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School reopening task force work is underway

A Reopening Task Force with representation from all stakeholder groups is working on a plan for the reopening of Fort Plain schools in fall 2020. This work is based on all available guidance from the state and public health agencies as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The task force held a virtual kickoff meeting earlier this month. The task force includes two subcommittees: Teaching & Learning and Facilities & Operations.

How are decisions being made?

The steering committee will make recommendations related to how schools reopen, as well as practices and protocols designed to mitigate risk, provide for the safety and health of all and ensure the best possible academic experience for students. Reopening plans will be submitted to NYSED on or before July 31st for final approval

The task force’s subcommittees are focused on all aspects of the reopening process, from transportation and disinfecting procedures to student scheduling, instructional planning and classroom setup. The Teaching & Learning Subcommittee is reviewing parent and faculty feedback from the virtual learning surveys to help develop next steps.

The topics being addressed by the subcommittees include:

  • Remote Learning
  • Health and Safety Protocols (students & staff)
  • Mental Health/Special Education/English Language Learners
  • Classroom and Transition
  • Athletics/Extracurricular Activities
  • Communication
  • Scheduling
  • Transportation
  • Cafeteria/Nutrition

What will reopening look like?

The district is preparing for multiple scenarios for how school will take place in September.

Given the nature of the COVID-19 situation, this will be a fluid process. It is expected that all reopening considerations will be shaped by state and federal guidance, in consultation with local health departments.

No decisions about how school will reopen in the fall have been made. At this time, there has been no change to the school calendar for 2020-21. Instruction will begin on Sept. 8.

The district will submit plans for the following potential operating conditions for the 2020-21 school year:

  • Full virtual learning: Buildings are closed and all learning occurs remotely from home.
  • Blended approach: Certain student groups/grades/levels are in classrooms (e.g. social distancing, cleaning, masks) while others are fully virtual.
  • Full opening: Buildings are open. All students are in buildings full-time with restrictions (e.g. social distancing, cleaning, masks) or no restrictions due to vaccine/CDC guarantees.

When will decisions be made?

Gov. Andrew Cuomo at his press briefing on July 8 gave an official timeline for districts to submit school reopening plans. He said he will make a decision on whether or not to reopen schools statewide in the fall by early August.

The state released finalized reopening guidance for school districts on July 13. School districts will then submit their safety plans for reopening by July 31.

Cuomo said New York state will review school district plans the week of August 1-7. The state then will approve, deny or suggest changes to those plans. A decision to reopen schools to students statewide in the fall will also be made by the state at that time, he said.

Communications: How can you stay updated?

This Reopening Our Schools page is the best source of information about the reopening plan.

Fort Plain will additionally use Remind to send text updates as needed through the summer. To sign up, text @fpcsd1 to 81010 and follow the on-screen instructions.