March 1, 2021
Greetings Holley CSD Families and Staff,
I hope this message finds you well and looking forward to a happy and healthy spring season that is just around the corner!
Each Monday I send a message out to the Holley CSD staff with news, notes, and some things to reflect on and/or look forward to. Today, my “Monday Message” is going out to our entire school community, as I wanted to update everyone together.
If you can believe it, this is our 50th week of school dealing with the impact of COVID-19. As you recall, it was nearly a year ago today that we went to a fully remote learning system. After weeks and weeks of uncertainty and changes from local and state health agencies and the NYS Education Department, we ended up being on a fully remote learning plan for the remainder of the 2020 school year.
Over the spring and summer months, following all mandates and guidelines, we designed a plan to re-open school with a hybrid system of learning, which we began in September. In this plan, some students have learned at home entirely, while some come to school in-person for a portion of the week. We’ve operated in this fashion to keep numbers on our buses and classrooms smaller, to create groups (cohorts) of students, and to mitigate the possible spread of the virus. By most accounts, it’s gone well, and we’ve been as successful as possible under these conditions to not only educate our students, but also to remain as safe and healthy as possible at school this entire year thus far.
We have continually been considering ways to increase our in-person opportunities for students. With the COVID-19 numbers going down in our region and with many staff members getting the vaccine, we have been phasing certain groups of kids back in to school four days/week. We started with our youngest students and our special needs populations at both the elementary and secondary levels. It’s now time to prepare to have additional students in school more fully.
I can’t thank the staff enough for their efforts and for all they’ve done in this very challenging situation. I also truly appreciate all the support we’ve received from families, as we know that at-home learning isn’t easy and has caused many difficult situations for parents and caregivers.
At this time, I want everyone to know that we expect some changes soon regarding how to increase our in-person opportunities for students at school. As we await new guidance on safety protocols, we’re working diligently at the district to consider all options for transportation and classroom limits to have students return more fully. It’s likely, just as we’ve done with other aspects of our phase-in approach, that we start bringing our younger (elementary) students in more at first, then move to the middle/high school.
We, of course, will be working in collaboration with local and state health authorities, as we develop our plan. School leaders will be reaching out to families in the near future regarding their input, as we have to plan accordingly to consider numbers for buses and classrooms as well as other safety considerations.
Thank you for your patience and ongoing support of the Holley Central School District as we prepare the steps necessary to have students return to more in-person learning and activities.
Superintendent of Schools