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Community Letter | August 14

August 14, 2020

Dear Washingtonville School Community:

As we continue to prepare for the reopening of schools in September, we are planning for a school year that is completely different than any of us has ever experienced. We also understand our students, families and staff are still adjusting to the continued realities of an ongoing pandemic environment as the reopening of school gets closer. Our administrative team, faculty and staff continue to further refine the district’s reopening plan which will allow us to welcome students back in September.

To date, we have received 3,010 responses from our parent questionnaire. However, we still have not received enrollment information for approximately 700 students which based on metrics is equivalent to 58 classrooms. This lack of information has made it impossible to finalize our instructional plan. To assist in obtaining this time-sensitive information, staff in all of our buildings are calling families to obtain enrollment information for our missing students needed to finalize our master schedules and faculty assignments to meet the instructional needs of our students. As stated in our plan, our goal was to bring our younger students into our school buildings more frequently. However, based on the responses received, DOH guidelines and the metric of approximately 12 students per class, we are not able to accommodate our K-2 students in-person in our buildings and will need to transition to a hybrid model based on alphabetical cohorts.

As guidance continues to evolve and enrollment numbers are not finalized, we have made the difficult decision to modify our reopening plan and determined it is best to initially minimize the number of individuals in the buildings as we adjust to new protocols, procedures and requirements. All Washingtonville students will still begin school on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 but in a Remote Learning environment transitioning students back in phases during the month of September. The staged plan will welcome Washingtonville students back in transitioned phases:

September 1 to September 4:

Superintendent’s Conference Days. These days will provide opportunities for faculty and staff to be engaged in professional development on social-emotional learning, technology and other instructional resources. School personnel will also use time to set up classrooms, learn about new health and safety protocols and participate in curriculum planning.

Stage 1: September 8 to September 11:

Virtual learning for all K-12 students. Teachers will engage in remote learning with students via synchronous (live) and asynchronous instruction (combination of live and pre-recorded lessons). More specific information regarding expectations and school schedules will be forthcoming.

Stage 2: September 14- September 18:

Virtual learning for K-12 students: Teachers will continue to engage students via synchronous and asynchronous instruction.

Students in highly intensive programs: (Aspire classes, 12:1:1 classes, 12:1:4 classes, and our ENL students) would attend school in person four days per week (Tuesday -Friday) adhering to social distancing mandates and requirements with virtual learning on Mondays.

Stage 3: September 21- September 25:

Kindergarten to Grade 8: Students will attend school following the Hybrid Model based on Cohort 1 (A-L) and Cohort 2 (M-Z) with virtual learning on Mondays. Please note, as we transition through this phased approach, if enrollment numbers change, we will try to transition Kindergarten students back into our buildings to a four day in-person instructional schedule.

Grade 9-12: Students will continue to learn virtually through synchronous and asynchronous learning.

Students in highly intensive programs (Aspire classes, 12:1:1 classes, 12:1:4 classes, and our ENL students) would attend school in person four days per week adhering to social distancing mandates and requirements.

Stage 4: Week of September 28:

Kindergarten to Grade 12: Students will attend school following the Hybrid Model based on Cohort 1 (A-L) and Cohort 2 (M-Z) with virtual learning on Mondays. Please note, as we transition through this phased approach, if enrollment numbers change, we will try to transition Kindergarten students back into our buildings to a four day in-person instructional schedule.

Students in highly intensive programs (Aspire classes, 12:1:1 classes, 12:1:4 classes, and our ENL students) would attend school in person four days per week adhering to social distancing mandates and requirements.

Please keep in mind:

  • Masks will be required for all students, faculty and staff whenever they are in the presence of other people, with the exception of socially distanced meal times. Mask breaks will be given to all.
  • As we transition between stages, groups may be divided further in half (A1, A2, B1, B2) in order to best address the necessary procedures, protocols and required training to ensure student and staff social distancing and safety.
  • These plans can be modified based on current pandemic conditions at the time, in addition to state mandates.

Given the constraints we have, we are confident this staged transition back into school will work best for our Washingtonville School community. This decision will not be favorable for everyone, however, this phased in approach will give us an opportunity to examine, analyze, and adjust our plan accordingly to ensure the health and safety of all. We welcome you to join our Virtual Community Forums on Monday, August 17 at 7:00 pm or Wednesday, August 19 at 7:00 pm to learn more about our Reopening plan. More information will be posted on the district website.

It is important to again stress that every decision we make, as part of our fluid planning, always puts student and staff health and safety as our first priority and obligation.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Larry Washington Superintendent of Schools