All Fayetteville Elementary students will have a remote instructional day on May 18

All Fayetteville Elementary School students will participate in a remote instructional day on May 18 when the school serves as the polling place for the Fayetteville-Manlius School District annual school budget vote and board of education candidate election. 

The district had planned to hold a staff development day on May 18, which would have meant no in-person or remote classes for students, but in August the board of education revised the school calendar and shifted that professional development day to early September to provide staff with more planning time before student instruction began in the hybrid teaching model.

Parents had previously raised concerns about students being in Fayetteville Elementary while voting takes place in the school cafeteria. Polls are typically open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

In recent years, the district has enhanced security during the annual budget vote by increasing police presence at the school and modifying how voters enter the polling area. The district has also lobbied the state to change the existing law so that districts can hold their votes at a location other than a school building. Currently, the state dictates the date (the third Tuesday in May) and location (a school building) for the annual school budget vote.

However, this year, there is the added challenge of holding a public vote in a school during a pandemic. The district is in the process of updating its polling place procedures to account for COVID-19 health and safety protocols. 

“Holding a remote instructional day for Fayetteville Elementary students on May 18 allows us to conduct the vote as prescribed by law while giving our custodial staff sufficient time to clean and disinfect the building before students return for in-person instruction,” Superintendent Craig J. Tice said. 

All other F-M schools are planning to operate on their regular schedules on May 18.