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COVID-19
Planning, Response & Information
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This web page was created to provide resources and keep the Utica Academy of Science community informed. This is the official source of information on COVID-19 for our school. The page will be updated frequently, so please check back regularly.

School Closure Extended to April 29

Monday, April 6, 2020—SANY Families, Today, Governor Cuomo announced that all schools and non-essential businesses in New York State will be closed until April 29th. This decision was made to help slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the state.

What this means for your Atom
- We will continue to offer meals at our Grab & Go Meal Locations
- We will continue to utilize our distance learning strategy to keep your scholar engaged with their academics during this uncertain time

In addition, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the New York State Board of Regents has canceled the June Regents. Specifics for how this will affect your scholar will be released in the coming days. In the interim, we ask that all our SANY Atoms follow social-distancing best practices. If you have any questions or concerns, you can reach out to your building dean. 

Important Update Regarding Extended School Closure

Wednesday, April 1, 2020—Amid the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis, SANY remains committed to providing students with equitable learning opportunities and access to healthy meals while school is closed.

As you are aware, Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently directed an extension to prior plans, meaning schools are to remain closed until at least April 15. During this extension, districts are expected to provide continuity of learning and food service to students and childcare for its essential workers. Because the extended executive order encompasses the district’s upcoming Spring Recess, which was previously scheduled for April 3-13, SANY’s academic calendar has been amended by executive order so that staff members can continue to support students with remote learning opportunities and food distribution during this timeframe. Instruction will continue Friday, April 3rd through Thursday, April 9th. There will be no instruction, and both students and staff will not be expected to report, Friday, April 10 through or Monday, April 13th. Distance learning will resume Tuesday, April 14th. 

Learning
Our staff will continue to provide and support students with remote instruction. Students and staff will continue their distance learning in the same capacity we have been with live office hours via Zoom, Google Classroom, and Class Dojo. If you have any questions in regards to online education, please get in touch with your building dean.

You can access the SANY Online Learning Portal for valuable school-specific links via http://onlineeducation.sany.org/

Nutrition
We will offer meals for the week of April 6th through the 10th via a larger pick-up on Friday, April 3rd, 2020 that will include meals for the full week. The Grab & Go Meal service will resume normal operating hours Monday, April 13, 2020. 

While the loss of planned vacation time would not be welcome news during a typical school year, we recognize that this is anything but a typical school year. Since the health, safety and education of students remain the district’s top priorities, the governor’s commitment to maintaining the continuity of learning, food service and child care is understandable.  

We recognize that this is a stressful and challenging situation. We’re here to support you through it, and know that you are managing many personal and professional responsibilities. We would like to remind you of something that we often tell our students: All we can do is our best. We’ll get through this together.

Thank you all for your continued patience, understanding and support.

Sincerely,
Dr. Tolga Hayali
Superintendent SANY Charter Schools




 

New York State Cancels Elementary & Intermediate State Assessments 

Friday, March 20, 2020—Official Statement from New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa
 
The school closures caused by Novel Coronavirus are unprecedented and so, we have to make unprecedented decisions for our students. The administrations of the 2020 elementary- and intermediate-level State assessments have been suspended for the remainder of this school year.
 
This suspension for the remainder of the school year applies to the following New York State testing programs:
- New York State Grades 3-8 English Language Arts Test;
- New York State Grades 3-8 Mathematics Test;
- New York State Grade 4 Elementary-Level Science Test;
- New York State Grade 8 Intermediate-Level Science Test;
- New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) in Grades K-12; and
- New York State Alternate Assessment (NYSAA) for students with severe cognitive disabilities in Grades 3-8 and high school.

Link to Full Article 

Grab & Go Meals Distribution Location Update

Wednesday, March 18, 2020—Utica Academy of Science Middle School, located at 1214 Lincoln Ave, Utica, NY 13502, is a Grab & Go Meal Pick-Up Location. Meals are available between the hours of 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Child(ren) must be present to pick up a meal, and the meal is free of charge. Any child under the age of 18 in the city of Utica can pick up a meal. Please use the front side entrance of the Utica Academy of Science Middle School to pick up the grab & go meal, not the rear entrance as previously stated.

