Good morning WGCSD, Families and Caregivers!
I hope you had a wonderful week.
I want to provide you with a few updates and reminders as we move into a shortened week and our winter recess.
Questions about in-person learning:
Over the past few days, and amidst the rise in COVID-19 cases around the region and country, I have received several questions about the status of in-person learning in our District. Our District values in-person learning, and we are committed to keeping our program in place. Each day our staff steps up in extraordinary ways to cover for their colleagues when it is needed, and we are working hard to hire and retain qualified substitutes. With that being said, the District will only move to remote instruction under the following conditions:
- Schuyler County Public Health advises us to do so; or
- The District does not have adequate staff to provide a safe learning environment in our buildings
If there is ever a need to shift to remote instruction, our students and staff will be prepared.
General Calendar Reminders:
At the time of this communication, the school calendar established by the Watkins Glen Board of Education will be observed.
- This THURSDAY,12.23.2021, will be an early dismissal day for all students and staff. All offices will be closed after our buses return from their dismissal transportation runs.
- There will be no school from 12.24.2021 through 12.31.2021.
- Students will return to school on 1.3.2022.
The District will continue to utilize our emergency closing days as we have in prior years in the event of inclement weather or emergency. Traditional “snow days” will be utilized as long as we have them available. Four emergency days have been included in the 2021-2022 school calendar.
In either of the above cases, I will do my absolute best to notify our families as early as possible so you can plan accordingly.
Now that the District has moved over 100 total cases since the beginning of the school, I will not be sending out a weekly report on transmission data. However, the NYS (New York State) COVID School Report Card system is now working, and it is updated daily. The link to it can be found here https://schoolcovidreportcard.health.ny.gov. Click on “Public Schools,” type in “Watkins Glen,” and a list will drop down for you to select both building specific and district level data.
The District is working hard with Schuyler County Public Health to establish our Test to Stay program (TTS). Our goal is to have the program up and running soon after the winter break. As we finalize details, we will be in communication with you.
Trends in social media:
“TikTok Challenges” have presented several issues in an already complicated school year. These challenges can have a mixture of intents. Some challenges are positive but more often they are negative. Users of the social media app encourage students to do negative things at school to disrupt the routines and protocols of our systems. Challenges range from destruction of school property, theft of school property, and non-descript acts of violence. As we navigate these new and evolving developments, please remind your children that if they see something, they should say something. I ask that you continue to have important discussions with your children about the appropriate use of social media. Please know that we continue to work closely with our School Resource Officers and the Watkins Glen Police Department to evaluate, measure, and monitor these challenges for impact, and when possible, we hold those responsible appropriately accountable.
As part of our funding linked to the American Rescue Plan, we are required to seek public input on our in-person learning plan. We will seek input multiple times throughout the school year. This form will be available until 12.24.21.
As always, thank you for your continued support and cooperation!
Have a great weekend!
Superintendent of Schools