January 20, 2021
Dear Catskill CSD Community,
Please allow this correspondence to serve as an update with regard to the District’s Reopening of Schools Plan and our plans for the remainder of the school year. As you know, the District has been very strategic with phasing staff and students back onto campus during these uncertain times. The plan was developed in July, 2020, as per the Governor’s directive, with limited information on vaccines, on-site COVID testing, and how the county would be affected as a result of a regional outbreak.
In Phase I (September 8 – October 14, 2020), staff reentered our buildings. Our staff received high-quality professional development that focused on closing the gaps with virtual learning from the spring of 2020, social-emotional training, annual compliance workshops, and support with following CDC guidelines as well as COVID related district protocols and procedures. All students received virtual (remote) instruction in Phase I.
In Phase II, which we are currently in, the District shifted to hybrid instruction. Group A students report to school on Mondays and Tuesdays, while Group B students report to school on Thursdays and Fridays. Team 4 students report to school on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. All students receive synchronous and / or asynchronous instruction on Wednesdays. Five days of virtual (remote) instruction are provided to students whose parents elected for them to remain at home.
Phase III was scheduled to begin on Monday, February 1, 2021. In July, I was very optimistic with believing that we would be able to have all students return to in-person instruction five days a week. At this juncture, however, it is unrealistic to accomplish this goal. For the safety of our students and staff, our District needs to continue to adhere to CDC guidelines and regulations and limit the number of students in classrooms, hallways, on buses, and in other common areas. Additionally, there are parents who want their children to remain at home to receive virtual (remote) instruction five days a week. As a result, our District will not enter Phase III at this time and instead will continue to follow our current hybrid in-person instruction model for the foreseeable future.
In closing, if you are interested in shifting your child / children from virtual (remote) to hybrid (in-person) instruction or from hybrid (in-person) to virtual (remote), then I encourage you to contact your child’s building principal. In some cases, we are able to accommodate the shift. In other cases, your child will be placed on a wait list. This also includes parents who prefer their children to return to school four days a week. Friday, February 5, 2021 is the final day to notify your child’s principal of any changes.
As always, I can be reached at (518) 943-4696 to answer questions and address concerns.
Dr. Ronel Cook
Superintendent of Schools