In addition, the following UCSD meal locations are open to all children under the age of 18 in the City of Utica, including UAS scholars. 

Proctor High School
Donovan Middle School
John F. Kennedy Middle School
Albany Elementary
Columbus Elementary
Conkling Elementary
General Herkimer Elementary
John F. Hughes Elementary
Hugh R. Jones Elementary
Jefferson Elementary
Kernan Elementary
Martin Luther King Elementary
Watson Williams Elementary

SANY Action Plan for COVID-19 School Closure

Tuesday, March 17, 2020—As you know, we are facing an unprecedented public health crisis in our state. As recommended by state and local public health authorities, schools were closed starting Monday, March 16, 2020 and we have transitioned to our distance learning plan. 

We recognize that this disruption has an impact on our students, families, and staff. We know that this exceptional moment has prompted questions which we will continue to address.

Nutrition Services

The Utica Academy of Science will provide free Grab & Go breakfast and free bagged lunch to all school-aged children in the City of Utica. Students are encouraged and able to utilize this service. 

Starting Wednesday, March 18, meals will be available for pick-up Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m - 12:00 p.m. at the cafeteria entrance in the rear of the building of the following location:

  • Utica Academy of Science Middle School, 1214 Lincoln Ave. Utica, NY 13502

Online Learning

The Utica Academy of Science is committed to the educational experience of your child. During the school closure, we will transition to online learning. All of our students have daily access to instructional notes, assignments, assessments, and virtual instruction, from their classroom teacher via their google classroom.

Chromebook Pick-Up

For those students who DO NOT have any device, we will open the doors of our buildings for students to pick up a Chromebook during the following time-frames.

Times:
Tuesday, March 17—9 a.m and 12 p.m.
Wednesday, March 18—9 a.m and 12 p.m.
Thursday, March 19—9 a.m and 12 p.m.

Location: 
Utica Academy of Science High School, 160 School Lane, Frankfort, NY 13340
Utica Academy of Science Middle School, 1214 Lincoln Ave. Utica, NY 13502

 

Internet Survey
Before obtaining a device, we ask that you respond to this brief survey to help our school gather information related to internet access and the availability of technology in your home.

➡ Survey Link

 

Events & After-School Programs

In order to minimize the opportunity for persons to contract and/or spread the Novel Coronavirus(COVID-19), please be reminded that -- all events and after-school programs are canceled until at least April 20. This includes school-sponsored participation in community events. 

 

Talking with your Children about COVID-19

As public conversations around coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) increase, children may worry about themselves, their family, and friends getting ill with COVID-19. Parents, family members, school staff, and other trusted adults can play an important role in helping children make sense of what they hear in a way that is honest, accurate, and minimizes anxiety or fear. CDC has created guidance to help adults have conversations with children about COVID-19 and ways they can avoid getting and spreading the disease.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/talking-with-children.html

 

We will maintain a continuous flow of information. Please follow our websites, social media, and ensure that we have your correct contact information in Schooltool. We want to express our appreciation for the patience of our SANY community as we work through the daily challenges COVID-19 has presented to all of us. We will miss having you and your children in our schools, and we look forward to your return!

 

Internet and Device Access Survey

Sunday, March 15, 2020—Dear parent or guardian,

Utica Academy of Science students will continue their education online while being away from school during this closure. We ask that you respond to this brief survey to help our school gather information related to internet access and the availability of technology in your home.

If you have more than one child attending our school, please complete a form for each child.

If you already completed the form, you don't need to complete it again.

Survey is at https://www.uascs.org/survey

Sincerely,

Utica Academy of Science Administration

Spectrum Offers Free High-Speed Internet

Friday, March 13, 2020—Spectrum announced Friday it will offer free high-speed internet service and Wi-Fi for 60 days to households with students as many schools and colleges temporarily close or switch to online classes because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Starting Monday, March 16, the Charter Communications-owned company will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with children in grades K-12 or in college who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription at any service level up to 100 Mbps, the company said.

