Sent via SchoolMessenger on August 3, 2021
Dear South Orangetown Families,
I hope you are having a restful summer and wanted to provide a brief update on back-to-school planning.
We are still waiting for COVID-19 guidance and quarantine requirements from the New York State Education Department (NYSED) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) for the 2021-22 school year. However, based on the July 29, 2021 memo sent from NYSED Commissioner Betty A Rosa to superintendents, we are planning for all students to return for full-time, in-person instruction in September and anticipate mandated indoor masking for all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, in accordance with the most recent CDC Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools. Our first day of school is Thursday, September 9.
According to the Commissioner’s memo, NYSED’s position on remote instruction is that schools must be prepared to provide remote instruction in case of closure due to a public health emergency. However, schools open for full-time, in-person instruction will not be required to provide a fully-remote model of instruction. Therefore, the District does not plan to offer a fully-remote option for 2021-22.
Guidance and requirements for schools have evolved constantly over the course of this pandemic and we expect this to continue in the months ahead. It is a source of stress and frustration for all of us. We are thankful for your patience and support as we work to comply with ever-changing local, state and federal requirements to keep our students and staff members healthy and safe.
In the meantime, it has been wonderful to see so many students and staff participating in enrichment and academic and social emotional support programs across our District over the past several weeks. We are eager to welcome all our students back to school on September 9 and will continue to provide you with detailed information as updated guidance is released.
Robert Pritchard, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools