout the school year
- Each building and classroom will need to establish a positive and safe climate and culture
- Each building and classroom will implement strategies throughout the learning that support social/emotional learning
- All staff must provide authentic, relevant learning not just task orientated activities
- All staff must engage students in ongoing relationships instead of simply looking for work completion
- Clear expectations for students will be developed to directly connect with staff and students
Attendance and Chronic Absences
- The district will develop a clear protocol that addresses attendance, absenteeism, discipline, grading, etc.
- The protocol needs to be automatic and quick without teachers needing to subjectively decide based on platform engagement
- The protocol needs a common practice/expectation on attendance; regardless of school within the district
- The protocol needs to incorporate clear consequence is there if not adhered
- The protocol will utilize SRO/Truancy Officer
- The protocol will utilize CPS programs to engage legally with parents of children who are not attending (last resort)
- The protocol will include a rubric to share with families and students (based on the expectation chart developed by the team)
- TA(s) help track attendance (training needs to be completed)-assign TA(s) to Cohorts or teachers to track daily attendance and participation.
Supports needed to make this plan successful
- Delayed start date to allow adequate time to train and prepare our remote/online classrooms, curriculum modifications, report cards, and modified expectations before starting instruction.
- Students participate in remote/online learning boot camp
Students may participate in a district designed hybrid model. There will be two cohorts, or groups, of students scheduled to return to buildings on different days throughout the week to ensure that the district can abide by the current mandated requirements of health and safety.
Many aspects of the 100% remote/online model detailed above will be applied to the remote/online learning days of students.
Cohort A will attend in-person instruction for the entire school day
Cohort B will participate in remote/online learning
Cohort A will attend in-person instruction for the entire school day
Cohort B will participate in remote/online learning
All students in Cohort A and B will participate in remote/online learning.
In-person attendance by select students with disabilities (per IEP), students with 504s, and specific English language learners
Cohort B will attend in-person instruction for the entire school day
Cohort A will participate in remote/online learning
Cohort B will attend in-person instruction for the entire school day
Cohort A will participate in remote/online learning
- Students who receive services due to an IEP, and did not select 100% remote/online learning, may participate in-person for more than two days a week based on their needs.
- Students who have additional needs outside an IEP, and did not select 100% remote/online learning, may receive additional supports on Wednesday in accordance with NYSED guidance.
Students and staff will be required to wear appropriate masks/facial coverings while in school and on school buses. Please click here for our mask procedure.
Technology and Connectivity
Regardless of the model the student is engaged in, we will to the extent practicable, address the need to provide devices and internet access to students and teachers who currently do not have sufficient access. We will also provide multiple ways for students to participate in learning and demonstrate mastery of Learning Standards in remote/online or blended models, especially if all students do not yet have sufficient access to devices and/or high-speed internet.
Our work will continue in providing areas around the district where we will “deliver” access through our bus Wi-Fi and remote internet access points that we began in the spring.
For parents/guardians who would like to purchase a device for their students, click here for information on technical specifications and recommendations.
Whether services are provided in-person, remote/online, and/or through a hybrid model, we will address the provision of FAPE consistent with the need to protect the health and safety of students with disabilities and those providing special education and services. We will also:
- Have meaningful parent engagement in the parent’s preferred language or mode of communication regarding the provision of services to his/her child to meet the requirements of the IDEA.
- Address collaboration between the committees on preschool special education (CPSE) and committees on special education (CSE) and program providers representing the variety of settings where students are served to ensure there is an understanding of the provision of services consistent with the recommendations on individualized education programs (IEPs), plans for monitoring and communicating student progress, and commitment to sharing resources.
- Ensure access to the necessary accommodations, modifications, supplementary aids and services, and technology (including assistive technology) to meet the unique disability related needs of our students.
- Address how we will document the programs and services offered and provided to students with disabilities as well as communications with parents, in their preferred language or mode of communication.
Bilingual Education and World Languages
As we prepare to reopen schools in 2020-21, we remain mindful of legal requirements and are proactively addressing inequities, including, to the greatest extent feasible, providing support and instruction to all parents/guardians regarding the use of technology in their preferred language of communication.
English language learners (ELLs) will be afforded the opportunity for full and equal participation whether it be through an in-person, remote/online, or hybrid model of instruction. While many ELLs may have benefited from learning through remote/online learning platforms, it is important we consider their unique needs and strengthen the home language and supports necessary for English language development utilizing synchronous and asynchronous learning. Therefore, we will:
- Complete the ELL identification process within 30 school days of the start of the school year for all students who enrolled during COVID-19 school closures in 2019-20, as well as all students who enroll during summer of 2020 and during the first 20 school days of the 2020-21 school year. After this 20 day flexibility period, identification of ELLs must resume for all students within required 10 school days of initial enrollment as required by Commissioner’s Regulations Part 154.
- Provision of required instructional Units of Study will be provided to all ELLs based on their most recently measured English language proficiency level during in-person or hybrid instruction.
- Maintain regular communication with the parents/guardians and other family members of ELLs to ensure that they are engaged in their children’s education during the reopening process.
