COVID-19/Coronavirus Updates & Resources

All Fayetteville-Manlius school buildings are closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health situation. For updated information from the school district, including important notices, learning and childcare resources, and food distribution plans, please go to this page.

COVID-19 planning, response and information

The situation regarding COVID-19 continues to evolve rapidly. The Fayetteville-Manlius School District continues to monitor all guidance from local, state and federal agencies. At this time, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the school district.

Below are the district’s most recent communications regarding COVID-19, and to the right are helpful links.


An opportunity to celebrate seniors; tennis courts reopen; another musical performance shared

May 15

Mark your calendars: A national graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 will be taking place at 8 p.m. May 16 and will provide Fayetteville-Manlius School District seniors an opportunity to celebrate with their families and peers near and far. 

The Council of Chief State School Officers is partnering with XQ Institute on Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020, a one-hour primetime show paying tribute to high school seniors, their teachers and their families. 

The commercial-free special will air on ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC and stream on multiple online platforms, such as Complex Networks, Facebook, Instagram, PEOPLE, Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube.

During the show, high school seniors and other viewers will be invited to visit the national Graduate Together website and click on their states to see specialized content for their graduating class. Students may also submit to the website photos, videos and speeches for a chance to be featured on the show. 

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) submitted several stories about New York state students that may be featured on the telecast, and additional stories about the Class of 2020 will be featured on NYSED’s forthcoming Graduation 2020 web page, on social media platforms and in newsletters. 

Central New York begins to reopen; district tennis courts open

While Gov. Andrew Cuomo on May 14 extended the “New York on PAUSE” executive order through May 28, the state has given the Central New York Region approval to begin the reopening process. 

As such, the district will reopen its tennis courts for public use as of Saturday, May 16. 

Members of the community are welcome to use the courts at F-M High School and Eagle Hill Middle School. The Wellwood Middle School tennis courts have been taken offline due to construction taking place there as the final portion of the 2017 voter-approved capital project. 

The district’s other outdoor facilities, including the track and turf field, remain closed for now. 

COVID-19 updates

The district will continue to provide frequent news and informational updates on the district website; however, with the region beginning to reopen, website articles will only be labeled as COVID-19 updates if there is information to share related to the pandemic. 

Chamber Orchestra shares virtual performance

The F-M High School music department is continuing to stay connected to its students despite the school building being closed. The department recently released another virtual student performance featuring members of the F-M High School Chamber Orchestra performing “Yesterday” by the Beatles.  

The video may be viewed on YouTube. 


Help ‘Light the Night’ to honor the Class of 2020

May 14

To honor the Class of 2020, the Fayetteville-Manlius School District will be turning on its athletic stadium lights at 8:20 p.m. Friday, May 15. 

With traditional senior recognition events canceled across the country to curb the spread of COVID-19, many school districts have been holding “Light the Night” events to recognize their senior classes. 

The F-M athletic stadium lights will shine beginning at 8:20 p.m. (20:20 military time), for 20 minutes, on May 15 to recognize F-M’s Class of 2020.  

Community members are encouraged to participate by decorating their homes in green and white and turning on their homes’ outside lights at 8:20 p.m. 

Students, their families and community members are welcome to drive by the stadium, which is located next to the F-M District Office building at 8199 E. Seneca Turnpike in Manlius. 

Gatherings on the field will not be permitted as school facilities are closed. However, staff members from across the district will be on site—practicing social distancing measures—to wave and cheer on any seniors and their families who drive through the F-M High School parking lot that is closest to the turf field. Students and their families are asked to stay in their vehicles and follow the designated driving route below to avoid congestion.Lines showing the driving route through the high school parking lot.


Planning continues for remainder of school year

May 11

With school buildings closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, the district is continuing its plan for remote instruction, which includes developing a grading practice that encourages and supports student learning. 

“Our faculty has done a tremendous job of adjusting content and instructional strategies while seeking new and unique ways to connect with students in a remote learning environment,” Superintendent Craig J. Tice said. 

Below are key messages district officials shared with parents and guardians. 

  • In response to reduced instructional time, teachers are focusing instruction on essential content and skills from our curriculum maps. Teachers are regularly collaborating with administration and their grade level and department colleagues to modify units of study and ensure district wide consistency. 
  • Aligned with the state Education Department’s cancellation of assessments in grades 3-8 and Regents examinations, teachers will not be administering final course exams in June. 
    • Please note there are concurrent enrollment courses where the college or university requires the administration of a final exam. These exams will be administered as directed by the institution.
  • The district’s continuity of instruction plan was developed to provide equitable access to instruction for all students while recognizing that students and their families are facing adverse circumstances. As such, faculty has adjusted content and instructional strategies while seeking new and unique ways to connect with students in a remote learning environment. 

Grading

The school district’s plan for fourth marking period grading is based on the following guiding principles: 

  • Support all students.
  • Provide equitable access to learning.
  • Mitigate the stress and anxiety of all stakeholders.
  • Encourage ongoing student engagement through the end of the school year.
  • Honor the hard work of students and faculty during the closure period.

Please refer to the earlier district communication for the differences between secondary and elementary grading practices.

Last day of instruction

The district anticipates that the last day of instruction for students and teachers in June will be adjusted based on guidance from the New York State Education Department and Governor Cuomo. Information about calendar dates will be forthcoming as it becomes available to the district.

Report cards

Report cards will not be printed and mailed in June. Rather, report card grades and narratives will be accessed electronically through Schooltool and parents and guardians will receive login instructions in June.

End-of-year celebrations

Traditionally, the months of May and June are filled with activities and special events that provide for the appropriate ceremonial closure to the school year.  Unfortunately, current social distancing protocols will prohibit many of these traditional celebrations.  To the extent possible, some of these events may be rescheduled for a future date assuming that the executive orders which govern public gatherings are relaxed enough to allow them to occur.  As plans are finalized for these rescheduled events (including some format of our annual commencement exercises for our graduating Senior Class of 2020, etc.), school district officials will share the details about these events in the weeks ahead.  

Summer programs

The governor indicated he will announce a decision regarding summer programs by the end of May. Historically, F-M students have participated in the BOCES regional summer school for high school students in need of course completion, special education summer programs and a small literacy camp for younger students. School district officials are also looking into the possibility of offering an online review program to provide summer support for our students as families prepare for the transition to the next grade level.  Once the district receives guidance from the state, information will be shared on the district website and with parents and guardians. 

Personal items and the return of district property  

Students have personal items in all of our school buildings and there are numerous district property items (e.g., textbooks, library books, Chrome books) that need to be returned. Principals are working on plans for students to retrieve personal items from the school buildings and for the return of district resources, such as textbooks and library books.  They will share that information with families in the coming weeks. 

Looking ahead

The governor indicated that decisions about reopening in September will be made in the future. In the meantime, he has tasked school districts to formulate plans for reopening that would outline expectations for social distancing as well as procedures to promote health and safety.

The district will continue to update the community via the district website with any new information. 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.


May 7 COVID-19 update: Online student registration available; military ballots available

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fayetteville-Manlius School District has suspended its acceptance of in-person student registration. Instead, eligible families may register their children online, by mail or by email.

In order to register a student, a registration form must be completed and submitted with the following documents.

  • Student’s immunization records
  • Proof of student’s age (birth certificate, passport, etc.)
  • Home language questionnaire (available online in 41 languages)
  • Proof of residency – two forms from the following list are required at the time of registration:
    • A valid NYS driver’s license (with current address)
    • Utility bill, credit card bill, Insurance bill, etc.
    • Signed statement of sale
    • Signed rental agreement
    • Income tax return
    • Voter registration
  • Proof of guardianship/custody (if applicable)
  • Student’s health examination form (must be on state-required form and received within 30 days of starting school)

Please note that property tax bills and/or a purchase offer are not acceptable proofs of residency.

Online registration

  • Please navigate to the district’s SchoolTool website
  • The online registration process includes all of the required forms. Registering families should have the following required documents ready to upload: immunization records, proof of age, proofs of residency and proof of guardianship/custody (if applicable).
  • Please have the materials listed above available before beginning the registration process.

Registration by email

Registration by mail

  • Complete the registration form.
  • Send the completed form and the required documents listed above to F-M District Office, 8199 E. Seneca Turnpike, Manlius, NY 13104, Attention: Registration.

Notes

  • If you need assistance scanning supporting documents with your mobile device, please download an application to assist you.
  • All registrations are subject to residency verification.

