South Orangetown Central School District

The following message was emailed to all William O. Schaefer Elementary School and Cottage Lane Elementary School parents on January 9, 2019.

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Since October, the district’s administrative team has been studying dismissal procedures at William O. Schaefer Elementary School and Cottage Lane Elementary School as part of an ongoing district-wide review process.

After multiple observations and a thorough review of data from both buildings, we have determined that our elementary dismissal procedures must be revised in order to address safety concerns, improve dismissal time efficiency, and minimize the loss of instructional time and disruption. New procedures will take effect starting Tuesday, January 22. Additional security and staffing will be in place at both buildings to support the new procedures. We ask for your patience and support as we institute these changes. We believe these changes will enhance the overall school experience for your student(s).


  • Dismissal time: 3:30PM
  • Busing: WOS bus departures will begin at 3:35PM, with the last buses loading and departing by approximately 3:45PM. Parents, please anticipate an earlier arrival at your child’s bus stop. Please plan accordingly by having an authorized individual at the bus stop 5-10 minutes earlier. We must try to avoid students being returned to the school as supervision may or may not be available.
  • New pick up procedures:
    • Parents and guardians may pick up students from the main entrance between 3:15-3:25 PM only. This time should be used sparingly for required appointments (i.e. doctor) that could not be scheduled outside of the regular school day.
    • All pickups will be suspended from 3:25-3:45PM for student dismissal and bus loading/departures. Parents will not be able to enter the building during this time and will be directed to wait outside the Pirate Playground entrance until 3:45PM.
    • After 3:45PM, parents/guardians may pick up students from the Pirate Playground entrance.
    • It is anticipated that WOS pickups will begin after all buses depart (approximately 3:45PM) starting in September 2019. Please begin to plan accordingly.


  • Dismissal time: 3:30PM.
  • Busing: CLE bus departure times will not be affected.
  • New pick up procedures:
    • Parents and guardians may pick up students from the cafeteria entrance only starting at 3:30PM. Parents may arrive starting at 3:20PM to wait for student dismissal in the cafeteria.
    • Bus lanes will be closed 3:00-4:00PM.
    • “Walkers” who are picked up by parents waiting in cars in the parking lot and on Western Highway create a serious safety hazard. Students are at risk of being hit by cars or buses when they dart into the busy driveway, often between buses and exiting cars. Please help us keep your children safe by parking your car and coming into the cafeteria to pick them up.
    • All students walking home will be directed to walk down Cottage Lane where there is a sidewalk and crossing guard at the corner of Erie Street.

It is important that our students are in school all day every day and ready to learn. Chronic absenteeism impacts student success. Children who are regularly picked up before dismissal time miss valuable instruction. One of the most important things parents can do to support their children’s education is to keep them in school for the full day, every day.

Please keep in mind that it may take a few days for the new procedures to run smoothly. We ask for your patience and support as our elementary schools take these necessary steps to enhance students’ safety and educational experience.

On behalf of district administration,

Alicia Koster
Executive Director of Finance and Management Services