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The following message from District Superintendent, Suzanne Guntlow, was emailed to all Ichabod Crane families on Tuesday, April 20.

All previous school reopening news and COVID-19 updates can be found on the district’s Reopening Information page here.

Dear Ichabod Crane Families,

You may have heard that the New York State Department of Health recently updated its guidance for PK-12 schools during COVID-19.  As we continue to work with the Columbia County Department of Health to interpret the NYS guidelines it has become clear that with the new requirements around the change, we are unable to make the social distancing transition from six feet to three feet for all students at this time. However, we continue to be committed to bringing back as many students as possible.   

After carefully reviewing the full updated NYS guidance we have determined we can welcome all hybrid, 7th grade students back to in-person instruction 4 days per week. We are able to make this adjustment to our plan as all in-person middle school students have been in contained cohorts (groups of students who stay together for most of the day), since the start of the school year. Additionally, the in-person 7th grade cohort is relatively small so we are able to accommodate the increased number of students in the Middle School and on District transportation while meeting the new DOH guidance. Our 8th grade will remain on the hybrid schedule due to limitations with space, the large size of the cohort, and scheduling conflicts.  

Students in grades 9-12 will remain on their current hybrid learning model. We continue to bring more at risk students in these grades back to additional in-person instruction days. We recognize some students are struggling with the hybrid model more than others and we are committed to doing whatever we can to support these students. If you feel your grade 9-12 student is struggling, academically or otherwise, in the current hybrid model, please reach out to their school counselor or principal. 

Finally, the Department of Health has informed us we can reduce physical distancing requirements from 12 feet to 6 feet in K-12 special area classes (Music and Physical Education). This will give teachers more flexibility to provide students with even more positive PE and music experiences. We know you may have questions or concerns about this change, but please be assured we will continue following all safety and risk mitigation precautions in these classes. Distancing requirements will be followed, masks will still be worn at all times (modified masks will be worn while playing an instrument), lessons will be outdoors when possible and group sizes will be small. 

If you have any questions or would like to provide feedback on these changes, please reach out to your building’s principal by April 26.  We plan to implement these changes effective Monday, May 3 after a thorough review of any provided feedback.

As always, I appreciate your patience and understanding as we continue navigating through these times together. 

Suzanne Guntlow
Superintendent of Schools