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District awaits reopening guidance – A message from Supt. Morris

Dear Stillwater Community,

As you may know, we are expecting the state to release finalized reopening guidance for school districts later this week. Yesterday, Governor Cuomo said schools will open based on regional infection rates. At this time, our regional infection rate is stable, which would indicate that we will be reopening in September. Please note, given the fluidity of the situation, if the infection rate were to spike, schools would be required to revert back to a fully remote learning model.

Cuomo also recently said districts must submit their reopening plans to the New York State Education Department by Friday, July 31. The Governor will make a decision on whether or not schools can reopen in the fall by early August.

On Monday, the New York State Board of Regents & the New York State Education Department released a framework for guidance to reopen schools in the state. More detailed guidance is expected to be released on Wednesday.

In the meantime, as I mentioned at the end of June, we have 14 teams working on our “Return-to-Learn Committee,” with two specific goals in mind: provide a safe place to work and learn and transport, educate, and feed our children. As we await further guidance, we are drafting our Return-to-Learn Plan, which includes addressing multiple areas such as safety, health, instruction, transportation, food service, etc. We also continue to review and revise our remote learning plan, which is created as a contingency plan in the event we will need to return to that model at some point.

In June, we sent a survey to parents, students and staff in regards to reopening schools. The main takeaways from that survey were: 

  • Most staff and parents would like to see a return to school
  • Most would like to see policy and procedures clearly articulated
  • Several parents indicated that they would be concerned if their student would have to wear a mask.

Right now, our summer school program is taking place in person, which has given us the opportunity to execute our protocols and procedures. Each day, students and staff are given a health screening prior to entering the building. Everyone is required to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing. All summer staff members received COVID training prior to the start of the summer session.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we wait for guidance and decisions from the state. Please know we are working hard to plan for the fall and our number one priority is to create a safe and secure learning environment for all. We will continue to keep our families updated as we learn more.

I hope you are all enjoying your summer. 

Sincerely,

Patricia Morris
Superintendent