May 15, 2020
Dear Catskill CSD Community,
This morning, Governor Cuomo extended the PAUSE regulations for our region until June 13, 2020. This means that our region remains closed. As a result, the social distancing regulations are in effect until the CO-VID 19 data is further analyzed and all aspects of the region’s reentry plan are approved by the Governor for reopening.
This is devastating news for the Class of 2020 and other students who are scheduled to move-up to the next grade and/ or to another school in the District. I share your frustrations, but safety is critical during these uncertain times.
Last Friday, a survey was created for graduating seniors, their families and staff to provide input. Five options were presented. The options included the following:
Option#1– A virtual ceremony, plus the option to participate in an in-person ceremony as soon as the social distancing regulations are lifted.
Option#2– A virtual ceremony shown at a local drive-in with restrictions for students and families to remain in their vehicles (Awaiting approval from the Governor).
Option#3– Utilize the Middle School circle and allow the graduating student and family to receive the diploma in their vehicles.
Option#4– Not having a ceremony.
Option#5– A virtual ceremony, plus a “drive-through” (replacing the traditional walk-through). All staff will line the sidewalks of each school as students drive their cars in a parade style around each campus with their Cap and Gown on. Followed by a live showing of the virtual graduation.
Two hundred sixty-four individuals responded to the survey. The majority of the respondents selected Options #1 and #5. Approximately 31 percent (83 people) selected Option #1 and 30 percent (79 people) selected Option #5. As a result, we are moving forward with a hybrid model that includes a virtual graduation for the Class of 2020 with a senior drive-through replacing the traditional senior walk-through. The virtual graduation and senior drive-through are scheduled for Friday, June 26, 2020. Additional information regarding the virtual graduation and senior drive-through will be provided by Mr. Benjamin Bragg, CHS Principal early next week.
In closing, a traditional graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 will take place as soon as Governor Cuomo lifts the social distancing regulations and our region is reopened. The principals of our elementary and middle schools are also planning virtual recognition ceremonies for our kindergarten, fifth and eighth grade students. Their correspondence is forthcoming as well.
Dr. Ronel Cook
Superintendent of Schools