Hoosick Falls Junior-Senior High School

COVID Staff and Student Procedures

Updated August 27, 2020

Introduction

The current COVID-19 public health crisis has forced us to adjust/change many of the operating procedures that we use to educate children.  Our primary focus is to do our best to create and maintain a learning/teaching environment that is both safe for our students and staff AND allows for meaningful learning to take place.  Most, if not all, of the enhanced safety procedures that we are implementing for the 2020-2021 school year come directly from the guidance/direction that we have received from the CDC, New York State Department of Health, and New York State Education Department.  Most of the health and safety guidelines we are implementing are actual mandates.  As a result, students and staff members will not have the option to ignore our enhanced health and safety rules and procedures when they are on campus or riding in a school district vehicle.

Our instructional program has been modified to mesh with the enhanced health and safety procedures that we have made.  The most significant change to our instructional program is our schedule.  Hoosick Falls Junior-Senior High School will be offering students two instructional programs in the fall.  Students/families that believe that coming to school is unsafe during the COVID-19 crisis will be able to experience schooling remotely.  Remote students will be required to interact with their teachers in a virtual environment on a daily basis.  Internet access is a must for remote students and they must have a capable device.  If a device is needed, the families can request to borrow one from the school.  Students/families that want to experience their schooling in-person will be able to come to campus on a rotating basis.  This “hybrid” model will split our student population in two cohorts.  Cohort A will be on Monday’s and Tuesday’s.  Cohort B  will be on Thursday’s and Friday’s.  Each cohort will attend in-person school for two consecutive days while the other cohort will be experiencing their schooling remotely.  Wednesday’s will be a remote learning day for all students, which allows staff to prepare and execute remote learning, as well as clean the building in between cohorts.   Every effort will be made to keep siblings/families in the same household together.  Students who receive special education services will have additional days of in-person learning to accommodate their required services.

In order to maintain social distancing, the Hoosick Falls Central School District will continue to transport students in grades 7-12 separately from the elementary students during the COVID-19 crisis.  No students in grade 7-12 will be allowed on the elementary bus run before or after school.  If a student misses their assigned run, they must be driven into school or remain home that day.  They will not be permitted on the later runs.  Additionally, students will only be allowed to ride on their assigned bus.  There will be no bus passes given for students to ride home with friends, neighbors or relatives.

Daily Hybrid Schedule

2020-2021 Junior Senior High School Bell Schedule
TimeframeLunchDuration
Bus Arrival & Breakfast7:25 – 7:4520 min
Parent Drop Off7:35 – 7:4510 min
Homeroom & Daily Announcements7:45 – 7:472 min
Period 17:47 – 8:2538 min
Period 28:30 – 9:0838 min
Period 39:13 – 9:5138 min
Period 49:56 – 10:3438 min
Period 510:39 – 11:19Lunch 9-1240 min
Period 611:24 – 12:04Lunch 9-1240 min
Period 712:09 – 12:49Lunch 7-840 min
Period 812:54 – 1:3238 min
Period 91:37 – 2:1538 min

*Students will be required to check in for attendance purposes when they are remote 

from 7:45 am until 2:15 PM.

The rest of this document is a supplement to the Hoosick Falls Central School District 2020-2021 School Re-Opening Plan (this is the plan that the district submitted to NYSED and is posted on the Hoosick Falls Central School District website http://hoosickfallscsd.org/coronavirus-updates/ .  The plans and procedures in this document are a work in progress and will be modified/changed as necessary to meet the needs of our students and staff AND when we receive additional information from the CDC, DOH, and NYSED.

For the purposes of this document: 

“Remote Learning” – fully remote, not attending any in-person instruction.

“Hybrid Learning” – attending two days per week, remote learning three days per week

Remote Learning Option

Any family that believes it is unsafe for their child to attend school during the COVID-19 pandemic can choose for their child to learn remotely.  Families that choose this option will be asked to make a ten week commitment to remote learning.  This commitment is necessary for the planning purposes of the school district (transportation, classroom capacity, teacher planning).  We ask that students and parents read this document in its entirety and fully understand the procedures that will be followed before making a decision on what type of schooling they will select.

Families who choose in-person learning, may opt for remote learning at any point, but will only be allowed to return to school at the ten week marking periods.

Instruction (Synchronous and Asynchronous)

Teachers will be using both synchronous and asynchronous instructional methods while we are using a hybrid and/or remote learning/teaching model.  Each teacher will develop their own daily/weekly instructional schedule for remote learners.  Each teacher will also develop schedules for students in the hybrid model for when they are learning from home.  

