• Dear Parents and Caregivers, 

    August has already arrived, and we hope that you are using both a good sunscreen and an effective umbrella. I wanted to address any questions or concerns you might have about the upcoming school year, and to share information from the District Administration and the Board of Education about our decision-making processes. 

    Some revisions have been made to the academic calendar which impact previously scheduled days off. Please note that we have changed the first day of school to Wednesday, September 8, rather than Thursday, September 9. A printed 2021-2022 school calendar will soon be mailed to all families. 

    Every public school district in New York State is required to implement and abide by the policies, guidance, and directives established by the New York State Education Department (NYSED), which is informed by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). On August 5, NYSDOH issued a statement that reestablished school districts themselves as the controlling entity for schools, advising them to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local health departments. This could potentially create delays in releasing specific details of reopening, as county officials around the state must first engage in their own decision-making processes to determine what, if any, guidance, advice, and support shall be offered to school districts. We are actively engaged in conversations with local health officials and working on designing a plan, which you will be hearing about in the last week of August or sooner. 

    What We Know 

    The Delta variant has been looming all summer as a direct threat to the unvaccinated population, which includes children younger than 12. On July 27, CDC updated their guidance for fully vaccinated people, recommending that everyone wear a mask in indoor public settings in areas of substantial and high transmission, regardless of vaccination status. Given the highly contagious nature of the Delta variant, please plan to have your child returning to school masked.  NPCSD will be requiring masks for both students and staff in all indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status. We still strongly encourage our school community to get vaccinated to reduce the transmission and spread of COVID. 

    The District will continue to require three [3] feet of social distance, where possible. Classrooms and meals are currently being configured with these guidelines, which were in place, per NYSED, when we concluded the school year in June.  

    School will resume for a full five [5] days per week of in-person instruction on the first day of school. President Joe Biden and New York State officials have asked districts to encourage all students to return to school. That said, there are no remote or hybrid educational models for the coming school year. Please note this could change with updated NYSED or NYSDOH guidance.

    We are pausing extracurricular transportation for this coming school year. Students will still be transported to after-school childcare. 

    We expect that NYSED may still release updated guidelines and directives at some point, but we do not know when that will be. The longer this information is delayed, the more challenging it becomes to implement, and some decisions may not be able to be finalized until after the school year has begun.

    We are working behind the scenes to frame out various models of schedules, transportation, meal arrangements, building and classroom configurations, and more. 

    What We Don’t Yet Know 

    We do not yet know how we will configure school sports, spectatorship, extracurricular activities, school events, and performing arts. 

    A decision will be made next week about the YMCA before/after school childcare.  

    We do not know what the State or county’s criteria and threshold of regional positivity cases will be for limiting building capacity and/or shutting down schools.

    Our Commitments to You 

    We will continue to inform you of updates as we receive them. 

    We will continue to use multiple platforms to convey important information such as alerts, emails, robocalls, texts, District website, individual school pages, etc. Please note that nothing is ever published on social media that is not published on other platforms as well. 

    We will continue to strongly advocate for the health and safety of our students and staff. We are adding three [3] new social workers to assist students as they transition back to school in September. We are prepared to meet the needs of those students who are in crisis or may be struggling with social-emotional issues. We are hiring a Director of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), who will offer additional oversight, accountability, and coordination of services within our organization and with our community partners.  

    We will continue to preemptively plan around what we know and what guidance we believe may occur. 

    Thank you for your ongoing support and understanding. It is up to us to keep COVID-19 out of our wonderful school community, and we can all work together to do that by wearing masks, getting tested when you have symptoms, staying home when we are sick, and getting vaccinated if we are eligible. 

    I will be in touch soon.

    Thank you,

     

    Angela Urbina-Medina, Superintendent of Schools