Families can call (844) 488-8395 to enroll. Installation fees will be waived for new student households, the company said.

Important School Closure Message

Saturday, March 14, 2020—Effective immediately, Oneida County Executive, Anthony J. Picente, Jr. declared a state of emergency for the county due to ongoing concerns related to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). In response, all component school districts in the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES, including the Utica Academy of Science Charter School, will be closed beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, through Monday, April 13, 2020. The school will reopen on Tuesday, April 14, 2020. All 12-month employees, building deans, school counselors, student affairs officers, and behavior specialists will continue to work during this closure, barring any further direction.

Stay safe, UAS Atoms.

False Claim COVID-19

Thursday, March 12, 2020—It has come to our attention that a story is circulating on Social Media that there was a case of Coronavirus in one of our schools. This claim is based on false information. SANY school district, which includes Syracuse, Citizenship, and Utica Academies of Science, have no cases of Coronavirus.

We have been in direct communication with the State and the County Health Department and have contingency plans in place if a member of our school community comes in contact with the Coronavirus. If there is a confirmed case in one of our districts, as well as the Syracuse City and Utica City School Districts, we will close the school, inform the community and take necessary measures to protect our Scholars and Families.

Citizenship Academy and Syracuse Academy of Science were closed yesterday, 3/11/20, due to a scheduled faculty in-service day. All of our staff participated in mandatory staff training, as stated on our school calendar.

All scheduled District activities (including but not limited to field trips, school-wide events, and athletics) are being held as planned, as per the County Health Department. As this situation continues to evolve, circumstances may change and warrant postponements or cancellations. Updates to this guidance will be distributed via email, posted on the district website, and/or communicated via our mass notification system.

Superintendent of Science Academies of New York
Dr. Tolga Hayali

District developing contingency plans

Thursday, March 12, 2020—Utica Academy of Science administrators are continuing to closely monitor guidance from local, state and federal officials on school district operations as it relates to COVID-19.

With Governor Andrew Cuomo’s March 12 announcement that New York state is banning all gatherings of more than 500 people, not including regular school instruction, school administrators are meeting to review upcoming events and to develop contingency plans in the event that the district is forced to cancel more events or activities or close a school.

At this time, there are no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the school district or Oneida County. If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the district, all members of the school community will be notified.

On March 9, the New York State Department of Health and New York State Department of Education released guidance that states if a student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, the state Department of Health requires an initial 24-hour closure of the school to assess the situation and develop a plan to as to any further required closure or other necessary precautions.

In the event that health officials direct the district to close, administrators are developing plans to continue instruction and other critical administrative and student services.

The district will continue to update the community via the district website with any new information.

Any time-sensitive, critical information will be shared via the district’s SchoolMessenger notification system, which sends email, text message and phone call notifications, depending upon how parents subscribed to the system.

School administrators monitoring and preparing COVID-19 response

Utica Academy of Science administrators are continuing to monitor all guidance from local, state and federal agencies regarding the respiratory illness caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

At this time, there are no suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus in the school district. If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the district, all members of the school community will be notified.

As the situation evolves, local, state and federal officials continue to update their guidance for school districts. The district’s administrative team has been meeting to discuss the district’s policies, procedures and emergency response plans to ensure the district is prepared to meet the needs of its students and staff members should the virus affect the UAS  community and the district’s operations.

Latest guidance regarding school closures

On March 9, the New York State Department of Health and New York State Department of Education released guidance that states if a student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, the state Department of Health requires an initial 24-hour closure of the school to assess the situation and develop a plan to as to any further required closure or other necessary precautions.

The latest state guidance says, “schools are not expected to make decisions about closing or canceling events due to COVID-19 on their own.” At this time, there has been no specific guidance regarding the cancellation of school events and large gatherings, and all school events will take place as scheduled.

In the event that the guidance changes, the district will provide as much notice as possible if it must cancel an event or close school. Notifications will be shared on the district website and via SchoolMessenger as soon as possible.

