Employees of an Upstate NY school district were invited to a live, one-hour YouTube forum with their Superintendent. Teachers and staff* were told to submit their questions in the chat box. The following are snippets of what ensued.**
2:00 KT: Will students be able to get any doctor to give them a note for mask exemptions, or just the ones to whom they’ve gifted Italian cookie trays at Christmastime?
2:03 Luddite49: Anyone else not seeing video?
2:04 Teacher_By_Day: Can I be closer than 6 ft to students if we’re both wearing masks? Is it still legal to hug students?
2:07 HL: I have heard teachers buying scrubs and have shoes that can be washed. Back in my home country, the schools provided teachers with high quality washers and dryers. One was named Berta.
2:12 BeakersNSneakers: When allergy season hits, can we just give kids welding hoods? I don't think the face shields will be enough.
2:12 idyll_hands: WE'RE ALL DOOMED
2:13 Señora_1987: I just hope that we all make it out alive. I've gotta see Maroon 5 next summer.
2:13 Coach_Luke: Have subs been advised to purchase additional life insurance?
2:14 Justin_Trials: Will building air circulating units be set for continuous circulation of air, independent of heating and cooling cycles?
2:14 Custodial_Support: Oh, Justin! LOL !
2:15 WordsWordsWords: Could a teacher pump 100% remotely from her car or home and return to the classroom since by definition pumping is a remote activity?
2:16 Making_Copies: Is there a policy for students returning to school during the day? At the secondary level the students seem to have many “appointments.” Ahem.
2:17 SummahtiveTime: How will subs know it's really the actual student checking in remotely and not a friend or a parent? Oh, never mind. Our kids don't lie!
2:17 NachoTeacha: If we go 100% remote this school year, can I teach from another country in the same time zone?
2:18 YouHadMeAtYellow: Can art teachers safely send clay projects home with kids if the kiln will essentially kill all germs anyhow?
2:19 Boomers_Taxonomy: Can we have @Home_Etc and seniors who need extra community service hours watch our kids in the school basement? They'd just have to stay away from the boilers.
2:20 Glory_Daze1972: What would happen if we put a football in the kiln? I bet that would be wicked cool.
2:20 At_Dawn_We_Teach: Did someone just remark that the kids went 6 months without learning? Ridiculous! There are plenty of documentaries on Netflix.
2:20 Coach_Luke: @YouHadMeAtYellow I'd like to see what happens to the football. #hotpigskin
2:21 My_Name_Is_Simon: What about those of us in gyms? What’s the ventilation like there? Did someone say hot pigskin?
2:22 In_A_Van_DownByTheSchoolyard: Do we know staff and parents will be honest in the health survey? I won't be.
2:22 idyll_hands: What about parents who medicate their children so that they don't register as having a fever and send them to school? I propose they do a tour of cafeteria duty.
2:24 Ice_Pax4U: Nurse Sue here. I created a cocktail this summer (accident)! The TUMStini.
2:25 Staff_Infection: @Ice_Pax4U Sloe Gin Fizz-Fizz. Alka-Seltzer, gin, lemon juice, make simple syrup out of cherry cough drops. #schoolnursesmixitup
2:25 We_Need_More_Bromance_Novels: I heard teachers in Russia can get free, rapid testing! Why can't we?
2:25 WondersOfAlgebra: When/if a teacher is asked to monitor a lunch will the teacher be able to refuse that duty if they are uncomfortable? Watching teenagers with braces eat is nauseating.
2:26 Strange_Equations: If Teacher A begins at building 5 with cohort B of 28 students at 8 a.m. and travels to building 9 by 9 a.m. for 2nd cohort B of 17 students in building 6, how many days before someone remembers to initiate contact tracing?
2:26 My_Name_Is_Simon: Can I take my contracted lunch break alone in a dark closet?
2:26 Late_Bel_Esprit: Can I hold on to all of my sick days in case I decide to retire in November.
