Dear Roslyn Families,
With the 2019-20 school year behind us, our full attention is now focused on preparing the schools for the start of 2020-21. Though the final decision on how schools may operate in the fall will ultimately be made by the Governor, and will depend on the progress of the pandemic at any given time, our school district's staff is working every single day to develop plans for all likely scenarios.
I want to thank everyone - parents, students and staff members - who completed the surveys we sent out in June. Your responses were very useful as we review and plan reopening possibilities. I want to address the two areas of concern that were raised most often by parents and students in the surveys: remote learning and building cleanliness.
First, let me be clear that our preference is for all students, faculty and staff to come to school every day. One of the critical lessons that we learned over the last few months, not only in Roslyn but around the country and the world, is that remote learning, however well planned and executed, has its limits. Educators have long known that face-to-face teacher-student interaction is the key to effective learning. While the realities of the pandemic will require us to keep remote learning in our toolbox, our hope is that it can be utilized on a more limited basis and that most learning will be able to take place in person.
Let me reiterate the three models we are preparing:
- A full return to a regular school schedule;
- Remote learning that follows the daily school schedule for all students; and
- A hybrid of the first two options.
Remote learning will look substantially different than it did during the spring of 2020. In all three models, students will follow a regular schedule every day. Whenever students must learn from home, whether on a daily, alternating, or occasional basis, they will experience a regular school day every day. This will include:
- period-by-period schedules;
- mandatory attendance;
- live instruction in real time; and
- a regular grading system.
At any time during the upcoming school year, we may be required to shift gears among the three models. We aim to be flexible and nimble in our response to changing circumstances and/or state requirements. Our goal is to ensure that there will be no interruption in instruction from day to day. We are currently preparing thousands of electronic devices and wifi hotspots to ensure that every student has access to school wherever they are.
Whichever model we follow, keeping our buildings very, very clean has been and will continue to be foremost among our priorities. There are many aspects of the pandemic over which we have no control, but cleanliness and personal hygiene is something over which we all do have some control. Comprehensive cleaning protocols, including detailed checklists for every room in every building, have been developed and implemented even while the buildings were mostly unoccupied. When schools reopen, custodial staff will follow a strict regimen that entails disinfecting surfaces multiple times every day. We have been stocking large quantities of cleaning and disinfecting supplies. We are installing transparent barriers in cafeterias, offices and other spaces where students and staff interact. Classrooms and other learning spaces are being reconfigured to facilitate social distancing. We are also using high-efficiency air filters that block small particles to help reduce the spread of the virus. Students and staff will return to very clean buildings, and we intend to keep them that way.
We want everyone back in school, not only for the sake of effective learning, but also for the social and psychological health of our students and staff. If and when our campuses reopen, it is vital to provide our students with an environment that is friendly, supportive and caring. Whatever the circumstances demand, we will do everything we can to keep everyone safe and learning in the fall and beyond. Although we anticipate the Governor will release school
guidelines on July 13, please understand that the situation is constantly changing regarding the coronavirus. In the meantime, we must all continue to practice social distancing (see the attachment, "
Stop the Spread of Germs
") as these behaviors in the community will be a big factor in whether we can open schools safely, and whether they can then stay open.
I wish all of our families a very happy Fourth of July.