Important Letters from the Superintendent

  • March 15, 2020


    Dear Parents, Guardians, Teachers and Staff,

    On Sunday, March 15, 2020 the Erie County Executive issued a State of Emergency in Erie County and closed all schools on Monday, March 16 only.   The Orchard Park Central School District had a Superintendent's Conference Day already planned for Monday, March 16 with no students in attendance.   

    Out of an abundance of caution teachers and staff within the Orchard Park Central School District will not need to report on Monday, March 16 and all school activities are cancelled.

    As we receive further direction from The Erie County Executive's Office and the Erie County Department of Health, we will share that information with you.  

    Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we work together for the health and safety of our students, staff and our entire community.

    Sincerely,

    Matthew P. McGarrity
    Superintendent of Schools

     

    March 13, 2020

    Dear Parents and Guardians,

    While the Orchard Park Central School District does not have any confirmed cases of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus, I have an update to share with you.  

    In order to protect our students and the pre-K to 12 educational program, effective immediately, we will be limiting social public gatherings in our school facilities.  Limiting our facility use by the community will also allow us to increase cleaning and disinfecting efforts in a comprehensive manner.

    Out of an abundance of caution, the following precautionary measures will be implemented until further notice.

    • All community use of our facilities will be suspended including:
      • Orchard Park Community Education programming
      • All outside community use of our facilities including: OP Town Rec, Girl and Boy Scouts, etc.
    • The limited exception to this is the YMCA’s licensed before/after school childcare program hosted by our elementary schools. 
    • Orchard Park Central School District after school clubs and athletic practices may continue if they do not result in a large public gathering.  

    Additionally, Chromebooks were sent home with students in grades 6-12 today.  While we anticipate school will resume on Tuesday, March 17 (following our March 16 Superintendent’s Conference Day), we would like students to have access to their Chromebooks.  In the event of an extended school closure, we will share additional and more detailed information regarding the educational programming for students as we receive guidance from the New York State Department of Education.

    Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we work together for the health and safety of our students and our entire community.

    Sincerely,

    Matthew P. McGarrity
    Superintendent of Schools

     

     

    March 12, 2020

    Dear Parents and Guardians,

    I last wrote to you on March 4, 2020 regarding COVID-19.  While the Orchard Park Central School District does not have any confirmed cases of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus in our schools, I do have new information to share with you.

    In order to protect our students and the pre-K to 12 educational program, we will be limiting social public gatherings in our school facilities in alignment with Erie County.  Out of an abundance of caution, the following precautionary measures will be implemented immediately.

    • Cancellation of all large outside gatherings to allow the social distancing recommended by health officials.  Therefore, the following events on March 12, will be cancelled:
      • The OPHS Musical, Sister Act
      • Eggert PTO’s Shamrock Night;
      • Educational Outreach’s Olive Garden dinner; 
      • Parent Information Series session on Vaping;
      • All community use of our facilities(with the exception of our YMCA before/after school child care program) will be suspended.  
    • Effective immediately and until further notice, we will limit student travel by suspending district-sponsored travel outside of Western New York including field trips and athletic events.

    This public health concern is ever-evolving.  We will share updates with you as they become available to us.  Additionally, we will communicate with you regarding the rescheduling/planning of future events and ticket costs.

    As always, the health and safety of our students, staff and our community is our highest priority, and we will remain vigilant in our efforts to help prevent the spread of illness.

    Sincerely,

    Matthew P. McGarrity
    Superintendent of Schools

     

    March 4, 2020

    Dear Parent/Guardian:

     

    I last wrote to you on February 28, 2020 regarding COVID-19.  While the Orchard Park Central School District does not have any confirmed cases of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus in our schools, I do have some new information I want to share with you. 

    Please know that the school district works closely with the Department of Health (DOH). The DOH provides guidance and advice for students or staff who have returned from traveling to one of the countries that have experienced confirmed cases of coronavirus. The DOH guidance for those individuals is a voluntary 14-day home quarantine. The DOH provides a packet of materials regarding monitoring symptoms. If no symptoms arise, the student or staff member is cleared to return to school at the end of the quarantine period. Siblings or family members who did not travel but share a living space are clear to attend school unless they or the quarantined individual exhibit any symptoms. The DOH guidance evolves regularly as does the list of impacted nations. It is important for families to inform the school district if they travel to impacted countries.

    I again want to remind our parent/guardians that the district has infectious disease protocols in place and has been taking steps, such as cleaning and disinfecting throughout its schools, to minimize the spread of viruses and a variety of other illnesses.   Below is another reminder of the steps that students, staff, and community members can take to minimize the spread of all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, according to the state Department of Health:  

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Heavily soiled hands should be washed.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

    Please know that under the law we cannot discuss confidential health information regarding any student or staff member.  We will post additional updates on our website as circumstances dictate and have posted links to the DOH and CDC resources on the coronavirus.

    As always, the health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority, and we will remain vigilant in our efforts to help prevent the spread of illness.

     

    Sincerely,

    Matthew P. McGarrity
    Superintendent of Schools

     

    February 28, 2020

    Dear Parent/Guardian:

    While the Orchard Park Central School District does not have a confirmed case of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in our schools, we are aware of concerns in the community about the spread of this relatively new virus. 

    The district is closely monitoring this fluid situation and following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), County Erie County Department of Health and the New York State Education Department.

    Based on recent reports, COVID-19 is not actively circulating in New York state at this time. 

    If the district becomes aware that a student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, it will immediately notify staff and parents/guardians. If a student or staff member shows respiratory symptoms, we will follow our current practices for handling respiratory illnesses, subject to any additional guidance forthcoming.

    The district has infectious disease protocols in place and has been taking steps, such as cleaning and disinfecting throughout its schools, to minimize the spread of viruses and a variety of other illnesses. 

    There are a number of steps that students, staff and community members can take to minimize the spread of all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, according to the state Department of Health: 
     

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Heavily soiled hands should be washed.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

    If you or a family member begin showing symptoms of a respiratory disease and suspect it may be COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider. Before going to your healthcare provider’s office, inform them that a case of COVID-19 is suspected, and follow their advice.

    Local health departments will contact schools if a suspected or known COVID-19 case emerges. The district is prepared to work with any affected families.

    Families are also encouraged to follow the CDC’s information for travel, available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html. For more information, consider consulting these additional resources: 

    In addition, New York has established a Novel Coronavirus Hotline, which can provide additional information. Call 1-888-364-3065 with questions or concerns about travel and symptoms.

    The district will continue to share information as it becomes available. 

    Please know that, as always, the health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority, and we will remain vigilant in our efforts to help prevent the spread of this illness.

    Sincerely,

    Matthew P. McGarrity
    Superintendent of Schools