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Reopening of Schools FAQs

How will surfaces be cleaned? - New 8/25/2020
High-touch surfaces (doorknobs, handrails, etc.) will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the day using a disinfectant which meets EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. After the end of the school day, classrooms will be cleaned and disinfected by our custodial staff who will follow the product and safety guidelines for mixing and application of the disinfectant.

Custodial staff has received training in the proper use of these disinfectants. Wipes containing 75% alcohol by volume will be available in classrooms for faculty and staff use.

Can you explain which cleaning products are being used? - New 8/25/2020
We had initially been planning to use MicroBan which does have longer lasting antimicrobial capabilities, but because the effectiveness would be diminished by regular surface cleaning and because it leaves a residue, we will instead be using Virex II 246 and other disinfectants. Although the disinfectants we will be using meet EPA criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, they do not have long lasting antimicrobial capabilities. Wipes containing 75% alcohol by volume will be available.

What type of face mask is recommended? - New 8/25/2020
Acceptable face coverings include but are not limited to cloth-based face coverings and surgical masks that cover both the mouth and nose. Surgical masks will be made available to staff, students, and visitors upon entry to the building if they do not have an acceptable face covering. A surgical mask or cloth face covering (preferably three layers of fabric) is recommended.

It is not recommended to use flexible/stretchable fabric face coverings (such as neck gaiters), bandannas and face mask with exhaust ports. Students that use these type of face covering will be provided a surgical mask.

Can 6th grade students stay in the same room with the teacher’s moving rooms? - New 8/25/2020
Since the 6th grade students travel together all day long from class to class they are a cohort. Each team is made up of 3 individual cohorts and make up a larger cohort. These children are never in class with any student other than those in their classroom except for lunch and PE. In addition, 6th graders are in the same classroom for homeroom, 1st period and 2nd period and will not be in the hallways between those periods. These modifications, to the extent practicable limit the potential exposure for the team cohort.

These students students travel together all day in pre-assigned groups with class sizes of a maximum of 14 students reflecting a fixed cohort as suggested in the guidance. Along with the physical safety it is in the social emotional best interest of students to move around as this is developmentally appropriate. In addition, due to the science equipment necessary at the secondary level, it would not be educationally appropriate to push into a non-science classroom.

What measures are you taking to ensure the safety of the students in grades K - 5 as they share classroom spaces for specials? - New 8/25/2020
Students in grades K - 5 will remain in their classrooms for health and library instruction while the teachers push in. Students will have an opportunity to visit the library for book exchange every other week. Books that are used by students will remain out of circulation for a week.

When students will transition to the art and music classrooms, barriers will be used in addition to personal work surfaces (laminated placemats). In addition, students will have their own set of supplies and materials for these classes. Wipes containing 75% alcohol by volume will be available to faculty and staff and are strongly encouraged to be used on shared and frequently touched surfaces.

What measures are you taking to ensure the safety of the students in grades 6 - 12 as they share classroom spaces?- New 8/25/2020
At the secondary level, student attendance will be decreased by at least 50% due to the hybrid instructional model. Disposable wipes containing 75% alcohol by volume will be available to faculty and staff and are strongly encouraged to be used on shared and frequently touched surfaces. In addition, good hygiene practices will be strongly encouraged.

Having students learning from home and having parents working alongside them threatens confidentiality and privacy for our children and their special education needs. It is very challenging to teach an elementary grade level and teach in one spot. How can you ensure that our children's rights to privacy will be protected? - New 8/25/2020
The camera will be arranged in such a manner to minimize the ability of students who will be attending remotely to view students in the classroom. However, in the unlikely event that your child’s image is displayed on the screen of student learning remotely, we are advised by counsel that such a display would not be a violation of your child’s privacy rights based upon guidance from the U.S. Department of Education’s Student Privacy Policy Office.

Has consideration been given to truncating the school day for K-5, having core subjects like literacy and math in person and then having specials completed remotely at home? Would the district be open to parents selecting to bring their children in for core subjects and picking them up before they attend specials/lunch/recess? - New 8/25/2020
Due to scheduling and transportation constraints, it is not feasible to provide a truncated school day for core subjects in-person and specials remotely at home. Additionally, since the schedule for lunch/recess and specials are scattered throughout the day, it will not be feasible for parents to pick students up before and after each class.

Should we elect to start our children remotely and want to switch to in person learning, what legal recourse do you have to prevent them from attending? - New 8/25/2020
The programs offered under the District’s reopening plan are constrained by the availability of space, staff and other resources. In order to effectively manage the assignment of students within the constraints, students who select the remote option will be required to remain in that program for the trimester/quarter.

Can I choose to keep my child home every other day and create my own “hybrid” model? - New

If I switch to in person for the second trimester/quarter will my student be placed in a new classroom? - New
No, they will remain with the assigned teacher for the entire school year. 

If NYS numbers remain low will you consider phasing in full 5-day for all?  - New
In order to facilitate in-person instruction for all students at the secondary level, social distancing requirements would need to be significantly reduced or eliminated.  

Are you committing to maintaining a full year online option if parents wish that model, even if NYS numbers remain low? - New
Attendance at school for compulsory aged students (16 or younger) is required by NYS law.  As long as remote learning is accepted by Regulation and/or Executive Order for attendance purposes, the Harborfields Central School District will continue to offer that option during the 2020-2021 school year.  

For online learning how will teachers incorporate those students into the class day? Answering their questions? Participation? Needing help?  - New
Students who attend class remotely will be able to actively participate in daily lessons. This includes asking questions and completing lesson activities. 

How will the teacher handle the reading groups with the online students, especially if the online cohort is at different levels?  How will they provide that differentiated learning since the teacher’s screen is of the entire online group? - New
It is understood that classroom instruction will be different this year.  Students will meet in homogenous reading groups with their teacher as in the past and teachers will continue to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of their students.   
For specials in K-5 will my student have to log off and then use a separate link every time the in-person students leave the room? - New
If a separate link is required, this will be posted to the students Google Classroom.  

In 6-12 how will the traditional “A” day “B” day be handled? What about labs and gym? - New
Students will follow their academic schedule. The “A” day, “B day schedule will follow as normal with the first day of school, September 8th, being an “A” day.  Students will have the opportunity to participate in alternate day classes such as physical education and science labs equally in in-person and remote settings.  

How will band/orchestra/chorus be handled at HHS to allow for appropriate social distancing? - New
All classes will follow social distancing guidelines.  Music courses where singing or wind instruments will be played will require greater social distancing.  

Will Marching Band and Kickline have the opportunity to perform even with no fall sports? - New
As of today, fall sports will start on September 21st.  Every effort will be made to allow Marching Band and Kickline to perform if extracurricular activities are permitted.  

What is the lunchroom configuration like at TJL? Do they bring their barriers to lunch? Are they eating at desks or tables? - New
TJL students will be eating their lunch in the cafeteria while maintaining 6 feet distance.

How will students receive materials if they are choosing the online option? How will students receive their own supply kits for specials? Is that a cost parents have to incur? - New
As with each year, teachers will communicate supply lists.  Every effort will continue to be made to keep costs for supplies low.  Classroom supply kits will be provided to students who choose to participate remotely if required.   Arrangements for parents to pick up kits will be communicated if they are used. 

At OMS and HHS how will extra help be handled for online learners?  Can my student attend extra help in person on their “off” day by cohort? - New
Extra help sessions will be scheduled by the teacher at a mutually agreed upon time between the teachers and student. This may be in-person or online or a combination of the two.
What kind of programming will you be implementing to address the anxiety, fear, depression issues that our children are facing in navigating this new normal? - New
Teachers care deeply for the social and emotional well-being of our students and will continue to implement SEL lessons in class. 

