TVHS Reopening FAQs

Communication/Family and Community Engagement

Q: How will parents be notified if the school needs to shift to fully remote learning?

A: The school will use existing internal and external communications channels to notify staff, students and families/caregivers about in-person, remote and hybrid school schedules with as much advance notice as possible.  We will use SchoolMessenger, our website and email to notify parents.

 

Q: How will parents be notified of their student’s class schedules?

A: Students will receive their class assignments no later than September 9th. This information will be sent to parents and students via email.

 

Q: Will I be notified if there is a suspected or confirmed COVID case, or quarantine, within the school community?

A: In the event that a student or staff member is sick or symptomatic, notification to potentially exposed individuals will occur pursuant to the state’s contact tracing protocols as implemented by the local health department. Notification to the wider community will occur only under the direction of local health officials.

 

Q: How will I communicate with my student’s teachers during remote learning?

A: The school will provide students and their families with multiple ways to contact schools and teachers during remote learning, including email, our Echo platform, or contacting the teacher directly on the phone or a call to the office.

 

Staff Directory

Phone Number

First Name

Last Name

 

518-862-4970

Andrew

Betor

abetor@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-5472

Cyrus

Rivet

crivet@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-4965

Sam

Chiappone

schiappone@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-4975

Catherine

Eisele

ceisele@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-4968

Jennifer

Ezzo

jezzo@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-4958

Sarah

Fiess

sfiess@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-5471

Brad

Hale

bhale@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-4981

Danielle

Hemmid

dhemmid@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-4974

Lana

Hower

lhower@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-4971

Sophia

Hsia

shsia@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-4978

Jason

Irwin

jirwin@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-4960

Lorinda

Jensis

ljensis@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-4955

Jean

Kerr

jkerr@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-4961

Laura

Lee

llee@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-4973

Tom

Morrill

tmorrill@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-4972

Jennifer

Muirhead

jmuirhead@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-4964

Lynne

Wells

lwells@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-4969

Jessica

Obercon

jobercon@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-4987

Scott

O’Leary

soleary@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-4967

Ashley

Phillips

aphillips@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-4956

Brian

Rozmierski

brozmierski@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-4966

Michelle

Sweeny

msweeny@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-4976

Varada

Vaughan

vvaughan@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-4977

Diana

Weldon

dweldon@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-4962

Kim

Whelan

kwhelan@techvalleyhigh.org

518-862-4982

Intern Desk

 

 

 

Q: Whom should I contact if I have questions about the school’s reopening plan or health and safety protocols?

A: The school’s COVID-19 coordinators are Dr. Lynne Wells and Ms. Sarah Fiess. Parents can contact them at the above phone number or email address.

 

Health & Safety

  1. Are masks required?

A: Yes. Students, staff, and essential visitors to our schools are expected to wear face coverings at all times, whether indoors or outdoors, including on the school bus, in classrooms, hallways, and restrooms. Students will be allowed to remove face coverings during meals, so long as they maintain appropriate social distance.

 

 

  1. What is an acceptable face covering?

A: Cloth face masks that cover both the nose and mouth that include, but are not limited to, homemade sewn masks, “quick cut” masks, and bandanas are acceptable. Surgical masks are also acceptable. More information about masks and mask care can be found at the Centers for Disease Control website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wear-cloth-face-coverings.html

 

  1. Will masks be provided to students and staff?

A: Face coverings and related necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided to students and staff, if needed, at no cost. Staff and students are allowed and encouraged to use their own acceptable face covering. A cloth mask is acceptable or disposable ones.   If masks are needed, please reach out to Ms. Whelan at 518-862-4962 or kwhelan@techvalleyhigh.org.

 

  1. Can face shields be used in place of masks?

A: Face shields may be used by some school staff, but they are to be worn in addition to face masks, not in place of them.

 

  1. Are students required to wear masks in the classroom? On the school bus?

A: Students are expected to wear face coverings at all times, whether indoors or outdoors. This includes on the school bus, in classrooms, hallways, and restrooms, even when six-foot physical distancing is possible. 

 

  1. What happens if a student refuses to wear a mask?

A: Just as any other instance in which a student refuses to follow school rules, teachers and other staff will work toward compliance with the student; parents will be consulted if needed.

