main content starts hereSuperintendent Update: April 17, 2020

| April 17, 2020

Dear Parents, Faculty and Staff,

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office has confirmed that his tweet and comments yesterday about continuing the “pause” in NYS does include schools, so Mohonasen is now closed through Friday, May 15.  Remote and online instruction will continue. A majority of Mohonasen families are reporting that learning is happening and progress is being made; however, the way distance learning looks varies from family to family and we very much understand that.  “Fair is not always equal”, as the saying goes. We are trying to reach every family, whether your resources are great or small, whether your capacity to host remote learning comes easily or is daunting. We are trying to avoid unrealistic expectations which put undue stress on students and families during this time of crisis. Instead, we strive to make school an anchor within the storm, somewhere students can reconnect with classmates and teachers and counselors.  Families have been very patient with us and, on behalf of the District, I wanted to thank you. It has been vital to the progress that has already been made.

More big news from the Governor’s Office is that New Yorkers must now use face coverings whenever they are in public where social distancing cannot be effectively practiced. This includes any open businesses, and while using public transportation (buses, subways, cabs, Ubers and Lyfts.)  Last week, we provided face coverings to our employees who work closely with one another, such as those who coordinate our every-other-day food distribution.

We are still serving about 2,400 meals every other day via grab-and-go curbside pick up (how you can sign up and more details). On top of our regular distribution, we are also supplementing families with donations we have received from parents, community members, businesses and churches.  If you can donate, food may be dropped off at the High School from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. any weekday.  Here is a list of the most needed items.  Alternatively, you  may send a check made out to MohonCARES, or donate electronically at  Thank you for the many donations made to date.

While the school closure extension may be discouraging when considered by itself, this extension comes along with some very encouraging news regarding the phased-in reopening of the country.  It appears that President Trump and Gov. Cuomo are not always on the same page with the specifics and timing of the reopening, but they are both getting more specific about making such shifts. Schools are not as likely to be the first things to reopen because of our inability to socially distance during class, on the bus, during transitions and during lunch; we serve a lot of students in relatively small spaces. What does appear to be happening is that some states and businesses are being allowed to open a bit at a time.  What happens in these states will likely have a direct impact on how and when schools are allowed to reopen. While I am very eager to have faculty, staff and students return to our campuses, I recognize that safety is paramount and that this will be a gradual process. The good news is that only a week ago there was just talk about phasing things in and this week there are actual reopenings of businesses and public spaces in other states, and the President is indicating some states are likely to reopen even prior to May 1. In New York, the Governor is working with neighboring state governors to develop a reopening transition plan.  I am choosing not to focus on the fact that our closing has been extended, but rather that I see real progress towards restoring things. I am also focused on the fact that clinical trials are currently in progress, treatment plans are underway, development of a vaccine is occuring, and that the curve has flattened in New York State. Ample medical resources, such as ventilators and hospital beds, are still available.  In short, reasons to be hopeful are many.

I am including a Q&A below as there are updates on a number of specific items which may be of interest.  Stay healthy and positive.

Mohon Proud,

Shannon Shine


Q:   Are final exams being given this year at the high school or Draper?

A:   No, but there are exceptions for college and Advanced Placement courses.

Q:  What’s going to happen with spring sports?

A:  The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) has not made a final determination, but may do so as early as next week.  With the latest shift it seems unlikely that sectionals, regionals or state-level championships are possible this year. Should we return to school after the Governor’s extension through May 15th, there would only be time for an adjusted league schedule for teams.

Q:  How is grading being handled for the High School for 3rd and 4th marking periods?

A:   Please see Mr. Chandler’s letter from earlier today for the details.

Q:  What’s happening with Prom?

A:  In an effort not to cancel it, Prom has been rescheduled for June 18th.  It is still subject to being canceled depending upon how long schools remain closed and what the social distancing expectations are for June.

Q:  What about graduation?

A:  At this point we are still planning on holding graduation as previously scheduled, but we may have to consider an alternative type of ceremony if social distancing remains in effect in June.  

Q:  What about our dramatic production of Pippen?

A:  Pippen has been rescheduled for May 29th – 31st, but is still subject to cancellation if school is not back in session by then and/or if the social distancing guidelines would prohibit such a production.

Q:  Can I register my child for kindergarten for next year?

A:  We have mailed out registration packets to all known incoming kindergarten families. The registration packets (along with medical records) may be dropped off at the High School main entrance any weekday between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.  If you need assistance or did not receive a packet, please call District Registrar Vanessa Gannon at 518-356-8222 or contact her by email at