The following questions and answers were compiled from emailed submissions from parents. Please feel free to reach out to your teacher’s school if you have further questions. This page will continue to be updated.
Are children able to take their masks off while sitting at their desks?
Despite the desks being at least 6 feet apart in classrooms, masks will still be required. Teachers will provide mask breaks, and masks can be removed during meal times.
To minimize interaction outside of the classroom, are start times for each class going to be staggered?
Staggered times will not be necessary, with students having masks on at all times.
What type of computer, operating system, etc. should I buy for my student?
The school district is working to provide devices to all students who need them. There is no need to buy your son or daughter a device.
How will the district ensure that all families in the district have access to internet service with sufficient bandwidth to sustain remote learning?
Rural communities, like Mayfield, have faced the problem of internet access for years. MCSD will provide mobile hot-spots to all students who request it.
Is there flexibility with remote learning? For example, if a family needs to submit everything on Saturday because the parents both work late and have multiple kids, will teachers work with the individual family’s needs?
While there will be some degree of flexibility with remote teaching and learning, the district is working with teachers to ensure structure in this learning model. Please communicate with teachers about individual needs.
Will Mayfield be offering a remote-only option?
Yes, families were asked to fill out a form to choose either the full-remote or hybrid learning option. The deadline to submit the form is 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 24.
If a child participates in remote learning, would the student be allowed to change to in-person class attendance?
Students can change their educational model at the end of the semester at the Junior/Senior High School and at the end of the trimester at the Elementary School.
How can the district ensure children get the help they need to learn material remotely?
Teachers will have remote office hours every day to answer questions.
SOCIAL EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING
Are there measures in place to make sure my child is having fun, being social, and getting exercise at school in addition to education and COVID-19 guidelines?
The teachers and staff at MCSD have focused and will continue to focus on the physical, social and emotional components of education.
Are children going to be required to have COVID-19 tests regularly in order to attend class, even if they aren’t showing symptoms?
No, COVID tests will not be required regularly. However, if a child is sent home with a fever, they will have to have a doctor’s note to return to school. It will be up to the physician as to whether a COVID test should be ordered for the child.
Will students be required to have a COVID-19 test if they are sent home from school?
Whether a test is necessary will be determined by your child’s physician. The school will only require that the student’s physician has been contacted and that the student was released to attend school by his or her own physician.
If a student, teacher or family member of a teacher or student tests positive for COVID, how will the school be notified?
The Fulton County Department of Health will contact the school if a positive case of a student or staff member is identified. After gathering data about the contact that the student or staff member had, they will inform the district about next steps. The FCDOH utilizes a reverse 911 call to contact people that might have come in contact with students or teachers. If needed, the district will support the health department’s efforts by using its messaging system to contact individuals.
Questions and answers from the Fulton County Public Health Department regarding testing and contact tracing
As a parent, I heard from someone else that my child had contact with a COVID-19 positive person. What should I do?
If your child was indeed a close contact with a COVID-19 positive person, you and your child will be contacted as soon as possible by the Fulton County Public Health contact tracing effort.
My child has been isolated due to a positive test for COVID-19. What does this mean for our family?
Your child will have to isolate in your home for at least 10 days after your child started feeling sick or if asymptomatic since child’s test date. Household members will be placed on mandatory quarantine, meaning they can’t leave the home, and can’t have any visitors. If any household members are essential workers, they may be allowed to continue going to work only if they are healthy and free of any COVID-like symptoms, and they and their employer meet certain New York State requirements. New York State offers paid leave for many workers who have to miss work due to being quarantined: https://paidfamilyleave.ny.gov/COVID19
My child was out sick from school with COVID-19. She has been in isolation for 10 days now, and is all better. When can she go back to school?
Once your child has recovered from COVID-19, and once 10 days have passed since your child first got sick, she will be released from isolation by the health department. That means Fulton County Public Health will no longer be monitoring your child, and she will be able to leave the home and see family and friends again.
My child has been quarantined due to close contact with a classmate or teacher who tested positive for COVID-19. What does that mean for our family?
Your child will have to quarantine in your home for 14 days following the last date of contact with the positive person, meaning the child can’t leave the home, and can’t have any visitors. The family members of the child are not under quarantine, and are able to continue going to work, school, etc. If the child is too young to be home alone, a parent or guardian will have to miss work to take care of him/her. In that case, New York State offers paid leave for many workers who have to miss work due to caring for a quarantined child: https://paidfamilyleave.ny.gov/COVID19.
Can’t my child just be tested for COVID-19 to get off of quarantine earlier?
Unfortunately, no. After being infected with COVID-19, it takes people between two and fourteen days to start feeling sick. People often don’t test positive for COVID-19 until about the time that they start feeling sick. This means that, even if your child tests negative during the quarantine period, he/she may still be infected with COVID-19 and may get sick.
I’m pretty sure my family already had COVID-19. If my child has a positive antibody test, can he/she avoid being quarantined?
No, for two reasons. Firstly, the antibody test may come back positive because your child was recently infected with one of the other coronaviruses that infects humans, not with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Four of these different coronaviruses cause cold symptoms in people, and are common. Secondly, we don’t know yet if having COVID-19 antibodies will fully protect your child from getting COVID-19 again. That is why New York State doesn’t allow us to take antibody test results into consideration when quarantining people.
My child’s classmate had COVID-19 and only had to isolate for 10 days, but my child had to quarantine for 14. Why is that?
The purpose of isolation is to keep contagious people away from healthy people, to stop the spread of COVID-19. Studies show that people who have COVID-19 start out being very contagious just before they start to feel sick, and then become less and less contagious as the days pass during their illness. Unless someone is extremely sick or has a weakened immune system, by the tenth day of their illness, people are no longer contagious. This is why isolation ends after the 10th day, as long as the patient is feeling better. The purpose of quarantine is to keep people who may become contagious away from healthy people. We know that when someone is infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, it takes between two and fourteen days for that person to start to feel sick. This is why we quarantine potentially infected people for fourteen days after their last date of exposure.
I think my child’s classmate had a false positive. Why does my child still have to quarantine?
The way COVID-19 tests work, it is possible for a negative test to be wrong, meaning it’s possible for the test to be unable to find the virus even though a person really is infected. This can happen if the sample wasn’t collected properly, or if the person was tested too early or too late in their illness. But it is nearly impossible for a positive test to be wrong, that is, it’s extremely unlikely for the test to find the virus even though a person is really not infected. Many people who have COVID-19 don’t have symptoms, or have symptoms that they confuse with something else like allergies or indigestion. People who test positive for COVID-19, even if they don’t have symptoms or think their symptoms are caused by something else, may still be able to transmit the infection to others. Because of this, all positive test results are treated as positives by Fulton County Public Health. People who are COVID-19 positive are required to isolate, and their contacts are required to quarantine.
My child was wearing a mask when she was exposed, and so was the positive person. Why does my child still have to quarantine?
Cloth masks aren’t all equally effective. Some are made of tightly woven materials or multiple layers, while others are made of materials that allow more droplets to pass through. Some fit more snugly to the face, and others have large gaps. Some people wear their mask properly over their nose and mouth, and other people let their mask slide down so their nose is exposed. All of these factors have a huge effect on how much protection a mask provides, and make it very difficult for investigators to determine the exact level of risk to someone who was exposed while wearing a cloth mask. Because of this, and out of an abundance of caution, New York State requires that we quarantine people who had identified close or proximate contact with a positive case, even if the positive case or the contact were wearing cloth masks at the time.
MANAGEMENT OF ILL PERSONS
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, do they have to have a negative test to return to school?
The Department of Health will determine when the student or staff member can return.
If one of my children has to stay home because they are sick, do I need to keep all my children home?
Parents are asked to reach out to their primary care physician if one of their children is ill to determine if this is necessary
Is it safe with these precautions in place, to send my child to school?
Using guidance from the Department of Health, the district has put together a reopening plan that prioritizes student and staff safety. MCSD is offering a virtual option for those who do not feel comfortable sending their children to school and encourages each Mayfield family to make the decision that is right for them.
What about children with coughs that are caused by common irritants or allergies?
Parents should communicate this information to their child’s school nurse who can make determinations about these types of issues.
How many COVID-19 cases in the district or community will trigger school closure? Will the district make that determination?
Mayfield Central School District will be notified by the Fulton County Department of Health if COVID-19 cases are increasing beyond an acceptable level, and the health department will determine if an outbreak requires school closure. Parents and caregivers will be notified by the school’s mass notification system if schools will be shut down.
What will the criteria be to reopen the school if a COVID-19 closure occurs?
MCSD will accept direction from the local health department and follow the guidelines for acceptable infection rates set forth by the State of New York and the State Department of Health.
Is the district installing clear partitions in the school?
Plexiglass barriers are being installed for the building secretaries’ desks, but not in classrooms. However, students will be required to wear masks all day, except during masks breaks, which will be outside when applicable, and while eating meals.
What modifications have been made or will be made prior to school starting to improve the HVAC system to reduce the spread of COVID? Are the filters being upgraded?
The health-safety risk management supervisor for our local board of cooperative educational services has deemed that the current filtration system utilized in our ventilation system is sufficient in its filtration of particulates.
How often will bathrooms be disinfected during the school day?
Bathrooms will be cleaned at least twice a day, perhaps more often, depending on custodial staffing levels in the building.
What method of cleaning will be utilized in the schools?
The schools will be cleaned and disinfected every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday night. The school will be sanitized twice a week on Wednesday and then again on Friday night.
Are there any safety measures (to prevent intruders) being taken because classroom windows will be open for increased ventilation?
Classroom windows will be closed,when students or faculty members are not in the room to prevent unintended visitors.
What will the schools be using for air flow/air conditioning when it is hot out, as wearing masks can get very warm?
If a 504 plan or IEP requires the use of an air conditioner, then the student’s room will be equipped with an air conditioner. Windows will be open as much as possible.
Can students have their own water bottles to keep at their desk during the day so they don’t have to use the water fountain?
Yes, in fact, the water fountains will be restricted to water bottle filling only.
Has Mayfield CSD considered a delayed start to allow for additional planning and preparation?
Yes, to allow more time for faculty and staff to properly plan, the start of school has been delayed to Sept. 14.
Is a four-day in-person school option possible (keeping Wednesday remote to allow for cleaning of the school)?
The hybrid plan is intended to keep the school buildings at or below 50 percent capacity to ensure social distancing. No modifications to the plan have been discussed at this point.
What happens if fully-virtual and the 2-day rotation does not work for our family or child? Can we tutor/homeschool for this year and then enter back into school the following year?
Families can absolutely choose homeschooling if they wish, and the district will always welcome your child back.
Will the school schedule change in terms of holiday breaks being shortened?
At this time, there are no plans to modify the school schedule
Will children be allowed to remove masks during physical education class?
MCSD will follow all NYS regulations, including the physical education requirements.
Will there be recess, music, art, gym etc?
Yes, “specials” will still be part of the curriculum.
What suggestions can be made to parents who work full time and need to secure child care on remote learning days?
Although the school district cannot provide childcare, we will continue to help connect parents with local resources.
What can parents do to help teachers and staff during this difficult time?
Parents can help by being patient with school faculty and staff members and by helping to maintain healthy communication about their child’s education.
Can new students meet their teachers and learn where the classroom is prior to the first day of school?
A Google Meet can be arranged for any new student requesting to meet their new teacher. With an appointment, a tour of the building can be arranged with appropriate PPE worn at all times.