• Blind Brook Reopening FAQ 

    District Reopening Plan:

    Q: Where can I find the most up to date information about Blind Brook’s reopening plans?

    A: Reopening plans can be found on the district website 

     

    Q: How has the district been preparing for the reopening of school in September?

    A:  The district has been consulting with the following stakeholder groups and individuals throughout the development of the plan to reopen schools:

    • area superintendents,
    • school administrators and their representative professional groups,
    • representatives of the Danish Ministry of Education,
    • the District Medical Advisory group,
    • teacher leadership,
    • the Health & Safety Committee,
    • parent survey instruments and other input,
    • representatives from Westchester County and the NYS Departments of Health,
    • County Executive George Latimer and Rye Brook Mayor Paul Rosenberg.

     

    Q: What will it take to get all students in the building full time? If the schools start remote or hybrid, will this decision be reviewed monthly/ weekly/ quarterly for changes?

    A: All decisions about remote versus in-person learning will be guided by the Governor and the New York State Education Department. 

    In order for all students to be back in the building full time, all State-imposed restrictions regarding social distancing would have to be lifted. This is unlikely to happen until COVID-19 is fully under control and does not pose a health and safety threat. 

    The District will be monitoring the situation with both remote and hybrid instruction daily and will determine weekly if any changes are needed. In the event of an outbreak of illness in the District, there will be a switch to remote learning immediately.

     

    Schedules:

    Q: When will schedules/ teachers/ plans be communicated to parents?

    A: Student placement in cohorts will be released on August 14th. There will be several forums during the week of August 17th where particulars of each building’s plan will be shared with the community. Each building-specific community forum is intended to provide a visual overview of the plan operation, answer whole categories of questions received beforehand, and response during a live Q&A. Specific student class schedules will be shared during the week before school is scheduled to open.

     

    Ridge Street Elementary School:

    Q: Will 5th grade students still have multiple teachers?

    A: The students will still have multiple teachers.  They will not necessarily see them all in-person each day.  They will follow their daily schedule.

     

    Middle School:

    Q: Grade 6: Can we learn more about the block schedule so we can better understand how that works with the remote and hybrid models?

    A: Refer to the “Introduction to BBMS Schedule” video found on the Incoming 6th Grade Website.

     

    High School:

    Q: Can the HS Community Service requirement (80hrs over 4 years) be relaxed since volunteer opportunities are limited during the pandemic?

    A: We are exploring alternative service options for high school students. Details regarding community service under COVID will be shared prior to school opening. Our intention is to provide additional options how students will be able to earn service hours.

     

    Formative Assessment:

    Q: Will students receive feedback for the work they do?

    A: Yes, teachers will actively monitor students' progress and provide individualized feedback in all situations above. Teachers should utilize Academic Assistance time to engage in direct contact with students unable to attend class. Teachers will communicate concerns regarding student progress with our parent partners directly as well as guidance counselors, school social workers, school psychologist, or case manager (if assigned).

     

    Hybrid Model:

    Q: What are students doing at home when they are participating in the remote part of the hybrid model learning?

    A: Students will be continuing their learning when they are in the at-home portion of hybrid learning. How this will work will differ between the Bruno M. Ponterio Ridge Street School and the Blind Brook Middle School and High School. For B.M.P. Ridge Street School, students will engage in Specials classes and will continue work provided by their teachers from their in-person sessions. For the Blind Brook Middle School and High School, students will work on assignments and projects that continue the learning from their in-person days.

     

    Remote Learning:

    Q: What training opportunities have been offered for teachers to enhance remote learning skills over the summer?

    A: Teachers have had the opportunity to take part in workshops on remote learning offered by Southern and Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES as well as regional professional development providers. The District has set up training sessions for various technology programs that teachers will be using for both remote and hybrid instruction.

     

    Q: How do we assure the continuity of instruction for students who are ill or quarantined at home?

    A:The objective of each lesson is required to be recorded each day in situations when a student is not present. This will allow for all students, regardless of their status, to have equitable access to content.

     

    Q: What will at home instruction look like?

