11/19 Update from the Superintendent
Thanksgiving Break & Rapid Dismissal
Update: November 19 2020
We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It's easy to say "It's not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem." Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.
Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers)
Dear Harrison Families,
At this time of Thanksgiving, children's television icon Mr. Rogers reminds us... We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility... and that our community extends far beyond the borders of our neighborhood and town.
The Board of Education and I offer heartfelt thanks to you, our parents, for the support you provided the children of our community. You generated almost 3,000 letters in four days, asking the Governor and New York State Legislators to provide resources to implement mandatory testing in our schools so they can stay open. Your efforts resulted in changes that now allow us to administer free rapid tests in schools. Your advocacy helped our community and communities across New York State. Harrison’s parents should be proud of the Thanksgiving gift they provided to so many.
My communication provides several important and timely updates.
We are not closing schools after Thanksgiving!
Harrison's schools will remain open as long as they are safe and there are enough teachers and staff to operate them effectively. We have no plans to close schools after Thanksgiving and will maintain our current school and holiday calendar.
We will close by a governor's mandate, or if the spread of Covid 19 makes it untenable to keep schools open safely. Governor Cuomo has implemented cluster zones that identify areas with rising infection rates and place restrictions to limit the spread of Covid 19. The mandate impacts a District's ability to remain open. We are working to keep our students in school, and with your partnership, we will make this a reality.
Help us keep our schools open!
We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility...
Please practice social distancing, wear a mask at all times, even at family gatherings, and wash your hands often. Some of the most common sources of infection are family and social gatherings. Experts advise you to stay at home this Thanksgiving holiday. You will reduce the spread of infection that could end up in our schools. Every choice you make during this holiday impacts our ability to keep schools open. If you must travel, adhere to the updated New York State Guidelines for traveling and returning to our state. Let's remember our responsibility to one another – your children want to be in school, and we want them in school.
Rapid Dismissal Drill Tuesday, November 24 and Wednesday, November 25
The Harrison Central School District will conduct its annual Rapid Dismissal Drill before the Thanksgiving break. Husky and Pride students will participate in this critical safety drill on Tuesday, November 24, 2020, and Wednesday, November 25, 2020.
As in the past, Wednesday, November 25, the day before Thanksgiving, is scheduled as a half-day of school, and Tuesday, November 24, will run on a shortened schedule. Each school has different schedules and requirements for the drill. Please review the details of your school's rapid dismissal.
If you haven't already updated your emergency contacts, please do so by Monday, November 23. There is no bus service for elementary school students during rapid dismissal drills, as we would not place elementary students on a bus during an actual emergency dismissal. Parents or adults listed as emergency contacts are required to show a photo ID to pick up students.
These required safety drills provide an opportunity for students, staff, and parents to practice procedures for a rapid dismissal in case of inclement weather or school evacuation. The Harrison Police partners with the District to conduct the drills, so you may see officers on campus during these days.
Voter Voice Advocacy Letter
As I mentioned, your advocacy was a great success. However, if you have not already done so, we encourage you to make your voice heard to fund the mandated Covid 19 testing in schools. As infections steadily rise, we share a common objective with parents - to make sure children in Harrison and across New York State remain in school, continue to grow academically, and flourish socially and emotionally. They have lost so much; we need to do all we can – together – to keep our schools open.
We continue to research and are hopeful that innovative approaches will allow us to bring all students back to school as soon as possible. We are seeking ways to improve ventilation, provide a more creative recess, reopen playgrounds, return in-person band instruction, and even cleanse Covid 19 from the air.
Join us this Thanksgiving by using your imagination to keep your family safe and by discovering innovative ways to connect with family and friends. If your children are returning from college, please review the New York State Travel Guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid. Your efforts will help to ensure that our students can return to school after the break.
Mr. Rogers lived in the neighborhood of make-believe, but together we can live his vision and continue to create a real and caring place for your children...Then there are those who see the need and respond.
Our community has always seen the need and responded, and we will again. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, and thank you for your tireless support in these trying times.
Louis N. Wool, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools