July 24, 2020
Dear PHCS Families,
Last night the PHCS School Reopening Task Force met to brainstorm, analyze, and collect information on the numerous variables affecting our ability to reopen school in September and safely bring students back into the building. These variables run the spectrum from meeting Department of Health & Department of Education social distancing guidelines, reduction of school bus capacity, providing meals, health screenings, delivery of instruction, etc. Our number one guiding principle is keeping students, staff, and families safe.
Each school’s reopening plan will need to be responsive to the community that it serves, which is why PHCS has a representative stakeholder task force advising it. No two school reopening plans will be identical because each school building is different. Although outwardly similar, the differences between schools are manyfold: the square footage of classroom spaces, the width of the hallways and stairwells, student enrollment, the at-risk population, free & reduced lunch recipients, special education students, homeless students, fiscal climate, the number of school buses, and the list goes on and on.
Schools recognize that whatever plans they adopt, those plans will need to incorporate the ability to shift seamlessly to remote learning without much notice, should the COVID status change regionally or in the school.
The PHCS administration made a recommendation to the Task Force to explore reopening using a hybrid model (part in-person, part remote instruction). Under a hybrid model students would be in the building two days a week, supplementing that with three days of remote instruction. The building would be open four days a week with half of the students present. The building would be aired out on the fifth day and used as a remote learning day for all students. This would ensure that at no point would the school exceed 50% student capacity on any given day greatly improving the ability to effectively maintain social distancing.
This recommendation prioritizes the safety of student, staff, and community above all other variables and blends in-person and remote instruction. The New York State Education Department expects reopening plans to be living documents. Schools have been given the flexibility to adjust plans as needed throughout this pandemic. We are confident that we can safely reopen school using a hybrid model and make any necessary adjustments as we respond to changing threat levels of COVID-19 as the school year progresses.
The members of PHCS School Reopening Task Force serve on one of four focus groups. The Task Force will be meeting again on Wednesday, July 29th at 6pm. Between now and next Wednesday we have asked the task force to continue to explore a hybrid model reopening and talk to as many school stakeholders as possible. The Task Force members are listed below under their respective focus groups. If you have questions or input please reach out to them.
Frank Barney (firstname.lastname@example.org) ~ Buildings and Grounds/Transportation Supervisor
Gwen Richards (email@example.com) ~ Bus Driver, President of the Non-Teaching Association
Colleen Ayers (firstname.lastname@example.org) ~ Business Manager
Melany Cline (email@example.com) ~ Cafeteria Manager
Stefanie Latimer (firstname.lastname@example.org) ~ Secretary to the Superintendent
Health and Safety:
Jen Pierce (email@example.com) ~ School Nurse
Janine Sullivan (firstname.lastname@example.org) ~ School Board Member, Parent
Jackie Card (email@example.com) ~ Director of Afterschool “All Paws” Program
Heather Liebfred (firstname.lastname@example.org) ~ Parent
Melissa Scudder (email@example.com) ~ School Counselor
Instructional Model (Schedule):
Amy Guiney (firstname.lastname@example.org) ~ School Board Member, Parent
Liz White (email@example.com) ~ Teacher (Special Areas)
Tamara Hill ( firstname.lastname@example.org) ~ 4-H Youth and Family Team Leader/”All Paws” Program
Shawn Spriggs (email@example.com) ~ Teacher (Secondary Level)
Liz Belt (firstname.lastname@example.org) ~ Teacher (Primary level)
Michelle Murray (email@example.com) ~ Teacher (Special Education)
Therese Baxter (firstname.lastname@example.org) ~ Teaching Assistant (Title Services)
Laura Perry (email@example.com) ~ Parent
Dyan Pcolar (firstname.lastname@example.org) ~ Teacher (Intermediate Level)
The PHCS Administration
Linked here are slides which summarize the Re-Opening Task Force's first meeting.