2:27 Fastidiosus_Maximus: We have a week to prepare if schedules come out next week. And I do not have my Bitmoji Classroom ready yet.
2:31 IWanda: If a family chooses to go to a vacation "hot spot," like Texarkana or Chuck-E-Cheese, what is the expectation with sending quarantining students homework?
2:32 I_Gotya_Back: asymptomatic carriers are a real concern for spread, not to mention folks whose names are Carrie, Justin, and Gotya.
2:33 DD8: Who will monitor bathrooms to ensure students from different cohorts are not in together, less than 6 feet apart, not playing or sharing their Juuls? Or sharing answers to quizzes?
2:33 PR_24-7: ALL: There will not be smoking in lavatories. There will be no quizzes this year. No one is allowed to retire. Those who opt to teach remotely will need to tether one toe, by rope, to a point on the football field.
2:34 Carrie_R: @I_Gotya_Back WHAT
2:37 L_Ruff: yes details on #hotpigskin
2:42 Smells-Like-Tween-Spirit: Can we have K-1st grade kids wear velcro-close shoes and elastic-waistband pants only? Works for me.
2:42 EmpatheticKineticPoetic: I hear the deep clean gives a nice buzz if you breathe deeply through the mask.
2:43 She's_A_Math_Eater: “Remote Wednesday” = time to plan with our co-teachers, six feet apart, at Town Pub? Just a suggestion.
2:45 Yawn-Govnmt: I'm going to need at least a week to transform my classroom into Hogwarts again.
2:48 Don’tTouchMyPens: Can we go business-on-top, p.j.s-on-bottom for Parents’ Night?
2:51 Not_Grade_Away: What consideration is there for shared office space? Water coolers? The water cooler is my only defense against hot flashes.
2:52 DangerousPTALiasons: The masks your board members and reps are wearing today are for sale on district site. Proceeds go to hiring new subs!
2:54 IWanda: How will air be circulated in the buildings when the weather gets cold?
2:55 HR_4U: Take the kids outside for class. Duh, @IWanda.
2:58 PR_24-7: If your question wasn't answered today, sorry. We will do our best to answer every question, except for the really hard ones and those from the paraprofessionals.
2:59 KT: What are mask breaks going to look like? How long will we have to memorize the rest of the kids’ faces?
3:00 Road_Worrier: I teach kids how to drive, and this virus scares me more. Why won't someone talk about death as a possibility?
3:04 gary_no-good-gnus: @Road_Worrier you and I are the only people that are not afraid of mentioning death and Driver's Ed.
3:05 PR_24-7: We will send suggestions about para Q&A to planning committee that is representing all stakeholders. Not sure who that is yet. 3:05 PM Luddite49: I’m here! I did it!
3:06 Nature'sFirstPonyStaysGolden: It’s not equitable to allow those with kids to leave when those of us who conscientiously chose not to further defile the planet with more waste-making creatures have to stay behind. Uch, I hate children.
3:06 Circle_Time: Kids have been educated remotely for years. That was what Sesame Street and Captain Kangaroo proved every day.
3:07 ArithMatty84: Did you hear the one about those three science teachers in AZ who shared a classroom? There are only two left. . . no joke.
3:08 Kat: Hey everyone. We have a line in our contract covering mandated quarantine, so we don't have to use sick days for it. Party @GloryDaze1972 's backyard! BYOMasks and hot pigskins!
3:10 PR_24-7: We are now shutting off comments. Please join us tonight for our live parents' meeting, which ought to be a blast. Think I'll go make myself a Sloe Gin Fizz Fizz.
*Of course, names/monikers have been changed.
** This is a much shorter version of something that started out as eleven pages: those pages were the actual questions our staff submitted to admin; while our questions-- like our anxieties about returning to school-- are real, the questions above are meant to merely give an impression of just a fraction of the logistics a district must take into account in order to reopen safely.