Athletics and Extracurricular Activities

  • Interscholastic sports, and extracurricular activities are an important aspect of student life and the school community. During the COVID shutdown students were unable to engage in and enjoy these social activities that are part of the fabric of any school program. As schools plan for reopening in September, attention will be paid to bringing back activities that can be conducted in a safe environment with appropriate social distancing protocols. In addition, schools will consider the creation of extracurricular activities that can be continued remotely in the event of another shutdown.

    Per the reopening guidance issued by the NYS Department of Health, the district must develop policies regarding extracurricular programs including which activities will be allowed, considering social distancing, PPE usage, and cleaning and disinfection, as well as risk of COVID-19 transmission (e.g., interscholastic sports, assemblies, and other gatherings). Policies consider how to maintain cohorts, if applicable, or members of the same household. The district  refers to DOH’s “Interim Guidance for Sports and Recreation During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” to assist in development of these policies; however, interscholastic sports are not permitted at the time of publication of this guidance, and additional information on athletic activities is forthcoming.

    Interscholastic Athletics
    The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYPSPHSAA) has established a COVID-19 Task Force comprised of NYSPHSAA member superintendents, principals, athletic directors and executive directors in addition to representatives from New York State Athletic Administrators Association and State Education Department. The Task Force will provide guidance when New York high school student-athletes are allowed to return to athletics. The task force is reviewing State and local health guidelines, as well as NYSED guidance, regarding the 2020-2021 school year to determine, among other things, the extent to which changes may be needed for each interscholastic sports season. The COVID-19 Task Force will continue to review all aspects of the fall 2020 season and the 2020-2021 school year related to the COVID-19 crisis, such as practice requirements; fan attendance; resocialization efforts; protocol; procedures; transportation; etc. As more information becomes available it will be shared on the NYSPHSAA website.

    • Considerations for Athletics and Extracurricular Activities
      • Restrict and/or limit use of school/district facilities to district or school sponsored extracurricular activities and groups. If any external community organizations are permitted to use school/district facilities, schools/districts must ensure such organizations follow State and locally developed guidance on health and safety protocols.
      • Maximize the use of technology and online resources to create or continue some extracurricular activities that may not need or have limited person-to-person contact.

    • Extracurricular Activities and Use of Facilities Outside of School Hours
      • All extracurricular activities and external community organizations that use school facilities must follow State and local health and safety protocols and must comply with applicable social distancing requirements and hygiene protocol.
      • Follow New York State Department of Health guidelines and CDC guidelines on wearing of masks, handwashing and social distancing.

    Certification, Incidental, and Substitute Teaching
    Pursuant to Education Law 3001, individuals employed to teach in New York State public schools must hold a valid certificate. School districts, BOCES, and charter schools can review the SIRS 329 Staff Certifications report, which is available in Cognos for authorized users, to ensure that teachers hold the appropriate certificates for their teaching assignments. This re- port is refreshed weekly and lists all valid certificates for all staff identified in the school district, BOCES, or charter school Staff Snapshot.

    In response to the COVID-19 crisis, a superintendent of schools may assign certified teachers to teach a subject not covered by their certificate (incidental teaching) for a period not to exceed ten classroom hours a week during the 2020-2021 school year, when no certified or qualified teacher is available after extensive and documented recruitment. BOCES review and approve the requests for incidental teaching.

    • Substitute teachers may be an important resource for schools during the COVID-19 crisis and currently fall into one of the three following categories:
      • Substitute teachers with a valid teaching certificate can work in any capacity, for any number of days. If they are employed for more than 40 days by a school district or BOCES in a school year, they must be employed in an area for which they are certified.
      • Substitute teachers without a valid certificate, but who are working towards certification (taking college coursework) at a rate of not less than six semester hours per year, can work in any capacity, for any number of days, in any number of school districts. If they are employed for more than 40 days by a school district or BOCES in a school year, they must be employed in the area for which they are seeking certification.
      • Substitute teachers who do not hold a valid teaching certificate and are not working towards certification may work for no more than 40 days in a school district or BOCES in a school year, except as described below.

    During the 2020-2021 school year, due to the COVID-19 crisis, substitute teachers who do not hold a valid teaching certificate and are not working towards certification, but hold a high school diploma or its equivalent, may be employed by the school district or BOCES beyond the 40-day limit, for up to an additional 50 days (90 days total in a school year),if the district superintendent (for BOCES and districts that are a component district of a BOCES) or the superintendent (for school districts that are not a component district of a BOCES) certifies that the district or BOCES, as applicable, has conducted a good faith recruitment search for a properly certified candidate and there are no available certified teachers that can perform the duties of such position. In rare circumstances, a district or BOCES may hire a substitute teacher beyond the 90 days, if a district superintendent or superintendent attests that a good faith recruitment search has been conducted and that there are still no available certified teachers who can perform the duties of such position and that a particular substitute teacher is needed to work with a specific class or group of students until the end of the school year.

    • Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework

    NYSED has created the Culturally Responsive-Sustaining (CR-S) Education Framework to help educators create student-centered learning environments that affirm racial, linguistic and cultural identities, prepare students for rigor and independent learning, develop students’ abilities to connect across lines of difference, elevate historically marginalized voices, and empower students as agents of social change. The Framework provides guidelines that address contributions to be made by multiple stake- holders—including teachers, administrators, students, and community partners—in developing a strong CR-S education. Clyde-Savannah CSD will continue to apply the principles of the CR-S Framework in planning for the reopening of schools in 2020-21, to the greatest extent possible.

    • Teacher and Principal Evaluation System (EDUCATION LAW §3012-D/APPR)

    Consistent with research and best practices, the Department believes that well-designed and implemented teacher and principal evaluations (“Annual Professional Performance Review”; “APPR”) are an important tool to help support educator growth and development. With this goal in mind, the measures that are used as part of an annual evaluation should provide useful information to district administrators and the educators who are being evaluated that helps support educators and leverage their expertise. In turn, this helps ensure equitable access to effective educators for all students so that students are given the skills to succeed.

    In this unprecedented time of school closures, LEAs are facing new challenges in evaluating and supporting their professional staff. Although LEAs should not penalize their educators as a result of the challenges to learning presented by the COVID-19 crisis, they must still make sure students are being taught as effectively as is practical to expect. Therefore, providing support that teachers and school leaders require is critical at this time.

    Providing feedback and support to educators through the evaluation process can both equip them as they adjust their practice to distance learning, as well as guide focus areas for future growth once students and teachers return to their physical classrooms.

    Pursuant to Education Law 3012-d, each school district and BOCES must fully implement its currently approved APPR plans in each school year16.