Dear Carmel Parents & Students,
Thank you for your patience and input regarding plans for our students to return to our school buildings for the 2021-22 school year.
Our Fall 2021 Reopening Committee has been hard at work, reviewing guidance and mandates, having important discussions, and leading decisions to ensure that we can welcome our students back safely.
Thank you to all the staff, students and parents who are a part of the Fall 2021 Reopening Committee. Your assistance and thoughtful discussions have made all the difference in our planning during a challenging global pandemic.
We are excited to welcome our students back for in-person learning on Thursday, September 2!
We are thrilled to share that the District and individual school websites will be getting a visual makeover over the next few days. You will still be able to access all the same information that is on our website now, just in a brighter, modernized and visually appealing new layout. We are eager to share the updated website with you. Look for the website to update by Monday!
On behalf of the Fall 2021 Reopening Committee, I am providing the following updates on our reopening plans:
Fall 2021 Reopening Committee Updates
The Fall 2021 Reopening Committee met on August 12 and August 19 to continue discussions regarding the recent guidance provided by the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Education Department to prepare for reopening our schools this fall for the 2021-22 school year.
Documents from the Fall 2021 Reopening Committee meeting are available on the Carmel Central School District website, and included here for easy access:
Fall 2021 Reopening Plans
The Fall 2021 Reopening Committee is continuing to review updated guidance and mandates as they are provided by the New York State Department of Health, New York State Education Department and the Governor’s office.
Current plans and final decisions of the Committee include:
- All Carmel Central School District students will return to in-person learning on September 2, unless a student has an approved medical accommodation. An email and form to request an accommodation was emailed to parents on August 11. If you still need to submit a 504 accommodation form for your student, please do so as soon as possible.
- COVID-19 Screener: A daily COVID-19 health screener for each student will no longer be required. However, parents will be asked to commit to a one-time agreement for following specific health guidelines, similar to those listed in the screening form in the spring.
- Cleaning/Disinfecting/Mitigation Strategies: The same cleaning and disinfecting protocols in place during the spring will continue in our buildings. Windows and doors will continue to be kept open as much as possible. Barriers will still be an option.
- Instruction: If 50% of students in a Grades K-4 class must quarantine due to exposure, the class will shift to remote instruction. The Grades K-4 teachers will work with families to provide alternate instruction options when less than 50% of students are quarantined. For Grades 5-12, if students are quarantined due to exposure, confirmed by the Putnam County Department of Health, they will be contacted by their teachers via email or their Teams pages with information on how to access virtual livestreams of their classes. Any learning from the previous school year will be addressed individually by building administration and teachers. Grant funding has been allocated to address these needs.
- Temperature Checks: The District will continue to do random temperature checks of students and staff at all school buildings.
- Transportation: In compliance with federal mandates, students and staff are required to wear face masks while on school buses.
- Food Services: Any family that has students in remote-learning and requires food distribution can contact Food Services for assistance.
- Athletics: Fall Athletics will begin as scheduled next week. As we continue to review ever-changing guidance, there may be some changes to how health protocols are handled in terms of athletics.
- Social Gatherings: Virtual options will be considered for all social gatherings depending on the event.
Topics still being discussed for final decision by the Committee:
- Mask Wearing: We are still awaiting guidance from New York State on mask wearing. If NY State does not issue specific guidance on masks, the Carmel Central School District Board of Education will make a decision for the District at a special Board meeting on August 31.
- Social-Emotional Learning Screeners: The committee is considering options for social-emotional learning (SEL) screening tools. The committee feels it is important to have both parent input on a student through a screening tool, as well as teacher input from in-person observations. More information regarding social-emotional learning will be sent to parents prior to the start of the school year.
- COVID-19 Testing: The committee is still in discussion about providing parents with the option to have their child COVID-19 tested on a routine basis.
- Extracurricular Activities: The committee is still in discussion on how extracurricular activities and special area subjects will be impacted by COVID-19 health protocols.
Fall 2021 Reopening Plan Document
A final plan document outlining the committee’s decisions for the Fall 2021 reopening will be available on the Carmel Central School District website once final decisions have been made. Similar to our spring plan, the final plan document is a living document that may change as new guidance and mandates arise.
Thank you to our entire community for your patience and support during a unique reopening plan process. Every decision regarding our reopening is thoughtfully reviewed to ensure a safe and supportive learning environment for our students and staff.
If there is something you wish to see the Fall 2021 Reopening Committee address, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please stay safe and be well!
Superintendent of Schools
Carmel Central School District