Important Update from Superintendent Jeramy Clingerman

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I wanted to provide an update in regards to the reopening of schools.

We received guidance for reopening schools from the NYS Department of Health last Friday. School districts were informed that we would receive further guidance from the NYS Education Department on Wednesday, July 15th. We did not receive that guidance until late today, July 16th. As we have been waiting for that important and additional guidance, we have continued to plan for the three plans we must submit to the state. These plans cover- full remote/distance learning, in-person (school building) learning and a hybrid (combination of the two) learning models.

I appreciate the over 700 responses we received from parents through our survey and the more than 100 parents who volunteered to be on the parent reopening committee. These parents will be a part of three different Zoom meetings, over the next two weeks, where they will provide feedback and present additional questions to be answered relative to our plans as we work towards finalizing these plans.

Thank you to the many teachers who have been serving on the building level committees and providing great ideas, feedback and questions to guide our thinking and planning.

We look forward to the Zoom meetings with some of our 6-12th grade students who will be invited to a Zoom meeting with principals and other staff members to get their thoughts prior to finalizing our plans.

I want to thank the administrators and supervisors who have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure we meet all the safety guidelines and for being creative and thoughtful as we develop our reopening plans, whether it be in-person, virtual or a combination of the two models. 

Our plans must be submitted to the State for approval on July 31st. Receiving the State Education Department guidance today only leaves us two short weeks to prepare our plans for submission. Once we know our plans have been accepted we will share them with all families. As I shared previously, the Governor has established August 7th as the deadline by which he will make a decision regarding the opening of schools come September.

I want to assure you that we are using the information from the parent survey, guidelines from the NYS Department of Health and the guidance from the NYS Education Department, as well as feedback we receive from all the stakeholders involved in the planning process. Our ultimate goal as an administrative team is to meet the needs of our students to the best of our ability, within the guidelines we must adhere to, with the health and safety of everyone as our number one priority.

We will have plenty to share in the next few weeks regarding our three different plans for reopening school in September. Thank you to everyone who has been or will be involved in this most important work.

Below is a recent update that was shared today, July 16th, from the NYS Public HS Athletic Association: 

NEW YORK STATE PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT

July 16, 2020

NYSPHSAA To Delay Fall Sports Start Date & Cancel Fall Championships

Latham, NY – The Officers of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA), voted to delay the official start date of the Fall 2020 sports season, cancel the Fall 2020 Regional and State Championships and prepare to implement a condensed season schedule in January 2021 if high school sports remain prohibited throughout 2020 due to COVID-19.  This decision comes at the recommendation of the NYSPHSAA COVID-19 Task Force when they convened as a working group for the third time this morning (7/16/2020).

“As the state considers reopening, it is unrealistic to believe athletic seasons can start on August 24th as originally scheduled,” said Paul Harrica, NYSPHSAA President. “The priority will continue to be on the educational process and a return to learning in the safest way possible.”

The NYSPHSAA Officers’ decision includes: 

• Delay Fall sports start date until Monday, September 21st (NYSPHSAA PAUSE)

• Cancel Fall Regional and State Championship events

• Waive seven-day practice rule

• Maintain current practice requirements

• Encourage geographic scheduling for games & contests

• Schools would have the option, if permitted by state officials, to offer off-season conditioning workouts. 

“We recognize this is challenging for everyone, but the decisions made at the State level are based upon data and statewide infection rates all in an effort to stop the spread of COVID and reopen responsibly,” said Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA Executive Director. “At this time, Department of Health guidance presented on July 13th prohibits interscholastic athletics across the state. The Association will continue to follow state guidance and will work collectively with State officials to ensure high school athletics will start up responsibly in the future.  As an association, we must be willing to be flexible and continue to explore all options with students’ safety as our main focus,” Zayas concluded.

With regional differences, schools and areas will be impacted differently by the COVID-19 crisis.  At the discretion of the NYSPHSAA Officers and authorization from state officials, if the Fall sports seasons are interrupted or impacted by COVID-19 crisis (i.e. state official guidance, school closings, cancelation of high-risk sports, etc.) then a condensed winter and spring seasons plan will be implemented.