The most up-to-date information on reopening will be compiled here in a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) format. This information will be continuously updated and will change throughout the 2020-21 school year planning process. Please check back often, as information is expected to change often as additional guidance and feedback is provided. Please remember that not all questions can be answered at this time.
If there are questions you would like answered, please submit them through the "Submit Your Question" page. The most commonly asked questions will be answered here. More specific questions may be addressed on a more individualized basis. Please note that it may take time to compile information for answers and respond to questions, and that planning for the 2020-21 school year is proceeding very rapidly.
Scheduling & Instructional Models:
Safety, Cleaning & PPE:
Testing, Contact Tracing & Quarantine:
Logistics, Food Service & Transportation:
Questions & Information:
How can I request a device?
The district is providing Chromebooks and iPads to families who need one for online and remote learning. The district is not yet able to provide one device per student, but we are moving very quickly to get there, and are in the process of securing devices for all students within the first quarter. In the meantime, to ensure that a limited number of devices only go to those who need one, we are asking that families use their own personal devices whenever possible. A variety of devices can be used for virtual learning. If you do need a device, you can use this survey to request one, which you can find at www.ktufsd.org/devices.
Device distribution information for each school can be found on our Back-to-School page at www.ktufsd.org/back2school.
I don't have internet access. What can I do?
If you do not have internet access, please call 716-871-2050. There are different options available for families who do not have internet access, and a member of the technology support team will be able to identify the best option for you.
Where can I find assistance logging into Google Classroom, Canvas, Clever, etc.?
Visit www.ktufsd.org/TechSupport, where you will find a link to resources to assist you with logging into and accessing resources such as Google Classroom, Canvas, and Clever. This page will continue to be expanded and updated to help families while remote learning is taking place.
How can I get assistance with instructional technology resources or devices?
Visit www.ktufsd.org/TechSupport, where you will find a variety of resources to assist families in accessing instructional technology resources and using their devices (Chromebooks and iPads) for online/remote learning. This page will continue to be expanded and updated to help families while remote learning is taking place.
When will families receive information on what to expect in September?
All back-to-school information, including school welcome letters, school supply lists, device/materials distribution information, and more, can be found on our Back-to-School page at www.ktufsd.org/back2school.
What is the plan for school supply lists?
School supply lists for all schools can be found on our Back-to-School page at www.ktufsd.org/back2school. For many high school students, teachers will communicate with their students directly on the supplies they will need to acquire.
What is the hybrid schedule?
On Friday, August 21, it was announced that the district would begin the year with remote learning for all students, and phase in a hybrid schedule in 5-week increments beginning October 13. (Click here to read the announcement.) The goal of the hybrid schedule is to combine in-person and online/remote learning to further safeguard against COVID-19 by reducing capacity in school buildings. Most students would be divided into two groups, with one group attending school on Monday and Tuesday, and another group attending school on Wednesday and Thursday. (Some students, such as students in self-contained special education classes, would attend school Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.) Students would take part in remote (at-home) virtual instruction the days they are not in school.
Will students from the same household be grouped together in a hybrid model?
Yes. It is the district’s intent to group students by household, so that all the students in a particular household would attend school the same days. Parents/guardians will soon be notified of which group they are in.
When will students learn what group they are in (e.g. Monday/Tuesday, Thursday/Friday), should the district operate in a hybrid model?
Soon, parents will receive an automated text, voice and email message notifying them whether they are in "A" group (in-person attendance Monday and Tuesday), "B" group (in-person attendance Thursday and Friday), the virtual group (those who opted out of in-person attendance by registering for the Virtual Learning Academy), or the in-person group that would attend school Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday (self-contained special education classes). Please note that this applies for when a hybrid schedule is phased in.
Has the district confirmed what scenario will be in effect for September?
On Friday, August 21, it was announced that the district would begin the year with remote learning for all students, and phase in a hybrid schedule in 5-week increments beginning October 13. (Click here to read the announcement.)
How will the hybrid schedule be phased in?
