Health, Safety and Program Adaptations
Update: October 12 2020
The task is...not so much to see what no one has yet seen; but to think what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees. Erwin Schrödinger, Nobel Laureate Physicist
Dear Parents and Guardians,
As we complete our first month of school, we are carefully monitoring all aspects of the District’s reopening plan. Research and information about Covid-19 and the most effective ways to deliver virtual learning continue to dominate the news. Information is often conflicting and ever-evolving. Our dual responsibility is to ensure student, faculty, and staff safety and well-being and advance our educational program. The brilliant physicist Edwin Schrödinger reminds us that our work is to make sense of conflicting information and think about what nobody has yet thought.
Our reopening plan was based on the best information available at the time. However, we continuously analyze the latest research on health, safety, and best teaching practices. This letter outlines several changes the District will make based on our assessment after one month of school. We are:
Adapting the elementary program to increase direct instruction and student-teacher interaction.
Enhancing the monitoring of student engagement and attendance, especially when students learn from home.
Developing a data dashboard to further assess daily student engagement.
Updating our symptom management protocol; the latest information is available on the District’s Coronavirus webpage.
We will likely undergo further adaptations throughout the year as information and circumstances change. I wish to acknowledge and thank our dedicated faculty for adapting, innovating, and for their unrelenting commitment to improving teaching and learning for our students.
Health & Safety Adaptations
Beginning October 19, the Safety iPass will require parents to indicate that their child will be attending school whether students are attending virtually, in person, or learning from home.
The Safety iPass Screening App has been updated to include new Covid-19 symptoms. Please read the screening questionnaire carefully every day. It is regularly updated based on new information about symptoms and an updated list of states on the New York State quarantine list. Providing accurate information is critical to keeping our schools safe and open.
New York State has updated the Symptom Management Protocol on Coronavirus cases in school settings. The updated information outlining procedures for positive cases, contact tracing, and notifications is on the Coronavirus webpage.
Changes to the Elementary Instructional Model: Elementary school instruction will increase synchronous and in-person instruction. Beginning October 26:
Students in grades K-5 will attend school in-person on alternating Mondays by cohort (PRIDE/HUSKY) for a half-day, 8:50 AM -11:15 AM. Students in the PRIDE cohort begin on October 26. Students in the HUSKY cohort begin on November 2.
Students may participate in the Monday session virtually until parents can secure childcare. Breakfast is available, and busing is provided to eligible students.
Teachers will conduct a whole class synchronous lesson every morning with all students learning in person, at home, and virtually. The whole class learning experience allows teachers to work with their entire class and provide synchronous daily direction to students learning from home and virtually. Teachers will provide parents with the schedule for the synchronous lessons.
Hybrid students will continue to attend school in person according to the Husky/Pride cohort schedule.
Adapting K-12 Instruction: Last week, the District suspended the requirement of waiting ten weeks before students could change from virtual to hybrid instruction. The District offered parents who initially selected the virtual learning option a one-week timeframe to choose hybrid learning. Many parents availed themselves of this option. Principals are notifying parents about the new placement. Another opportunity to change a student’s learning model is available at the end of the first quarter for secondary or trimester for elementary.
The task is...not so much to see what no one has yet seen; but to think what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees.
Many things are still unknown about Covid-19. Still, it has become evident that adhering to social distancing, rigorous cleaning protocols, handwashing, and wearing masks are essential to keeping our schools open and our students, faculty, and staff safe. We will not deviate from that path until we have clear evidence and guidance that it is safe to do so. However, we will continue to monitor and reassess infection rates across the District and region to determine if further adaptations are appropriate. We are working diligently to be proactive and...to think what nobody has yet thought.
Being Proactive & Working Together
The District is making flu shots available to our employees. The approaching cold weather and seasonal flu increase the challenges of keeping our schools healthy and safe. We encourage you to vaccinate family members to prevent flu outbreaks in our schools. Your proactive support will help us to maintain a safe environment and a continuity of learning for our students.
Our children need stability more than ever; your personal choices can improve the chances of providing that stability. Now more than ever, our individual decisions can have a far-reaching and profoundly positive impact on our own families and the families of others. As we approach the season of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for your commitment to a shared responsibility for our learning community’s safety and well-being.
Louis N. Wool, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools