GCSD Update on COVID-19: March 23, 2020

The following is a message from Superintendent Dr. Marie Wiles:

Please note that GCSD playgrounds have been closed for use by families and the community since this letter was sent out on March 23, 2020.

Dear Guilderland Families,

As we begin the second full week of our new and strange reality, I wanted to take an opportunity to give you an update on the various activities that are underway, but perhaps not fully in sight, in the Guilderland Central School District. In addition to the daily changes stemming from the spread of COVID-19, we are also working to recreate how we function as an educational system. 

Remote Instruction

Families and faculty have inquired about providing new instruction online. Initially, we asked teachers to provide remote learning in the form of a content review of material previously covered. The reality is, many of our households have challenges accessing that kind of learning, and we don’t want to leave any child behind or at a disadvantage. Having said that, we have been delivering devices and hotspots to families in need and have been encouraging families to take advantage of some of the free offers from various internet providers. The Guilderland Public Library also has free Wi-Fi in its parking lot.

Given that, we are gearing up to pivot to a plan where new instruction can be delivered. This will take a little bit of time. The abrupt closure of our district by the Department of Health placed our faculty in a situation where they have not had access to their materials at school, nor an opportunity to get together to plan and coordinate remote learning experiences. Our teachers are doing an amazing job putting together materials and we are working feverishly to get their efforts coordinated and scheduled going forward so that students have access to new learning soon. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Musical Instruments

I know that many children are without their musical instruments because they were left behind at school. Our Instructional Administrator for Music, Mr. Bob Winans, and his faculty have been advocating for a plan to return instruments to musicians as soon as possible. That process will begin this week. Please look for an email from your child’s music teacher with details.  

Playgrounds

As you know, our playgrounds are open to our entire community and we continue to welcome our families to come and use them for a bit of fresh air and recreation. I do want to let you know that while our maintenance staff is able to complete a safety check on each playground every day, we are not able to disinfect them. Be sure to continue to use appropriate social distancing strategies and proper hygiene.

Update issued on March 24, 2020, indicating closure of GCSD playgrounds: While our schools are closed, our playgrounds will also be closed for use by our families and community. This is an effort to encourage social distancing which includes avoiding crowds, canceling social gatherings, and maintaining a safe separation of at least 6 feet away from each other. It’s OK to get outside, but it’s vital to keep our distance to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Meals

So far, we have provided over 12,000 meals to students and will continue to do so while we remain closed. The method of getting meals to families has evolved over the last few days. Rather than pick-up locations, we are now delivering meals to homes.  Get more specific details here.  

When Will We Re-open?

This is the question that everyone wants answered, and I can’t yet do so. We are now closed under the Governor’s Order and it will be up to him to tell us when we can safely return to school.

Teamwork

I have seen our school community pull together to solve all kinds of challenges in these first several days of the COVID-19 pandemic and I know that we will continue to do so for as long as necessary. While this is a difficult time, I am certain of the resiliency of our community. Now more than ever we need to work together, support each other, and have patience.

In that spirit, we have also heard from our County Executive, Dan McCoy, who has asked that we send a message directly to your children. Please view the letters here.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding, and please do everything you can to be safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

Dr. Marie Wiles
Superintendent

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