“As school and district personnel adapt to environments that result in substantially less time spent interacting in-person, ensuring intentional and meaningful inclusion of social emotional learning (SEL) across all aspects of operating strategies is critical to support the well-being and success of students, staff, and families. Along with physical health and well-being, schools and districts must also prioritize social emotional well-being – not at the expense of academics, but in order to create the mental, social, and emotional space for academic learning to occur.”
- NYS Department of Education’s “Recovering, Rebuilding, and Renewing: The Spirit of New York’s Schools”
As a district we have prioritized the wellness of students and staff in our educational planning work. This facet of the state’s mandates fell in-line with what we value as a community. Therefore, a committee was created that would solely focus on the well-being of our students, employees, parents, and community as we begin the 2020-21 school year. And beyond this committee, each of the other committees (Nutrition, Health & Safety, Transportation, and Instruction) were guided to prioritize this important lens of work.
The Social Emotional Well-Being Committee has prepared actions steps to keep this area at the forefront of our reopening plan, whether the student is in-person, remote/online, or in a hybrid model of instruction. To meet training/professional learning needs of this plan and address the social emotional well-being of our employees, parents, and students, a shift in the district’s use of superintendent’s conference days and the phasing in of people in the buildings is being considered.
To meet the mandates of the state, we will:
- Ensure that the district-wide and building-level comprehensive developmental school counseling program plan, developed under the direction of certified school counselors, is reviewed and updated to meet current needs.
- Empower our already established Wellness Team as the advisory council to inform the comprehensive developmental school counseling program plan.
- Continue to provide resources and referrals to address mental health, behavioral, and emotional support services and programs.
- Continue to provide professional learning opportunities for faculty and staff on how to talk with and support students during and after the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, as well as provide supports for developing coping and resilience skills for students, faculty, and staff.
The district is working with its BOCES food service director and staff to meet requirements to provide all enrolled students with access to school meals each school day whether school is in-person or remote/online. In doing so, we will:
- Address all applicable health and safety guidelines.
- Protect students with food allergies if providing meals in spaces outside the cafeteria.
- Detail procedures for how students will perform hand hygiene before and after eating, how appropriate hand hygiene will be promoted, and how sharing of food and beverages will be discouraged.
- Work with our facilities staff to ensure required cleaning and disinfection prior to the next group of students arriving for meals, if/when we decided to serve food in the same common area.
- Comply with Child Nutrition Program requirements.
- Include protocols that describe communication with families through multiple means in the languages spoken by families.
The Horseheads Central School District recognizes that the school bus is an extension of the classroom and services should be provided to all students with consistency and equity. To that end, the district will develop a plan to meet these state requirements:
- Students will be required to wear masks and social distance on the bus. Students who are unable to medically tolerate a face covering (as determined by the child’s physician and the district’s physician), are not subject to the required use of a face covering. Please click here for our mask procedure.
- The district will provide masks to students who do not have one.
- Students will be trained on social distancing at loading times, on the bus, and at unloading times.
- Parents/guardians will be required to ensure their child/children are not experiencing any signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and do not have a fever of 100 degrees or more prior to them boarding their district transportation.
- School bus drivers, monitors, attendants, and mechanics will wear a face covering along with an optional face shield. Those with direct physical contact with a child must have gloves that will be provided by the district. Training will be provided on the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
- PPE will be made available by the district to drivers, monitors, and attendants.
- Perform regular school bus disinfection measures.
- Configure wheelchair school buses to ensure social distancing of six feet.
- Implement a plan that requires all employees (school bus drivers, monitors, attendants and mechanics) perform a self-health assessment for symptoms of COVID-19 before arriving to work. Employees experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19 should notify their employer and seek medical attention.
- Continue to fulfill existing mandates regarding the safe and effective transportation of students who are homeless (McKinney-Vento), in foster care, have disabilities, and attend non-public schools and charter schools.
Other Areas of Mandatory Requirements
Budget and Fiscal
The Horseheads Central School District will continue to meet existing state aid reporting requirements. Additionally, the content of data submissions, such as attendance data, will remain consistent with past practice, except where modified by law, regulation or executive order.
Staffing and Human Resources
The Horseheads Central School District will ensure that all teachers, school and district leaders, and pupil personnel service professionals hold a valid and appropriate certificate for their assignment; continue to utilize incidental teaching when determining how to staff their classrooms; employ substitute teachers to address staffing needs for the allowable amount of days given their qualifications and teaching assignment; and work with educator preparation programs to identify appropriate ways in which student teachers can support classroom instruction. The district will determine if its currently approved APPR plan needs to be revised in order to be consistent with our plan for re-opening under an in-person, remote/online, or hybrid instructional model.
As part of the district’s assurance to the NYS Education Department, we were required to engage with school stakeholders and community members (e.g., administrators, faculty, staff, students, parents/legal guardians of students, local health departments, local health care providers, and affiliated organizations, such as unions, alumni, and/or community-based groups) when developing reopening plans. These individuals provide input on our 2020-21 school year planning during Phase 2 of our work. In addition, they will continue to be engaged as needed during future phases of our work.
Once this plan has been submitted, we begin our required execution of a communications plan for students, parents or legal guardians of students, staff, and visitors that includes applicable instructions, training, signage, and a consistent means to provide individuals with information. Such communications must be provided in the language(s) spoken at home among families and throughout the school community. Additionally, this plan will be accessible to those with visual and/or hearing impairments.