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Frequently Asked Questions 4/2/20

1. How much longer is school closed?
Currently, Governor Cuomo has closed all schools in New York State until midnight on April 14, 2020. Although we hope to return on Wednesday, April 15, 2020,  it is uncertain if the closure will be extended.

2. What’s the status on Spring Break and snow days? 
School will be in session on the previously scheduled spring break from April 3 through April 10. There will be no “give back” snow days. Parents and students should communicate directly with their teachers if they are “absent” for a religious observance. Students celebrating religious holidays will be excused from their classes on those days indicated.  Just as they would during a regular school absence, students will work with their teachers to determine make up assignments.  

3. How can we ensure all parents and students are receiving up-to-date information? 
Parents can sign into the PowerSchool Parent Portal to update their email and phone numbers.  School Messenger takes contact information from PowerSchool in order to generate District calls. There are directions on our website on accessing your Parent Portal account.  For up-to-date information, families can check our website www.portjeffschools.org, or follow our social media platforms; Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.  

4. Are there assignments tailored for students with special needs? How are IEPs and 504 instructional accommodations being met? 
The Special Education Director, Dr. Jodi Cahill is in continuous contact with staff providing updates as they become available from NYSED.  During this unprecedented time of prolonged school closure, the distance learning plans implemented by the special education teachers, and related service providers, will be appropriately individualized in order to meet the needs stated on each student’s Individualized Education Plan. 

Throughout the closure, students will have services and support from the same Special Education teachers and Related Service personnel (Speech, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Behavior Consultant, Psychologist ect.) that they would typically see as part of their program in the school buildings.   Please note that our Occupation Therapy, Physical Therapy and Behaviors Services are contracted through outside vendors.  Correspondence about scheduling services may come from their agency offices, however, these are the same providers that regularly work with our district and you child should be familiar with them.

Committee on Special Education Annual Review meetings will continue to be held via phone conference and/or through a virtual platform such as Google Hangouts.   You will be contacted by phone to arrange the meeting and any documents pertinent to the meeting will be emailed to you.  

The decision about scheduling meetings which require new or updated evaluations (Initial Eligibility or Reevaluation meetings), that have not been completed due to the school closure,  will be made on a case-by-case basis in accordance with guidance from the State Education Department.    

Please email your child’s special education teacher, or call the Special Education office at (631) 791-4241 regarding any questions or concerns specific to your child.

5. What if a student needs a device? 
Device pick-up is currently being scheduled on an individual basis. If your child needs a device please contact the building principal. Building principals will arrange an appointment time.

6. What if a family doesn’t have internet access?
Many of the learning platforms including Google are accessible through a smartphone using cellular data.  Some local wifi providers have options for free internet access during the health crisis, but may charge a fee after the initial trial period. Individuals without access should contact their classroom teacher or support service personnel for alternate assignments. 

7.  What if my family and I are in need of meals? 
The Port Jefferson School District is prepared to offer breakfast and lunch to any child, aged 18 or younger,  during the school closure. The bag meals may be picked up each day between the hours of 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at the High School  cafeteria, located at 350 Old Post Road. Please be advised that beginning on Monday, March 30th, the District  will be adjusting the meal program to an alternate day schedule as follows: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Students will receive two lunches/two breakfasts on Mondays and Wednesdays and three lunches/three breakfasts on Fridays.
 
8. What if I am a healthcare worker or first responder and I need childcare?
The District is working with local agencies to provide access to childcare programs during typical school hours without cost to essential personnel during this health crisis. In their March 19 memo, NYSED defined professionals that are eligible for prioritized childcare  as health care workers, first responders, support clinicians, food manufacturing, transportation, trucking, construction and social service agencies.  If you believe you are defined by the aforementioned professions, please contact your principal directly. Information regarding school childcare can be found here:
http://portjeffschools.org/news/article.aspx?id=113577&fbclid=IwAR3RfLZ3Rs2KmHCo1P1rq5PuTvCfSlNvssHwlyrc0ToZL0o_96NYa1D7E4o

9. Who can I reach out to for mental health support during the school closure?
We are committed to providing mental health support for  you and your child during the school closure. Please feel free to reach out to the following individuals via the email addresses listed below. If there is a crisis or an immediate psychiatric emergency, please contact your nearest emergency room or any of the community resources we have provided below. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us, we are here to help.

