Weekly Update from the Office of the Superintendent
November 25, 2020
I normally publish the Ken-Ton Weekly Connection and accompanying video update on Fridays, but I am providing these updates today due to the Thanksgiving holiday. I want all of our students, staff, families, and community to enjoy a wonderful and restful Thanksgiving recess.

Today, I would like to focus on a very important task we need our families to complete. All parents and guardians will be receiving a link to an electronic form. This form will allow you to indicate whether you consent to your child being tested for COVID-19 in school. You will receive this link along with detailed instructions and additional information, which you can also find here: https://www.ktufsd.org/Page/19379. This is a follow-up to the testing survey we conducted Nov. 10-11. It is vitally important that all of our families complete one for each child as soon as possible, but no later than the end of the day Sunday, Nov. 29.

This form will tell us which students we can or cannot test in school. This will be critical if our region returns to a Yellow Zone. In a Yellow Zone, we would be required to randomly test 20% of in-person students and staff biweekly. We intend to be ready to carry out this testing at any point if we return to a Yellow Zone. The NYS Department of Health will be providing the Abbott BinexNOW nasal rapid test, which is a quick, simple testing method that is not as invasive as other tests. You can watch a demonstration here: https://youtu.be/h5dRjdLVAPM.

This form will also give us an indication of whether it would be possible to resume in-person instruction in an Orange or Red Zone. As I explained on Friday, there would be significant challenges. Just to recap:

  • Schools in an Orange or Red Zone cannot reopen unless 100% of in-person students and staff have confirmation of a negative COVID-19 test prior to reopening. People who refuse to test or test positive will not be allowed to return to in-person instruction in a Red or Orange Zone.
  • Schools must then test 25% of students/staff each week, so that 100% are tested every four weeks.

Any students who test positive or decline to be tested would not be able to attend school in person, and thus would have to engage in fully virtual/remote learning. This would be a tremendous challenge at the elementary school level if we hope to resume in-person instruction. Redirecting resources and staffing to serve our fully virtual students simultaneous to in-person/hybrid instruction has been one of the greatest challenges we have faced since July. Simply put, there is no more capacity to add students to fully virtual learning at the elementary level.

Once again, I ask all of our families to complete this survey no later than Sunday, Nov. 29.
Gov. Cuomo has communicated that schools in Orange or Red Zones must shift to remote learning in large part to clean the school. I want to assure all families that the type of cleaning he describes is taking place in our school buildings each and every day.

Our Buildings and Grounds Department forged a partnership with Hillyard, a leading national cleaning products company, to develop and implement an enhanced cleaning and disinfecting plan. Our partnership includes utilizing their software to deploy appropriate resources and procedures District-wide. Across the District, we have approximately 70 members of the custodial staff engaged in cleaning and disinfecting daily. During the school day, the staff is engaged in maintenance and cleaning work that includes wiping down/disinfecting high touch points and consistently checking/cleaning restrooms every two hours. Second-shift employees carry out additional cleaning which includes using our Protexus Electrostatic Sprayers, an advanced type of applicator, throughout our classrooms and facilities. These devices are on the cutting edge of decontaminating facilities efficiently and effectively, and we now have one Protexus sprayer for every custodian and cleaner in the District. Our community may recall that our District was highlighted by media outlets including WKBW Channel 7 and WBEN AM 930 as an organization that was on the forefront of this technology right before the COVID pandemic.

These efforts may be one of the reasons why we’ve had no indication of COVID-19 spread in our schools, and will continue.
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