Dear Wayland-Cohocton Families:
July 31, 2020
Since we closed on March 13, 2020 our goal at WCCS has always been to get everyone back as safe as possible, as soon as possible. The physical and social emotional health, and needs of everyone involved have been paramount in the decisions we have made and will continue to make. The difficult part of this process is that there are no black and white answers and ultimately, we are at the mercy of the Governor of the State of New York. We have continually looked to parents and the community for your thoughts, questions and concerns and tried, to the best of our ability, to meet those needs. That input, along with guidance from the Department of Health, the State Education Department and the Governor's office was reviewed and evaluated to form our reopening plans. Please know that this has been an extremely challenging process.
The District created an Advisory Task Force consisting of parents, teachers, support staff, pupil personnel staff, administrators, health care professionals, board members and community members. The task force was given the charge of looking at vast amounts of information, research, data, statistics and guidance documents to make informed recommendations to construct a reopening plan. The task force, consisting of 60 people, was divided into five subcommittees that focused on health and safety, teaching and learning, social emotional learning, digital access and equity and transportation, nutrition and facilities. The following document is a compilation of the work that was completed.
Please know that this document is a living document and will be updated and modified based on the ever-changing nature of the guidance and mandates we receive. Nothing contained therein is necessarily set in stone. We know that whatever we start the school year with will likely not be what we finish the school year with, so our initial schedules need to have the flexibility to be changed.
Throughout this document we had to consider plans for an in-person learning model, a hybrid learning model and a remote/virtual learning model. It is important to note that in our district, (like many others) with our current physical footprint, classroom capacity and the six foot social distancing mandate, having 100% attendance five days a week, for all students, is not feasible. Given this information, we will be utilizing a hybrid plan which will have our student body split into two cohorts (A & B). Cohort A will attend on M/T and cohort B will attend on Th/F. Wednesdays will serve as a time for deep cleaning and disinfecting for our campus. Days that the students are not in physical attendance will require remote/virtual learning. We understand that this poses a difficult situation for day care and although I cannot promise anything, we are looking at options for daycare for families who may need it.
When splitting our students into cohorts, we are working to keep families attending school together on the same days. We are also working on the option of full time virtual instruction by family choice, if families are concerned about their children returning to school for safety/medical reasons. We are waiting to see if further guidance from the state of New York is published on this option. This would NOT be the emergency instructional model we used in the spring.
Transportation is also a priority and consideration. By mandate, we will physically distance students on the buses and require them to wear a mask while on the bus. (Additional requirements for mask wearing can be found on pages 17 & 18.)
As we continue to plan for the start of the school year, we will ask for specific information relative to fall registration, (choices of hybrid model or remote/virtual learning model and how many families are willing to transport their children to and/or from school each day). That form will be sent in the next week or so and must be returned by all families.
I am mindful that each of these scenarios will not satisfy our community. Inevitably, there will be families and staff upset that we are moving too quickly or too slowly; we are expecting too much masking or not enough; we are overemphasizing social distancing or not taking it seriously. Some families want their children back in school full time and some will choose not to send their children back to school. Regardless of your stance or beliefs, please know that our number one priority remains the health and safety of our children AND faculty and staff. Rules and mandates related to COVID-19 are not our rules, but we need to enforce them and respect the wishes of those who choose not to follow them, or have other concerns, by giving them alternate means of education.
In closing, while we are eager to return to full-time, we believe that the plans we are creating are our best approach for keeping everyone safe. Executive orders, regulations and changes in guidance will require us as a community to constantly revisit this living document and make changes accordingly, always working to keep you informed along the way. Many answers to your questions can be found in the reopening plan, but I know that there are still large questions that we need to answer. We will be providing more information and specific details about school in the coming weeks. The complete plan can be found on our website. WCCS Reopening Plan
Eileen M. Feinman