Elementary School
School Psychologist: Allyson Carlson acarlson@portjeffschoolschools.org
School Social Worker: Jessica Peterson jpeterso@portjeffschools.org

High School/Middle School
School Psychologist: Laura Ametrano Lametra@portjeffschools.org
School Social Worker: Kristin Britt kbritt@portjeffschools.org
School Psychologist: Kristen Wendel kwendel@portjeffschools.org

Outside Resources:
DASH - Crisis Care for Children, Adults and Families
90 Adams Avenue, Hauppauge, NY 11788
(631) 952-3333 Available 24/7 365 days

Mather Hospital
75 North Country Road, Port Jefferson, NY (631) 473-1320
Response Crisis Hotline: (631) 751-7500

10. How will personal/instructional items be retrieved from buildings? 
At this time, our buildings have been closed to the public with very few staff members permitted  inside. If you have a specific need, please reach out to the building principal who will assess the priority of the items needed (medicine, etc).  If deemed a necessity, we can make arrangements for pick up.

11. Will High School class specific activities, ie. prom, be held? 
Building administration is in the process of discussing options should there be a need for alternate plans.  At this time, the Junior Prom has been rescheduled for Friday, June 19th. This was the date that the venue and DJ were available. We will keep parents and students updated about any changes to the calendar events in the upcoming weeks.

12. What is happening with the New York State Assessments usually administered in March and April?
President Trump announced Friday morning that the Federal Government is going to waive all testing requirements. The New York State Education Department followed by announcing, "The administrations of the 2020 elementary- and intermediate-level State assessments have been suspended for the remainder of this school year." The NYSED press release can be read here: http://www.nysed.gov/news/2020/statement-board-regents-chancellor-betty-rosa-and-interim-state-education-commissioner-2

13. How will elementary students receive their second trimester report cards?
Elementary second trimester report cards are now posted in the Parent Portal. Visit the links below for information regarding the Parent Portal.
Creating Account in Parent Portal
How to Access the Parent Portal
 
14. How will third quarter grades be calculated for high school and middle school students due to the closure?
Currently, the third quarter is due to end on Friday, April 3, 2020; our plan extends the third quarter until Friday, April 17, 2020 at which time the Parent Portal will close. The Parent Portal will reopen on Friday, April 27, 2020. The fourth quarter will begin on Monday, April 20, 2020. We are still awaiting a decision from the State with regards to the Regents exams, and as soon as we have more information, we will share that information with you.

15. How will AP exams be given?
Students will receive a 45-minute online free-response exam (exact timing to be announced). There will be no multiple-choice questions. Students will complete the exam at home, online, on a specified day and time. To minimize conflicts, students will be able to choose from two different test dates, one earlier or one later.
 
Like a college exam, these exams will be “open book/open note.” They won’t test simple factual recall; instead they’ll be focused on skills and thematic understandings. Students will not be tested on content typically taught in the last 25% of an AP course, as laid out in the unit structure shown in the AP Course and Exam Description. 
 
Each student response will be monitored by plagiarism detection software, and students whose responses mirror content from the web or other students’ submissions will be disqualified.
 
Student responses will be submitted digitally and scored by remote readers. This is a similar process to the one we have used for years in scoring AP at-home work for college credit in courses like AP Seminar, AP Research, and AP Computer Science Principles.
 
The College Board will release the AP testing schedule on Friday, April 3, on their coronavirus updates page, we’ll publish the full exam schedule including the specific free-response question types that will comprise each AP exam when we receive the information.  

