Reopening plan updates

Dear Schenevus Parents and Students,
As you may know, Governor Cuomo, last Friday, mandated schools to have a COVID-19 testing protocol for students and staff, as well as a contact tracing plan in place by this Friday, in order to be able to re-open in person.  We have spent most of this week trying to secure a way to properly test students and staff who present with COVID-19 symptoms.  In addition, during this week it has become very clear that many of our necessary supplies, related to opening schools during COVID-19, may not be available by the first day of school given the demand from all schools for these supplies.  Every decision I make is centered around what is best for students, and their safety, as well as the safety of our staff.  After recent conversations with colleagues, the Board of Education, and the Otsego County Department of Health, and after careful consideration; we have made the very difficult decision to begin school by remote instruction only, for the first 5 weeks.  We intend to bring students back into the hybrid plan we originally proposed with an A, B and C group schedule, with students in grades Pre-K to 5 starting the hybrid on Tuesday, October 13th and students in grades 6-12 starting the hybrid on Monday, October 19th.  We will evaluate the safety of starting in a hybrid during the 4th week of virtual learning.
We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you, however, the present CDC, NYS and Department of Health guidance, increased confirmed COVID-19 cases in Otsego County, and the status of local and state resources in our area (specifically the time for COVID-19 test results and contact tracing capabilities) make a remote learning start the safest option for our students and staff. We will continue to monitor these factors, any updated information and guidance, and the local and regional COVID-19 climate to prepare for the anticipated return of your child(ren) in October.
This decision was made after many hours of collaboration with staff, the Board of Education, and outside resources.  Please know that we truly believe in-person learning is the best option for most students, but we also know that there is a very good possibility we would have gone virtual at some point, knowing the potential of students and staff being sent home with symptoms of COVID-19.
In preparation for our first day of school on September 8th, 2020, via a virtual platform, staff will be working together during the last week of August and first week in September to provide you with a well thought out learning plan.  In addition, we will be asking that all parents and their student(s) attend during their designated time to pick up student digital devices and other materials needed to start school. There will be no materials drop-offs, so you will need to attend your designated grade-level night to be able to acquire your materials.