Important Information from Dr. Cook- August 10, 2021 Reopening of Schools Update

Dear Catskill CSD Community,

Please allow the following to serve as a status update regarding the reopening of schools for the start of the 2021-2022 school year. The District has been working collaboratively with the Greene County Department of Public Health and other districts in the region to develop guidance which is consistent with the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Last week, the Governor’s office and the NYS Department of Health both recommended that schools follow the CDC guidance for the reopening of schools in September. 

This morning, our Reopening of Schools Committee met to review the CDC document to ensure that our practices and procedures are aligned with the guidance. While facilitating the meeting, a committee member brought to my attention that the NYS Education Department sent a memo to school districts stating it would be providing a summary guidance document to aid schools and districts as they prepare for the 2021-22 school year. Finalized guidance for the opening of schools in September will require our district to conduct a full review of the information contained in the NYS Education Department document. 

I will be presenting an update regarding our reopening plan at tomorrow evening’s public Board of Education meeting, scheduled for 6:30pm, in the Catskill High School library. 

As indicated in multiple communications, our priority is to have all Pre-K-12 students return to full time in-person learning 5 days a week, in September. We also understand that some parents may select the remote option as their child or family member has an immunocompromised condition. A doctor’s note will be required for the remote option. The remote option will be facilitated by an outside provider, not Catskill CSD staff. Additional information regarding the remote option will be made available next week. 

Lastly, at tomorrow evening’s Board of Education meeting, I will be recommending a delayed start date with regards to the first day of school for students to Monday, September 13, 2021. Unfortunately, some misinformation is being transmitted throughout the community. My recommendation has nothing to do with COVID and/ or reopening plans. Summer capital project work is occurring at both the elementary and middle schools. The contractor has indicated that both buildings will be turned over to the District by or before August 28, 2021. This will not provide ample time for teacher set-up / preparation, thorough cleaning and relocating staff, who are temporarily located at the high school back to their assigned locations. 

As always, I will continue to provide you with advanced notification as soon as time permits for you to prepare your children for the start of school. 

Thank you for your patience and continued support!

Respectfully submitted,

Dr. Ronel Cook

Superintendent of Schools


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