Reopening Schools Frequently Asked Questions

During the March 22 Fayetteville-Manlius Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Craig J. Tice recommended the district increase in-person instruction from two days per week to five days per week for K-4 students, and four days per week for the middle and high school levels. 

The expanded in-person schedule will begin April 19, for K-12 students, which is the beginning of the fourth marking period. 

The following FAQs were updated on April 15 and thereafter as noted based on the assumption that the number of COVID-19 positive cases within the local community and in our schools remains low. If there is a spike in positivity, the district will work with state and local public health experts in determining if the district needs to change its instructional model. 

We know families have a lot of questions, and we hope to address many of them below. If you have questions specific to your child, please contact their building principal. Questions below are grouped according to the sections of the district’s reopening plan. 

Communication/Family and Community Engagement

Q: How will parents be notified if the school needs to shift to fully remote learning? 

A: The district will use its existing internal and external communications channels to notify staff, students and families/caregivers about in-person, remote and hybrid school schedules with as much advance notice as possible. The district’s primary source of information sharing is the district website, so parents should check it frequently. Time-sensitive information, such as an immediate schedule change, will be shared via SchoolMessenger.

Q: Will I be notified if there is a suspected or confirmed COVID case, or quarantine, within the school community? 

A: In the event that a student or staff member is sick or symptomatic, notification to potentially exposed individuals will occur pursuant to the state’s contact tracing protocols as implemented by the local health department. Notification to the wider community will occur only under the direction of local health officials. 

Q: How will I communicate with my child/ren’s teachers during remote learning? 

A: The district will provide students and their families with multiple ways to contact schools and teachers during remote learning, including email and phone calls.

Q: Who should I contact if I have questions about the district’s reopening plan or health and safety protocols?

A: The district’s COVID-19 Coordinator is Mr. William Furlong, who oversees our Buildings & Grounds Department in conjunction with our director of facilities. Parents can contact Mr. Furlong at 315-692-1221 to ask questions about the disinfection and cleaning of the buildings as related to the reopening of schools. In addition, the school district hired a medical professional who will work with the school physician and school nurses to oversee the district’s COVID-19 response with respect to the monitoring of health issues, containment protocols, and potential school closure in the event of a resurgence of the virus. 

Q. How can I voice my concerns to district administrators and/or board of education members?

A: F-M’s web-based, two-way communications tool, Let’s Talk!, allows anyone to share concerns or questions with district administrators at any time. Submissions will be reviewed and are typically responded to within two business days.

  • To contact the board by phone, please call the district clerk at 315-692-1200.
  • To contact the board as a whole by email:
  • The board may be reached via mail:
    • Fayetteville-Manlius School District
      8199 E. Seneca Turnpike
      Manlius, NY 13104-2140
  • For contact information for individual board members:
  • To contact the board clerk:

Health & Safety

Q. As of April 19, will students and staff still have to wear face coverings during in-person instruction?

A: Yes, face coverings are required indoors and social distancing will still be followed based on guidance from the local health department.

Students will be allowed to remove face coverings during meals and for short breaks so long as they maintain appropriate social distance. Students who are unable to medically tolerate a face covering will not be required to wear one but will have to follow social distance guidelines (six feet).

Face masks must cover both the nose and mouth and secure under the chin. The mask should have two or more layers, fit snugly against the side of the face and not have gaps. Homemade sewn masks, surgical masks and “quick cut” masks are acceptable. Gaiters, bandanas, buffs and masks with vents are prohibited.

More information about masks and mask care can be found at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control website.

Q: Are face masks required outdoors on school grounds? (Added 6-9-21)

Consistent with New York State Department of Health guidance  released on June 7,  the Fayetteville-Manlius School District no longer requires students, staff and visitors to wear face coverings outdoors while on school grounds, including at athletic events and during recess.  

While this change applies to all F-M staff and students, it does not prevent an individual from voluntarily wearing an acceptable face covering outdoors on school grounds.  In fact, the new language from the DOH specifically states that “no student, teacher, staff member, or visitor may be prevented from wearing an acceptable face mask voluntarily on school grounds.”

