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This message was emailed to all families on Tuesday, August 10, 2021.

Dear Families,

We have been working diligently over the last several weeks to prepare for the return of your children to school in September. As you know, we had been anticipating updated guidance for this school year from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). We were notified late last week that this guidance was not going to be released, and that we should plan for the return of students following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for PreK-12 schools.

Tuesday morning, the State Education Department (SED) released a memo informing school leaders that they would be issuing a summary guidance document based on the CDC guidelines and guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics. This document should address a variety of questions that will help districts plan for the coming year.

You can read the full memo from SED here.

Also on Tuesday morning, Governor Cuomo announced his resignation, which is effective on August 24. We do not know how this may or may not impact the release of any guidance from the state, beyond that which is planned from SED. We will continue to work with the Columbia County Department of Health, Questar III BOCES, and SED to ensure we have policies and procedures in place that will keep our students and staff as healthy and safe as possible.

The District’s Reopening Task Force will meet this week to discuss in further detail our plans for the beginning of school. While it is likely that the forthcoming guidance from SED will very closely mirror the CDC guidance we have been using to develop our plans, we anticipate waiting to receive this document prior to finalizing our plan.

The next Board of Education Meeting has also been moved up to August 17, where we will discuss the District’s draft Reopening Plan and the recommendations of the Task Force in more depth. All parents and community members are invited to attend this meeting.

As we have previously stated, our desire is to return all students to in-person learning, but we also understand that alternate plans may be necessary on a case by case basis for some students who require remote learning due to significant medical concerns. If your child is medically compromised with documentation from a healthcare provider, please fill out this short survey by Wednesday, August 11.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our community for their unwavering support of our district. As we have moved through these challenging times over the past 18 months, I have been inspired by the way we have united as one community to ensure everyone’s health and safety. As we look ahead to the beginning of another school year, we will continue to move forward with the same tenacity, and we will continue to offer your children the very best education.

Suzanne Guntlow