March 15 COVID-19 update: Instructional and food service contingency plans to be launched

During the county-wide emergency school closure instituted to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the Fayetteville-Manlius School District is prepared to offer online student instruction and meals for its students enrolled in its free and reduced-price meals program. 

The district is complying with Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon’s March 14 order to close school buildings effective 4 p.m. March 20 through April 14. If there is a positive case of COVID-19 before March 20, McMahon said schools would close earlier, on March 18. 

Out of an abundance of caution, F-M announced shortly after the county’s mandate that it would close beginning Monday, March 16. 

The F-M Board of Education met March 15 and approved shifting the district’s planned May 19 staff development day to March 16, which will allow teachers time to prepare their online instructional activities. 

The district will then use two of its remaining four emergency school closure days to cancel school on March 17 and March 18. If the county does not close schools earlier than planned, the district will use its remaining two emergency closure days on March 19 and March 20. This would effectively cancel F-M’s classes a week earlier than the county mandated.

“There are no easy answers in this situation,” Superintendent Craig J. Tice said. “Our actions are guided by what is best for our community. While there are currently no cases of COVID-19 in Onondaga County or our school district, we need to be proactive rather than reactive to this unprecedented situation that could have an impact on the health of the F-M community.” 

As per past practice, the district will not provide online instruction or food service operations during the staff development day or the emergency closure days. Online instruction and food service programs are planned to begin March 23.

However, if the county closes schools at the end of the day on March 18 due to a positive case of COVID-19 in the county, the district is prepared to begin those programs March 19. 

The district’s food service team will be providing breakfast and lunch for its students enrolled in the free and reduced-price meals program. Those families will be contacted directly on how meals will be provided. 

Personal items and medications

Building principals will soon communicate with their respective families to make arrangements for those who need to pick up belongings, such as musical instruments, technology or clothing.

If families have medications at school they would like to retrieve, they should contact their school’s nurse’s office on Monday, March 16, to make arrangements for pick-up that day between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. 

School activities and trips

The district has canceled all after-school and evening activities through April 14, when school is planned to resume. In addition, all overnight trips are canceled, including F-M High School’s music trip to Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida, the crew team’s participation in the Annual Saratoga Invitational  in Saratoga Springs and the grade 8 trips to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Boston, Massachusetts.  

Building administrators are investigating whether refunds for deposits will be honored, and they will be in contact with families regarding the cancellation of these overnight trips.

All local area field trips may still be held at a future date, depending upon the circumstances.  


The start of the spring athletic season will be delayed until at least April 14.

Continued communications

In this rapidly developing situation, the district will continue to update the community via the district website with any new information and frequently asked questions.  

Any time-sensitive, critical information will be shared via the district’s SchoolMessenger notification system, which sends email, text message and phone call notifications, depending upon how parents subscribed to the system.

Precautionary measures

There are a number of steps that community members can take to minimize the spread of all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, according to the New York State Department of Health:  

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Heavily soiled hands should be washed.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

If you or a family member begin showing symptoms of a respiratory disease and suspect it may be COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider. Before going to your healthcare provider’s office, inform them that a case of COVID-19 is suspected, and follow their advice.

More COVID-19 information and previous F-M COVID-19 communications