Reopening FAQ

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School Day Schedules

Will parents be able to choose a completely remote learning option?

The district’s expectation is that students will return for in-person instruction unless a student or their family is medically vulnerable, or has other needs that would prevent them from returning to school. Please contact the building principal if you wish to discuss remote learning needs.

As at any time, parents may also notify the district if they intend to homeschool their child. If this is your intent, please contact your child’s building principal.

What will the school day look like?

Herkimer Elementary School: K-5 students will attend school five days a week. The five-hour school day will begin between 7:30-8 a.m. and end around 1 p.m., with start and end times staggered depending on grade level. This is due to the need for multiple bus runs to transport students while maintaining social distance on the bus. Some learning will continue while students are at home, including physical education.

Herkimer Jr./Sr. High School: Grade 6 students will come in for in-person instruction five days a week. For Grades 7-12, each cohort will come for in-person instruction at least two days a week: Monday and Thursday, or Tuesday and Friday. Specialized instruction may also take place in-person on Wednesday for some CTE and IEP students.

Every student will conduct some remote learning on the weekdays that they are not in the building, including health and physical education. Wednesday is dedicated to remote learning, so you should expect your child to participate in assigned learning activities on this day.

The five-hour school day will begin around 8:30 and end around 1:30 (start and end times are dependent on bus routes). In-person learning days will consist of blocks of learning focused on core classes that students need to complete to meet their grade-level and graduation requirements. The number of classes per day will vary depending on grade level.

Students will be grouped into cohorts, based on their class schedules and other factors. If a family has specific scheduling needs, a parent should notify the building principal as soon as possible to discuss the need, and we will make every effort to accommodate those needs when possible.  In almost all cases, students will remain in a single classroom throughout their school day, with the same group of 10-12 students.

When will my student get his/her schedule?

Herkimer Elementary: Classroom assignments will be sent home to families during the last week of August.

Herkimer Jr./Sr. High School: Individual student class schedules will be finalized by Aug. 28 and shared with families on or around Aug. 31. Students will be able to view their schedules in SchoolTool when they are finalized.

High School: High school students have been scheduled for their four core classes, and a fifth class was added based on graduation requirements and personal interests. All students will take a virtual PE class, and some 10th grade students will have a remote health class assigned to them. Unique electives and AIS (academic support to address learning gaps) may be scheduled as additional remote learning opportunities.

High school students who wish to request a schedule change should email their high school counselor, Mrs. Manley at bmanley, no later than Sept. 2. Decisions about schedule changes will be based on graduation requirements, as there is less flexibility in the hybrid instructional modelStudents who want to add to their schedule beyond their core classes are encouraged to contact the Guidance Office. Traditional College Now courses will be offered by the district, and Project Lead the Way classes will be offered virtually.

Why is Herkimer’s plan different from other schools in the area?

Each district’s reopening plan is unique. In creating a plan for Herkimer, administrators considered several factors, including the safety of students and staff, the capacity of the school buildings, and the ability of students and families to conduct full-time remote learning.

At current staffing levels, it is not possible for the district to simultaneously conduct a fully remote K-12 school program, and an in-person school program, at the same time. We also know that not all of our students have reliable, high-speed internet access at home. We believe that in-person learning gives our students the best chance for success.

Given the capacity of our buildings and our staff, the district determined that it could group students into small cohorts for shortened periods of in-person instruction, limiting student and staff exposure. A shorter school day allows students to receive core instruction at school while remaining in a single classroom. Pushing the school day beyond this core would mean students and teachers mingling more, which would increase the risk of transmission.

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Sending Your Child To School

Can my student still ride the bus?

Bus transportation will continue to be provided to those families who live at a distance from their child’s school building. This is not a change from previous years. However, we are encouraging families to drop students off, or allow students to safely self-transport to school, if possible, to reduce the number of bus runs that will be needed.

The district has surveyed parents about transportation needs for the fall. If you have not been contacted by your child’s school, please be in touch with them as soon as possible. Any changes to planned bus routes may take several days to implement, due to the complexity of the schedules.

When does the school building open in the morning? When will the bus pick up my child?

The district is still working to finalize bus routes, which will determine when students will begin to enter the building each day. This information will be provided to you prior to the start of school.

When do I need to keep my child home from school?

Any time your child does not appear to be well enough to participate in the activities of the school day, they should stay home. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, additional precautions are required.

As well as staying home for the duration of other communicable conditions (including pinkeye and lice), your child should stay home from school if any of the following symptoms are present in your household without explanation:

  • Fever or chills
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Recent loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

Your child should also stay home if any of the following have happened within the previous 14 days:

  • Your child tests positive for COVID-19;
  • Your child has had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19;
  • Someone in your household has been directed by a health-care professional to self-monitor, self-isolate or quarantine;
  • Your child has traveled to a state or other location that requires a 14-day quarantine upon return.

What should I do if my child is staying home sick?

If your child is staying home on a day when they were expected at school, please let your child’s school know as soon as possible. If your child is well enough to participate in learning activities from home, you can let your child’s teacher know that.

However, we understand that there may also be days when your child is not well enough to participate fully in learning. If that is the case, please let your child’s teacher know so that they can work with your child to ensure that learning can continue.

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In the School Building

Are students expected to wear masks in school?

While the Code of Conduct does not specifically address mask wearing or social distancing, the district will require that everyone who enters the school building will wear a mask whenever a social distance of 6 feet or more cannot be maintained. If someone in the building refuses or declines to wear a mask, this would be handled in the same manner of progressive discipline as any other insubordination.

Students will be asked to bring their own mask from home. If a student does not have a mask, forgets their mask, or needs a new one for any reason, the school will have disposable masks available.

What happens if someone gets COVID-19?

Anyone who is suspected of COVID-19 will be directed to contact their health care provider for evaluation and possible testing. State local health departments will be notified immediately of any positive COVID-19 diagnostic test result by an individual in school facilities or on school grounds.

Contact tracing and quarantine orders will be directed by the local health department. The district will participate fully in all contact tracing efforts so that local health officials can contact and notify families of any possible exposure to COVID-19, and direct families of the necessary steps (testing, quarantine, etc.)

Students and staff who had been sent home because of COVID-19 symptoms will be cleared to return to school after either being cleared by a medical professional (negative COVID-19 test OR confirmation that symptoms are not related to COVID-19), or following a 14-day quarantine.

Will fire drills and other emergency drills still be held?

The district is still required to complete eight emergency drills during the school year.

Will lunch still be served?

The district will continue to provide breakfast and lunch for students. During the summer, meals were provided to all students at no charge under a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees school meals. The district has applied to extend that waiver into the start of the school year. If it is successful, meals prepared in the school will be provided at no charge.

We encourage families to complete an application for Free and Reduced-Price Meals. This information helps support eligibility for other programs, and would allow qualified students to continue to receive free meals regardless of the waiver status. Students may also still bring food from home, but will need teacher permission to eat in the classroom.

Students will be able to order a school breakfast and lunch daily. Students who are not scheduled to attend school every day may also order meals for the days they are not in school.  If you are not eligible for free or reduced lunch, breakfast costs $1.25 and lunch costs $2.75.

We will be asking families to complete a school lunch survey so we can better serve the needs of our families.

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Remote Learning

How will students be marked ‘present’ or ‘absent’ during remote learning?

Student responsibilities during remote learning will vary depending on the subject and grade level. Each teacher will determine a way of checking in with his or her students during periods of remote learning to ensure that students are participating. In most cases, this will be a combination of “synchronous” activities, where students are online at the same time as their teacher, as well as “asynchronous” activities, where students work at their own pace and turn in work within a specified timeframe. Your student’s teacher will make these expectations clear at the start of the school year.

School Supplies, Lockers and Chromebooks

What school supplies will students need for fall?

Updated school supply lists will be posted to the district website by the end of August. Once students receive their fall schedules, they will be able to see what supplies will be required for their courses.

What about Chromebooks?

Students who took their Chromebook home for the summer should make sure that their computer and charger are ready to go for the start of school. If your student’s Chromebook is missing or damaged, please contact Mr. Orilio at or call 315-866-2230. For students who have not been issued a device, Chromebooks (Grades 3-12) and iPads (Grades K-2) will be issued when students return to school. Students and families are responsible for the care of any borrowed devices.

Do students need to supply their own hand sanitizer or cleaning supplies?

Hand sanitizer will be available in each classroom. While some classroom teachers may request supplies such as cleaning wipes on their school supply lists, these are for classroom use. Students will not need to be responsible for any cleaning supplies.

Will students be able to store belongings at school?

Students at all grade levels will have space in the school building for their personal belongings. However, we ask that students plan to transport their belongings to and from school each day, to the greatest extent possible, so that thorough cleaning can take place when students are not in the building.

Herkimer Elementary: Classroom cubbies will still be used for students’ belongings while they are at school.

Herkimer Jr./Sr. High School: Students will not have access to lockers in September so that the time spent in hallways can be minimized. Since most students will be spending their in-person learning time in a single classroom, with 10-12 students in the classroom at any given time, it is hoped that students will easily be able to bring their belongings in the classroom and keep them there throughout the day.

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