What assessments will be done to ensure children are grade-level ready?  And how will the district address regressions in learning? - New
Students will be assessed in the areas of literacy and math to determine grade level proficiency.  If necessary, interventions will put in place to support each student in reaching grade level proficiency.  

What are the plans for LISHA and BOCES? What are their social distancing measures and how does that schedule align with my HF Cohort? - New
Students will be transported to and from all BOCES programs.  Further information will be communicated by the buildings. 

Are intramurals cancelled? - New
All intramurals and co-curricular activities will be postponed until the end of September.
If we opt for online instruction what kind of support will my child receive? - New
Parents may request a CSE program review meeting to review the IEP and supports that are needed for your child to progress in the online platform.

If we opt for online in the classroom can they still receive in person support services? - New
If you opt for all online services a CSE program review will be needed to discuss all supports and implementation of supports (virtual, in-person) on the IEP.

If my child has an IEP in grades 6-12 can they receive full 5-day in person instruction? - New
Five day in-person instruction has been recommended for students in special classes who present high needs. If you have concerns regarding your child's program then a CSE meeting needs to be requested to review your child's needs and IEP.

Will you review the individual IEPs to allow for full 5 day in-person even if they are not assigned to a “special” class? - New
If a parent has a concern regarding a student's support in the hybrid model then a CSE meeting should be scheduled to review the student's needs and the IEP program and related supports.

How will resource room be handled for online learners? - New
Resource room instruction will occur online as it occurs in person. It will be scheduled according to the IEP (daily).

My child has a speech disability; would that qualify for a mask exemption? - New
Parents should consult their healthcare provider if there are concerns regarding their child’s ability to wear a mask. 

What protocols are you putting in place to ensure “mask exemption requests” are valid? - New
Any accommodation request from a healthcare provider will be reviewed by our district physician.

If a student in grades 6-12 is medically exempt from wearing a mask will you create a separate plan for those students navigating the halls in between classes and ensure they will not enter classrooms at the same time as other students? - New
The needs of each student will be evaluated on a case by case basis. 

If one of my children tests positive for COVID but my other children do not, can my COVID-free children attend school or will they have to quarantine despite the negative test result? - New
No, any individual (adult or child) that is exposed will need to complete the mandatory quarantine period regardless of a negative test.  

We understand that the DOH will provide clarity in addressing the management of the school building when there are positive cases, however there must be some general protocol as to the number of positive cases within a building that would result in the school being shut down? - New
According to the Governor, if there is COVID spread, the State will make the determination to close schools.  

Can you give an overview of daily building cleaning procedures? - New
Daily cleaning and disinfecting will occur as per CDC Guidance.  High touch surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected frequently throughout the day.

Will you be cleaning playground equipment in between each recess? - New
Outdoor areas will be routinely cleaned, but do not require disinfecting.

Will students be sharing play equipment or bringing in their own balls and jump ropes? - New
Students will not share equipment. 

Will students be required to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer when they return to the classrooms after lunch or a special? - New
Students will be trained on proper hand hygiene and will be provided with opportunities to wash their hands frequently throughout the school day.

Will my child be required to wear a mask?

All students and staff are required to wear acceptable face coverings at all times. Face coverings will be permitted to be removed during meals only when individuals are appropriately socially distanced. Students and staff are encouraged to bring their own face coverings (cloth masks or surgical masks) but the district will maintain an adequate supply in case of need for replacement.

What if my child can’t keep a mask on (due to age or medical restrictions)?

Students where such covering would impair their health or mental health, or where such covering would present a challenge, distraction, or obstruction to education services and instruction will not be required to wear a mask (healthcare provider documentation is required).

Can a face shield be used in place of a mask?

No. Acceptable face coverings include but are not limited to cloth-based face coverings (e.g. homemade sewn, quick cut, bandana), and surgical masks that cover both the mouth and nose. 


Will my child follow their regular schedule of classes for all three models?

Yes, students will follow their regular schedule of classes.

Will my child be able to purchase hot lunch? Eat lunch in the cafeteria?

