September 4, 2020

Dear Families,

Thank you so much to those of you who attended one of information sessions via Zoom on Wednesday, September 2.  We loved seeing your faces and names.  It was a great reminder of the wonderful community that we have here at Wagner Middle School!  As a follow-up, we wanted to provide some information for those who were not able to attend, as well as answer questions that were not answered during the session. .  

If you attended the session, the FAQ section will answer some additional questions that arose in the chat.  If you were not able to attend the session, the slideshow is attached.  The information below was also shared during the session.

Health and Safety:  Attached to this e-mail are some pictures illustrating some of the safety protocols we have put in place.  

  1. Currently, the State Department of Health (SDOH) and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) are mandating that schools follow Four Core Actions for Prevention of COVID-19 when schools reopen in September, specifically: 

    1. maintaining a physical distance of six feet,

    2. wearing face coverings,

    3. providing increased opportunities for handwashing or access to hand sanitizer,

    4. staying home when sick.

  2. We have been informed that DOE is working on an APP for families and also on getting every family a thermometer for daily temperature checks.  The idea is for families to take temperatures at home, and then submit this information on the APP.  The DOE will share more information with families when the APP is ready for use. 

  3. Wagner will utilize three entrances and exits, with supervision at all times:  6th grade - Schoolyard (75th Street and 2nd Avenue), 7th grade - Gym (75th Street and 3rd Avenue,) and 8th grade - 76th Street using the doors closest to 76th and 2nd.  We are hoping to have 76th street closed off to traffic.

  4. Students’ instructional day begins at 8:30 AM and dismissal is at 2:00 PM. Students will begin to enter the building at approximately 8:25 AM to ensure social distancing while traveling to their classrooms. 

  5. Face coverings must be worn at all times and 6 ft social distancing must be maintained throughout the school day.

  6. A designated isolation room has been identified, as well as a school-based team that will respond to health concerns in collaboration with the nurse.

  7. Throughout the day there will be multiple opportunities to wash/sanitize hands, including bathroom and water breaks.

  8. Students are encouraged to bring a filled water bottle to Wagner.  We have ensured that water bottle filling stations are working on all floors.

  9. All meals will take place in the classroom; students will not be allowed to share food.  Grab and Go food will be available each day.  Each entrance will have their own grab and go station for breakfast.  Lunch will be delivered to classrooms.

  10. At this time, we have no specific plans to utilize outdoor space for instruction.  We are applying to close off 76th street for this purpose.  After working through a cycle of in-person instruction, we will revisit incorporating outside time for all students and classes, including the yard. 

Program and Schedule:

School Calendar

  1. We are still waiting on an official Department of Education calendar.  On Monday, the mayor announced that full-day instruction, for both blended learning and remote learning students, will begin on Monday, September 21st. All students will have remote orientation days on Wednesday, September 16th through Friday, September 18th.  

    1. On remote orientation days, students will meet their teachers, engage in activities with their Homeroom class and Advisory teachers, and receive technical support as needed. 

    2. On the first day of school, Monday September 21st, Cohort A will be attending Wagner in-person and all other cohorts are attending remotely.

    3. That starts a six day cycle of each cohort, with each cohort attending two consecutive school days.  See slides for a draft calendar.

    4. There are no set days that each cohort will be attending, rather will follow this 6-day cycle

    5. Once an official DOE calendar is available, we will publish a Wagner Calendar of cohort days.

NYC Student Accounts and Cohort Information

  1. All students need to activate their NYC student account.  Directions have been e-blasted and posted on Wagner social media.  Reach out to Grade Level Technology support if you have questions about accessing this account

6th Grade:  Kelli Buck

7th Grade: Dan Waldeck

8th Grade:  Charles Kim

  1. Google Classroom

    1. All registered students have been added to their homeroom Google Classroom.  Posted on these classrooms were class lists that indicate the cohort of students in the classroom.

    2. It is possible for students in all cohorts (A-D) to be in each homeroom.  This is designed so that if students switch into or out of remote learning, students will not have to change homeroom classes or teachers.  The goal is to provide consistency in community and instruction for students and teachers.


  1. Each homeroom class is part of a House (e.g., Class 611 is part of the 610s House). Each House has its own ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies teachers. These teachers will teach all students in the homeroom classes in the House, whether they are blended or remote learning students. In addition, students will have the following:

    1. 6th Grade: Technology, PE/Health, one semester of band, and one semester of Visual Art

    2. 7th Grade: PE/Health, Band or Theater Arts

    3. 8th Grade: Spanish, PE, and either year-long Band or one semester of Visual Art and one semester of Technology

All classes are offered to students in both blended learning and remote learning. 

A sample student schedule for both remote and blended learning is included in the slideshow.

  1. Advisory:  All students, blended and remote, will begin with Advisory following a curriculum.  At Wagner, we have worked with the Morningside Center for the past several years to design an advisory curriculum based on critical social emotional skills and restorative practices.  Your child’s advisor(s) will be a key point of contact for them this school year in maintaining a tight home-school connection. 

    1. At various times in the day, students will engage in synchronous instruction (“live teaching”) from their content teachers. Students will not have synchronous instruction in every class every day; their schedule of classes will alternate (Day 1 and Day 2) 



Will there be times when students will be permitted to take off their masks?

At this time, the guidance states that students and staff must wear a mask at all times. Students will take off their masks while eating breakfast and lunch, then put their masks back on. 

Why are we NOT mandating COVID-19 tests and results for students and faculty for the beginning of in person learning?

It was announced yesterday that testing will occur as a blind representative sample composed of 10-20% of all students and adults from every school.  These  will be selected each month for COVID-19 testing, starting in October.  The percentage will be based on zip codes with higher levels of the virus.  Please know, we are awaiting final guidance and procedures.

