Community Input Requested on Reopening to 100% In Person Instruction

Good Morning,

I hope you all enjoyed a restful weekend.

As I shared with you on 4/10, the New York State Department of Health released an Interim Guidance for In Person Instruction During the COVID-19 Public Health Pandemic. This morning, I am reaching out to share updates specific to this guidance and potential impact on a 100% reopening of in person instruction at the secondary level at HCS. Please note: We fully intend to maintain current programming and scheduling at the Elementary School. There should be little to no impact on our ES students, families, faculty, or staff if we move forward with 100% reopening at our secondary level.

Provisions of the Interim Guidance for In Person Instruction:
  • Schools/districts may choose to reduce physical distancing to no less than three feet between students during academic instruction, however, schools/districts must follow CDC recommendations for physical distancing depending upon community transmission rates and grade levels. 
  • 4/19 Update on Impact at HCS: As of this morning, Ontario County remains at a HIGH community transmission rate. It is anticipated by OCDOH that it may take weeks (if at all) for this rate to drop to a substantial, moderate, or low level.  
  • Schools must adhere to the exceptions where a minimum of six feet of distance must be maintained including:  
    • Six feet is always the required distancing between adults (teachers, staff, visitors) and between students and adults.
    • Six feet of distance is required when eating meals or snacks, or drinking, or other times masks must be removed. This may mean that meals cannot be eaten in classrooms that have been converted to three feet of physical distance during instruction time.  
    • Individuals participating in activities that require projecting the voice (e.g., singing) or playing a wind instrument must be six feet apart and there must be six feet of distance between the performers and the audience during performances and concerts.  Note: This is still a win for our music department because it allows for reduced social distancing from twelve feet to six feet!  
    • Six feet of physical distance must be maintained in common areas and outside of classrooms (e.g. lobbies, auditoriums, gymnasiums, cafeterias, and hallways), where possible.  Note: This is still a win for our PE department because it allows for reduced social distancing from twelve feet to six feet! 
    • Individuals should maintain appropriate physical distancing, unless they are members of the same household on the bus. 
  • 4/19 Update on Impact at HCS: To bring all of our secondary students back for 100% in person instruction, the following provisions would be applicable:
    • To ensure six feet social distancing during lunches, Mrs. Klaehn will designate a third location for student lunches during both the Middle and High School lunches.
    • Per the guidance, “responsible parties should maximize the distance between students on school buses, when possible.” To transport all of our secondary students to and from school, there may be instances when there would be more than one masked student to a seat.
  • All schools/districts must have a mandatory face mask policy.
  • 4/19 Update on Impact at HCS: To bring all of our secondary students back for 100% in person instruction, the following provisions would be applicable:
    • Social distancing of three feet in classrooms at the secondary level will require a uniform masking policy which prohibits “mask breaks.”
Community Input Requested
The NYSDOH has indicated that prior to making a reduction in physical distance to less than six feet between students during academic instruction, decisions must be made with community input. As such, I hope you will consider participating in the following opportunities to provide feedback surrounding a reopening with 100% in person instruction at the secondary level:
  1. Town Hall Meetings Surrounding Reopening at Secondary Level for 100% In Person Instruction: 
    • Elementary Town Hall: Thursday, April 22 from 6:00 - 7:00
      • Links for Google Meet shared with families via Parent Square.
    • Secondary Town Hall: Thursday, April 22 from 7:00 - 8:00
      • Links for Google Meet shared with families via Parent Square.
  2. Risk Tolerance and Preference Survey:  Please complete the survey via Parent Square to indicate your preference for a reopening of 100% in person learning at the secondary level or to maintain our current hybrid model.
Ultimately, the decision to move to shorter physical distances will be determined based on our community’s preference to reopen fully at the secondary level AND the community’s risk tolerance based on the provisions outlined above.  It is my hope that all secondary students, their families, teachers and staff will weigh in on this important decision. Thank you in advance for your consideration and collaboration with the district to make a determination moving forward should we be afforded the opportunity to reopen fully (based on community transmission rates).

As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns about the information included in this communication, or otherwise.

Warmest regards,
Bridget

Elizabeth Bridget Ashton
Superintendent, Honeoye Central School District
8528 Main Street
Honeoye, New York 14471
bridget.ashton@honeoye.org
On Twitter: @EBridgetAshton