OSWEGO COUNTY – With no guidance coming from either the state or county health departments, school districts here are left to formulate their own plans for reopening this fall, once again under the dark cloud of COVID.
This is the second in a series on those plans. The county is made up of 10 school districts including CiTi BOCES. This article will focus on two of them: the Pulaski Academy and Central School District and the Sandy Creek Central School District.
These two school districts’ reopening plans are quite similar. Of note is that although masking is discussed, no mention is made in either plan of vaccinations for faculty and staff.
Superintendent of the Pulaski Academy and Central School District Tom Jennings issued the following statement:
“We were informed last week that reopening guidance will not be provided by the Governor’s Office or the New York State Health Department as promised,” he wrote. “Instead, schools should refer to the CDC, local health departments, and local medical professionals for guidance. We have spent this week working with our local partners and based on recommendations from our medical director and the Oswego County Health Department, the District has developed plans for the fall that are in alignment with the CDC’s guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools.
“Below is a summary of our plan. Our goal was to create a plan that reestablishes normal pre-covid operations, gets all of our students back in school full-time, and safeguards the health of our students and staff. Please understand that our plans may need to be adjusted as circumstances and official guidance changes.
Fall 2021 opening plan:
• All PreK-12 students will attend in-person learning five days a week on a regular schedule.
• Masks are required for all individuals (faculty, staff, and students) while inside school buildings and on school buses regardless of vaccination status. Masks may be removed for eating.
Masks may be removed for mask breaks provided by the classroom teacher.
• Masks are not required outdoors.
• Students and visitors to our schools will be required to have their temperature taken prior to entering.
• Students requesting fully remote instruction will need a note from their doctor indicating that they cannot return to in-person instruction due to a medical condition. Remote instruction will be asynchronous utilizing an online provider.
We are fully aware that no plan will achieve all we hope for under the circumstances, but we remain committed to doing all we can to provide for the students and families of our school district.
Sandy Creek Central School District Superintendent Kyle Faulkner wrote of his district’s reopening plans.
“School districts across New York state have been waiting patiently for guidance from the Governor or the New York State Department of Health regarding the opening of school,” Faulkner wrote. “Last week, districts were informed that neither the Governor nor the Department of Health (DOH) will be providing reopening guidelines for schools and that decisions would be left to local county health departments and school districts. Additionally, we learned recently that the Oswego County Department of Health would not be providing reopening guidance to school districts. It was recommended that we should be discussing reopening plans with our district medical provider.
“After considering recommendations from our district’s medical director, in alignment with the updated Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 schools and in light of Oswego County recently being identified as a county with ‘substantial’ COVID-19 spread, the following are the district procedures which will go into effect for the fall:
*All K-12 students will attend in-person learning five days a week for the full day. Pre-K students will attend their 1/2 day program every day.
*Masks are required for all individuals (faculty, staff, and students) for all indoor events (including classroom instruction) regardless of vaccination status.
- Masks may be removed for eating.
- Masks may be removed for breaks when provided by a staff member.
- Masks may be removed when you are alone in a classroom or office. Masks must be put back on when any other individual enters your classroom or office.
*Masks are not required for outdoor events.
- This includes recess, physical education classes, athletics, etc. when outdoors.
*Masks are required for all individuals when on buses.
- We will be transporting all students as previous regulations regarding social distancing on buses is no longer required.
*All extra-curricular activities are anticipated to be available for our students to participate in.
- This could change if cases continue to rise in the county.
“Our goal for this school year is to get our students back into our classrooms full-time and participate in all of the very important extracurricular activities that are available. However, please understand that things may change in the future based on guidance we receive or community spread of the virus.
“As always, our number one goal is to keep our students and staff safe. I am hopeful that we can lift these procedures as soon as the virus is under control.”
Neither superintendent could be reached for additional comment.