Synchronous Instruction is instruction that occurs in real time (either in-person or remotely using Google Meet or other NYSED compliant video software).  During synchronous instruction, students will engage in the teacher planned activities at the time it is delivered.  During synchronous instruction, remote learners will need to be logged into their computer and follow their teacher’s direction/instruction at the same time that students in the classroom are experiencing the instruction.

Asynchronous Instruction is instruction that occurs independently (learning that happens on the students own schedule).  During asynchronous instruction, teachers will provide students assignments that the student will complete at home and without direct instruction and/or “live” interaction with the teacher or other students.  When students are engaged in asynchronous learning at home they WILL be considered to be attending school and, therefore, not be marked as absent.

Student Arrival at School

Students that are transported to school by school bus will have their temperature taken by a school employee before they are allowed on the bus.  If a student has a fever they will not be allowed on the bus.  If an adult is not there to take the child, the student will be transported to school and sent into a secure room until they can be picked up from school.  

Once the buses arrive at school, there will be a staggered release into school so the crowds are not too large in the hallways.   When they are released they will enter school and go directly to their homeroom location (unless they buy breakfast).  Students that are buying breakfast will be released from the bus as soon as it arrives at school and they will enter the school through the side door near the cafeteria.  Students will get a bagged breakfast and go directly to their homeroom/1st period.  

Students being dropped off at school will be dropped off no earlier than 7:35 a.m.  The parking lot will be filled with buses until 7:30 a.m. and no drop offs will be allowed before then.  When the student arrives they will have their temperature taken by a staff member to make sure they are able to attend school that day.  For student drop-off, the two lanes closest to the school may be used.  Please keep the back lane free for the student drivers.  If parents/guardians wish to drop their child off before 7:35 a.m., they must coordinate this with the administration in advance.  

Students driving to school will enter the building no earlier than 7:35 a.m.  Those students will enter the building through the side door by the cafeteria.  When they enter the building, they will have their temperature taken by a staff member.  If they are approved to attend they will go directly to their homeroom class (unless they buy breakfast).   

Student Attendance

New York State has directed school districts to take attendance daily, for both in-person and remote learners. Each Hoosick Falls teacher will be required to take daily attendance for their homeroom.  Students that are in-person for the day will have attendance taken during homeroom using our normal procedure.  Students that are in-person for the day but sign into school late will report to the attendance office when they arrive in school and then be sent to class (this is our normal procedure).  

Hybrid and remote learners will need to complete a Google Attendance Form between 8am and 2:15pm and submit the form to their homeroom teacher on school days they are not present in school.  All teachers responsible for a homeroom will check hybrid/remote learners attendance before leaving for the day, but not before 2:15pm.  Homeroom teachers will then go into eSchool and update student attendance based on their review of which students completed a Google Form.  Homeroom teachers do not have to verify that the student completed any school work/activity (they are only verifying that the student completed the Google Form for attendance purposes).  Student engagement in the completion of assignments/activities/etc… will continue to be the responsibility of each teacher of a course.

Students that are fully remote learners will be expected to complete a Google Attendance Form for their homeroom teacher between 8am and 2:15pm on Monday through Friday.

In the event that school officials determine that a student is missing an excessive amount of class time, the school district will follow the Hoosick Falls Jr/Sr High School Attendance Policy located in the 2020-2021 Hoosick Falls Jr/Sr High School Student Handbook, which outlines the steps that will be taken to try and ensure students attend school/classes regularly.  Excessive patterns of student absences will likely result in referrals to county agencies (PINS, CPS, District Attorney), per the BOE policy.

Grading Policy for the 2020-2021 school year

All grading procedures will return to the traditional grading system unless otherwise noted.

GRADING, PROMOTION AND RETENTION

The passing grade in each subject is 65%. In 7th and 8th grade, a student must pass all four core Subjects (ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies) in order to be promoted to the next grade. Any student who fails to pass all four core subjects by September 1st (including summer school**) will repeat the grade.  If a student has been retained previously, the building principal will determine the appropriateness of the promotion/retention.

In order for students in grades 9 through 11 to advance to the next grade level, the following credit totals must be obtained:

Sophomore Status (10th grade) – 5 credits

Junior Status (11th grade) – 10 credits

Senior Status (12th grade) – 15 credits

SUMMER SCHOOL

School districts are not required or mandated to offer summer school to students who fail courses during the regular school year.  At this time, the HFCS is not intending to offer summer school in the summer of 2021.  If summer school is offered then students must qualify for summer school, please refer to the regular 2020-21 student handbook for summer school qualifications.  

