Parent letter on School Reopening

Hello parents and guardians!

I hope that you have been enjoying your summer thus far and that everyone is safe and healthy. We here at the Tri-Valley Central School District have been working diligently to plan for the possible reopening of school in September.

As parents and guardians, you will soon be faced with making a very important decision – whether or not to send your child(ren) back to school. To help you make an informed decision, I wanted to send you the answers to many questions I’m sure you have, some you don’t, and tell you what decisions we have made at this point.

I want to remind you that this situation is “fluid” and that we are at the discretion of the Governor and Department of Health. As of today (July 27), here is what we know:

SCHOOL DAY

    1. The school day will run as in past years, from approximately 7:50 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. At this time, there will be no after school activities, no clubs and no interscholastic sports. Students will not be allowed to remain on campus for any reason once the school day ends!

INSTRUCTION

Because of the sudden closing due to the COVID pandemic in March of this year and the uncertainty regarding whether schools would reopen, a decision was made to “relax” the academic expectations of students relative to participation. However, as we enter the new school year, all expectations for academic work will remain as if we were opening schools normally. All students will be expected to fully participate in their classes, turn in all required work and attend every day. All grading will be fully reflective of the student’s effort and commitment to their work!!

  1. School schedules – we intend to divide the student body in half and bring 50% of our students in on any given day. Student groups (A and B) would each attend school 2 days per week (Monday and Thursday or Tuesday and Friday) with Wednesday being a day for teachers to conduct office hours, offer one-on-one help to students as well as engage in professional development, and meet with their peers here at the school. Students in school will follow the traditional school schedule for their respective building and all subjects will be taught as they would if the entire student body was attending. On the days the groups (A/B) do not attend, they will follow the same schedule at home and teachers will live stream the classes, in real time, to the students. All students will be expected to attend as they would if they were in school – attendance will be taken for each class!
  2. For those students who do not physically attend school, they will be expected to engage in “virtual” learning at home. Students in the Secondary School will follow their traditional school schedule (as stated previously). Elementary students will have pre-determined schedules when they should log in for ELA and Math.  Other classes (for example Science, Physical Education and Art) will be created for them to view and work on according to what their schedule at home allows.
  3. For students without internet connectivity, and/or some students who receive Special Education services relative to an IEP (to be determined), THOSE STUDENTS WILL ATTEND EACH OF THE FOUR DAYS (MONDAY, TUESDAY, THURSDAY AND FRIDAY). This will allow them to “keep up” with the students with internet access and give them equal time with the teacher to address questions or concerns.

TRANSPORTATION

  1. Students will have the option to take the bus to school each day or be driven in by their parents, BUT NOT BOTH! To maintain appropriate social distancing, we will need to know exactly who will be riding the bus daily. Students on the bus will be required to wear masks at all times and will be seated one student to a seat. If more than one student from the same family rides the bus, they will be seated in the same seat. The same conditions will apply as students are transported home at the end of the day. There will be no student trips of any kind permitted.

HEALTH/SAFETY

    1. The school will follow all required Department of Health guidelines relative to the reopening of school and student safety! All parents will be expected to provide washable, reusable masks for their child. The District will provide masks in the case of an emergency. Some specifics of our plan include:
      1. Students will be required to wear masks on buses, in the hallways and in the cafeteria.
      2. Students may also be required to wear masks in classrooms, at the teacher’s discretion. If the students are 6 feet apart at their desks/tables, they may be allowed to remove their masks during instruction. There will be scheduled “mask breaks” throughout the day.
      3. Parents will be expected to take their child’s temperature BEFORE they get on the bus or are dropped off at school. However, to be doubly-safe, every student and staff member will have their temperature taken EVERY DAY before they enter the school building. Any student or staff member with a fever of 100 degrees or more will not be allowed to enter either the school bus or school building.
      4. Students will be required to maintain appropriate social distancing (6 feet) whenever possible.
      5. The entire campus will be cleaned and disinfected EVERYDAY!
    2. For any student or staff members who test “positive” for a fever of 100 degrees or more, the following procedures will apply:
      1. The student/staff member will be sent (or escorted) to the school nurse for a confirmation of the positive test for fever.    
      2. The student/staff member will be moved to a private “holding area” until pickup (for students) can be arranged. Staff members will be required to leave campus immediately if they can drive or arrange for immediate pickup.
      3. The student/staff member will be required to follow up with their primary care physician to arrange for possible additional testing.
      4. The student/staff member will be required to obtain medical clearance before they are allowed to return to school.
      5. In all cases, the District is required to report the test result to the Department of Health.

 LOCKERS

  1. Students will not be allowed to use lockers in school. All students (Secondary School) will be allowed to carry backpacks. However, if the District suspects that a student is carrying anything that violates the Code of Conduct, the District reserves the right to search the student’s backpack at any time.

BREAKFAST/LUNCH

    1.  All students will be fed breakfast and lunch while attending school.
    2. Each student will pick up a “grab and carry” breakfast as they enter the building. Breakfast will be eaten in their first period teacher’s classroom.
    3. Lunches will be served in the cafeteria (Secondary School) and the classroom (Elementary School). Students are not allowed to share any lunch items with any other student!
    4. Appropriate social distancing will be required during lunch periods.

We realize how difficult the decision is as to whether or not to send your child to school in September. I hope this provides you with some basic information which will help you make an informed decision.

We will be sharing another parent survey with you very shortly. It is essential that EVERY parent complete this survey and return it as soon as possible so we can make an informed decision and be ready in September. It is especially important that we know who will not be sending their children back to school and we will ask that you share your name if that is your choice. There will also be specific questions about busing and lunches similar to those asked in the prior survey.  All of your responses will help us be as prepared as possible for school in September.

A more detailed plan will be available on the website as of Monday, August 3rd. Simply click on the link to read about our specific plans. Please note that this plan is a “live” document and is subject to change as necessary! I would suggest checking back every couple of days to see if there are any changes.

Please remember that the final decision as to the reopening of schools rests with the Governor! We expect initial guidance on or about August 7th but he has indicated that changes could be made relative to the changing DOH guidelines and the infection rates in the regions of New York State.

I thank you for your attention to these important matters, and as always, I thank you for your continued support of the Tri-Valley Central School District!

Be well,
Mike