Military ballots available through May 14

In November, the state implemented a new law giving members of the military the opportunity to cast their ballots for the election of members of the board of education and school district, public library trustees and the adoption of the annual budget, school district public library budget and referenda.

Persons serving in the military, along with their spouses and/or dependents, already had the ability to register as a military voter in New York state, entitling them to receive an absentee ballot for all federal, state and local races that they would be otherwise entitled to vote in if they were to go to their assigned polling place based on their New York residence. 

This new law expanded military members opportunities to vote. 

For the June 9 F-M school budget and school board election, military applications are available online and should be returned to F-M District Clerk Sarah Gridley via email to sgridley@fmschools.org or fax to (315) 692-1227. Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. May 14.


Yard signs recognize F-M Class of 2020 graduates

May 6

Yard signs that support and cheer on Fayetteville-Manlius High School’s Class of 2020 are now available for purchase. 

FM Education Foundation is selling double-sided yard signs recognizing this year’s senior class. Personalized signs are $20, and signs without personalization are $15. Each double-sided sign is 18″ tall and 24” wide, made of vinyl/corrugated plastic board and includes a yard sign stand.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on students, FM Education Foundation this year is providing each F-M Class of 2020 member with one non-personalized sign at no cost. Families do not need to pre-order the complimentary sign, but can purchase a vinyl sticker that affixes to the sign and is personalized with a graduate’s name for $5.

Orders must be placed online by May 15 and signs will be delivered to homes through contactless delivery by May 31. 

According to the FM Education Foundation’s website, its mission is to enhance the academic experience of students by partnering with the community and educators to create innovative opportunities that are beyond the district’s curriculum and resources.

For more information about the graduation recognition signs, contact the foundation at info@fmeducationfoundation.org.

Stadium will be lit up for seniors

On May 15, F-M High School’s athletic stadium lights will turn on at 8:20 p.m. and shine bright for 20 minutes in honor of the Class of 2020. 

F-M residents can show F-M pride and join the celebration by turning on their homes’ exterior lights (or holiday lights, if they’re installed) during this time. 

Community members wishing to view the illuminated stadium on May 15 should do so from a distance and while remaining inside their motor vehicles. The district’s outdoor facilities, including F-M’s athletic stadium, remain closed to the public.  As such, social gatherings are not permitted.


Annual school budget vote and board election to be held June 9 by absentee ballot

May 5

In an executive order issued on Friday, May 1, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that this year’s school budget vote and board of education election will take place on June 9, exclusively by absentee ballot due to the COVID-19 public health crisis.

The executive order establishes a timeline of actions that schools must undertake leading up to this date, including sending an absentee ballot with a prepaid return envelope to all qualified voters. Qualified voters are defined as U.S. citizens who are 18 years or older and have lived in the district for at least 30 days prior to the vote.

Following the Fayetteville-Manlius School District Board of Education’s April 20 budget adoption, the district will make the proposed budget available to the public, hold a budget hearing (which will take place remotely), and mail a budget notice to all residents after the budget hearing. This procedure is no different than other years except for the hearing being held remotely.

Additionally, the executive order calls for districts to send each qualified voter a postcard with the date of the election, the date of the budget hearing and the definition of a qualified voter.

Fayetteville-Manlius School District is continuing to review the details of the executive order and will share more information as soon as possible. 

Board of Education Election

The order also waived the minimum signature threshold for board of education candidates and states that candidates must meet all of the other requirements to run for the board. These include being qualified voters and having lived in the district continuously for one year prior to the election. 

Individuals intending to run for the board should notify district clerk Sarah Gridley no later than May 11.


School buildings to remain closed through end of academic year

May 1 

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced during his May 1 press briefing that school buildings statewide will remain closed through the end of the 2019-20 academic year and that districts will continue to educate their students remotely. 

Fayetteville-Manlius School District students and staff will continue with their remote education activities and routines, and the district’s Food Service Department will continue offering pre-packaged breakfast and lunch meals so that students have access to nutritional foods each day school is closed. 

The meals are provided at no cost to F-M students regardless of family income. Families who have not already signed up for the meal service should contact F-M’s Food Service Director at 315-692-1809 or catering@fmschools.org.

For those parents and guardians who are considered essential workers during this closure, there are several options for childcare as well as a scholarship for childcare

Principals will be reaching out to students’ families about how and when they may pick up personal belongings currently in the schools. 

Also, administrators are working on plans to still hold end-of-year celebrations, such as graduation, in a way that recognizes students but maintains social distancing practices. More information will be shared on these types of events when they are finalized. 

The governor said he will issue a decision at the end of May on whether in-person summer school programs will take place. 

The governor also announced Friday that schools will be asked to develop plans for reopening to in-person learning. While he did not go into detail about the requirements for these plans, the governor did note that the plans should have protocols in place “that incorporate everything we are now doing in society, and everything we learned” to bring precautions into the classroom. 

The governor asked schools to consider some of the following in developing plans for reopening to in-person learning: 

  • How can schools monitor the spread of COVID-19?
  • How do we instill parent confidence and reinforce student safety? 
  • When, and how, will extra-curricular activities reopen? 
  • Do protocols for special student populations change? 
  • What steps need to be taken to ensure student mental health? 
  • Would any alternative calendars work? 

The governor said that schools should start preparing their plans now, but the time frame for submitting the plans was not specified.


August Regents exams canceled; childcare scholarships available for essential workers

April 30

The New York State Education Department announced on April 30 that it is cancelling all August 2020 high school Regents exams in response to the extended statewide closures of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 7, the state canceled Regents exams that had been planned for June. In addition, so that students will not be adversely impacted by the absence of Regents testing, the state has already adjusted the graduation requirements students ordinarily must meet in order to earn diplomas, credentials and endorsements.

“It is most important that during the time of closure, educators be able to continue to focus their efforts toward local school and community needs and not have to be concerned about preparing students for state assessments,” according to a memo sent to superintendents.

Essential workers may qualify for childcare scholarships

New York state is using a portion of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funds to provide childcare to income eligible essential workers at no cost. 

Essential workers who must work outside of the home and who are using a regulated childcare provider will receive a scholarship for the cost of care as long as the funds to support it are available. All licensed and regulated providers who are caring for essential workers are able to participate in this new program.

In order to qualify for the scholarship, families must have an adjusted gross income at or below 300% of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, that equals an annual income of $78,600. 

Parents are asked to complete the following application for the CARES Child Care Scholarship via the link below. 

The application will be considered complete once the online application is finished AND the required supplemental documentation is submitted to Child Care Solutions, Inc., the Childcare Resource and Referral Agency for Onondaga County. 

For parents that currently receive a subsidy from their local Department of Social Services (DSS) to pay for childcare, this scholarship can cover the parent co-pay. Parents should apply for the CARES Act Scholarship, and then contact their local DSS to get a letter stating their current co-pay. Please address any questions to Child Care Solutions at 315-446-1220.

COVID-19 CARES Child Care Scholarship Application


F-M’s eSports club perseveres amid school closure

April 29

Most sports leagues are on hold for now, but one Fayetteville-Manlius High School team continues to compete.

F-M’s competitive video gaming club – a member of the national High School eSports League (HSEL) – is now in its fourth week of the spring’s virtual season. Ten F-M High School students participate in the club, which is based online and offers players the chance to earn scholarships and become champions of top-ranking video games.   

Before school closed to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the F-M team and its advisors, Patricia Stokes and Amy Fiorito gathered together weekly in the school’s computer lab where they competed in national gaming tournaments online. Now that many schools in the league are temporarily shuttered, students are participating in individual liveplay remotely from their homes.

“This might be the only sport available to students right now,” Stokes said. “I am impressed with the perseverance of this team and their commitment to staying engaged and competing.”

There’s nearly a dozen top-ranking video games for HSEL participants to choose from. Three F-M eSports members play Rocket League, which is a physics-driven competition and accessible on multiple gaming systems; the rest of the team plays the crossover battle game, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on Nintendo Switch. F-M’s Rocket League team is currently undefeated in HSEL’s spring tournament.

“The students are doing so well in the national tournament,” Stokes said. “One of our team officers, Josh Civitello-King, has been integral in keeping the team on task, managing their efforts, and tracking their progress.”

The spring tournament’s play-off round will begin mid-May and finals are scheduled for June 1-5.


NYSPHSAA cancels spring state championships

April 27

New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) officials announced today that all spring athletic championships have been canceled due to the public health situation. 

