August 21, 2020 OPCSD Parent Forum Summary

  • Dear Orchard Park Families,

    I’m writing to thank all of you for your questions and thoughts as we presented our parent forums this past week.  In total, we had roughly 1800 viewers and 1000 questions that were addressed by the district.

    I also wanted to summarize some items for parents as we get closer to the opening of school.

    • The K-3 level will be in attendance every day for a full day of attendance.  Class sizes will be up to 15 students.
    • Grades 4-5 will be in a hybrid model, every other day on a 6 day cycle.  Class sizes will be between 22-30, with daily attendance being between 11-15 students.
    • Grades 6-12 will also be in a hybrid model, every other day on a 6 day cycle.  Class sizes will be at 50% capacity.  
    • Students and families have until the end of the day today to commit to a remote learning option for the 2020-2021 school year.  Please click here to access the Remote Learning Commitment Form.
    • Masks will be mandatory for students on the bus and in school, unless there is a documented medical condition preventing them from wearing a mask.  Masks can be removed for meals and mask breaks.  If a student chooses not to wear a mask, we will follow the disciplinary process to address this in school.  There will be extra masks at school and on our school buses if a student needs one.
    • Please use the following link to access the At Home Health Assessment form that needs to be reviewed daily by parents.  Click here to view the At Home Health Assessment Form.  This is integral as we partner to ensure a safe return to school and everyone’s safety.

    Further information will be coming from your child’s building over the next few weeks concerning transportation, schedules and building expectations.  Thank you again for your support and patience as we continue to prepare for our return to school.

    Sincerely,

    Matthew McGarrity
    Superintendent of Schools

August 11, 2020 Reopening Plan Update & Remote Learning Final Commitment Form

  • Dear OPCSD Families,

    Thank you for your continued partnership and feedback regarding our reopening plan.  As we have shared already, the Orchard Park Central School District has decided to offer a remote learning opportunity for ALL students who are interested.  

    We understand before making a decision of this magnitude families may want a deeper sense of what school face-to-face instructional days will look like amid the COVID-19 safety precautions in accordance with our Reopening Plan.  Parents may also want greater detail on the remote learning daily schedule so you can make a more informed decision on which model is best for your child/children and your family.  

    Please click the link below to view the narrated presentation: A Day in the Life of a Student at OPCSD, which is approximately 17 minutes in length. 

    A Day in the Life of a Student at OPCSD (with narration)

    Please click the link below to view the presentation without narration: A Day in the Life of a Student at OPCSD, which is approximately 5-7 minutes of reading time. 

    A Day in the Life of a Student at OPCSD (without narration)

    Please click on the sample remote learning schedules (subject to change), which provides an overview of the  daily learning schedule and the balance of synchronous instruction (i.e. live teaching and interactions with students and peers) and asynchronous learning (i.e. recorded video, links to content, etc.).

    Sample K-5 Remote Learning Schedule

    Sample Middle School Remote Learning Schedule

    Sample High School Remote Learning Schedule

    Further, in compliance with Governor Cuomo’s requirement that district’s host three informational meetings prior to August 21, 2020, we have established the following dates and times for these meetings:

    • Monday, August 17, 2020 at 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m.
    • Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
    • Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.  - 8:00 p.m.

    Please continue to check our website and your email later this week regarding how to access the informational meetings and the process for submitting questions.

    If you have specific questions regarding your child’s program, or specific building based questions, please contact the building principal directly.

    As a follow up to our vulnerable student and remote learning questionnaires, we are now seeking to obtain a final commitment to the remote learning option for the 20-21 school year.  Once making this decision, it is necessary for the choice to be for the entire year due to the precision needed for class sizes, bus routing, and teaching schedules to simultaneously support two comprehensive school district learning environments across grades Kindergarten through 12th grade.  Families who would like remote learning for their child/children, must complete the attached commitment form to indicate this choice.  Only families requesting remote learning should complete the attached commitment form. 

    Accurate onsite/hybrid versus remote learning enrollment data has staffing and master scheduling implications.  Therefore, it is imperative we obtain your commitment to remote learning by Friday, August 21, 2020. 

    Please be aware that due to the unique nature of remote learning, your child’s schedule may look different than it would if your child was enrolled in a face-to-face or hybrid option.  

    Please click here to complete the OPCSD Remote Learning Commitment Form.

    I thank you again for working with the District as we strive to accommodate our families while providing the most comprehensive learning opportunities for the Orchard Park School community.

    Sincerely,

    Matthew McGarrity
    Superintendent of Schools

July 31, 2020

July 30, 2020

  • Dear OPCSD Families,

    After receiving feedback from our Reopening Plan, we wanted to share an important update to the plan. We are considering offering an opportunity for remote learning for those who may be interested.  As discussed during our Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, July 28, 2020, there has not been specific or final guidance released by the New York State Education Department on whether school districts may offer remote learning to any child, regardless of whether or not they are considered vulnerable.  However, as a district, we are comfortable moving forward to see if there would be students and families interested in this option.  Please note, that if we receive guidance from NYSED, the Governor, or other legal authorities that this option is not permissible under reopening plans, we will work with families to adjust plans accordingly. 

