main content starts hereSuperintendent Update: March 27, 2020

| March 27, 2020

Dear Mohonasen Faculty, Staff and Parents,  

As we enter into the weekend, please take time to reflect on the monumental shifts we have experienced at Mohonasen due to the ongoing COVID-19 “corona virus” public health emergency.  Last week we scrambled to provide parents and students with online and hard copy learning resources. This week we forged a path forward into the uncharted territory of true remote learning.  The pace has been daunting. I remain very encouraged by the teaching and learning and caring that is being demonstrated every day by our teachers, students, staff and parents. I am particularly touched by our students who have reached out in writing and by video to express their affection and caring to our teachers and staff; “heartwarming” doesn’t begin to cover it.

Earlier today Governor Cuomo extended the closure of New York State schools through and including April 15. This means that all Mohonasen schools are closed through and including Wednesday, April 15th.  My current thinking is that this may mean that Mohonasen students would return to school after Spring Break with the first day back to school being Monday, April 20th, but the full details of the Governor’s Executive Order are not yet known, so it’s too early to know that for sure.  The Governor has indicated he will consider an additional extension based on available information as we get closer to the April 15th date. It is also likely we will get full clarification regarding Spring Break by earlier next week.

Sporting practices and events, rehearsals, shows, school events, activities and after-school programs remain canceled during this period of school closure.

While there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Mohonasen there are confirmed cases nearby within the Capital District.  We continue to follow guidance from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), the New York Department of Health (NYDOH), New York Department of Education (NYSED) and our local county health department.  

I have completely closed Bradt, Pinewood, Draper and the Center for Advanced Technology for the time being.  The High School remains open for food distribution every other day during the regular school week and also serves as a pick up point for hard copy instructional materials from all levels.  Areas that are in use are being disinfected daily. 

Many unknowns remain.  What will all of this mean for the remainder of the school calendar?  How long will distance learning be in place? Will prom be rescheduled?  Will the production of Pippin be rescheduled? What about graduation? What’s going to happen with Regents exams?  As answers to some of these questions become known I will be sure to communicate details with our families. In the meantime, if you have specific questions that can be answered now, please reach out to the appropriate person, whether it be your child’s teacher, your building principal, a supervisor or me; we remain fully engaged in service to our students and our community through this time of crisis.

The District continues to provide meals to any in-District students in need through a “grab and go” curbside delivery to cars.  Parents may sign up for grab and go meals at the following link, https://forms.gle/B2JKyfy1F9YVGEk4A.  There is a new sign up for every food pick up session to help ensure that we don’t end up wasting food, so please remember to sign up ahead of each pick up.  Fresh sign up links are being sent out for this purpose. The food pick up location for students from all schools is in front of the High School Auditorium from 9:30am – 11:30am every other day.  The next food pick up day is Tuesday, March 31st.  For those families and students who participate in the Backpack Program, backpacks will be available at the final meal pick up at the High School each week.

Building level distance learning plans remain available on our website here, distance learning plan.  If your child has not yet engaged in distance learning for some reason, we want to hear from you so we can get things moving.  Please email or phone your teacher or principal if this is the case.

On a final note, I recognize that some of you are exhausted and that this is overwhelming.  I know that this shift is harder on some families than others due to a variety of factors and availability of resources.  My advice is to take things slowly, not to have unreachable expectations, to adjust and regroup as needed, to focus on self-care and to reach out to your child’s teachers and support team members for help.  There is no doubt whatsoever that we will get through this. Together. It’s going to look different for different students and different families. Do not be too hard on yourselves or on your children. It’s most important that children feel accepted and safe and loved; education is of secondary importance. 

It is my earnest hope that the weekend will allow families (and teachers) time to regroup and further adjust  to our temporary “new normal” of remote learning. I will continue to communicate with our Mohonasen Family at least once per week during this crisis and more if needed. 

Always Mohon Proud, 

Shannon Shine
Superintendent