We were extremely excited to welcome back our Gr. 5-12 students as we returned from winter recess on Jan. 4. It was wonderful seeing our middle and high school students back in school, and I am very proud to say that the return was a big success.
This date was our original target when we initiated our hybrid phase-in plan in August. We planned to advance that timeline and bring students back sooner, but then we were surprised with the Yellow/Orange Zone designations. As you remember, plans were shifted quickly. To resume in-person attendance, the state requires that we test 20% of students and staff each month. Our school nurses worked hard to implement our in-school testing program, which made it possible to resume in-person instruction at our middle/high schools.
All of our teachers, administrators, and staff did an exceptional job preparing for the safe return of students and welcoming them back on Monday. It was a collaborative effort, and the feedback from everyone has been extremely positive.
Devices & Food Service Update:
An exciting development that has taken place during the pandemic is the deployment of thousands of technology devices. It had always been the district’s long-term goal to be a 1:1 district, with one device for every student. Through the efforts of our Technology Department, we have made years of progress in a matter of months.
Our middle and high schools, Gr. 5-12, are now fully 1:1. Many students who needed a Chromebook have already received one, and those without one will receive one in school. We hope to complete this initiative and be 1:1 for Gr. K-4 by the end of February. This was a tremendous achievement for the Ken-Ton School District.
An important reminder is that, even though our students have returned to hybrid instruction, families can continue to receive weekly meal kits at no cost to families. Weekly meal kits are free for all children age 18 and under. This includes fully virtual students as well as students who are attending school in person, even if they take advantage of the breakfast/lunch program in school.
Pick-up times have remained unchanged: 4-7 p.m. on Tuesdays (last names that start with the letters A-M) or Thursdays (last names that start with the letters N-Z) at Holmes, Hoover, or Franklin. Meal cards are no longer needed. You can find more information and menus at www.ktufsd.org/foodservice.
As you know, we are now testing students and staff in each of our schools. As of the end of the day Thursday, we had tested a total of 347 students and staff this week, with only 2 positive results. This would represent a weekly positivity rate of 0.58%. The following is the number of tests and positive results at each school:
Edison ES: 31 students, 5 staff (0 positives)
Franklin ES: 23 students, 7 staff (0 positives)
Holmes ES: 13 students, 6 staff (0 positives)
Hoover ES: 28 students, 7 staff (0 positives)
Lindbergh ES: 23 students, 6 staff (0 positives)
Franklin MS: 23 students, 8 staff (1 positive)
Hoover MS: 30 students, 9 staff (0 positives)
Kenmore East HS: 46 students, 12 staff (1 positive)
Kenmore West HS: 51 students, 14 staff (0 positives)
Big Picture Program: 4 students, 1 staff (0 positives)
Total: 272 students, 75 staff (2 positives)
Over the past 3 weeks of testing, we have tested 649 students and staff with only those 2 positive results, which is a very small number. The district follows all Erie County Department of Health protocols when a test result is positive to ensure everyone’s safety. It is important for everyone in the community to continue to follow all of the recommendations like masks and social distancing in order to minimize the risk of transmission and keep our rates low.
We will need to continue testing to continue to offer in-person instruction. Our plan is to continue to offer elementary school families the opportunity to sign up to test their children on Wednesdays. Next week, we will send parents/guardians the sign-up sheets for the next four weeks of elementary school testing. Please consider taking part and helping us meet the testing requirement and keep our schools open.