Dear Minisink Valley school community:
As you continue to enjoy your summer, please know everyone at Minisink Valley is working hard to plan for our Sept. 1 Opening Day of school for students.
To restate what I communicated toward the end of this past school year, our intention and plan is to have as normal of a school year as is possible, given the continued pandemic challenges. We are planning for a return to five, full days of in-person instruction. There will be no hybrid or remote options.
Currently, we have no indications from the New York State Department of Education (NYSED) or New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) that would change this plan. I want to again emphasize that we are legally required to follow all guidance/directives/mandates issued by the NYSDOH. The authority of the NYSDOH supersedes the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The NYSDOH, not the CDC, still determines what the district can and cannot do.
In addition to NYSED and NYSDOH guidance, we receive and closely review all CDC guidance. Like you, we are aware of its July 27 recommendation for all K-12 students and school district employees to wear masks while inside all buildings at the start of the school year, regardless of vaccination status, in addition to similar guidance recently issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). We regularly have detailed conversations with Dr. Sara Little, the district’s medical director, to review all this material. We are also aware of Gov. Cuomo’s comments today, July 28, where he advised that school districts may be in a position of having to make tough decisions should the uptick in the COVID-19 Delta variant continue.
What does this mean for Minisink Valley? Right now, we feel it’s important for students and their families to enjoy the approximately five weeks left of summer break. I encourage everyone to carefully review all updated guidance on mask wearing in public places and give careful thought to these recommendations. Additionally, I also encourage everyone to give thoughtful consideration to getting vaccinated, if eligible, if they have yet to do so. Following public health guidance and protocols ensures our community remains the healthiest it can, and best positions us for the best possible reopening of school.
I will continue to stay in touch as we near the beginning of school. Best wishes for your continued enjoyment of these summer days.
Brian C. Monahan