The first five weeks of school will be remote for all grade levels. BOCES CTE students will be transported if families wish for their CTE students to attend in-person instruction at BOCES CTE sites. During this time, our schools will prepare to phase in a hybrid schedule for specific groups of students, such as Universal Pre-K, Kindergarten, Grade 1, and self-contained special education classes, while also retooling classrooms to serve in-person and remote students at the same time.
During this phase, these students (UPK-Gr. 1 and self-contained students) may be scheduled to return to school on specific days to get to know their teacher and learn about the new protocols, procedures, and safety measures they will follow to keep them safe. These students would begin following a hybrid schedule starting October 13, the beginning of Phase 2.In this manner, schools will gradually return to in-person attendance following a hybrid schedule with new grade levels and groups of students returning in five-week increments. The following are the targets we will be working toward; however, these are subject to change depending on the circumstances of the pandemic:
- October 13, 2020: UPK, K, Gr. 1, and self-contained special education classes (the goal is for all self-contained classes to attend four days per week)
- November 16, 2020: Gr. 2-4 and Gr. 5
- January 4, 2021: Gr. 6-12 (due to winter recess)
What protocols will be in place for cleaning and disinfecting school buildings and buses?
Extensive protocols for cleaning and disinfecting will be implemented in all school buildings and school buses every day. This includes daily deep cleaning and the use of Protexus electrostatic sprayers, which are advanced applicators that are very effective at quickly killing pathogens including coronavirus, throughout our school buildings and buses daily. In school buses, high-touch points will be cleaned after each bus run. Disinfecting wipes with a 1-minute kill time and hand sanitizer dispensers will be available in every classroom. Extensive use of hand sanitizer and thorough hand washing will be continuously reinforced. For the district's detailed plans for enhanced cleaning and disinfecting, please refer to the Enhanced Hygeine, Cleaning & Disinfection Plan.
To what extent will personal protective equipment (PPE) be utilized?
Mask usage will be of critical importance by students and staff to prevent the spread of the virus, and under the current guidance, masks will be required for students. The district is in the process of acquiring vast quantities of personal protective equipment (PPE) to be deployed district-wide. Masks will be made available to students on an as-needed basis if a student forgets his or her mask at home. To address this need while also increasing school spirit, we are in the process of ordering reusable cloth masks for all students at each school with the school’s logo on it as a mask option for all students.
What requirements will there be for masks?
The use of face coverings (i.e. masks) will be required per NYS guidelines. Schools will ensure that all students have access to a mask, if a student forgets his or her mask at home. All students will be provided a mask with the school's logo on it. Since students will not be able to wear masks while eating, social distancing is a major factor in breakfast and lunch planning. The NYS guidance does provide for "mask breaks." Mask breaks must be scheduled, and must follow Department of Health guidelines, which includes the amount of time permitted for mask breaks. Please note that face shields cannot be used in place of masks.
From the CDC: Masks with exhalation valves or vents should NOT be worn to help prevent the person wearing the mask from spreading COVID-19 to others (source control). The purpose of masks is to keep respiratory droplets from reaching others to aid with source control. However, masks with one-way valves or vents allow air to be exhaled through a hole in the material, which can result in expelled respiratory droplets that can reach others. This type of mask does not prevent the person wearing the mask from transmitting COVID-19 to others. Therefore, CDC does not recommend using masks for source control if they have an exhalation valve or vent.
What are the guidelines for mask breaks?
Mask breaks are permitted, up to 9 minutes in duration. This time was communicated by the Department of Health based on contact time needed for risk of exposure to COVID-19. Social distancing must be maintained during mask breaks, which are to be directed by teachers.
How will social distancing be carried out in schools and classrooms?
Social distancing is a requirement for in-person attendance. A great deal of planning has taken place to maximize social distancing throughout the school day. Ridership on school buses will be kept to a minimum, and students will be spread out in the bus with assigned seats to ensure they are as far apart as possible. Students will be seated more than 6 feet apart in classrooms, during lunch, and during physical education classes (where the social distancing requirements are even greater). Schools are also carefully considering transition time in hallways.
Will schools close in the event of a positive test?