FINAL GRADES

The passing grade for all courses at Hoosick Falls Jr./Sr. High School is a 65 final average.  This final school grade is determined in a full-year course by the arithmetic average of the four-quarter grades, mid-term grade and final exam grade as outlined below. 

Formula for computing the Final School grade for a Full-Year Course =

1st Quarter + 2nd Quarter + Mid-Term Exam + 3rd Quarter + 4th Quarter + Final Exam

     (18%) (18%) (8%) (18%)         (18%)     (20%)

The final school grade in a half-year course is determined by the arithmetic average of the two-quarter grades and the final exam grade as outlined below.

Formula for computing the Final School mark for a Half-Year Course =

1st Quarter + Mid-Term Exam + 2nd Quarter + Final Exam

              (36%)                 (8%)               (36%)            (20%)

*A student may not earn below a 50% for the first quarter of any course.

Advanced Placement and college coursework will have a 1.1% weight added to the final average.

Credit for a course is awarded by achieving a Final School grade of 65%; however, in the event a student achieves a final grade below 65, yet passes the school final with a score of 70 or higher, or a Regents Exam with a score of 65 or higher. This determination will also follow the NYS safety net rules for Regents exams (i.e. a 55 is passing on a Regents exam for a special education student, thereby passing the associated course). The building principal will make a final determination if course credit shall be granted.  

All students are required to sit for their final exam or Regents.  In the event a student does not sit for his/her exam and earns a zero for a final exam score, the student will not earn course credit even if the final school grade factors out to a 65 or higher.

Face mask guidelines/rules in Hoosick Falls Jr/Sr High School

Department of Health Guidelines for Face Coverings: (minimal requirements per DOH, Hoosick Falls Jr/Sr High School may have additional requirements):

Responsible Parties must maintain protocols and procedures for students, faculty, staff, and other individuals to ensure appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is used to protect against the transmission of the COVID-19 virus when on school grounds and in school facilities. Specifically, appropriate PPE means, at least, an acceptable face covering, which is strongly  recommended to be worn by all individuals at all times but is required to be worn any time or place that individuals cannot maintain appropriate social distancing. However, if face coverings are to be worn by all individuals at all times, Responsible Parties should allow students to remove their face covering during meals, instruction, and for short breaks so long as they maintain appropriate social distance. Acceptable face coverings include but are not limited to cloth-based face coverings and surgical masks that cover both the mouth and nose. (Interim Guidance for In-Person Instruction at Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools During The Covid-19 Public Health Emergency, page 1).

Based on the DOH guidelines, HFCS students will be provided with an approximately 15-18 minute mask break each period.  However, there will be times that a full break will not be provided if instruction dictates that social distancing can not be maintained.  Teachers  will number the rows of desks in their classrooms 1-5.  Students in odd rows will be given a 15-18 minute mask break followed by students in even rows receiving a 15-18 minute mask break.  We will adhere to this as much as possible.  This will result in a 12 foot distance between students that have their masks removed.  

All students and staff will be required to wear a mask when they are standing or not able to maintain at least six feet of distance from another person.  

During lunch students will be allowed to remove their masks as long as they are seated in a marked acceptable spot at a table that maintains social distancing.

Staff members will be allowed to remove their mask during instruction as long as they are maintaining six feet of social distancing in the classroom area.

Students and staff members can wear a mask during non-mandated times/situations if they choose.

COVID Behavioral Violations

In the event students do not  follow appropriate guidelines they will be reminded and expected to make the appropriate changes.  In the event that a student purposely will not follow appropriate guidelines, they will be subject to removal from class and behavioral referrals with consequences.  Students that are still unwilling to follow the appropriate guidelines will be required to move to remote learning.  The Public Health Guidelines are not suggestions, they are prerequisites for attendance at school.  Students that are malicious in their violation of the guidelines (coughing/sneezing on others etc., refusing to wear a mask) will be subject to suspension as well assigned to remote learning.

Nurses’ Office

The Nurse’s Office will continue to run as normal.  However, students will NOT be sent to the Nurses’ Office by a teacher and they SHOULD NOT go directly to the Nurses’ Office on their own if they feel sick.  They should report to their next class and inform the teacher.  

  • The teacher or staff member will call for the Nurse (ext.1514) to come to the student’s location.  An initial screening will be conducted by the Nurse to determine the level of care needed.  If a student is suspected to have COVID symptoms, there will be a designated room to provide care to students while they are waiting to be picked up by a parent.
  • Students with non COVID related symptoms will be directed to the Nurses’ Office, if needed for care.
  • Students needing medication will receive a schedule from Nurse on when they come to the Nurses’ office.

