Reopening Parent Letter 8/4/2020

Dear Parents,
       We are pleased to announce our reopening plan for the 2020-21 school year has been submitted to New York State Education Department and New York State Department of Health. Our commitment to the health and safety of our students drives everything we do.  It drove the transition to remote learning when schools closed in March.  It was a profoundly challenging time for our staff, you and your family.  We want to thank you for handling it with such grace and effort.

Now, five months later, this same commitment to health and safety will carry us into the 2020-21 school year.  Pending Governor Cuomo’s announcement that it is safe to reopen schools, Center for Spectrum Services’ schools in Kingston and Ellenville will begin the school year in an unprecedented way with new health protocols, physical distancing, and a blended model of instruction.  This blended model means students will be taught on site in school for two days of the week and will be offered remote instruction on the other days of the week.  We created this hybrid to institute the safety precautions necessary to mitigate the potential impact of the coronavirus in our school community and reduce the likelihood its spread to our students and our staff. As we are “legally” a school for well children, we do not have the capacity to care for students with symptoms or quarantine students for any period of time. This means it will be vital to have current emergency contact information for your child should we need to contact you.

The Governor has said that he will announce whether it is safe to reopen schools during the first week of August.  If we can reopen on time, the first week of school will be Tuesday September 8th through Friday September 11th.  During this week, Center for Spectrum Services will continue remote instruction daily for all students while staff finish preparing the program to reopen safely for your children.  Your child’s remote instruction schedule for the first week of remote instruction will be shared with you in August.

Beginning on Monday September 14, two day in-person school sessions will occur. Students scheduled for the A sessions will attend Monday and Tuesday.  Students scheduled for the B sessions will attend Thursday and Friday. Your child will continue to have remote instruction opportunities offered on the three weekdays they are not in school. Your Family Service Coordinator will be emailing you shortly with information on which days your child will attend school: Session A or Session B.  Student attendance will be taken on all five days.

In school hours of instruction will be 9:00 to 2:30. However, busses will be arriving and departing on a staggered schedule to permit physical distancing and temperature screening for each student. Bussing will be provided by your School District for school age students or County for students of preschool age following the safety guidelines of New York State Department of Health. Please contact your transportation office as soon as possible if you choose to transport your child to school. Let us know as well so we can prepare to receive your child by car.

Any family may also elect to continue an all-remote learning model for a two month period into the new school year as an alternative to the new blended learning model. There is an online form to complete to activate this option of instruction: Click Here. We are requesting that you complete this form by Friday August 7 so we may plan instructional schedules accordingly.

We have purchased additional systems and products to clean, sanitize and disinfect our schools. Our remote learning model is a flexible response to the pandemic to provide time for thorough cleaning and disinfection of all common areas, equipment, and frequently touched surfaces. We recognize staff will require suitable personal protective equipment to work safely with your children and we plan to have an adequate supply to begin school in September. Additional health services staff will be available for health screening and ongoing attention to the well-being of our students.

For the return to school for our students and staff to be as safe as possible, we will need your full commitment to our Spectrum Services community. It is critical those in your family wear a face covering when out in the community to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We ask you to immediately contact us if anyone in your family is ill with coronavirus symptoms or has come into contact with anyone with coronavirus. By sharing these responsibilities within our extended school family, we hope to mitigate the possibility of the virus spreading at school.  Additional information on these protocols will be forthcoming in August.

In closing, we want to say that like you, we are feeling both excited and a little anxious at the prospect of opening the doors of our school to both staff and students.  We know that blending in-person and remote learning feels like an improvement over the all remote experiences of the last five months, but still comes with many questions.   Our school model must be as flexible as needed since the public health landscape continues to evolve. We will continue this blended learning model unless the COVID-19 data along with our governing agencies have determined that it is necessary to return to remote learning or until the happy time that safety precautions are no longer necessary and we can return to full time in-person instruction.

For a summary on Center for Spectrum Services reopening plan, Click Here. To read the full reopening plan submitted to the New York State Health Department and Education Department, Click Here.  During the month of August, updated school opening information will continue to be shared through school messenger and our parent newsletter. We will work with you every step of the way to make the return to school as easy as possible for you and your child, while not compromising on health and safety protocol.  If you have any additional questions, please contact your Family Service Coordinator or email us by Clicking Here.

Thank you so much for your continued cooperation and for the trust you have placed in Center for Spectrum Services and our dedicated staff.  Enjoy the rest of your summer and stay healthy and safe.

Warm Regards,

Jamey Wolff, Program Director and Susan Buckler, Administrative Director