    If  you are interested in an entirely remote learning option for the 2020-2021 school year, please complete the following Remote Learning Option Questionnaire.  Please note that once you choose this mode of instruction, it will be for the entire school year, unless further guidance from New York State changes regarding face to face learning.  Also, please be aware that due to the unique nature of remote learning, your child’s schedule may look different than it would if your child was enrolled in a face-to-face or hybrid option.  The remote instruction will consist of a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities for your child with no face-to-face or onsite instruction in our schools.  

    Requests for remote learning for the 2020-21 school year must be made by Monday, August 10, 2020.

    Please click here to complete the OPCSD Remote Learning Option Questionnaire.

    I thank you again for working with the District as we strive to accommodate our families while providing the most comprehensive learning opportunities for the Orchard Park School community.

    Sincerely,


    Matthew McGarrity
    Superintendent of Schools

July 24, 2020

  • Dear Orchard Park Families,

    After collaboration with various stakeholders, I am writing to share an update regarding our draft District Reopening Plan and information regarding possible accommodations and remote learning plan for vulnerable students.  The Reopening Plan is aligned with recommendations from the New York State Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and the New York State Department of Education.  The district is required to submit its plan to the NYS Education Department by July 31st.  

    Attached is a link to our draft District Reopening Plan that will provide you with information in order for you to make a more informed decision for your child and family.  Please know that the appendix items within the plan are not live at this time. 

    Please click here to review the District Reopening Plan.

    If you have questions regarding the District Reopening Plan, please click here to submit your question(s).

    Sincerely,

    Matthew McGarrity
    Superintendent of Schools

     

    REMOTE LEARNING PLAN FOR VULNERABLE STUDENTS

    As we continue to develop our school reopening plan, we want to make sure that we have the most accurate information possible to inform our decisions.  To that end, we are requesting that parents indicate if their child may have an underlying medical condition or is part of a vulnerable population as defined by the NYS Education Department by completing the linked form below.

    For those families and students who may be considered a vulnerable student as defined by the CDC, DOH, and NYSED, we encourage you to examine the following guidance per NYSED and provide information to us regarding any needs your child may have. 

    NYSED has defined a vulnerable student as a student who is suffering from:

    • chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
    • serious heart conditions 
    • immunocompromised 
    • severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 or higher) 
    • diabetes
    • chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis 
    • liver disease 
    • sickle cell anemia 

    NYSED’s definition and guidance can be accessed by clicking here.  Guidance begins on page 30 of the linked document.

    Further, children who are medically complex, who have neurologic, genetic, metabolic conditions, or who have congenital heart disease are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 than other children. Students with special needs or students who are medically fragile may not be able to maintain social distancing, hand or respiratory hygiene, or wear a face covering or mask. It is important for parents/ guardians to work with their child’s healthcare providers so that an informed decision can be made on how best to meet the child’s needs at school while protecting their health and safety.  Transitioning these students back to school requires planning and coordination.   

    Finally, students who do not fall into the definition of the vulnerable population but have an illness or condition (including but not limited to Agoraphobia, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder) or who lives with someone who is at high risk may also need accommodations during the pandemic. 

    The virtual/remote instruction plan for children who are deemed to be vulnerable and cannot physically return to school will be similar to the remote plans that you see outlined in the District Reopening Plan, with a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities for your child.  Unique programmatic adjustments may need to be made on a case by case basis due to the difference found within a fully remote learning experience from face to face or hybrid.  

    This initial form entry will not bind you to a decision at this point.  However, please know a final decision will be required by August 10, 2020, for remote instruction for the entire 2020-21 school year.  Only parents of vulnerable students need to complete this form.

    Complete Vulnerable Student form by clicking here

July 15, 2020

  • Dear Orchard Park Families;

    As the District continues planning for reopening our schools in September, we need to partner with our families and community, now more than ever, to have all of our students return to school in the safest way possible, while recognizing the social/emotional and academic needs of our students at this critical time.  Governor Cuomo has set a deadline for the first week of August as his time-frame to make a final determination for reopening schools based on the COVID-19 data at that time. 

    The District is in the process of developing a reopening plan in anticipation of schools being open in September, using specific guidance from The New York State Education Department and The New York State Department of Health.

    A critical part of this plan is developing transportation protocols that keep our students safe, while maximizing the number of students we can transport to our buildings for in-person instruction. To that end, I am asking all parents and guardians to inform the district as to whether or not your child(ren) will be needing District transportation, or if the parents or family members will be providing transportation on a daily basis. 

    Our planning indicates that if parents are able to transport their child(ren) it better allows us to develop a reopening plan that has students attending school in-person on a more frequent, regular basis. 

    We are asking all parents or guardians to log into our parent portal to choose whether or not they will be needing transportation for each child.  Please log on and indicate your transportation request by noon on Monday, July 20th.  Please see the portal details below.

    Once we gather this important information, we will continue our transportation planning for September and communicate further transportation information with you.

    Thank you in advance for your assistance with this important request.  


    Sincerely,

    Matthew McGarrity
    Superintendent of Schools