July 13, 2020
As many of you know, Governor Andrew Cuomo gave an official timeline for school districts to submit school reopening plans and said he will decide on whether or not to reopen schools statewide in the fall by early August. Cuomo said the State will release finalized reopening guidance for school districts during the week of July 13. It is our current understanding that this guidance from the Governor and the New York State Department of Health is meant to set the ground rules relative to safety and operations that will allow school districts to develop plans for reopening. School districts will then submit their safety plans for reopening by July 31. Thereafter, the State will approve, deny, or suggest changes to those plans.
Additionally, on Monday, July 13, the Board of Regents and the State Education Department (SED) have said they will be “finalizing” their own document regarding reopening and will release a “framework” with guidance to follow. The Board of Regents and SED framework is meant to compliment, not compete with, the Governor’s guidance and will focus more on education policy (e.g. required number of days in attendance, State assessments, etc.)
In the meantime, at Weedsport, we have been weighing our options and basically developing different scenarios based on hypothetical situations. As we wait for state guidance we would like to begin reaching out to our families and staff for additional thoughts and perspectives. Families can access the following survey link to provide input. A staff survey will be sent through school e-mail in the next few days. Family Survey Link
Although we don’t have anything close to a concrete plan (and neither can anyone else at this point), we have a few guiding thoughts and principles as we carefully approach our decisions. The core of our decision making is centered on: creating the safest environment possible for our students, teachers, and staff; making sure we feed our students daily; providing core instruction; and taking care of the social/emotional needs of our students.
We will need much more guidance from the State before we create a plan for the fall. The circumstances around the COVID-19 pandemic seem to change almost daily, and the re-opening of schools will be a carefully considered task.
What all of us can continue to do now is practice patience and continue to support each other like we have. And, rest assured, that the safety of our learning community continues to be our top priority.
Shaun A. O’Connor
Superintendent of Schools