At this point there are a significant number of factors that will be required for re-entry into school after a student or faculty member has been sent home after presenting COVID related symptoms.  For further information on COVID testing http://hoosickfallscsd.org/testing/ and contact tracing http://hoosickfallscsd.org/contact-tracing/, please visit the district website.

Guidelines for when a student is sent home from school with COVID like symptoms

While we realize travel time from some parent’s workplace can be lengthy, we cannot allow symptomatic students to remain in school waiting for pick up.  Families must have a plan in place for someone to be able to pick their child up if they are diagnosed with COVID like symptoms by a Hoosick Falls Central School nurse.  The specific guidelines for when/how a student with COVID-19 symptoms will be processed can be found on http://hoosickfallscsd.org/testing/ as part of the HFCS COVID-19 Reopening Plan.

Classroom Procedures

Classrooms will be set up with only the maximum number of desks necessary for the largest class section assigned in that room.  All desks (including the teachers desk) will be facing the same direction and be socially distanced.  There will be a tape mark on the floor to make sure the desk stays in the appropriate location.  Upon entering a classroom, students will be encouraged to use hand sanitizer. All classroom doors and windows will remain open as much as reasonably possible to improve air quality.  

While in the classroom students will continue to wear their mask.  All students will receive an assigned seat in all classes.  The student will only be allowed to remove their mask during designated mask breaks.  When class ends the students will be released from the classroom by their teacher.  The row closest to the door will be released first followed by the next row until all rows have been released.  Students will be directed to wear a mask in the hallways at all times.

Students leaving a classroom during class time (signing out) 

The restrooms will be closed during class time to allow for them to be cleaned between every class.  Students will not be permitted out of a classroom in the middle of a period.  If a student MUST leave the classroom, they will be directed by the teacher to report to the proper area.  The only restrooms that will be open during class time will be in Mrs. Mahoney’s office or by the wrestling room. 

Hallway Usage

While in the hallway all students will stay to the right side of the hallway.  Students will only cross a hallway when it is necessary to enter a classroom.  Masks will remain on while in the hallway.  Students will proceed directly from one classroom to their next classroom.  While in the hallway, students will be encouraged to do their best to maintain social distancing.  All staff in the Jr/Sr High will be monitoring our students while they are in the hallway between classes.

Lunch for Students

The lunch periods for the Jr/Sr High will remain periods 5th, 6th, and 7th.  However, the period will be broken into two groups.  Each group will have 20 minutes to eat and the other 20 minutes will be used as a break in the gym.  The groups will switch halfway through the lunch period.  

Ex. 5th period – 

Group A will go to the cafeteria and eat.  Both cafeteria lines will be open, but there will be NO self serving stations.  The tables in the cafeteria will be labeled with acceptable seat locations.  

After 20 minutes – Group B will go eat and Group A will go into the gym.   

Group B goes to the gym, where lunch monitors will ensure the group is being safe and following social distancing protocols.  

5th Period Lunch Times

10:39 – 10:59 a.m.10:59 – 11:19 a.m.
Group A – 9th and 10th GradersGroup B – 11th and 12th Graders

6th Period Lunch Times

11:24 – 11:44 a.m.11:44 a.m. – 12:04 p.m.
Group A – 9th and 10th GradersGroup B – 11th and 12th Graders

7th Period Lunch Times

12:09 – 12:29 p.m.12:29 – 12:49 p.m.
Group A – 7th GradersGroup B – 8th Graders

Water Fountains and Bathrooms

Per CDC/DOH/NYSED guidelines, students and staff will only be able to fill water bottles/containers at water fountains (No one will be allowed to “get a drink” at a water fountain.  The water fountains have had this feature disabled.)  

Students and staff will be encouraged to follow social distancing guidelines when using the bathroom and masks will be mandatory. Bathrooms will be available in between periods/passing times, however during academic periods it will be closed for cleaning.  In an emergency situation, students may be able to use the restroom with teacher permission.  The only restrooms that will be open during class time will be in Mrs. Mahoney’s office or by the wrestling room. 

Physical Education Classes

Students will not have PE lockers or be allowed to change for PE.  Teachers will design low intensity activities that will not require students to change.  Weather permitting, students in PE classes will be going outside during class time.  It is advised that students bring warm layers for PE class.  Our strength classes will continue with limited numbers.  These classes will follow normal fitness center rules with additional social distancing protocols.  For the strength classes, students will be required to wipe down their equipment after each use, as in a regular fitness center.  

