Reopening Middleburgh Schools for the 2020-21 school year: Reopening Guidance Snapshot/Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Middleburgh logoThree principles guiding our work:

1. Adhere to state-level guidelines and ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.

2. Maximize instructional opportunities for all students, but prioritize in-person instruction to our youngest learners and those who need additional assistance.

3. Plan with flexibility in mind; the district will likely need to adjust due to changing conditions associated with COVID-19


Health and Safety

  • The plan is built around the need to ensure that all persons in school buildings keep a social distance of at least six feet.
  • Classrooms will be configured to allow six feet of space between individuals and will house fewer students.
  • All employees and students are required to wear a face covering (that covers the nose and mouth) when social distancing is not possible, unless medically unable.
  • School nurses will have a supply of masks for staff and students in the event they forget theirs.
  • Students will be permitted to remove their masks during instruction and lunch and at planned break times during the school day. Social distancing must be maintained during these times.
  • Daily health screenings of all employees, students, outside visitors will be conducted.
  • Parents will be required to take their children’s temperature each morning prior to going to school (anyone who has a temperature greater than 100.0 F/ 37.8 C will need to stay home from school).
  • Parents will be required to attest to the health of their children through a district application that will be sent out each morning. Students who have not reported their daily health screening will be required to be screened by a trained staff member before entering the buildings
  • Any student or staff member with suspected signs of COVID-19 will be assessed by the school nurse and will be sent home for follow-up with a health care provider; a separate location will be provided for potentially ill students while they await pick-up.
  • Training on proper hand and respiratory hygiene, facial coverings, social distancing and symptoms of COVID-19 will be provided.
  • Markings on the floor may be implemented for common areas and gathering places to show which direction to travel down a hallway.
  • Posters reminding staff and students about social distancing will be placed throughout the buildings.
  • School visitors will be restricted to those required for school business.
  • School buildings will be cleaned and disinfected following CDC guidance.

Instructional Program

  •  A remote learning option will be available for Pre-K-12.
  • In the event of a school closure, instruction will switch to virtual-only learning.

Students in Pre-Kindergarten-Grade 4

  •  Daily in-person instruction.
  • Pre K-4 students will attend school at the Middleburgh Elementary school.
  • Students will learn primarily from their classroom teachers but may be supervised by other school personnel during throughout the day.

Students in Grades 5 and 6

  • Grades 5 and 6 will be housed at the Junior Senior High School.
  • Daily in-person instruction
  • Students will learn primarily from their classroom teachers but may be supervised by other school personnel throughout the day.
  • Students will utilize the Jr./Sr. High school cafeteria for lunch, the gymnasium and outdoor facilities for physical education and recess

Students in Grade 7-12

  • Alternate day model with students in grades 7-12.
  • Students will be assigned to either the Green Team or the White Team.
  • Consideration will be given to keep families and members of the same household together.
  • In some instances; students may be required to attend daily. Families will be notified of this decision.
  • On in class days, students will follow their traditional 8 period schedule. This will include all courses and study halls.
  • On virtual learning days, students will be required to Zoom into all classes during their scheduled times. Student expectations will be determined by the teacher within parameters established by the district.
  •  Attendance will be taken at both on-site and virtual learning days.
  •  Student work will be graded.
  •  CTE and BOCES programs will run on a normal schedule. Check: for updates

Social and Emotional Wellbeing

  •  District Focus on Reflection and Resiliency
  • Continued Partnership with the PEAR Institute
  • Use of the Holistic Student Assessment to provide Tiered Intervention Services
  • Imbedded Social and Emotional curriculum support

Special Programs

  •  Students in self-contained, special education programs (K-12) will be on-site daily while school is in session.
  • Students receiving special services (Special Education, ENL, Speech, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, etc.) will continue to receive those services either in person or remotely.


  •  Students will be required to wear a mask on school buses if they are physically able.
  • Students who do not have a mask when boarding the bus will be provided with one.
  • School bus drivers and attendants are required to wear a face covering on the school bus.
  • There will only be 20 students on each bus, per bus run (one child per seat); siblings can sit together.
  • Staggered student arrival is under consideration to accommodate for potential transportation seating limitations and increased traffic at schools due to parent drop-offs.
  • If feasible, parents are encouraged to drive students to and from school or have them walk in order to reduce density on buses. We will be reaching out to confirm transportation plans with families at a later date.

Physical Education and Performing Arts

  • New York State guidance requires twelve feet of physical distance between students for Physical Education, singing, and playing a wind instrument. The district is continuing to study how to offer these programs with safety being our top priority.

Extracurricular Activities and Athletics

  • As interscholastic sports and extracurricular activities are an important aspect of student life and the school community, it is our priority to maintain as many offerings as we can.
  •  Extracurricular activities may be conducted virtually. Under current state guidance, interscholastic sports are not permitted. The start of the fall season has been delayed until September 21, 2020, at the earliest. More guidance is expected soon.

