9/18 Update from the Superintendent of Schools
Open House, Early Dismissal, and Health & Safety
Update: September 18 2020
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. Albert Einstein
Dear Harrison Families,
We completed our first week of school, and most of us, understandably, approached the reopening with apprehension about a mysterious unknown. We adults fretted about the ability of students to wear masks, social distance, and manage lunch and recess. I was concerned about the pressing and growing responsibilities placed upon our teachers to navigate multiple learning environments and new ways of instructing. Our learning community embraced the possibilities of what we could achieve together.
While we have a long journey ahead, Einstein’s great wisdom is that within mystery lives the greatest of possibility and beauty within us. I observed many acts of beauty, kindness, and intelligence as I traveled to our schools. I watched teachers turn “mask breaks” into opportunities to build community, and students embrace their return to school, to teachers and to friends, unconcerned about constraints, and open to new and dynamic interactions.
I thank our devoted, expert teachers, extraordinary leadership team, tireless staff, committed School Board, each patient and loving parent, and most importantly, our resilient, adaptable, inspirational students for helping to reopen our schools. We reopened with vision, passion, and a commitment to keeping each other and our community safe. Welcome back!
Please carefully review the information below as we continue to reinvent our approach to school. You will find information about School Open Houses, Early Dismissal on 9/25, Health and Safety Updates, and other important information.
School Open House for Parents
Open Houses for all schools will be held virtually. Harrison High School and LMK Middle School sessions will be pre-recorded and the elementary sessions will be live. There are no on-site open house sessions this year. Principals will share further details next week.
Harrison High School and LMK Middle School: Secondary teachers will present an overview of courses, class goals and curriculum in recorded Open House videos. Links to access teacher videos will be shared beginning on October 5th.
Elementary Schools: Elementary teachers will host live Zoom sessions for parents on the evening of October 5th. Separate sessions will be held for parents of students in the Husky and Pride groups. Teachers will email a link before October 5th with access to the live session. Recorded video messages from principals, encore teachers, and specialists will also be made available.
Early Dismissal Friday, September 25th
The District will follow an early dismissal schedule on Friday, September 25th, to provide opportunities to review mandated pre-assessments. Normal drop-off, pick-up, and bussing procedures will be followed, except for a change to dismissal times as follows:
Early Dismissal Schedule:
|Harrison High School||11:00 a.m.|
|LMK Middle School||11:10 a.m.|
|All Elementary Schools||11:50 a.m.|
Health and Safety Updates
COVID-19 Symptom Management Protocol
The District has developed a COVID-19 Symptom Management Protocol in consultation with the Westchester County Department of Health, our school district physician, and our school nurses. This protocol explains the steps that school nurses follow when a student or staff member is assessed to have one or more COVID-19 symptoms. The protocol also indicates that if students or staff have a chronic, recurring condition that is unrelated to COVID-19 but may present with COVID-like symptom(s) (e.g., migraine headaches, seasonal allergies, etc.), the parent or staff member may provide a doctor’s note to document that this chronic condition is unrelated to COVID-19. This will prevent having to exclude students or staff from school for the duration required in the protocol.
Daily COVID-19 Screening & COVID-19 Dashboard
Parents must complete the daily COVID-19 screening every morning for each child, including children who are not reporting to school that day or who are learning virtually. The information provided in these screenings are required every day because the District must report information to the New York State Department of Health about the number of students or staff members who are being monitored for COVID-19 symptoms. The District reports this anonymous data daily to the New York State COVID-19 Dashboard, which provides the public with information about positive COVID-19 tests in our school community. The information also helps the principal and school nurse plan for the arrival of students.
K-8 QR Codes
Elementary and middle school students have been given a laminated card with a QR code that should be attached to their backpacks. The QR code can be scanned by a staff member upon a student’s arrival to school to confirm the daily COVID-19 survey is completed, and the student is clear for entry. Parents who drop off students are encouraged to show the green entry badge received when the COVID-19 survey is completed. Beginning Monday, September 21st, staff will use hand-held scanners to confirm that the daily COVID-19 screening survey has been completed, making it simpler for students to enter school.
Visitors to Schools
Visitors to schools are limited to essential business. Starting Monday, September 21st, visitors must answer COVID-19 screening questions and undergo a temperature check. This protocol further ensures the health and safety of students and staff.
Technical Support Help Desk
The District introduced a live Technical Support Help Desk for parents of students in our elementary schools. Live support is available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. During other hours, technical support is available by email through our Help Desk Online Form. The Technical Support Help Desk is accessed by calling:
Harrison Avenue Elementary School: 630-3289
Parsons Memorial Elementary School: 630-3231
Purchase Elementary School: 630-3180
Preston Elementary School: 630-3276
As I indicated previously, the District will survey parents to assess progress on school reopening. The first survey will occur at the beginning of October after students have completed ten days of in-person learning and will include virtual learners’ parents.
All employees and students are required to wear masks at all times, including on the school bus. Masks with vents are not permitted, based on CDC mask guidelines. In a new study from Duke University, researchers concluded that fleece neck gaiters made from a polyester and spandex blend are ineffective in blocking coronavirus droplets. These types of neck gaiters are also impermissible.
While our school district opened successfully, we are mindful adjustments will need to be made; we will learn together during this mysterious time. Our approach to continuously evaluate programs, reassess plans, and adapt instruction will uncover the most beautiful experience we can have for our students.
Louis N. Wool, Ed.D.