Dear Sewanhaka Central High School District Family,
As you are aware, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) recently released guidance documents on the reopening of schools in September.
Today, we submitted our Reopening Plan to NYSED. In it, we were required to plan for three possible scenarios: full-in person instruction; full remote instruction, and hybrid instruction which is a combination of the first two.
Currently, the requirements set forth by NYSED and NYSDOH require that social distancing of 6 feet be maintained. As the size of our classrooms does not allow for this with all students in attendance, we must implement a hybrid form of instruction known as an alternating day schedule. Each day, approximately one half of the students attending your junior-senior high school will be in attendance on any given day. Class sizes will be no larger than 15, depending on the size of the classroom, which will allow desks in classrooms to be separated with proper social distancing.
In this model, students are separated into two groups – Group A and Group B — and will attend on alternating days. Members of the same household, regardless of grade, will be placed in the same group. When the students in Group A are present in school, Group B will be involved in remote learning at home. The next day, Group B will be in school and Group A at home. The days will continue to rotate in this format until such time as restrictions are modified enabling all students to be in attendance each day. On both days, students will follow their bell schedule of classes and attendance will be taken. Information regarding building specific items, such as student schedules and which group students belong to will be sent in late August.
During remote learning, teachers will provide ‘live’ instruction via Google Meet, recorded lessons, and/or project-based activities that are all directly related to daily instruction. All teachers, counselors, and clinicians will be available to meet with students via Google Meet every day. Students unable to attend school for reasons related to Covid-19 will fully participate in a daily, live remote learning program provided by district teachers.
Masks will be required of all students, faculty, staff, and visitors except for lunch and short “mask breaks.” This follows the recommendations of NYSED and the NYDOH.
As of this letter, fall sports are scheduled to start on September 21st, and further information on whether the season will or will not start as scheduled will be forthcoming. Student athletes that were cleared for sports last year do not need a new physical. Students trying out for the first time will need a physical. School clubs and activities will most likely resume in a remote fashion in either late September or early October.
Attached you will find an overview of the district Reopening Plan that will provide you with many specifics on the topics of health and safety, instruction, daily health screenings, face coverings, school lunch, transportation, students with disabilities, English language learners, and social and emotional well-being. The full plan is also available on our district website.
Please review the overview and full plan. We have learned through our parent survey that many families have concerns about their children returning to school in September. To that end, next week we will be sending each family a questionnaire that must be completed and returned to the district by Monday, August 10th. This will be each family’s opportunity to select attending school in the alternating day schedule described above, OR to select only remote learning at home. Remote learning at home will be “live” via Google Meet for the majority of instruction and will include daily interaction with teachers. Please note that the teachers for remote learning may not necessarily be from your home school. Once this choice is made, you must commit to your selection for at least the first semester, or until restrictions are such that they permit a return to full in-person instruction.
If you do not complete and return the form by August 10th, your child(ren) will be scheduled for the alternating day schedule.
In order to conduct the mandatory training for faculty and staff in proper health protocols and a robust remote learning experience, we will be adding two Superintendent Conference Days on September 8th and 9th. Instruction will start on September 10th (in-person for those students in Group A, and remote for those students in Group B). On September 11th Group B will begin in-person instruction, and Group A will begin remote instruction.
Again, please review the overview as it will answer many questions you may have. Please submit any additional questions you may have using this form:
A “Frequently Asked Questions” document will be created and continually updated with responses to questions submitted on that form. It will be posted on the district website under the Fall 2020 Reopening tab.
I know that while the overview and plan will provide you with much information, please know that more information regarding building specific plans, student schedules, and other procedures will be communicated to you throughout the month of August.
The health and safety of our students and staff remain at the forefront of all our reopening plans and decisions. The reopening plan is a living document and may change and will certainly be adapted to any new guidance from NYSED or NYSDOH. We will keep you apprised of any changes to the plan that is presented to you today.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation and patience as we work diligently to continue to refine our reopening plans for the five schools of the Sewanhaka Central High School District.
Dr. James J. Grossane
Superintendent of Schools