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Re-Entry Plan Update - July 31, 2020
July 31st, 2020
Dear Parents and Families,
We hope that you are having a restful and relaxing summer and that this letter finds you and your family in good health.
We are writing with an update as to what our current thinking is in regards to in-person re-entry in September. Since June, a number of staff, parents, students and community partners have been working in nine subcommittees to examine NYSED guidance, to discuss the circumstances of our District, and to plan for in-person re-entry. These subcommittees include: Health and Safety, Transportation, Child Nutrition Services, Teaching and Learning, Digital Equity, Bilingual Education, Special Education, Social-Emotional Learning, Human Resources, and Budget/Fiscal.
We have also been soliciting feedback from parents and families in several ways, including subcommittee input, a regional Thoughtexchange, and locally-administered surveys. The information gleaned from these feedback loops give us an idea of parent/family concerns and the general sense of how our community is feeling about re-entry as we approach September. Further, Dr. Louis Corsaro (our School Physician/Medical Director), Mr. Frank Guglieri (Putnam-Northern Westchester Safety Specialist), the Putnam County Department of Health and our school attorneys have been intricately involved with our planning. Finally, our District’s Safety Health and Emergency Preparedness (SHEP) Team has been working to oversee and coordinate planning efforts.
In order to bring students back safely for in-person instruction in September in accordance with NYSED and Department of Health regulations, we can only do so if we operate at 50% capacity. We did not arrive at this determination lightly - it was the result of many hours of administrators and facilities personnel analyzing square footage, measuring classrooms to determine usable space, combing over every square inch of the building in order to see what usable space is available for instruction, and then matching our projected class sizes to those spaces. There is no possible way that we can accommodate 100% of our student body given the social distancing mandates. However, we do believe that we can safely operate in-person instruction at 50% capacity.
After that determination and after much discussion with our subcommittee groups, we have decided to divide students into K-12 A and B cohorts based on last name (exceptions will be made for households with different last names). The A and B cohorts will then be assigned to in-person instruction on fixed days for the entire school year. This would be done in an effort to provide more consistency and predictability for our families.
As a result, Cohort A’s fixed in-person days are on Mondays and Thursdays, Cohort B’s is on Tuesdays and Fridays, and Wednesdays will rotate between cohorts. These Wednesday dates will be published well ahead of time for your planning purposes.
For further explanation, the first week of school will look like this:
- Tuesday, September 8th - Cohort B in-person, Cohort A remote
- Wednesday, September 9th - Cohort A in-person, Cohort B remote
- Thursday, September 10th - Cohort A in-person, Cohort B remote
- Friday, September 11th - Cohort B in-person, Cohort A remote
While this is our current thinking as it pertains to in-person instruction, any decision regarding in-person re-entry will most likely be decided by the Governor and it is possible that we might be operating in a full distance learning model, either to start the school year or at any point through the school year. We are diligently working through the details of what those schedules could look like with our Brewster Teachers’ Association Leadership and will share these decisions as soon as we are able. We are also in close communication with the Clerical and SEIU Leadership in an effort to collaborate and plan for all possible scenarios.
We know that you want and need additional information in order to feel fully informed. Please know that these details are in the process of being finalized and will be shared with you as soon as we are able.
Below are some essential dates that we are diligently working towards:
- Friday, July 31st
- Re-entry Assurances due to New York State Education Department
- Re-entry plan posted to our Brewster Central School District website (this plan will be a living document that is consistently updated)
- Week of August 3rd
- Parent/family informational documents on re-entry plans released
- Parent questionnaire to be released
- Governor Cuomo will announce his plans for September re-entry
- Week of August 10th
- Informational videos on the topic of transportation, facilities, schedules, health and safety and other topics begin to become available. In addition, information on A Day in the Life of a Brewster Bear will also be available.
- Community informational presentations:
- Wednesday, August 12th 12:00pm via Zoom
- Wednesday, August 12th 5:30pm via Zoom
- Week of August 17th
- Student and parent re-entry/orientation modules posted
- Parent questionnaire due
Below, please see a number of additional resources that are available regarding parent re-entry.
Thank you for your partnership as we work through the multitude of details regarding the in-person re-entry for the 2020-21 school year. Please know that we are all doing all that we can in order to ensure a safe re-entry for students and staff.
Dr. Laurie Bandlow
Dr. Michelle Gosh