Athletics

All athletics will follow the direction of NYSPHSAA.  All interscholastic and/or intramural sports have been suspended until September 21st or until NYSPHSAA and/or NYSED provides more guidance.  The Hoosick Falls Central School campus, grounds and buildings are closed to any organized athletic events until further notice.

Student use of Lockers Prohibited during COVID crisis

Students will not be issued hall lockers or gym lockers until DOH/CDC/NYSED guidelines permit students to be able to congregate in school without social distancing and/or masks.  As a result of this change in our normal operating procedures, we have developed the following guidelines for what a student should carry with them while attending in-person school.

  • 1 multi-subject binder (recommended at least 2 1/2 inch) with dividers and pockets for each subject (not including PE)
  • Lunch
  • Calculator
  • Water bottle (1 liter)  
  • Pens/pencils/highlighters as needed
  • Some sort of ear buds/ear phones/etc… that can be plugged into a Chromebook

Visitors to the Jr/Sr High School

Generally speaking, visitors will not be allowed to enter the building.  If/when a visitor is authorized to enter the building by an administrator due to extraordinary circumstances, the visitor will undergo a health screening performed by a school employee (a temperature check and answering a series of health related questions).

Teacher Office Hours

HFCS teachers will be offering Office Hours for students.  Each teacher will create their office hour schedule and have it posted on their Google Classroom.  We will also post a master list of the teachers’ office hour schedules on the district website.  Students will not be permitted to come to school early or stay after school to meet with teachers.  Office Hours will be used by teachers to offer extra help to full time remote learners and/or students that are engaged in the hybrid learning model but would like extra assistance.  Teachers will use Google Meetings for Office Hours.  Teachers can/will mandate that remote learners attend Office Hours if/when they determine that the remote learner needs extra help or has to make up for missed instruction.

Google Classroom

All teachers in the HFCS will be using a digital platform to organize and distribute educational material.  Most of the HFCS teachers will be using the Google Classroom suite (G Suite) of educational tools to both deliver instruction to remote learners and help manage the instruction that they offer to students in the hybrid model.  Google worked with educators across the country to create Classroom: a streamlined, easy-to-use tool that helps teachers manage coursework. With Classroom, educators can create classes, distribute assignments, grade and send feedback, and see everything in one place.  Classroom helps students and teachers organize assignments, boost collaboration, and foster better communication.  Classroom is free for schools and included with sign up for G Suite for Education. Classroom meets high security standards.  With Classroom, teachers and students can sign in from any computer or mobile device to access class assignments, course materials, and feedback.  Educators can track student progress to know where and when to give extra feedback. With simplified workflows, more energy can be focused on giving students constructive, personalized recommendations.

While many teachers in the HFCS are already proficient in the use of Google Classroom, additional training may be provided to teachers in the Fall, as needed.  

Library Media Center (LMC)

Students in grades 7-12 will not be able to sign out of studyhall and go to the LMC.  The LMC can/will be used as an area to house studyhalls and/or classes that we do not have a substitute teacher available to cover in the event of a teacher(s) absence.  We are creating a procedure for students to sign books out of the LMC.  This procedure will be shared when school starts.

Fresh Air in Classrooms

Teachers will keep their classroom doors open unless the building goes to shelter-place or lockdown.  Teachers will keep the windows in their classrooms open as much as possible (weather/noise permitting).  As the temperature cools in the fall students and staff should assume that classrooms will be cooler than normal due to the opening of windows/doors.  

HFCS Music Department COVID-19 Reopening Plan

Concert and Musical Performances

Traditional concerts will not be performed during “COVID mode.” Practice, performance, and learning outcomes will be focused on technique and skill building, fundamentals, solo performance, chamber music (small group performance), creation of new music, music listening, responding, and analysis and connecting music to other disciplines, varied contexts, and daily life. 

Lessons

-Lessons will take place in the band or chorus room.

-Wind musicians and/or singers will remain a minimum social distance of 12 feet in all directions, percussionists 6 feet and masked.

-Lessons will follow the regular pull out format, or can follow a remote format, with students in small like-instrument groups (or may be individual lessons.)

7th/8th Grade General Music

-General music will be taught in the chorus room with six feet of social distancing in all directions between students and teacher, masks on.

-There will be no singing in general music class.

-All traditionally paper assignments will be electronic-format on chromebooks.

-Guitars, keyboards, and drums will not be shared between general music students, and will be sanitized at the end of each day.

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