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August 10, 2021

Dear Onteora High School Families,

I hope that everyone is well and is enjoying the summer break. Despite the lack of guidance provided by the state, we are in the process of preparing for the 2021-22 school year. Although plans are somewhat fluid, I wanted to provide you with some updates on our progress. I will continue to provide more information in subsequent letters.

Overview
We anticipate returning to school utilizing a full in-person learning model. The first day of school is scheduled for Wednesday, September 8. Students are expected to attend school five days a week. Please note that we are exploring the possibility of creating an asynchronous learning day once per month. Please see the building safety information listed below.

It was evident from last year that the hybrid/fully remote instructional model (i.e., a teacher instructing classes both in-person and synchronously with students at home at the same time) was extremely challenging and not conducive to fully delivering curriculum and meeting the needs of our students. While we are not planning to offer a fully remote/hybrid option this year, we are aware that there may be certain circumstances that may prevent a student from being able to return to school under the full in-person learning model. For these special situations, we are exploring options through BOCES that will allow these students to enroll in certain high school courses asynchronously. These courses would not be taught by Onteora High School teachers, but would be monitored and supported by school staff. Students would be able to transition to full in-person instruction at the beginning of each quarter should their situation change.

Additional information was sent out by our Interim Superintendent of Schools, Marystephanie Corsones, and can be accessed on our website.

Student Schedules
Student schedules will be mailed out, and available on the student/parent portal on Friday, August 27.

Transportation Information
Transportation schedules will be available on the student/parent portal on Friday, August 27. Please note that you should re-check your pick-up time the weekend before school starts for the most accurate information.

Building Health and Safety
At the present time, we are planning to follow similar safety protocols to last year. It is obviously our intention to maintain the safest environment possible. Everyone has a shared responsibility to keep our students safe. The following are some protocols that have been developed:

  • Prior to arriving at school, parents will check their student’s temperature and complete the online form the morning your student comes to school. The link is https://entry.neric.org/onteora. Please complete this form on your student’s phone or Chromebook.
  • Students must bring their Chromebooks and power cords to school. We do not have any extra devices. Ninth grade students will receive their Chromebooks on the first two days of school.
  • While on district transportation, all students are required to wear masks.
  • On arrival, students will display their “approval screens” on their phone or Chromebook, and have a temperature screening. Students who do not pass the screening will be sent to the nurse.
  • After passing through the screening, students may proceed to either the cafeteria for breakfast or to their first period classroom.
  • Breakfast and lunch meals are free to all students. However, if a student would like to purchase items separately from a meal (water, extra pizza, ice cream, etc.) they will need to have money on their account. The cafeteria is not providing cash/change for purchases. Items should be paid for with exact change, and anything above the purchase price will be saved to the student’s account for future use.
  • No hallway lockers or gym lockers will be assigned. Students will not be changing for physical education classes, but must have proper footwear to participate.
  • Students must wear masks and social distance at all times while in the building.
  • All water fountains have been disabled. However, water bottle filling stations are available throughout the building.

I certainly understand that many students and parents have questions about what the beginning of school will look like. As we progress through the remainder of the summer, and if/as we receive guidance from the NYS Department of Health (DOH), the New York State Education Department (SED), or the Governor’s Office about requirements for the opening of school, I will provide additional updates.

Your continued support is greatly appreciated.


Sincerely,

Lance Edelman
High School Principal