“Today’s decision is difficult for the membership of NYSPHSAA,” said NYSPHSAA Executive Director Robert Zayas. “We certainly sympathize with the students, coaches and their school communities, especially the graduating seniors.”

The cancelation impacts boys and girls track and field, tennis, softball, baseball, golf and lacrosse state championships that were scheduled for June 4-13, 2020. NYSPHSAA stated the decision to cancel was based on several factors, including time, feasibility, and venue availability.

As of April 27, the regular spring sports season remains on hold for nine of NYSPHSAA’s 11 sections. Sections VIII and XI, which are located in Suffolk and Nassau counties, announced regular season cancelations last week. Individual sections have the authority to determine whether to hold regular season contests.

In order for students to participate in sports this spring, schools will need to be reopened by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, according to NYSPHSAA. The organization also states that the date students return to school will play a significant role in the possibility of a regular spring sports season.


All Sports Booster Club collecting bottles and cans

April 24

Are your cans and bottles piling up in your garage?

The Fayetteville-Manlius All Sports Booster Club (FMASBC) will take them off your hands and put the deposit return to good use. 

The FMASBC is holding an extended bottle and can collection to help raise funds to support F-M athletics. With the district bracing for a challenging budget year, the FMASBC has reached out to the athletics office to offer financial support. 

The club is an organization of volunteers that provides funding and support to competitive F-M sports teams above and beyond what the district provides. 

For example, the group provided funds to enhance the district’s scoreboards at the turf field, the Swan Pond soccer venue and the baseball and softball complexes.  

The FMASBC has set up trailers that will be in place through July 15 for bottle and can collection at two drop‐off locations: 

  • Manlius Village Centre
    1 Arkie Albanese Ave., Manlius 
  • Fayetteville Fire Department
    425 E. Genesee St., Fayetteville

The club will also pick up bottles and cans; email fmbooster89@gmail.com to request a pickup. 


Board adopts budget proposal and braces for potential mid-year state aid cuts

April 23

The Fayetteville-Manlius School District is bracing for a challenging budget year for 2020-21 as the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to a state budget gap that New York state officials are partially filling with monies that had been promised to schools. 

The adopted state budget freezes the district’s base operating aid—foundation aid—at the current school year’s level, which is $250,000 less than what had been allocated to the F-M district when the governor released his executive budget proposal in January, before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. 

In addition to less state aid for schools in the adopted state budget, the governor has forecast possible mid-year budget reductions for schools statewide. 

In response, F-M officials are proposing an $88.30 million operating budget for 2020-21 that includes such reductions as fewer field trips, elimination of the district’s annual summer census and a reduction in certain areas of athletics spending. 

“Our strategic plan served as a guide as we developed this budget proposal against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Superintendent Craig J. Tice said. “We recognize the significant impact it is having on state and local finances and our community members. As such, this budget proposal includes reductions in spending where there would be the least impact on the district’s instructional programming and ongoing security enhancements.” 

On April 20, the F-M Board of Education adopted the budget proposal. 

Tax levy increase is at district’s ‘cap’

The district has two primary revenue sources: state aid and the property tax levy. The tax levy is the total amount of money the district collects from property owners within the district to support the school budget. 

State aid would support 22.80% of the proposed budget while the tax levy would support 74.30%. Sources such as interest income would account for the remaining 2.90% of the district’s anticipated revenue.  

Compared to the current school year’s budget, the district is proposing a tax levy increase of 3.33%, which includes a 2.24% increase to fund ongoing programs and a 1.09% increase to cover capital project debt related to recently completed projects at Enders Road Elementary School, F-M High School and Fayetteville Elementary School. 

The levy increase is at the district’s tax levy limit, or cap, so a simple majority of voters will be required to authorize the proposal. 

Foundation aid is flat for 2020-21

New provisions in the state budget contribute to uncertainty for school districts as they plan for the next school year. The provisions include three periodic reviews of state revenue that could result in mid-year school aid cuts. There is also a new “Pandemic Adjustment” state aid reduction that the state is using to help fill its budget gap. 

F-M is losing $170,000 in state aid due to the Pandemic Adjustment, and while federal stimulus dollars will replace those funds, the possibility for mid-year aid cuts means that schools may receive even less state funding than was promised in the adopted state budget. In response, F-M is budgeting for an additional loss of state aid in the amount of $500,000. 

“The COVID-19 crisis is having far-reaching impacts across the state, including drastically impacting educational funding,” said William Furlong, the district’s assistant superintendent for business services. “The governor has said school districts could see further reductions in state aid so we developed a budget proposal that takes this uncertainty into account while preserving the integrity of our academic programs and balancing our fiscal responsibility to our taxpayers.”

Because the district has not been operating as it typically would, officials have identified a number of potential budget reductions totalling $1.1 million in the areas of transportation, utilities, maintenance, conferences, supplies and equipment that will help offset mid-year reductions in state aid. 

Tax rate estimated to be less than 0.50%

The school tax levy is just one factor, along with assessment rates and equalization rates, that municipalities use to determine residents’ tax rates, which are used to calculate what each property owner will ultimately pay in school taxes. 

The tax rate is typically less than the tax levy because of growth in the property tax base. 

The district estimates that the proposed 3.33% school tax levy increase would generate a tax rate increase of about 0.50% for town of Manlius residents. (The town of Manlius makes up the majority of homeowners within the school district.) 

Budget vote and board elections delayed

School leaders are still awaiting a rescheduled date and process for the budget vote and board member elections. An executive order delayed the vote and elections until at least June 1. The state has not yet released additional guidance related to the budget vote and board member elections. The district will communicate this information once it is available. 


District strives to keep students, parents connected

April 22

As teaching and learning continues to take place virtually, Fayetteville-Manlius School District is focusing on keeping students and parents connected to school.

“This is undeniably a stressful time for families,” F-M Superintendent Craig J. Tice said. “It’s important for students, parents and guardians to know that we are here for them.”

When F-M launched its remote learning system last month, the district’s focus was on making sure students could access technology at home during the school closure period. This included loaning hundreds of Chromebooks to students who needed them and troubleshooting any learning platform issues that students were experiencing.

Now, with online-based instruction in full swing, the district’s priority is making sure students are engaging in learning, completing assignments and staying in touch with their teachers.

“We know some families might be facing extra burdens right now,” Dr. Tice said. “Conversations can help us find out students’ needs as we progress with digital school routines.”

Dr. Tice said maintaining a home and school connection is important not only to assess progress, but also so that educators can celebrate students’ successes, share good news and acknowledge academic gains.

“Relationships are the foundation of our classrooms,” Dr. Tice said. “We are physically distant, but the emotional connection is still there.”

F-M parents, guardians and students can email teachers and staff members directly or use Schoology’s messaging feature to send a note. Staff continue to monitor their school voicemail messages and are promptly returning calls. Parents and students can use the two-way interactive communications platform, Let’s Talk to submit general feedback, concerns and questions. Messages submitted via Let’s Talk are sent directly to Dr. Tice.

“The more we know, the better we can serve our school community,” Dr. Tice said.


District seeks community support for federal funding

April 21

During a recent news briefing, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned that without more federal assistance, it might be necessary to cut state funding for education.

“If the federal government doesn’t provide more aid, New York’s financial plan this week will forecast 20 percent cuts to schools, local governments and hospitals,” Gov. Cuomo said on Monday.

Senator leaders Bob Menendez (New Jersey) and Bill Cassidy (Louisiana) are proposing a $500 billion fund package for state and local governments as part of the next comprehensive rescue package from Congress. The package will aid states, local governments and public schools that are reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an effort to support Fayetteville-Manlius School District students and educators, community members can advocate for the stabilization fund by contacting the district’s Congress representatives:

Honorable John Katko

Senator Charles Schumer

The following talking points can be used in correspondence:

  • Please support the bi-partisan proposal by Senators Menendez and Cassidy to deliver $500 billion in federal aid to states, local governments, and public schools.
  • Without more help from Washington, it will not be possible for our state to avoid drastic cuts in school funding.
  • Federal aid needs to do more than just allow the state to avoid cutting its funding.
  • Please support additional federal aid to our state and our schools.

May Parent Council canceled

April 20

The May 1 Parent Council meeting is canceled due to the emergency school closure.

The next meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. June 1 in the F-M District Office large conference room. As of today, the district is scheduled to return to session on Monday, May 18.

