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March 4, 2021 Educational Update
Good Afternoon WCSD Learning Community:
We are bringing back our Weekly Rewind, which showcases many of the positive things happening in our schools each week, and we will be including this link in our Educational Updates.
Increase to 4 days per week of In-person Instruction (K-12)
Our administrators, faculty, and staff have been very busy preparing for an increase to in-person instructional opportunities for all of our K-12 students beginning on Monday, March 8th. The response to this effort has been overwhelmingly positive and we look forward to seeing more of our students attending in-person classes next week. We have been fielding a lot of questions related to this effort, and I hope that today’s communication will help answer some of the most common ones we have received.
It has been our goal to have as many students as possible attend classes 4 days per week beginning March 8th; this is something we have been working towards since we sent the survey home on February 8th. On February 22nd, the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health (DCDBCH) sent us a memo indicating conditions in which we could bring in even more students. After a follow-up meeting with the DCDBCH on February 24th, the District ordered a sufficient number of clear polycarbonate desktop dividers (which are compliant with NYS Fire Code) in order for us to allow for social distancing protocols to be reduced from 6 feet by 6 feet to 6 feet by 3 feet. In addition to this provision, masks will continue to be required for all.
As we have 15 schools, each school is doing the best that they can to communicate with families who may start attending classes 4 days per week beginning Monday, March 8th. We would like to clarify our process going forward. Our order for desktop dividers was placed on February 24th, immediately following a phone call with the DCDBCH confirming it was appropriate to use these devices. Since we have not yet received these dividers, we can only allow those students to attend 4 days per week on Monday, March 8th who can fit in a 6 foot by 6 foot social distancing configuration. As soon as we get these dividers into our classrooms, we can expand in-person learning opportunities to all of our families who have requested to attend 4 days per week.
We know there has been some confusion over who filled out a survey and whether or not they will be ‘allowed’ to attend in-person 4 days per week. We are sorry that this has caused some frustration. The reality is, if you filled out the survey, called the school, or e-mailed the principal, you will get the chance to attend 4 days per week. We just need a little bit more time as we wait for the dividers to arrive. If your request to attend has not yet been granted, it just means that you are on a waiting list. Our building principals will provide those on their waiting list with an update on Wednesday, March 10th as to the status of your request.
It is our belief, from an academic, social, and emotional perspective, that it is important to increase in-person instruction to 4 days per week, where we are able, for all students in grades K-12 as soon as possible. However, we still have over 30% of our families choosing remote only instruction. We believe that Wednesdays are important for our remote only learners as it provides them additional opportunities to connect with our faculty to address their learning needs. The District will continue to evaluate the efficacy of our COVID learning models and make adjustments when it makes sense to do so.
One last item we need to mention is transportation. We shared last week that we anticipate more students riding the bus each day. It is our recommendation that on colder days children are dressed appropriately as the windows and roof hatches will be open for the duration of the ride. If you can assist us in ensuring that students are dressed appropriately, that would be greatly appreciated.
We would like to thank our community for their unwavering patience and support in what has been a difficult 12 months for all. In addition, our entire staff is to be commended for all of their efforts to make this transition a reality. We are moving in the right direction!
WCSD Tutoring Program
Wappingers Central School District is excited to offer FREE tutoring from Wappingers CSD students to Wappingers CSD students! We know that you (your child) may benefit from the additional support of a student tutor to review key concepts. Our tutors have volunteered to offer this support based on their expertise. Students who need the extra support are matched with a student volunteer who needs community service hours. Visit the Tutoring Connection webpage for additional information on the program and the registration process.
Section I Approves Modified Fall II Sports
On March 1, 2021, Section 1 Executive Board approved Modified Fall II sports. This change in the guidance specifically pertains to the Modified Fall II season sports of Cheerleading, Football, and Volleyball. The Modified Fall II sports season will start on or around March 17th, 2021. For additional information, please contact the Athletic Department or visit the Athletics Webpage.
Registration for High Risk Fall II Modified Sports will be open until March 10, 2021. The Athletic Department is continuing to register students for our athletic programs through the online system called FamilyID (www.familyid.com). Please upload the most current physical exam to your Family ID account. If you are unsure if your child requires an up-to-date physical, please contact your child’s Health Office and the School Nurse will check for you. If your child has a completed physical from a private physician, please upload it onto FamilyID for approval by the school physician. For additional information, please contact the Athletic Department or visit the Athletics Webpage.
For Van Wyck JHS Athletics
For Wappingers JHS Athletics
Dr. Dwight Bonk
Superintendent of Schools
Wappingers Central School District
*Please note that during this pandemic, which began impacting schools in March 2020 and the subsequent Governor’s Orders, the communications provided in the District’s Updates may be subject to change, pending any future modifications made by the Governor’s office, the Department of Health, the CDC, and the New York State Education Department. In this ever changing environment, many things are not guaranteed.