Questions & Answers (Q&A)
Accurate as of August 21, 2020
This page will be updated regularly.
Communication & Engagement Q&A
I missed the livestreams. Where can I view them?
We held three online forums for families in order to discuss our reopening plan, as well as to answer common questions received through our Reopening Plan Contact Form. We also held a forum for Nassau BOCES staff to review the plan and address concerns. The recordings of the meetings are available at the links below:
Teaching & Learning Q&A
Will Nassau BOCES be offering in-person, hybrid or remote instruction this year?
At this time, the Governor has said that all school districts throughout the state have permission to resume in-person instruction. We have surveyed our parents, and the vast majority – 72% -- want their children to resume in-person instruction. Based on this information, Nassau BOCES will be open for full-time, in-person instruction starting September 8.
A remote accommodation is available. Parents/guardians must complete the Remote Accommodation Request form by August 26.
Is there a remote option if parents choose not to send their child in-person?
Because of the types of programs that we offer, we feel in-person instruction is the best option for many reasons, including hands-on learning, supportive school cultures and socialization. However, we will offer a remote accommodation for those students unable to attend in-person. Parents who choose this accommodation will need to commit to completing a full quarter remotely. For in-district educational programs, Nassau BOCES will work on a case-by-case basis with the district partner to determine whether the program will be offered in-person, as a hybrid or remotely.
Should it become necessary to move to a fully remote learning environment, Nassau BOCES has a robust distance learning program in place that can be launched immediately.
Parents who want an accommodation must complete the Nassau BOCES Remote Accommodation Request form by Wednesday, August 26.
Will visitors be allowed in the school buildings?
Visitors will be highly discouraged. All visitors must have an appointment to enter the building approved by an administrator. Visitors must comply with school protocols, including completing the COVID-19 self-screening assessment. Parent trainings and support groups will be held remotely. Committee on Special Education (CSE) meetings will be held remotely unless a family or district requests an in-person meeting. Screenings of new students will continue to take place in person following school protocols.
How will student mealtimes be handled?
School administrators will create a lunch schedule for classes. Most programs will serve meals in the classroom. Pre-prepared meals will be made for students with allergies and dietary restrictions. Teacher aides from each class will retrieve breakfast and lunch from the kitchen and hand them out to students. Students will wash their hands before and after eating.
What are the new restroom use procedures?
New York State building codes require a specific number of toilets and sinks are available at all times within school buildings. However, the agency requires everyone to practice social distancing in the restrooms and will have signage limiting capacity. Bathrooms will be thoroughly cleaned throughout the day by custodians.
What will a remote accommodation look like for students in a special education program?
A daily remote school will include virtual video and/or audio a.m. and p.m. check ins with students, whole class lessons as well as small group and conferencing sessions. Students will also work independently at home on program-specific online learning curriculum as well as instructional work packets. IEP-mandated related services will be provided through video and teleconferencing. If a parent chooses a remote accommodation, their child will be remote for the full first quarter, which ends on November 10.
Health & Safety Q&A
For a demonstration of our health and safety features, please watch our Video: We're Ready!
What is Nassau BOCES’ plan for social distancing?
Everyone in a Nassau BOCES building is being asked to stay at least six feet away from others whenever possible. If a student participates in activities that require projecting the voice – such as signing –staff are being asked to ensure 12 feet of space between people. If social distancing, is not possible face coverings will be worn.
When do students need to wear face coverings?
Anyone entering a Nassau BOCES building will need to wear a face covering. If a student arrives without a face covering, a disposable mask will be provided. Students will need to wear a face covering throughout the day, especially anytime they are in a common area and anytime they are within six feet of another person or might come in contact with another person.
When students are participating in activities that keep them six feet from other students and staff, they may be allowed to take off their face covering with permission from a staff member.
If a student is unable to wear a mask due to a medical condition, parents or guardians will be asked to provide documentation.
What is an acceptable face covering?
