Many of you may already know that Friday evening, Governor Cuomo issued an executive order that special education programs may open for the summer even though our region has not reached a level of COVID reduction considered safe for schools to begin face to face services. Since this is a reversal to an announcement the Governor made several weeks ago that all education programs should remain closed for the summer, Friday’s order came as an unexpected surprise. Like you, we want to resume in person instruction with our students as soon as we can do so safely. We are in the process of seriously examining this option. With only a few weeks before the start of the summer program, the time to adequately prepare is very limited.
We know that remote learning is no substitute for face to face instruction. However, as you can well imagine, planning to open school in a safe thoughtful way is a complicated undertaking. We have received no guidance yet from State Education Department on what a safe learning environment should look like or what reopening documents need to be prepared before students can attend. We have to purchase enough personal protective equipment, hire additional staff for daytime cleaning, routine temperature checks and other COVID coordination, install handwashing stations and a tent to check temperatures, reduce class size so we can maintain a safe distance between students and the list goes on and on.
Creating a positive and safe educational experience is our foremost concern! We are working hard to make a thoughtful decision for our students and staff alike. We ask your patience while we consider all viable options and promise to have more information for you shortly. Thank you for the trust you continue to place in us. It means so much as we navigate through these challenging times.
Jamey and Susan, Directors