QHS student welcome back letter

Dear QHS Students and Parents:

Welcome back for the 2020-2021 school year! I hope you have had opportunities to enjoy the summer months amidst the pandemic, and that you are excited to begin a new school year. The global pandemic has created many challenges for our school community. Currently, NYS has the fewest coronavirus cases in the U.S., which is a testament to the collaboration and teamwork necessary to stop the spread. We have worked diligently to design a reopening plan that will allow students and staff members to safely return to campus, both virtually and in-person. Face coverings and physical distancing are the required ‘gold standards’ for safety, and students and staff members will be required to complete a daily wellness (COVID-19) self screening app at home, before arriving on campus. Additional information on this mandatory screening process will be shared prior to opening day. The health and safety of all students and staff remains our number one priority. We will do everything possible to ensure the success of all our students.

QHS will be following a hybrid schedule in which students physically attend school every other day. Several families have also chosen the full remote (virtual) learning option for at least the first 10 weeks of school. When students are not physically in school, they will be connected to their class in ‘real time’ via Chromebook. Students and teachers will utilize Google Classroom and Google Meets to achieve this goal.

Hybrid schedule

Each grade level (cohort) has been divided alphabetically, so that our building will be at half capacity on any given day. The hybrid schedule rotation will be AA, BB, CC, DD to maximize in-person instruction. Every course will have two new lessons, back to back, with one lesson live (in-person) and the other lesson remote (virtual), via Google Meet. For the hybrid schedule, each grade level cohort will be divided as shown:

Freshman class

  • Group 1 (A-L) – 126 students
  • Group 2 (M-Z) – 119 students

Sophomore class

  • Group 1 (A-J) – 128 students
  • Group 2 (K-Z) – 132 students

Junior class

  • Group 1 (A-J) – 138 students
  • Group 2 (K-Z) – 140 students

Senior class

  • Group 1 (A-J) – 133 students
  • Group 2 (K-Z) – 136 students

See the schedule below. A special abbreviated schedule on the first two days of school will provide an opportunity for students to attend all their courses, both A and B day classes, and meet all their teachers.

View the hybrid schedule.

All students will be expected to follow their daily schedule, both in-person and virtually via Google Meet. Teachers will provide synchronous and synchronous-blended instruction. Daily attendance will be taken each block. Any student attending remotely, either hybrid or 100% virtual, will need to be present on the Google Meet with their Chromebook camera on.

Virtual schedule

The same guidelines will be in place for students who have chosen the full remote (virtual) option. Every lesson will be accessed by the student via Google Meet. Students will be able to interact and ask questions utilizing the Google Meet ‘Chat’ feature. Although hands-on activities will be limited with the full, virtual option, students will have access to demonstrations, simulations, and observations. For lab sciences, written lab reports will still be required. Physical Education classes will have virtual lessons and utilize PLT4M to log all physical activities. Once extracurricular activities and interscholastic athletics are permitted to begin, students choosing the full remote (virtual) option will be allowed to participate. Virtual learners should plan to pick up their textbooks in the main office (secure vestibule) on 9/3 and 9/8.

Spartan SAFE

In addition to daily screening before school, physical distancing and face coverings are required. Hand sanitizing stations have been set up throughout the building, and students will be responsible for cleaning their work areas with a ‘green safe’ cleaning product. The custodial staff will be cleaning high touch points throughout the day, and the entire building will be disinfected after all students and staff have been dismissed.

BOCES – career and technical education

Students participating in these programs will follow the hybrid schedule and attend their programs in-person every other day. On opening day, students who attend BOCES should report directly to the cafeteria for homeroom and an updated student schedule. Bus transportation will be provided to and from Southern Adirondack. Eligible seniors and juniors are permitted to drive directly to the Southern Adirondack campus this year. No passengers! Please fill out a BOCES Parking Permit application and submit to the main office as soon as possible. On their designated day of attendance, all BOCES students will return to school for period three classes. We will also do the student assembly program on opening day when students return to school from BOCES.

ECCA/PTECH

Students participating in these programs will be placed into smaller cohorts and attend their programs every day. On opening day, students who participate in the Early College Career Academy will report directly to the cafeteria for homeroom and an updated schedule. Bus transportation will be provided to and from SUNY Adirondack. Eligible seniors and juniors are permitted to drive directly to the SUNY Adirondack campus this year. No passengers! Please fill out an ECCA Parking Permit application, ECCA Liability contract, and submit to the main office as soon as possible.

Opening day for students and arrival procedures

Tuesday, Sept. 8 is opening day for Group 1 students. Group 2 students and full remote (virtual) learners will have their opening day on Wednesday, Sept. 9. Students will be following a special schedule that allows them to see all their teachers in every course (A/B day classes) on the opening days. Upon arrival to school, students must report to the following areas in order to maintain physical distancing requirements:

  • Grade 9 will report to one side of the Blue Gym
  • Grade 10 will report to the Gold Gym
  • Grades 11/12 will report to the opposite side of the Blue Gym
  • BOCES/ECCA students will report to one half of the Cafe.

Students will still be allowed to have breakfast physically distanced in one half of the cafeteria. The school day will begin with a warning bell at 7:25 a.m. and students will report directly to their first block class for homeroom, as posted on their schedule for the first day (A Day). Student schedules and general announcements will be made in homeroom, which is always part of Block one. With this bell schedule, the school day ends at 2 p.m. and the first bus run home leaves at 2:06 p.m. There is no after school activity period until further notice. Any student who needs to see a teacher after school must make an appointment and have their own transportation home. All clubs, athletics and extracurricular activities are on hold until Sept. 21.

