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Reopening Plan Update August 8, 2020

Dear Clarkstown Parents and Guardians, 

I am writing to provide an update on the School Reopening Plans.  If you have not yet done so, I encourage you to review the District’s www.ccsd.edu/reopeningplan, which is the framework for our work going forward. 

As you are aware, reopening safely requires us to build systems around the social distancing guidelines and to create a distant learning platform, transitions of significant complexity in a district our size. Below I address some of the most asked questions. 

Two of the areas generating questions are our plans for Distance Learning on the instructional side, and the building ventilation systems on the operations side. At the Board of Education meeting on Thursday, August 13th, there will be in-depth information provided on these two topics.  The public session is expected to begin at 6 p.m. and will be live streamed at ccsd.edu/boestream. The meeting video also will be posted on the District website.

All parents will be receiving a survey this week asking if your child will be attending school within the hybrid model (in person instruction days + Distance Learning days) or if you will be choosing 100% Distance Learning with no in-person. A staffing survey was sent to all employees last week, and included information regarding the quarantine requirements for travel internationally or to states identified on the NYS Travel Advisory List. 

Following the guidance of the CDC, the NYS Department of Health, Rockland County Department of Health and District Physician Dr. Domenic Monaco, Coordinator of Health Services Sue Sherlock, FNP is leading the process to create protocols for sick students and staff members in the pandemic environment. A detailed guidance document for how the District will respond to illness and exposure to COVID-19, including the testing and contact tracing protocols, will be shared with all community stakeholders later this week. 

Isolation areas have been identified in each school building and an application has been selected to facilitate the daily reporting of screening questions and temperature check for employees and the daily temperature check and weekly screening for students.  All school nurses and security desks will also have no-touch thermometers available. 

We are well underway in selecting the cohort groups (A/B day for elementary or A/B/C day for secondary) for the schools. I know you would like this information as quickly as possible, and we are working to release this information during the week of August 17th. The cohort process involves creating student schedules in combination with bus routes, support service placements and ensuring siblings within the same school stay together as well as maintaining class sizes reflective of physical distancing requirements.  

Creating student cohorts also requires us to program our student records database and our blackboard mass communication systems with the new data formats. Due to the complicated manner in which cohorts were created, there will be no allowances for changes to the cohort (A/B day for elementary or A/B/C day for secondary) that your child will be in.  The information sent the week of August 17th will also outline the plans for physical education, recess, art and performance music. 

Teams within the District Office have coordinated the purchase of cleaning supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE), protective barriers for certain offices where social distancing cannot be maintained, sanitizing and disinfecting products and signage for the schools. The District will be well stocked when school begins.  All students and employees will receive two cloth face masks, though they can wear any face covering that meets the CDC guidance. We will also have an ample supply of disposable face masks to supplement the cloth masks. The process to distribute the masks is being finalized.  

This week we will also be finalizing the protocols for school lunches, which will be served at all grades within classrooms.  As always, there will be safety measures to ensure that students with food allergies are protected.

Our transportation team has completed the first set of bus routes, which will be finalized when the cohorts are selected. You should receive your bus passes in the usual time frame. The process for disinfecting and cleaning high touch surfaces between routes has been established. 

There are a number of other activities taking place to support the safe reopening of our schools. The summer transformation of our instruction and operations processes is an enormous undertaking. I would like to express my thanks and deep appreciation to my team of Assistant Superintendents, the District Office staff, the Building Principals and Assistant Principals, Health Services and the School Nursing Staff, our Facilities, Food Services, Transportation and Instructional Technology Departments, and the 12-month clerical staff for their dedication and tireless work throughout the summer. 

Per the Governor’s directive, we will be facilitating three discussion sessions for parents and a separate session for our faculty.  The dates and formats for these discussions will be shared later this week. 

Thank you for your partnership in education as we navigate the details of a safe school opening. 

Sincerely, 

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Martin D. Cox, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools