April 12, 2021
On Friday evening, 4/9/21, we received a new 24-page guidance document from NYSDOH that addresses the possible move from 6’ of physical distancing to 3’ of physical distancing. We are studying the guidance and preparing for possible next steps. Given the infection rate in Erie county at this time, this is only allowable at the elementary level.
Here’s an update on our own data of infection rates. From the opening of school to today, 4/12/2021, our stats for total positive covid cases:
SES 3 students, 4 adults
CES 2 students, 4 adults
SMS 8 students, 4 adults
SHS 20 students, 9 adults
While our leadership team has been preparing for a possible change to 3’ since December, we are looking for feedback from our school community on your thoughts about a full return to school, 5 days per week, with a reduction to 3’ of physical distancing. ALL other safety procedures remain in place to include cleaning and disinfecting protocols, mandatory mask wearing, protocols to stay home through a daily health screening when symptomatic, 6’ of distance between adults and children, 6’ of distance during meals, music, PE and common areas, contact tracing for positive cases and quarantining as per ECDOH guidelines to contain possible transmission.
When would a change occur, with SES students potentially returning to full 5 days per week? We need time to study the guidance, to listen and learn from the school community feedback, and to announce any changes. We have neighboring districts preparing to make this happen on 4/19 but we cannot do it that quickly and comply with the requirements of the guidance. If there is strong community feedback to reopen for five days (this includes YOU), then the earliest I would imagine we could move forward at SES would likely be 4/26/21.
When could SMS or SHS students return to full 5 days per week? Once the infection rate in Erie County diminishes to allow for a full return, we would be prepared to announce the change and return students within one week—IF our feedback from families and staff supports the move.
Here’s the link to the new guidance, if you’re interested: https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/Pre-K_to_Grade_12_Schools_MasterGuidance.pdf
One of the data points that I’m sure families will find relevant is the number of teachers who are fully vaccinated. Our data shows that over 80% of our teachers are partially or fully vaccinated.
Your feedback is important and will be helpful for our planning. It should only take you a minute or two, but your responses will be helpful in our decisions about a safe return to a full five days. Please participate in our survey.
Those children who are fully remote may continue in this model for the remainder of the 20-21 school year.