Weekly Update from the Office of the Superintendent
January 8, 2021
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.

Testing Update:

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.
This week, I would like to recognize four groups of people whose outstanding work has made this year such a success despite enormous challenges and obstacles:
Our Families:

Our families have faced uncertainty and anxiety throughout the pandemic, as reopening plans were developed and conditions continuously changed. They helped shape our reopening planning by providing invaluable feedback. We are grateful that they entrust us with the safe keeping of their children. Throughout this school year, they have adjusted to new routines and childcare challenges, and guided their children through remote instruction at home. As schools reopened, they did an extraordinary job ensuring that students followed our new safety procedures, which showed this week. Thank you families!
Our School & District Administrators:

Our school and district administrators worked extremely hard throughout the reopening process, meticulously planning every last detail for the safe reopening of schools. They had to shift gears multiple times as conditions/requirements changed. They always ensure that students are supported and progressing in school and at home. They ensured that safety procedures were implemented and that they are always followed, and they have supported and guided teachers, staff, and families every step of the way. We are grateful for your efforts!

Our teachers have demonstrated extraordinary creativity and resilience. They had to quickly implement new instructional strategies and have also had to shift gears multiple times as conditions and plans changed, and as students shifted between remote and in-person instruction. They engage and educate students in several different ways - in-person, synchronous, asynchronous, students at home/in-person simultaneously, and students who are fully virtual. They made students feel welcome as they returned to school and have supported students/families every step of the way. They also played a vital role in our reopening planning, ensuring a safe and healthy environment for all. We couldn't have done it without you!
Support Staff:

Our support staff make this work possible and provide critical support services for students and staff. Just a few examples: Food Service staff have kept students fed at home and in school simultaneously as we reopened. Our office/clerical staff have played a vital role in implementing return plans and safety procedures. Our Buildings & Grounds staff have kept our buildings clean and safe. Our Transportation staff have had to continuously adjust as students gradually returned to in-person instruction. Our nursing staff created a safe environment for students/staff during a pandemic. Our Technology staff have met unprecedented demands and needs for equipment and support. To all of our support staff, thank you for all that you do!
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