Remote vs. In-Person in the Peak of COVID-19

There is no question that our world has been tested this year.  Trying to maintain normalcy when nothing feels typical is extremely challenging and the education system is no different.  One of our school’s Character Traits is perseverance.  We all have truly learned what that word means and how we engage in perseverance each day.  The government has promised vaccines in the coming months.  Hopefully that will lead us to typical schedules soon!

Since guidance was released by the CDC, New York State Department of Health, and Monroe County Health Department this summer, the GCCS Reopening Task Force has had to continue to adhere to school requirements while juggling conflicting factors and advice.  Requirements such as wearing masks, maintaining social distance standards, and providing strong cleaning procedures were all able to be followed this fall.  Additionally, cohorting is a continued recommendation to reduce community contact and spread.  Regardless of the chosen instructional model, schools are mandated to provide a fully remote option when in-person instruction is occurring.  It’s also highly recommended to provide additional support for students with disabilities or those who qualify for English Language services.

With new rapid testing in schools, data is now showing that schools appear to be the safest place to be, but that information was not clear just a few short weeks ago. In November, the Reopening Task Force worked to understand testing requirements (which have changed since then) and weigh known and unknown factors that could cause an ever-shifting instructional schedule for students and staff.  The medical professionals on the task force as well as members of the Social Emotional Learning team discussed the pros and cons of having a turbulent December for students, families, and staff.

We also knew that we may not be able to predict Governor Cuomo’s next moves or the RMSC’s campus plans.  In preparation for these shifting scenarios, we determined it was most important to have a consistent plan and schedule for the community through the end of the expedition.

In just two short weeks, we have learned new information that will help us prepare to get back in the building sooner.  There are many requirements for returning to in-person learning: state and county mandates, school community infection rate, access to campus resources such as maintenance and security, transportation, nursing, special education supports, staff comfort-level, but most of all, family comfort level.

Families and staff are being asked to fill out this brief survey, “GCCS Remote Check-in Survey for Families” by Friday, December 18th so the Reopening Task Force can use this information to determine a timeline for returning to in-person learning.

Thank you for your patience and flexibility.  We understand this is a very confusing time with some schools operating in hybrid, while others remain remote.  We look forward to sharing the results of the survey and our recommendations with you early next week, so you have plenty of time to plan accordingly.

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