    A: Teachers will provide a variety of instructional methods including:

    • Record the Zoom session that they delivered for the day
    • Record a portion of a live instructional lesson
    • Utilize recorded video from a grade level/department colleague
    • Collaborate with colleagues to unify shared resources
    • Live stream content to those students that are not present
    • Make a separate recording that covers the main objective of the lesson
    • Locate a resource that can be shared with students that covers the objective (this option can be utilized when necessary, not to exceed more than twice a week)
    • Narrate a presentation that covers the content of a daily lesson
    • Plan and deliver units based on PBL template

     

    Q: What will the school experience be like for students who choose to stay home full time?

    A: Students who have received an accommodation to work from home based on a pre-existing medical condition will have access to video recordings of their teacher’s lessons. These videos will be posted on Google Classroom as well as other resources that students will need. Teachers will connect with these students.

     

    Q: Will remote learning be the same as it was in the spring? If not, how will it be different?

    A: The District has heard the feedback from parents about how remote learning ran in the spring. The remote instruction plans were made with this feedback in mind. There will be a greater amount of live interactions with teachers under the new model. 

    At BBHS, we will support a flipped classroom model. This model will be similar to what was done in the spring, with increased live video time with teachers.  Students at the high school level will assume greater independence than their middle school counterparts and will be expected to develop increased advocacy skills as students work with their teachers to identify areas of support. 

     

    Q: Will full time remote learning be an option for families that are not yet comfortable sending their children back to the school building and, if it is an option, will the option of full time remote only be offered if there is some form of medical reason (e.g. a doctors note) or other special circumstance (e.g. living in a multi-generational household)? Will students be marked “present” if they choose a remote-only option?

    A: As per the New York State guidance, accommodations will be made for students who are in high risk groups or whose family members are in a high risk group. These accommodations may include allowing a student to engage in remote instruction. A form has been created for parents to submit a request for accommodations. Each request will be evaluated separately. The District continues to explore the viability of remote instruction. If you have interest in remote instruction, please follow the directions at this page.  

     

    Q: In the event of remote learning, will students be provided with a device if needed?

    A: As we continue to plan for the upcoming year, providing equitable access to equipment is under development.  As the District’s plans become clearer in time, families will be notified of the process to obtain a device from the District if needed.  All students grades 7 through 12 partake in the 1-1 Chromebook initiative.  If their device is not working properly, please notify Charles Von Hollen at cvonhollen@blindbrook.org

     

    Q: My student is in grades 7-12 and has their own device at home, can we return their Chromebook so it can go to another student in need?

    A: Students in grades 9-12 can return their device as long as they have a sufficient one at home to complete their work.  Students in the Middle School need to use their Chromebooks to maintain a common platform.

     

    Q:  If the school is running the hybrid or full return instructional model, and I choose to participate in remote learning, what are some of the implications of this choice?

    A:  For families that are electing for remote learning there are two major implications of this choice. First, students may forfeit the ability to participate in in-person extracurricular activities, (interscholastic athletics, etc.). Second, there will be limited live interaction with teachers, since the teachers will be working with students in the in-person classrooms. 

     

    1. Will full time remote learning be an option for families that are not yet comfortable sending their children back to the school building and, if it is an option, will the option of full time remote only be offered if there is some form of medical reason (e.g. a doctors note) or other special circumstance (e.g. living in a multi-generational household)?

     

    1. We will offer an option for families to engage in remote learning only. In early August, a survey will be sent out to parents asking if they are planning to send their child(ren) to school or prefer to stay home and learn remotely. We may ask for a commitment for at least a quarter of the school year. 

     

    Cohorts:

    Q: What is the timeline for determining cohorts, particularly at RSS for child care planning purposes?

    A: Cohorts will be shared with the community on Friday, August 14th.

     

    Q: What does “by neighborhood” mean in the draft of the district plan? How do we know that a neighborhood breakdown will lead to cohorts of balanced size?

    A: In order to divide the students into cohorts, the District needed to choose a criteria for dividing students into similar size groups, K-12. Any universally applied criteria (i.e., alphabetical breakdown by last name, geography) could result in imbalanced groups. The district will determine a maximum safe size for a cohort, assess each cohort size by class/grade, and work to create the most consistently-sized cohorts as possible. Geography was chosen because people who live closer together are more likely to carpool and gather for playdates, and be in physical proximity under any circumstance; it also will make a bus route less time-consuming for students than if the bus is driving all over the village to pick up students with last names in a specific range.  

     

    Specials & Enrichment:

    Q: Will students still have specials such as PE and art?