The Erie County Department of Health guidelines currently do not include procedures to shut down a school in the event of a positive test or multiple positive tests. Extensive social distancing measures, PPE usage, and cleaning protocols are being conducted to minimize the risk of exposure. In the event of a positive test, the Department of Health would conduct a case review and contact tracing to determine who was at risk of exposure.
What procedures are being followed for contact tracing and testing?
The Erie County Department of Health has provided guidance on contact tracing and testing for school districts in Erie County. If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the Erie County Department of Health will initiate the process of conducting a case investigation and contact tracing. Contact tracing would identify close contacts (within 6 feet for 10 or more minutes, though other criteria may be considered by contact tracers), and the Department of Health would advise close contacts whether there is a need to quarantine, monitor for symptoms, and/or be tested. Those who do test positive will not be able to return to school for a minimum of 10 days following the onset of symptoms (at least three days without a fever). More information and flow chart diagrams can be found here: Procedures for Contact Tracing, Testing & Symptomatic Students/Staff
What procedures are being followed for students/staff demonstrating symptoms?
Health officials have also assisted districts in creating protocols for when students are exhibiting new symptoms. Students/staff who are exhibiting symptoms will be isolated and sent home. They may return to school with confirmation of a negative test or a doctor's note, or following 10 days from the onset of symptoms. More information and flow chart diagrams can be found here: Procedures for Contact Tracing, Testing & Symptomatic Students/Staff
Will the 2020-21 school year begin on Tuesday, September 8?
Yes, the 2020-21 school year began on Tuesday, Sept. 8. No changes have been made to the 2020-21 school year calendar. Each year, the calendar is developed to comply with New York State Education Department requirements for a minimum of 180 days of instruction (plus additional days to provide for weather-related closures). At this time, the State Education Department has not made any changes to its 180-day requirement. The district would stand to lose a significant amount of NYS funding for each day of instruction below the 180-day requirement.
How will breakfast/lunch service be impacted?
The Food Service Department has been working hard to plan for each eventuality, including how breakfast and lunch will be able to be made available in each school building in a hybrid scenario. Each school must take into account the size of the cafeteria, the number of students inside for each lunch period, and whether those students could be kept six feet apart (since masks are not expected to be worn during lunch). If not, other options must be identified, such as allowing students to remain in their classrooms while eating (this will be the case in elementary schools). At all times, social distancing will be maintained during lunch (including in lunch lines). The Food Service Department has been exploring new opportunities for online meal ordering and payment to facilitate the challenges presented by COVID-19. Food Service is also planning to continue to offer breakfast/lunch in a completely remote/online learning environment, and for those students who are learning at home in a hybrid model.
Our Food Service Department will begin serving students the first week of school. While students are participating in remote/online learning, weekly meal kits would be offered once per week and would include one breakfast and one lunch for all the days of the week, with reheating and preparation instructions. Meal kits will be available to all currently enrolled students. Meal kits are free for all students. More information at www.ktufsd.org/back2school.
Will school meals be free to all like they were in the spring?
We were excited to learn that determinations made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would make breakfast/lunch meal kits free for all students through Dec. 31, as funding allows.
Will students be transported to BOCES CTE sites?
Yes. Transportation will be provided to BOCES CTE sites, on days in which students are scheduled to attend their CTE program. Students will be picked up from their regular bus stop.
Will students be transported to non-public schools or special education sites?
Yes. Transportation will be provided to non-public schools, including parochial and charter schools, and out-of-district special education sites any day in which students are scheduled to attend that school.
Will start/end times or arrival/dismissal procedures be modified?
Although there were no changes planned for start and end times for the 2020-21 school year, regulatory changes adopted by the New York State Board of Regents in July have provided school districts with the ability to incorporate greater flexibility in arrival/dismissal procedures during the morning and afternoon. For example, at elementary schools, parents will be able to drop off children at any point between 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., in order to accomodate a potential increase in the number of parents driving their children to school, and to facilitate social distancing. Schools will be providing parents/guardians with more information about school arrival/dismissal procedures at specific school locations.
How will in-person school schedules be impacted?
Because of the need to ensure safe social distancing at all grade levels, significant changes will need to be made to school schedules if in-person instruction is provided, whether in a fully in-person or hybrid scenario. More information will soon be available on in-person school schedules in a hybrid scenario.
