March 22, 2021
Greetings Holley Families,
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has updated its recommendation for minimum social distancing (of at least 3 feet vs. 6 feet) in schools. This has caused many regions and entire state health departments to alter restrictions and update their guidance plans, which could ultimately allow for more students to return to school buildings for in-person learning this academic year.
At Holley, we have been anticipating this change and preparing for it. We’ve created a “phase back-in” plan to bring our hybrid students in more fully, some of which will start as we return from Spring Recess. Our “return to school” plan has maintained the following principles: keep student and staff safety a priority, bring our students in more fully from youngest to oldest, and have all grade levels of in-person learners back to at least four days/week by the start of the fourth quarter (April 19).
Due to smaller classes, we have had our Pre-K, self-contained Special Education and our Alternative High School students in four days/week all year. In February, we started to bring back more of our Special Education students and others with learning needs to four days/week, too. Most recently (as of 3/15), we moved our hybrid students in grades K-2 from two days/week to four days/week. Here is the continuation of our “phase back-in” plan:
- April 5: Hybrid students in grades 3-6 from two to four days/week
- April 12: Hybrid students in grades 7-8 from two to four days/week*
- April 19: Hybrid students in grades 9-12 from two to four days/week*
*Note: We will need NYS Department of Health approved updates for our MS/HS plan to start on these dates. However, we are all set to move forward with grades 3-6 on April 5.
The plan includes starting with four days/week for in-person learners, maintaining our “remote Wednesday” schedule. The reasons for keeping Wednesdays as remote learning days include: providing time for staff to prepare and post lessons, and connect with our fully remote learners; allowing time to bring in small groups of students for academic intervention and related services; and for teachers to receive professional development, and update learning plans and curriculum.
We are also reaching out to our fully remote student families prior to the start of the fourth quarter (April 19) to determine their status (remaining remote or requesting to return). Based on the number of students who remain fully remote and after evaluating how things are progressing with four days/week, we’ll determine if it’s possible to increase to five days/week for our in-person students.
This is our current plan. However, as we’ve often experienced over this past year, conditions can change, sometimes quite rapidly. Not getting support from the NYS Department of Health and/or shifts in the positivity rate in our region, etc., could alter our plans. However, we believe that this phase back-in approach is proactive, and gives staff time to prepare and adjust learning plans, bus schedules, and modify classroom and dining spaces based on new guidance from NYS. We also hope it gives families time to prepare for this transition back to more in-person learning at Holley CSD.
Thank you for your patience and support of our school district during this incredible time.
Superintendent of Schools