Parent Council is a forum for Fayetteville-Manlius School District parents to meet informally with the superintendent and other district staff to discuss topics relevant to its students. The sessions are informal and open, and parents are an integral part of discussions that occur.

The June 1 meeting will feature the School Budget (from the canceled May 1 meeting). The meeting will focus on an overview of the school budget in advance of the new budget vote date established by the governor.


Board meeting to be livestreamed

April 17

Fayetteville-Manlius School District’s April 20 board of education meeting will be available for real-time viewing online.

Amid concerns of the COVID-19 public health crisis, New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently issued an executive order exempting municipal and school boards from provisions of the state Open Meetings Law that require public access to locations where government meetings are conducted.

To comply with this order, the F-M Board of Education’s April 20 meeting will be available for public viewing and participation via YouTube Live only. The meeting will stream in real-time on F-M’s official YouTube channel beginning at 6 p.m. and will be archived on the channel for later viewing.

The meeting agenda will include time for public comment, which viewers can participate in through YouTube Live Chat. An interactive chat window will be accessible to online audience members during this portion of the meeting. The chat window will be disabled at the conclusion of the meeting’s public comment session.

Board members and district leaders will be participating in the meeting through the use of telephone conferencing. Those district officials in attendance at the broadcast site to manage the telecommunications will practice social distancing. 


School closure extended through May 15

April 16

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced during his April 16 press briefing that New York state will remain “on pause” through May 15 to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

As part of this order, New York state schools, including Fayetteville-Manlius School District, will remain closed through at least May 15. The governor could extend the closure again if he feels it is necessary to contain COVID-19. 

Students and staff will continue with their remote education activities and routines, and the district’s food service department will continue offering pre-packaged breakfast and lunch meals so that students have access to nutritional foods each day school is closed. 

The meals are provided at no cost to F-M students regardless of family income. Families who have not already signed up for the meal service should contact F-M’s Food Service Director at 315-692-1809 or catering@fmschools.org.

For those parents and guardians who are considered essential workers during this closure, there are several options for childcare.


College Board cancels May  and June SAT

April 15

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, The College Board recently announced it will not administer the SAT exams and SAT Subject Tests that were scheduled for May and June. The College Board also cannot provide April administrations for the PSAT 10 and PSAT 8/9 exams thus ensuring that there will not be opportunities for PSAT testing this spring.

“The College Board remains focused on student safety and ensuring all students have the tools they need to work, and opportunities to receive the credit they have earned, during this challenging time,” the organization said in a statement.

Students who already paid the May SAT registration fee will receive refunds. The College Board has not yet canceled the June 6 exam, but will continue to monitor the evolving public health situation. The ACT exam previously scheduled for April 4 was rescheduled for June 13.

To help students keep their college readiness skills sharp when school is closed, The College Board is providing free resources online, including full-length practice tests and personalized learning tools.

For help with questions or concerns about College Board programs, please contact the organization by email or phone at 866-756-7346.


District secures school trip refunds and credits

April 14

Refunds for three out-of-state school trips that were canceled due to coronavirus concerns will be issued to Fayetteville-Manlius School District parents and guardians.

Since the start of the school closure period, F-M administrators and teacher leaders have been working behind-the-scenes with travel agencies to secure refunds and credits for students impacted by educational trip cancellations. Three overnight trips – F-M High School’s music trip to Orlando, the Eagle Hill eighth-grade trip to Boston, and the Wellwood eighth-grade trip to Philadelphia – were scheduled to take place during the extended school closure period.

“We know how hard families work to invest in their child’s academic experiences,” F-M Superintendent Craig J. Tice said. “Administrators quickly turned their attention to these canceled trips so they could secure refunds and/or airfare travel credits on behalf of students and families.”

F-M families affected by the canceled trips will be contacted by school personnel to discuss next steps.

Communications portal remains open

With all F-M schools closed until at least April 29, the district recognizes many parents, guardians and students have questions about how this extended closure will affect the school community.

The community is encouraged to use the district’s Let’s Talk! platform to submit questions and concerns to the district. Let’s Talk! is a web-based, two-way communications tool that allows anyone to share concerns or questions with district administrators at any time.


Check out district’s social media channels

April 13

With the statewide school closures extended through at least April 29, the Fayetteville-Manlius School District recognizes that it is more important than ever for our students and teachers to feel connected to each other and the community at large.

One way the district is continuing to build community is through its social media channels. The district has Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts and frequently shares news and information on those platforms about student and staff achievements, projects and initiatives.

During this time of uncertainty, the district is focusing on sharing information to help fuel students’ feelings of connectedness to the F-M school community, such as read-alouds from our school resource officers and service projects students are taking of their own initiative to help out our community during this COVID-19 crisis.

Follow us on the following platforms:

Facebook: @FMSchools
Twitter: @fmschools
Instagram: @fm_schools


On-site Chromebook distribution halted

April 10

To comply with Onondaga County and New York state provisions and guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the Fayetteville-Manlius School District has suspended its on-site distribution of district-owned Chromebooks for student use. 

If a student has an urgent need, parents or guardians can request a Chromebook by contacting the district Help Desk at helpdesk@fmschools.org or 315-692-1111. Chromebooks will be delivered using district transportation services, coinciding with food service delivery routes.  

When contacting the Help Desk, please be prepared with the following information:

  • Student name and school;
  • Phone number;
  • Email;
  • Home address; and
  • Explanation of need.  

A digital Technology Acceptable Use and Waiver form will be sent to families via email to be signed and submitted prior to Chromebook delivery. Help Desk personnel will assist with those who may have difficulty with digital submission.  

A parent or guardian must be at home to receive the Chromebook, which will be left in an agreed upon secure location outside the residence.


Wellwood construction to begin

April 9

Community members will soon begin to see activity at Wellwood Middle School as contractors start work on the final phase of the Fayetteville-Manlius School District’s 2017 voter-approved capital project.

The district’s law firm received approval on April 6 from Empire State Development, the state’s Department of Economic Development, for the school district to move forward with its planned construction at Wellwood. 

Construction personnel who will be working on site will be responsible for maintaining appropriate social distance and complying with state Department of Health (DOH) guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment. 

The district’s project manager also will be on site overseeing construction, as well as working with the contractors in order to ensure that they have amended their safety plans to include the requisite DOH guidance.

Wellwood is the district’s oldest building, with portions dating back to 1933. Construction will include a 15,000-square-foot addition and new main entrance facing Fayetteville Elementary School, creation of a new, enlarged parking lot in front of the addition, new athletic fields and renovations to existing classrooms, including asbestos abatement and infrastructure upgrades.

Since the governor closed schools statewide through at least April 29 to mitigate COVID-19 spread, the district is taking advantage of Wellwood being closed to students and staff to have contractors begin to work on the improvements, including asbestos abatement projects that had originally been planned to take place during the next two summers. 

In March, the F-M Board of Education approved bids in the amount of $24.9 million for Wellwood’s portion of the $45.2 million total project, which includes an addition at Enders Road Elementary, which was completed in September, and a renovation of F-M High School’s bathrooms and library media center that students and staff began using in November. The project also includes energy efficiency improvements district wide.


Special area classes continue virtually; meal program available

April 8

Special area classes like physical education, library, music, family and consumer sciences, technology and art are continuing for Fayetteville-Manlius School District students during the school closure period.

To help maintain students’ school connection, F-M’s special area educators have been posting assignments, activities, videos, challenges and more to their classes on the virtual learning platform, Schoology. Some educators are also hosting virtual discussion forums so that students can check in and share with peers what they’re learning about.

Students should be accessing all of their special area classes daily on Schoology for activities and assignments. 

Meals available for all F-M students

While sporting practices and interscholastic athletic contests, rehearsals, concerts, shows, school events, activities and after-school programs remain canceled through April 29, F-M will continue providing meals to students.

The district’s Food Service Department offers pre-packaged breakfast and lunch meals so that students have access to nutritional foods each day school is closed. The meals are provided at no cost to F-M students regardless of family income.

Families who have not already signed up for the meal service should contact F-M’s Food Service Director at 315-692-1809 or catering@fmschools.org.


State cancels Regents exams, modifies graduation requirements

April 7
On April 7, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) officially canceled this year’s Regents examinations that were scheduled for June and announced new graduation requirements.

The graduation requirements students ordinarily must meet in order to earn diplomas, credentials and endorsements were adjusted so that students will not be adversely impacted by the absence of Regents testing.

