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Guidance for the Return of In Person Instruction

Hello Husky Family:

We would like to update the Husky Family on the direction the district is moving in accordance with the New York State Department of Health’s interim guidance for in-person instruction at Pre-K - 12 schools during the Covid-19 public health emergency that was released on April 9, 2021.

From the outset of the Pandemic we have followed the New York State and Cattaraugus County Health Department guidelines as they are the experts when it comes to health and safety.

On April 9, 2021, New York State provided updated guidance which the Olean City School District intends to follow.  Please note we have provided you with the link below to this new guidance.  The Olean City School District in consultation with the Cattaraugus County Department of Health must ensure a plan is in place that will comply with these new regulations. 

Link to April 9, 2021 New York State Guidance:

https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/Pre-K_to_Grade_12_Schools_MasterGuidance.pdf

Everyone is eager to have students in a model that increases in-person instruction, but unfortunately, at this time we have a number of barriers which we must overcome.

  • First, we are required to revise our Reopening Plan and share these revisions with Cattaraugus County Health Department and the State Education Department which is currently under way. This requires us to have a meeting with our stakeholders.  We are in the process of scheduling a date and time for a zoom meeting which will be advertised on Parent Square and by a variety of other means of communication.
  • Second, at the writing of this document, we are still in a high risk/high transmission area which comes with guidance that we will follow. Please see link below.

Link to Community Transmission Rates for COVID-19:

https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view

  • Third, in counties with high risk of transmission, elementary schools can maintain physical distancing of at least three feet between students in classrooms and cohorting is recommended when possible. By definition according to the new guidance, a cohort is a group of students who stays together all day long.  In middle and high schools, three feet between students in classrooms is recommended only when schools can use cohorting.  When schools cannot maintain cohorting, middle and high schools must maintain physical distancing of at least six feet between students in the classroom.  Additionally, masks must be worn at all times by all individuals except during meal time.  
  • Fourth, under the current guidance we cannot comply with the busing protocol. We do not have enough busses to transport all students if we leave the hybrid model.  We are inquiring to see if there are parents that currently have their students bussed willing to transport their students.  It is our hope this would free up space for those students who do not have any other means of transportation to and from school.

We understand this is not the news any of us wants to receive, but at this time we have an obligation to remain in our current mode of instruction as per the New York State Department of Health guidance. 

This new guidance on April 9th actually created additional obstacles to reach our goal of returning more students to in-person learning by May 3rd as we previously anticipated.  As soon as we are able to address the obstacles noted above in our reopening plan, we will increase in-person learning.

We are and will continue to do everything in our power to bring students back in a safe and responsible manner.

Once again, thank you for your understanding.

Sincerely,

The Olean City School District