Feb. 9, 2021: In-person instruction determined by state guidance
On Feb. 9, Jamesville-DeWitt Central School District Superintendent Peter Smith sent the following letter via SchoolMessenger to J-D families and staff.
Dear J-D families and staff,
As we enter the second half of the 2020-21 school year, some families have asked for the district to return to a 5-day in-person instructional model for all students.
Until the state determines it is safe to relax its guidelines of six feet between student desks, we do not have enough classroom space for all of our students to be back in our classrooms at the same time.
Because of our small special education, kindergarten and first-grade class sizes, we have been fortunate enough to be able to bring back the students in those classes whose families are comfortable sending them for five days of in-person instruction and still adhere to the requirement of six feet between student desks.
Students are wearing face masks, which is part of the state Department of Health guidance for schools, but the state must reduce the six-foot requirement for us to bring back all students in grades 2-12 five days per week. Those grade-level classrooms do not have enough space to accommodate all students in-person while maintaining the six-foot requirement between desks.
Until that guidance changes, we will continue to follow our hybrid instructional model, as well as offer remote-only instruction for those families who prefer to have their students learn from home.
I understand our families’ frustrations, especially since the state has given the OK for athletic teams to practice and compete. We are hopeful that the recent ruling on sports is a precursor to a change in social distancing requirements for in-person instruction.
If you feel strongly about your child returning to school five days per week, I would encourage you to reach out to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker as we are bound by their decisions.
We will continue to monitor information released by the state, and if there is a change that allows us to offer more in-person instructional time, we will move as quickly as possible to do so. I appreciate everyone’s patience and flexibility as we work toward providing a safe environment for all our students and staff.