16. How will students be able to take a Regents exam after the closure? 
NYSED released the following guidance on March 13: 
Admission to Regents Examinations 
“Commissioner’s Regulation 8.2(a) states that all pupils who have studied a subject at an approved school for a period of time not less than that prescribed by the commissioner shall have the right to be admitted to the Regents examination at such school. In such instances where the COVID-19 virus has caused either an extended absence of individual students, or an extended closure of an entire school or program, thus preventing either the school’s ability to provide or student’s ability to meet the unit of study requirements, the superintendent amay admit students enrolled in such courses to the culminating Regents examination. In cases where the COVID-19 virus has caused either an extended absence of individual students, or an extended closure of an entire school or program, thus preventing either the school’s ability to provide or student’s ability to meet the mandatory laboratory requirement for admission to a science Regents examination, the superintendent may admit students enrolled in such courses to the culminating Regents examination.”

Although the grades three through eight State Assessments were suspended, at this time we do not have updated guidance from NYSED about the Regents exams. 

17. How will lab requirements for Regents science courses be met? 
Last guidance received from NYSED is below: 
“In cases where the COVID-19 virus has caused either an extended absence of individual students, or an extended closure of an entire school or program, thus preventing either the school’s ability to provide or student’s ability to meet the mandatory laboratory requirement for admission to a science Regents examination, the superintendent may admit students enrolled in such courses to the culminating Regents examination.”

18.  How will students complete the required community service hours?
Adjustments will be made to the required community service hours based on the length of the school closure. Members of the Class of 2020 will have the requirement waived should the closure continue past the May 1st deadline to hand in the forms documenting their hours.  Underclassmen will have their hours prorated according to their year of graduation. 

19. How will students in Drivers’ Education be impacted by the closure? 
We have been in contact with the State Department which oversees the Driver’s Education program in order to address concerns and to provide accurate information. The District completed a survey that was sent to us indicating our questions and concerns which include potential make-up time, overlap sessions, potentially waived hours, and online lecture. 

After consulting with the Department of Motor Vehicles, SED said, "School districts may allow students enrolled in driver’s education courses in the spring 2020 semester to finish their instruction during the summer 2020 session or the fall 2020 semester."  The district will continue to provide updates in the event that future sessions will be cancelled due to COVID-19.

The State Department indicated that only students who have already completed 18 hours of lecture are allowed to finish the program online.  Port Jefferson students had only completed nine hours of lecture; therefore, we are unable to complete the lecture program through online/distance based learning. 

20.  How will students in the High School apply for working papers during the closure? 
NYSED released the following information on March 30, 2020. 
“Section 3215-a of New York State Education Law requires schools to provide this service for pupils and employers in the community. School superintendents have the authority to designate principals or other school officials to act as certificating officials and nonpublic schools and BOCES may issue such certificates to their own students. Minors may apply for certificates where they live, where they go to school, or where they are to be employed.  Districts preferring to use the traditional method may continue to do so, however, they must ensure that their school community is aware of the process. If the school district provides abbreviated office hours for in-person processing of working papers, it is recommended that appointments be made to maximize social distancing. “

If your child is interested in obtaining working papers, please email Mr. Haruthunian at eharuthu@portjeffschools.org to schedule a time to process the working papers. For your convenience, we have included the link to the fillable PDF application here.

21. What will happen to our School Board elections and Budget vote? 
Governor Cuomo postponed all local elections and budget votes until June 1, 2020. We are awaiting guidance of how the actual vote will be conducted. Generally, the District conducts a series of budget workshops around the community. Given the restrictions on gatherings,  check out our first two budget presentations  on our website:
http://www.portjeffschools.org/departments/business_office

22. Why are the fields and playgrounds closed?
In compliance with the  directives issued by County Executive Bellone and Governor Cuomo, we have closed all of our fields, the high school track, tennis courts and the elementary school playgrounds to discourage gatherings, encourage social distancing practices and minimize the spread of COVID-19.

23. What is the status of the High School musical performance? 
At this point the spring musical is cancelled.  Unfortunately, the licensing for the show prevents us from postponing or live streaming the performance.

Grab and Go Meal Program

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Covid-19 Emergency Child Care Services

Emergency Child Care Letter to Parents - English / Spanish
Emergency Child Care Parent Info - English / Spanish
Registration Instructions for Emergency Child Care - English / Spanish
Emergency Child Care Locations - English / Spanish

Video Messages from Our Superintendent

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Click here to view the videos

AP Frequently Asked Questions

2020 AP Frequently Asked Questions
Monday, April 06, 2020