    A: Specials at the elementary school will be offered remotely including physical education. Many specials such as band and chorus are deemed particularly dangerous as potentially spreading COVID, and thus are most safely done remotely at home.  All special classes at the Middle School and High School will run as they are scheduled, including in-person sessions. Physical education at the Middle School/High School will be offered in person following all guidelines released by Department of Health and NYSED. Use of outdoor spaces and individual/non-contact activities will be promoted. 

     

    Classroom Configuration:

    Q: What will the seating arrangements be like?

    A: We are currently using a 6 foot spacing between desks, as well as providing plastic barriers on desktops (6-12) or around the desks (K-5). Desks will be arranged in rows with all students facing in the same direction. 

     

    Outdoor Instruction:

    Q: Has the district considered expanding into other spaces, either outside or nearby facilities in order to spread students out?  

    A:  The District has considered both the use of outdoor spaces and using other facilities. Outdoor instruction is addressed in the previous question. There has been no other practical space that has been identified for use as classrooms for students.

     

    Q: Will there be any outdoor instruction, such as under tents?

    A: The District understands the benefit of using outdoor spaces for instruction during this time. We encourage teachers to make use of any available outdoor spaces whenever possible. New York State has said that the use of tents or any other temporary structure requires compliance with the Fire Code of New York State. These requirements include submitting paperwork to New York State for approval. As approvals typically take weeks to months to receive, the use of tents for outdoor instruction seems unlikely. The District continues to explore other options for facilitating outdoor instruction.

     

    Arrival:

    Q: Will staff and students be required to have COVID tests before school starts in September?

    A: No. NYS strongly recommends that we do not require testing for various reasons before school starts and that we refer people to the local Department of Health for testing.

     

    Q: How will you be sure that students and staff arriving at school are not sick? Will temperature checks be taken at the door?

    A: Students and staff will fill out a daily questionnaire via an app to affirm that they do not have fever or COVID symptoms. This will enable us to get people into the building without bottlenecks.

     

    Q: What will arrival look like for students coming to school on buses? How will bottlenecks be avoided?

    A: Bus arrivals will be scheduled to minimally impact the arrival of students. Busing schedules are being adjusted to minimize the amount of time between when students are dropped off and buildings are open. Students may be held on a bus if there is an excessive amount of student arrival.

    Students at all schools will be directed to different entrances based on grade level. A Map with identified areas of entrance/exit will be shared prior to school opening. 

     

    Q: What will arrival look like for students being driven to school?

    A: Students at all schools will be directed to different entrances based on grade level. A Map with identified areas of entrance/exit will be shared prior to school opening. 

     

    Q: Do you advise families to carpool when possible?

    A: While the District normally would encourage carpooling as a more efficient and ecologically friendly way to get to school, we have concerns about bringing together families who have been social distancing. If people would like to carpool, we would ask that carpool groups are restricted to members of the same cohort at a minimum and, ideally, within the same grade and class. 

     

    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

     

    Q: Will masks be required for students and staff while in school? Will ‘mask breaks’ be provided?

    A: Yes, students and staff will be required to wear masks. “Mask breaks” will be offered when students can maintain a 6 foot distance and/or are outside of the building and/or are separated from others by a partition.

     

    Q:  Has the district purchased PPE?  How will it be made available to students and faculty?

    A: Yes, PPE supplies were procured in March and we continue to order and receive supplies needed and that are available (masks, shields, gloves, etc.).

    Students and staff should bring a mask with them. If they are unable to bring a mask, they will be able to get a disposable mask at the building entrances.

     

    Q: Will face shields or plastic dividers be used by faculty in classrooms?

    A: Face shields will be available to personnel who have a need for them.  Polycarbonate dividers may be obtained and installed as required (plexiglas dividers cannot be used in schools due to NYS fire codes).

     

    Q: What happens if a student forgets a mask or refuses to wear one?

    All students must wear a mask unless there is an extenuating medical circumstance prohibiting the use of a mask. Additional masks will be available.  Students will not be permitted to enter a school building without a mask.  Masks are the single most effective deterrent to the spread of the coronavirus, and so will be required throughout the day by everyone in the school buildings.  Appropriate, supervised mask breaks will be at the discretion of the teacher and/or a building administrator.