 

  1. What are parents required to do to screen student’s health before school each day?

A: Parents/guardians will be responsible for checking each child’s health before school each day. If a child presents with any of the following, they should be kept home from school:

  • Temperature above 100.0° F
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills (with or without repeated shaking)
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Please note that this screening is in addition to other conditions that should preclude students from attending school (e.g., pink eye, vomiting) or any situation in which a child appears not to be well enough to participate in the activities of the school day. Parents should use the COVID-19 sign in link that is on our website to attest the health of their child daily: https://entry.neric.org/techvalleyhigh

 

Q: How is the health of staff being screened?

A: All staff members are required to perform a self-health assessment for symptoms of COVID-19 before arriving at work. If personnel is experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, they will notify their supervisor as per the school’s reporting policies and seek medical attention. The staff will utilize the same screening app as students and visitors are required to do.

 

  1. What happens if a student’s health screening has not been submitted? Will they be permitted to enter the building?

A: Screening student health at home before the school day is only one tool the school will use to ensure that students are well enough to attend school.  Parents will be contacted if the student arrives without the screening done. Additional health screening measures include temperature checks conducted at school.

 

Q: What do I do if my child is showing COVID-19 symptoms?

A: Parents are encouraged to contact your child’s doctor if your child is showing symptoms of COVID-19. Your child should not attend school if they are displaying these symptoms.

 

Q: If my child exhibits symptoms of COVID-19, how long will they need to be out of school?

A: The school has established protocols and procedures in consultation with the local health department(s) about the requirements for determining when individuals, particularly students, who screened positive for COVID-19 symptoms can return to the in-person learning environment at school. This protocol includes:

  1. Documentation from a health care provider following evaluation
  2. Negative COVID-19 diagnostic test result
  3. Symptom resolution, or if COVID-19 positive, release from isolation

 

The school will refer to DOH’s Interim Guidance for Public and Private Employees Returning to Work Following COVID-19 Infection or Exposure regarding protocols and policies for faculty and staff seeking to return to work after a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or after the faculty or staff member had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19.

 

The school requires that individuals who were exposed to the COVID-19 virus complete quarantine and have not developed symptoms before returning to in-person learning. The discharge of an individual from quarantine and return to school will be conducted in coordination with the local health department.

 

Q: What should my child do if they feel sick during the school day? Will I be notified?

A:  If a student feels sick during the school day, they will report to the nurse’s office for evaluation and potentially be directed to a supervised isolation area prior to being picked up or otherwise sent home. Our nurse will be in touch with you to discuss the health of your child.

 

  1. What is the protocol if there is a positive or suspected case of COVID-19 in the school?

A: The school will notify the state and local health department immediately upon being informed of any positive COVID-19 diagnostic test result by an individual within school facilities or on school grounds including students, faculty, staff, and visitors of our school.

 

To assist the local health department with tracing the transmission of COVID-19, the school has a plan to trace all contacts of exposed individuals in accordance with protocols, training and tools provided through the New York State Contact Tracing Program.

 

Confidentiality must be maintained as required by federal and state laws and regulations. School staff will not try to determine who is to be excluded from school based on contact without guidance and direction from the local health department.

 

Q: What should I do if I have traveled internationally or from a state with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 per the New York State Travel Advisory in the past 14 days?

A: Executive Order 205 requires all travelers coming from states with significant rates of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of their last contact with that state. The list of states that meet the criteria for required quarantine can be found at https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory

 

Q: My child or a member of my family is considered high-risk for COVID-19. What are my options?

A: We recognize that some students and staff members are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness, live with a person who is at an increased risk, or simply do not feel comfortable returning to an in-person educational environment. It is our goal that these individuals can safely participate in educational activities.

 

Parents of students that are more at risk of COVID-19 should speak with their child’s doctor and/or medical professional(s) to determine the best academic and service options for their child. Staff should contact Questar III’s HR Department if they have conditions that put them at an increased risk of COVID-19. Students who have family members who are in high-risk groups may also need to attend school remotely. If a student is unable to return to in-person instruction this fall, Complete Virtual Learning (CVL) will be used for academic instruction and related services will be provided to meet the individualized education program (IEP) and/or instructional program to the greatest extent possible.

 

Q: Will schools be conducting contact tracing if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19?

A: The school will participate in contact tracing protocols as implemented by the local health department.

 

Q: What are the school’s plans for cleaning and disinfecting school buildings?

A: The school will ensure adherence to hygiene and cleaning and disinfection requirements as advised by the CDC and DOH. Regular cleaning and disinfection of the facilities will occur, including more frequent cleaning and disinfection for high-risk and frequently touched surfaces.

