A March 31 update on the extended school closure from Superintendent Brian Monahan

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Dear Minisink Valley school community:

Thank you again for your ongoing support and patience as we continue to further refine ongoing instructional plans during this extended school closure. We are committed to sharing information with you as soon as it’s available. Like every school district, we are often waiting for guidance from the State Education Department for answers to many questions.

As you know, Gov. Cuomo has extended New York State school closures to April 15. This is subject to further modifications and we are now moving ahead with the expectation that this date will be further extended.

The academic assignments of the past weeks have focused solely on ensuring our students maintain their current skills through conscientious review work. Our faculty and administrators have done simply extraordinary work in making sure our students have the resources they need to make this happen. Our gratitude to them is never ending.

We are equally grateful to you for help in this success. Without accompanying parental support, our students would not be in the academically healthy position they are in now. Please continue to encourage and require your children to be actively engaged in their own learning and complete the learning tasks assigned to them.

Please note: As required by the governor’s Executive Order and the New York State Education Department, our faculty will continue to provide education resources designed to maintain students’ skills and provide enrichment opportunities April 6 through 14. This continuity of this work is important. Our faculty also doesn’t want any gap of time where students are not engaged in academic work.  We are asking you to ensure this work is completed.

Your partnership with us to make this happen is important because effective April 15, if we do not return to school, the district will begin an education plan for students using online instruction or instructional support through self-guided lessons, if remote learning is not an option.  We will provide details on this in the coming days. Again, we appreciate your patience as our faculty and administrators are committed to ensuring all aspects of this thoughtful plan provide the best possible education experience during this challenging situation.

We know online instruction or instructional support through self-guided lessons, if remote learning is not an option, will never substitute for the outstanding learning experiences that take place in our classrooms, but this is the best alternative to ensuring our students’ education continues during this fluid time. Our faculty, administrators and staff are committed to this plan’s success. Because of their dedication to student achievement, we know we will be successful. With your continued partnership with us, we are even more confident of this success.

The level of dedication, fortitude and resilience shown our school community is beyond remarkable. Your support of our faculty and staff as they work to provide continuity of learning, meal distribution to identified students, and more, inspires us every day.

For the very short-term, here are some important reminders:

Mental health, behavioral and social/emotional support
The district’s coronavirus page on our website, www.minisink.com, provides helpful mental health resources. Please use them if you need help.

Childcare for first responders, health care providers and essential workers
Minisink Valley has partnered with the Middletown YMCA as an onsite childcare for health care providers, first responders and essential workers.  Details on the Middletown YMCA childcare program

Breakfast and lunches for identified families
Minisink Valley continues to provide meals to identified families.
Details on the breakfast and lunch program for identified families

If you are still in need of a loaner Chromebook, the deadline to reserve one is 12 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1. Additionally, our technology team has created an online help desk along with online tutorials to assist you.
Details on loaner Chromebooks
Technology support during extended school closure

PPS/Special Education
PPS/Special Education has developed a plan to insure that your children’s needs are met. Special education teachers will coordinate with their general education teachers on the instructional supports needed for each assignment. Self-contained/special class special education teachers will be your child’s primary teacher and will develop and implement lessons tailored to each student’s needs. Students who attend programs in other locations will have their instructional materials provided by those programs.

To the extent possible, the district will provide the related services outlined on your child’s Individual Education Program (IEP). The families of students who receive related services will be contacted by their child’s service provider(s) to outline a plan for the provision of services tailored to the family and student’s needs.

Starting on April 20, we will proceed with our annual review meetings. These meetings will be done remotely, via phone conference. You will receive notification of the date and time of your meeting from the Office of Pupil Personnel Services.

This extended school closure is a highly fluid situation and we expect more changes are likely.  There is tremendous uncertainty which we know creates difficulties and anxiety for many. But, we know that with the continued tenacious support of our Minisink Valley community, we will ride this out and be successful.

It’s important for all of us to continue to focus on our families and others who are important to us. Please do what’s necessary to balance your family’s needs, work and, now, this anticipated educational arrangement. Minisink Valley faculty, administrators and staff are committed to your child’s academic success as we all embark on this new way of educating our children.

With your continued support, we will successfully navigate any unknown variables that we may encounter. There is no finer community anywhere than the Minisink Valley school community. The strength, passion and determination of this community continues to be the gold standard for others to follow.  Thank you again for the trust you give to us in your children’s education.


Brian C. Monahan