Face coverings are still required to be worn on school buses and indoors at all times, except during meals and mask breaks (see prior question and answer).

Q: Will masks be provided to students and staff?

A: Face coverings and related necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided to students and staff, if needed, at no cost. Staff and students are allowed and encouraged to use their own acceptable face covering.

Q: Can face shields be used in place of masks?

A: Face shields may be used by some school staff, but they are to be worn in addition to face masks, not in place of them. 

Q: What happens if a student refuses to wear a mask?

A: Just as any other instance in which a student refuses to follow school rules, teachers and other staff will work toward compliance with the student. Failure to wear a mask and or to observe social distancing protocols will be handled by school staff in accordance with the District Code of Conduct’s provisions regarding insubordination.

Q: What are parents required to do to screen children’s health before school each day? 

A: Parents/guardians will be responsible for checking each child’s health before school each day. If a child presents with any of the following, they should be kept home from school: 

  • Temperature above 100.0 degrees F
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills (with or without repeated shaking)
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • New loss of taste or smell

Please note that this screening is in addition to other conditions that should preclude students from attending school (e.g., pink eye) or any situation in which a child appears not to be well enough to participate in the activities of the school day. 

Q: How is the health of staff being screened? 

A: All district staff members are required to perform a self-health assessment for symptoms of COVID-19 before arriving at work. If personnel are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, they will notify their supervisor as per the district’s reporting policies and seek medical attention. Staff members will complete their daily screening using a software application.

Q: Will the district be keeping records of student or staff health information?

A: Software applications will be used to keep a record of student and staff health information in the event the data is needed for contact tracing and to meet the state’s Sanitary Code, under which COVID-19 is a reportable communicable disease.

Q: What do I do if my child is showing COVID-19 symptoms?

A: Parents are encouraged to contact your child’s doctor if your child is showing symptoms of COVID-19. Your child should not attend school if they are displaying these symptoms. 

If a student is absent from school with one or more COVID-19 symptoms, or is sent home with one of the symptoms, parents/guardians will be required to provide either a negative COVID-19 test result and/or a note from the student’s physician with an alternate diagnosis (stating COVID-19 is not suspected) prior to the student returning to in-person instruction. 

Even after being vaccinated and/or having tested positive for COVID-19 in the past, if a student gets new COVID-19 symptoms, they will still need to get tested and/or have a physician’s note as stated above.

Q: If my child exhibits symptoms of COVID-19, how long will they need to be out of school? 

A: F-M follows New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) guidelines for allowing a student to return to school after exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.

Q: What should my child do if they feel sick during the school day? Will I be notified?

A:  If a student feels sick during the school day, they will report to the nurse’s office for evaluation and potentially be directed to a supervised isolation area prior to being picked up or otherwise sent home.

Q: What is the protocol if there is a positive or suspected case of COVID-19 in the school?

A: The district will notify the state and local health department immediately upon being informed of any positive COVID-19 diagnostic test result by an individual within school facilities or on school grounds, including students, faculty, staff and visitors of any of our schools.

To assist the local health department with tracing the transmission of COVID-19, the district has a plan to trace all contacts of exposed individuals in accordance with protocols, training and tools provided through the New York State Contact Tracing Program

Confidentiality must be maintained as required by federal and state laws and regulations. School staff will not try to determine who is to be excluded from school based on contact without guidance and direction from the local health department.

Q: What should I do if I have traveled internationally or from a state with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 per the New York State Travel Advisory in the past 14 days?

A: If you have traveled out of New York state in the past 14 days, you are required to follow the New York State Travel Advisory.

Q: My child or a member of my family is considered to be high-risk for COVID-19. What are my options?

A: We recognize that some students and staff members are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness, live with a person who is at an increased risk, or simply do not feel comfortable returning to an in-person educational environment. It is our goal that these individuals are able to safely participate in educational activities.

