Good afternoon SGI Families, Students and Employees:
As the NYS Department of Health left return to school Covid-19 protocols up to our local county health departments, we are grateful for the guidance issued by the Erie County Department of Health today. You can read the guidance here. I especially appreciate their careful reliance on the expertise of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most of this guidance is exactly what we followed in May and June 2021 when we were able to return all our students to full in-person learning, five days per week. The goal of full in-person learning, 5 days per week for all children remains at the forefront of all that we do with this layered approach. May and June went very well for us, with only 2 students and 1 staff member with Covid-19 as compared with our mask optional summer school in which we had 13 school age children test positive for Covid-19 and a spread of 22 individuals and 100 people quarantining in our community.
Highlighting what you most need to know for the return of your children to SGI:
- Masking is mandated for all indoor activities and on buses–for ALL individuals including vaccinated students and staff. Assigned seating is required on buses and in classrooms so that we can help the ECDOH identify close contacts if we have a positive case. How is a close contact for quarantining defined? Children who are within three feet and adults who are within six feet of a positive individual for fifteen minutes or more over a 24-hour period. ECDOH indicates that the number of days to quarantine will depend on vaccination status and symptoms.
- Masking is strongly recommended outdoors but will not be required. Children will have breaks from masks while seated at their desks, working independently.
- Physical distancing will be at least 3′ but will be greater where possible. Our planning will reflect this protocol.
- Daily health screenings and temperature checks at every entrance remain mandatory and will be the same procedure as was in place for the 20-21 school year.
- Ventilation systems will be maximized for health and safety, air conditioning units have been ordered and will be installed in SES/SHS/CES classrooms as they arrive (utilizing our Covid 19 federal funds), and windows on buses and classrooms without AC should be open as much as possible.
- Testing will be conducted bi-weekly, a saliva test through ECDOH, for any employee or student who would like to participate (with family permission) and will be expected of all employees who have not been vaccinated.
For more detail on the guidance, follow the link provided in the first paragraph of this letter. I know that the continued Covid-19 pandemic is something we all hoped to see behind us at the start of this school year. We will continue to do the best that we can to keep all our students and employees focused on learning in school five days per week—following the protocols and mandates of the state agencies who are medical experts.
If we receive additional guidance from NYSDOH, I will update you with any additional safety protocols and guidance.
Kimberly Moritz, Superintendent of Schools
Springville-Griffith Institute Central School District Mission: We are a learning community that cultivates meaningful relationships, commits to growth and improvements, says “YES” to voice, choice and creativity, and knows learning is limitless.