Students who meet one or more of the following eligibility requirements are exempt from the examinations they were planning to take in June:

  • The student is currently enrolled in a course of study culminating in a Regents
    examination and will have earned credit in such course of study by the end of the 2019-20 school year;
  • The student is in grade 7, is enrolled in a course of study culminating in a Regents examination and will have passed such course of study by the end of the 2019-20 school year;
  • The student is currently enrolled in a course of study culminating in a Regents
    examination and has failed to earn credit by the end of the school year. Such student returns for summer instruction to make up the failed course credit and is subsequently granted diploma credit in August 2020; or
  • The student was previously enrolled in the course of study leading to an applicable Regents examination, has achieved course credit, and has not yet passed the associated Regents examination but was intending to take the test in June 2020 to achieve a passing score.

This cancellation applies to all Regents examinations that were scheduled for the June 2020 testing period. Student transcripts will not reflect an exam score for any examination for which the student is exempted, NYSED said.

NYSED Guidance


School closure extended through April 29; June Regents exams will be canceled

April 6
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced during his press briefing today that New York state will remain “on pause” through the end of the month to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

As part of this order, New York state schools, including Fayetteville-Manlius School District, will remain closed through April 29.

“One of the reasons the rate of infection is going down is because social distancing is working,” Cuomo said during the briefing.

June Regents exams will be officially canceled tomorrow
New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa announced today that the Regents examinations scheduled for June will be canceled.

New York State Board of Regents met April 6 to act on a series of emergency regulations regarding the recent coronavirus pandemic. The Board of Regents will make an official announcement tomorrow, April 7, to formally cancel the exams and provide guidance on what this means for students and schools with respect to graduation requirements.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has put a tremendous burden on many New Yorkers and our schools and children are no exception,” Rosa said during the video conference. “The regulations passed by the Board today will allow schools, students and professionals much-needed flexibility while they adapt to this rapidly evolving situation.”

During today’s meeting, Rosa did not indicate whether this cancelation applies to the August Regents exams.


Some construction projects continue during school closure

April 3
While schools are closed statewide due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fayetteville-Manlius School District is taking advantage of its buildings being unoccupied to continue and, in some cases, move up scheduled “essential” construction projects.

Electrical work at Fayetteville Elementary School will continue over the district’s previously planned spring break (April 6-10). In preparation for upcoming construction at Wellwood Middle School that is part of the 2017 voter-approved capital project, the district is separating the electrical service that is shared by Fayetteville Elementary and Wellwood Middle schools into two distinct systems.

With separate main power lines installed to both buildings, power outages at one building will no longer impact the other, as is currently the case.

Other work at Wellwood is on hold due to a delay in the delivery of the modular classroom suite that will be used for temporary classroom space during construction. The district had planned for a June delivery; however, the company constructing the suite is currently shut down due to the pandemic. Once the company resumes construction, the district will adjust its project timeline and notify parents and staff.

In addition to the electrical work at Fayetteville Elementary during the week of April 6-10, asbestos abatement is also planned for that time at Eagle Hill Middle School. The abatement project is part of the Energy Performance Contract (EPC) that is included in the 2017 capital project. Air monitoring is required before, during and after all asbestos abatement projects.

If the governor extends beyond April 15 the school closure period, asbestos abatement at F-M High School, which is also part of the EPC, will take place immediately following the Eagle Hill work, rather than at the end of June as originally scheduled.  


EH sends messages of appreciation to essential workers

April 2

As schools across New York state continue to be closed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, it’s important that members of the Fayetteville-Manlius School District feel connected to each other and the greater community.

At Eagle Hill Middle School, students and staff recently created positive messages that were shared electronically with local emergency responders, grocery store workers and medical providers. As COVID-19 afflicts more people in our community, the students and staff wanted these essential workers to know that the work they are doing is appreciated.

Here are some of their messages that were sent to local hospitals:

  • Thanks for being a LIGHT in these uncertain times! Your hard work is appreciated more than you know!
  • I value and appreciate your time, energy and dedication. Thank you for everything you do!!
  • Thank you for all that you do. I am glad that you have the courage to work because everyone needs you. You do a dangerous job but you aren’t scared to help our community.
  • Thank you for your service by helping us get better when we get sick. You make a big difference in the world.

Mental health resources available

April 1, 2020

Even though school is closed to help limit the spread of COVID-19, Fayetteville-Manlius School District staff members are available to help students protect their mental health. 

“Students are experiencing many life changes at once due to the pandemic,” F-M Superintendent Craig J. Tice said. “We recognize that current news headlines, social distancing measures and a lack of routine can trigger different emotions. We are here to help students cope with these changes.”

F-M school counselors, social workers, psychologists and home-school liaisons are available to speak personally with students, parents and guardians by phone, email and video chat. To set up an individual appointment with a school mental health professional at any of the district’s six school buildings, please email F-M Director of Counseling Services Heidi Green at hgreen@fmschools.org

Community resources available for families

In addition to school mental health personnel, there are several community resources available to help families through this period of uncertainty. 

Individuals who are experiencing increasing stress and anxiety can contact New York State Office of Mental Health’s free Emotional Support Line at 1-844-863-9314. The confidential support line is staffed by volunteers, including mental health professionals, who have received training in crisis counseling.

For help locating basic resources, such as food, shelter and healthcare, Central New York residents can dial 211 from a cell phone or landline. This free-to-call, three-digit telephone number connects callers to a variety of services within the community.

Centers for Disease Control provides news, information and resources related to the global pandemic on its website. The CDC offers the following tips for parents and guardians who are helping children navigate through these unsettling times: 

  • Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.
  • Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
  • Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
  • Try to keep up with regular routines. Create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
  • Be a role model. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members.

Remote learning, food distribution continues next week

March 31

Today’s update is a letter to F-M families from Superintendent Craig Tice regarding the governor’s executive orders issued to extend the school closure period until April 15, 2020. 

Dear F-M parents and guardians,

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis, Fayetteville-Manlius School District remains committed to providing students with equitable learning opportunities and access to healthy meals while school is closed.

As you are aware, Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently extended the New York on PAUSE plan and directed schools to remain closed until at least April 15. During this extension, districts are expected to provide continuity of learning and food service to students and child care for its essential workers.

Because the extended executive order encompasses the district’s upcoming Spring Recess, which was previously scheduled for April 6-10, F-M’s academic calendar has been amended by executive order so that staff members can continue to support students with remote learning opportunities and food distribution during this timeframe. 

Therefore, students should continue their remote educational activities and routines next week, and those enrolled in F-M Food Service Department’s healthy meals program will continue to receive breakfast and lunch each day.

While the loss of planned vacation time would not be welcome news during a typical school year, we recognize that this is anything but a typical school year. Since the health, safety and education of students remain the district’s top priorities, the governor’s commitment to maintaining the “continuity” of learning, food service and child care is understandable.  

To enroll your child in F-M’s healthy meal program, which offers grab-and-go breakfast and lunch meals for all students on each weekday school is closed, please contact F-M’s Food Service Department at 315-692-1809 or catering@fmschools.org. Please indicate which school is most convenient for meal pick-up.

We recognize that this is a stressful and challenging situation. We’re here to support you through it, and know that you are managing many personal and professional responsibilities. We would like to remind you of something that we often tell our students: All we can do is our best. We’ll get through this together.

Thank you all for your continued patience, understanding and support.

Sincerely,

Craig J. Tice, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools


Budget vote postponed until at least June 1; recreational spaces remain closed

March 30, 2020

Under an executive order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, all New York state school budget votes originally scheduled for May 19 have been postponed until at least June 1.

The directive, which aims to limit the spread of COVID-19, also indefinitely postpones collection and filing of nominating petitions for school board elections and postpones library votes and municipal elections to at least June 1.

The district will provide more information about F-M’s annual school budget vote once it becomes available.

School playgrounds and fields remain closed

To comply with the Onondaga County Executive’s social distancing directives, F-M’s outdoor physical education spaces, recreational facilities and athletic fields remain closed until further notice.

This includes F-M school playgrounds, tennis courts and athletic fields. F-M High School’s athletic stadium, including its turf field and track are also closed.

In addition to the various deterrents used to secure or to limit access to these facilities, conspicuous signage has been posted authorizing law enforcement to intervene on behalf of the school district and to hold any trespassers accountable for their actions. 

The county order has been issued to help limit the spread of COVID-19. The district will notify community members once F-M’s facilities and fields reopen for public use.

State education department approves district’s emergency plans 

New York State Education Department recently approved the district’s plans for how it will provide learning opportunities, healthy meals and child care for its essential employees during the school closure.

