Dear Minisink Valley secondary school parents/guardians:
As noted in previous district communications, we received updated New York State Department of Health guidance on April 9 addressing new guidelines for in-person instruction, social distancing and the reopening of schools.
Unfortunately, these new guidelines impacted our ability to begin four days of in-person instruction at the secondary level, as originally planned for April 12. Thank you for your continued patience while the district received a very thorough clarification and conducted a thoughtful review on how to safely proceed to increased days of in-person instruction for our middle school and high school students.
Within this guidance document, NYSDOH provides an opportunity for school districts to move to shorter social distancing requirements during in-person academic instruction. However, students and staff will continue to wear masks throughout the day, and six feet of social distancing will be maintained during meals.
A requirement in the guidance states: “Prior to making any change to reduce physical distancing to less than six feet during academic instruction, decisions must be made with community input. Responsible parties must include opportunities for feedback from parents, community members, teachers and local departments of health.”
In consideration of this requirement, we have consulted with various stakeholders, including the Board of Education, our school attorney and insurance carrier, the BOCES district superintendent and colleague superintendents, the district’s medical director and local physicians, and district faculty and staff. We are now asking our families to share their important feedback.
Please complete a copy of this form for each of your children enrolled in the high school or middle school. Note: K-5 in-person instruction remains unchanged, as the current guidance allowed schools to bring students back for increased days of K-5 student attendance.
We know how important it is for our secondary students to be back in the physical classroom, if they choose. We are listening to the requests of parents and students to find alternate options to do this safely. The feedback we have received from our stakeholders noted above is that this is possible.
Assuming you concur, we are looking at an anticipated return to four days of in-person instruction beginning Thursday, May 6. The option to remain fully remote is unchanged.
The survey will close on Monday, May 3 at 10 a.m.
Thank you for your attention to this important information. Please expect to hear from me once we complete our review of the information we need you to send to us.
Brian C. Monahan