1. How much longer is school closed?
Governor Cuomo has announced that all schools in New York State will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year. No decision has been made regarding summer school programs. We will keep you apprised as new information is shared with us.

2. Now that the decision has been made to close the buildings for the remainder of the academic year, how will I be able to retrieve my child’s belongings?
The building principals are working along with the Director of Facilities to coordinate the retrieval of personal belongings from classrooms and lockers. Once the schedule has been decided, we will be in contact with families to facilitate the safe retrieval of all personal effects.

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.  Please see the links below for information regarding the Parent Portal.  
Creating an Account in the Parent Portal

How to Access the Parent Portal

4. What is happening with the 2020 Spring Athletic season?
After much discussion and consideration, Section XI has decided to cancel the 2020 spring athletic season for all levels.  This decision was not an easy one to make, however,  it was made in the best interest of the health and safety of all student-athletes, staff and community members. Throughout the school closure, we encourage all student-athletes to continue to be active while maintaining appropriate social distancing guidelines.  The Port Jefferson School District has also posted mental health resources on the school district website under the “Resources” tab.  Please contact our Athletic Director, Mr. Sherrard, at asherrar@portjeffschools.org with any questions.

5. 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.

6. When will my child be able to take the College Entrance Exams, such as, the PSAT, SAT and ACT?
PSAT: We are scheduled to administer the PSAT on Saturday, October 17, 2020.

SAT: The College Board has announced that if schools are open in the fall, they will provide weekend SAT administrations every month through the end of the calendar year, beginning in August. This includes a new administration on September 26 and the previously scheduled tests on August 29, October 3, November 7, and December 5. The Port Jefferson School District is registered to offer the exams on Saturday, September 26 and Saturday, November 7.  Registration for the fall SAT dates will open the week of May 26. Students can get early access to register for August, September, and October if they’re:
Already registered for June.
In the high school class of 2021 and don’t have SAT scores.
In the event that schools are still closed due to the concerns about the COVID pandemic, College Board will provide a digital SAT for home use, similar to how they are delivering the AP digital exams. They intend to ensure that the at-home SAT testing is simple, secure and fair, accessible to all, and valid for use in college admissions. 
ACT: We are scheduled to administer the ACT on Saturday, October 24, 2020 and Saturday, December 12, 2020.

7. When will the 2020 National Honor Society Induction Ceremony be held?
Due to the school closure, the National Honor Society Induction Ceremony will be held in October 2020. Students will be notified of their acceptances by Friday, May 22. Class of 2020 members of the National Honor Society will receive their pin and membership card by the end of this school year by mail.

8. What is happening with the President's Volunteer Service Award this year?
Due to the school closure and impact of social distancing on the students’ ability to complete service hours, the deadline to submit applications has been extended to Friday, July 31, 2020. Every effort will be made to distribute the awards to our 2020 graduates before they begin their post-secondary plans and coordinate a distribution ceremony in the fall provided it is safe to do so. Information about the collection of the applications will be provided in the near future. 


9. 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.

10.  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. 

11.  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.
 
12. 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

13. 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

COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Hub

Beacon Health Options

Domestic Violence Hotline: New Yorkers in need of help or assistance can text 844-997-2121 or go to the new confidential online site to reach a professional at www.opdv.ny.gov

14. 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.

15. How will fourth quarter and third trimester grades be calculated for our students due to the closure?
Building administrators and teachers are currently working to develop a grading plan that is designed to keep our students engaged in distance learning for the remainder of the academic year. We will share the final plan on Monday, May 4th.

16. 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.  

*Updated Information Regarding AP Students with Accommodations:

“Students will be able to take this year’s online AP® Exams with College Board–approved accommodations. Details are now available about how accommodations will be provided for this year’s exams. Specific details about accommodations for the AP World Language and Culture exams will be available next week.

As always, students may only use accommodations they’ve been approved for by the College Board Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) office.”

Review Accommodations Details

17. What is happening with the Regents exams.
On Monday, April 6th, Chancellor Rosa of the New York State Education Department (NYSED)  announced the cancelation of the June 2020 High School Regents Examination Program in response to the statewide closures of schools and districts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This cancellation applies to all Regents Examinations that had been scheduled for the June 2020 Regents Examination period. Due to the cancellation of the Regents, the exam grade will not be included in the Final Grade for any course culminating in a Regents exam. 

On Thursday, April 30th, NYSED cancelled the administration  all August 2020 Regents exams.

18. How does the cancellation of the June 2020 Regents administration impact the diploma types and graduation requirements for students? 
Because of the cancellation of the June 2020 Regents Examinations, the NYSED is making certain modifications to the assessment requirements that students must meet in order to earn high school diplomas, credentials, and endorsements. These modifications apply to all students enrolled in grades 7-12 during the 2019-20 school year who were intending to participate in one or more of the June 2020 Regents Examinations. For more information regarding the Regents exams and diploma types, please click on the FAQ link provided or contact your child’s guidance counselor for specific information.

19.  What effect will the cancellation of the June 2020 Regents exams have on my child’s transcript?
NYSED will develop and disseminate guidance on how schools/districts should record the exemptions from examination requirements in their student management systems, in our case, PowerSchool. NYSED will develop new codes for reporting “COVID-19 Exemptions” and provide further guidance to our school  district. We have been advised that student transcripts should not reflect an examination score for any examination for which the student is exempted during the COVID-19 closure.

20.  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. 

21. 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. 

22.  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.

23. 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

24. 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.