Yes, lunch will be available for purchase and the cafeteria will be used to the extent possible given requirements for social distancing.

Will my child have access to their locker?

Under current social distancing guidelines (6-feet), access to lockers may be severely restricted during in-person instruction. More information will be disseminated by the OMS and HHS principals.

Will my child change classrooms throughout the day?

Secondary students will change classrooms during the day with health and safety protocols in place such as one way signage and social distance markings. Elementary students schedules have been developed to minimize movement of multiple groups to ensure social distancing. 

Since multiple physical education classes all occur in the gymnasium at the same time, will my child still have physical education with other classes?

Yes. All social distancing guidance for all instructional spaces, including gymnasiums, have been considered. If multiple classes are scheduled for the gymnasium, the number of students will never exceed maximum occupancy calculated considering social distance requirements. 

How will movement in the high school be restricted in the hallways during passing times to maintain social distancing?

The hybrid instructional model reduces in-person attendance to approximately 50%. This will reduce the number of students in the hallway and in combination with one way signage and social distance markings, allowing for appropriate social distancing to be maintained. 

Will the live online learning follow their regular schedule?

Yes. Students will follow their academic schedule while participating in remote learning. There will be live, synchronous instruction during each instructional period. However, teachers may also provide asynchronous activities such as pre-recorded videos, practice worksheets, and related software-based activities to support the synchronous learning. For example, a teacher might conduct a live 20-minute math lesson and ask the class to complete an independent practice activity on their own to be submitted through Google Classroom.

What safety measures will be in place on the bus?

Students shall wear face masks/coverings on the bus, except those students whose physical or mental health would be impaired by wearing a mask. In the hybrid model, the ridership will be reduced to achieve social distancing.

How will we ensure no student or staff member comes to school that has been exposed or shows symptoms to COVID-19?

All parents will have to provide assurance that they screened their children for COVID-19 symptoms and that their children have not been exposed to someone with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 before sending them to school. The health screening must include a temperature screening for a fever. Staff will have to provide assurance that they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms including the presence of a fever before reporting to work. Staff or students whose parents do not provide that assurance will be screened by the school nurse before they enter the building. 

If a student or staff member has symptoms while in school, how will this be handled?

When a sick person is sent to the Health office, the ill person will be isolated and remain away from others. Ill students will be assessed by the school nurse who will ensure that he/she is wearing appropriate PPE. They will remain in the isolation area with continued supervision and care until picked up by a parent/guardian or authorized adult. Ill faculty and staff members will be assessed by the school nurse and will be sent home to seek medical attention from their own healthcare provider.

Will teachers be available for extra help before or after school?

Yes.  Depending on the instructional model, teachers will be available for extra help either in person or online.

If students attend in a hybrid model, is there an alternative if my child is not able to or the family chooses not to have the student attend in person?

Yes.  The district recognizes that students who are in high risk groups or who have family members who are in high risk groups may need to attend school remotely. The district will make reasonable accommodations for the needs of these students. All questions regarding accommodations should be directed to your child’s principal. 

What is the school putting into place to encourage good hygiene (hand washing, etc.)?

The district will emphasize healthy hygiene practices for students and staff by sharing videos and posting CDC signage through the school (entrances, restrooms, cafeteria, offices, hallways, etc.) In addition, signage will be posted on the REOPENING HF webpage for families and community members. Signage will be used to remind individuals to:

  • Stay home if they feel sick
  • Cover their nose and mouth with an acceptable face covering
  • Adhere to social distancing guidelines
  • Understand and report symptoms of, or exposure to, COVID-19
  • Follow good hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette
  • Follow clearing and disinfection guidelines

If we attend in a hybrid model, and I have multiple children in my household will they attend school on the same day?

Yes. In order to maximize in person instruction and adhere to current guidance regarding maximum safe occupancy and social distancing requirements, students will be divided into two cohorts based on the first initial of their last name: Cohort 1 = A-L and Cohort 2 = M-Z. 