 

Q: Will fire drills and lockdown drills still be conducted? What will be the process for maintaining social distancing?

A: Schools must continue to conduct mandatory fire and lockdown drills according to the existing statutory schedule. Drills will be conducted in a manner that maintains social distancing at exits and gathering points outside the building, while still preparing students to respond in emergencies.

Facilities

  1. Will outside visitors be permitted into school buildings? Will outside groups still be able to use school facilities?

A: No outside visitors or volunteers will be allowed on the school campus unless they are deemed essential. Student teaching interns and building substitutes will follow the same guidelines as our permanent staff. Parents/guardians will report to the front vestibule and not go beyond unless it is for the safety or well-being of their child. Essential visitors to facilities will be required to wear face coverings and will be restricted in their access to our school buildings.

 

  1. What adjustments have been made to school ventilation?

A: The school’s HVAC system has increased the circulation of outdoor air to the greatest extent possible while maintaining health and safety protocols. We continue to monitor this with the engineers at SUNY Poly.

 

  1. How have class sizes been modified to accommodate for social distancing during in-person instruction?

A: TVHS follows the state’s guidelines for distancing student desks, positioning workstations with at least six feet of space between. Our building can accommodate class sizes in the range of 10-18 students per classroom.  Desks are arranged with all students facing forward.

 

Q: How will crowding in hallways be avoided?

A: At this time, students will not have access to lockers. All materials will be brought in their backpacks and stored by their table/desk. Hallways and stairwells will be marked to indicate one-way traffic.

 

Q: Will students and staff have access to water fountains?

A: Students and staff will have access to drinking water at our touchless bottle-filling stations on each level. Students and staff are encouraged to bring in their own personal water bottle; paper cups will be available for students who need them.

 

  1. How will students access meals at school while the cafeteria is closed?

A: School breakfast and lunch will continue to be available to all students. Students may also bring lunches from home. Mealtimes will be in classrooms and include measures to protect students with food allergies. The Capital Region BOCES food service menu will be posted on our website; meals will be ordered via Google Form due the Friday before students attend on campus. School meals for remote learners can be arranged through your home district.

 

Q: What hygiene practices will keep students safe during meals?

A: Students will be required to perform hand hygiene before and after eating. Students do not need to wear face coverings during mealtimes given they are appropriately socially distanced. We are encouraging students to bring a washable placemat to put on their table.

 

Q: How will students maintain distance in the PE space?

A: Students will take Physical Education outside as much as possible. Gym equipment, including treadmills and weight-benches, will not be available for students or staff at this time. The MPR will be marked so that students can participate in appropriately distanced indoor PE if necessary.

 

Q: Will students and staff have access to hand sanitizer?

A: Hand sanitizer will be available in the hallways. Parents may opt their child out of using alcohol-based hand sanitizer while at school. To do so, please send a written notice to your child’s school. [Note: this opt-out is required by NYSED, effective March 2020.]

 

Transportation

  1. Can students still use the bus?

Home sending districts continue to be committed to providing transportation to and from TVHS.  Students who use district transportation must comply with the rules set out by your home district for riding the bus, including temperature screening, masking, and/or social distancing.  Transportation directors in each of our 30 component districts have been notified of our A/B week schedule. We recommend getting in touch with your home district transportation office to confirm your child’s grade level and when they will be using the bus. If you choose to drive your student to school, please drop off in parking lot F (across from the front door of the school—not the bus loop) and make every effort to maintain social distance while waiting outside or entering the building.

Social-Emotional Well-Being

Q: What supports are available for my child’s mental health needs?

A: The social-emotional well-being of students and staff is a priority for the school, especially throughout this pandemic. To support our school community and ensure students’ social-emotional learning, the school will be working with students in assisting them to integrate back into a learning environment, whether that is in person or online. Staff will be participating in professional development around mental health issues in a pandemic. We continue to provide access to counseling through Ms. Lee, our school counselor, and Mr. O’Leary, our school’s Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Individual counseling will be available during both in-person and remote learning weeks (through telemedicine). Small group counseling will be online via Zoom. Advisors and our school nurse will be trained to recognize signs of distress and refer students to the appropriate counselor.

 

 

 

School Schedules

  1. What are the drop-off and pickup times for in-person instruction?

A: Drop off for the start of school is 7:45-7:55 a.m., and pick up is 2:25-2:40 p.m. Students are not allowed to be dropped off early or remain after the dismissal hours. Due to staffing and cleaning guidelines, we are not able to support students before or after school hours in our school building this year.

