Superintendent's Message on Reopening Plans

Dear Families, 

Over the past several weeks, the Spencerport Districtwide Reopening Task Force has been working hard to develop draft plans and considerations for a return to school. Membership of this group included over 60 stakeholders and is located on our web page at this link (Task Force Members). Thank you so much to each of these individuals, who have provided their time, feedback and perspectives on numerous topics and considerations for an exceptionally challenging situation. We will be working with this team in the coming weeks as well to refine the various logistical elements that need to be addressed. 

The participants were divided into two working groups: one for operations and the other for instruction. The primary goal of each group was to serve in an advisory capacity tasked with producing recommendations for my consideration. As a reminder, every school district in NYS is required to submit their reopening plan by July 31, 2020 to the State Education Department. This work was anchored within the Board of Regents framework which emphasized the following key principles:
  • The health, safety of the children and adults is paramount
  • Educational equity is at the forefront of our decision making
  • One size does not fit all
  • Districts need leeway to develop creative solutions
  • Stakeholders should provide input
  • The situation will require constant monitoring and updating of plans, policies, and regulations

We spent much of our time exploring how to return students and employees safely. This was done with the use of several resources including guidance from the State Education Department, the Monroe County and State Departments of Health, the executive orders from the Office of the Governor and the multiple surveys completed by parents and staff. The guidance documents are available on our COVID-19 website. We had over 1,900 parents complete surveys that provided valuable perspective and this feedback was used by our task force sub-committees. (Parent Survey Summary).  Additionally, approximately 81% of our employees completed our staff surveys that were shared with union leaders.

 

With feedback from our sub-committees, surveys and input from the task force chairs, we have prepared a reopening plan based on a hybrid model with the option of a remote learning approach. This will include returning to in-person instruction for all students K-12 on a split schedule that will be finalized and communicated in the coming weeks. Parents will have the option for 100% remote instruction for their children as well. Using this model will allow us to use our existing spaces with approximately half of the students in attendance which supports our safety guidelines and strategies. This embraces the social distancing needs we will have with the return of staff and students. The attached Reopening Instructional Options Flyer  summarizes the key points of our plan. The complete plan will be posted on July 31, 2020 in the state portal and on our district website by the end of the day. Click here to see the complete draft plan submitted to the NYSED for approval. These plans could be modified or changed based on emerging guidance and feedback from the state. They are also contingent on the Governor allowing schools to reopen within the parameters he has set and we believe that the Governor will make that decision in early August. 

We will need your help moving forward so additional planning and details to our opening of schools can be finalized. First, please review the plans and/or the summary document/flyer provided above. Second, the link below will connect you with an important enrollment intent form that needs to be completed for each child in your household that will be attending school in the 2020-2021 school year. We ask that all enrollment forms are completed by Thursday, August 6, 2020. For families that select the hybrid model, group assignments (Blue - M/Th and Gold - T/F) will be communicated the week of August 10, 2020. Please note, if we don’t receive a submission for enrollment, your child will be placed in the hybrid model. (Enrollment Intent Form)

This form provides you the option to register your child in the hybrid model or remote learning instruction model, inform our transportation department on student routing requirements and identifies connectivity needs at home. This information is critical for us to plan the opening of school, build schedules and ensure safety on our buses and throughout our campus. On the Enrollment Intent form, you will see that our current plan is to use this feedback to meet the needs of our students through October 30, 2020. This way, we can monitor operations and instruction, and if needed make any necessary adjustments for the next session. While we know we are asking for a commitment, we also recognize that there may be some extenuating circumstances that we will review as needed.

These past several months and upcoming weeks leading up to the opening of school have certainly been filled with challenges. We thank you for your patience and support and appreciate the resilience that our students, staff, and community have demonstrated during this time. We will be monitoring our plans and adjust them as needed as we continue to receive additional guidance and information related to this situation.

Finally, we know that a full-time return is the ultimate goal but believe that these plans are the safest approach for all involved as we start our school year. Please know that while we will have specific guidance and laws that must be followed, the importance of building flexibility into our strategies and systems has been a priority. These plans will most likely be refined over the coming weeks and we will be sure to keep school community updated when this occurs.

Dan

 

Dan Milgate
Superintendent of Schools