I hope the summer months find you well and excited for the 2021-2022 school year. As typical of the summer months, we have been busy working to ensure a successful opening of schools. The safety and health of our students and staff remains our number one priority. If you have not done so already, we strongly encourage all eligible students, staff, and community members to get vaccinated as soon as possible. COVID-19 vaccination appointments are available through Onondaga County. The first day of school for students is Tuesday, September 7.
The West Genesee Board of Education and I have been in communication regarding recent information sent by health officials and our plan for the 2021-22 school year. Our goal remains that of welcoming 100% of our K-12 students to full-time in-person learning. We have drawn information from multiple sources including the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools”, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) “COVID-19 Guidance for Safe Schools”, New York State Education Department (NYSED) “Health and Safety Guide for the 2021-2022 School Year” , and Onondaga County Health Department (OCHD) “Guidance for K-12 School Reopening” .
Our plan will include:
- providing and promoting vaccines
- West Genesee CSD will continue to make information available and work with OCHD regarding opportunities for vaccinations.
- consistent and correct mask use
- All students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear masks while indoors. Non-vaccinated individuals will be encouraged to wear masks at outdoor events.
- physical distancing
- All students will maintain a distance of 3’ in classrooms, cafeterias, and other shared spaces in school buildings.
- screening testing to promptly identify cases, clusters, and outbreaks
- West Genesee CSD will continue to work with OCHD for available testing opportunities.
- Use of MERV 9A filters in all HVAC equipment with regular monitoring and changing to insure the greatest amount of filtration and airflow.
- other strategies:
- Hand washing and respiratory etiquette (covering your mouth when sneezing/coughing, etc.)
- Staying/Going home when symptomatic
- Working with OCHD to contact trace for appropriate quarantine and isolation
- Ongoing cleaning and disinfection
A few other notes about school operation:
There will be no separate staff dedicated to a fully remote learning option. Students who have applied and been approved for a medical exemption per written authorization from a physician will be eligible for Homebound Instruction per BOE Policy 4327.
Fine Arts/Physical Education
In keeping with CDC guidance regarding the layering of multiple prevention strategies, Fine Arts and Physical Education classrooms will follow the same masking and spacing guidelines as all other classrooms and shared spaces.
Note: Students playing wind instruments will continue to utilize appropriate bell cover or wind guard to their instrument. These will be provided.
Note: Masks will not be required outdoors (e.g. participating in outdoor play, recess, or physical education activities).
Our Transportation Department has worked on existing and new runs, particularly as it relates to the new configuration of our buildings. Simulated bus runs resulted in adjustment of schools schedules for WGHS, CMS, and WGMS, and communicated separately.
Pursuant to CDC Order, physical distancing is not required on school buses. Masks will be required for all riders and adults. Parents are always welcome to provide transportation for children.
Note: CDC guidelines of January 2021, requires that “[a]ll passengers on public conveyances … traveling into, within, or out of the United States … regardless of their vaccination status, are required to wear a mask over their nose and mouth…which applies to all forms of public transportation, including school buses.”
Students will be required to wear masks when moving through the food service line. Students will be seated at 3’ physical distance. We will maximize physical distance as much as possible when moving through the food service line and while eating.
Note: Per guidance, given very low risk of transmission from surfaces and shared objects, there is no need to limit food service approaches to single use items and packaged meals.
The full “West Genesee Central School District School Reopening Plan” document will be available for review and posted to our website soon. Also, you will continue to receive updated information throughout the coming weeks and months, as applicable, from the District or individual school buildings.
Please accept my continued thanks for our work together during this continued unusual time in our history. We have proven to be “West Genesee Stronger Together”.
David C. Bills
West Genesee CSD