Update from Mr. Gilfus

Posted on 08/10/2021
Dear Parents and Community Members:

We hope your summer has been refreshing and enjoyable. As we continue to prepare for the opening of the 2021-2022 school year, we anxiously await more guidance from our local Herkimer County Department of Health, whom we have a scheduled meeting with on August 13, 2021. The purpose of our meeting with the Herkimer County Department of Health will be to discuss the guidance that schools should be using to open in September and include important topics such as masks, space restrictions, transportation restrictions, cafeteria restrictions, gym/music rules, athletics, and other before and after school programs. In addition, we will be seeking updated guidance on how quarantines will be handled, how contact tracing is being handled, and discussing current protocols and procedures. As you may be aware, recently, the Governor’s Office and NYS Department of Health announced that they would not be providing schools official guidance, but recommends all schools follow the most current Centers for Disease Control guidelines as a basis of preparing for the 2021-2022 school year, as well as work closely with local county health departments.  

It is the goal and mission of the Dolgeville Central School District to continue with full-day, everyday, in-person instruction for all students, and at the same time provide a learning environment that keeps our students and staff safe and healthy at all times. We realize these are difficult times for our families and we ask that you please remain patient with us as we work with the department of health and other school districts across the region to make sure we move forward in the safest way possible. Please review the CDC “Guidance for Covid-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools”
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/k-12-guidance.html

We at the Dolgeville Central School District thank you for taking the time to carefully read through the information below. We will continue to provide you with updates as the school year approaches.

Sincerely,
Joseph J. Gilfus
Superintendent of Schools

Routine Screenings

At this time, routine screenings should be done daily at home to monitor for symptoms. If your student experiences any COVID-19 symptoms, please do not send your student to school. Blue sheets are no longer required at this time, but will be reinstated in the future if necessary.  

Mask-Wearing and Social Distancing

Based on the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), we know there is a strong likelihood that all individuals will be required to wear masks in school and on buses as the year begins. Our plan is to observe 3-feet social distancing when people are masked and 6-feet social distancing at times when mask wearing is not possible (e.g. when eating) to the greatest extent possible. In short, masks must be worn by students, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status at all times in common areas, including hallways, bathrooms, auditorium, and gymnasiums. Windows, when possible, will be routinely opened as temperature permits to promote quality ventilation, and periodic masks breaks will be allowed with appropriate 6’ spacing (e.g., up to five minutes per class period), including snack breaks while 6’ spacing is maintained. We expect to learn more about other health and safety protocols in the near future and will communicate all of the necessary information as soon as possible. Also, when outdoors, students, staff, and visitors will not be required to wear masks, though the CDC recommends people who are not fully vaccinated to wear masks when in stationary, and in close contact with others [crowded activities].

Transportation

All students who are eligible for and want transportation for the upcoming school year will be placed on a bus route. Transportation of students will not exceed bus capacity, although all students and staff will be required to wear masks. In addition, families and same household students will be seated together and within close proximity using a seating chart. Also, windows will remain open as temperature permits to allow maximum air flow.  If you do plan to bring your child to and from school that would again be helpful, but that is up to the family of students eligible for transportation. Please contact Transportation Director, Joe Stack, at 315-429-3155 x 4501 or by email at jstack@dolgeville.org, as soon as possible with any questions. If you do not plan to use school transportation starting in September, or if you have any changes please call.

Food Service

We will maximize physical distancing as much as possible when moving through the food service line and while eating; doing so through the use of additional spacing. Frequent contacted surfaces will be routinely cleaned and sanitized, and the practice of proper handwashing practices will be reinforced. Cafeteria windows will remain open to maximize ventilation as weather permits, and masks should be worn in the cafeteria when students and staff are not sitting and eating, and seating charts will be in place for elementary students.

Continuity of Learning

In the case of quarantines, remote learning plans will be implemented and may vary based on grade level. The district will continue the 1:1 technology initiative; where all students are issued individual devices to assist in the maintenance of learning and instruction. 

Vaccinations

The CDC and Herkimer County Health Department continues to encourage all who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination to get one. According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccinations are safe, effective and free. Find a vaccine location at 
https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/.

School Start Times/Schedules

Our start and end times remain the same for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year. Buses will release students at 7:50 a.m. in the morning and students will begin loading buses at dismissal at 2:55 p.m. In an effort to help with indoor social distancing, we ask that walkers, student drivers and student drop offs begin arriving at 7:50 a.m. Thank you.
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