August 5, 2021 Letter to School Community
August 5, 2021
Dear Clarkstown School Community:
I hope your summer has been restful and enjoyable with family and friends.
As we move into the month of August, I realize that our families are eager to plan for the upcoming 2021-22 school year.
New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker stated today, "With the end of the state disaster emergency on June 25, 2021, school districts are re-established as the controlling entity for schools. Schools and school districts should develop plans to open in-person in the fall as safely as possible, and I recommend following guidance from the CDC and local health departments."
As such, the Clarkstown Central School District anticipates a full return to in-person learning K-12. We continue to work with neighboring school districts and Rockland BOCES to ensure that our return to class on September 1 is safe for students and staff.
If additional information is received from state or local officials, we will provide updates at that time. Please review the following information prior to the start of school.
Face Coverings and Social Distancing
State Education Department Commissioner Dr. Betty Rosa informed school districts on July 29 that CDC guidelines should be the basis of preparing for the 2021-2022 school year.
As stated within these guidelines:
- In addition to universal indoor masking, CDC recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms to reduce transmission risk.
Based on the aforementioned recommendations from the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), students will be required to wear masks in school and on buses as the new school year begins. Our plan is to observe three-feet social distancing when people are masked and six-feet social distancing at times when face coverings are not practical (e.g. while eating).
Commissioner Dr. Betty Rosa on July 29 stated, “The Department will not require schools that are open for full-time, in-person instruction to provide on-line or remote instruction.”
According to the Commissioner’s memo, NYSED’s position on remote instruction is that schools must be prepared to provide remote instruction in case of closure due to a public health emergency. However, schools open for full-time, in-person instruction will not be required to provide a fully-remote model of instruction. Therefore, the District does not plan to offer a fully-remote option for 2021-22.
An assessment of all CCSD buildings has led to an updated "Heat Day" plan, which includes keeping students and staff in school when possible based on conditions, while cooling our learning spaces to the best of our ability. Heat Days are defined as regularly scheduled in-person instruction days when the outdoor temperature exceeds 85-90 degrees fahrenheit. We will continue working with principals to assess schedules and buildings for the purpose of creating cooling stations in our schools. On warmer days, please send your child with extra water. (Frozen water bottles are welcome as they make great ice packs for cooling students.) Students should dress for the weather – our Felix Festa Middle School and high school students should take care that the outfit is both cooling and school appropriate.
Athletics and Music/Arts
We recognize that there are many questions about athletics and music/art programs. Our goal is to maximize these and other student activities in a safe manner. As soon as we have more information about protocols related to athletics and music/art, we will share them.
The Transportation Department will have thoroughly cleaned all the buses from top to bottom this summer. We will continue following all the safety precautions given to us by the CDC. Masks will be worn at all times by our drivers, monitors, and students. The sanitizing of buses in between runs and after school will continue.
AM/PM Programs and Events
We are applying pre covid protocols to all requests for facility use. Check with your providers of before and after school programs regarding details of location and times.
We continue to encourage all who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination to get one. Based on information provided by health officials, COVID-19 vaccinations are safe, effective and free. You can find a vaccination appointment near you at https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/.
In closing, as we make plans and preparations to welcome all students back to school on September 1, we are eager to see a more active and dynamic school community this year. However, the pandemic is still with us, and we must take appropriate steps to promote the safety and well-being of our community in the midst of this resurgence.
Stay strong! Stay healthy!
Martin D. Cox, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools