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Message from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bellair Regarding Return to School Survey

July 24, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians:

As you may already know, the District created a survey regarding our return to school in September. I have received some questions regarding the survey’s content and options and would like to provide some clarification. We did provide further clarification on the hybrid option in the survey. The hybrid model is where students return for full-day, in-person instruction on a rotational basis. Alternate days will be fully remote. If you have already completed the survey and this clarification changes your response, you may retake the survey. We will consider your second submission your response. 

When we developed this survey, it was for the specific purpose of determining which of the viable options parents would choose for their children. It was also another opportunity for us to gather important data on device and internet connectivity availability in homes. 

As a District, we are obligated to comply with NYS Department of Health and New York State Education Department regulations and guidance. For that reason, a 100% return to school for all students is not possible. All the guidance we have received requires schools to socially distance students and staff at least 6 feet under most circumstances and at least 12 in others (ex. physical education classes and classes during which wind instruments are played). Our buildings’ physical footprints are only about 1/3 to 1/2 the size required to do so for the nearly 3,800 students and staff usually in our buildings each day. For that reason, we did not include an option for a 100% return to in-person schooling on the survey as it is not possible for us to do.

As the parent of three children, one a graduate of Whitesboro and two both students at Hart’s Hill Elementary School, I would welcome a full return to in-person schooling as it was pre-pandemic – all students and staff reporting 5 full days each week. Unfortunately, at this time, this is not possible. Our plan for reopening schools is currently being developed by our Safe Reopening of Schools Committee and will be submitted to the NYS Education Department by Friday, July 31, 2020. Once submitted, it will be posted on our District’s website.  

We will continue to update you in the following days and weeks as we know more. For now, I ask for your patience and understanding knowing we are doing all we can to provide the best educational opportunities for our students in the safest environment possible.

Dr. Brian K. Bellair
Superintendent of Schools