It seems like students should stay home if they are feeling only slightly under the weather. Will kids in this category (who are not really sick) be able to do online instruction so they do not fall behind?

If students or staff are not feeling well, they should stay home and take care of themselves.  With our current programming, students will be able to engage in remote instruction if they need to stay home on a day that they are scheduled to be in the school building.

Sink faucets, toilet flushers, soap dispensers, paper towels dispensers? Will these be updated to sensor dispensers?  

At this time, there is no plan for these items to be updated to sensors.  However, these items are considered high-touch surfaces and will be cleaned throughout the day by the custodial staff.

What will electives look like?  Including PE, theater arts, band, visual arts, technology, etc.

Students will take the same courses that they would in a more typical school year, however, these classes will likely look somewhat different. Elective classes will also meet for synchronous instruction (“live teaching”), although less frequently than Core courses, as is typically true. Teachers are working to adapt their classes to the remote and blended learning model. 

What will sports and afterschool programs look like?

 At this time, we do not have information about after school programs or sports. 

What will lunch look like?  Will students be permitted out of the building?

Students will eat lunch in their classrooms. School lunch will be provided. Students may choose to bring lunch. There will be no “out lunch” until social distancing restrictions are no longer needed. 

Will Wagner be making plans for utilizing outdoor spaces for instruction?

We are looking into ways to utilize our outdoor space in good weather to allow students to get fresh air and move around. We want to go through a cycle of instruction before we make adjustments to our program.  We do not have plans to set up outdoor classrooms, such as moving desks and chairs out of doors. 

Will there be a difference in in-person vs remote instruction? Will remote be Wagner teachers? Will it be synchronous?

Instruction will include both synchronous (live) and asynchronous (self-paced) instruction in all classes. At this time, we plan for all instruction, both in person and remote, to be provided by Wagner teachers. 

Will the assignments be the same across the grade like it was in spring, with all students required to complete the same assignment each day? 

Each teacher will have their own Google Classroom and will post instructional materials and provide synchronous instruction to their own students. 

Does my child need to bring her computer/Ipad to school for in person learning? 

We are working on taking final inventory of our computers/iPads at Wagner to provide devices for every child in each classroom. Final guidance on this will be provided as we get closer to the start of school. 

What school supplies will students need?

A list of school supplies has been shared with families on the Wagner website and included in Edukits for families who ordered those earlier in the summer. Ms. Gonzalez will blast out the list again and we will repost to our website.  We do not want students carrying back and forth to school more supplies than they need.  Teachers will share specific information about the materials that students will need to bring to school on in-person days. 

Chat Questions:

What is the teacher’s role as a facilitator during blended learning?

Instruction will be delivered by the content area teacher,  such as Zoom.  Facilitating teachers will be in the room and available to support students as they work through any activities to ensure that students are able to access and engage with the content. 

Will students have the same teachers for both in-person and remote instruction?

Yes, with our model, teachers will teach all students assigned to their house, regardless of their cohort.  Similarly, if a student switches from in-person to remote or vice versa, students will maintain a consistent group of teachers.

Has the water been checked for Legionnaires bacteria?

The water is tested regularly at Wagner.  The custodial engineer and facilities department is responsible for maintaining the drinking water supply.

What will the band elective look like, and how will students be notified about their participation in the band?

In a change from Wagner’s traditional program, all 6th grade students will receive one semester of band/music instruction and one semester of visual art instruction.  You do not need to opt-in or out of band.  For 7th and 8th grade students, when students receive their finalized program their electives will be listed.

What does the Honors program look like at Wagner this year?

This year, accelerated classes are offered to 8th grade students in Algebra, Earth Science, and US History.  Students have already been notified via email and placed in the corresponding class and cohort.  There currently are no honors classes offered for the 6th and 7th grade students.

What updates have been made to the High School Admissions process?

Unfortunately, we do not have any guidance around High School Admissions at this time.  We have scheduled high school admissions consultants for the fall to host sessions for families once more guidance has been released.

Is there any information about state test administration?

At this time, there is no guidance around the administration of standardized state tests.  We will keep you informed as more information becomes available from New York State.

How will grading work this year?  How can we keep up with our student’s progress?

In the first weeks of school, all students and families will be provided with the Wagner specific grading policy.  There has been no guidance from the Department of Education on policies related to grading during hybrid and remote instruction.  Wagner will be implementing a Mastery Based Grading system, to more accurately assess student understanding in all settings.  Wagner will continue to use PupilPath as our online gradebook so students and families can monitor their progress.  6th grade families and families new to Wagner will receive login information once it becomes available.

How often will students who are remote have synchronous instruction?

Each day, students will follow a predetermined schedule of synchronous lessons, via Zoom or another platform.  Once programs are finalized, students will have a clear schedule to follow each day. 

How will students who have food allergies eat lunch in the classroom?

Wagner has two dedicated nurses who provide staff with information around student allergies.  Staff will be made aware of any student with a food allergy and arrangements will be made accordingly.

Will students be able to interact with students in another cohort or another class during the day?

Following current guidelines, students will remain with their cohort in their classroom for the duration of the school day, except for any breaks (bathroom, handwashing,).  Students will interact virtually with their remote counterparts in their class but in different cohorts.  In-person interactions between classes are not scheduled due to current health and safety guidance. 

Please reach out if you have any questions. Enjoy the long holiday weekend!


Jennifer Rehn Losquadro

See Wagner School Photos:

See PowerPoint Presentation: 

See copy of above letter in pdf format to download or print: 

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