Parents of children that are more at risk of COVID-19 should speak with their child’s doctor and/or medical professional(s) to determine the best academic and service options for their child. Staff should contact Mr. Jeff Gordon (Assistant Superintendent for Personnel) if they have conditions that put them at an increased risk of COVID-19. Students who have family members who are in high risk groups may also need to attend school remotely. If a child is unable to return to in-person instruction this fall, remote academic instruction and related services will be provided to meet the individualized education program (IEP) and/or instructional program to the greatest extent possible. 

Q: Will testing for COVID-19 be conducted at school?

A: In the event that testing will need to be conducted at the school, the district will work with the local health department to support implementation. 

Q: Will schools be conducting contact tracing if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19?

A: The district will participate in contact tracing protocols as implemented by the local health department. 

Q: What are the district’s plans for cleaning and disinfecting school buildings?

A: The district will ensure adherence to hygiene and cleaning and disinfection requirements as advised by the CDC and DOH. Regular cleaning and disinfection of the facilities will occur, including more frequent cleaning and disinfection for high-risk and frequently touched surfaces. Cleaning and disinfection will be rigorous and ongoing and will occur at least daily, or more frequently as needed.

Q: Will fire drills and lockdown drills still be conducted? What will be the process for maintaining social distancing?

A: Schools must continue to conduct mandatory fire and lockdown drills according to the existing statutory schedule. Drills will be conducted in a manner that maintains social distancing at exits and gathering points outside the building, while still preparing students to respond in emergencies. 


Q: Will outside visitors be permitted into school buildings? Will outside groups still be able to use school facilities?

A: Outside visitors or volunteers will not be allowed on school campuses. Parents/guardians will report to the front office and not go beyond unless it is for the safety or well-being of their child. Essential visitors to facilities will be required to wear face coverings and will be restricted in their access to our school buildings. 

Q: Will there continue to be HSA meetings?

A: Home and School Associations will not continue to meet on campus. These groups may continue to meet off campus at their discretion.

Q. With social distancing between student workspaces reduced to three feet will the district be using barriers or dividers to separate students while seated?

A: On days with inclement weather, collapsible desk partitions will be utilized at the elementary level so that students can safely remove their face coverings to consume snacks, breakfast and lunch within their individual classrooms. Partitions will be used in the cafeterias at the secondary levels during mask breaks.

Q: What is the school district doing about getting clean airflow into classrooms?

A: Upon reopening, the district plans to increase ventilation with outdoor air to the greatest extent possible (e.g., opening windows and doors) while maintaining health and safety protocols, particularly for younger students. 

Where possible, MERV 13 air filters have been installed in ventilation systems throughout the district. MERV, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, is a system used to evaluate the efficiency of an air filter based on how effective it is at catching particles of varying sizes. The higher the MERV rating, the higher the air filtration capabilities of a particular filter.

In the event that a ventilation system cannot accommodate a MERV-13 filter, a MERV-9 filter will be used.

Additionally, certain areas will have individual HEPA filtration units.  These units will be located in nurses offices, isolation rooms, certain special education classrooms, faculty rooms and other areas where ventilation is restricted.

Q: How will desks be arranged in the classrooms? Will students be facing each other or facing forward? 

A: Desks will be arranged in classrooms to ensure that students are positioned no less than three feet apart while seated.

Q: Will students still use cubbies? Lockers?

A: Students in grades 5-12 will not have access to lockers and will need to carry belongings with them throughout the school day. Classroom storage for K-4 students’ belongings will be limited.

Q: How is the district ensuring that any changes to its facilities are in compliance with fire code and other regulations?

A: All spaces to be occupied by school students and staff must meet the requirements of the 2020 New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code and the State Energy Conservation Code. The district will work with external consultants and the New York State Education Department of Facilities Planning in order to ensure compliance with these codes. 

Q: Is the district using all of its available space? Can we use gyms and cafeterias as classrooms?