Understanding that households may include children with different last names, the principals will work with each family to make the decision that works best for the children while staying within the mandated capacity of each classroom. 

Will my child have the same teacher for the days they are in school and at home?

Yes. Each student will follow their academic schedule when they are in school for in-person instruction and when they are home participating in remote learning. The teacher(s) assigned to your child will facilitate learning each day.

How will assessments/testing schedules be established?

To the greatest extent possible, assessments will be given on days when students are in school for in-person instruction. Teachers have the ability and autonomy to assess students in a remote setting if they deem it prudent to do so.

While at home are the students watching the live stream instruction or completing different assignments/tasks?

Both. There will be live, synchronous instruction during each instructional period. However, teachers may also provide asynchronous activities such as pre-recorded videos, practice worksheets, and related software-based activities to support the synchronous learning. For example, a teacher might conduct a live 20-minute math lesson and ask the class to complete an independent practice activity on their own to be submitted through Google Classroom.


Can music lessons still occur?

Yes, as long as the lesson can be accomplished in compliance with all social distancing requirements.

Will there be any changes to the grading policy?

Our grading policy will return to normal (pre-COVID-19) with some minor extensions to deadlines to submit assignments if the district is operating in a remote or hybrid model. Specific information will be communicated by your child’s teacher(s) and/or building principal. 

What guidance services will be available in-person and remotely? (college application process, working papers, etc.)

All guidance services will be available. Accommodations for social distancing will need to be made including virtual meetings with parents. 

Will forms be available electronically?

Yes. The district will work to make forms available in electronic form when possible.


If my household is unable to participate in synchronous learning, what options are available?

Teachers will post all materials and classroom activities to their Google Classroom. If there is an ongoing specific issue, the family is encouraged to contact the guidance counselor (grades 6-12) or the building principal (grades K-5). 

Will there be small group learning opportunities, especially at the lower grades?

Yes. Small group instruction will be provided during remote instruction. This may be difficult to implement during in-person instruction due to social distancing requirements. Your child’s teacher will be able to provide more detailed information on instructional groups. 

What technology support/resources are available to the students/families while at home?

Tutorials and other supports will be provided to parents and students. Parents or students who need assistance with a district provided device may also email our Help Desk at [email protected] for support.

Will my child have a 1:1 device at home?

Yes. Students in grades K-12 will have exclusive use of a district provided device should the district be required to operate in a remote learning instructional model.

Will there be training for parents for online learning?

Yes. Video tutorials and instructional materials will be provided. The district is also developing plans to provide workshops for parents on specific aspects of remote learning such as navigating Google Classroom, Google Drive, Google Meet, etc. 

Who do I contact if my child is having trouble with their district device?

Parents or students who need assistance with a district provided device may also email our Help Desk at [email protected] for support.

What supports are available for my student in an inclusion setting?

Accommodations, modifications and supplemental aids that are indicated on the IEP will be provided to the greatest extent possible given the in-person, hybrid or remote models. Student attendance, participation and progress as per respective IEP goals is documented by all special education teachers and related service providers for academic instruction and related services in the in-person, hybrid or remote models.


How is attendance going to be tracked and communicated with families?

For in-person learning and the in-person days of a hybrid model, daily student attendance will be collected and reported as per building policy and procedures established prior to the school closure. All record keeping by the teacher of record will be entered accurately and daily through Infinite Campus.

For remote learning and the remote portion of the hybrid learning model, appropriate daily teacher/student engagement will be monitored by the Teacher of Record and recorded through Infinite Campus as positive daily attendance if the student was engaged in learning.

How will the expectations of my child during the online session be communicated?

Classroom teachers will communicate any additional expectations to parents and students during the first week of school. 

How will behavior issues be addressed in an online environment? Will the code of conduct be enforced?