 

  1. How will “special” subjects (e.g., Chinese, Art, and PE, etc.) be delivered to students?

A: All Regents level courses will meet the 180-minute weekly instructional time required for awarding a Carnegie unit. However, due to the limits of our hybrid schedule and space, some classes will have more instructional time in remote mode. For example, Chinese will have a full period of instruction during a remote mode, but only a half-period “Conversation Lab” during in-person instruction.

Some elective classes (such as Art) will only be taught through remote instruction mode. Full credit will be earned through a combination of synchronous class attendance and completion of asynchronous assignments.

 

Q: Will students still have assemblies? Field trips?

A: Pursuant to NYSDOH guidance, schools must ensure that appropriate social distancing is maintained between individuals while in school facilities and on school grounds (inclusive of students, faculty, and staff). Because of these guidelines, assemblies, field trips, and other large-group activities will not be held at this time.

 

  1. Will students stay in the same classroom all day?

A: School schedules for the reopening of school will be designed to minimize the movement of students within the building. Our students will remain in their classrooms for the majority

of the day except for breaks and PE. Outdoor breaks are encouraged when possible. To the greatest extent possible, students will remain in small cohorts throughout the school day to reduce their exposure to additional students.

 

  1. Will my child be able to take advanced classes this year?

A: Yes, TVHS will continue to offer Regents level, AP, and college-credit bearing courses this year. Student schedules have been carefully built to ensure no loss of continuity if we transition to entirely in-person or fully remote models.

Q: How will PE work?

A: Students will still participate in Physical Education classes during in-person instruction. Whenever possible, students will use outside space for physical education instruction. We will adhere to NYSDOH guidelines of maintaining 12 feet between students when engaging in physical activity. Masks will be required during PE. In order to clean equipment between student groups, PE classes will be short. Students will not have time to change, so we encourage them to wear comfortable clothing and shoes.

 

  1. How will the school decide if there is a need to go fully remote?

A: The school will collaborate with the local health department to determine the parameters, conditions, or metrics (e.g., increased absenteeism or increased illness in the school community) that will serve as early warning signs that positive COVID-19 cases may be increasing beyond an acceptable level.

 

At a minimum, schools will close in accordance with direction from the governor and New York State Department of Health if the 7-day rolling regional average of the infection rate rises above 9%. In that instance, schools throughout the region must wait until the 14-day average is below 5% before reopening, and permission must be grated from the local department of health and other governing agencies.

 

The school will be notified by the local department of health regarding the status of infection rates. The school reserves the right to modify operations prior to closing to help mitigate a rise in cases. The school will consult its medical director and/or the local health department when making such decisions.

School Activities

Q: Will clubs or extracurricular activities still be offered?

A: TVHS is committed to maintaining our positive school culture through participation in extracurriculars. During the hybrid mode of instruction, these activities will be confined to those that can be conducted in a safe environment, such as in a ZOOM room. It is likely that clubs will begin after the first month of school during the student’s remote instruction weeks. For the school to adhere to NYSDOH and NYSED guidance, in-person group gatherings will not be permitted. Due to this, we are exploring ways for students to participate in the play and robotics team at TVHS.

Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism

Q: How will a student be marked “absent,” “present” or “tardy” during remote learning?

A: There will be an expectation for daily, on-time attendance for all students. Attendance will be taken for each period, whether students are in-person or remote. Students must sign into the teacher’s Zoom room at the prescribed time for every remote class and remain in class until dismissed by the teacher. Attendance will NOT be taken during remote IWTs or remote lunch.

 

Chronically absent students will receive the same follow-up (i.e., guidance, administration, child study team, child protective services) whether they are participating in in-person or remote instruction.

Technology and Connectivity

Q: What technology do we need to have at home to participate in remote learning? 

A: Students will use their school-issued computers to log in to Zoom classrooms for all assigned remote classes. Students will need reliable access to the internet.  If your family needs one, a wireless hotspot can be provided.

 

Q: What resources, if any, will be provided to parents/guardians to help prepare them for the shift to online learning?

A: We are planning online training sessions in September for parents on using our learning management system, Echo. In addition, we will be providing training for students to access x2vol, our system for tracking community service.

One of the updates that all student computers will get this year enables students to connect with our technical support team at NERIC. That way, if students run into a computer problem while at home, our technicians can help to fix it.

If a student’s laptop breaks or stops working, you should immediately notify your advisor or building principal so that they are aware of the situation and can direct you accordingly. We have additional laptops that we can loan you while we work to repair your child’s device.