The plans have been implemented districtwide and will remain in effect for the duration of the school closure.


Schools closed until April 15; EH teachers help make face shields for healthcare workers

March 27

On March 27, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he is extending to April 15 his executive order to close schools to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

Fayetteville-Manlius schools were already closed through April 13 due to an executive order from Onondaga County; however, schools will now reopen on April 15 due to the governor’s announcement. Cuomo said in two weeks he will re-evaluate his order to close schools and may extend the closure at that time, if necessary.

The district is closely monitoring federal, state and local guidance and is preparing to extend its existing contingency plans for instruction, student support services, childcare and the delivery of school meals in case the school closure is extended past April 14.  

Supporting the community through tech

Two Eagle Hill Middle School teachers are helping the community by 3D printing face shield parts to be donated to healthcare workers treating individuals infected with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. 

After reading a syracuse.com article about a local company asking for volunteers to help 3D print and assemble face shields, Eagle Hill technology teachers Bob Levy and Matt Six saw a community need they could help meet with school technology currently not in use because of the emergency school closure. 

“The least we could do for our community is try and pitch in to help our healthcare workers that are on the front lines of this epidemic,” Six said. 

They reached out to Principal Maureen McCrystal to ask if they could each take one of the school’s 3D printers home, along with some filament, so they could support the group’s efforts.

After a check-in with district administration, it was determined that their efforts would fall within board policy on equipment use, and that the cost to produce the parts would be minimal and not adversely impact the school’s ability to replace the school’s supply of filament. 

Levy and Six are printing two parts for the face shields: the visor and clip. They began printing March 26 and delivered 6 visor parts that day and estimate they will be able to create and donate a total of at least 16 a day.

“After seeing news reports about front line doctors and nurses reusing personal protective equipment that is meant to be disposed of after each use, and the local effort to get more equipment distributed to local hospitals, I knew we could do our part to help out,” Levy said. “I thought, we have the equipment, materials and capability to help out on behalf of the F-M community, so let’s get printing.”

April Parent Council canceled

The April 1 Parent Council meeting is canceled due to the emergency school closure.

The next meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. May 1 in the F-M District Office large conference room. As of today, the district is scheduled to return to session on April 15. 

Parent Council is a forum for Fayetteville-Manlius School District parents to meet informally with the superintendent and other district staff to discuss topics relevant to its students. The sessions are informal and open, and parents are an integral part of discussions that occur.


OCFS survey helps connect parents to childcare

March 26

While the Fayetteville-Manlius School District is partnering with the Hal Welsh East Area YMCA in Fayetteville to provide childcare for children of essential employees, the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) is also available to help those in need. 

The staff at OCFS are trying their best to support families in finding high-quality childcare. Parents or caregivers who need childcare are asked to complete an OCFS parent need for child care survey. The survey is currently in English, but it is currently being translated and translations will follow.

Based on the information you provide about your job, employer, number of children and financial need, OCFS may be able to help you find the childcare program you need.

Locally, Child Care Solutions of Central New York is available to assist families in finding childcare to meet their family’s needs. When there are limited openings available near the family’s home, Child Care Solutions can also refer them to childcare programs near their place of employment. 

There are about 1,200 childcare openings throughout Onondaga County. Residents, especially “essential” employees as defined by the state, should call the Parent Help team of Child Care Solutions at 315-446-1220, ext. 303, and they will do their best to assist them in finding child care.

More childcare resources


Food service expands program to include all F-M students

March 25

Ensuring that all students have access to healthy meals while school is closed remains a priority for the Fayetteville-Manlius School District.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic vulnerability some families may be experiencing, the district is expanding its grab-and-go meal program during the school closure to include all F-M students.

Effective March 26, all F-M students are eligible to receive breakfast and lunch meals each day school is closed to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

“We understand some families are facing unprecedented financial hardship right now,” F-M Superintendent Craig J. Tice said. “We want to make sure all of our students have access to healthy meals during these uncertain times.”  

Families who wish to sign up for F-M’s grab-and-go meal service should contact F-M’s Food Service Director at 315-692-1809 or catering@fmschools.org. Please indicate which school is most convenient for meal pickup and whether transportation is an issue.   

Childcare available for essential employees

Fayetteville-Manlius Central School District is partnering with YMCA of Central New York’s Hal Welsh East Area location in Fayetteville to provide childcare for children of essential employees. The New York State Office of Children and Family Services and Child Care Solutions of CNY estimate that there are 12 openings in the pre-K program and about 119 openings for children from 5 to 13 years of age within the Fayetteville-Manlius community.

While the YMCA recreational facility remains closed to the public until further notice, the center’s child care program is available at no charge for employees of essential businesses, including food service and grocery store staff members, healthcare workers and first responders. 

If any essential worker needs care, they should call Child Care Solutions at 315-446-1220.

The Hal Welsh East Area YMCA location in Fayetteville is open from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.  For those who are not considered essential employees, the cost is $20 per day, and scholarships are available for those in need.  Contact the YMCA at 315-637-2025 extension 0, for more information.


District emphasizes importance of social distancing

March 24

To help mitigate the impact of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, Fayetteville-Manlius School District officials are asking students to continue practicing social distancing. 

Following this past weekend, the district received multiple phone calls and messages from concerned community members who stated that children were seen gathering together in various neighborhoods.

“We understand that students miss interacting with their friends,” F-M Superintendent Craig Tice said. “Right now, maintaining physical distance from one another can help protect our most vulnerable community members.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, social distancing is one potential mitigation strategy to reduce transmission of COVID-19, and includes avoiding large gatherings of people and maintaining a distance of six feet from others.  

Food Service continues meal program

F-M Food Service offers grab-and-go breakfast and lunch meals to students who participate in the free and reduced-price meal program.

Eligible families who have not already signed up for F-M’s grab-and-go meal service should contact F-M’s Food Service Director at 315-692-1809 or catering@fmschools.org. Please indicate which school is most convenient for meal pickup and whether transportation is an issue.   


Advanced Placement exams will take place online

March 23

The College Board, which administers Advanced Placement (AP) exams nationwide, has announced that it will conduct online exams for the 2019-20 school year but only cover material taught through early March.

This will ensure that students currently enrolled in an AP course and who pass the course will still receive college credit.

The exams will be administered as 45-minute online free-response exams at home. Students will be able to take the streamlined exams on any device they have access to—computer, tablet, or smartphone, according to The College Board. Taking a photo of handwritten work will also be an option.

Beginning Wednesday, March 25, students and teachers can attend free, live AP review courses, delivered by AP teachers from across the country. These mobile-friendly classes are:

  • Designed to be used alongside work that may be given by schools.
  • Will be recorded and available on-demand so teachers and students can access them any time.
  • Will focus on reviewing the skills and concepts from the first 75% of the course. 

Students in need of mobile tools or connectivity, can contact The College Board.

Course specific exam information

Local public television helps out

As of Monday, March 23, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) and New York’s nine public television stations are offering PBS educational programming on-air for students from prekindergarten through grade 12 every weekday.

In the Syracuse area, material can be viewed for free over-the-air with a television antenna or on cable from local Syracuse station, WCNY-TV 24. Parents and educators should check local listings for information about their public television stations’ schedules and channel lineup.

As this program continues, stations are planning to offer more specific educational information and resources developed in conjunction with local school districts, BOCES, parents and teachers.

New special collections of learning materials have also been created for parents at PBSLearningMedia.org.

For more information or to access the learning-at-home material, visit WCNY-TV 24 or http://www.wcny.org.


Board of education meeting will be live-streamed; state assessments suspended 

March 20

Fayetteville-Manlius School District’s March 23 board of education meeting will be available for real-time viewing online.

Amid concerns of the COVID-19 public health crisis, Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently issued an executive order exempting municipal and school boards from provisions of the state Open Meetings Law that require public access to locations where government meetings are conducted.

To comply with this order, the F-M Board of Education’s March 23 meeting will be available for public viewing and participation via YouTube Live only. The meeting will stream in real-time on F-M’s official YouTube channel beginning at 6 p.m. and will be archived on the channel for later viewing.

The meeting agenda is limited to items that require immediate attention. It will include time for public comment, which viewers can participate in through YouTube Live Chat. An interactive chat window will be accessible to online audience members during this portion of the meeting.

Board members and district leaders will be attending the meeting in-person and by telephone conferencing. Those in attendance will practice social distancing. 

