Communication/Family and Community Engagement

To help inform our reopening plan, a Reopening Planning Committee was created to provide input from stakeholders, including administrators, faculty, staff and parents/guardians to inform planning.

Engagement efforts included surveys, virtual meetings and one-on-one conversations.

Reopening Planning Team:

  • Anita Murphy, District Superintendent
  • Joseph Dragone, Senior Executive Officer
  • Lauren Gemmill, Deputy District Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction
  • Sarah Horaczek, Principal, Maywood School
  • Erica Kane, Vice President, Capital Region BOCES Faculty Association
  • Sherry Karcher-Hewitt, President, Capital Region BOCES Faculty Association
  • Caralee Kardash, Director, Special Education   
  • Kristen Lashaway, Chapter Vice President for Special Education, Capital Region BOCES Faculty Association 
  • Jeff Palmer, Director, Career & Technical Education
  • Jennifer Pavone, Teaching Assistant

Capital Region BOCES remains committed to communicating all elements of this reopening plan to staff, parents/guardians, students and visitors. The plan is available to all stakeholders via the homepage of the Capital Region BOCES’ website and will be updated throughout the school year, as necessary, to respond to local circumstances.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the plan is accessible to all individuals in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level A/AA. The plan can also be translated into other languages, via the G-Translate feature available on the district website. 

Ongoing Communication

As part of its planning for the reopening of schools and the new academic year, the district has developed a plan for communicating all necessary information to district staff, students, parents/guardians, visitors and education partners and vendors. The district will use its existing communication channels,  including the Capital Region BOCES website, our Blackboard email, text and phone notification system and BERT, our employee intranet, as well as appropriate signage and training opportunities to support the dissemination of consistent messaging regarding protocols and procedures, expectations, requirements and options related to school operations throughout the pandemic. Translation of material will be available.

Capital Region BOCES is committed to establishing and maintaining regular channels of communication and has reviewed and determined which methods have proven to be the most effective in communications with our school community. Capital Region BOCES will rely on our website, our Blackboard email, text and phone notification system and BERT, our employee intranet, to communicate news, requirements and updates related to reopening and in-person instruction, including social distancing requirements, proper wearing of face coverings and proper hand and respiratory hygiene. The information that we will share will be based on state guidance from all related agencies, the Reopening Planning Team and the COVID-19 Oversight Team.

In support of remote learning, Capital Region BOCES will make computer devices available to students and teachers who need them. Teachers who need a device or need to request a device on behalf of their students should contact their principal. Parents who have questions about accessibility to devices should also contact their child’s principal. Capital Region BOCES will provide students and their families with multiple ways to contact schools and teachers during remote learning, including email and telephone communication with teachers and school administrators. View Capital Region BOCES’ school and staff directory.

Capital Region BOCES will use existing internal and external engagement and communication channels to notify staff, students and families/caregivers about in-person, remote and hybrid school schedules’ and the provision of services with as much advance notice as possible via our website, our Blackboard email, text and phone notification system and BERT, our employee intranet. In addition, Capital Region BOCES will make every effort to ensure that communication to parents/legal guardians is in their preferred language and mode of communication via G-Translate services, translation of key documents to native language and other means, as arranged with families. 

Capital Region BOCES is committed to ensuring that all of its students and their families are taught and re-taught new expectations related to all public health policies and protocols. As part of this continuous training, we will assess the best approach to communicating the information for each students’ age group and will provide frequent opportunities for students to review these policies and protocols. This targeted education will help ensure that all students and their families know what is expected of them as they successfully return to the school setting. Students will be trained by teachers and administrators upon return to school, and families will be directed to the Capital Region BOCES website to review training videos and related materials provided by BOCES.

These trainings will cover:

  • Identifying symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Required personal protective equipment (PPE) including social distancing when in Capital Region BOCES facilities or Capital Region BOCES grounds.
  • Proper face covering procedures (how to wear, remove, clean, dispose, etc.)
  • Hand hygiene
  • The proper way to use disposable gloves
  • Social distancing
  • Respiratory etiquette (coughing, sneezing, etc.)

Capital Region BOCES will create and display signage throughout all of its facilities to address public health protections surrounding COVID-19. Signage will address protocols and recommendations in the following areas:

  • Proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Acceptable face coverings and requirements related to their wearing these.
  • Hand hygiene
  • Adherence to social distancing instructions
  • Symptoms/prevention of COVID-19

In addition to signage, Capital Region BOCES will encourage all students, faculty, staff and visitors through verbal and written communication to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DOH guidance regarding the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Capital Region BOCES is committed to creating a learning environment that protects student and staff health, safety and privacy. Capital Region BOCES will operate under a standard procedure for addressing situations in which an individual has tested positive for COVID-19 or appears symptomatic. These procedures are outlined in the Health and Safety section of our reopening plan. In the event that a student or staff member is sick or symptomatic, notification to exposed individuals will occur pursuant to the state’s contact tracing protocols as implemented by the local health department. CRB will not notify the wider community unless specifically directed to do so by local health officials.

School Closures

Capital Region BOCES is preparing for situations in which one or more school buildings need to close due to a significant number of students or staff testing positive for COVID-19 or a considerable regional increase in COVID-19 cases. Capital Region BOCES will collaborate with local health officials to determine parameters, conditions or metrics, such as increased absenteeism or increased illness, that will serve as early warning signs that positive COVID-19 cases may be increasing beyond an acceptable level.

Capital Region BOCES may choose to modify operations in one or more schools prior to closing to help mitigate a rise in cases. Capital Region BOCES will consult with local health officials when making such decisions. 

School building administrators and Capital Region BOCES’ senior staff will work collectively to consider closing school if absentee rates impact the ability of the school to operate safely. School closing will be communicated via our website, our Blackboard email, text and phone notification system, the School News Notifier (SNN) System and BERT, our employee intranet.