Reopening Update – Aug. 14
We’re putting one foot in front of the other, one day at a time, while being very aware of the need to shift our path based on your feedback and emerging guidance. Taking the metaphor a bit further, we are also putting our best foot forward in planning, adjusting, planning some more, and then adjusting again. We will continue to do so and thank you for your feedback questions, comments, and requests for additional information. As of this writing, all of your emails to the District or schools have been responded to if a question was asked and your feedback has been shared with the individuals and teams responsible for analyzing plans and making adjustments. Please keep them coming if need be and we’ll get back to you as quickly as we can.
We are aware of the strong feelings on all sides of the reopening discussion. We can only speak for our District and our planning. Simply put, we have developed District specific plans that align directly to the guidance provided by the New York State Department of Health and our local Monroe County Department of Public Health (MCDPH). We are in regular contact with the MCDPH and have greatly appreciated their advice, guidance, and support. Again, our plans directly meet their standards and align to their guidance. We will continue to rely on their expertise and guidance throughout this process. Our only adjustments and modifications are those that can be made relative to instructional components and systems to comply with the guidance, which can vary from district to district. We have and will continue to put safety first in all of our planning.
We continue to need your help. First, most people have already responded to the survey regarding their child’s program and transportation needs for next year. The deadline is Monday, Aug. 17 at 8 p.m. If you haven’t already, please respond to the survey here: www.surveymonkey.com/r/G7DDK8M. Even if you responded to the survey earlier in the summer (taken just to gauge interests), we need to hear from you in this survey, first launched last Monday night. Thank you!
Second, we’ve been asked by many to clarify our approach to masking. Please note:
- Masks will be mandatory at all times for all students and staff unless an exemption has been received through a process that requires medical documentation as approved by our school physician.
- Masks will be removed when eating or drinking only in designated areas when individuals are socially distanced.
- Masks may be removed by students for a “mask break” once per period at the 6-12 level or once per hour at the K-5 level.
- These “mask breaks” will be given at the discretion of the teacher and can last for no more than five minutes and only when students are socially distanced. Mask breaks will not occur when students are working together or having discussions, even while distanced. They will only be given when students are working silently alone and again, when socially distanced at a distance of 6 feet or more.
Finally, the Governor has required districts to extract elements of their plan and post them conspicuously so as to provide additional clarity for the community. This information was sent last week but we did want you to have links to several items that you may want to review further. Please click the links below for additional information regarding:
Testing (In terms of screening. See below for COVID-19 testing response.)
It is important to note that in compliance with local and state guidance, we cannot be test providers, but rather, we will direct symptomatic individuals to testing sites as designated by the MCDPH or to their provider who will likewise provide them with test information, including the timeframe for receiving results. With regard to contact tracing, the District will provide MCDPH with all relevant information and cooperate fully with their contract tracing program.
Please consider joining our Virtual Town Hall on Monday evening at 5 p.m. to discuss your questions, comments, and concerns. It will be on Facebook Live and Zoom. A recording of Wednesday’s meeting can be accessed here: https://youtu.be/LFUuNkF82OE.
As always, we look forward to hearing your ideas and considering how our plans can be adjusted while answering your questions during this uncertain time.
…every child, every day, every way
Kevin McGowan, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools