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K-12 Instructional Model Survey

Dear Parent or Guardian:

I hope this communication finds you and your family members in good health and spirits.

Last night at the Board of Education Workshop, I shared insight and a recommendation of a Phased-In Approach to return all students to our schools, K-12. 

I desire to begin this plan with the return of all K-2 students beginning March 22. The date is tentative due to the need to be cognizant of a low infection rate in the county and confirm the timeline to appropriately prepare our schools.  Parents will still have the option to have their child(ren) be on 100% remote learning.

There are several considerations in moving forward.  Most significantly, we will need to address social distancing while ensuring the health and safety of students and staff.  It is not possible from both a staffing and space issue to maintain a 6ft social distance between student desks and have all students in attendance. 

Since September 29, 2020 when the District began hybrid instruction, we have adhered to the more stringent of the New York State Department of Health Guidelines on Social Distancing which states the following: “Appropriate social distancing means six feet of space in all directions between individuals.”  This has limited class sizes to from 12-16 students.  

As we approach the warmer weather, have increased access to vaccines and a lower infection rate in Rockland County, we are now looking to embrace the NYSDOH’s other option on social distancing which allows for less than six feet of space with the use of “appropriate physical barriers between individuals.” This will allow us to increase the number of students per room and phase-in a full in-person opening.  At no time will the physical distance between desks be less than three feet, the standard advised by the American Association of Pediatrics.  Mask wearing, 6 ft social distancing when possible, hand-washing and use of hand sanitizer will remain required preventive measures. 

During last night’s workshop, we discussed what “appropriate physical barriers” should be:  tri-fold desktop barriers or plastic face shields. We will need to have consensus to move forward. I am requesting your feedback, and that of teachers and principals, regarding these options through your participation in a survey. This information, in consultation with health officials, will be used in finalizing our next steps.

Today, I held a Question and Answer session with the PTA Council members that was live streamed for the community. The questions, as well as my answers are available for your information via this summary document.

There are many additional decisions we need to make, and key to that is knowing the number of students who wish to return full time. As such, we are also asking you to make your commitment as to whether your child will return to school in-person or remote through the remainder of the school year.  

Please complete the survey to capture your commitment decision and opinion on the barriers. The survey will close on Monday, March 8 at 8 p.m.