Communication/Family and Community Engagement

To help inform our reopening plan, the school district has sought feedback and input from stakeholders, including administrators, faculty, staff, students, parents/guardians of students, local health department officials and health care providers, employee unions and community groups.

Engagement efforts have included:

  • Online surveys of parents and staff. The results of those surveys were posted and sent via Blackboard Connect to every parent and staff member.
  • Virtual Town Hall was held on July 29. The recording from that session was post and sent to parents and staff via Blackboard Connect.
  • Virtual meetings of advisory teams will continue throughout August and after the beginning of school in September.
  • One-on-one conversations and emails from parents and staff have been received and responded to as appropriate.
  • A Question and Answer section, gathered from the Town Hall meeting as well as emails and communication from parents, will be added to the school district’s website to assist in the further understanding of this reopening plan.
  • An article in the Summer 2020 newsletter, mailed to every community member,  detailed the choices faced by the school district as it was developing it’s reopening plan.
  • The Scotia-Glenville Teachers’ Association has also been meeting with teachers  to discuss the planning and thinking behind the reopening plan.

The school district remains committed to communicating all elements of this reopening plan to students, parents and guardians, staff and visitors. The plan is available to all stakeholders via the district website at https://www.scotiaglenvilleschools.org/scotia-glenville-school-reopening-plan-2020/, and will be updated throughout the school year, as necessary, to respond to local circumstances. The link to the plan appears on the banner across the top of the website homepage and school homepages. Every effort has been made to ensure that the plan is accessible to all individuals in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level A/AA. The plan can also be translated into other languages, via the G-Translate feature available on the district website.

As part of its planning for the reopening of schools and the new academic year, the district has developed a plan for communicating all necessary information to school district staff, students, parents/guardians, visitors and education partners and vendors. The district will use its existing communication channels – including on the school district website and through the Blackboard Connect mass notification system – as well as appropriate signage and training opportunities to support the dissemination of consistent messaging regarding new protocols and procedures, expectations, requirements and options related to school operations throughout the pandemic. Every school website page can be translated into any of 12 languages with a pull down feature beneath the search box at the top of every page.

The school district is committed to establishing and maintaining regular channels of communication and has reviewed and determined which methods have proven to be the most effective in communicating with our school community. The district will rely on the school district website and Blackboard Connect mass notification system to communicate news, requirements and updates related to reopening and in-person instruction, including social distancing requirements, proper wearing of face coverings and proper hand and respiratory hygiene. The information that we will share will be based on state guidance and procedures / protocols developed as well as the Advisory Team for Communication. The advisory team consists of members from administration, teachers, district staff, and community members.

In support of remote learning, the school district will make computer devices available to students and teachers who need them. As the school district did this past spring, parents/guardians  will be surveyed to determine the need to loan devices and/or provide ‘hot spots’ for students.  We are also instituting a “bring your own device” strategy for students who have a device they can use at school.  We will enable individual devices to run on our guest network.  We are in the process of upgrading our filter on the guest network to ensure student safety and compliance with all regulations and statutes. The school district will provide students and their families with multiple ways to contact schools and teachers during remote learning, including the school district website, providing student emails for children in grades 6 through 12, providing teacher and school contact information (phone numbers, teacher and administrative emails), and messaging through Blackboard Connect, the school district’s mass notification  system.

The school district will use existing internal and external communications channels to notify staff, students and families/caregivers about in-person, remote and hybrid school schedules with as much advance notice as possible. This information will be made available on the school district website and through the Blackboard Connect mass notification system.

The school district will follow its existing engagement and communication protocols with parents regarding the provision of special education services for their child(ren). Virtual communication may replace face-to-face communication to accommodate health and safety concerns. Communication opportunities include but are not limited to:

  • Parents are consulted regarding their preferred mode and language of communication. Communication is conducted in accordance with that preference as much as practical.
  • Sharing of routine classroom information through periodic teacher-created newsletters and teacher created classroom websites.
  • Phone and email contact with parents from general education, special education teachers and building principals regarding the implementation of student services and the student’s response to the services.
  • Daily or weekly communication notebooks as designated in the student’s Individual Education Plan.
  • Virtual Committee on Special Education meetings for program reviews and annual reviews as required.
  • Communication to parents from the chairperson of the Committee on Special Education (and/or the Director of Pupil Personnel Services) regarding implementation of the Individual Education Plan and to address parental concerns.
  • Scheduled parent teacher conferences.
  • Periodic communication between parents/guardians and related service providers.
  • Sharing/discussion of assessment results by the school psychologist and other providers with the parent/guardian for initial determination and program/annual review meetings.

