Back to School Update

Alexander Wolff

Dear Families and Staff,

I hope that this letter finds everyone safe and recovering following the torrential rainfall last week and enjoying the last few days of summer before the 2021-22 school year begins. We are thrilled to be welcoming our students back to school this coming Thursday, September 9 and look forward to what we hope will be a more normal school year for our students and staff. 

Throughout the summer, our administrative team has been planning for the upcoming school year with a focus on the social-emotional wellness of our students and ensuring that our academic program is ready to fulfill our mission of “Inspiring a Standard of Excellence for All Students.” Additionally, our facilities team has worked around the clock to ensure our buildings and grounds are ready for a new school year -- a task made all the more difficult by significant capital improvement projects that are ongoing at Prospect Hill, the MS/HS campus and, of course, construction of a brand new state-of-the-art Hutchinson School. I am immensely thankful for our entire staff’s efforts to prepare for the year ahead. 

With school beginning in just a few short days, I wanted to share a few important updates below pertaining to our COVID-19 protocols and other events/information that you may find useful. 

COVID-19 Protocols

As a reminder, consistent with the requirement from the New York State Department of Health and recommendations of the CDC, all students and staff are required to wear masks while inside our school buildings/facilities. Masks are not required when outdoors.

Since our last communication, we have received guidance that daily health screening forms/temperature checks are no longer required as a COVID-19 mitigation strategy. Accordingly, students and staff will not be required to complete a Daily Health Questionnaire or EZscrn form each day. 

Additional information about our COVID-19 procedures is available on the District website and video recordings of the two family info sessions held last week are available for viewing for those who could not attend. 

Instruction for Students Under Quarantine

While we are confident that increased vaccinations and our layered COVID-19 mitigation strategies will greatly reduce the number of students and staff who must quarantine this school year, doing so is still required by the Department of Health under certain circumstances when those exposed are not vaccinated. The District will be following the quarantine guidelines issued by the New York State Department of Health, which mirrors those of the CDC.  Accordingly, exposed students will not have to quarantine as long as they are between 3 to 6 feet of the infected individual and both are properly wearing masks. Any individual who is fully vaccinated will also not be required to quarantine. 

We are committed to supporting our students with their academics who are directed to quarantine by the District or Department of Health and/or those students who have tested positive. In the event that students are quarantined, teachers will post all learning materials in Google Classroom and prepare/send materials home as necessary. As has always been the case when students are ill, injured or unable to attend school short term for a medical reason, families should be in contact with their classroom teachers, who are best able to provide support for students. Our principals and teachers will be in contact to determine if additional support is needed, which may be provided in the form of additional resources, additional meeting time with their teacher, support from other school personnel, etc. 

Given the more specialized content-specific nature of secondary instruction, and the number of different teachers students work with, quarantined students in the middle and high schools will be provided a passive livestream from the classroom, if needed. Please note that students will not be required to utilize the livestream. 

In the event that an entire class is required to quarantine, those students will shift to fully remote instruction until the quarantine has concluded. If a student’s teacher is quarantined, but students are not, students will still report to school and their class will be covered by a substitute teacher and/or be provided instruction by their regular teacher remotely. 

Hutchinson School Ribbon Cutting

A ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Hutchinson School will be held outside the front entrance at 48 Fifth Street at 4pm on Thursday, September 9, 2021 (Rain date 9/17). We look forward to unveiling the new school to the community and seeing generations of students benefit from its innovative, flexible and environmentally friendly design! The event will be recorded for anyone unable to attend. 

In closing, I want to wish everyone a restful Labor Day and happy Rosh Hashanah to those who are celebrating as well as the best of luck for a joyous and successful 2021-22 school year. 

With Gratitude,

Cheryl H. Champ, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools

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