April 23, 2021

Dear Springville-Griffith Institute School Community:

It is unprecedented that we are still dealing with an abbreviated school schedule in three of our four schools in the midst of this Covid-19 pandemic. On Friday evening, April 9, we received a 24-page guidance document from NYSDOH which indicates allowable changes to our Reopening Plan that has been in place since September 2020.

We have been anxiously awaiting this new guidance, but it is not a simple change in physical distancing from 6’ to 3’, there are other requirements that are reflected in this updated NYSDOH guidance. Also, we are in the Red Zone in Erie County which means we are not permitted to use the 3’ of physical distancing for our SMS and SHS students.

From the opening of school to today, 4/23/2021, here are our stats for total positive covid cases:

  • SES 3 students, 4 adults
  • CES 2 students, 4 adults
  • SMS 10 students, 4 adults
  • SHS 24 students, 9 adults

After studying the new guidance and the physical space at SES, we have determined that we can safely return our SES students to a full five days of in-person instruction by following all of the necessary safety guidelines. Since the beginning of the school year, we have had only 3 positive cases among our SES student population, our data (shown above) supports the current CDC data that positive cases and spread among our youngest students is at a much lesser rate than our adolescent and adult populations.

If the infection rate falls to a level that allows us to return our MS/HS students with only 3’ of physical distancing, we will do so.

We also know that approximately 80% of the teachers and administrators reporting their vaccine status have been partially or fully vaccinated.

Here’s a link to the community meeting presentation from Thursday, April 15, 2021 in which I described the changes and asked for community input. Thank you to the 599 parents and community members who participated in our family feedback survey. Based on the feedback received and our own study of the guidance and our buildings, Springville Elementary Students are able to return to school five days per week beginning on Monday, May 3, 2021.

I envision a return in which we all have more love and respect and empathy for each other, one in which we judge less and work harder to support our families and our colleagues. Most importantly, I want all of our children, staff and families to be healthy and safe.

The following page shows what our Springville Guiding Coalition, a group of parents, students, teachers, administrators and BOE members, developed over the two years preceding the pandemic.. In answering the question, “what do we most believe about learning and what do we want our schools to be?”, they developed the mission, vision and belief statements that follow.

I look forward to discussions about lessons learned during this challenging time. Our administrative team is busy beginning the work of planning summer programs with our children that allow them to find value and meaning every day. We are looking to use our additional federal funds to bring back the love and joy of school for every student, design enrichment opportunities and to provide transportation and meals for these summer programs for any and all children, free of charge.

With much love and hope for our future,

Kimberly Moritz

Kimberly Moritz Superintendent of Schools