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In addition, the district will make every effort to ensure that communication to parents/legal guardians is in their preferred language and mode of communication. The school district’s website, ScotiaGlenvilleSchools.org, offers translation of every page into one of 12 languages.

The district is committed to ensuring that all of its students and their families are taught and re-taught new expectations related to all public health policies and protocols. As part of this continuous training, the district will assess the best approach to communicating the information for each students’ age group and will provide frequent opportunities for students to review these policies and protocols. This targeted education will help ensure that all students and their families know what is expected of them as they successfully return to the school setting. These trainings will cover:

  • Hand hygiene Protocols / procedures are being developed by a subgroup of the school district’s Advisory Team for Health and Safety. The advisory team consists of members from administration, teachers, district staff, and community members. The information developed by the team  will be disseminated by the COVID 19 Coordinators and / or their designees.
  • Proper face covering procedures (how to wear and remove) / protocols  are being developed by a subgroup of the school district’s Advisory Team for Health and Safety. The advisory team consists of members from administration, teachers, district staff, and community members. The information developed by the team will be disseminated by the COVID 19 Coordinators and/or their designees.
  • Social distancing procedures / protocols are being developed by a subgroup of the school district’s Advisory Team for Health and Safety. The advisory team consists of members from administration, teachers, district staff, and community members. The information developed by the team  will be disseminated by the COVID 19 Coordinators and / or their designees.
  • Respiratory hygiene  procedures / protocols are being developed by a subgroup of the school district’s Advisory Team for Health and Safety. The advisory team consists of members from administration, teachers, district staff, and community members. The information developed by the team  will be disseminated by the COVID 19 Coordinators and / or their designees.
  • Identifying symptoms procedures / protocols are being developed by a subgroup of the school district’s Advisory Team for Health and Safety. The advisory team consists of members from administration, teachers, district staff, and community members. The information developed by the team  will be disseminated by the COVID 19 Coordinators and / or their designees.  The District will use a health app developed for the region by Capital District BOCES for staff and student daily health checks.

The district will create and deploy signage throughout the district to address public health protections surrounding COVID-19. Signage will address protocols and recommendations in the following areas:

  • Proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Acceptable face coverings and requirements related to their wear
  • Hand washing
  • Adherence to social distancing instructions
  • Symptoms/prevention of COVID-19

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In addition to signage, the district will encourage all students, faculty, staff and visitors through verbal and written communication to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DOH guidance regarding the use of PPE through additional means such as instructional videos, posters, and website announcements.

The district is committed to creating a learning environment that protects student and staff health, safety and privacy. Our district will operate under a standard procedure for addressing situations in which an individual has tested positive for COVID-19 or appears symptomatic. These procedures are outlined in the Health & Safety section of our reopening plan at this link.

The school district’s protocols and procedures for safety will be shared with all employees, students, families, and other stakeholders through additions to the web-based plan, on the school district website, in written and verbal communications, and use of the Blackboard Connect mass notification system.  In the event that a student or staff member is sick or symptomatic, notification to exposed individuals will occur pursuant to the state’s contact tracing protocols as implemented by the local health department. The district will not notify the wider community unless specifically directed to do so by local health officials.

School Closures

The district is preparing for situations in which one or more school buildings need to close due to a significant number of students or staff testing positive for COVID-19 or a considerable regional increase in COVID-19 cases.

The school district is meeting bi-weekly with the Schenectady County Department of Health and representatives of regional schools (public and private) and pre-schools to develop procedures and guidelines for possible school closures.  In addition, the superintendent of schools, Susan Swartz, is working in conjunction with Capital Region BOCES and its component school districts to plan and share information regarding protocols and procedures for potential closings.

The school district may choose to modify operations in one or more schools prior to closing to help mitigate a rise in cases. The district will consult its school physicians and the Schenectady County Department of Health when making such decisions.

Scotia-Glenville’s superintendent and school building administrators will communicate with each other regularly and, if needed, will consider closing school if absentee rates impact the ability of the school to operate safely. Decisions regarding any closures will be made in conjunction with the school’s physicians and the Schenectady County Department of Health.

The school district will use it’s school closing protocol to communicate with staff, students, and their families in the event of a closure.  The protocol calls for notifications on the school district website, media, and the Blackboard Connect mass notification system, utilizing telephone calls, email and text messaging with parents and staff in the event of a closure (or early release / late arrival). Determination of which school district operations cease and which are continued will be made on a case-by-case basis.

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