How will Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) classes operate?
Each year, Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) planning is contingent on funding by New York State. We have been anxiously awaiting the release of these funds so that planning for UPK can move forward. On Friday, Aug. 14, we learned that this funding has been released by New York State. The Ken-Ton UPK Program is operated by the Ken-Ton YMCA, which has been working extremely hard to plan for its 2020-21 programming. UPK will follow the district's hybrid phase-in plan. UPK classes will operate remotely for the first five weeks of school. A hybrid schedule will be phased in for UPK beginning Oct. 13. Additional information will be sent to families by the Ken-Ton YMCA. For virtual teacher open house videos, click here.
Is there a plan to reinstall swings and basketball hoops?
There are no definitive dates for the reinstallation of playground swings and basketball hoops. In some cases, recreation facilities have been reopened (such as tennis courts, where social distancing is part of the activity). The use of playground facilities and basketball courts is not consistent with the social distancing guidelines school districts are required to follow, and there are no state-approved procedures for sanitizing these facilities.
Will before/after-school programs operate?
Yes. When schools are operating with in-person attendance in a hybrid schedule, YMCA and YWCA before- and after-school programs will operate for students attending school that day. More information on each school's program can be obtained through the YMCA (Franklin, Holmes, Hoover and Lindbergh Elementary) and YWCA (Edison Elementary).
How would special education services be provided in a hybrid or fully online/remote scenario?
The current plan for a fully remote learning environment is for all Students With Disabilities (SWDs) whose current IEP (Individual Education Plan) indicates their special education programs are Self-Contained, Consultant Teacher, Integrated Co-Teaching, or Resource Room will continue to receive the support of special education teachers in the remote setting, using virtual means. These students will follow their respective school’s schedule as well as their individual schedule. All SWDs who have related services (RS) on their IEPs will continue to receive those services through teletherapy or other virtual means. Evaluations and CSE/CPSE meetings will be scheduled virtually to the extent possible.
The current plan for a hybrid scenario is for all SWDs who receive their special education programs in 8:1-1, 12:1-1, 12:1-4, and 15-1 Self-Contained classrooms to attend school with their teacher every day in-person attendance is conducted (currently Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday).
In a hybrid model, all SWDs will receive their education and related services similar to their peers. Teachers and therapists will work together and with families to provide as much during direct contact time as well as meeting students' needs virtually based on individual abilities and IEP goals and accommodations.
How would remote/online learning differ from what was offered in the spring of 2020?
In the spring, school districts and K-12 educators across the country did the very best they could transitioning to a fully online/remote learning environment with no time to prepare, plan, or collaborate. For this reason, a multitude of platforms and programs were used. For months, educators have had the ability to reflect, adapt, explore new options, and collaborate/plan across grade levels, schools, content areas, and districts. Significant planning has taken place in the Ken-Ton School District should schools need to operate online/remote learning during the 2020-21 school year. Teachers have been trained in either Google Classroom or Canvas, which will be used consistently across grade levels and schools. As such, students and families can expect more consistency in online/remote instruction. You can detailed information in our Remote Learning Plan.
In a fully remote/online learning model, will all students be expected to spend all day in front of a screen?
Remote learning is learning that takes place at home. There will be activities and times for which students will need to use a device, but there will also be independent work and activities that do not require a device. For example, students might engage in independent reading, work on an art project, engage in a physical education activity, practice writing, or engage in at-home project-based work.
What would remote/online learning consist of in a 100% remote/online learning environment?
While schools are operating with fully remote/online learning, synchronous instruction will be offered on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesdays would provide opportunities for small-group instruction and more individualized support. Students would follow an age-appropriate schedule. Detailed information on how remote/online learning would be provided across schools and grade levels can be found in our Remote Learning Plan.
In a hybrid scenario, how would teaching be conducted on the "remote" learning days of the week?
The district is working toward a full virtual option which can be seamlessly integrated into daily instruction, including on the remote (at-home) days in a hybrid schedule. Technology and training will be provided so that teachers will teach the students in their classrooms and the students at home simultaneously. More information will be provided as this new model is developed.
