Half Way Home...
It's official, we have reached the half way mark of the school year. Depending on who you talk to, you may hear that they can't believe it's half over already; but, you're more likely to hear that they can't believe it's only half over. This has certainly been a school year unlike anything that anyone has experienced. Our staff has worked tirelessly to adapt to the ongoing changes to ensure that our students are receiving the best possible education, under these circumstances. Our families have endured through the changes, hopes, disappointments, stresses of having to support their children while they adjust to the new world we live in. Finally, our students have been champions as they patiently wait and work their way through all of these unknowns in an effort to help everyone stay focused on what the goal is. Unlike any other year, we have all had to work together to keep things moving, regardless of any possible lumps and bumps that we experience. The last 6 months have thrown us many curve balls that have done little to ease tension, but tend to increase anxiety. As we pass the half way marker and move into the second half of the year, we can be certain that more things will be thrown our way. However, hopefully these changes will be more of the positive variety with schools and kids being able to return to things that are more normal. This week we have seen athletics be given the green light, musical activities are being discussed and evaluated for when we can move forward with those, and the next discussions will have to center around end of the year activities for students. There is a lot to look forward to as things seem to be making a turn for the normal, and through all of this we need to continue to work together and make every effort to understand each other. While things return to normal, people are still faced with COVID-19 and it will continue to affect people and their families. When a student is a little out of touch, it's important to figure out why? When a staff member doesn't respond to something immediately, it's important to know what dynamics may be at play for that person. The final 5 months of the year will certainly bring much joy and celebration to our students and schools. However, we need to remember that we are all in this together and we all want the same things. As we round the bend and head for home, our students, staff, and families will need to continue to work together and work to have an understanding of everything that people are faced with. We have done an admirable job to this point, let's keep working to ensure our students have the best possible second semester we can provide, complete with every opportunity possible to provide the traditional year end memories and experiences that students should receive.
Hybrid Schedule Reminder
When school resumes tomorrow. The State Education Department has recently been reviewing school schedules throughout the state to ensure that they are rigorous enough to comply to the minimum instructional hours requirements. Although they relaxed this requirement in August, recent communications indicate that they are expecting more than what many schools are providing. That being said, when our hybrid schedule resumes, Wednesday's will no longer be a complete virtual day and will instead be a full instructional day for Cohorts A and B. Each cohort will rotate in-person attendance on Wednesday meaning that every other week, students will be in-person for 3 days throughout the week.
Winter Athletics Update
This has been a topic that has received a lot of attention this week with Oneida County releasing information that winter sports are not recommended, however, school districts can move forward with them, if desired. At this time, Rome will be moving forward on Monday, February 1 with high-risk winter sports. Our plan is being finalized and will be submitted to the County today. The most significant change from fall sports to winter sports is that it is now encouraged that any athlete who has tested positive for COVID-19 get medically cleared by a health care provider, prior to participating in rigorous athletic activity. More information will be provided for athletes through their coaches and the athletic department.
Yellow Zone Removed
By now, you are most likely aware that all zone designations for schools have been removed. This means for us, that testing of students will not be necessary in order for schools to reopen. Thank you to all of the students, families, and staff who volunteered to test so that we could reach our 20% minimum. Also, thank you to all of our school nurses, clerical staff, administrators, and volunteers who helped to make the testing process a possibility. It was not an easy lift, but each school answered the call and I appreciate the effort by everyone involved.