Reopening F-M Schools

Fayetteville-Manlius School District 2020-21 School Reopening Plan; Hybrid/Remote Learning Information; COVID-19 Testing; Contact Tracing; Reopening Frequently Asked Questions

For COVID-19 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

As the situation regarding COVID-19 evolves, the Fayetteville-Manlius School District continues to monitor all guidance from local, state and federal agencies. 

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


Sept. 23: 2020: Thursday, Sept. 24, to be remote learning day at F-M High School; student tests positive for COVID-19

District updates face covering, return to school after illness guidelines 

Sept. 22, 2020

To align with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) evolving guidelines for mitigating the spread of COVID-19, Fayetteville-Manlius School District officials recently revised two sections of the district’s 2020-21 school reopening plan

The district’s reopening plan is fluid and subject to change based on scientific findings and recommendations from the CDC and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), F-M Superintendent Craig J. Tice said. 

Face Coverings

F-M updated its guidelines for face coverings to prohibit the use of masks that offer minimal protection and, according to recent medical studies, aren’t effective at blocking respiratory droplets.

Effective Sept. 24, F-M’s plan states that bandannas, buffs, neck gaiters and masks with valves or vents are not permissible forms of face coverings and should not be worn on school campus (including while riding on the bus) by F-M students, staff members and essential building personnel. 

According to the plan, acceptable face coverings have two or more layers of fabric, secure with ear loops or ties and fit snugly against both sides of the face. At all times masks are worn, they must cover the nose and mouth, and must be secured under the chin in accordance with CDC guidelines. Homemade sewn masks, surgical masks and “quick cut” masks are permissible.

Individuals without an acceptable face covering will receive one from the school district prior to boarding the bus or entering school facilities.

More information about masks and mask wearing is available on the CDC website.

Return to School after Illness

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

The district recently revised this portion of the reopening plan to clarify what students and staff members must do to prepare for a safe return to campus.

The return to school after illness protocol includes all of the following:

  • Documentation from a healthcare provider following evaluation, and
  • Negative COVID-19 diagnostic test result

Once the two items listed above are secured, then the parent/guardian (for the student) or the staff member will determine when they are feeling well enough to return to school.

If a student is COVID-19 positive, the return to school protocol includes all of the above as well as release from isolation.

Staff members should refer to DOH’s Interim Guidance for Public and Private Employees Returning to Work Following COVID-19 Infection or Exposure.


Food service implements changes to keep students safe

Sept. 8, 2020

To help protect the health, safety and well-being of students and staff, Fayetteville-Manlius School District Food Service Department is implementing changes to its school meals and procedures for the 2020-21 school year.

Food service meals are available to all students, including those who are attending school remotely from home. Students who qualify for the free and reduced-price lunch (FRPL) program can receive meals at no cost. Students who are not enrolled in the FRPL program will need to purchase meals.

Online Ordering

It is highly recommended that middle and high school students pre-order lunch meals, beverages and snacks electronically this year using an online form, which is available on the food service section of the district’s website.

The online ordering system replaces the former daily “lunch count” process that took place in homerooms and eliminates paper meal selection forms, which were managed by teachers and physically handled by several people. The new process puts families in control of ordering, enhances safety measures and provides teachers with more time to begin classwork with students at the start of the school day and supports efficient meal delivery to students at lunch time.

The deadline to submit lunch and snack orders is 9 a.m. each day school is physically in session. The form’s scheduling feature also permits placing advance orders.

Elementary students do not need to pre-order meals through the online form. Students in grades K-4 should inform their teacher of hot meal selections in the morning. Snacks will not be available for purchase at the elementary level in the fall.

Breakfast meals do not require pre-ordering. At this time, elementary students can purchase breakfast in the morning from their teachers and meals are delivered to classrooms. Middle and high school students can purchase breakfast from school cafeterias.

School Lunch Menu

F-M Food Service is offering a tasty and nutritious (but limited) school lunch menu for the start of the school year.

All school lunch meals come with a side of fruit or vegetables and milk. Lunches are prepackaged and include utensils, condiments and a napkin.

High school students can also pre-order some a la carte items, including grilled panini sandwiches for pick-up at their convenience from the House I or II Snack Shack in the high school. The high school’s two novelty snack stores are serving as pickup hubs and have a limited variety of refreshments available for purchase.