 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

As a parent, what are my choices with sending my child back to school?

The models we examined covered a full continuum of designs and costs ranging from all students returning to school full-time, to a blended face-to-face and remote learning, to a complete closure like we experienced this past spring.

As a result, we have decided to offer a hybrid model of instruction, prioritizing daily in-person instruction for students’ Pre-K to 6 and alternating in-person instruction for students grade 7 – 12, with the exception for students with disabilities and special circumstances. If you feel this model is not appropriate or feel your child’s health and safety is at risk, you can choose to keep your child home and have full remote instruction. Decisions will need to be made by August 14, 2020. Once a child is designated fully remote, there can be no change to instruction model until the end of the first marking period.

Could the first day of school be pushed back into September or go completely remote?

Any decision about moving the start date or complete remote learning will be made with guidance from the Governor’s office, the department of health and the New York State Department of Education. Currently, there has been no discussion of this happening at this time.

As school reopens in the fall, will visitors still be allowed on campus?

Regardless of the school opening model ultimately chosen, at this time we are planning that visitor access will be limited to appointment only. Temperature checks will be conducted upon entry to the front office and there will be a controlled access point in each school to minimize gathering. This decision remains fluid; we will continue to update the public in the weeks ahead.

Are face coverings required when entering school buildings?

Yes. Students, staff, vendors and visitors will be required to wear face coverings on campus when social distancing is not possible. Students shall wear these face coverings during extracurricular activities, as well as on school buses.

Masks provided: Staff members and students will receive an allotted number of reusable cloth masks from the district on the first day of school to ensure each person on campus is following proper safety precautions. If a staff member or student forgets or loses the mask, a disposable one will be provided for the day.

Enforcement: School administration or staff will be stationed at entry points throughout each campus to remind students to wear face coverings prior to entering campus. In instances where reusable masks are left at home, a disposable mask will be provided for the day.

Students who repeatedly do not wear a mask on school grounds will be educated on their importance while faculty will work to use restorative practices to encourage students to utilize a mask. Each school will have a COVID Point Person to work on compliance issues at the school level.

Can my child bring his or her own mask to school?

Yes, your child can wear a mask provided from home. They must be school appropriate and shall not interfere with the learning environment.

What measures will you take to socially distance students while at school?

Every classroom will be designed to maximize space and distance between each student. We will utilize outdoor spaces when possible, limit large gatherings, and control student movement. Administrators will create site-based procedures for community restrooms and confined spaces to allow for social distancing and proper hand washing. All schools will participate in a grab-and-go breakfast program utilizing breakfast carts. Schools will explore in-class meal service options when possible. During cafeteria orientation, administrators will explain to students that they are not to pass or share any items, including food, with other students. Administrators will ensure tables are labeled to identify seating by class and specialized seating for students with health conditions.

How often will the schools be cleaned?

Schools will be cleaned daily, focusing on major touch entry points in common areas such as doorknobs, handles, elevator buttons, stairwell railings, light switches and soap dispensers. Custodial staff will disinfect using proper cleaning products.

  •  Routine cleaning: Throughout the workday, the custodial staff will implement a routine of surface cleaning in the major touch point areas discussed such as restrooms. The custodial staff will, in some cases, report at staggered times depending upon hours of operation to ensure consistent disinfection practices while primary building employees are present. Latter custodial shifts will apply the full standard cleaning of all areas to be ready for the next day. Additional disinfecting will be performed prior to the arrival of district staff in high-traffic areas such as the front office. Custodial staff will wear face masks and gloves.
  • Deep cleaning: If a positive COVID-19 case is determined within a school or building, district staff will use an approved chemical and fogging machine to disinfect any area deemed appropriate by contract tracing processes.

Are parents required to ensure that their child or children do not show symptoms of COVID-19 or a fever before boarding a bus each day?

Parents will be required to attest to the health of their child(ren) each morning before getting on a school bus or entering the building. The district will send out a digital form asking if your child has a fever over 100° F and other COVID-19 related health questions. A response of Yes or NO is all that has to be reported. If a family does not have access to technology post cards will be sent home and must be handed in to the bus driver or staff person at the school.

Students who are not cleared will be screened by a trained staff member upon arrival.

What precautions are you taking on school buses?

  • Students will be encouraged to stay socially distanced while at the bus stop. This must be a joint education effort between families and school personnel.
  •  Students will be socially distanced as much as the physical capacity of the bus allows. Students will load the bus from back to front in order to encourage social distancing throughout the bus ride. School administration, in conjunction with the driver, will establish seating charts with social distancing in mind to the best of their ability.
  •  Students will also wear masks while social distancing. Bus drivers will have disposable masks to hand out to students in the event a student does not have his or her mask.
  •  Ventilation and will be incorporated into the bus routines.
  •  Buses will be cleaned after both AM and PM runs.
  •  If you wish to drive your child to school a survey will be shared shortly for you to indicate your request. It is important we have accurate numbers to provide the safest bussing exp