MASSENA — The Massena Central School District is expected to hold its last official day of the 2019-20 school year on June 15, based on a formula developed by regional superintendents.
However, the June 15 date will not apply to all school districts.
Superintendent Patrick Brady said the formula involves subtracting unused emergency days, an unused staff development day and spring break from the 2019-20 calendar that had been adopted by local boards of education. There will be no remote learning on Monday, Memorial Day.
The plan has schools reaching 180 instructional days and ending with a small window of June 12 to June 17.
The formula was developed following a meeting with regional superintendents and consulting with school attorneys. He said regional superintendents had been working with the New York State Council of Superintendents and counsel to come to a decision.
Mr. Brady said counsel has recommended that local boards of education approve the change, and he plans to recommend it to his board when they meet again May 26.
“We’ll all try to follow the same formula (to determine the last day),” he said.
Mr. Brady said administrators in Massena will provide more details on how instruction and food service will end, as well as collecting Chromebooks during the last days leading up to June 15.
At the direction of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, schools have been closed since mid-March as the coronavirus continued to spread.
The original plan was to return to schools on April 20. However, extensions continued to move that plan back and, at the end of April, Gov. Cuomo announced that schools across New York would remain closed for the remainder of the academic year.
Students have continued classes through online distance learning since the closure.
“We did work through spring break and there’s been a lot of different interpretations of what the various executive orders mean (regarding the final day of school),” Mr. Brady told board of education members last week, prior to the decision by regional superintendents.
One question that still remains unanswered is how the Annual Professional Performance Review for teachers and principals will be handled this year. The evaluations are tied in part to state tests.
“We didn’t have those state tests,” Mr. Brady said. “What happens when those tests are taken away? We have not received a definitive answer from the governor. I know there are a lot of things people need answered in many ways on this issue.”
How to celebrate graduation is also up in the air, he said. So far, seniors were able to drive up to the school to pick up their caps and gowns, as well as lawn signs they could put in their yard to recognize themselves. Senior banners have also been installed around town to recognize the members of the Class of 2020.
“I know everybody is waiting for us to make a decision on graduation. I think that will come soon. We have to follow the guidelines that are put out by Public Health and, of course, the governor. We all want some kind of graduation that’s not what we’re doing right now in a virtual way, so we are trying to work through that,” he said.
Regional superintendents are involved in coming to a consensus on how to handle graduation, and Mr. Brady said they expect a representative from the county Public Health Department to meet with superintendents “and talk about what the parameters will be for doing a graduation.”