A: Each school is utilizing as much space as possible for student instruction. While some spaces cannot be used as temporary classrooms and others are being used for storage, building administrators worked to ensure that the footprint of each building was maximized for instructional purposes. The administration debated whether they should move a selected grade level to another building during the formulation of the reopening plan, but it was determined that relieving the pressure on one building would place an undue burden on another school building in an effort to accommodate the temporary transfer of the students.

Child Nutrition

Q: Will lunches need to be brought to school every day? Or will they be provided? Will hot meals still be available?

A: School meals will continue to be available to all students for free, including those attending school in-person and those learning remotely. Students may also bring lunches from home. The district highly recommends the use of a pre-order form for all meals so that these meals can be provided to students in a timely manner. Existing procedures and protocols will be utilized to protect students with food allergies. Meals will be pre-packaged if at all possible.

Q: Where will students eat breakfast and lunch?

A: Students in grades K-4 will eat their meals outside when weather allows and in their classrooms at their desks when there is inclement weather. On those days, students will eat at their desks, which will be spaced three feet apart, and barriers will be used as a safety precaution in accordance with guidance from Onondaga County.

Middle and high school students may also eat their meals outside when weather allows and/or in their school cafeterias, spaced six feet apart. Some students may eat lunch in their classrooms due to supervision purposes and six-foot social distancing will be observed.

Q: How will students pay for their meals? 

A: Now through June 2021, hot lunch meals are free for all students. Students can purchase snacks, novelty refreshments and a la carte sandwiches (high school only) using their myschoolbucks account. More information about this program, including how to set up an account, is available here. The recommended use of pre-order forms will help with the payment process.

Q: What hygiene practices will keep students safe during meals?

A: Students will be required to perform hand hygiene before and after eating. Students do not need to wear face coverings when seated and eating as long as they are appropriately socially distanced and/or using baarriers. 

Q: Will meals be provided to those participating in remote learning?

A: Meals will be offered to students participating in remote learning. This includes grades K-12 cohort C students, and middle and high school students who are participating in remote instruction on Wednesdays. 

Students can register to pick up pre-packaged breakfast and lunch meals. All participants must register for the program for the fourth marking period, even if they have been participating throughout the school year.

Meal distribution is available at F-M High School’s house 2 front circle 9:15-10:15 a.m. every Wednesday school is in session. While visiting the drive-thru, all students and family members should remain inside their vehicles at all times. The district no longer offers multiple meal distribution sites. 

To enroll in the meal pick up program, please contact with the following information:

  • First and last name of student
  • Allergy/dietary restrictions
  • Number of meals requested per pick up
  • Parent or guardian name
  • Phone number
  • Pick up location


Q: Will social distancing be enforced on buses?

A: Students, drivers and staff should maintain appropriate social distancing to the extent practicable on the school bus. Members of the same household may be seated within six feet of each other. To reduce density on buses, parents are encouraged to drive their child/ren to school.

Q: Will masks be required on the bus?

A: Yes. Students, drivers and any staff on a bus must wear acceptable face coverings at all times on school transportation (e.g., entering, exiting and seated). If students need a face covering, they will be provided with one by the driver  as they enter the vehicle. Students whose physical or mental health would be impaired by wearing a face covering will not be required to do so, but must be appropriately socially distanced (six feet apart).

Q: How many students will be on a bus?

A: Students will be required to social distance on the bus to the extent practicable; however, members of the same household may sit together on the bus. Therefore, the number of students on each bus may vary, but the capacity of each bus will be significantly reduced.

Q: How many students will be in each seat?

A: Students must sit one to a seat and be six feet apart to maintain social distancing guidelines, unless they are members of the same household.

Q: Will the district be adding additional buses to reduce bus capacity?

A:  The district will be utilizing seven additional buses to help provide transportation of students.  These additional school buses are necessary to offset the reduced capacity of each bus due to the social distancing guidelines. The district will not be purchasing additional buses but will be utilizing all spare buses and buses that were to be sold at auction. All school buses, regardless of age, must still pass DOT inspection twice each school year.