Would students follow a schedule when they are learning remotely?
In a fully remote learning environment, K-4 students will follow a modified course schedule, and students in Grades 5-12 will follow a modified period schedule. Students would log into Google Classroom or Canvas and access a Google Meet video link to be able to connect with their teachers synchronously. Detailed information on how remote/online learning would be provided across schools and grade levels can be found in our Remote Learning Plan. The district is working toward a full virtual option which can be seamlessly integrated into daily instruction, including on the remote (at-home) days in a hybrid schedule. With this model, students learning remotely would follow the same schedule they would follow in school.
Will devices (e.g. iPads and Chromebooks) be distributed?
The district is providing Chromebooks and iPads to families who need one for online and remote learning. The district is not yet able to provide one device per student, but we are moving very quickly to get there, and are in the process of securing devices for all students within the first quarter. In the meantime, to ensure that a limited number of devices only go to those who need one, we are asking that families use their own personal devices whenever possible. A variety of devices can be used for virtual learning. If you do need a device, you can use the survey to request one, which you can find at www.ktufsd.org/devices. Information will follow on how the device will be provided.
Can the district prioritize elementary school students and facilitate daily K-4 attendance?
It would be any school district's preference to have children in school five days a week, but all districts face the circumstances of the pandemic. The ability to offer school every day of the week at any grade level would be contingent on the district's ability to meet the New York State requirements for in-person attendance, and there are a multitude of factors that differ across school districts (building size/layout, classroom space, class sizes, staffing, etc). What might be possible in one district might not be possible in another district. Most districts have been focusing on a hybrid option because they cannot meet the state's requirements without reduced attendance, which would necessitate a hybrid option. However, the Ken-Ton School District is considering, and will continue to consider, all options. If at any point it is determined that in-person attendance can be facilitated without compromising safety or violating New York State requirements, that option could then be considered.
Has the district considered half-day attendance for elementary schools?
Yes, half-day attendance was explored and ruled out as an option. There would be major transportation challenges with elementary schools operating half-days. Arrival and dismissal would also be major challenges, since schools would need to plan for two occurrences of each, and instructional time would be limited due to the time that would be lost during arrival/dismissal, meals, etc.
Can the district reopen one of its closed school buildings (such as Hamilton Elementary) or other spaces to maximize opportunities for in-person attendance?
The process of reopening one of the district's closed school buildings would be a lengthy process, which would most likely have to begin at least a couple of years in advance. The building would need to be fully retrofitted, furnished, and equipped for in-person attendance. For instance, technology infrastructure and cafeteria equipment would need to be reinstalled. The building's capital needs would also need to be addressed, so that the building meets all codes and facility requirements. For Hamilton Elementary, this has been estimated to cost more than $6 million. Prior to this work, funding would need to be secured and authorized. Without the ability to secure New York State Building Aid, the district would have to rely on its general fund in order to carry out this work. This would necessitate a significant increase in property taxes far above the property tax cap, which would require voter approval. Once all of the state's requirements can be met, the district would need to petition the State Education Department to authorize the reopening of the building. The building would also need to be fully staffed which would necessitate a hiring process and an additional impact on the budget.
How can we receive information about specific classes, schedules, courses, or content areas?
Individual teachers can provide additional information about individual classes, content areas, assignments, etc. Your child's teacher and/or school counselor can provide additional information regarding the school day schedule. You can also refer to our Questions & Concerns Page for guidance on who to contact with questions on specific topics.
Where can I find more information?
Extensive information can be found in our school and district reopening plans, which you can find here: School & District Reopening Plans. Please note that these plans will continue to be adjusted and modified based on further guidance, feedback, and planning. You can access and sign up to reveive the Superintendent's weekly update to the community, the Ken-Ton Weekly Connection, and accompanying video message at www.ktufsd.org/superintendent.
What questions do you expect to address and add to the FAQ soon?
These are just some of the questions which will soon be added to the FAQ, based on questions submitted through our Submit Your Question page:
- How will physical education take place?
- How would special areas (e.g. music and art) take place in a hybrid or fully remote learning model?
- How will schools ensure that students in attendance do not have a fever?