Below is an important update from Interim Superintendent Michael Schiedo. The re-opening plan, in its entirety, can be viewed on the right-hand side of this page (below the letter on mobile) along with information on what the Hybrid schedule looks like and frequently asked questions.
July 31, 2020
Dear MACS Parents/Guardians,
We have submitted our preliminary reopening plans to the New York State Education Department (NYSED) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). We have developed a reopening plan focused on “what is best for our students” and is in adherence to guidance provided by the NYSDOH, the NYSED and the Executive Office of the Governor. The Reopening of School Plan is currently posted on our website. The Governor has stated that his decision for the reopening of public schools will be made by Aug. 7.
The Mexico Academy and Central Schools (MACS) reopening plan’s focus is on the health and safety of our students and staff. We organized a reopening advisory task force comprised of nine focus groups with representation of over 160 individuals. The reopening advisory task force included (MACS) administrators, teachers, and staff from all departments within the district, plus Board of Education members, parents, students, alumni, and community members. We worked with a regional advisory task force that combined representation from each of the nine school districts in Oswego County, including CiTi BOCES and additionally, we solicited valuable feedback from our parents/staff via separate surveys.
Our reopening plan includes an in-person model, a hybrid model, and a distance learning model. Our initial goal is to reopen school in September using the hybrid model for all students in grades Pre-K through 12th grade. This model will include two days of in-person instruction per student and three days of distance learning per student (see the attached visual). We strongly feel that it is important to have all students attend school at least a couple days per week, thus developing that teacher/student relationship for quality instruction. 12-month special education students will attend school in-person at least four days per week. Ideally, we would like to provide a daily in-person model for all students, but the physical footprint of our schools will not allow us to provide every day in-person instruction for each student with proper social distancing as per the NYSED and NYSDOH guidelines.
The health and safety of our students and staff is of the utmost importance for Mexico Academy and Central Schools. We are aware that whatever decision the governor makes, and how we proceed, concerns will become evident based on the many differing viewpoints of what schools should look like in the fall. We fully understand that some students and families may not feel safe returning in the fall, or cannot return because of medical or environmental circumstances. Should your family fall into this category, please know that your child will remain a MACS student and will receive distance learning throughout these challenging times. We have continued to work on improving the distance learning systems that we adopted this past spring.
We will provide visual reopening presentations on the reopening of school during our August 13 and August 27 Board of Education meetings. These BOE meetings will be live streamed from the middle school auditorium. There will be no in-person attendance for the public, due to the possibility of exceeding the maximum gathering size of 50 people. We will also have an ongoing questionnaire on our website for parents and community members.
We know that many of you have questions and concerns and that are completely understandable. We are working on the specifics and finding answers to your questions as we continue to update families when more information becomes available. Our communication will be constant throughout August.
We understand that the situation around COVID-19 is ever-evolving, therefore, all of this is subject to change and as a result, our plan will be forced to evolve with it. Our plan will be updated frequently throughout the year as we receive further guidance from the state and as we learn what works best for our students, staff and families.
As a reminder, Gov. Cuomo will ultimately be the one who makes the decision on whether or not we will be returning in the fall. As we are advised, we will be prepared and ready to make changes as needed.
Families will be provided with a survey early next week regarding intent to follow the hybrid continuity of learning plan as described above or if they would like to opt for a fully remote experience. The survey will also include a question regarding the transportation of students. Once we have the results, we will be able to continue to work on our plans for transportation, schedules, in-person/remote learning, etc.
During the school year, we will receive ongoing guidance from Oswego County Director of Public Health, Dr. Jiancheng Huang, to ensure that we are implementing the safest practices, where applicable.
We will continue to update everyone when we receive more feedback and guidance from the State. As previously stated, we should have a better understanding regarding reopening by Aug. 7.
Wishing you a safe and enjoyable remainder of the summer!
Michael Schiedo, Interim Superintendent