Q: What will be the bus schedule?

A: The district’s transportation department recently revised many of its bus routes to prepare for the expansion of in-person instruction. Families should refer to the online personalized bus stop information system to determine bus stop location or time changes. Users enter their address, and the website produces a Google map locating the address and the nearest bus stop. The website will also provide the bus number and when it is scheduled to arrive.

Parents with questions or concerns about their child’s bus schedule may contact the Director of Transportation John Cunningham at 315-692-1218.

Q: Will there be transportation after school?

A: Yes. Transportation will be provided for students for student arrival and dismissal. There will be after school bus runs for the middle- and high-schools. There may be bus trips for interscholastic athletics depending upon whether sports programs are operating.

Q: Can I drop off my child(ren) in the morning, but use the bus after school?

A:  Parents and legal guardians are encouraged to drop off or walk students to school to reduce density on buses. If your child only needs one-way transportation to or from school, please contact Director of Transportation John Cunningham at 315-692-1218 with that information. Students will be assigned a drop-off and pick-up time to help alleviate traffic congestion and ensure social distancing measures can be implemented during arrival and dismissal.

Q: What is the schedule for cleaning the buses?

A: Buses will be cleaned and disinfected twice daily. Disinfecting will be done after the morning bus routes and after the afternoon bus routes. High-contact spots, such as hand railings and seats, will be wiped down between bus runs each morning and afternoon. 

Q: Will hand sanitizer be available on the bus?

A: No. Due to its combustible composition and potential liability to the carrier or district, school buses will not be equipped with hand sanitizer. School bus drivers, monitors and attendants will not be able to carry personal bottles of hand sanitizer with them on school buses.

Q: How will social distancing be enforced when students are getting on and off the bus at school?

A: Students embarking and disembarking buses will be required to remain socially distant to the extent possible and wear a face covering. The first students on the bus will sit in the rear of the bus.  Those students who follow will fill the available seats from the rear to the front of the bus.

Social-Emotional Well-Being

Q: What supports are available for my child’s mental health needs? 

A: The social emotional well-being of students and staff is a priority for the district, especially throughout this pandemic. The Fayetteville-Manlius School District school counseling team includes 14 certified school counselors and three family-school liaisons who support the academic, social-emotional and career development of all students in kindergarten through grade 12. A comprehensive school counseling plan was developed in the summer of 2019 and is available on the district website:

Dependent upon the model of instruction in place, the following strategies will be used to meet students’ needs:

  • If in school, school counselors will meet with students individually, in small groups, in classroom settings and in large groups. 
  • In a remote instructional model, counselors will make routine and periodic contact via email correspondence, teleconferencing, and/or phone calls in an effort to monitor student progress.

Q: How can a student reach out to counselors if stressed?

A: Parents of elementary age students and secondary level students who are in distress or in need of social and emotional support may call or email their school counselor for guidance.  School counselors provide resources and referrals for mental health, behavioral and emotional  support services to students and families regularly throughout the school year. School counselors, school psychologists and family-school liaisons make such referrals. 

Dependent upon the model of instruction in place, the following strategies will be used to meet students’ needs: 

  • If in school, referrals will be provided during in-person parent/guardian meetings, by phone and/or by email.
  • If in a remote instructional  model, referrals will be provided in a virtual parent meeting, by phone and/or by email.

Q: How will social-emotional support be provided during remote instruction? 

A: During remote instruction, students will be able to contact counselors by phone or email.  The counselors will be available to meet with students remotely via virtual meetings.

Q: What is the district doing to support the mental health of its staff? 

A: The district has made available resources and referrals to address mental health, behavioral, and emotional needs of faculty, and staff when school reopens for in-person instructions. This includes providing strategies and resources shared on professional development days and during faculty meetings when in school and will be provided electronically if in a virtual or hybrid model. 