Inappropriate behavior in a remote setting will be addressed in the same educationally sound manner outlined in the district’s code of conduct. Depending on the nature of the violation, student discipline should be progressive. If the violation is particularly disruptive to the classroom environment or endangers the safety, morals, health, or welfare of others, the teacher has the authority to remove the child from the class and make a referral to administration. The district code of conduct will be enforced during in-person, hybrid, and remote instructional models. The code of conduct is posted to the district website and distributed to all families in the school calendar mailed to all homes.

Will my child still be able to participate in co-curricular clubs? Will co-curricular clubs be able to meet in person?

Recognizing that co-curricular clubs are important to the academic and social development of our students, the district plans on maintaining these activities regardless of instructional model. If schools are permitted to allow students to return to school in either a full in-person or hybrid setting, co-curricular clubs will be able to meet if social distancing requirements are met. 

Will my child still be able to participate in athletics/sports teams?

The district will hold extracurricular activities and athletic practices and games during in-person or hybrid settings, if permitted. If school buildings are closed for any reason (including the shift to remote instruction), all athletic and extracurricular activities will be held remotely. Any in-person athletics and extracurricular activities will require students to adhere to all guidelines of the New York State Department of Health to ensure the safety of staff and students.

Can concerts/theatre production still occur?

Yes, as long as the activities can be accomplished in compliance with all social distancing requirements.

How will changes to major school events be communicated?

In order to establish an efficient communication plan to the students, parents or legal guardians of students, staff, visitors, and the community, we have developed the following resources: 


  • Dedicated webpage on the District’s website with all relevant information, including but not limited to training documents/videos and signage regarding the reopening of schools:

  • Letters from the Superintendent updating the community on the latest information received.
  • The District will continue to utilize the Blackboard ConnectEd Notification System which allows for mass notification of selected groups such as parents/guardians, staff and community members.
    -Parents/guardians will receive appropriate notification based on their child’s grade level enrollment in Infinite Campus. If contact information needs to be updated, parents/guardians should contact the main office of their child’s schools.
    -Staff may update their contact information by notifying Human Resources at 631-754-5320 ext. 322.
    -Non-parent community residents that would like to receive community notifications regarding public meetings and other information relevant to the community at-large can register for the MyConnect portal:
  • The District will continue to utilize social media outlets such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to provide important updates to the community.
    -Twitter: @HarborfieldsCSD
    -Instagram: harborfields_csd
    -Facebook: Harborfields Central School District
  • Any additional questions or requests for information should be directed to the District Office at 631-754-5320.

How far in advance will the community be notified of calendar changes?

Every effort will be made to communicate changes to the school calendar and other events as soon as practicable. 

What social emotional support will be provided to the teachers/staff?

The district will work to offer staff workshops to give them the tools and resources to help manage this time of uncertainty and change. Professional development will be provided for staff that can better prepare them to support their own well-being as well as the well-being of the students and families they work with. Resources and materials will be posted to our website to assist them in addressing how to deal with uncertainty and educate people on their own emotional regulation needs.

What social emotional support will be provided to the parents?

The district will work to offer parent workshops to give them the tools and resources to help manage this time of uncertainty and change. Workshops will be provided that can better prepare them to support their own well-being as well as the well-being of their families. Resources and materials will be posted to our website and sent home to families to assist them in addressing how to deal with uncertainty and educate people on their own emotional regulation needs.

What social emotional support will be provided to the students?

Each school in the district works tirelessly to create a safe, supportive, and engaging learning environment that nurtures students’ social and emotional learning. Relationships and connectedness are at the core of our healthiest school communities. The student/staff relationships are the foundation of students’ connectedness to the school community and learning. To foster relationship building, teams of teachers will collaborate at each grade level to develop activities around building and strengthening relationships. Our school psychologists, social workers, and guidance counselors will play an integral part in the development of age appropriate activities at each level. In addition, resources and referrals will be made available to parents to address mental health, behavioral, and emotional support services and programs. 

The district will continue to provide staff professional development opportunities on how to talk with and support students during and after the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, as well as provide supports for developing coping and resilience skills for students, faculty, and staff.