Dear Minisink Valley school parents/guardians:
To keep you aware of plans related to the return of four days of in-person instruction, we’ve been advised that the full delivery (approximately 3,500 pieces) of the desk partitions needed for our students is expected to ship April 5, with delivery to us sometime between April 6 and 8.
The Reopening Committee continues to meet and has set the target date to return students back into our buildings for Monday, April 12.
We believe this is a realistic date, currently based on these estimated delivery dates combined with the necessary work our Buildings & Grounds team needs to do to prepare rooms, relocate desks and install the partitions on desks in our elementary buildings, along with important cleaning of all our buildings. They will have a tremendous role in getting us prepared, and I am very appreciative of what they will do for us.
In the K-5 buildings, the plan is to affix the partitions to student desks/tables. As you know, these students remain at one desk/table location throughout the day, including lunch. At the end of the day, the partitions will be disinfected.
However, these partitions won’t be affixed to desks in the middle school and high school. A student will use the partition placed on the desk in his/her Period 1 room and transport that partition with him/her throughout the day. That partition will remain at its Period 9 location. At the end of the day, they will be disinfected. Students will always use a “new,” sanitized partition each morning.
It’s important to stress: Each partition is lightweight, with “handles.” It is designed to have the ability to be held/carried, similar to a backpack or lunch box, if need be.
While we understand some students may not look forward to carrying an additional item from class to class, this is our best option to ensure the partition that each student starts the day with stays with that student for the entire day, which includes lunch and gym. Your parent/guardian role in positively reinforcing the proper use of this important health and safety item is critically important.
Please remember the intent of these partitions is to meet the state’s requirement of “six feet distancing or a barrier.” That’s why we made the decision to acquire them. Today, the CDC modified its prior guidance of six feet of separation in schools to three feet of separation.
We await further guidance from the NYSDOH and NYSED.
At this time, building administrators are working on and finalizing building-centric plans which will communicate these details to our parents/community, which also includes transportation. We will share our plans with you once they are in place.
It’s also important to re-emphasize that Monday, April 12 is our intended target date. But like everything we’ve experienced during this pandemic year, plans may change based on a variety of factors we can and cannot control, including updated guidance/mandates and changing conditions.
Additionally, at this time, we are keeping our Remote Wednesday days in place through the end of April, at which time we will be re-evaluating their use.
Our families have a tremendously important role in bringing our students back into our buildings. I remain grateful for your ongoing support of this very important and welcome change to our school year, and for your continued patience and grace during these challenging times.
I will continue to stay in touch.
Brian C. Monahan