Dear Adirondack Helping Hands Families,
All New York State school districts have been tasked with creating a comprehensive school reopening plan for the 2020-21 school year, which includes our Preschool Special Education program. We have been in contact with local districts, along with our health department, the state education department, our faculty, and staff to undertake the creation of this plan. Its work is based on these guiding principles:
· Protect student, staff, and community health
· Foster student learning and progress
· Maintain positive, learning environments
· Foster student and staff emotional health
· Care for our most vulnerable population
The ultimate goal is having students attend in-person as much as possible, while safely being able to maintain social distancing guidelines and ensuring safety and wellness of students, families, and employees.
The administration of Adirondack Helping Hands, through consultation with the above-mentioned entities, has begun to formulate a tentative school reopening plan that is based upon a mix of in-person and remote learning (called a hybrid educational model). The ultimate goal is to be fully in-person at some point in the school year, but this is fully dependent upon guidance from the Governor’s office, Department of Health, and the State Education Department regarding safety.
· Student’s in Miss Genevieve’s class and 12-1-1 A (interviews still in progress for lead teacher) Pam J-TA’s class will attend Monday, Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
· Student’s in Miss Alexis’ class and Miss Jillian’s class will attend Thursday, Friday from 8 am. to 1 p.m.
· All student’s will receive virtual/distance learning on Wednesdays and any necessary related services via telehealth.
· All students will receive virtual/distance learning materials, and related tele-health services for non-in-person days.
We know this far from ideal for families, especially those with young children at home. Again, this is a tentative plan that may be altered as additional information becomes available in the coming weeks. Additionally, after the first few weeks of the new school year, administration will reevaluate the situation and make adjustments as possible. This model has been chosen for several reasons:
· We are being conservative in our application of all health and safety guidelines. All adults will be required to wear face coverings. Additionally, we will encourage mask use by children, but when not possible, children will use social distancing. All classrooms will be utilized daily to be able to offer small group instruction, which will further aide in social distancing for those children who cannot tolerate masks. Plexi-glass barriers will be utilized, as well.
· A hybrid-model-a mix of in-person and remote learning-allows instructional staff to be flexible as we enter the unknown of next school year. We all worked hard to make remote instruction work last year, but we all also readily admit we can do better. Our instructional plans include using Google Classroom/Nearpod while providing in-person instruction so that should we have to change to remote instruction at any time, the adjustment will be minimal.
· Remote Instruction on Wednesdays allows for increased sanitizing between class groups that will attend in person, along with any other deep cleaning that may be necessary.
The timeline of events are as follows:
· A 2020-21 school year facilities reopening survey is posted on our website. We are asking families to complete this survey as soon as possible. It will include a request for current contact information as we need to be able to provide you with the most up to date information in a format that is convenient for you, as well as asking what your tentative education plans may be for the upcoming school year.
· By July 31, all districts and schools are required to create and provide a plan to the New York State Education Department. The plan will be posted on Adirondack Helping Hands’ website, adirondackhelpinghands.com. Our school is committed to doing this work collaboratively with our guiding entities, within the context of state regulations and regulations governing schools.
· By August 7, the Governor is scheduled to announce his decision regarding the re-opening of NY schools.
· During the week of August 17, families enrolled at AHH will receive an updated plan for Fall attendance, based on the guidelines set forth by the Governor in his announcement. Any delay in his announcement will impact release of this information to families.
While school will look different in the 2020-21 school year, the commitment of the staff at Adirondack Helping Hands remains steadfast as we all strive to provide the best education possible to your child during these unprecedented times. Regardless, rest assured, we will work as a school community to adhere to all the processes put in place to greatly decrease the spread of COVID-19 and increase our students’ opportunity for in-person learning.
Bridget A. Benware and Katie L. Calkins-On-site Directors