Students may wear any commercially available or homemade face covering as long as it meets the following criteria:
- Face coverings must cover both the nose and mouth.
- They should not have vents. The vents let out air, reducing their effectiveness.
- Cloth face coverings should adhere to the Agency’s standards of civility, courtesy and respect. Any attire that contains and/or promotes vulgar, offensive, obscene, and/or threatening language/imagery/symbols, or otherwise is likely to incite violence and/or disrupt the school environment, is prohibited.
Will hand sanitizer be available for students? May I send in hand sanitizer with my child?
Nassau BOCES has provided hand sanitizer in all of our buildings. In schools, hand sanitizer is only permitted in certain areas. Staff will always oversee student use of hand sanitizer, and parents will have the option of opting out of hand sanitizer use by their child. Hand washing is always the better option and will be encouraged. Students may not bring their own hand sanitizer to school.
What cleaning and other safety measures will be taken on the school bus?
The majority of students are brought to school on transportation provided by their home school districts. If your child rides on district-provided transportation, please reach out to your school district for information. Nassau BOCES will take the following cleaning and safety measures on our buses and those we provide by a vendor:
- Bus drivers will wipe down all the seats used by passengers in between each run. In addition, at the end of the day, our transportation staff will thoroughly spray down the inside of the bus with disinfectant.
- Social distancing will be maintained on the school buses to the maximum extent practicable. With masks, we will be seating one student per bench. Students who cannot wear face coverings due to documented medical conditions will be seated in every other row, alternating sides.
- Matrons, nurses and other adults attending to students shall ride with their students and utilize appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to limit the potential spread of any germs on the bus.
What happens if a student starts to show symptoms at school?
All of our school buildings have designated isolation waiting rooms. The student would immediately be escorted to the waiting room where they would remain with a health aide until a parent or guardian arrives to pick them up.
What happens if a staff or a student becomes positive with COVID-19?
Once Nassau BOCES receives confirmation that someone has received a positive diagnosis from a lab, the agency would reach out to the Nassau County Health Department. We would provide the health department with information to help them identify possible contacts with the person. The Health Department would determine who fits the definition of a contact. They would reach out to anyone who needs to quarantine.
Nassau BOCES would continue to work with the health department to determine whether to close a room, multiple rooms or the whole building. This will depend on a number of factors, including how much that person moved throughout the building. Custodians would thoroughly clean and disinfect the impacted rooms and the whole building.
What are the cleaning and disinfecting procedures?
Nassau BOCES buildings are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected every day of the week over two shifts. The agency uses a hospital-grade disinfectant called QT Plus that has been identified by the EPA as effective against the corona virus. During the day, cleaners spot clean and disinfect restrooms, as well as wipe down all frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches, handrails, elevator controls, shared tables and chairs. The day shift also spot cleans walls and air-conditioning vents. In the evening, the cleaning team thoroughly cleans and disinfects the buildings. Battery-powered disinfectant sprayers are also used to ensure that all areas are covered.
Staff members are also encouraged to help out in the cleaning process throughout our buildings. Disinfectant spray bottles have been provided in our classrooms and commonly shared areas for staff use in between classes and at their workspaces. Nassau BOCES will be hiring additional cleaners to help with these efforts. These cleaners will be assigned to help where they are needed most at any given time.
What are you doing to address air quality issues?
Nassau BOCES has a number of different types of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems throughout the agency. Each one works differently. However, we have taken the same approach for all of our buildings. The agency’s priority has been to increase air flow and outside fresh air. We are running our systems as though the buildings are fully occupied twenty-four seven. In addition, we have replaced all of the filters, using the highest filter ratings possible for each system. We must follow the guidelines for each particular system, or we risk inadvertently reducing the air flow instead of increasing it. We will continue to replace the filters and service our HVAC equipment on a stepped-up schedule throughout the pandemic.
Will students be allowed to use water fountains?
New York state building codes prohibit us from turning off water fountains in our schools. However, we are encouraging parents to send in refillable water bottles with their children.