Superintendent Bavis' message on reopening

Dear Waterloo Families,

I hope the summer has provided some time for you to relax with your children and enjoy this warm weather.  I wanted to provide you with a few updates regarding the reopening of schools. Thank you to the over 700 people who completed our reopening survey. We are using those results in our reopening planning meetings this week.

It will come as no surprise to you, that our first choice for instruction for September, is to have all students back in our schools five days per week. Like you, we feel that children learn better in school. Our second choice is to have a hybrid model, where students would attend school for a portion of the week and then would spend the remainder of the week learning remotely. Our last choice will be to have all students learning remotely. As a community, with 120 participants on our reopening committees working together last week, we determined that for safety reasons, the hybrid model will be our primary plan for reopening.

We have used the New York State guidance on reopening schools along with the requirements of the Seneca County Health Department. The regulations we have been given state that we must always provide six feet of social distancing. For music and physical education classes, the social distancing requirements are twelve feet. In classrooms, all areas of the building including hallways, and on the school bus six feet of social distance must always be maintained.

Last week, the Seneca County Superintendents met with Vickie Swinehart and Kerry VanAuken, representatives from the Seneca County Health Department. During that meeting, it was confirmed that we must socially distance on school buses, which reduces our bus capacity significantly. We will use three bus runs in the morning and afternoon each day to bring in as many students as possible, to our campus, safely. At this time, we are working to determine how many parents will drive their students to school, and how many students need daily transportation. You should have received a communication from our Transportation Director regarding your child’s transportation plan for September. The deadline for transportation forms to be returned is August 10th. If you need a transportation form, there are additional paper forms available at the bus garage. Please call the Transportation Department at 315-539-1515 if you need assistance.

We have measured every space in our buildings and consulted with our architect to ensure we can safely accommodate our students’ return. We have plans for using all spaces to make that happen.

Students must wear masks unless there is a documented medical reason for the child not to wear a mask.

As you can imagine, everything is changing at a rapid pace. We used the information from the district survey and our fifteen stakeholder groups who met last week to develop our reopening plans.

In the end, as always, safety is my greatest concern. As a parent, my concerns about safety are your concerns. We will continue to look at our systems for the Fall, considering our student and staff safety in each aspect of our reopening plans.

I will continue to update you as we update our plans. I know this time has been very stressful for our families and our staff, in wondering what the Fall will bring for our students and the reopening of school. Our reopening plan is on the district website for your review. That said, please understand that we will continue to work on the specific details for each school within this plan in the weeks ahead. Our administrative team is meeting multiple times each week to continue this planning, to get all building plans complete for opening in September. Your child’s specific building plan will be available next week.

Your child’s Building Principal will be contacting you next week to gather additional information about your plans for attendance, transportation and providing masks.

Please be sure the school has your updated contact information and email address. If you have had changes to your contact information, please call your child’s school to share your updated information. Our communications will be frequent, and we want to be sure all families are receiving updated information as it becomes available.

Thank you to each of you who has reached out to me with questions or concerns. I appreciate your input and value your thoughts and feedback. I continue to remind myself, this is for a short period of time, not forever. We will make the best of the circumstances we have been given, together.

Please take some time to review our reopening plan on the district website. The link is provided for you below.

 

https://www.waterloocsd.org/site/handlers/filedownload.ashx?moduleinstanceid=5321&dataid=8931&FileName=Waterloo%20CSD-school-reopening-guidance.pdf

 

Please do not hesitate to contact me, or your child’s Building Principal, should you have questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Terri Bavis