During assigned K-12 lunch periods, staff will deliver pre-ordered meals in disposable containers to classrooms and, if applicable, designated lunch areas.

Food service staff will continue to follow all health and safety protocols while preparing, packaging and storing meals. Orders that adhere to special dietary restrictions, including allergies will be labeled as such and packaged separately from other orders.

Home Delivery

Food Service offers a meal delivery service for students who are participating in remote learning.

Delivery is available each week on Monday and Wednesday and all students are eligible to participate. Families can sign-up for the number of meals they wish to receive for their student(s) each week and payment debits from the student(s) school meal account.

Families who qualify for free and reduced-price meals are eligible for meal delivery at no cost to them, but must enroll in the program to participate.

Please contact F-M Food Service by email or phone (315-692-1842) to register for meal delivery and to learn more about free and reduced-price lunch program. Families who did not qualify for the program last year, but have experienced changing circumstances, should complete and submit the application as soon as possible.

Cashless Cafeterias

To help mitigate the spread of illness, including COVID-19, the district’s cafeterias are cashless for this school year.

Students and staff members are encouraged to use the online payment service myschoolbucks for all school meal purchases. Money can be added to a student’s myschoolbucks meal account using a credit/debit card or electronic check.

Parents and guardians can also prepay for their child’s meals and snacks by submitting a check (payable to F-M Food Service) to the attention of their child’s cafeteria.


Local physician to support district in school reopening

Aug. 27, 2020

The Fayetteville-Manlius School District has hired a local physician to assist the district in its reopening of schools in September.

On Aug. 24, the F-M Board of Education approved the appointment of Diane Montgomery, M.D., for 20 hours a week of service to serve as a COVID-19 Medical Supervisor, assisting the district’s chief school physician, Julie Colvin, M.D., and school nurses in carrying out their responsibilities as it relates to COVID-19.

Dr. Montgomery will be ensuring that the COVID-19 safety plan’s protocols are being enforced, making recommendations for improvements and serving as the liaison for any COVID-related issues that require interaction with the Onondaga County health commissioner. She will consult regularly with the district’s chief school physician to ensure that the district has a coordinated effort to limit the number of COVID-19 infections in the schools and to reduce the chances of any spread.

Dr. Montgomery is a pediatrician at the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities Developmental Evaluation Center in Syracuse. She received her medical degree at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and completed her pediatric residency training at the University of Rochester Children’s Hospital at Strong. She is Board Certified in Pediatrics and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Previously, she was in private practice in Syracuse. She and her husband have two sons, one graduated from F-M and one is currently a senior at F-M. She previously was a member of the branch board of managers of the East Area Family YMCA and was a governing board member of the St. Joseph’s College of Nursing.


Schools cleared to reopen in September; parent forums scheduled

Aug. 10, 2020

On Aug. 7, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that based on COVID-19 infection rates, schools across the state may open their school buildings to in-person instruction.

Cuomo previously said schools can follow reopening plans for in-person education in September if the region in which the school district resides is in Phase 4 and has a daily COVID-19 infection rate of 5% or lower over a 14-day average.

Onondaga County currently meets those standards.

The state required all New York school districts to develop instructional models for remote and in-person instruction, as well as a hybrid of both, based on guidance from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and New York State Education Department (NYSED).

The Fayetteville-Manlius School District submitted its plan to the state July 31. The district is aware that on Aug. 10 it was included on the state’s list of school districts that did not submit reopening plans on time. In order to avoid any further confusion, F-M’s plan was re-submitted to NYSDOH again on Aug. 10 to ensure compliance.

More information on what in-person and remote instruction will look like will be shared on the district website and directly with families as soon as it’s available. A section of the district’s website is devoted to reopening information and is being frequently updated.

The district will hold three virtual forums via F-M’s YouTube channel for parents to hear an overview of the reopening plan and have questions answered. The forums are scheduled for:

  • Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 9 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, Aug. 20 at 1 p.m.

A separate forum for district staff will also be offered.

Parents and guardians will be asked to submit questions by 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 17 to the district’s Let’s Talk communication portal so that they may be addressed by the panel of school officials at the aforementioned town hall meetings.

Reminders for these important informational events will be posted in advance on the website and shared directly with parents via SchoolMessenger.


