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Reopening of School During COVID Pandemic: BOE Superintendent Report

Utilization of C.D.C., D.O.H., Governor, NYSED, Board of Regents Guidance

  • Guidance is set to be released this week to schools on July 15th. The state portal for the submission of school plans to be open on July 17th.
  • Tentatively plans need to be to the state by July 31st.
  • Newly released guidance from the department of health on in-person instruction was sent out late afternoon on the 13th.
  • The Governor will make a decision on or around August 1st – 7th on reopening. It appears that this decision will be evaluated weekly and could change depending on spikes or percentage of cases for N.Y.S. or even possible regions.

The district is continually planning and looking at all options. With guidance being recently released and expected to be released in the upcoming days, it will provide the guardrails to develop a focused plan.

The district is using a multi-level committee approach.

There are many stakeholders and communication points that the district is and will be using as we move forward in this process:

  • Weekly or multiple times in a week that building administration meets to discuss all options and develop plans focused on facilities, instruction, social-emotional, maintenance, etc.
  • Transportation and facilities meet weekly with the supervisor.
  • Each building principal has a reopening committee that has staff, students, parents as part of the group. They will focus on fine tuning plans and giving feedback for room structure, facilities, instruction, grouping, in-person/on-line instruction, etc.
  • There is a bi-weekly parent advisory group that will review district plans and give parental feedback.
  • The district's ad-hoc committee represents k-12, having building administrators, staff, students, and board members. They review the district plans and give feedback.
  • The district is in the process of developing surveys for both staff and parents/students that will come out late this week or early next week based on the recent guidance and potential district plans.
  • District plans and potential plans will be posted on the website for comment as they are developed.

Communication

  • Mr. Macri will send out a weekly update to the community beginning the week of July 20th.
  • With the detailed amount of planning and information, there will be aspects of plans that are shared with some groups but not others. For example: If a group is working on instruction the details of maintenance specifics will not be shared. 
  • All decision will be guided by the district’s mission statement and strategic plan goals:
    • Mission Statement- We believe that all children can learn and that the education of each child is everyone’s responsibility. The educational success of each student depends upon a commitment to excellence on the part of teachers, administrators, support staff, parents, community members, the Board of Education, and the students themselves. The goal of the District is to provide each student with a strong foundation of knowledge and experiences to prepare him/her to be a productive citizen and to value life-long learning.
  • Goals from the district strategic plan https://www.voorheesville.org/site/handlers/filedownload.ashx?moduleinstanceid=536&dataid=1406&FileName=VCSD%20Strategic%20Plan%202016-2021.pdf:
  • Goal 1 | The district will create an academic culture of openness and continuous improvement, including continuous teacher development, and high-quality instruction across all grade levels.
  • Goal 2 | The district will support student achievement by developing students’:
    » Potential for a scholarship, curiosity, critical thinking, and problem-solving
    » Capacity for independent, self-directed learning
    » Social and emotional growth and well being
  • Goal 3 | The district will enhance communication strategies to engage all community members in student learning.
  • Goal 4 | The District will be faithful stewards of the community’s financial commitment to the children and will be responsible for managing all resources. 

Types of programs that the district must create

There are three programs that the district must create plans for:

  • In-person learning for all
  • Online learning
  • A hybrid model of in-person and on-line.
    • Examples - (k-6) or (k-9) in school dependent on room use throughout the district. 10-12 online learning with options for students to come in for hand-on materials.
    • Examples - Grades 7-12 would alternate days in school and days home on-line to accommodate building capacity and adhere to CDC and DOH guidelines.
    • Rotating schedules - Students on rotations come in one day then the next they would do online learning.

Options for the District

  • K-12 will look at synchronous learning both in-person and virtually.
  • For online learning, the district will utilize Google, Nearpod, Castle learning, and is exploring a platform that is more conducive for a meeting.
  • In-person learning will be dependent on amounts of students that can be in a classroom- Room utilization of traditional room space is 12 students on average.
    • Each scenario listed is not set in stone and is not necessarily the district’s direction.
      • K-6 classes can be split teachers rotate while adult supervision is in rooms.
      • Grade levels get dispersed throughout the district regardless of elementary, middle, or high school distinction.
      • Review of schedules for possible 50 minute or Block configuration.
      • Possible restructuring of day
      • Alternating in-person instruction days with on-line learning to allow for individual instruction or hands-on learning or adjusted schedules- i.e.- half in-person half online.

 Transportation

  • Dependent on recent guidance. If it is one person to seat- that would allow for 28 students per a 56-passenger bus
  • If it is every other seat that would be 14 students for 56 passengers. Siblings would be allowed to sit together which could increase capacity.
  • Issues will arise with the number of runs, the number of students on campus, and the timing of each instructional group.
  • Evaluate the usage of bussing, staffing needs, and traffic implications of parents driving students in.

Items that are outstanding

  • What structures are we looking at implementing?
  • Will there be options for both on-line and in-person learning happening simultaneously? If so, how would we staff this, utilize technology, account for student attendance, etc?
  • How do we reconfigure our facilities to meet the needs of our students and staff?
  • How do we address staffing and student issues in quarantine or unable to attend?
  • For continuity purposes what does it look like to move from in-person to virtual dependent on day to day spikes in COVID or DOH closure due to positive cases?
  • A plethora of more