Message from Dr. L. Oliver Robinson about the first week of school and a few reminders and clarifications…

Written by on September 18, 2020

We would like to express our deep appreciation for the quality efforts of all employees, students and families to ensure a great start to the school year. In order for us to continue on this same path, we cannot become complacent. COVID-19 is still very much a reality. We must all remain diligent in school and out of school. Masks should be worn at all times, unless eating and/or taking a designated mask break in accordance with prescribed guidelines. Social distancing should be adhered to whenever feasible. We all play a key role in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Here are a few reminders that we are asking you to read and be aware of:

  • COVID Dashboard –  In accordance with the Governor’s order, school districts must report every day any staff member or student (who is registered in the district–attending in-person or CVL) who have reported symptoms of COVID-19. The daily report must also include the number of students/staff who have been tested and the results (negative/positive). The information is made available to the public for each school here: NYS COVID-19 School Reporting Dashboard. If there is a positive COVID case with a student or staff, the district will send out a correspondence in addition to having the information posted on the Dashboard. 

Accordingly, please note that we were just informed today that there is a confirmed case. However, the individual has not been in school at all since reopening. The individual is in isolation and the Saratoga County Health Department is conducting their contact tracing protocols. Although the individual was not in school, we are required to report it on the Dashboard.

  • Process to track potential cases –  We need your help as staff members, students, and parents to make sure that you fill out the self-certify form every school day, regardless if you are working/learning online or in-person.
    • Students: An email is sent to parents every morning at around 2 a.m. with a link to the student self-certification form. The program used is from a company named EdVista. See image of email here: https://www.shenet.org/about-us/reopening-school-2020/.  The form must be filled out for each student daily by all students, and must be done prior to coming to school for students attending in-person. Reminder emails are issued if the form is not completed. We apologize for any inconvenience if you receive several reminder emails.
    • Employees: An email is sent to staff members every morning and must be filled out, and must be completed prior to coming to work for those working onsite.
  • Protocols for students/staff with COVID-19 symptoms –  Based on recent updates/clarifications from the New York State Department of Health:
    • If a student or staff reports (or is sent home due to displaying) any of the COVID-19 symptoms, the individual is required to provide proof of a negative COVID test and a doctor’s clearance note or stay out for 10 days before returning to school or work. 
    • In the case of a positive test, the individual will be placed in isolation by the Saratoga Department of Health, and must be released by the Saratoga County Department of Health prior to returning to school or work.
  • Food Service –  We are offering FREE meals to all students in our district through December 31, 2020 because the USDA has extended the Free Meals for Kids Waiver! 
  • Transportation –  Students are required to sit in assigned seats. They cannot sit where they want. We need to maintain the seating arrangement to help us, should the need arise for contact tracing due to a positive case. Bottom-line, this is ensuring the health and safety of our students and staff. Every bus is different and the school bus driver is the person charged with managing the bus to keep children safe and , in the age of COVID,  to make sure students are spread out on buses as much as feasible, wearing masks, and following traditional bus safety rules.
  • Sports – Due to Covid-19 restrictions placed on schools, transportation issues, students being in hybrid schedules, and a shortage of officials, the Suburban Council has come to the realization that offering modified sports is not going to be possible in the Fall of 2020. In addition, we will not be able to offer the Athletic Placement Process (eligibility for gr. 7-8 students to play interscholastic athletics) this fall because of efforts to keep our middle school and high school students separated as much as possible. While we know this is disappointing for many of our middle school student athletes, it is our hope that we will be able to resume both modified sports and the Athletic Placement Process for the winter and spring seasons.

Here are the sports being offered this Fall:

    • Varsity and JV Boys and Girls Cross Country
    • Varsity and JV Field Hockey
    • Varsity and JV Boys and Girls Soccer
    • Varsity and JV Girls Tennis
    • Varsity and JV Boys Golf
    • Varsity Girls Golf
    • Varsity Girls Swimming and Diving

Here is a link to a video of the Athletic Director answering various questions.

Please practice safety protocols in and out of school or work. Shen is in…we are all in it together!

Committed to Excellence,

Dr. L. Oliver Robinson

Superintendent of Schools

Shenendehowa Central School District