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May 25, 2021 - Extreme Heat Days - School Day Options

Dear Clarkstown School Community:

As a reminder, tomorrow is a full remote instructional day for the majority of students, K-12, as noted in my communication on Friday, May 21. With the forecast still calling for 90 degrees, we are concerned about heat exhaustion as a risk for students and staff.

As the weather continues to warm, the temperatures within our facilities will present a particular challenge as our students and staff have the added responsibility of wearing masks. Masks are still mandated in schools by the New York State Department of Health. In addition, the majority of our classrooms and school spaces are not air conditioned.

To provide clarity moving forward, when extreme heat is forecasted, the District will consider the following options based on air temperature, humidity, and/or duration of high heat days. If the in-person instruction schedule will be disrupted, our goal will be to communicate to you no less than 24 hours in advance.

EXTREME HEAT OPTIONS:

  1. Remain Open for Full Day Instruction
  2. Half Day In-Person with Half Day Remote Instruction
  3. Full Remote Instruction with Select Programs In-Person with A/C

1. Remain Open for Full Day Instruction - Our goal is to keep school open as often as possible, when it is safe to do so. Most of our instructional space is not air conditioned, so in elevated temperatures the environment can be uncomfortable. Students will be given the opportunity to have masks breaks as needed as well as encouraged to hydrate frequently.

2. Half Day In-Person with Half-Day Remote Instruction - If the air temperature and/or humidity on one particular day is forecasted to create an extreme heat situation, a morning half-day in-person option may be exercised. Following a 1-hour time lapse for transportation and lunch, synchronous instruction would continue remotely in the afternoon for K-12 students.

The Birchwood School and STRIVE and SPIRIT programs, which are conducted in air-conditioned rooms, will continue with in-school instruction for the full day.

3. Full Remote Instruction K-12 (Excluding Birchwood School, STRIVE and SPIRIT) - Given extreme temperatures and humidity or continuous days of oppressive conditions, this may require that all district schools be on full-remote instruction.

The Birchwood School and STRIVE and SPIRIT programs, which are conducted in air-conditioned rooms, will continue scheduled instruction during high heat days unless specifically communicated otherwise.

ATHLETICS
Decisions specific to athletic practices and contests will continue to be made by the District Athletic Department in accordance with state and local protocols. The New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association has published guidance on activities and the health index.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS:

Barriers - The District does not have sufficient space to maintain the CDC’s recommended six feet of social distancing when masks are removed. The barriers are in place to provide protection during lunches and snacks. We plan to continue to use barriers through the remainder of the school year.

Fans - The COVID-19 virus travels via airborne transmission. The use of fans for cross-ventilation is not allowable at this time.

Air Conditioning - We appreciate the generosity by some parents expressing a desire to donate air conditioners to their child’s classroom. However, this creates an inequity among our 13 schools. In order to solve the issue of air conditioning in the district, it will require a more comprehensive discussion as it pertains to Capital spending.

Thank you.

Stay strong! Stay healthy!

Sincerely,

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

Sue Sherlock, FNP
Coordinator of Health Services