July 27th Superintendent Letter to Parents

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July 27, 2020       

Eldred Central School District Plan Overview to re-open during the Global Pandemic

This is a plan to return to school during a global pandemic. It is imperative that all adults and students wear a mask unless they are about 10 feet from the nearest person.

Eldred Schools are at an advantage over other school districts due to our small size.  This makes it possible to construct a plan for a return to school while the pandemic is still active in most of the world. However small we are, transportation is going to be one of our major challenges. We do not have the capacity to bring all our students in and socially space them while they are on the bus. In addition, if we were to bring in all our students, we simply cannot keep them separated during changes of classes, fire or lock down drills or in an actual emergency.

Therefore, we are looking at a hybrid model that brings about half of our students into school on any given day. Two models rose to the top of the list, they were half of the students every other day with the students who are home, utilizing Zoom or Google to be in the class in real time on their computer. This synchronous method is more like being in class while at home. The other option was every other week. The thinking behind every other week’s is that finding childcare may be easier. I recomened  the every other week option as this is more consistent with the ability of our transportation department to implement a viable transportation plan and the parent and staff survey indicated that this was the preferred arrangement.

We are in the process of ordering conference type mics with the capacity to pickup sound from any student in the class. This way the student at home is able to hear all of what is being said in the class. We are also ordering quality cameras so that the students at home can see all that the teacher wants them to see.

First we have to reduce the number of students in school on any given day. We propose that half the students in the school come to school on alternate weeks. On days when the child is home, he/she will be on Zoom etc. watching, listening and contributing so that the following week depending he /she returns to school there is no loss of instruction/learning.

Eldred will have all siblings in the same group (A or B) to ease the impact on parents for child care. Further, all classified students with IEP’s and 504 students will come to school daily as will students who are in Vocational Education (unless BOCES conducts its vocational educational strictly on-line)

Second is feeding students breakfast and lunch.  If one reviews the CDC guidelines it is clear that students will need to eat in their classrooms at all levels. In any case, there is likely to be more of a “Grab and Go” than it is a sit-down lunch in the cafeteria, at least initially.

 Transportation.  We compute that we can put about 20 students on a full size bus, perhaps a few more if we are able to sit the siblings together. We anticipate about 7 busses in order to bring all of the elementary students in at one time.  At the HS/JHS it is less clear how many bus runs may be needed. At both schools, we plan to ask parents if they intend to drive their child to and from school. If so, this commitment would have to be for every day of school since “adding” a student for one day to a bus route is not practical.

Finally, we will scan each child for a fever when they get on the bus or at the school door if delivered to the school by car. Should the child show that they have a temperature of concern (100.0), the parent will be called to come and get their child and strongly encouraged to bring their child to a doctor that day.

The Eldred Task Force on returning to school met on July 16 from 2pm to 5pm to complete a plan outline that was presented to the Board of Education at their meeting on July 23rd. This Task Force also met on July 23, 2020 prior to the BOE meeting.

Our plan is due to the governor by July 31, 2020. And was completed and filed with SED on July 23, 2020. While our August meetings were originally designed to meet to develop a plan, that timeline was made moot once the governor declared that plans were due on July 31.  We will likely meet in August to fine tune our plan if needed.

 We will be able to make a more informed decision in August as we see how the conditions are at that time. This is a very fluid situation and it will require our being able and willing to make changes as the needs change.  First and foremost is the safety and health of our students and staff.

Further, you can call me or arrange to meet with me should you have questions that are better asked in a more private setting. Thank you for your support during these difficult times. We will, as always do what is best for our children.   I will say it again, your children are my priority. If school becomes a health issue, I will take necessary action including closing it if necessary.

Dr. John C. Morgano

Superintendent of Schools
Eldred Central School District

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