School reopening plan submitted to state

July 31, 2020

On July 31, the Fayetteville-Manlius School District submitted to New York state its plan on how it would reopen school in September.

District officials developed a plan that allows for high-quality instruction while following all state and federal health and safety guidelines regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this month, New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo said schools can follow reopening plans for in-person education in September if the region in which the school district resides is in Phase 4 and has a daily COVID-19 infection rate of 5% or lower over a 14-day average. Reopening guidance was released by New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and New York State Education Department (NYSED).

The state required all New York school districts to develop instructional models for remote and in-person instruction as well as a hybrid of both. The state is expected to review the plans Aug. 1-7 and a decision to reopen schools to students in the fall is expected by the state at that time.

The district’s plan includes three learning environments: in-person instruction, remote learning and a hybrid model that combines in-person and virtual schooling.

“This is a work in progress,” Superintendent Craig J. Tice said. “We will be working closely with our staff in the coming days and weeks to delve deeper into the plan’s details and will share more information as it becomes available.”

Fayetteville-Manlius School District School Reopening Plan


District establishing reopening advisory committee

July 16, 2020

To help shape a reopening plan for the 2020-21 school year that maintains the health and safety of students and staff members amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fayetteville-Manlius School District is developing an advisory committee that includes educators, administrators, healthcare providers, parents and board members.

On July 13, New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced schools can follow reopening plans for in-person education in September if the region in which the school district resides is in Phase 4 and has a daily infection rate of 5% or lower over a 14-day average. If daily infection rates exceed 9% over a seven-day average, however, schools in that region would not reopen. Similarly, should a region see such an average after reopening, schools in that region would be directed to close.

Interim guidance from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) outlining what will be required in the individual school-level reopening plans was released shortly after Gov. Cuomo’s announcement and preliminary guidance from the New York State Education Department (NYSED) will be forthcoming.

F-M Superintendent Craig J. Tice said the district is assembling reopening advisory committees for all three levels to help assess all challenges and options for the 2020-21 school year. The group will review all federal, state and local guidance that is issued related to reopening schools, the district’s overall health and safety procedures, and recommendations provided by the group’s three subcommittees. Each school level – elementary, middle and high – will have its own subcommittee. A Medical Review Board, which is also being assembled and includes physicians, will operate separately from the multi-stakeholder Advisory Committees.

Information shared by the advisory committee will help F-M school officials finalize the district’s reopening plans.

“As we prepare to reopen our buildings and return to in-person education, the health and safety of our students, staff and families remains our top priority,” Dr. Tice said.

School districts must develop reopening plans and submit them to the state by July 31. The state is expected to review the plans Aug. 1-7 and a decision to reopen schools to students in the fall will be made by the state at that time.

Individuals who are interested in serving on F-M’s reopening advisory committee (or one of its subcommittees) should contact sgridley@fmschools.org no later than 12 p.m. Monday, July 20.

The groups will meet virtually during the week of July 27. The advisory committees will meet during daytime hours and the medical review board will meet virtually in the evening.


Summer meal resources are available for families in need

July 2, 2020

Families across the country are struggling due to financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. If your family is in need of healthy, free meals during the summer months, there are several options across the region.

  • The Food Bank of Central New York has several online resources to help families, including a customizable list of food pantries and soup kitchens and information on programs such as SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps) and special food distribution events.
  • Families could also reach out to the F-M Food Pantry, located at 122 East Seneca Street, Manlius. Information about pantry operations and hours is available at its website or by emailing fmcommunityoutreach@yahoo.com.
  • The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service has an interactive online map that highlights sites in the greater Syracuse-area where summer meals are available to ensure that children who rely on free or reduced-price meals at school are able to get the nutrition they need throughout the summer months. Families can use this tool to find directions to nearby sites, as well as hours of operation and contact information.
  • Text: “food” or “comida” to 877-877
  • Call: 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 211
  • Hunger Solutions New York is a nonprofit organization working to alleviate hunger across the state. Its website has a number of resources, including information on summer meals for children and teens.

If your family is in need and unable to access these food resources, contact F-M’s food service director Adam Jarosz at ajarosz@fmschools.org or 315-692-1809.


OCFS survey helps connect parents to childcare

March 26, 2020

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, and 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