Counseling support staff will support the social emotional well being of staff during one to one meetings or in small group settings.  If in school, these meetings will happen in person. If in a hybrid model the skills will be taught during in person or virtual counseling sessions.  If in a remote model, the skills will be taught in a virtual counseling session.  The district’s website and Schoology are used to communicate contact information for local, regional, state and national resources such as the NYS Office of Mental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline so staff can have access to help 24-7. The district also partners with HelpPeople, which is the Employees Assistance Program for all staff.

Q: Will students entering new school buildings have some form of orientation or tours ahead of time?

A: The district always looks forward to welcoming new or rising students into its buildings. The building principals will be in touch about orientation programs for students who are in grade levels that are new to that particular building (Grades K, 5, and 9).  

Q: Will parents/guardians be allowed to escort their child(ren) into the building on the first day back to school?

A: No. Visitor access to all school buildings will be restricted throughout the pandemic in an effort to limit potential exposure for all individuals.

School Schedules

Q: Will elementary students have recess? If so, will recess be outside if conditions permit?

A: Elementary students will still participate in recess. Elementary principals will work with staff to develop alternative recess activities that abide by social distancing guidelines. 

Q: Will students still have assemblies? Field trips?

A: Pursuant to NYSDOH guidance, schools must ensure that appropriate social distancing is maintained between individuals while in school facilities and on school grounds (inclusive of students, faculty, and staff). Because of these guidelines, assemblies, field trips and other large-group activities will not be held at this time.

Q: Will students stay in the same classroom all day?

A: School schedules for the reopening of school will be designed to minimize the movement of students within the building. To the extent possible, students will remain in small cohorts if/when leaving the classroom, such as for recess or any necessary transition, so as to reduce their exposure to additional students.

Q: How will PE work for all grades?

A: Students will still participate in Physical Education classes. Whenever possible, students will use outside space for physical education instruction. We will adhere to NYSDOH guidelines of maintaining six feet between students when engaging in physical activity. Masks will be required at all times.

Q: Is the district doing anything to reduce congestion in hallways or lobby areas?

A: To adhere to NYSDOH and NYSED social distance guidelines, the movement of students will be minimized or staggered.

Q: How will the district decide if there is a need to go fully remote? Will that decision be made districtwide, or on a more individual basis (school, class, etc.)? 

A: The district will collaborate with the local health department to determine the parameters, conditions or metrics (e.g., increased absenteeism or increased illness in the school community) that will serve as early warning signs that positive COVID-19 cases may be increasing beyond an acceptable level.

The district will be notified by the local department of health regarding the status of infection rates. The district reserves the right to modify operations prior to closing to help mitigate a rise in cases.

School Activities

Q: Will athletics, clubs or extracurricular activities still be offered?

A: The district is offering a number of activities, including interscholastic athletics, that can be conducted in a safe environment with appropriate social distancing protocols. 

Q. Is the district planning to expand extracurricular activities and include more in-person activities?

A: Yes, each school has begun offering more in-person activities, such as after school academic support, and the district is exploring whether more activities could be offered in-person and if the performing arts could take place outdoors once the weather becomes warmer.

Q: Will music and drama performances still take place? 

A: Some music and drama activities are taking place in person when social distancing guidelines can be met and others are taking place virtually.

Q: Will my child be able to travel to other schools to participate in events?

A: Students involved in Career and Technical Education or other programs through BOCES, including special education programs/services, that are related to a student’s instructional program are permitted to travel for those programs. 

The district is only scheduling athletic contests, including away games, with districts that are also conducting COVID-19 testing of athletes and coaches.

Q: Will the district’s Academic Enrichment Program still take place?

A: Fayetteville-Manlius School District’s Academic Enrichment Program offers supplemental learning opportunities for all students in grades kindergarten through eight. The program strives to extend, enhance and enrich curriculum, and develop the talents, strengths, and critical thinking skills of all students. .

During prior school years, the program featured large class instruction, small group lessons (which are offered to students based on a selection process), and an eighth grade course, Agents of Change.

