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Reopening FAQ

Safely Reopening New York Mills UFSD
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The following FAQ was designed to be a helpful resource for parents and guardians and, in turn, students, concerning the reopening of school.

While the district attempted to provide as much information and answer as many questions as possible, the FAQ is not all inclusive, as it is impossible to plan for every scenario. If after reading the reopening plan (insert plan) and/or reading this FAQ, you still have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at This FAQ will be updated as needed, as more information becomes available.

The goal for all remains for NY Mills to be a safe and healthy learning environment. I look forward to seeing everyone in September!

Joanne Shelmidine, Ed. D.


Is the decision to reopen school a local or state decision?

The decision to reopen schools across the state is a state decision. Based upon guidance from the New York State Education Department (SED) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), every school district across the state was required to submit a reopening plan by July 31, 2020. Following the review of the reopening plans, SED, NYSDOH, and Governor Cuomo will make the decision regarding the opening of schools. That decision is expected to be made by the Governor by August 7, 2020.

SED, NYSDOH, and Governor Cuomo will also approve, or not approve, individual school district opening plans. In other words, the plan submitted for the New York Mills UFSD may need to be altered per state guidance.

Why does NY Mills Reopening plan look different that some other school districts in our area?

Due to a number of factors, mainly differences in student and staff populations, size of facilities and transportation constraints, it is likely that school district plans will be as unique as each district.

Are all schools expected to reopen?

School districts were required to submit plans that took into account in-person instruction, hybrid instruction (a combination of in-person and remote learning), and remote instruction.


What is included in the reopening plan for New York Mills?

The district’s plan is broken into two parts, K-6 instruction and 7-12 instruction. It also addresses several issues, including, but not limited to, student/staff health and safety, student transportation, and the instructional plan.

Where can I find/read the New York Mills reopening plan?

The entire reopening plan is located on the district website.

Based on the state review/guidance, the plan may have to change. Any changes will be communicated to the school community. In addition, if information changes, it will be updated on this FAQ.

Instruction and Support Services:

Will my child receive in-person instruction, remote instruction, or a combination of both?

The district created and asked parents/guardians to take surveys about the reopening of schools to better understand preferences for the type of instruction. Parents overwhelmingly elected that they would prefer in-person instruction to resume in September. The district’s reopening plan was broken in to two parts: K-6 instruction and 7-12 instruction. The type of instruction will vary based on the grade levels of the student.

What is the plan for K-6 in-person instruction?

Grades K-3:

The students’ day will be from 8:00 am to 2:30 pm. Classrooms have been configured removing tables and replacing them with desks that are socially distant. Special area teachers will travel to each classroom to provide instruction. For PE, students will be going outside whenever possible, or will be in the gymnasium to accommodate 12-foot social distancing requirement.

Grades 4-6:

The students’ day will be from 8:45 am to 3:15 pm. Same configuration as K-3.

Any room that is not able to meet the social distancing criteria will be split into two sections, with half the class moved to a nearby classroom and lesson livestreamed into that classroom. Students will be supervised with a teaching assistant. Teacher(s) will rotate to the two rooms.

What is the plan for K-6 remote instruction?

Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES is the lead educational agency responsible for remote teaching and learning at the elementary level. BOCES is staffing the remote “classrooms” with certified grade-level teachers to teach the elementary program. These teachers are receiving specific professional development on how best to deliver instruction remotely. The curriculum is tied to the same NYS Learning Standards being taught at New York Mills.


What is the plan for 7-12 instruction?

Under the district’s reopening plan, 7-12 students will receive both in-person and remote instruction as outlined below:

Students in grades 7-12 will receive instruction through a hybrid model. Grades 7, 8, and 10 will attend two days, back to back on Monday and Tuesday. The other 3 days they will be at home with remote instruction. Grades 9, 11, and 12 will attend school on Thursday and Friday. The student schedules will be such that, within the two days, students will have met with core subject matter teachers.

Wednesdays will be devoted to teachers working with students who need additional help, office hours, parent conferencing, etc. The days that students will not be on campus-there will be asynchronous lessons-meaning not live-streamed, using google classroom, Zoom, or BUZZ etc. to meet and provide instruction. Students not on campus will have assignments with specific due dates and time to verify attendance and participation.

Full time remote instruction for the entire year will be considered for any student with health issues or who feels uncomfortable attending in-person.

Will students still have specials?

Yes. Special area teachers will travel to each classroom to provide instruction. For PE, students will be going outside whenever possible, or will be in the gymnasium to accommodate 12-foot social distancing requirement.

Will students still have access to guidance, counseling, and other related support services?

Yes. All students, K-12, will still have access to guidance, counseling, and other related support services both in-person and remotely. Appointments are strongly encouraged.

Will normal grading policies and other school policies still apply?

Normal grading policies and other school policies, including the District’s Code of Conduct, will still apply for students in grades K-12 regardless if a student is receiving in-person or virtual instruction.

Will the normal attendance policy still apply?

Yes. Student attendance, whether in-person or remote, will be taken each day. Students are still expected to attend school 180 days a year. Students absent for more than 10% of the attendance days will be considered chronically absent.