State assessments suspended

The New York State Board of Regents and state Education Department announced Friday, March 20, that the 2020 elementary- and intermediate-level state assessments have been suspended for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.

“It is most important that during the time of closure, schools are able to continue to focus their efforts toward local school and community needs, as they have been doing, and not be concerned about state assessments. NYSED has applied for federal waivers for testing, accountability and reporting requirements,” according to a statement from Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa and Interim State Education Commissioner Shannon Tahoe. 

This suspension applies to the following New York state testing programs:

  • New York State Grades 3-8 English Language Arts Test;
  • New York State Grades 3-8 Mathematics Test;
  • New York State Grade 4 Elementary-Level Science Test;
  • New York State Grade 8 Intermediate-Level Science Test;
  • New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) in Grades K-12; and
  • New York State Alternate Assessment (NYSAA) for students with severe cognitive disabilities in Grades 3-8 and high school.

The state has yet to give guidance on the end-of-June Regents exams, and school officials are still awaiting news from The College Board regarding the Advanced Placement exams.


Buildings closed; employees to work from home

March 19 

As of Friday, March 20, Fayetteville-Manlius school buildings and the district office will be closed and administrators and clerical staff will work from home during the school closure as the district works to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

Administrators will continue to be available via email, and phone messages left with the schools’ main offices will be checked and answered on regular school days (Mondays through Fridays). 

  • Enders Road Elementary School: 315-692-1500
  • Fayetteville Elementary School: 315-692-1600
  • Mott Road Elementary School: 315-692-1700
  • Eagle Hill Middle School: 315-692-1400
  • Wellwood Middle School: 315-692-1300
  • F-M High School: 315-692-1900

In addition, the district’s Let’s Talk! platform is open for community members to submit questions, and the district will continue to update its online Frequently Asked Questions document

Throughout the closure, employees from the food service, maintenance and custodial, instructional technology and transportation departments will continue to report to work to maintain the state’s required food service, online learning and deep cleaning operations.

Check ‘junk mail’ folders

As families partner with their children’s teachers to continue instruction during the closure, parents and guardians are encouraged to check their email account’s “junk mail” folder. Some parents have reported their email providers have automatically diverted some emails from the district and staff to their junk mail folders. 


Outdoor facilities closed; YMCA childcare available; registration paused and Chromebooks distributed 

March 18

In addition to all Fayetteville-Manlius schools being closed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the district is also closing to the public all outdoor physical education, interscholastic athletics, and recreational facilities, including the district’s track, turf field, tennis courts, school playgrounds and athletic fields.

“We are asking our community to partner with us during this critical time,” said Scott Sugar, F-M’s Director of Athletics and Physical Education. “We know some community members have been continuing to use our facilities, such as the track and turf field, and we apologize for this inconvenience. As health officials have advised us to limit the number of people on our campuses, this is one more step we can take to protect the health of our community.”

All outdoor athletic facilities will be closed as of Wednesday, March 18, and will remain closed for the duration of the emergency school closure, which is expected to last at least until April 14. 

Childcare

As part of the district’s plan in responding to the emergency closure order from Onondaga County and New York state, the district is partnering with the Hal Welsh East Area YMCA in Fayetteville to offer childcare for those parents and guardians affected by the closures.

Healthcare workers and first responders will have priority placement for the slots, which will serve children ages 2.5 to 12 from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Care will cost $20 per day, and scholarships are available for those in need. 

Contact the YMCA at 315-637-2025, extension 0, for more information.  

Student registration

Due to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent executive order directing all New York state schools to close, the district is suspending registration through April 14. 

The district will also not be processing change of addresses during this time. For urgent matters, such as a new student enrolling for the current school year, families should contact Debbie McGann at dmcgann@fmschools.org.

Chromebook distribution

Chromebooks will be distributed to families in need who reserved them during two pick-up sessions on Thursday, March 19.

A drive-thru pick-up station will be set up at F-M High School’s in the House I front circle. All students, parents and guardians picking up Chromebooks should remain inside their vehicles at all times and wait for a staff member for assistance.

To borrow a Chromebook, students must complete the Technology Acceptable Use Policy. Forms will be available during the pick-up times, and the completed form must be given to a staff member. 

Chromebook pick-up times: 

  • 9-11 a.m.: Families with the last name beginning A – K
  • 4-6 p.m.: Families with the last name beginning L through Z 

Students should plan to arrive during their specified time slot; however, if a student has a conflict, it is permissible for students to attend the time that is most convenient.


Frequently asked questions resource created

March 17
With all Fayetteville-Manlius School District schools closed until at least April 14, the district recognizes many parents, guardians and students have questions about how this extended closure will affect the school community.

The community is encouraged to use the district’s Let’s Talk! platform to submit questions and concerns to the district. Those questions that would be of interest to many in the school community will be included in a frequently asked questions document.

“State and local officials are issuing guidance for schools at a rapid-fire pace, and we are committed to keeping the community apprised on how that guidance affects our students, staff and school operations, programs and services,” Superintendent Craig J. Tice said. “We will respond to questions as quickly as possible and ask for the community’s patience as we navigate these unchartered waters.”

As Let’s Talk! questions are submitted to the district, and local and state guidance is developed and updated, the district will add this information to the frequently asked questions document. Community members are encouraged to check the document to see if their questions have already been addressed.  

Frequently Asked Questions: COVID-19


Eligible students to receive meals as of Tuesday, March 17; instruction will begin by March 19

March 16

On March 16, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon announced that two county residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and that all schools in the county are to close as of 4 p.m. March 16 through April 14. 

McMahon’s announcement moves up to Tuesday, March 17, Fayetteville-Manlius School District plans to begin serving eligible students breakfast and lunch through its free and reduced-price meals program. Teachers will be reaching out to their students’ families by March 19 to begin offering online instructional materials. 

Superintendent Craig J. Tice announced on March 14 that F-M classes and all extracurricular events and activities were canceled beginning March 16 through April 14 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Health officials are recommending that people avoid large group gatherings and practice social distancing of six feet. 

Let’s Talk: COVID-19

The district is aware that many in the community have questions or concerns related to the school closure. To address the community’s questions and concerns, the district is opening its Let’s Talk! platform, which is a web-based, two-way communications tool that allows anyone to share concerns or questions with district administrators at any time. 

The interactive software is designed to streamline conversations and is not intended to be used for communicating urgent messages. 

Let’s Talk!

Technology availability 

If you have not been contacted by the school district and are in need of technology, please call 315-692-1111 or email helpdesk@fmschools.org to request a district-owned Chromebook.

For those families who have already contacted the district, Chromebooks will be available for pickup at the F-M High School House 1 Foyer (the single-point of entry near the auditorium) 9-11 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. Thursday, March 19, on a one-per-family in need basis (not a convenience)

Parents and/or guardians will be required to show photo identification and sign an acceptable use agreement and liability/damage waiver when picking up a district-owned Chromebooks.

If you had not already contacted the school district, a Chromebook will not be reserved for you during the distribution period.

Schoology

Information is available for those families that need help accessing the district’s Schoology learning management system platform. 

Schoology information 

Free WiFi for students

Beginning March 16, Charter Communications will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps, according to Charter’s website.

Installation fees will be waived for new student households. To learn more and enroll, visit their website.

Personal belongings

For families who need to retrieve from their child’s school personal belongings, such as musical instruments, students will be able to pick up personal items from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, March 19.


Instructional and food service contingency plans to be launched

March 15

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.  

Athletics

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.


All F-M schools closed effective Monday, March 16

March 14

Out of an abundance of caution and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the Fayetteville-Manlius School District community, all F-M schools will be closed and all extracurricular activities and events canceled beginning Monday, March 16, through at least April 14

“This is not a decision taken lightly, as we recognize this action will impact many families’ regular routines, including child care and parents’ and guardians’ work schedules,” Superintendent Craig J. Tice said. “We appreciate your patience and flexibility during this unprecedented time. Our priority is the health and safety of our students, staff and community.” 

On March 14, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon declared a state of emergency for the county. At that time, McMahon announced that all Onondaga County schools will be closed effective March 23. In the interest of students’ health and safety, Tice and the F-M Board of Education are closing all F-M schools earlier than the county’s suggested timeframe.

“There are no easy answers in this situation,” 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.”

