August 31, 2021
Dear Parents and Caregivers;
With the governor's announcement followed by the directives sent by the NYS Department of Health, we now have the details needed to publish our operating plan for this year. There remains the likelihood that changes will occur during the school year. It is my hope that changes will occur connected to improved health and reduction of community spread ultimately resulting in a return to more normalcy in school and everywhere.
Our Operating Plan is posted to our school website and can be found by clicking here.
For those that were a part of the district last year, the year will begin very similarly to how it ended in June 2021. Everyone in the school, students, employees, visitors shall be required to wear a mask while indoors and on school busses. We will strive to maintain 3ft-6ft of distance where practical, however this is not a requirement from NYSDOH. The simplest rule of thumb we will follow is, if we can provide more distance between students, we will.
If/When there is a positive case of covid, the questions asked for contact tracing will be:
- Were there student(s)/employee(s) within 3 ft of the positive case for more than 15 minutes?
- Were the positive student(s)/employees(s) and those within 3ft of them wearing masks?
- Are those closer than 3ft vaccinated?
While we know that wearing masks while indoors can be unpopular and less than desirable for some, it is the current expectation from the NYS Department of Health. If students are 3ft or more apart and masked, there should be no quarantines beyond those that are sick. If the positive individual is closer to students for less than 15 minutes, those students will not necesarrily be quarantined. If those closer than 3ft are vaccinated, they will not be quarantined unless they are sick. These are significant changes from how contact tracing worked last year, which should reduce the numbers of individuals requiring to be quarantined.
Coupled with the obvious goal of all keeping students and employees healthy and safe, we want to stay open and keep kids and employees in school. By understanding these current contact tracing rules, each of us can operate in a way with our students and our work to limit spread and limit quarantines. We all know quarantines will happen. We all know that we can't always guarantee 3ft at all times and that some students will be in contact with others within 3 ft for more than 15 minutes. We just need to do the best we can, and I am confident we all will do our part and do it well!
There is no longer the need for the daily screening via the Operoo application and parents no longer have to complete the screening questions. Parents will instead be given via email/text a survey to complete for their household on the first day of the week in any given school week.
Covid testing will be offered to students only with parent permission at each school building. This will occur during the school day. If you have an interest in after hours testing during the work day and can't wait until school opens the following day, please reach out to your healthcare provider or visit urgent care.
You may have heard our governor recommend that employees are either vaccinated or required to be tested weekly. This is not an official requirement at this time. Those that are unvaccinated can, on a volunteer basis, request to be tested at their buildings, but again, this is not required at this time.
Temperatures are no longer required to be taken upon entering the school or bus at this time.
Cleaning/Air Filtering will continue with cleaning routines and increased air flow and filtering through our HVAC system.
As mentioned above, we know we will all do our best and walk through this together, one day at a time. As the guidance continues to evolve, we will do our best to keep you current, informed and up to date. We realize that there is a lot of information here and much to digest; please do not hesitate to ask questions when you have them. Please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeremy P. Palotti
Superintendent of Schools.