Proactive steps

The district has infectious disease protocols in place and has been taking steps, such as cleaning and disinfecting throughout its schools, to minimize the spread of viruses and a variety of other illnesses.

There are a number of steps that students, staff and community members can take to minimize the spread of all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, according to the state Department of Health:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Heavily soiled hands should be washed.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

If you or a family member begin showing symptoms of a respiratory disease and suspect it may be COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider. Before going to your healthcare provider’s office, inform them that a case of COVID-19 is suspected, and follow their advice.

It is also important to remind everyone that exposure to COVID-19 can occur from any person-to-person contact and is not limited to a particular race or ethnicity.

The district will continue to share information as it becomes available on the district website. Any time-sensitive, critical information will be shared via the district’s SchoolMessenger notification system, which sends email, text message and phone call notifications, depending upon how parents subscribed to the system.

District monitoring COVID-19 at local, state and national levels

While the Utica Academy of Science does not have a confirmed case of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in our schools, district officials are aware of concerns in the community about the spread of this relatively new virus.

The district is closely monitoring this situation and following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), the Oneida County Department of Health and the New York State Education Department.

Based on recent reports, COVID-19 is not actively circulating in Oneida County at this time.

If the district becomes aware that an UAS student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, it will immediately notify staff and parents/guardians. If a student or staff member shows respiratory symptoms, the district will follow its current practices for handling respiratory illnesses, subject to any additional guidance forthcoming.

The district has infectious disease protocols in place and has been taking steps, such as cleaning and disinfecting throughout its schools, to minimize the spread of viruses and a variety of other illnesses.

There are a number of steps that students, staff and community members can take to minimize the spread of all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, according to the state Department of Health:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Heavily soiled hands should be washed.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

If you or a family member begin showing symptoms of a respiratory disease and suspect it may be COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider. Before going to your healthcare provider’s office, inform them that a case of COVID-19 is suspected, and follow their advice.

The district will continue to share information as it becomes available on the district website. Any time-sensitive, critical information will be shared via the district’s SchoolMessenger notification system, which sends email, text message and phone call notifications, depending upon how parents subscribed to the system.

Health officials urge public to take precautions against the spread of viruses

Health officials, elected leaders and school officials are urging the public to take precautions against the spread of seasonal influenza, or flu, and a new virus that has recently been detected in humans—2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov).

Confirmed influenza cases were first reported to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) in October and have been steadily on the rise since. Health officials also are monitoring the spread of 2019-nCov, which originated in China and has spread to a number of countries, including the United States.

“While we do not have a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in the state, we are continuing to take every necessary precaution to protect New Yorkers from this dangerous virus,” New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Feb. 7. “I also want to remind New Yorkers they are more likely to be exposed to the influenza virus than the coronavirus and urge everyone to take common sense precautions to protect against both, such as regular hand washing and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.”

The coronavirus, which can lead to fever, cough and trouble breathing or shortness of breath, has not been found in humans before, according to a joint release from the NYSDOH and the state Education Department (SED). Health officials believe the coronavirus probably spreads from animals to humans and from person-to-person, but it’s not yet clear how easily it spreads from person-to-person.

The coronavirus is not actively circulating among New Yorkers at this time, according to the NYSDOH and SED release. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the coronavirus to be a serious public health concern and is studying it to better understand how it spreads and causes illness. There currently is not a vaccine for the virus.

Precautionary measures

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) recommends the following ways to minimize the spread of all respiratory viruses, including 2019-nCoV:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

About COVID-19

Since this virus is very new, health authorities continue to carefully watch how this virus spreads. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working hard to learn as much as possible about this new virus, so that we can better understand how it spreads and causes illness. The CDC considers this virus to be a serious public health concern.  

Watch on YouTube

  1. HANDS: Wash them often
  2. ELBOW: Cough into it
  3. FACE: Don't touch it
  4. FEET: Stay more than 3ft apart
  5. FEEL: sick? Stay home