Weekly Update from the Office of the Superintendent
January 29, 2021
Orange Zone & Testing Update

On Wednesday, we learned that our area would no longer be designated as a COVID-19 Micro-Cluster, and that the previous Yellow and Orange Zone restrictions are no longer in effect. I encourage everyone to read yesterday’s announcement if you have not done so already. Because we are no longer in an Orange or Yellow Zone, our schools will no longer be conducting COVID-19 testing, and all scheduled tests have been cancelled.

This was a significant development. As you know, the Yellow Zone designation on November 9 and subsequent Orange Zone designation on November 18 had a significant impact on our school district community. It delayed the hybrid phase-in and necessitated a shift to fully remote learning. We were only able to reopen schools when we were able to meet the state’s 20% testing requirement, which took place December 14 for elementary schools and January 4 for middle/high schools.
Pictured here is Superintendent Cimato interviewed by Rachel Vitko, a senior at Kenmore East and host of the student-created podcast "Let's Talk Kenton!" Rachel and her classmates created the podcast in the spring when broadcasting and marketing internships were impacted by the pandemic. They have begun a new segment called "20 Questions with KenTon Admin," which will include several different district administrators. You can learn more about the podcast and listen here.
All other COVID-19 requirements remain in effect. These include:
  • Staying home when sick
  • Honest participation in the daily health screening questionnaire
  • Temperature checks before coming to school
  • Wearing masks at all times
  • Social distancing
  • Frequent hand washing/hand sanitizing
  • Following all ECDOH guidelines on quarantine/isolation

It is imperative that everyone continue to follow all of these procedures to reduce the spread of the virus and keep everyone safe. Safety will always be our top priority, even after the pandemic ends. In the coming weeks, we will continue to remind everyone of all safety protocols, including those that are important in non-pandemic times such as traffic and pedestrian safety.

Thank you to everyone who helped us meet the state's 20% testing requirement over the past few weeks. As of January 27, the final day of testing, our nurses tested a total of 1,648 students and staff, with only four positive results (0.24%) during the six weeks of testing.
There are two wonderful opportunities for elementary school families to take advantage of to support their children’s learning at home.

Our elementary school math instructional leaders are conducting Math Family Engagement Nights for parents to learn how to use Zearn and IXL, two very important platforms our students use in school. These sessions will also focus on how to support children's numeracy development at home and answer questions parents/guardians may have. The first event took place January 27 for kindergarten families. These will continue on February 3 and February 24 for Gr. 1-4 families. Both of these sessions will cover the same information, though the Q&A will be tailored to specific grade bands: Grade 1-2 on February 3, and Grade 3-4 on February 24.

Meanwhile, our elementary school ELA instructional leaders are partnering with Scholastic to support families in reading aloud at home. Reading aloud to children is one of the most important ways for families to support their children’s literacy development. These sessions will focus on strengthening confidence and sharing ideas for incorporating reading into your daily routine. These sessions kicked off on Jan. 21 with others planned for February 11 and March 11. Each session will cover the same information.

More details about both of these opportunities and how to register were sent to parents and guardians via text message and email, and you can find more information on the district homepage at www.ktufsd.org under “District Announcement.” Please consider taking advantage of these opportunities to support your child’s learning!
The virus has had a two-fold impact on the community. There is more need than ever before, and many families are struggling during this time. Also, many charitable events and initiatives that help people in need have been detrimentally impacted or cancelled due to the pandemic. Now more than ever, it’s very important to give back and help each other, which is the core mission of the Educators Totally Committed (E.T.C.) SleepOut.

The SleepOut will take place on Friday, February 5. Only a limited number of participants will be involved and guests will not be permitted to be in attendance, but everyone can support the initiative by donating. Due to COVID, monetary donations will be accepted this year, and there are several different ways you can donate (find out how and donate online at www.ktufsd.org/sleepout). Please consider supporting this year’s event. All donations will stay in the Ken-Ton community and will benefit two extremely important organizations: the Ken-Ton Closet and the Family Support Center.
Two additional winter sports, Basketball and Ice Hockey, are approved to begin practice and competition on Monday, February 1. Sectional Championships will take place by March 27. The Section VI Executive Committee announced its decision to authorize these sports to proceed and we made the determination to move forward with these two sports in Ken-Ton. We are also looking to begin our modified program, and more information will be released next week as planning moves forward.

Section VI released other important updates yesterday regarding sports for the remainder of the school year. They have made the decision to postpone Wrestling, a winter sport, to the spring season based on guidance from local health departments and the CDC. From March 22 to May 15, Section VI is planning a new “Fall 2” season to include three sports that had been postponed during the fall season: Football, Volleyball & Cheerleading. The spring season is scheduled to take place May 10 to June 30.

Section VI schools will not be participating in statewide play this year, which will provide for longer seasons and more opportunities for games and practices. At this time, no spectators are being permitted at games and practices.

The NYS Public High School Athletics Association, Section VI, and the Niagara Frontier League have been implementing return-to-play protocols and safety procedures to ensure the safety of all participants. Our student-athletes and coaches have done an outstanding job following these new procedures and being a model for surrounding school districts. Keep it up!
This week, I wish to recognize Judy Weigand, who has owned and operated Judy’s Landscaping for 35 years. Judy also operates sign rentals in the town and generously donated two signs to help us promote this year’s Jerry Starr Ken-Ton Schools' SleepOut.

Judy has lived in the town most of her life and was a 1974 graduate of Kenmore West High School, when Jerry Starr was a teacher there. Judy was an outstanding and accomplished athlete at Kenmore West. Judy had the distinction of being a four-sport varsity athlete (soccer, volleyball, basketball, and softball). In fact, Judy was one of the earliest inductees into the Kenmore West High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

Judy is always eager to support local businesses and initiatives through her business, and she didn’t hesitate to help us promote this year’s SleepOut when she learned that we were moving forward with the event to help those in need in our community. You can visit her website at www.judyslandscaping.com.

Thank you, Judy, for your support!
Thank you for reviewing this information. As always, we remain Ken-Ton Proud, Ken-Ton Strong, and Ken-Ton Moving Forward!

For previous editions of the Ken-Ton Weekly Connection, visit www.ktufsd.org/connection