Weekly Update from the Office of the Superintendent
Over the past week, school and district staff have continued to work very hard to review the guidance released by the New York State Education Department and to develop our school and district reopening plans.

To recap, New York State released its guidance for the reopening of schools last week. The state’s primary guidance document, " Recovering, Rebuilding, and Renewing: The Spirit of New York's Schools ,” creates the framework for 2020-21 school year planning. This 145-page document establishes all of the requirements schools would need to follow in the coming year if in-person schooling is to resume. It addresses our number one priority of keeping students, families, and staff safe while also providing parameters for students to continue their academic progress.

The Executive Summary states: “The Board of Regents and Department’s task was to create a framework to help guide schools and school districts as they continue to plan for school to return in the fall, whether instruction takes place in person, remotely, or through some combination of the two. ... The guidance provides schools and districts with the flexibility they will need to develop and implement creative solutions to their unique, local circumstances. It describes the reopening actions that schools must take and those that are recommended best practices to be considered.”

We have posted all of the guidance documents that we are following to the "Reopening" section of our school district website at www.ktufsd.org/reopening .
Reopening Planning Update
Normally at this time, staff would be busy planning for the coming school year and readying our school buildings for the return of students in September. Our incoming kindergarten, fifth grade, and eighth grade students would have the opportunity to get to know their new schools and take part in orientation and transition events. Parents and families would be reviewing school supply lists, student schedules, and other back-to-school information. Staff would be taking part in trainings and planning to implement the instructional priorities of the coming year. This year, however, all of these activities have been impacted by the complex circumstances created by the pandemic and are proceeding as part of our reopening planning.

As we have communicated, schools and districts are required to plan for three different scenarios. The first scenario is a return to in-person schooling in September with daily face-to-face attendance. In this scenario, school districts would need to have protocols and procedures established to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and keep our students, staff, and families safe. The second scenario we must plan for is a fully remote and virtual learning environment. If the Governor orders that fully remote learning is to continue in September, or if circumstances necessitate a return to fully remote learning during the school year, we must be prepared to ensure that students are able to continue their academic progress remotely and are fully supported at home. The third scenario is a hybrid model, a combination of the two, with elements of both.

All three of these scenarios are ones we must be prepared to implement. Guiding this planning process is the School Reopening Task Force. Additional teams and sub-committees are addressing multiple areas of school district operations and planning in individual buildings. The school and district plans should be posted on our website at www.ktufsd.org/reopening by the end of next week. These plans will be living documents throughout the school year. The month of August will prove to be a time for these plans to be continuously refined in preparation for the start of the school year. In early August, after the Governor announces his guidance and directives on the opening of schools in September, the Ken-Ton School District will actively begin communicating all specifics regarding these plans to families.

As I communicated last week, we must be prepared at all times to update and adjust our planning as circumstances necessitate. We will need to stay updated on guidance and recommendations from public health authorities, continuously monitor the spread of COVID-19, and modify our planning as needed. Once again, keep in mind that the nature of this pandemic dictates that we must be flexible and ready to adapt.

Beginning next week, I will start providing pre-recorded video updates for parents, families, and the community, which will be made available online. The purpose of the video updates will be to keep the community informed. During the pandemic, the primary focus will be any and all information pertaining to schools and COVID-19.
4,100 Participate in Ken-Ton Reopening Survey

From July 16 to July 23, we conducted a survey of parents/guardians, staff, students, and community members in the Ken-Ton School District to provide feedback on the reopening of schools in September. Never before has the Ken-Ten School District engaged in such a comprehensive and far-reaching survey. More than 4,000 people took part in the survey during this eight-day period. Participants included more than 2,500 current parents and guardians representing all schools and grade levels, as well as parents of students participating in special education and English as a New Language programs. Hundreds of additional staff, students, and community members also took part.

We wish to thank all those who took the time to take part in this survey, which will provide invaluable insight into the differing perspectives shared by those in the community. It is extremely important for school districts to understand the needs of their communities as they plan for the coming school year. Although school districts will be required to follow the stringent guidance and requirements established by New York State, this data will help us develop a greater and deeper understanding of the local impact so that we can support our students, families, and staff to the greatest extent possible.

The survey data will be reviewed by the Ken-Ton UFSD School Reopening Task Force next week. The survey results will be made available for the public to review on our website at www.ktufsd.org/reopening by the end of next week, and I will share information about the results in my video update next week.
Links & Resources:
National Summer Learning Association
National PTA
Oxford Learning
To parents, staff, and the community, I wish you all a wonderful weekend. We are Ken-Ton Proud, Ken-Ton Strong, and Ken-Ton moving forward!

Sabatino Cimato,
Superintendent of Schools