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UPDATES for Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Dear Families:

I want to update you on additional instructions we’re getting from the state about our extended school closure. Although our district calendar shows spring recess scheduled for next week (April  6-10), we will be open for business: distributing meals and providing instruction. Here are answers to some of your questions about all this and coronavirus status in Otselic Valley.


How can there not be spring recess next week? It’s on the school district calendar.
As part of his ongoing response to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic in New York State, Governor Cuomo issued another executive order indicating that school districts will continue to provide meal distribution, continuity of instruction, and available child care support during time originally available for spring break as well as unused emergency days. 

 
Does this mean teaching still happens on Good Friday, too?
Yes. If this changes, we’ll let you know.

 

But our family was looking forward to a break!
We know, and we understand. We get our marching orders from the state, and we are obligated to fulfill those official directions. Full participation ensures that we will receive the full amount of state aid for which our district is eligible. We have an obligation to our taxpayers to do the most we can with available resources.

Will our family still receive free breakfast/lunch deliveries next week as usual?
Yes, food will still be dropped off. Please remember to keep a box or cooler at the end of the driveway so our staff have a place to put the food. We try to keep to approximately the same delivery schedule each day.

My family’s needs have changed. Is it too late to get on the food distribution list?
No, it’s never too late to be added. You can also let us know if you no longer want to participate. Just email Mrs. Burpee in the district office with your request:  [email protected]

I see the Governor included child care support as one of the things school must provide. Can Otselic Valley provide child care for our family at this time?
This directive is about child care for first responders and critical health workers, and we are working with county officials on this. If and when this becomes needed, emergency child care will be provided first by prepared, independent agencies already providing child care, then by DCMO BOCES as needed, then by school districts as needed. If you would like more information, contact Mrs. Burpee at [email protected]

The Governor’s executive order closed schools till April 15. Does that mean we come back to our school building on April 16?
We do not yet know when we will all come back to study in our school building. So far the Governor has been revisiting the situation every two weeks. As soon as we hear any updates, we will let you know. Until then, each of our teachers will continue working with students using a variety of resources and tools, most of which are online.

What’s happening with Regents exams  and grading?
We do not yet know the status of the 2020 Regents exams, but we expect a decision from the New York State Education Department very soon. We will share it when we learn more. Mrs. Eaves and Mrs. Richards are working on recommended grading instructions that are adjusted to fit our school. 

Are there confirmed coronavirus cases among either our staff or students?
The county health department contacts school districts directly when there are confirmed cases. At this time, we have not been contacted about any confirmed cases at Otselic Valley. We understand how easy it is to speculate during this extremely fluid situation, but we encourage everyone to keep supporting our community through good health and safety practices:

  • Please continue washing your hands with soap, thoroughly and often.
  • Please remain in the safety of your home, or get fresh air and outside exercise in a place that allows you to remain at least 6 feet apart from others not in your immediate family.
  • No matter what your age, please don't get together with friends or even extended family until after this crisis has passed.  This virus needs people to keep spreading, which means we can help stop this in its tracks.

It is true that most recover from this illness, but some get very sick and need hospital care. Working together to “flatten the  curve” -- which is a phrase that reflects how the virus looks on a graph as it spreads (or doesn't spread!) --  means our hospitals and health care workers will have enough resources to help patients when they need it.

We are all moving through uncharted territory, and it can be unsettling. The good news is that even though we are not together in the same rooms, we are all going through this together. I have never been more proud of every one of our staff, or of our students and their families who are learning in new ways. These changes have been occasionally confusing and often challenging in a handful of different ways. I just ask you to do your best and be patient with each other. 

Peace,

Rob

Robert G. Berson, Superintendent of Schools
Otselic Valley CSD
(O) 315-653-7218
 

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