Dear Parents, Faculty and Staff,
Earlier today Mohonasen posted our re-entry plan on our website and also submitted it to the New York State Department of Education and the New York State Department of Health. You may view the complete plan here, https://www.mohonasen.org/about-us/mohonasen-reopening-plan/. We had been granted a one week extension from the original deadline of July 31st and we took the additional time to more fully incorporate the input from the 36 member Mohonasen Reopening Committee. Our reopening plan still has details to be worked out and we need specific information from parents in order to finalize those details. In order to finalize our plans we need to know several things about each and every Mohonasen student and to gather this information we have created our third survey for parents. In this required commitment survey parents will be asked three main questions. The first question is whether they will be sending their children to in person schooling or will be going all virtual. Parents must commit to their choice for one trimester at the elementary levels and to one quarter at the secondary level, after which times parents can change their choices. The second and third questions are for parents who will be sending their children for in person instruction. The questions are whether the students will be taking the bus or will be driven to school and whether the students will be bringing their breakfast and lunch or getting them at school. The survey may be found here, https://forms.gle/EJ5qJrvKTDCrtuF56 and it will be open through the 12th. If we don’t hear from you during the survey period we will be reaching out to your family directly as this information is critical to finalizing our plans. Thank you in advance for your input as we approach the 2020 – 2021 school year.
Earlier today the governor announced that, due to our low infection rates in the region, we are clear to begin reopening in the fall with some in-person student attendance so long as we are following the state guidance for reopening safely. He additionally indicated he would like all school districts to hold question and answer sessions prior to August 21st with parents and also an additional session just for teachers and administrators. Although we will have the first draft of a fairly extensive Question and Answer document out and available next week, we will also be hosting Parent Forums for Question and Answers both virtually and in person on the following dates and at the following times:
- Monday, August 17th, 5:00 PM (limited to one hour due to Board meeting at 6:00 PM)
- Tuesday, August 18th, 6:00 PM
- Wednesday, August 19th, 6:30 PM
- Thursday, August 20th, 2:00 PM for teachers, administrators and other Mohonasen staff.
Meetings are expected to last approximately one hour. As these dates get closer, I will send out and also post links for those who wish to attend virtually. We will host the forums in the High School Auditorium and in person attendance is welcomed, but you must wear a facecovering and sit socially distanced except from your own family members if you are attending in person.
Daily attestation home health checks and temperature taking
We will provide additional details for families later in August, but one required component for all students who will be engaged in in-person learning in the fall is a daily attestation from parents that students are free from COVID symptoms and do not have a fever over 100°F. For most parents this will take place daily by clicking on a link and filling out the brief attestation questions. Parents are additionally asked to take the temperature of their children on any day they are going to be in person at Mohonasen. For parents with no access to a smartphone or computer, we plan to have paper versions available as well. Although there may be changes prior to September, this is what the questions will look like:
- Since your last day of school, or last visit here, has your child had any of these symptoms?
- Fever (temperature of greater than 100.0° F in the last 14 days)
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- Gastrointestinal Tract Symptoms (primarily affecting children only)
- Note: Answer “yes” if the symptoms your child has experienced in the last 14 days are of greater intensity or frequency than what he/she normally experiences.
- Has your child had a positive COVID-19 test within the last 14 days?
- Has your child had close contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 case within 14 days?
- Has your child traveled internationally or from a state with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 per the New York State Travel Advisory in the past 14 days?
Legislative Advocacy Opportunity
Below you will find a call to action for legislative advocacy for providing additional federal funding for schools due to the pandemic. The call to action comes from the Executive Director of the New York State School Boards Association, Mr. Robert S. Schneider. In the third paragraph there is a link where you can fill in your personal information and it will automatically generate a support letter which will then be sent electronically to your federal legislative representatives. There is also the chance to customize the letter to your liking before sending it. I encourage you to advocate in this manner on behalf of Mohonasen.
On Thursday, I joined the Governmental Relations team and school board volunteers in a meeting with Senator Chuck Schumer. Senator Schumer acknowledged our concerns and noted that his priorities in the next round of stimulus funding are state and local funding, education funding and the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act. During the meeting, he encouraged us to help by asking our members to reach out to their Congressional Representatives and ask them to get the job done.
So, today, I am calling upon all of our members to Take Action. When we last issued such a call to action in April, more than 6,000 letters were sent to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand as well as to U.S. Representatives from all across the state. As we get closer to reopening decisions, we need our federal legislators to know that their assistance is vital in order to adequately meet the academic, social, emotional and physical needs of our students, remotely or in-person, now and in the coming school year.
For your convenience, NYSSBA created a letter that will auto-generate an email to your representative once you enter your name and district. If you have not already done so, please add your voice to the campaign by submitting your letter. A summary of specific priority issues can be found here. I encourage you to share this letter with your community members. For more information, visit the Key Issues Page and be sure to keep up with NYSSBA on Facebook and Twitter.
Sixth Grade (and new to district) walk through tours
Principal Arket will be emailing parents of incoming sixth graders early next week with details of how to schedule small guided tours of Draper so that incoming students can familiarize themselves with the middle school.
Any Pinewood family that was loaned a Chromebook during our hiatus from “in-person” instruction return them to us at the building during the week of 8/10-8/14.
Please note that the district will be sending a survey in the coming days that will ask if you intend to have your child participate in remote instruction only for the first trimester. If this is your intention, we will ask you to retain the Chromebook and charger as you will be able to continue to use it during this time. For those not choosing this option:
The building is open 8 am- 3 pm Monday through Friday and we are requesting that you return the Chromebook and Charger during this upcoming week.
We will be following up with any families who were “loaned” Chromebooks and do not return by August 14th.
If you have any questions, please contact Jason Thompson, Pinewood Principal, at 518-356-8430.
MohonCARES seeking donations to replenish building level Food Pantries
MohonCARES used the food, clothing and supply rooms at the four building levels in order to provide students in need with supplemental food and clothing (and some supplies) this summer, but now we are planning on restocking those locations in order to meet student needs upon their return. Please consider donating to MohonCARES for this purpose. You may use the following website or simply send a check or food donation into any building. Checks should be made out to “MohonCARES”. Electronic donations may be made here, https://www.gofundme.com/f/mohoncares.
A Special Thank You
To the Mohonasen Administrator’s Association and the District Support Team (Guidance Counselors, Social Workers and Psychologists) for continuing food distribution to some of our most needy families over the summer. This was entirely staffed by volunteers from our admin and support team groups. Thank you!