Recently, we reminded you about inclement weather days and the need to be prepared.
I’m writing today to also remind you that the New York State Education Department requires us (as well as all New York State schools) to have an Emergency Remote Instruction Plan in place. This means we must have an actionable plan to put into effect should remote instruction be needed for whatever reason. The district has a very solid and well-developed plan to implement should this be necessary.
As you know, the 2023-24 school calendar has“emergency use” days built in, which we plan to use for inclement weather conditions causing us to close school. Please know the district will prioritize the traditional practice of closing schools due to inclement weather conditions for this school year.
But, emergency closure days can happen for a variety of reasons, not just weather, and we must be prepared. I’ll also stress that while this also doesn’t mean that we would wait to exhaust “snow days” prior to pivoting to remote instruction, any decision to use remote days would be mindful of the student calendar; the number of emergency days remaining; the type of emergency (inclement weather, power or water loss, as examples); and student and staff ability to work remotely, among other factors.
Two things are clear: NYSED requires us to have remote instruction plans in place, and the district is fully capable of doing this.
Should remote instruction ever be necessary, here’s a general overview of our plan:
Grades 4 to 12:
Students are expected to bring their school-issued Chromebooks home with them every day. The plan will be to use synchronous (live) instruction via Google Meets/Classroom on these days. Daily schedules for remote instruction will be communicated by the individual schools.
Grade K to 3:
Our recent K-3 survey indicated many families in this age group don’t have access to devices dedicated for the purpose of instruction on remote instruction days. Because of this, each grade level is preparing packets that will be provided to families on Tuesday, Nov. 21. We ask that you hold onto this packet and keep it in a quickly accessible location should these materials be necessary. Additional guidance for remote instruction will be forthcoming.
Aside from the NYSED mandate requiring a remote instruction plan to be in place, we have an equal responsibility to have the ability to possibly pivot to the use of remote instructional days to avoid school closures and/or the taking back established vacation days. I wanted to reinforce this to you now.
Please use this information as an opportunity to discuss with your child the reasons why remote instruction might take place in those rare occasions. Similar conversations will be taking place in our classrooms as well.
We appreciate your ongoing support and understanding as our trusted partners in your child’s education.
Brian C. Monahan