Dec. 22: An Update From Superintendent Wiles

The following message was emailed to families on Dec. 22:

Dear GCSD Families,

We are almost there — the holiday break! I’m writing to update you on a few topics, but I want to start with a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has done their part over these last several months to make in-person learning safe and remote education as engaging as possible. It has not been easy! But the lack of known transmission of COVID-19 in our schools means that our safety protocols in school are working. School is one of the safest places to be. It is so important that we all continue to do our part outside of school so that we can continue to offer in-school learning opportunities this school year.

I want to call your attention to three important topics: first, our plan to communicate new COVID-19 cases during the holiday break; second, an update on COVID-19 testing at GCSD schools; and third, our plan to host a panel presentation and discussion on several topics in mid-January.

Communication About COVID Cases

We would like to give you all a break from the daily emails about COVID-19 cases during the holiday recess. Therefore, new cases will be reported to the NY COVID-19 Dashboard as we are made aware of them, but we will provide a summary of cases to our faculty, staff, and families on December 28 and again on January 4. If contact tracing is required as a result of any new cases, we will contact those individuals. Also, If there is significant news or development that requires action, we will send an email, phone call, or text as needed. We will return to a regular schedule of notification when school is back in session.

COVID-19 Testing at GCSD Schools

Although our region has not yet been designated a micro-cluster zone, we are proactively planning for that eventuality. Our goal is to continue to offer in-person instruction as long as it is safe to do so. All zone designations require schools to test their in-person population in order to stay open. Thank you to the many families and employees who have granted us consent for participation in our COVID-testing plans. Approximately 75% of all those who responded so far have agreed to participate. If you have not yet responded, please do. We will continue to send reminders to ask for your participation in this test which is minimally invasive, and reliable. Information about testing in GCSD schools, including a new FAQ about COVID-19 testing, is available.

You can also email questions to reopening@guilderlandschools.net.

Upcoming Panel Discussion

Save the date for the evening of Wednesday, January 13 at 7:00 p.m. We are hosting a panel presentation and discussion for our school community. Questions can be submitted ahead of time. We want to review and answer questions about:

  • Plans for the second semester of the 2020-21 school year that starts on Feb. 1
  • COVID-19 testing at GCSD schools
  • Budget planning for the 2021-2022 school year

After the break, we will email all families and staff and post information on the district website about how to watch the panel discussion and submit questions.

Finally, it is an understatement to say this holiday season will not be the same; but it will be one that we never forget. While we all do our best to follow safety protocols while school is out of session, I encourage you to give yourself and others the gifts of patience and understanding. You are all in my thoughts, and I wish you the best for a healthy and safe holiday break.

Warm Regards,

Dr. Marie Wiles
Superintendent of Schools

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