Superintendent Jeff Simons sent the following letter to East Greenbush Central School District families on Wednesday, December 2. The letter notifies families of changes to the 2020-21 school calendar and that the district will adopt remote learning for snow days. These changes are being made to ensure the district meets the number of required student attendance days during this abnormal school year.
My hope is that this letter finds you and your family healthy and safe. We would like to advise you regarding changes to the school district’s calendar for the 2020-21 school year as we approach the Winter Season and inclement weather and also inform you of additional changes to required student attendance days which are affected by changes to the administration of Regents Examinations recently approved by the New York State Education Department.
Changes to School Calendar
You are aware that the district altered its school calendar at the beginning of the school year to provide more time for staff to prepare for successful implementation of required health and safety protocols and to ensure preparations for delivery of instruction in the hybrid model including in person days, remote days and the full remote option. This preparation has enabled our district to remain open throughout the Fall as we move into the holiday season.
As a result of the adjustment to the calendar, staff reported to school as scheduled but the first day of student attendance was changed from September 8 to September 14. Thus, the number of student attendance days was reduced by four (4) days.
The district is able to count one of these days, September 8 as an additional Superintendent’s Conference Day, which is credited towards the number of total student attendance days.
However, the remaining three days will need to be made up for all students in all schools. Thus, students will be required to engage in asynchronous remote learning activities on April 1, April 12 and June 1. Please note, at this point, Spring Recess has not been impacted by any of these changes.
Additionally, the unanticipated storm of October 7 which caused significant power outages in our region further complicated our school calendar. The district builds in one emergency closing day each year, which was used on October 8. Red Mill and Goff were unable to open on October 9, therefore, B Day students in those schools will also have a remote learning day on May 28.
Changes to 2020-21 School Calendar
- Thursday, April 1 – Changed to Remote Learning Day
- Monday, April 12 – Changed to Remote Learning Day
- Friday, May 28 – Remote Learning Day for Goff and Red Mill only
- Tuesday, June 1 – Changed to Remote Learning Day for Columbia, Bell Top, Genet, DPS and Green Meadow; Goff and Red Mill students and staff will attend in person for a B Day
Inclement Weather (Snow) Days
As we approach the holidays, we also presume that in person learning may need to be cancelled at times due to inclement weather during the Winter Months. This could further complicate the district’s school calendar, potentially impacting Spring Recess.
In accordance with State Education Department regulations, some flexibility has been provided this school year to enable all school districts to address an anticipated shortfall in the number of required student attendance days, particularly as we enter the Winter Season. New York State is permitting schools to pilot the implementation of remote learning days as days of school attendance in instances when inclement weather would otherwise have closed school for a snow day.
While we recognize and appreciate the tradition of “snow days” and the disappointment some students and parents will feel as a result of this change, we need to ensure that our district meets the number of required student attendance days this year. Meeting the required number of instructional days for students ensures our schools receive needed state funding. Thus, we will be implementing remote learning on days which in year’s past, based on weather conditions, would be considered snow days.
Based on weather conditions or the forecast, the school district will announce that in person learning will not be held due to unsafe weather conditions through its normal channels – television news, School Messenger, Facebook and the district’s website. Students will be expected to log into remote learning on both inclement weather days and the announced make-up days to be marked in attendance and to engage in remote learning activities. These days will function very similar to your child’s current remote days. However, teachers will be accessible on these inclement weather days to provide direct support for asynchronous learning activities during their scheduled office hours. Teachers will also be available to answer questions through email as needed. In order to ensure we do not exceed contractual requirements related to employee work calendars or incur extra costs, teachers will not be required to be accessible on the announced make-up days of April 1, April 12 and June 1. Teachers will however ensure that student work submitted on these dates is reviewed, that proper attendance is recorded and they will provide feedback to students on submitted work once it is reviewed at a later time.
The option to implement remote learning days on days which would otherwise be considered a snow day, will be implemented only for the 2020-21 school year due to the unique constraints associated with COVID-19, the changes previously made to the September school calendar and the impact of the October power outages on our instructional calendar.
We hope that students and families will understand the situation and that all students benefit from the review activities which will be provided by teachers on remote learning days. The schedule and expectations for students on these days will be flexible. On remote learning days students will not be expected to engage in virtual live instruction as they are on Virtual Wednesdays. Teachers will be advising students as to how to access their remote learning via Google Classrooms and other remote access files.
January NYS Regents Week
As previously announced, the New York State Education Department has cancelled the implementation of Regents Examinations during the week of January 25-29. These days will now follow the normally scheduled hybrid format. The schedule for that week is listed below:
- Monday, January 25 – A Day
- Tuesday, January 26 – B Day
- Wednesday, January 27 – Live Virtual Instruction
- Thursday, January 28 – A Day
- Friday, January 29 – B Day
As we continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and its impact on our school district, we will keep you informed of any further changes. We appreciate your continued flexibility and support during these unprecedented times.
Superintendent of Schools