COVID-19 School Closure FAQ
This is a disruptive and stressful time for our families, school community, nation and world. As we contend with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and our resulting closure, SOCSD remains focused on making the best decisions for our students with information and guidance that is changing on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis.
Following are answers to the most frequently-asked questions. This page is updated regularly. Please submit questions to [email protected].
Q: How long will schools be closed?
A: Governor Cuomo has ordered that New York State schools remain closed through the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.
Q: Did the District calendar change as a result of the mandated school closure?
A: Yes. Based on guidance issued to and restrictions placed on school districts by the governor, our 2019-20 school calendar was revised to ensure that we remain within the 180-day (990/900-hour) requirement. The most notable change is the shift of the April Spring Recess and May 25 (Memorial Day) to cover the period from March 19-30. (The March 20 Superintendent’s Conference Day and two unused snow days were utilized March 16-18.) This calendar revision enabled the District to retain state aid and meet the requirements for the 180-day waiver. View the revised calendar here.
Please realize that this revised calendar is based on information we have today and is subject to further revision as additional directives are issued by state officials. May 25 may be restored as a holiday pending New York State clarification.
In terms of school events and activities, our administrative team is reviewing the calendar through the end of April. Please check the School Events and Trips webpage regularly for updates.
Q: With the calendar revision, how will student absences due to religious observances be handled?
A: Please know that we have an absence code for religious observance and those days can be noted as such. Please email your child’s teachers directly to let them know. Students may never be penalized for absences due to religious observances. Students will be given an extension for any classwork that is done during their absence and they will be supported on an individual basis if they need remediation due to their absence.
Testing & Graduation Requirements
Q: What is the status of AP, SAT, ACT, NYS 3-8 Assessments and Regents exams?
A: New York State 3-8 Assessments, K-12 NYSESLATs and Alternative Assessments and the June Regents Examinations have been canceled.
The April ACT and both May and June SAT/Subject Tests have been canceled by their respective sponsoring companies. The College Board has reported that “traditional, face-to-face” AP exams will not be held in favor of an “at-home testing option.” The College Board is posting detailed updates regarding SAT and AP exams on its website here and emailing information directly to registered students. The ACT has posted a similar page here. Students and parents are strongly encouraged to review this information.
Q: How does the cancellation of June and August 2020 Regents Examinations impact graduation requirements?
A: In its April 7 official announcement regarding the cancellation of June 2020 Regents Examinations, the New York State Education Department provided detailed guidance related to graduation requirements, pathway assessments, CDOS credentialing and other areas, as well as an FAQ. A memo canceling the August 2020 Regents Examinations was issued to school districts on April 30.
Q: What is the status of Spring 2020 Continuing Education courses?
A: Due to the extended school closure, the remainder of all Spring 2020 Continuing Education courses, with the exception of Driver’s Education, have been canceled. Refund checks will be issued once schools are reopened and normal operations resume. For courses that had already begun prior to the school closure, refunds will be prorated. Checks that have not yet been deposited will be returned. The District is waiting for further clarification from the New York State Education Department regarding options for Driver’s Education.
Distance Learning & Technology
Q: When did the district launch distance learning?
A: Distance launched on Tuesday, March 31; lessons began on Wednesday, April 1.
Q: My family doesn’t have internet access at home. Who should I contact?
A: Prior to our school closure, our building administrators surveyed K-8 students regarding access to technology and/or internet (wifi) at home to support their learning. (High school has had a 1:1 Chromebook program in place for several years.) Based on students’ responses, additional devices were ordered and distributed. If your child does not have access to technology and/or internet (wifi) at home, please contact the District Hotline ([email protected] | 845-680-1090). Vendors have indicated that supplies are low and that new device orders may be delayed.
Q: My child is having trouble logging on to access teachers’ classrooms or learning resources. Who may I contact for technical assistance?
A: Please reach out, or have your child reach out, to your child’s teacher for assistance.
Q: When did services resume for students who receive home tutoring?
A: Home tutors began reaching out to families directly the week of March 30 to arrange for virtual home tutoring.
Social Emotional Support
Q: Can the District suggest ways to help students who are feeling isolated or lonely due to social distancing precautions?
A: Following are a few tips to help children from feeling isolated while taking necessary precautions to stay healthy:
- FaceTime with friends and family
- Create a family challenge board/scheduling board and start a group text with your family to keep checking in and encouraging children to complete the tasks
- Take a virtual field trip to a zoo or museum
- Check out the digital media (e-books, audiobooks, movies) available for free through your local library’s website
Q: How can students obtain working papers?
A: At this point, we are unable to process working papers. However, we’re looking ways to support these requests.