A Message from the Superintendent – Nov. 24
We’re writing with another update regarding orange zone designation and our next steps. Based on communication received, questions that have been asked or comments that have been provided, it is important to provide you with additional clarifications.
- All programming will be remote beginning Monday, Nov. 30. All students will meet with their teachers remotely on Monday. A-L and M-Z cohorts are combined in the remote environment every day, just like they previously were for remote Wednesdays. Sections that were already all remote, will remain together in their all remote sections. Specific day, time, and class scheduling is being provided by principals and teachers.
- We will continue to advocate for flexibility in the 100% testing requirement. Please see the linked letter sent to Governor Cuomo and a variety of policy makers/public officials last night. This is not a debate, a battle or a conflict. There is no desire to “win” an argument. Likewise, we’re not throwing our hands up or giving up on in-person instruction. We will continue to be collaborative partners, put health first and do all that we can to both comply and meet our in-person objectives.
- We are asking families who said no to testing or who did not reply to our initial requests for consent to reconsider. We are offering opportunities for clarification on the testing and hoping to address concerns people may have. We will continue to respect the choice of those who have not provided consent and understand that people have many reasons personal to them for making that choice. We have asked for a response specifically from these families by 3 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday, Nov. 25). Access the form at www.bcsd.org/covidconsent.
- Wednesday evening we will reevaluate the number of students who have not provided consent and our limited capacity in the remote setting. If it is possible to accommodate all non-consenting families in the remote setting, then we will communicate details regarding a testing program to begin on Monday, Nov. 30. We would expect that program to be in place on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday with a restart of hybrid programming on Thursday, Dec. 3. If we cannot accommodate non consenting students, then there will not be a testing program and we will need to remain all remote until we are out of orange or another remedy is provided by the state.
- Public and nonpublic schools throughout our area have different instructional models that allow for different approaches to this situation. Some do not have distinct remote and hybrid programs, so capacity in all remote is not a challenge for them. When trying to understand the differences in this moment, please know that they are solving different problems with different variables based on their own reopening approach in the first place.
We would like nothing more than to continue with our current programming and feel like we’ve done everything asked of us to create a safe environment. In fact, while the Monroe County rate of infection yesterday was 3.49%. Our total infection rate since school opened is just .44% and currently sits at .20%. That would make the current rate of infection in our county more than 17 times higher than in our schools. Under yellow zone designation last week, we tested 20% of our in-school population and had 0 positive cases. There are 0 cases known to have been spread as a result of school exposure in our District.
Again, we are advocating for flexibility and in constant touch with policy makers and public health officials to offer alternatives and to try and find a way forward. We will do everything we can to gain consent and try to accommodate those who would need a remote program. We will hope to reopen for hybrid programming as soon as possible.
Thank you for your patience and for all that you and our staff are doing to keep everyone, our children especially, safe and healthy.
Kevin McGowan, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools