Reopening - Frequently Asked Questions

Is St. Thomas offering in-person instruction five days per week? If so, how are you able to accommodate all students and maintain social distance?

Yes, all classes will have in-person instruction each school day. Students will be seated at their desks/tables with six feet between students. Full Day Preschool 4 - Grade 4 will be split into two rooms each in order to provide enough space to make this possible. Part-Day Preschool classes will have only 13 students to allow for social distancing. Grades 5 - 8 will be housed in the cafeteria and gymnasium with all students seated six feet apart. Each grade level will be a cohort and there will be no commingling of cohorts. 


Which grade levels are required to wear masks?

ALL students including preschoolers will be required to wear masks. 


Will masks need to be worn all day?
Updated 9/3/2020

Students, staff and visitors (that enter for the safety and well-being of students) will be expected to wear face coverings at all times both indoors and outside, including on the school bus. Students will be allowed to remove face coverings only while eating, drinking and during scheduled mask breaks so long as they maintain appropriate social distance. Students who are unable to medically tolerate a face covering will not be required to wear one.


What types of masks are required?

Cloth face masks which cover the nose and mouth are required. Masks should have three layers and loop around the ears and CANNOT be ventilated nor have slits in them. Gaiters and bandanas are not permitted. Students should arrive at school wearing a mask and also have 1-2 “backup” masks in a labeled ziploc bag in their backpack. Required PPE will be available at school if a student forgets.


What changes can we expect for children who require speech services?  Will we need to provide masks with see-through plastic mouthpieces? 
Updated 9/16/2020

Bethlehem Central School District will provide speech and other services virtually during the school day. Students will not be required to wear masks during virtual speech sessions. Masks with see-through plastic mouthpieces.


How will you encourage students to keep their hands clean?

Students will learn proper hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene protocols during orientation. Hand washing and sanitizing will be scheduled before entering classrooms, before and after eating and throughout the school day. Sanitizing stations will be accessible throughout the building.


How will you handle school cleaning and disinfecting?

Our cleaning crew will be cleaning and disinfecting the building including classrooms/desks and bathrooms multiple times throughout the school day. Cleaning will also be done each evening and on weekends.


Is there a full-time remote option for K-8?

Yes. Families may choose to have their child(ren) learn remotely five days per week. If your family would prefer this option, please make an appointment with Mr. Kane to discuss.


Can a student log in from home for remote instruction if they had registered for full time in-person learning? (i.e. unique transportation issue for that day, non-Covid illness)

Yes. In this case, please be sure to notify the school office to indicate that your child will participate remotely for the day.


Will Chromebooks be provided to students learning remotely?

Yes.


When does school start?

Full Day Preschool - Grade 8 will have half-day orientation on 9/10 and 9/11. One half of the student body will attend each day and a schedule will be sent to parents the week of 8/31. Full day classes will begin on Monday 9/14.

Part-Day Preschool classes will have their “soft starts” 9/15 - 9/18 (schedule has been sent to families) and will begin their regular schedule the week of 9/21.


Will we be able to bring our children to their classrooms on the first day?

Unfortunately, we will not be able to allow this. We are doing everything we can to limit students’ chances of exposure and that means allowing as few people into the building as possible.


Will middle school students have a locker or carry their stuff all day in a backpack?

Middle schoolers will carry their backpacks throughout the school day. Lockers will be used for coats/outerwear.


Will children have Physical Education classes? 

Yes. PE will take place outside whenever possible and students will be 12 feet apart for all PE activities.


Will there be Music classes?

Yes. There will not be singing, but students will be engaged in a variety of other musical studies and activities.


Will there be Band lessons?

Yes. Paul Effman Music is offering live lessons online outside of school hours. Click Here for more info. 


Will busing be available?

Please reach out to your home school district to determine if busing is available for your child(ren).


How will morning drop-off work for students who are not bused?

Parents will drive to the grade level designated door for their child and will be met by a staff member who will check the child’s temperature. Younger children will be escorted to their door by a staff member. This process will be repeated at each entry door that your children will be using.


What if I need to bring my child in late or pick him/her up early due to an appointment?

In both instances, please notify the school office either by phone or via your parent login on the school website. When you arrive at your child’s designated drop-off/pick-up door, please call the office and a staff member will escort your child into or out of the building.


Will there be a school nurse available throughout the day, and if not, who will be dealing with sick students?

We will have a nurse in the building every day, but not necessarily for the entire school day. Most of our teachers and staff have received First Aid, CPR and AED training.


What factors will determine if you close St. Thomas the Apostle School? How is it determined and by whom?

The Governor and/or the Albany County Department of Health will provide guidance regarding any building closures.


If St. Thomas the Apostle School is closed due to weather, will students be expected to do online learning for the day or will they get a traditional snow day?

This would be a snow day.