July 24, 2020 IRCSD COVID-19 Update: A Message from Superintendent Dobmeier

July 24, 2020 IRCSD COVID-19 Update: A Message from Superintendent Dobmeier
Posted on 07/24/2020
July 24, 2020 IRCSD COVID-19 Update: A Message from Superintendent DobmeierDear IRCSD Community,
If you recall from my letter last week, NY schools are all in the process of developing “reopening plans” based on guidance from the NY State Education Department and Department of Health. Yesterday afternoon we finalized one “major” aspect of our reopening plan—IRCSD’s planned approach to hybrid instruction. Per our protocol, this was first shared with the Board of Education at a meeting last night. This decision comes after extended input from faculty/staff stakeholders throughout the past weeks as well as community input. 
Specifically, if the governor allows “in-person” instruction in September, IRCSD will open in a cohort-based Monday-Tuesday/Thursday-Friday model in all schools K-12. This means 50% of the students will attend in-person the first two days of the week with the other 50% the final two days. Wednesdays will be used for extended/collaborative teacher planning, small group and/or individual contact to students, and deep cleaning of the schools. It is important to emphasize that all students will engage in learning every day, whether it be an in-school or an at-home school day. This approach will help keep total student numbers at a reasonable level and give everyone a chance to adapt to the new demands of COVID-period teaching and learning. Great efforts will be made to keep families with children in multiple buildings on the same schedule to assist with transportation, child care, and related challenges. 
The overall intent is to “open” IRCSD with this model (if possible) with a measured movement to a fully in-person school by sometime in the Fall. Students with specialized needs will likely come back into a four- or five-day model first, followed strategically by various grade levels—all dependent upon conditions: flexibility within the DOH/NYSED guidelines (especially for transportation and social distancing) and local/regional infection rates. 
Of course, this is just one piece of the required “Reopening Plan” due one week from today, but it is a significant aspect. We have many, many, many details that will need to be worked through over the coming weeks and will continue to rely on K-12 teachers/counselors, staff, and community participation. Your input over the past weeks has been absolutely outstanding, and formal and informal participants on the committees have contributed greatly to the overall process. Again, there is more to come, but with the professionalism and creativity shown thus far, we are on a great trajectory to meet the complex demands of reopening in the fall. 
We will keep you posted through these updates and may also ask you to provide direct input via surveys/requests in the near future and throughout the coming months.  We are in this together, and we’re going to need to continue to work together as partners on a successful opening to our 2020-2021 school year.  Thank you for your continued input, understanding, and overall support during this roller-coaster year. 
Please stay safe, stay healthy, and remain Warrior Strong!
Mrs. Mary Anne Dobmeier
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