Q & A
August 30, 2021
Frequently Asked Questions:
If a student or staff member is vaccinated, do they still need to wear a mask indoors? Yes, proper mask wearing is expected when in a substantial or high transmission category for all staff and students when physical distancing cannot be maintained. There are no masking requirements outdoors. The above measures do not discern between those who are and are not vaccinated and will apply to all. Since the District is not privy to COVID vaccination records and even if the District were, managing a different set of rules for each would prove to be unattainable, the health and safety measures the District is putting in place will apply to everyone regardless of their vaccination status.
Can my child remove their mask while seated? The new state mandate requires that masks are worn indoors at all times unless actively eating, drinking, performing for music, or being given a mask break approved by the staff member in the room.
Will there be a temperature screening or daily health screening? No. Unless directed by the NYSDOH or required by the CDC.
Will students be socially distanced at 6 feet in the classroom? No. Students can be safe at 3 feet apart in class, especially if they are masked.
Is the district required to offer remote learning to any student who requests it? No. A remote option is not required.
Will students be required to eat in classrooms this year? Possibly. While each lunch table becomes a pod, which would be subject to quarantine if there is an exposure, in some instances, eating in the classroom may be required.
Will the district be sending out weekly COVID-19 updates again this year? Yes. Each Wednesday the Office of the Superintendent will send out an update regarding information about health and safety. HFLCSD.org Website - Content will include high-value topics: school schedules, curriculum resources, student expectations, tech support, meal distribution, mental health, special education, FAQs, and community resources.
How will the District determine community transmission designation level? In consultation with our local county health departments the District will report low, moderate, substantial, or high rates as designated by the CDC. When the school community is in the substantial and high range (above 50 cases per 100,000) masks will be required. When the school community is in the low and moderate range (below 50 cases per 100,000) masks will be strongly encouraged, but not required. The superintendent will report designation levels in each weekly COVID-19 update.
What if I do not want to send my student back to school? The compulsory attendance law in NYS requires all students between the ages of six and sixteen to be provided with a program of instruction. Any student who is unable to attend school because of physical, mental or emotional illness or injury as substantiated by a licensed physician are eligible to be instructed at home or in a hospital by a tutor provided by the School District. These students will be provided with such instruction in accordance with New York State Education Law and Commissioner's Regulation as aligned to Board Policy 8450. All requests for such services will be reviewed by both the school physician and the Director of Pupil Personnel Services. After approval, the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction will authorize the following services: Secondary students receive instruction for two (2) hours per day and elementary students receive one (1) hour per day. Students receive credit for their work while on homebound instruction via a BOCES provided tutor. Parents who wish to home school their children must provide written notice of intent to the attention of the superintendent.
What if someone who is at school is fully vaccinated but also exposed to a COVID-19 positive case? According to the CDC, testing is required between the third and fifth day after exposure and wearing of a mask indoors for 14 days or until receiving a negative test result. If testing positive, the patient would isolate until they are no longer contagious (10 days from the last exposure).
Will the District be mandating vaccination for employees or students? No. Court decisions have established the authority of employers to set such requirements for their workers, it is not settled that school districts can unilaterally do so with their unionized employees. If state leaders wish to have all employees required either to be vaccinated or participate in regular testing, it should be enacted legislation. Similarly, student vaccination requirements are first recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) who establishes the recommended vaccine schedule and determines when vaccines are due. The New York State Department of Health and the New York State Legislature then determine the required vaccinations in order to attend or remain in school. This is not a local decision. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/
Who determines quarantine and isolation status? Similar to last year, the school district cooperates with county department of health school contact tracers who investigate and make such determinations. The school district is required by health law to follow these determinations.
Will the District continue to offer free breakfast and lunch to all students this year? Yes. All students are eligible for free meals this school year regardless of economic status.
Notes and References:
An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public space where people are present on the planet. COVID-19 is extremely contagious and can lead to severe illness and death.
American Academy of Pediatrics: https://www.aap.org/en-us/Pages/Default.aspx
CDC: A U.S. federal government agency whose mission is to protect public health by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability. The CDC promotes healthy behaviors and safe, healthy environments. It keeps track of health trends, tries to find the cause of health problems and outbreaks of disease, and responds to new public health threats. The CDC works with state health departments and other organizations throughout the country and the world to help prevent and control disease. The CDC is part of the U.S. Public Health Service of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Also called Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/k-12-guidance.html
Finger Lakes Reopening Schools Safety Task Force: https://www.commongroundhealth.org/collaborations/finger-lakes-reopening-schools-safely-task-force
Monroe County Covid-19 Dashboard: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/217749730f174776a3896b3e8950e03b
New York State Education Department: http://www.nysed.gov/
New York State Education Department Commissioner Guidance: http://www.nysed.gov/common/nysed/files/programs/coronavirus/cdc-aap-guidance-school-opening-2021-22.pdf
School Immunization Requirements: https://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/immunization/schools/school_vaccines/
Strong Center for Disabilities Masks Toolkit (helping children to mask): https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/strong-center-developmental-disabilities/resources/masks-toolkit.aspx
U.S. Department of Education Covid-19 Resources for Schools, Students, and Families: https://www.ed.gov/coronavirus?src=feature/
The mission of the HF-L School District is to ensure students display the knowledge, skills and character qualities needed to realize their aspirations and succeed in a rapidly changing world. August 31, 2016