Due to this year’s hybrid school schedule, the district is pausing Academic Enrichment for individual and small group extensions. Instead, the district’s Enrichment teachers are working with classroom teachers and content specialists to enhance and extend social studies and science lessons. The Agents of Change class is still being offered to Eagle Hill and Wellwood middle school eighth-graders.

Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism

Q: How will a student be marked absent, present or tardy during remote learning?

A: There will be an expectation for daily attendance of all students. All attendance procedures will be in full effect whether students are in-person or remote.

Q: Will I be notified if my child has been marked absent or tardy during remote learning?

A: Students who are chronically absent will receive the same follow-up (i.e., guidance, administration, child study team, child protective services) whether they are participating in in-person or remote instruction.

Technology and Connectivity

Q: What technology do we need to have at home to participate in remote learning?  

A: A district-issued Chromebook will be available for each student to use throughout the school year for in-person and remote learning. Students may bring their own devices to school as long as they are compatible with the district’s network and can easily adapt to the school environment.

Q: Can my child borrow a device from the school?

A: Yes. A Chromebook is available for each F-M student to borrow and use throughout the 2020-21 school year. 

Q: What do we do if my child’s school laptop breaks or stops working? 

A: If a student’s laptop or device breaks or stops working, you should immediately notify your child’s teacher or building principal so that they are aware of the situation and can direct you accordingly.

Teaching and Learning

Q. How many days of in-person instruction will the district offer beginning April 19?

A: The district is expanding its in-person schedule for K-12 students on Monday, April 19, which is the beginning of the fourth marking period.

Grades K-4 will attend school in person five days: Monday through Friday.

Grades 5-12 will attend school in person four days: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. On Wednesdays, grades 5-12 students will participate in asynchronous remote instruction. Asynchronous remote instruction, staff office hours and professional development for teachers will be held on Wednesdays.

The district is offering five-days of in-person instruction at the elementary level and four-days of in-person instruction at the secondary-level because return-to-school questionnaire results indicated that nearly half of the responding F-M families preferred that particular model (46.6% desired five days at grades K-4 and 46.1% indicated a preference for four days in grades 5-12).

Q: What if I’m not comfortable sending my child for in-person instruction? Is the district still offering remote instruction?

Yes. Through the remainder of the 2020-21 school year, families may opt to have their student(s) receive remote instruction only. Effective April 19, students in grades K-12 who attend school remotely will be assigned to a remote classroom with a designated educator. For example, remote learners across grade levels and schools will be placed in a cohort and taught by the same teacher. For example, at the elementary level, there will be one second-grade teacher for all second-grade students district wide.

Remote learners will continue with weekly special area Google Meets and asynchronous learning. Similar to how remote instruction has taken place since the start of the school year, remote learners will engage in daily synchronous learning through Google Meets with their new remote teacher.

Remote students will receive full instruction in all core/required classes covering the same material that will be covered in person. It will be a full-time schedule that students must adhere to and attendance will be recorded. Students participating in remote instruction will be held to the same academic requirements as in-person school. Remote learning will feature a mix of synchronous and asynchronous instruction.

Q. Will the district continue to offer a hybrid instructional model where students attend in-person two days and receive three days of remote instruction?

No. Beginning April 19, the district will no longer offer a hybrid model of instruction.

Q: Why are some school districts in our area offering in-person instruction for all students five days a week, but F-M is not?

A: Each district must look at their own staff and student needs and determine how best to serve everyone so that students are receiving access to equitable instruction. Because of the number of grades 5-12 students who will be learning in the fully remote instructional model, the district is reserving that day as an asynchronous remote instructional day so grades 5-12 staff members have time to plan lessons, hold office hours and meet with students or parents individually or in small groups.

        Q: What is the difference between remote learning and homeschooling?

        A: Remote learning is delivered by the school district for students who are enrolled in school, but are not attending in-person instruction. Instruction is provided by certified teachers in accordance with New York State Learning Standards. Parents who wish to homeschool their child must provide written notice to the school district, and submit an individualized home instruction plan, as well as quarterly reports and evaluations, to the district.   

