Superintendent O’Shea’s message about back-to-school plans

Dear Families:

With the start of the school year a few weeks away, I want to share some information with you on our back-to-school planning. We are committed to having all students return for daily, in-person learning on September 7th and look forward to welcoming your child back to school.

This summer we have worked closely with regional school districts, our medical director and Albany County Department of Health to ensure proper Covid health and safety protocols are in place. We have based our plans on guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations, Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) most recent recommendations and the New York State Education Department Health and Safety Guide for the 2021-2022 School Year.

Our district will follow a multi-layered mitigation approach based on Covid-19 transmission and infection rates in Albany County (low, moderate, substantial, and high). Currently Albany County is an area of high transmission. The protocols that will be followed during high rates of transmission include:

  • Universal indoor masking for all students and staff.
  • Maintaining at least 3 feet of distancing.
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols.
  • Hand washing and respiratory etiquette.
  • Contact tracing in combination with quarantine and isolation as directed by Albany County DOH.We continue to strongly encourage individuals who are 12 years and older to be vaccinated.

We believe the use of this tiered mitigation strategy will help ensure a safe start to the year for our school community. Please know that our plans are subject to change based on any new guidance or regulations issued by the federal or state government.

Our district will not provide a virtual instruction model in 2021-22. However, we are exploring an option through Capital Region BOCES for students for whom virtual instruction is a medical necessity. This requires a full-time commitment of one year, and documentation through your child’s doctor will be required.

If you will be requesting remote instruction due to your child’s medical condition, we ask that you please complete this preliminary interest survey by 5 p.m. on Monday, August 23rd. Please note this survey is for planning purposes and does not officially register your child.

To share more information about our school opening plan, we will host a virtual information session at 4 p.m. on Thursday, August 26th. Dr. DiTursi, our District Medical Director, will also be in attendance.  We will send out a meeting link via Parent Square and post it on our website prior to August 26th. This session will be recorded and posted to the website as well. UPDATE: This session has been moved to Monday, August 30 at 6 p.m. My hope is that this time will allow as many families as possible to listen in. The link for the meeting will be sent via ParentSquare prior to Monday’s meeting. The meeting will be recorded and posted on the district’s YouTube channel for those not able to make the meeting.

We will  be sharing more detailed information on our plan and the start of school in the upcoming weeks. Thank you for your continued support as we prepare to welcome our students and staff back to school.

Sincerely,

Peggy O’Shea
Superintendent of Schools

Preparing our students for success in tomorrow’s world.

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