Frequently Asked Questions
Why is remote learning not an option this school year?
Remote learning was unique to the 2020-21 school year. Students learn best when they are attending school in person. The District is only providing virtual instruction for students who are diagnosed as immunocompromised through a partnership with Erie 1 BOCES.
What will distancing look like during lunch? Has outdoor lunch been considered?
Students will be spread out as much as possible during lunch without compromising the ability for schools to bring students back to full 5-day attendance. Lunch presents challenges based on the number of students, size of the lunch room and availability of other spaces in the building. The District will follow all ECDOH requirements and utilize multiple layers of mitigation throughout the day to minimize the risk of spread. Schools are also securing tents for additional options during the school day but these may not be able to be used for lunch.
Will an entire class be quarantined in the event of a positive case?
Close contacts who are not vaccinated would be required to quarantine. In the event of a positive case, ECDOH will conduct proximal testing in the classroom. This means that students whose families have provided consent will be tested and then additional decisions would be made based on the testing results.
Will I be notified if there is a positive case anywhere in the classroom?
As was the case last year, only close contacts will be notified of a positive case though parents would be informed if a decision is made to temporarily close an entire class.
Do indoor athletes require masks while playing?
Masks are required for athletes indoors and outdoors while not engaged in physical activity.
How will mitigation measures change as the number of cases in the community fluctuates?
ECDOH has articulated that its guidance is subject to change. The District will be prepared to adjust and pivot as the circumstances of the pandemic change.
How can you keep children separated by 6 feet in a classroom?
Neither NYS nor Erie County require 6 feet of distancing. In alignment with the most recent CDC recommendations, ECDOH recommends maximizing distancing to the extent possible and that should not exclude students from in-person learning to meet a minimum distance requirement.
Can I opt my child out of physical activities in gym class if they have to wear a mask?
No. Physical education is a NYS mandate.
Are extracurricular activities (clubs, dances, etc.) expected to resume in person this year?
Yes, extracurricular activities will resume in person. Participants will need to adhere to the COVID-19 requirements just like they would during the school day.
Will 6th graders be offered intramural sports?
Yes, our plan is to offer intramural activities after school. COVID mitigation protocols will be followed.
What is the difference between surveillance and proximal testing and how will this take place?
Surveillance Testing is proactive testing and will be conducted in the building on a regular basis (e.g. weekly). Proximal testing is conducted in a classroom after a positive case. The test is a molecular PCR test (cheek swab) which students will be able to administer on their own. Only those students whose families have provided consent will be tested.
Will the weekly testing/screening of 10% be on a voluntary basis and will parental consent be required?
In-school testing will be 100% voluntary. Only those students whose families have provided consent will participate in testing. It is not 10% of the student population which will be tested; it will be 10% of those students who have provided consent.
If children can sit at a lunch table unmasked then why can’t they sit at a desk that way?
ECDOH has different masking requirements for lunch than they do for classroom instruction. Students cannot eat without removing their masks. A layered mitigation approach is recommended to minimize the risk of spread.
How many Ken-Ton staff are vaccinated and what will the District do to promote vaccinations?
We are confident that a large majority of staff are vaccinated, though we do not have a way of identifying who is vaccinated and who is not. The District facilitated access to vaccination appointments in 2020-21 and partnered with Walgreens and Rite Aid to host 4 separate vaccination clinics in the spring (2 for staff, 2 for students). The District will host additional vaccination clinics as opportunities arise. Now that ECDOH has communicated its requirements for schools, we will educate families about the advantages of becoming vaccinated (such as a lower likelihood of being quarantined or being “on pause” in sports).
What will happen if a student comes to school without a mask?
It is a county requirement that anyone entering a school must be wearing a mask. Students who come to school without a mask will be provided one. If a student refuses to wear a mask when prompted by school staff, this student will be disciplined in accordance with the Code of Conduct (as would be the case any time a student disobeys a school directive).
Why can’t parents have a choice whether to wear a mask and what is the basis for the mask mandate?
Wearing masks in school is now a requirement which the school district has to follow. ECDOH has said that its guidance was based on recommendations from the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics.
Can the District choose not to adhere to the mask requirement? Isn’t it just “guidance”?
School districts expected NYS to announce requirements for the 2021-22 school year. Instead, NYS deferred to local health departments. In our case, that is ECDOH. The ECDOH guidance document encompasses both recommendations and requirements. It is the requirements that school districts are expected to follow, whereas the recommendations are not required.
Can you be more specific about in what circumstances masks will be required?
The same mask procedures that were in effect in the spring will be in effect for the 2021-22 school year (while indoors). Masks are not required outdoors.
Why should those who are not vaccinated consider getting vaccinated?
ECDOH cites vaccinations as the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Promoting vaccination can help schools safely continue in-person learning as well as extracurricular activities and sports. There are individual advantages as well. Fully vaccinated individuals will have a lower likelihood of being quarantined or being on “pause” in sports (not being able to participate in practice, games, or team activities).
Will the district have appropriate coverage for teachers that have to quarantine?
Yes. Just as we were during the 2020-21 school year, the District is prepared for eventualities involving staff being quarantined. With cases lower than they were last year and vaccinations commonplace among staff, we do not expect to have as many staff impacted by quarantine procedures as last year.
How is the district collecting vaccine information from students?
School districts do have access to student vaccination information through the state. ECDOH has advised school districts that they will be able to use this same system to identify who is vaccinated and who is not.