 

Teaching and Learning

Q: Will remote instruction in the fall be different from what it was in the spring?

A: During school closure in the spring, TVHS maintained its regular schedule of classes in a synchronous online environment.  This fall, we have adjusted our master schedule to accommodate for teacher load and transportation in our hybrid model. Instead of alternating A/B classes daily, we will alternate classes on a weekly basis. Core classes will be prioritized during in-person instruction; electives, labs, and collaborative work periods will be the emphasis on remote instruction weeks. 

Each individual class period will be longer, but there will be fewer in the school day. Integrated classes will continue to be planned together and have a collaborative work period, but instruction will be separated so that one teacher will be providing instruction during their class period.

 

  1. Is remote learning an option for families who do not want to send their child to in-person instruction?

A: Yes, a Complete Virtual Learning option is available. Families who wish to begin the 2020 school year on CVL must commit by August 26th. Please reach out to the school to discuss your options or complete this form. CVL Commitment

 

 

  1. What is the difference between remote learning and homeschooling?

A: Remote learning is delivered by the school for students who are enrolled in school but are not attending in-person instruction. Instruction is provided by certified teachers in accordance with New York State Learning Standards. Parents who wish to homeschool their child must provide written notice to the school, and submit an individualized home instruction plan, as well as quarterly reports and evaluations, to the school.  

 

  1. How will students’ work be graded or evaluated?

A: Student work will be evaluated by classroom teachers, and grades will be posted regularly on Echo. We will maintain our regular grading policies and report card schedule as indicated on our school year calendar. Families are invited to attend a remote conference “Student Learning Team” meeting November 18th with your student’s advisor. Report cards will be e-mailed this year.

 

Q: How will struggling students receive help with their schoolwork?

A: Students and their parents are encouraged to contact the student’s advisor who can help facilitate “office hours” meetings with the core area teacher regarding any concerns about schoolwork. AIS and ACE (Resource Room) will continue to be available on a student’s schedule.

 

Q: How will students complete science labs?

A: Students will complete the required minutes of lab time for each Regents science course through a combination of individual hands-on experiments that may be conducted safely at home, in-person demonstrations, and virtual simulations of lab experiences. If materials are needed, please reach out directly to your teacher.

 

Q: Will students still take state Regents exams?

A: Any Regents examinations required by the New York State Department of Education (NYSED) will be made available to students at the appropriate grade level. If examinations are waived, the school will communicate that information to families. 

Special Education

Q: How will my child’s IEP be affected by remote learning?

A: The school will work with your child’s home district Committees on Special Education to ensure that students’ individualized education plans can be followed during both in-person and remote learning.

 

Q: What do I do if I need additional support for my special education student during remote learning? In-person instruction?

A: Parents may contact Laura Lee with questions or concerns about their special education student.

 

 

Bilingual Education

Q: How will the school provide translations of reopening information for students and families?

A: The school will make every effort to ensure that communication to parents/legal guardians is in their preferred language and mode of communication. Please reach out to us if you have this need so we can accommodate you.

 

Q: How will instruction be provided to students who are English language learners?

A: The school will work to identify English language learners during the first 30 days of the school year. Instruction will be provided based on each student’s measured English language proficiency level.

 

Q: What do I do if I need additional support for my English language learner/multilingual learner during remote instruction? In-person instruction?

A: If an English language learner/multilingual learner needs additional support during remote instruction or in-person instruction, please reach out to their teacher or Laura Lee

Staff

Q: Will substitute teachers be used during remote learning?

A: TVHS has hired a building sub who will work exclusively at TVHS to cover any teacher absences.

 

Q: Will student teachers/interns be used during remote learning?

A: We will have both student teachers and interns who will begin the semester teaching and learning alongside their cooperating teacher. They will transition to working with smaller groups and eventually will be teaching students both in-person and remotely. Student teachers/interns will be trained in the same way as our permanent faculty to follow all precautions and procedures of the school.

 

Q: Will all instruction be delivered by a certified teacher?

A: All teachers will hold valid and appropriate certificates for teaching assignment, except where otherwise allowable under the Commissioner’s regulations (e.g., incidental teaching) or education law.

 

Q: Will teachers and principals continue to be evaluated during this time?

A: Yes, all teachers and principals will continue to be evaluated pursuant to the school’s approved APPR plan. Please see our plan here.  http://www.nysed.gov/common/nysed/files/tech-valley-appr-plan-111716b.pdf