The following letter was sent to East Greenbush Central School District staff and families on Monday, March 15.
This week, schools including East Greenbush, commemorate the one year anniversary of COVID-19’s impact on our educational system – our students, our families, our teachers, administrators and support staff. When the Governor announced that schools would close effective March 18 almost one year ago, we were all forced to prepare quickly as we anticipated a short period of adjustment while the medical experts found solutions. At the time, we could not fully comprehend nor appreciate how long the pandemic would affect our families and school communities nor did we fully understand the protracted impact that COVID-19 would have on communities across the globe. When we entered a new school year with conditions still very uncertain, our reopening plans required all of us to prioritize health and safety and to figure out the best way to deliver equitable instruction to the very diverse student population we serve. We aimed to provide as much stability as we could for all of the students.
The extension of time in which our schools have operated differently, balancing the protection of the health and safety of the children and the community with our need to educate has been stressful for students, families and everyone involved. Our district has always strived to provide the best education we can to the children. We continue this commitment during trying times. While this period has been challenging and stressful for sure, it has also been marked by opportunities to witness the joy, the compassion and extraordinary contributions of students, their families and our dedicated teachers and staff. We’ve witnessed many of our students, parents and staff members set aside their own worries and fears to reach out and provide for others and to make time to appreciate and recognize our healthcare workers and other first responders.
During this time of extreme worry, we are grateful for the support that our families have provided to the children for remote and virtual learning. We are mindful of the disruptions families are enduring to support their children’s education. We understand and worry about these changes in family routines which have impacted daily lives. We are appreciative beyond words for your help in preserving continuity of learning for our students. With the optimism provided by declining infection rates and the increased accessibility of vaccines, we hope to continue to adjust our plans, restoring more time in school for all children as we advocate for changes in state regulations which would enable the reestablishment of full in-person learning for all students, K-12.
Our administrators, our teachers and our support staff members have been forced by these extraordinary circumstances to lead, teach and work differently in service to the children. We are proud of how they have not only responded to the challenges of COVID-19 but provided shining examples for the children of adaptability, commitment and selflessness.
As we commemorate the one year anniversary of COVID 19’s impact on our schools, we truly hope that we are looking at our worst days in the rearview mirror and that the Spring will continue to bring hope and expanded possibilities to our school community, most importantly our students.
We mark the one year anniversary of our schools’ response to this pandemic as a reminder of how fortunate we are to serve the special community of East Greenbush and we anticipate the prospects of a brighter tomorrow in service to the children.
Board of Education President
Superintendent of Schools