Almost 2,000 parents/guardians responded to Minisink Valley’s recent Reopening Schools Survey, offering thoughts and suggestions about the three reopening models being reviewed by committees in addition to transportation preferences.
Their responses and written comments will be considered and incorporated into the work of the various district committees as their work continues to recommend a reopening plan for Minisink Valley schools in September.
Health, safety and security in tandem with academics
“Our first priority remains the health, safety and security of our students and staff,” said Superintendent Brian Monahan. “The insight of our parents and guardians is critically important to our work. It’s important to again stress that the final decision on how schools will reopen this fall comes from the governor. The recent metrics he shared on July 13 is the first piece of guidance in this process.”
The district, he stressed, has an equal focus on student academic success.
“We are very aware of the challenges all of us faced during these last three months of remote learning,” Mr. Monahan said. “We pledge that our commitment to academic excellence for all our students is even further intensified as a result of this experience.”
A majority of respondents support a hybrid model of instruction, if necessary.
The three scenarios under review are:
Scenario 1: A full return to school, with strict adherence to social distancing protocols as required by the CDC and other authorities.
Scenario 2: A return to remote learning, similar to what we experienced this spring, with adjustments made based upon many of the lessons learned from this experience.
Scenario 3: A hybrid model, which would include both in-school and remote instruction. This model would allow for a reduced daily student attendance and minimize in-person contact.
A majority of respondents felt if the school district practiced social distancing, cleaning protocols, wore protective masks, and followed all state health guidelines upon our return, they would feel comfortable having their children physically return to school.
A majority of respondents did not think students should continue remote learning until COVID-19 is eradicated or until a vaccine is available.
Respondents were split on the question if CDC regulations allow, how comfortable would they be allowing their children to travel to and from school on a school bus carrying a regular volume of students.
A majority of respondents said they would be comfortable having their children travel to and from school on a school bus with social distancing in effect.
Respondents were split on the question if social distancing mandates required the district to significantly limit the number of students who can travel on a school bus together, would they be want to or be able to drive their students to school or make alternate transportation/carpool arrangements.
Committee work continues
Board of Education members, district administrators, faculty, staff, union leaders, parents and age-appropriate students are participating in committees to address the volume of work to be accomplished to prepare plans.
These committees are focusing on all aspects of the reopening process in light of COVID-19, including technology, buildings/grounds, transportation, athletics, and more.
Districts have until July 31 to submit their reopening plans. In tandem, on July 13, Gov. Cuomo released details on the metrics that would be used during the first week of August to determine how schools would reopen.
“Thank you to everyone who took the time to let us know what they think,” added Mr. Monahan. “We appreciate hearing all the supportive and blunt comments. We hear what you’re telling us. Reopening Minisink Valley schools for the upcoming school year is a community-wide undertaking. We look forward to our community to continue being our partners in this effort.”