     

    Lunch:

    Q: In the MS and HS, how will lunch be handled to maintain safety? How will students stay safe and distanced during the full lunch period?

    A: At the MS & HS, students will be in the building for a full day either on Monday/Tues OR Thurs/Fri depending on cohort assignment, and lunch is scheduled in the middle of the day. Students will be strongly encouraged to bring lunch from home, and lunch can be eaten in classrooms and in designated indoor and outdoor spaces when possible. For those who order lunch from the food service provider, options will be limited and it will be delivered to the classrooms. 

     

    Q: Will RSS students have snack time during their morning or afternoon session? If so how will they eat safely with masks off?

    A: No snack time will take place during the in-person school experience.

     

    Hygiene - Buildings:

     

    Q: What type of cleaning supplies will the district be using to reduce transmission of coronavirus?

    A: The District is dedicated to maintaining a clean environment. All cleaning and disinfecting that will take place will comply with guidelines from NYSED and the CDC. The District will has purchased the following cleaning materials:

    • Hydrolyte hospital grade disinfectant for electrostatic sprayers

    • Clorox Healthcare Cleaning Wipes and disinfecting wipes

    • Clorox Cleanup Cleaner with Bleach

     

    Q: How will buildings be cleaned between cohorts? 

    A:  All student desks and chairs will be wiped down after each session.  Each night the night cleaners will do regular cleaning and also wipe downs.

     

    Q: How will buildings be cleaned throughout the day? 

    A: All rooms and classrooms will be cleaned and disinfected at the end of every day. Common areas, such as stairwells, door handles, counter tops, and desks, will be cleaned at the start, in the middle and at the end of the school day. These cleaning periods will be coordinated with each building’s in-person class schedule so as not to impede instruction. Electronic devices will be cleaned regularly with cleaners that are appropriate for these types of devices. Cleaning wipes will be available in every classroom so that teachers or students will be able to wipe down any surface. Hand sanitizer bottles will also be available in all classrooms and in certain common spaces.

     

    Q: Will the District be hiring additional staff to assist with all of the cleaning?

    A: The District is in the process of hiring additional custodians to assist with cleaning the buildings throughout the day.

     

    Q: Will the buildings have air filtration systems installed, such as UV or Hepa?

    A:  RSS uses Sun-Pure SP20C PRO-Cell Photocatalytic UV Air Purifiers in classrooms that do not meet our expectations for air flow.   BBMS/HS has a MERV 13 filtration system which traps particles that are 0.3 microns. Thus both buildings are outfitted with filters that are effective at trapping harmful particles in the air.  Based on expertise from public health professionals from Harvard Global Health Institute, the optimal way to ventilate rooms is opening windows and having portable air filters. 

     

    Hygiene - Students & Staff:

    Q: Will there be touchless hand sanitizing stations in every classroom? 

    A: At this time these are planned for corridors, all classrooms will have smaller hand sanitizers dispensers available for use.

     

    Q: How will students have access to the bathrooms?

    A: Bathroom access will be  sequenced so that adequate social distancing may be maintained.  That means that students may have to wait for students to depart a bathroom in order to use the bathroom themselves.  Masks will also be required in the bathrooms and hand washing expected.

     

    Hygiene - Buses:

    Q: How will buses be cleaned and how frequently will they be cleaned?

    A: Buses will be wiped down with Clorox Germicidal Wipes in the morning and afternoon each day.

     

    Health Screenings (Daily):

    Q: Should families monitor and report the health of their children?

    A: Families should monitor their children’s health. If their child is sick for any reason the child should not be sent to school. Students with a temperature over 100 degree fahrenheit must stay home. We will be asking families to complete a self-attestation using an App each morning including signing off that they did a temperature check. Our schools will additionally conduct random temperature checks.

     

    Protocol for Students/Staff with Symptoms:

    Q: What happens if a student or staff member becomes ill at school?

    A: As per NYS guidelines, the District will have 2 areas for ill students/staff; one area is for people with COVID-like symptoms and a second area for people with non-COVID symptoms (i.e., cuts or head bumps). Any individual who shows any of the common symptoms of COVID-19 (listed on page 21 of the NYSED guidance document) will be sent to the nurse for evaluation. If the nurse believes that the individual may have COVID-19, the person will be sent to the designated isolation room until that person can be sent home. If the nurse is not available, the individual will be isolated until such time as the nurse is available or the individual is sent home.