Student assembly program

On Tuesday and Wednesday of the first week of school, we will be hosting a virtual assembly program for all students to review our new COVID-19 safety protocols. We will also discuss academic programs, review the code of conduct, and share our expectations of student responsibilities that will ensure a successful, safe school year. We look forward to welcoming our students back! The assembly program will also include a Chromebook orientation session. Full virtual students may join on 9/9.

Parking

The Spartan Lot at the front of the building will be for staff. The Gold Lot and Blue Lot have been reserved for students. All students who park on campus must be registered and display a parking permit. Students with parking permits will be allowed to park in either the Gold Lot or the Blue Lot on a first come first serve basis. All visitors will park in the designated visitor parking spots in the Gold Lot.

Spartan TecKnow

This initiative will continue to provide all QHS students with a Chromebook for in-school and at-home use during the school year. Instructional technology is an essential part of our students’ daily educational experience, and these Chromebooks help to expand their ability to communicate, create, collaborate and think critically. This initiative also helps to ensure all of our students have regular, equitable access to digital learning tools in school and at home. Chromebooks are an essential tool for virtual teaching and learning. Please make sure your Chromebook is fully charged and in good working order. There is no fee to receive a district-issued Chromebook. Students will become financially responsible for their assigned Chromebooks only if the Chromebooks are damaged, lost or stolen, which is the same policy for textbooks and instruments. View the TecKnow user guide.

This year, we will again offer families the option to purchase Extended Care through the school district. This $25 annual fee will cover up to two accidental damage claims per year and covers things like broken screens, accidental drops, and liquid spills. As an added incentive, if you purchase Extended Care for your child and no claims are filed for the school year, your $25 care fee automatically rolls into the next school year and will continue to roll as long as no repairs are required. However, 9th grade students who will be receiving a new Chromebook this year must renew Extended Care (even if they had no claims in prior years while in the Middle School). Specific information on purchasing Extended Care for your child will be available at the start of the school year. If you would like to know more about the extended care plan, please email our district’s technology director, John Luthringer (jluthringer@queensburyschool.org).

Additionally, for our remote students any technical questions or issues with your Chromebook should be directed to techhelp@queensburyschool.org. Our hybrid students should continue to utilize the QHS Student Help Desk for repairs.

Student schedules

Enclosed is your student’s academic schedule. Please review this schedule closely and if you have any questions, contact your counselor ASAP. On opening day for Group 1 students, all Group 1 students will report directly to their block one, A-Day class for homeroom. Group 2 students will do the same on the following day. Homeroom is always embedded in the block one class. All lunches will take place during period three based on your class assignment, which will be distributed in HR. All counselors will be available by virtual appointment for any scheduling concerns. Any course changes must be made according to our add/drop deadlines. For core courses (English, social studies, mathematics, science and foreign language), changes may only be made from Sept. 28 – Oct. 2. For electives, no course drop/adds will be accepted after Sept. 25 for half-year classes, and Oct. 2 for full-year classes.

Freshman/new student orientation

Wednesday, Sept. 2 at 12 p.m. via Google Meet. Students will virtually tour the building, review their schedule, and note the location of their first block class. Students should review their enclosed schedule and join Google Classroom – Class of 2024. New Chromebooks were issued on Thursday, Aug. 27 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. This program should take about one hour.

New staff member

We have welcomed a new school psychologist to the high school staff this summer. Sarah Goetze is the latest addition to the counseling center and is excited to join the Queensbury family of educators.

Safety and security

School safety is the top priority for QUFSD. There are many components to the school safety plan, a plan that the district remains actively engaged in throughout the year. In addition to our School Resource Officers (SROs), the high school entrance has a secure vestibule during school hours with a video buzzer system. All visitors entering QHS must enter the building through the new secure vestibule in the front of the building. Visitors entering the building will be required to show a valid driver’s license to be issued a temporary photo ID badge. Parent conferences will also be scheduled virtually this year.

School nurse – medication drop-off

If your student needs to be administered medications during the school day, our school nurse, Lisa Tubbs, will be available on 9/2 and 9/3 from 8-11:30 a.m. and 12:30-3 p.m. to collect meds for storage here at QHS. If you cannot make this time, please contact Mrs. Tubbs at ltubbs@queensburyschool.org to make other arrangements.

Senior privileges

QHS is a closed campus with the exception of late arrival and early dismissal for students who meet the eligibility criteria listed in the Student Handbook. Students may NOT leave the building during their lunches or study halls in the middle of the day. Senior privileges will be granted this year for both 1st block and 4th block in order to reduce the daily capacity of our building.

Student photographs

On occasion, student photographs, video recordings or work may be used on the district website, Facebook page, in district and community publications, or released to the media to recognize student achievement or highlight school activities. If you DO NOT want your child’s picture, name or work published in any way, please indicate this in writing to me by Sept. 18, 2020 and we will honor your request.

Contact Information: Our district utilizes SchoolMessenger to send out emails and messages. Please make sure your email and contact information are up to date in SchoolTool by logging into the Parent Portal. You may contact Mrs. DeJesus or Mrs. Nelson in the Guidance Office sdejesus@queensburyschool.org and knelson@queensburyschool.org to make any necessary changes. The new high school web page is a valuable resource for up to date information on school activities and events. You can also follow the administrative team on Twitter: @Mr_SwitzerQHS, @Mr_HammQHS, and @MrSnideQHS. Please visit our new website frequently for updates. View the QHS parent FAQ.

I look forward to an outstanding school year and working collaboratively with all of you. Together, we will work together to navigate the challenges that lie ahead. If there is anything we can do to help throughout the year, please do not hesitate to email or call. My phone number is (518) 824-4626. Let’s have a great school year!

Sincerely,

Damian Switzer
Principal

Daniel Hamm
Assistant Principal (Grades 10, 12)

Andrew Snide
Assistant Principal (Grades 9, 11)