        Q: How will students’ work be graded or evaluated?

        A: Student work will be evaluated by classroom teachers, and teachers will record progress reports and grades. Interim progress reports, and report cards, will be sent home

        Q: Will students still take state exams (e.g., the 3-8 math and ELA assessments, Regents exams)?

        A: Any Grades 3-8 and Regents examinations required by the New York State Department of Education will be made available to students in the appropriate grade level.

        Special Education

        Q: How will my child’s IEP be affected by remote learning? 

        A: The Fayetteville-Manlius School District will provide free and appropriate public education (FAPE)  for all students with disabilities whether instruction is being delivered in person, remote or in a hybrid model to the best of our abilities, along with being consistent with the need to protect the health and safety of students with disabilities and those providing special education and related services.

        If the district is providing instruction remotely or in a hybrid model, the special education staff will provide special education and related services to the maximum degree practicable. If in a remote or hybrid model of instruction, the special education teachers will provide daily instruction for students with disabilities who require special education on a daily basis as per their IEPs. Google meets will be scheduled for face-to-face contact, and print materials will be provided. Parent/guardian preference for instruction and communication will be strongly considered. 

        Q: Can my child still receive services such as occupational therapy, physical therapy or speech therapy remotely? 

        A: Yes.  Staff and parents will work collaboratively to determine how best to provide related services to students.  A combination of virtual meetings/teletherapy and print materials will be offered.

        Q: Will my child still be transported to off-site programs? 

        A: Students with disabilities who attend special education programs in OCM BOCES sites will be transported on a daily basis.

        Q: If my child receives group services, how will they be implemented safely? 

        A:If a student with disabilities receives related services in a group setting as per their IEPs, the therapist will discuss with parents as to the feasibility of continuing the related services in a group setting.  If related services are provided in person, the students and therapists will be required to wear masks to the extent possible.

        Q: What do I do if I need additional support for my special education student during remote learning? In-person instruction?

        A: Parents may contact the special education teacher with questions or concerns about their child. 

        Q: What do I do if I’m new to the district and my child needs special education services?

        A: Please contact the school psychologist in your child’s school building to discuss the Committee on Special Education (CSE) referral process.

        Q: Will my child still be able to attend their special education program at BOCES? 

        A: Students will still attend programs through OCM BOCES. Please see the BOCES reopening plan for more information on how BOCES programs will be conducted.

        Bilingual Education

        Q: How will the district provide translations of reopening information for students and families?

        A: The district will make every effort to ensure that communication to parents/legal guardians is in their preferred language and mode of communication. In addition, the ENL teachers will contact the parents of the ELL students to answer any questions that they may have regarding the reopening of school and the provision of ENL services.

        The district’s reopening plan appears on the district website and reopening updates will be shared on that page and can be translated into other languages via the G-Translate feature available on the district website.

        Q: What do I do if I need additional support for my English language learner/multilingual learner during remote instruction? In-person instruction?

        A: If an English language learner/multilingual learner needs additional support during remote instruction or in-person instruction, please reach out to their  general education classroom teacher or the ENL teacher in your child’s school.


        Q: Will substitute teachers be used during remote learning?

        A: Yes. The hybrid model and in-person instruction will require a substitute teacher in order to provide instruction and appropriate supervision of the class. Teaching assistants may be deployed as needed.

        Q: Will student teachers be used during remote learning?

        A: Yes. The New York State Education Department is suggesting the continued use of student teachers and a few of these instructors-in-training will be used and deployed based on availability and in accordance with the provisions of the reopening plan.

        Q: Will all instruction be delivered by a certified teacher?

        A: All teachers will hold valid and appropriate certificates for teaching assignment, except where otherwise allowable under the Commissioner’s regulations (e.g., incidental teaching) or education law. 

        Q: Will teachers and principals continue to be evaluated during this time?

        A: Yes. All teachers and principals will continue to be evaluated pursuant to the district’s approved APPR plan.