     

    We have discussed this concern with the Medical Advisory Committee, and the doctors on this committee have told us they see many children with sore throats, nausea, runny nose, etc., and it's virtually never caused by COVID. While the state has provided a list of symptoms that might be present in a COVID patient, the District understands that these symptoms are consistent with many other diagnoses. The District does not want to restrict a students' attendance in school if they are sufficiently healthy and do not pose a risk of contagion to other students. 

     

    Q: If a student or teacher tests positive for COVID, does the entire cohort have to quarantine?

    A: The number of people who will have to quarantine as a result of a student or employee testing positive for COVID-19 would depend on how much contact that individual had with others in the school. The information coordinator for the district would immediately contact the Westchester County Department of Health (DOH) to inform them of a positive test result. The District would then continue to work closely with the DOH to implement contact tracing. It is most likely that the school be directed to shut down for at least 24 hours, during which time a thorough cleaning will be conducted. The DOH would make the determination as to who in the school has to quarantine and for how long.

     

    Q: Will children who are ill or not feeling well or on quarantine be able to go to class remotely on their in-person days? 

    A: Students who are ill or on quarantine will be able to access videos of lessons or other online resources that teachers post for them to stay up on classwork. Additional assistance with classwork will be provided as needed. (Also see Remote Instruction)

     

    Q: What are the return to school after illness guidelines?

    A: Once a student or employee is excluded from the school environment, they may return if they satisfy the recommendations of the CDC and their return is coordinated with the local health department. Currently, those guidelines are: 

     

    1. Untested: Persons who have not received a test proving or disproving the presence of COVID-19 but experience symptoms may return if the following three conditions are met: a. They are fever-free for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers); and b. Other symptoms have improved (for example, when their cough or shortness of breath have improved); and c. At least ten (10) calendar days have passed since their symptoms first appeared.

     

    1. Tested: Persons who experienced symptoms and have been tested for COVID-19 may return to school if the following three conditions are met: a. They no longer have a fever (without the use of medicine that reduces fevers); and 24 b. Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved); and c. They have received a negative test result. 

     

    1. Tested with no symptoms: Persons who have not had symptoms but test positive for COVID- 19 may return when they have gone ten (10) calendar days without symptoms and have been released by a healthcare provider. Students may also return if they are approved to do so in writing by the student’s health care provider.

     

    Travel: 

    Q: Do I, my child or a family member need to quarantine if returning from an international trip?

    A: New York State has modified its travel restrictions to allow for individuals to "test out" of the mandatory 10 day quarantine for asymptomatic individuals. For anyone who is travelling for more than 24 hours to a state that is not contiguous to New York or to a country designated as high risk by the CDC, travellers can shorten their quarantine by testing three days before leaving to return to New York, quarantining for three days and then getting tested on the fourth day. 

    Q: If someone in my household has traveled internationally and is under quarantine, do my children need to quarantine as well?

    A: If your children did not have direct contact with the individual who is quarantining, then they do not have to quarantine.

    Q: Do I, my child or a family member need to quarantine if returning from another state?

    A: New York State has modified its travel restrictions to allow for individuals to "test out" of the mandatory 10 day quarantine for asymptomatic individuals. For anyone who is travelling for more than 24 hours to a state that is not contiguous to New York or to a country designated as high risk by the CDC, travellers can shorten their quarantine by testing three days before leaving to return to New York, quarantining for three days and then getting tested on the fourth day. 

    Q: If someone in my household has traveled to a state that is on the New York State restricted states list, do my children need to quarantine as well?

    A: If your children did not have direct contact with the individual who is quarantining, then they do not have to quarantine.

     

    Child Care:

    Q: Childcare: What, if any, before or after school options might there be for RSS students when they are not in school?

    A: Currently, the District will be unable to provide after school care on campus as traditionally offered through the Town Rye Brook. It would not be possible to run this program while maintaining the level of student isolation that the District is implementing during the hybrid learning model. 

     

    Information Resources:

    Q: Are there additional resources available to help educate against the spread of COVID-19?

    A: There are two excellent web pages (from the CDC and WebMD) that provide guidance to parents of school children relative to measures to take to reduce COVID-19 risks in school.  Links to the sites can be found below.