Because there are practical limits to trying to continue the district’s recognized instructional program in an online format, that is not the district’s goal. Instead, the district’s focus will be to ensure the “continuity of instruction” for parent-guided and self-guided learning for students or they may leverage the district’s online learning management tool, Schoology, for more frequent “office hours” interactions and constructive feedback.

Those families whose children receive school meals through the free and reduced-price meals program will be contacted directly regarding the continuity of that program. 

The New York State Education Department continues to work with the governor’s office, the New York State Department of Health and the U.S. Department of Education to provide guidance to schools and district officials. 

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.


Schools cancel some events and activities; contingency planning continues

3:50 p.m. March 13

With Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s March 12 announcement that New York state is banning all gatherings of more than 500 people, Fayetteville-Manlius officials have been reviewing the district’s upcoming schedule of events and developing contingency plans in the event that the district is forced to close a school. 
Although there are no confirmed cases of the COVID-19 at F-M, district officials felt it is imperative to follow the state’s lead in canceling events that would involve a great number of people in close proximity with the goal of reducing the number of people on school campuses and in district buildings. 

Regular school instruction is still taking place, and social distancing practices are being emphasized and encouraged. 

District administrators are continuing to monitor all guidance from local, state and federal agencies regarding the respiratory illness caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus, COVID-19. As the situation evolves, local, state and federal officials continue to update their guidance for school districts. 

On March 9, the New York State Department of Health and New York State Department of Education released guidance that states if a student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, the state Department of Health requires an initial 24-hour closure of the school to assess the situation and develop a plan to as to any further required closure or other necessary precautions. 

The district’s administrative team is developing response plans to continue instruction and other critical administrative and student services.

The district will continue cleaning and disinfecting its schools to minimize the spread of viruses and a variety of other illnesses. Custodial staff are sanitizing building spaces using an electrostatic sprayer, which applies a coating of disinfectant on surfaces. In addition, school buses are being sanitized on a daily basis using an electrostatic sprayer.   


District developing contingency plans

7:30 p.m. March 12

Fayetteville-Manlius School District officials are continuing to closely monitor guidance from local, state and federal officials on school district operations as it relates to COVID-19.

With Governor Andrew Cuomo’s March 12 announcement that New York state is banning all gatherings of more than 500 people, not including regular school instruction, district officials are meeting to review upcoming events and to develop contingency plans in the event that the district is forced to cancel more events or activities or close a school. 

“This is a highly fluid situation, with guidance and recommendations forthcoming on a daily basis,” Superintendent Craig J. Tice said. “We appreciate the flexibility and adaptability of our staff, as well as our students and their families, and want to thank them for their patience and understanding. This is a situation that will warrant quick decisions, and we will give our community as much notice as possible if we need to make cancellations.”

At this time, there are no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the school district or Onondaga County. If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the district, all members of the school community will be notified.

On March 9, the New York State Department of Health and New York State Department of Education released guidance that states if a student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, the state Department of Health requires an initial 24-hour closure of the school to assess the situation and develop a plan to as to any further required closure or other necessary precautions. 

In the event that health officials direct the district to close, administrators are developing plans to continue instruction and other critical administrative and student services. 

The district will continue to update the community via the district website with any new information.  

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.


District canceling large gatherings per state guidance; high school musical and FE open house canceled

3:25 p.m. March 12

In light of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement that New York state is banning all gatherings of more than 500 people, the Fayetteville-Manlius School District is canceling two events planned for this evening, Thursday, March 12. 

  • F-M High School’s musical performance of “Les Miserables” planned for 7 p.m. Thursday, March 12, as well as its performances on Friday, March 13, and Saturday, March 14, will not take place or be rescheduled. Information on ticket refunds will be forthcoming.
  • Fayetteville Elementary School’s Open House event planned for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 12, will be rescheduled to a later date.  

The ban does not apply to regular school instruction. 

At this time, there are no suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus in the school district or Onondaga County. If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the district, all members of the school community will be notified.

The district is continuing to monitor this evolving situation and follow guidance from local, state and federal health and education officials. District officials will be reviewing its calendar of events and will share more information as it becomes available on the district website. 

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.


District officials monitoring and preparing COVID-19 response

March 11, 2020

Fayetteville-Manlius School District administrators are continuing to monitor all guidance from local, state and federal agencies regarding the respiratory illness caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus, COVID-19. 

At this time, there are no suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus in the school district. If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the district, all members of the school community will be notified.

As the situation evolves, local, state and federal officials continue to update their guidance for school districts. The district’s administrative team has been meeting to discuss the district’s policies, procedures and emergency response plans to ensure the district is prepared to meet the needs of its students and staff members should the virus affect the F-M community and the district’s operations.  

Latest guidance regarding school closures

On March 9, the New York State Department of Health and New York State Department of Education released guidance that states if a student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, the state Department of Health requires an initial 24-hour closure of the school to assess the situation and develop a plan to as to any further required closure or other necessary precautions. 

The latest state guidance says, “schools are not expected to make decisions about closing or canceling events due to COVID-19 on their own.” At this time, there has been no specific guidance regarding the cancellation of school events and large gatherings, and all school events will take place as scheduled. 

In the event that the guidance changes, the district will provide as much notice as possible if it must cancel an event or close school. Notifications will be shared on the district website and via SchoolMessenger as soon as possible. 

Proactive steps

The district has infectious disease protocols in place and has been taking steps, such as cleaning and disinfecting throughout its schools, to minimize the spread of viruses and a variety of other illnesses. 

In past years during cold and flu season, custodial staff misted building areas upon request because of sickness. This year, staff have been sanitizing building spaces weekly using an electrostatic sprayer, which applies a coating of disinfectant on surfaces. In addition, school buses are being sanitized on a daily basis using an electrostatic sprayer.   

There are a number of steps that students, staff and community members can take to minimize the spread of all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, according to the 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.

It is also important to remind everyone that exposure to COVID-19 can occur from any person-to-person contact and is not limited to a particular race or ethnicity. 

The district will continue to share information as it becomes available on the district website. 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. 


District monitoring COVID-19 at local, state and national levels

While the Fayetteville-Manlius School District does not have a confirmed case of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in our schools, district officials are aware of concerns in the community about the spread of this relatively new virus. 

The district is closely monitoring this situation and following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), the Onondaga County Department of Health and the New York State Education Department.

Based on recent reports, COVID-19 is not actively circulating in Onondaga County at this time. 

If the district becomes aware that an F-M student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, it will immediately notify staff and parents/guardians. If a student or staff member shows respiratory symptoms, the district will follow its current practices for handling respiratory illnesses, subject to any additional guidance forthcoming.

The district has infectious disease protocols in place and has been taking steps, such as cleaning and disinfecting throughout its schools, to minimize the spread of viruses and a variety of other illnesses. 

In past years during cold and flu season, custodial staff misted building areas upon request because of sickness. This year, staff have been sanitizing building spaces weekly using an electrostatic sprayer, which applies a coating of disinfectant on surfaces.  In addition, school buses will be sanitized on a daily basis using an electrostatic sprayer.   

There are a number of steps that students, staff and community members can take to minimize the spread of all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, according to the 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.

The district will continue to share information as it becomes available on the district website. 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. 


Health officials urge public to take precautions against the spread of viruses

Feb. 10, 2020

Health officials, elected leaders and school officials are urging the public to take precautions against the spread of seasonal influenza, or flu, and a new virus that has recently been detected in humans—2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov). 

Confirmed influenza cases were first reported to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) in October and have been steadily on the rise since. Health officials also are monitoring the spread of 2019-nCov, which originated in China and has spread to a number of countries, including the United States. 

“While we do not have a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in the state, we are continuing to take every necessary precaution to protect New Yorkers from this dangerous virus,” New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Feb. 7. “I also want to remind New Yorkers they are more likely to be exposed to the influenza virus than the coronavirus and urge everyone to take common sense precautions to protect against both, such as regular hand washing and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.”

The coronavirus, which can lead to fever, cough and trouble breathing or shortness of breath, has not been found in humans before, according to a joint release from the NYSDOH and the state Education Department (SED). Health officials believe the coronavirus probably spreads from animals to humans and from person-to-person, but it’s not yet clear how easily it spreads from person-to-person. 

The coronavirus is not actively circulating among New Yorkers at this time, according to the NYSDOH and SED release. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the coronavirus to be a serious public health concern and is studying it to better understand how it spreads and causes illness. There currently is not a vaccine for the virus. 

Precautionary measures

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) recommends the following ways to minimize the spread of all respiratory viruses, including 2019-nCoV:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • 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 mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.